Showing posts with label Barbara Gurwitz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barbara Gurwitz. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses: Three expressionist landscape painters

By Judy Feldman | www.wildemeyer.com


Lola's House, 40" x 40"
by Judy Feldman

Question: What kind of world is it when you don’t see black, grey and brown?

Answer: It’s the world of colorists and expressionist landscape painters.

You can certainly see my own love of color in a new painting entitled "Lola's House." I enjoy painting interiors and still lifes, where color is always welcome.

But, color isn't limited to interior settings. Landscapes, too, can push the boundaries of color, especially if artists express how they feel when they look at a scene, rather than try to reproduce it. These painters are happy! I also think that the southwestern landscape seems to encourage painters to see a bit out of the box.

Michelle Chrisman does the majority of her painting outdoors in New Mexico. "Part of the enjoyment for me is to be outside, to paint quickly and record my emotional response to what I'm seeing," she said. "I love to get in the zone, surrounded by nature, and paint alla prima, that is, wet on wet, finishing in one session." Her painting entitled "Luminous Light" is a good example of her fresh style. It's as if she took in her surroundings and expressed it in just a moment, to say how it affected her.


Luminous Light, 24" x 30"
by Michelle Chrisman

Michelle is a colorist who "hyper sees;" that is, she sees the hues that make up the local color others perceive. She's very interested in the effect of light and spectral color, which is defined by Wikipedia as a "color that is evoked by a single wavelength of light in the visible spectrum…" The spectrum often is divided up into named colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.

"For me, paint is part of the experience," she said. "I want it to be luscious, to say "I'm paint, touch me!”


October in the Mountains, 50" x 60"
by Barbara Gurwitz

You can appreciate Michelle's technique and color vision in her painting entitled "Morning Light on Abiquiu Cliffs." I like the wonderful reds and yellows she uses to show warmth and light, contrasted with violet and greens to indicate the shadow side of the mountains. I think she wants us to focus on this area of the painting, as she uses much softer tones for the land and river in the foreground. So I’m guessing that it's the mountain that really grabbed her eyes. In addition to strong color, Michelle uses heavy texture with a palette knife to describe her landscape.

Barbara Gurwitz wants to create a sense of place in her landscape paintings. She takes photos and does sketches of the special places she wants to paint. But realism takes a back seat to the expression of how she felt at the time of her visit to the site. "I’m not interested in duplicating the colors of nature," she said. "I’ve always chosen colors that speak to the way I see the world, which are sometimes different from what you would expect."


View From the West, 24" x 30"
by Barbara Gurwitz

When looking at one of Barbara's paintings, "October in the Mountains," I know it's a scene of a southwestern village in the foothills of a mountain range. But her strong, primary colors give this landscape great energy and a charming, folk art quality.

Barbara also seems to see through rose-colored glasses, and that may be because she uses a red ground under her paintings. "It’s a wonderful neutral," she said. She leaves the red as negative space in some areas. This is evident in most of her paintings, such as "Santa Cruz Autumn" and "View from the West." The red under-painting makes everything glow!


Three in Ranchos, 32.5" x 38.5"
by Leigh Gusterson

Leigh Gusterson learned to paint in New Jersey and was trained in the Hudson River style of plein air painting. "It was grey and humid a lot of the time, and my paintings reflected that weather." But things changed when she relocated to Taos and experienced the effect of the light there. Now, Leigh loves to push color when she paints on location at her favorite sites.

"As artists, we train our eyes to see shapes, form and color more intensely," Leigh said. "I like to share what I see with viewers of my artwork. Sometimes, it's the awesome New Mexican landscape that displays these amazing colors!"

Leigh's loose, painterly style enables her to paint expressively. We can see her wonderful technique in "Three in Ranchos" and "Down in Pilar."

Like Barbara, Leigh enjoys painting scenes of villages nestled in the mountain foothills, with their farms, houses and church. She, too, chooses to wear rose-colored glasses, and infuses some of her work with a sense of whimsy, as in "These Sheep Need a Barn."

