What is it about abstract art that can be so intimidating? For many it starts with the definition of Abstract art – paintings that do not depict a person, place or thing of the natural world and is followed by comments like, “I don’t get this.”  Or “My 3 year old could paint this.”  Or “I like paintings I can understand.” Abstract art by definition, “does not attempt to represent external reality, but instead, attempts to achieve its effect using colors, shapes and textures”. We enter unfamiliar territory and feel a bit uncomfortable when asked our opinions on a particular piece that does not portray its subject in a literal manner. This is the best part of abstract art! We’re given the opportunity to interpret a piece of art in whatever way we see fit. [caption id="attachment_4496" align="aligncenter" width="410"] Dancing by Jenny Gray[/caption] Because of advertising, television and internet, we are so used to being inundated with images that are specifically created to convey a message, that we expect precise, clear-cut information from our visual images. However, art doesn’t always have to be that way and it can quite often be better and more enjoyable when the subject matter and meaning aren’t hand-fed to its audience. The artist asks of his or her audience to participate in their piece. How awesome is that? Part of the appeal of abstract art is how intimate and personal it can be for the artist and the viewer as well. The audience is able tap into their feelings and take whatever they want from a piece of abstract art. Interpreting art is a visual, mental and emotional undertaking and can leave a viewer overwhelmed by all the feelings a piece of art gave them while another viewer may only see a mess of paint splatter. [caption id="attachment_4497" align="aligncenter" width="400"] When Will be Able to Relax by Bob Hunt[/caption] Which brings up an important matter. Just because you come across a piece of abstract art for sale or in an art gallery, it does not mean you have to like it. This article is to encourage interaction with abstract art, not to persuade you all to feel as if you must like or have an opinion about all abstract artwork. Many people will find themselves viewing abstract art and forcing themselves to see something in its colors or shapes. You don’t have to do that! It is quite all right not to like or feel a certain way about an abstract art piece. It does not mean you’re uncultured, I promise. Another misconception about abstract artwork is that it will look out of place anywhere other than an a contemporary space. Wrong! Abstract art can blend well with almost any design scheme and will spruce up your walls in a daring, unexpected way. [caption id="attachment_4499" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Silo by Jenny Gray[/caption]So, go forth and get up close and personal with some abstract art! Interpret, contemplate, FEEL! Hopefully, you now realize that you don’t have to be the owner of a swanky art gallery to appreciate or own abstract art. However, If you do want to dress up in trendy, expensive clothes and sip fancy wine like an art gallery owner while gazing at your new abstract art, by all means, go right on ahead!

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Tweet Stuck on what to get Mom for Mother’s Day? Not to worry, we here at Gallery Direct have got your back. We’ve got something for every type of mom and if we work together, we’ll be sure the gift … Read More

Stuck on what to get Mom for Mother’s Day? Not to worry, we here at Gallery Direct have got your back. We’ve got something for every type of mom and if we work together, we’ll be sure the gift you give Mom doesn’t make her sigh exasperatedly and give you that look. You know the look. So let’s get started, shall we? Does your mom dig gardens? Literally? If your  mom constantly has soil underneath her nails, take a look through our floral still lifes or our Nature and Organic category. Chances are, your green-thumbed mama will positively love artwork featuring beautiful blooming botanicals. Rather than gifting a live bouquet of flowers, floral artwork will last forever. Nature-loving moms are always looking for ways to bring the outdoors in. Botanical artwork is a great way to do just that. The flowers won't wilt in a week and you don't have to worry about your mom asking you to water it while she's away! [caption id="attachment_4476" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Vase with Flowers by Artist Unknown[/caption] Maybe you’ve got a mom who fancies herself a foodie. If you’re constantly being asked to be her recipe guinea pig, a tasteful art print featuring something tasty for her kitchen is an excellent option. When it comes to décor, many people neglect their kitchens so a piece of art featuring cuisine would make any mom happy. A gorgeously decorated kitchen might mean Mom actually enjoys being in the kitchen which could mean more delicious goodies for you! [caption id="attachment_4477" align="aligncenter" width="410"] The Good Life II by Jane Bellows[/caption] For the intellectual mom, how about an expressive abstract piece? Gifting A highbrowed nonfigurative or nonrepresentational piece of abstract art is sure to impress your brainy mother and will make a great, cerebral addition to her office or study. [caption id="attachment_4478" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Sacrifice by Polly Norman[/caption] Not so certain on what type of mom you're dealing with? Well, you can't go wrong with the classics. A Degas, Renoir, Monet or any master of classical art will complement almost any home decor beautifully. [caption id="attachment_4479" align="aligncenter" width="400"] The Water Lily Pond (Japanese Bridge) by Claude Monet[/caption] Or how about a professionally printed photograph? Upload a picture to gallerydirect.com and select a material to print on for a unique gift that feels personal and special. This option comes with the risk of making Mom cry, so have the tissues on hand. Was last Mother's Day not quite successful? Did she return your gift? This year, maybe it would be wise to you let her choose. Get Mom a Gallery Direct eGift Card and let her select her perfect artwork. For whatever type of mother you have, Gallery Direct has the gifts that are sure to put a smile on dear old Mom's face and not to mention, keep you on her good side! Be sure to order by May 1st to have your artwork in time for Mother's Day!

