Art Hero: Amedeo Modigliani

One of my first art loves was the Italian Expressionist artist and sculpter Amedeo Clemente Modigliani. The way he painted portraits was magical to me. His art was seemingly so simple but the artist created so much emotion in each face. Modigliani's gorgeously rich color palette is incredible and I find him influencing my portraits everyday.

Just look at the way he did his eyes of his subjects. They sort of look right through you, don't you think? The sitters almost become ghosts. I love that some of his characters eyes are sometimes just blurred-out grays? So simple but so powerful.

When I paint my portraits I try to do the same thing, I focus on the eyes. Each person I paint seems to come alive when I finish the eyes..

And that little twist of the head, amazing...

Here are a few of my favorite paintings:

Seated Young Woman, 1918

The Servent Girl, 1918
Portrait of Paul Guillaume, 1916

Reclining Nude, 1917

Victoria, 1916

Jaques and Berthe Lipchitz 1916

Nude Sitting on a Divan, 1917

Madame Kisling 1917
Marie, Daughter of the People, 1918

Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne, 1918

Dedie Hayden, 1918

Tragically, Modigliani died young at the age of 35.  He lived the prefect bohemia artist lifestyle and he influenced generations of artists through his painting style and way of life.

Modigliani in his studio
Which artist has most influenced you?

Art Hero: Constant Puyo

Although, I've only discovered his work recently, I am in love with his photography. Émile Joachim Constant Puyo (1857 –1933)is a true inspiration to me . His work is so soft and feminine... so dreamlike and quiet. It's as if the women he photographs are themselves ghosts...

 Apparitions 1910
Im Schilf 1903
La Tapisserie 1900
Au Jardin Fleuri 1899
Nude - Against the Light 1906
Juin, 1899
Alma Mater, 1904
Sommeil 1897
Nymph, 1904

Chant Sacre c. 1900

His photographs are so incredible, don't you think? Puyo uses textures and graininess in his work to really help develop that certain eerie feeling that I love. He truly is someone to study in his use of light and shadows. What an inspiration! I going to get painting now.

Is anything awakening your inner muse today?

Monday Inspiration: Maurice Sendak on Illustration

I love this video. Maurice Sendak is so honest about the nature of being an illustrator. How does it all work? He doesn't know...

Basically, as an illustrator, you just want to tell a good story with your drawings. Yep, that's about it. He makes it seem so simple...It suppose he has the experience, he has been illustrating for over 60 years...amazing!

Here's a few of Sendak's wonderful illustrations...
An illustration from "In Grandpa's House" (1985) via The New York Times
  An Ilustration from, "Where The Wild Things Are" (1963) via
An Illustration from, "In The Night Kitchen" (1970) via
Yay for Maurice and all his curmudgeonly ways...

What is your favorite Maurice Sendak book?

Art Hero: Alphonse Mucha

Alphonse Mucha (1860- 1939) is one of my all time favorite artists. I love his style and his incredible ability to capture so much emotion in each person he draws. His work is such an inspiration to me. I love that his work is mostly illustration. It amazes me how incredibly beautiful he makes the most simple things. There is a sort of comfort in his work and a beauty that will ever go out of style.

I've seen a lot of people that try to imitate his work but it never seems to quite get it right. It must be something about the colors he chose or the movement of his backgrounds. The characters he drew had the incredible fluidity which really shows off his talent.

In a ideal world, companies would be trying to create works of art with their packaging. There is some amazing package design being created today but I doesn't always seem to always reach my grocery shelves, but wouldn't you buy more stuff it was packaged like this?

Poster for Amants, Theatre de la Renaissance

Poster for Chocolat Ideal, 1897

Poster for Chocolat Masson, 1897

Poster for Flirt Biscuits, 1899

Moravian Teachers Choir, 1911

Poster for Moet & Chandon Champagne, 1899
Nestle's Food for Infants, 1897

Poster for Bagnolet Soap Factory, 1897

Here are a few the amazing (and very large) paintings he created as part of The Slav Epic Series...the details are so incredible.

Master Jan Hus Preaching at the Bethlehem Chapel-1916
Defense of Sziget Against the Turks 1914

 Holy Mount Athos-1926

Here is Alphonse in his studio working on The Slav Epic

Here is the lovely photo of man himself, he had a pretty interesting an sad life. He died of pneumonia after being arrested by the gestapo after being denounced as a 'reactionary' for his views... I recommend the book Alphonse Maria Mucha: His Life and Art by Jiri Mucha (written by Alphonses' son) to learn more.

Hope you enjoyed the work of one of my illustration & art heroes!

Art Hero: Max Ernst

I love a really good surrealist illustration. Some of my favorites are the weird haunting images of Max Ernst, especially the colleges he did for his 5 volume book, "Une Semaine De Bonte" (A Week of Kindness) in 1934. The collages are a bit of a mystery, they have no titles, and there is no text.  What do you think he met to evoke by these strange collages? They are all just plain creepy to me. And as you all know, I love me some creepyiness.

Here's some of my favorite images from the book:

Here's a interesting piece that goes a bit deeper into his works. In the video they show the original pieces, in which you can actually see that it is a collage built with the different colored papers and drawing styles. I would love to see these pieces in person.

Looking at lovely pieces from Ernst,  I can really see an influence on Edward Gorey's work. Here's one from "A Glorious Nose Bleed":

Can you see the beautiful similarities? I wonder if they were fans of each other? Or were they enemies?
Who knows? But I glad they both exist in my little art world....

Happy Friday Everyone! Hope you all get out and enjoy some sunshine.