So, if you’re living in the Southwest, take a drive to a favorite spot and look again. You, too, may see some beautiful colors you’ve never seen before.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Expressionist Landscape Painters:


The World Through Rose Colored Glasses


Question: What kind of world is it when you don’t see black, grey, and brown?
Answer: It’s the world of colorists and expressionist landscape painters.

Desert Oasis 24.5" x 30.5"
by Michelle Chrisman

And what a lovely world it is. I know that personally, I ‘m attracted to high color. The primaries are my friends, and I don’t want much to do with those “sad,” muted colors.

In my last post, I wrote about landscape as a personal vision. I noticed that there are some other landscape painters at Wilde Meyer who express how they feel when they look at a scene, rather than try to reproduce it. These painters feel really good!

Michelle Chrisman does the majority of her painting outdoors in New Mexico. “Part of the enjoyment for me is to be outside, to paint quickly and record my emotional response to what I’m seeing,” she said. “I love to get in the zone, surrounded by nature, and paint alla prima, that is, wet on wet, finishing in one session.” Her painting entitled “Desert Oasis,” shown at the top of this post, is a good example of her fresh style. It’s as if she took in her surroundings and expressed it in just a moment, to say how it affected her.

Michelle is a colorist who “hyper sees,” that is, she sees the hues that make up the local color others perceive. She’s very interested in the effect of light and spectral color, which is defined by Wikipedia as “a color that is evoked by a single wavelength of light in the visible spectrum, or by a relatively narrow band of wavelengths. The spectrum is often divided up into named colors: red, orange yellow, green, blue and violet.”

Kitchen Mesa 24.5" x 30.5"
by Michelle Chrisman


You can see Michelle’s technique and color vision in her painting entitled “Kitchen Mesa.” It was painted at Ghost Ranch, the site of many of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings. I like the wonderful reds and yellows she uses to show warmth and light, and the soft violets to indicate the shadow of the rock crevices. The blue/green hue in the foreground really pops against the red tones around it. In addition to strong color, Michelle uses heavy texture with a palette knife to describe her landscape.

“For me, paint is part of the experience,” she said. “I want it to be luscious, to say ‘I’m paint, touch me!’”

Barbara Gurwitz wants to create a sense of place in her landscape paintings. She takes photos and does sketches of the special places she wants to paint. But realism takes a back seat to the expression of how she felt at the time of her visit to the site. “I’m not interested in duplicating the colors of nature,” she said. “I’ve always chosen colors that speak to the way I see the world, which are sometimes different from what you would expect.”

View from the West 24" x 30"
by Barbara Gurwitz

High Country Summer 40" x 60"
by Barbara Gurwitz
When looking at one Barbara’s paintings, “A View from the West,” I know it’s a scene of a southwestern village in the foothills of a mountain range. But her strong, primary colors give this landscape great energy and a charming, folk art quality.

Santa Cruz Autumn 34" x 44"
by Barbara Gurwitz
Barbara also seems to see through rose-colored glasses, and that may be because she uses a red ground under her paintings. “It’s a wonderful neutral,” she said. She leaves the red as negative space in some areas. This is evident in most of her paintings, such as, “High Country Summer” and “Santa Cruz Autumn.” The red under-painting makes everything glow!

When Barbara paints, she often calls upon her spiritual mentor, Vincent Van Gogh (who wasn’t quite as upbeat as she). “I love his willingness to paint as he saw fit, and he’s always been an inspiration to me.”

 Leigh Gusterson learned to paint in New Jersey and was trained in the Hudson River style of plein air painting. “It was grey and humid a lot of the time, and my paintings reflected that weather.” But things changed when she relocated to Taos and experienced the effect of the light there. Now, Leigh loves to push color when she paints on location at her favorite sites.
Hollyhock Morning 9.25" x 12"
by Leigh Gusterson

“As artists, we train our eyes to see shapes, form and color more intensely,” Leigh said. “I like to share what I see with viewers of my artwork.” Even though Leigh uses non-traditional colors (as in “Hollyhock Morning”), she said that her palette is simple, with just 12-14 colors. “I can make anything I want with these colors,” she explains. “And, sometimes, it’s just the awesome New Mexican landscape that displays these amazing colors!” She said the pink cliffs in “Magpie Playground” really exist.