The Beauty of Acrylic Printing

Tweet Not to brag or anything, but we print on some pretty neat materials over at Gallery Direct. Not only do we print on paper and canvas, but we also print images onto birchwood, mirror, aluminum and acrylic. Of all … Read More

Not to brag or anything, but we print on some pretty neat materials over at Gallery Direct. Not only do we print on paper and canvas, but we also print images onto birchwood, mirror, aluminum and acrylic. Of all the things we print on, we think acrylic might be the coolest. However, not everybody is aware of its qualities or that it is even an option. Actually, acrylic printing is quickly becoming one of today’s most popular methods to display images. Art printed on acrylic is very unique and has the ability to actually enhance an image. If you’re looking for art that elicits a “wow!” and a dropped jaw or two, acrylic is definitely the way to go. Those who see an acrylic print for the first time, fall in love with its vibrancy and clarity. It interacts beautifully with light and actually gives your photos and artwork a dazzling multi-dimensional look. Images printed on an acrylic surface add a stylish, contemporary touch to your home while having the benefit of being a long-lasting and durable method to display photographs and artwork. Gallery Direct has the best technology in the industry for acrylic printing. We use Optix-DA – digital acrylic formulated for printing and specifically designed to provide optimal adhesion of UV curing inks without adhesion promoters. This results in crystal clear acrylic with the highest degree of color fidelity available today. The sleek acrylic glass is supported by simple, brushed aluminum standoffs and invisible hanging mounts, giving the piece a mesmerizing weightless appearance. If you’re in the market for art that is elegant yet durable and will gorgeously complement a modern, minimalist interior design, acrylic printing is a great option. And you’re in luck because Gallery Direct just happens to do it best! Shop our extensive collection of artwork or even upload your own images for exquisite acrylic prints you’re sure to love.  

The Austin Art Scene is the Heart of Texas

Tweet Austin is renowned for its live music and awesome festivals. But when it comes to the art scene, Austin’s East Side hipsters could give Brooklyn’s hipsters a run for their Hush Puppies. In the heart of one of the … Read More

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Austin is renowned for its live music and awesome festivals. But when it comes to the art scene, Austin's East Side hipsters could give Brooklyn's hipsters a run for their Hush Puppies. In the heart of one of the largest conservative states is a liberal oasis where retro style meets contemporary sensibility. Whether a current resident or a visitor, there's plenty to explore. Austin has its selection of art museums, like Blanton Museum of Art. But it's Texas, rugged country. Get off the beaten path. Try the graffiti park at Castle Hill in Clarksville. With the ever-changing artwork, think of it as a free outdoor exhibit you can rediscover on a monthly basis. Looking for original art to buy from new artists? Head on over to Austin Art Garage. You might see some familiar work by Joel Ganucheau and Judy Paul, two of Gallery Direct's artists. For more of the visual feast Austin has to offer, check out our Pinterest board, "ATX Art Scene". On it, you'll find links to galleries and events and hidden gems around the city.

Inside Gallery Direct: The Sanctuary

Tweet In the heart of Gallery Direct’s production warehouse is a small room with no windows, but it is the only space with pure, natural light. An entire wall is flooded with full spectrum daylight lamps for our team of … Read More

vitruvian man birthday
In the heart of Gallery Direct's production warehouse is a small room with no windows, but it is the only space with pure, natural light. An entire wall is flooded with full spectrum daylight lamps for our team of imaging specialists to properly match the prints we manufacture to the original art. These specialists lovingly refer to this space as "The Sanctuary". Passing through the Sanctuary doors, the noise of printers and framers and the bustling production floor fades away. Once beyond those doors, an unspoken vow of silence is taken as the specialists sit down at their stations to worship at the altar of art. The images lined up along the sacred Sanctuary wall change almost daily. Besides color correcting every piece of art that is scanned into our database, our team of specialists also tweak and enhance each image to the Art Director's and artists' specifications. Ultimately, it is the job of the specialists to insure that every print looks like the real deal. They are Gallery Direct's first line of defense in quality control. Once the art is approved for printing, they become available on our site for orders. This week's Sanctuary image includes the works of Justin Garcia and Sylvia Angeli. To keep up to date with artwork being processed in The Sanctuary, visit our Facebook page weekly.  

