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?  

Hello Cool Design: Meet Hot Art

Tweet You may recall my October 2012 blog when I bragged about my front parlor with its Aalto furnishings and pièce de résistance, “the spectacular Odegard rug that I convinced Clay to splurge on,” right?! http://blog.gallerydirect.com/2012/10/14/hello-cool-design-meet-hot-art-3/ Well, pride cometh before … Read More

You may recall my October 2012 blog when I bragged about my front parlor with its Aalto furnishings and pièce de résistance, “the spectacular Odegard rug that I convinced Clay to splurge on,” right?! http://blog.gallerydirect.com/2012/10/14/hello-cool-design-meet-hot-art-3/ Well, pride cometh before a fall. Indeed it does. In mid-June, my 18-year old son Henry received a useful birthday present from his grandparents, a fully loaded tool box, which is exactly what he asked for. I arrived home one evening to see all the bells and whistles pulled out and placed lovingly before it. I took little note – it was a bunch of tools for god’s sake! – and went on my merry way. No one was home which meant Chardonnay and HBO. I was awakened abruptly around 1 a.m. when my peeps returned and chaos ensued. Did I mention we have a one-year-old puppy? Mabel is a very busy little lab. And she appears to like Gorilla Glue, which is marketed as 100% waterproof, “bonds wood, stone, metal, fiberglass and more.” Apparently, it bonded to Mabel’s insides; emergency vet care removed a baseball-sized glob from her stomach the next day. (Don't worry – she's fine and needless to say has since spent weeks at obedience school!) Clearly it bonded to the Odegard rug – right smack in the middle. No amount of cleaning – amateur or professional – would rid us of that residue. We debated what to do – this was our prized possession you know! Do we send it to Odegard and have it cut down? Do we trust someone locally? We could certainly use runners – I had my eye on a round rug for that space anyway! Well, practicality won out and we ultimately succumbed to purchasing a Saarinen dining table we’ve been watching for some time. And guess what a Saarinen dining table features – a pedestal base of course! So the RED furniture is out – Annie is already thanking me as you might imagine – and I’m now perusing Gallery Direct for new art to go with our new non-RED look. Meanwhile, I’ve temporarily replaced Benjamin Arnot’s Speed of Light I with his The Challenger – You recognize Yule Brenner don’t you?! Even though he’s Chinese RED, a color I’m obviously attracted to, I think he looks great in there. And if you haven’t paid attention to Benjamin Arnot’s work, you should. It’s fabulous. I’m also eyeing works from Takhiro Kimura, a Japanese artist featured on our new fine art site –  www.49editions.com – just launched last week.  Check out President, T2 and World, all of which highlight RED as a primary color. I can’t help it?! I think I’m going with T2 for a clean look – or I could go with Blue’s – love that Goon Squad look – and lo and behold – it’s not RED! What do you think about President facing the commode in our Powder Bath – or is that weird? Help me decide!

Food for Thought

Tweet As my time in Italy comes to a close (I really cannot believe the summer is almost over – I feel like I just got here!), I’ve been spending my days and nights absorbing as much as I possibly … Read More

As my time in Italy comes to a close (I really cannot believe the summer is almost over - I feel like I just got here!), I've been spending my days and nights absorbing as much as I possibly can of two things - the friends I've made here in Amelia, who come from all over the world, and Italian cuisine. Here in Italy, eating is an experience. Not only is the food amazing (never have I eaten so much fresh pasta in all of my life), but sitting down to a meal with someone is really seen as a moment to come together and connect. I went to dinner at a friend's the other night with a small group of people, and we spent a total of eight hours just sitting, sipping Italian wine, and eating a delicious meal together. Eating is obviously a necessity in life, but it is also something that is to be enjoyed and savored. All of this time spent eating and thinking about how people come together at meal-times got me thinking further about how our natural inclination toward the importance o a meal manifests itself throughout art. Food has always been a big part of still life painting, as well as many other types of art. At Gallery Direct, we have an entire Cuisine section for those who are looking for a touch of culinary decor. Some of my favorite Gallery Direct prints have to do with food. Sylvia Angeli's pears are always a tasty treat, and Olivia Maxweller's Manzanillas is even hanging in my kitchen! [caption id="attachment_4145" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Olivia Maxweller's Manzanillas[/caption] I also really her love scenes of people sharing a meal, like her Ladies of Leisure series. Cecile Broz's Sushi is also a great example of how an artist can capture the beauty of people sitting down and enjoying some delicious delicacies together. So, do you salivate at the sight of food-themed art? I know I do!

