Recently I had the privilege to attend an Artists Open Studio out on Block Island, Rhode Island and got to visit the home and summer studio of sculptor, Sean Hartnett. To say I was captivated is putting it mildly.  His home, shared with artist and wife,  Leslie Hartnett,  is stunning. I felt like I had just stepped into a Edward Hopper painting. I was taken with the views and then I slowly began to grasp the beauty and scope of his sculptures. They are so organic  and placed in this landscape, they really took my breath away. My friend and island host,  Claire Marshack, asked if we could take some photos and I was trying to appreciate the work and snap shots as the gorgeous island light was changing. Oh, why didn’t I touch every single piece? Why didn’t I look closer?! It was simply too much to take in because the moment was so perfect. Sean and his wife live in Italy part of the year where he buys his marble and stone and then in the summer they head out to Block Island, accessible only by ferry. Well, you know the Virgo in me simply got caught up in the logistics of getting these sculptures out there. How does that all happen? I went on to his website and found a  video (so worth the watch) on his entire process, how he takes something so heavy and hard and mold and shapes it into art that is so sensual and light. Really incredible.

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That is Sean in the middle, his striking white hair matching his work, talking to his guests. Quiet the view, right?

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seanhartnett1  A view of his barn/studio. I mean, what a setting!!   seanhartnett8

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You can see some of Leslie’s work  hanging on this outdoor wall! She creates these amazing organic faces with sea life, food and vegetables all with intricate and colorful majolica glazes. Needless to say I was enchanted.

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Here is the video on his process and his home in Italy, grab a cup of coffee and watch it. You will be inspired!

 

My girlfriend, Lisa Daria Kennedy, pointed me in the direction of Vera Iliatova’s paintings when she was trying to encourage me to take off some of my self imposed rules in my new painting practice. yes, I am actually painting! Lisa knows that I am drawn to figurative work (doesn’t that sound a bit more spectacular than, fashion illustration?) but she also knows that I had suddenly opened up my eyes and heart to landscape and still life all in a short period of time. She explained how Russian born Iliatova adds all these elements in her work. I read up on Vera’s work and needless to say my descriptions of what I see in her work don’t include “…heroines’ escape into the bosom of Mother Nature as a romantic protest…” although  I do agree with the use of the word heroine.

I feel rather parochial  when I say that her work makes me feel very Nancy Drew. Remember how she was just coming of age and she seemed to be quite a bit more responsible than the rest of us?  How did her parents let her have that much freedom to solve all those mysteries, anyway? Nancy didn’t have helicopter parents.

It is the sense of  mystery and nostalgia that appeals to me in Vera’s work.  It intrigues me and keeps me interested.

Vera Iliatova  said: My paintings start with purely visual ideas: a certain kind of light and a certain kind of space that I think would be interesting to paint at the moment.  The process begins as an abstraction and slowly the painting evolves into a composite of different pictorial elements.  I know that eventually the painting will be populated with figures but I don’t have a pre-determined narrative that I am consciously aware of.  As the painting develops, it begins to evoke certain experiences, either from my own life, or from things that I have seen in films or read about.  

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Just fascinated with Julian’s work! These paintings make me feel like I am on a grand house tour.  I was putting together an “Inspirational Interiors” Pinterest board and surprised with my love of formality. While I tend to like urban apartments, I have come to terms with that fact that my “ideal” urban apartment would be a chic Parisian apartment with high ceilings, long drapes and intricate architecture. A girl can dream, can’t she? I have searched around and have come up with very little on him personally. Mystery! He paints the loveliest interiors, possibly all commissioned so we are not getting to see them, which is a shame. The work I have found captures an element of elegance we don’t get a glimpse of very often. I love the loose brush strokes and the choices he makes on what to highlight in a room. This exterior below is what caught my attention initially and made me do a mad search for his work.

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“His interiors show much more creativity than a photograph,” says San Francisco interior designer Andrew Fisher. “Plus, you can tell lies here and there–make things a few feet taller, make everything look prettier. . . . It’s also interesting to see how the artist perceives how you live.” 

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You may recognize Elizabeth Mayville’s paintings from her very popular, girls with top knots series (or in this case a pony tail).I personally like all of her work. I am really taken with these summer scenes. Especially this swimmer in a lake below. The way she handles the water and the sunlight that is hitting it, is magic to me. I want to slip right in. There is a quiet contemplation to her work.

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Elizabeth doesn’t paint a lot of florals so this one below intrigues me with it’s sunlit  chunky coloring. I can feel the sun bearing down on the flowers. She has a distinct color palette to her work  even though she choses a variety of subject matter. Her work feels a bit like a flashback in time to me. It feels like a comfortable summer home where you leave your cell phone at the door and put on your keds and head right to the water. Nice!

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I have loved the work of Dominique Corbasson for years. Every time I look at this French artists work, I am transported to a different era. I realize that is a bit of an odd response to her paintings,  but for me, her city scenes capture the true romance of these cities. People are  happily strolling about, no signs of traffic jams or grey cement.  There is a playful bliss to it all.  With clients all over the world, Dominique’s work glides from commercial to fine art with the same amount of ease as her brush strokes. I am captivated by how much detail (all those windows!!) there is and yet she never gives in to tightness. Just lovely!

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