Fall Art Trends: Black and White

Tweet   Fall fashion trends are hitting my favorite boutiques and I can’t stay away!  Through my shopping adventures, I noticed a trend in my shopping bag, that matches my walls.  Black and white! Here’s a shot of a display at … Read More

 
black and white trends

Fall fashion trends are hitting my favorite boutiques and I can't stay away!  Through my shopping adventures, I noticed a trend in my shopping bag, that matches my walls.  Black and white! Here's a shot of a display at my favorite boutique in San Francisco, Ambiance. They paired the classic colors with a splash of blue. That black and white dress is absolutely stunning and puts a new modern twist on a contemporary look.  This boutique has consistently been voted San Francisco's top woman's boutique for several years, and it's obvious why. Black and white are playing a huge role this Fall and are adoring runways across the globe. No longer reserved for basics, it’s time to embrace the freshness of the bold contrasts. Art works the same way. Artwork follows the fall trends of the runways, just in a more subtle way.  Like your clothes, with art you can pair your current or older décor with new décor, making a huge impact in your space.  This bold black and white abstract makes a huge impact in this room.  Changing the artwork from florals to abstract makes it look like a complete makeover.

My pinterest board has my wish list of black and white artwork and outfits, my two favorite things ......and these are anything but ordinary. From the runways to your walls, there is nothing boring about black and white. What are you wearing this Fall?  
Greetings Gallery Direct! I have just returned from a fabulous six-day vacation that I took during a short break from my program. Even though I'm already back in the thick of classes, I feel revivified and inspired from my travels. Last week, two of my friends and I packed our bags and boarded a train to Venice, a place I have been dreaming of visiting for years, and then on to Florence (but more about that next time!). As soon as I stepped out onto the piazza off of the train station, the beautiful view took my breath away. I could not believe I was finally there!
venice italy canal
[caption id="attachment_4121" align="aligncenter" width="528"] The Canals of Venice[/caption] Now, being the art history nerd that I am, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of art all around me. Not only was the Venice Biennale going on (one of the most important contemporary art events in the world), but the masterful architecture and dedication to preserving the city and its treasures were enough to make my jaw drop. One of my favorite moments, however, was when I was walking along the Gran Canale, in front of the Piazza San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale, when I spotted the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore across the water. [caption id="attachment_4120" align="aligncenter" width="528"] San Giorgio Maggiore[/caption] The stunning sixteenth-century church inspired one of my absolute favorite series of paintings by Claude Monet. The most famous (and certainly one of the most beautiful) of these paintings is San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk. [caption id="attachment_4122" align="aligncenter" width="528"] Claude Monet's San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk[/caption] It was so incredible to finally see the landscape that Monet was so inspired by. It was even greater to feel that very same inspiration. It just goes to show that true beauty, like that which is to be found in the winding streets and canals of Venice, is truly forever. What cities inspire you? Want more from Monet's Venetian stint? Check out his painting of the Palazzo Contarini! 

The Emotion of Color

Tweet Color elicits emotion, we all know that, but are you aware of which color elicits which emotion? When choosing the color scheme in your home consider what emotion you are trying to evoke in each room, this is the … Read More

Color elicits emotion, we all know that, but are you aware of which color elicits which emotion? When choosing the color scheme in your home consider what emotion you are trying to evoke in each room, this is the emotion of color I am taking about. Then you can use the easy color search option on Gallery Direct to find the perfect piece to decorate your room. RED: sense of power, impulsively, sexuality and increases one's appetite ORANGE: steadfastness, courage, confidence, friendliness, and cheerfulness YELLOW: intelligence, joy, and organization GREEN: hope, growth, good health, freshness, soothing, sharing, and responsiveness BLUE: tranquility, love, acceptance, patience, understanding and cooperation   Is your home sending the message you want? You can find Ellen blogging daily at Thrifty & Chic Mom.