Magpie Playground 17.25" x 21.5"
by Leigh Gusterson

Like Barbara, Leigh enjoys painting scenes of villages nestled in the mountain foothills, with their farms, houses and church. She, too, chooses to wear rose-colored glasses, and infuses some of her work with a sense of whimsy, as in “Drive By Sheep.”

Drive By Sheep 27.5" x 27.5"
by Leigh Gusterson

So, if you’re living in the southwest, take a drive to a favorite spot and look again. You, too, may see some amazing colors you’ve never noticed there before.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Wilde Meyer!


Fire Passage mixed media on canvas 36"x48"
by Charles Davison
November marks Wilde Meyer Gallery's 28th anniversary! In 1983, when Scottsdale was known as “the West’s most western town,” Betty Wilde and Mark Meyer moved here from Tulsa, Oklahoma. “We had a gallery in Tulsa, but we wanted to move, and Scottsdale had a good art market, both from tourists and year-round residents,” Betty said.

They opened their gallery just across from the current site on Marshall Way. At the time, the other galleries were located on Main Street, and they were the first to have an art venue on this part of Marshall Way, aside from Elaine Horwitz, at the other end. A few years after they opened, Jonathan Henderson joined Betty and Mark as a partner in the gallery.

View from the Rim
oil on canvas 48"x60"
by Barbara Gurwitz

The Present oil on canvas, 41"x41"
Jacqueline Rochester
At first, they brought in artists they represented in Tulsa, but soon after, artists from the area came to the gallery. Some of the early artists are still represented by Wilde Meyer today, including Linda Carter Holman, Charles Davison and Barbara Gurwitz.  I’ve been with the gallery since 2005, and it still thrills me to be included with the wonderful artists who show here.

In the early years, Wilde Meyer consulted with many corporations in the area, assisting them in purchasing art for their offices. First Interstate Bank was a large client, and hung original art in its executive offices, bank branches and operations center. Business gradually evolved into residential clients – both designers and private collectors.
Virgin of Love  36"x36"
by Linda Carter Holman

Garden Wall, (1984)
By Linda Carter Holman
Another Wilde Meyer gallery opened in Tucson in 2000, in the beautiful Foothills area at Skyline Drive and Campbell. And, if you’re lucky enough to spend time at the nearby Canyon Ranch Spa, you’ll see many Wilde Meyer artists’ work displayed on the walls there, available for purchase.


Wilde Meyer Gallery, Tucson
Colores, located on Main Street, is the gallery’s third space, and features art, as well as jewelry and clothing

When you enter a Wilde Meyer gallery, your first impression is usually “Wow! What amazing colors!”  We are a collection of artists who love to paint and use strong color whenever possible. Some of the work is figurative; some abstract - but, for the most part, color plays a major role in every piece of art. Most of us are animal lovers, too, so you’ll see anything from dogs to horses, cats, monkeys and even elephants in paintings and sculptures.

Ranchero (2007) 72"x36"
by Sherri Belassen

Species From the Undiscovered Continent
48"x72" acyrlic on canvas
by Timothy Chapman
It’s fun to hang out at a Wilde Meyer gallery. Betty furnishes them with interesting pieces from China, and other accessories to make the gallery feel more like a home. The bright colors and creative art make people want to linger. The artwork is moved around from one gallery to another, so you’ll always see something different when you return.