The Wonders of the Waves

Tweet Last Friday, I took a trip to the ancient necropolis at Cerveteri and spent a few happy hours crawling around tombs that date as far back at 1200 BC. Needless to say, it was one of the greatest experiences … Read More

Last Friday, I took a trip to the ancient necropolis at Cerveteri and spent a few happy hours crawling around tombs that date as far back at 1200 BC. Needless to say, it was one of the greatest experiences of my young life. What could make this perfect day better? A trip to the beach, of course! After touring an archaeological museum that is housed in a medieval castle in the town of Santa Marinella, I got to dip my toes in my favorite body of water on earth: the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean is entrenched in the history of the ancient world, as well as more recent events. Its historical importance is matched only by its magnificent beauty.
mediterranean sea ocean
[caption id="attachment_4081" align="aligncenter" width="528"] The Mediterranean Sea at Santa Marinella[/caption] As I stared at the vivid blue water and listened to the sounds of the waves and the splashing swimmers, I got to thinking about how bodies of water have inspired artwork for centuries. There is just something about the overwhelming vastness of the sea that is inspiring and contemplative. One of my favorite examples of painters who expressed their love of the waves in their work is Claude Monet. His paintings from Dieppe, Pourville, Varengeville, and Etretat are all perfect examples of how an artist can be inspired by the ocean and interpret that on canvas (follow the links to see what I'm talking about!). [caption id="attachment_4083" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Claude Monet's "Sunrise, the Sea"[/caption]

 The ocean-obsession exists all throughout art history. One of Gallery Direct's very own exclusive artists, Allyson Krowitz, is so taken with seascapes and coastal scenes that they comprise almost her entire collection! Her work provides a really multi-dimensional look at tropical life, and is well worth checking out. Gallery Direct also has an entire section dedicated solely to prints with coastal or nautical themes.

What's your favorite body of water? Do you like to frolic on the beach, or do you prefer the serenity of a lake? Or perhaps the energy of a rushing river? Whatever floats your boat (pardon the pun), I'm sure it inspires you in some way. If that inspiration means creating a piece of artwork that reflects your love of the water, all the better. For me, this is about as artistic  as it gets:

Not too shabby, eh? It's no medieval castle, but it will have to do.

The Fresco Frenzy of Art Traditions

Tweet Ciao! Things are swimming along quite nicely here in Amelia (quite literally swimming right now – I’m currently enjoying a mid-afternoon thunderstorm). In addition to my busy class schedule and pile of books I need to read, I’m absolutely loving … Read More

Ciao! Things are swimming along quite nicely here in Amelia (quite literally swimming right now - I'm currently enjoying a mid-afternoon thunderstorm). In addition to my busy class schedule and pile of books I need to read, I'm absolutely loving being surrounded by such incredible architecture. Living in an Italian city that has Etruscan roots and has Roman ruins around every corner is such an interesting reminder of how deep European history runs, and furthermore, how big of a role it plays in the citizens' everyday lives. I am lucky enough to go to class everyday in this beautiful complex, the Palazzo Boccarini. Built in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, it was adapted in the early-sixteenth century as a cloister of the convent of San Francesco. The chiostro, as we call it, not only houses the classroom for my program, but also the city's lovely archaeological museum. It also plays host to many cultural events such as small concerts for the local Amerini, or the citizens of Amelia. It even has a little room right off of the street, Piazza Vera, where people gather to play cards with their friends to escape the afternoon heat.
amelia cloister italy
[caption id="attachment_4066" align="aligncenter" width="224"] The Chiostro Boccarini[/caption] Adorning the corridor of the Chiostro are three beautiful frescos that I pass by at least eight times a day. Frescos are such an important part of the art historical tradition, and I'm trying to absorb and appreciate as much of it as possible whilst I'm in Italy. [caption id="attachment_4067" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The ground-floor corridor of the Chiostro[/caption] Fresco, from the Italian affresco, meaning "fresh," is a technique of mural painting that has been used since antiquity, but gained popularity and prominence with the Italian Renaissance. Contrasted with secco, or dry, painting, pigments are added directly into wet plaster, the result of which is that the painting itself becomes an integral part of the wall itself. The frescos at the Chiostro Boccarini depict both religious scenes and also the life of the Boccarini family, who were the patrons of the complex itself. [caption id="attachment_4068" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Fresco at the Chiostro Boccarini[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4069" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Fresco at the Chiostro Boccarini[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4070" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Fresco at the Chiostro Boccarini[/caption] These beautiful paintings act as daily reminders of the artistic history of the community here in Amelia. Do you have a favorite fresco? What about Michelangelo's Creation of Adam? Or perhaps Raphael's School of Athens? Maybe Leonardo's Last Supper (which is technically an example of a secco mural, but we can overlook that for now - it's still pretty impressive)?