As a way of giving back to the communities that support them, Wilde Meyer has always been involved in charitable endeavors. The gallery helps the Arizona Cancer Center select a painting each year, donated by the artist, as the key piece in their fundraiser’s live auction. I was honored to be selected by the organization last year, and attended their wonderful event at the Phoenician Resort. Since Betty and Mark both love animals, they have worked with such charities as Equine Voices in Tucson and Southwest Wildlife, among others, donating art, furniture and jewelry for fundraisers.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Exploring Artistic Influences

Recently, I was lucky enough to see some wonderful art at museums in Paris and Amsterdam. I started thinking about how many of the master artists were influenced by other artists. Some, like Cezanne and Pissaro actually painted together. They were both influenced by the Impressionists, but Cezanne, like Van Gogh, went in a different direction, which, in turn, influenced many other artists after them.
Chloe and the Red Chair 36"x36"
Judy Feldman
 Almost all artists have their muses, and I think it’s so interesting to see how an artist can take inspiration from art they admire, and then incorporate certain elements into their own unique work. I believe that inspiration also comes from the subconscious, from experiences we’ve have had and places we’ve been during our lives.

For me, it’s always been the post-Impressionists – especially Matisse! I admire his amazing use of color, his disregard for the rules of perspective, and his emphasis on his reactions to what he saw, and how he transmitted those feelings in his paintings. Can you see his influence in "Chloe and the Red Chair"? Other painters, such as Bonnard and Gabrielle Munter also have inspired me. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in France, and I think that this, too, shows up in my paintings.
Following this theme of influences, I phoned a few Wilde Meyer artists to see who their muses were. Here are their responses:

Karen Bezuidenhout:

Three Horses 48"x48"
by Karen Bezuidenhout
Karen Bezuidenhout came to California from South Africa. She started painting in Santa Barbara and bought her first piece of original art from an artist named Billy Woolway. He became her muse and her mentor. Karen grew up around horses and knew that she wanted to paint them, but in her own way. Soon, she found her style and went from small paintings to works as big as 8’X12’. Karen also mentioned that she’s influenced by the painter Milton Avrey.

"Someone once said that my paintings reminded them of Avery, so I got a book about him, and became so inspired by his work," she said.
Elephant Family 48x48
by Karen Bezuidenhout

 Her painterly technique, simple shapes and use of earthy color reflect her influences, as does her South African background and affinity for horses. You can see this in her paintings, "Three Horses," and "Elephant Family."






Desert Valley 41"x55"
by Sushe Felix
Sushe Felix lives in Colorado. Her southwest landscapes have a distinctive style, which she claims is derived from her interest in American abstract painters from the 1930’s and 40s, as well as the modernist movement.

Vista 24"x33"
by Sushe Felix
“In particular, I’ve been influenced by Raymond Jonson, who led the Transcendental Painting Group in Santa Fe,” Sushe explained. 

I looked up the group on Google, and found that the aim of the Transcendental Painting Group was "to defend, validate and promote abstract art. They sought to carry painting beyond the appearance of the physical world, through new expressions of space, color, light and design."   Thomas Hart Benton, who was at the forefront of the Regionalist movement, also influenced Sushe, as did the southwest regionalist painters, who took the local landscape and abstracted it. Sushe has her own spin on this inspiration, with a strong focus on forms, shapes and color. You can see her unique style in these paintings, entitled "Desert Valley" and "Vista."


Ka Fisher:

Sneak Preview 60"x72"
by Ka Fisher
 Ka Fisher has some conscious and some subconscious influences on her art. She has studied with Marjorie Portnow and followed the work of Ron Pokrasso – both printmakers. She’s a big fan of Joan Mitchell, who she admires for her energy and mark makings. Other painters who have contributed to her style include Eric Fischl, Susan Rothenberg, Caravaggio and Renoir (in particular his iconic painting entitled “The Luncheon of the Boating Party”).

Spiritual Ritual 36"x48"
by Ka Fisher
I asked Ka why she frequently uses Native Americans in her paintings – such as “Spiritual Ritual” and “Sneak Preview.” Then, I learned of her subconscious influence: she believes that her mother, who grew up in South Dakota, was a Native American. According to Ka, her mother never actually said as much, but she talked all the time about her heroes, who included Maria Tallchief, Crazy Horse and the Olympian Jim Thorpe. Her mother was a great storyteller, and that, too affects Ka’s narrative style. Native American artists, such as Fritz Scholder and Melanie Yazzie are also in her “muse library.” But Ka says she’s influenced by “everything,” and has photos all over her studio to provide the “information” that fuels her painting process.

Barbara Gurwitz:

The Mission at Tucamcori 40"x60"
by Barbara Gurwitz

Barbara Gurwitz’s first artistic influences were some prints that were on the inside and back cover of the dictionary she used as a child.

"They were primitive American paintings of the four seasons in a rural setting," she said. "I couldn’t stop looking at them."

Barbara went to school in Boston and frequented the Fine Arts Museum there. She likes the Impressionists, as well as Modigliani, but her main muse is Van Gogh because "he was willing to go outside the box.
Looking Northwest Across the Rio Grande 34"x44"
by Barbara Gurwitz
"With Van Gogh, the paint itself is part of the subject. I love how he painted wet on wet. Van Gogh said that it’s the artist’s responsibility to help people see the joy of creation within the world." 

Barbara lives outside of Tucson, and likes to paint the small villages in southern Arizona and New Mexico, particularly those with a mission church surrounded by the town. She has painted the same village seven or eight times, from various directions and in different seasons, so that no one is ever the same. "The Mission at Tumacacori" and "Looking Northwest Across the Rio Grande" are examples of her colorful, expressive landscapes.



You can view more art by each of these artists at Wilde Meyer Gallery's website:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

An Arizona Journey

I Love the Rain 22"x32"
by Alix Stefan
Yes, Scottsdale sizzles in the summer. Yes, we think twice about going out in mid-day, and everyone is jockeying for that primo parking spot under that mesquite tree. But summer is also a great time here. The restaurants are less crowded and offer many specials. The hotels offer great deals for both out-of-towners and locals who want to take a quick drive to a gorgeous resort to chill out around a beautiful pool.

And, speaking of “chill,” this coming week’s Summer Spectacular Artwork is sponsored in part by China Mist Iced Teas! The July art walk is always a very cool event – if not literally, at least in the “great scene” sense.
After the Rain is Over  23.75" x 23.75"
by Alix Stefan
This is actually the 22nd annual event, and Wilde Meyer will be participating with the other galleries on Marshall Way and Main Street. The Wilde Meyer show is called “Arizona Journey,” and it showcases diverse art by its local artists.

Alix Stefan’s landscapes bring our Sonoran desert alive with bright colors. In her painting entitled “After the Rain is Over,” she contrasts a stormy setting with bright red flowers in the foreground, and the red-tipped graceful ocotillo cactus.
"Uplifting Breeze"
by Nancy and Sandy Pendleton
oil on canvas 72" x 24"
Nancy and Sandy Pendleton are sisters. Their collaboration is a combination of abstract painting and textured fused glass. Nancy does the painting; Sandy does the fused glass.

In this work, entitled “Uplifting Breeze,” a fused glass panel hovers about one inch over Nancy’s brilliant red painting. It’s mixed media at its best!

Ka Fisher’s work depicts intimate scenes of Arizona, with a focus on our Native American culture. Her loose brushstrokes, slightly abstracted shapes and unique perspective create a distinctive, expressionistic style.
Sneak Preview oil on canvas 60" x 72"
by Ka Fisher
I really like her painting entitled “Sneak Preview,” depicting a “pop-up” rug show at an open air site, between a herd of sheep and the forest. It’s such a painterly way of showing an event many of us have seen in our travels around Northern Arizona.
"Looking West"
by Barbara Gurwitz
oil on canvas 40" x 50"

Wilde Meyer artists are known for their love of color, and Barbara Gurwitz is no exception. Her landscapes vibrate with bright colors, as you can see in this painting, “Looking West.”

Village Garden 60"x48"
by Barbara Gurwitz
Barbara pulls us into her paintings with a non-traditional view, often showing villages set in a valley surrounded by mountains. I think she has a charming, na├»ve style, but it’s not wimpy! Each painting makes a bold, exciting statement.

There will be many other local artists work on display (mine, too!) at WM, and of course other wonderful art in the neighborhood’s galleries. So, mark your calendar for July 7, from 7-9 p.m. and plan to wear your “coolest” clothes!