Frolicking in Florence

Tweet As I mentioned in last week’s post, I was lucky enough to visit two of Italy’s most beloved and beautiful cities over a short break from classes that I was able to enjoy a couple of weeks ago: Venice … Read More

As I mentioned in last week's post, I was lucky enough to visit two of Italy's most beloved and beautiful cities over a short break from classes that I was able to enjoy a couple of weeks ago: Venice and Florence. Now, I loved Venice. It was a dream to visit. The canals and winding streets were so utterly romantic in all the right ways. I was afraid that I would be slightly disappointed in it (a few people have warned me against that very thing), but it did not fail to take my breath away every moment I was there. But I have to say, Florence is my kind of town. While Venice is practically governed by the attraction and satisfaction of tourists, Florence is a real city. Obviously, there are still tons of tourists there, especially this time of year, but for every tourist hustling across the Ponte Vecchio, there is a Florentine on his or her way to work. It was such an enriching experience to spend some quality time there, and take in not only the touristic attractions, but also the more hidden, subtle qualities of life in Firenze. But that's not to say that I wasn't completely blown away by the amount of fantastic historical and cultural monuments and sites.
florence italy david
[caption id="attachment_4135" align="aligncenter" width="370"] In front of the Palazzo Vecchio on Piazza della Signoria[/caption] As you may have already guessed, one of my favorite things about visiting Florence was spending a blissful four hours wandering the halls of the Uffizi Gallery, one of Italy's greatest museums. It was so amazing to finally see in real life so many paintings that I have known about and studied for years. [caption id="attachment_4136" align="aligncenter" width="370"] The courtyard at the Uffizi Gallery[/caption] Of course, one of the greatest moments for me was seeing Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Primavera. What struck me most about them was just how huge they both are - truly larger than life. It's one thing to see images of them and read their respective dimensions, but it is quite another to stand in front of the beautiful paintings by one of the Renaissance's greatest artists, completely in awe of the amount of detail in the colossal pieces. [caption id="attachment_4137" align="aligncenter" width="236"] Detail of Botticelli's Birth of Venus[/caption] Florence was definitely good to me, and I have a feeling I'll be back. There's just too much to see to do it in only a few days. What's your favorite city to visit? Do you find yourself finding something new to love about it every time you return?
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.

Do As the Romans Do!

Tweet Buongiorno, Gallery Direct! I have had a week full of excitement and discovery, and it’s only about to get better. Tomorrow, I leave bright and early for a six-day excursion to Venice and Florence, two of the most beautiful … Read More

Buongiorno, Gallery Direct! I have had a week full of excitement and discovery, and it's only about to get better. Tomorrow, I leave bright and early for a six-day excursion to Venice and Florence, two of the most beautiful cities on earth, and you can be sure that I will be sharing all the great details of my trip with you upon my return! However, that's for another time. Today I want to tell you about my trip to Rome, which I got to enjoy on Monday (which happened to be my birthday - not a terrible way to spend the day!). It was astonishing to spend time in a city so soaked in history that dates back thousands and thousands of years. I fulfilled a lifelong dream of seeing the Ancient Roman Forum, the Colosseum, and so much more!  
rome colosseum ancient
[caption id="attachment_4104" align="aligncenter" width="528"] The Colosseum in Rome[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4101" align="aligncenter" width="528"] The Forum in Rome[/caption] Seeing the Forum after reading about it for so long was a truly exceptional experience. It stunned me to actually encounter these ancient ruins and artifacts that I have studied for years and years. I felt the same way about seeing some of the sculptures in the Capitoline Museum (now one of my favorite museums in the world), which houses some of the most important objects from antiquity that have been discovered. [caption id="attachment_4103" align="aligncenter" width="528"] The Capitoline Venus[/caption] Seeing all of these cultural heritage sites and art objects got me thinking about how much classical antiquity has shaped the Western world, particularly in the art historical sense. The Renaissance and nineteenth-century neoclassicism were directly inspired by classical themes and subjects, and could not have happened without the incredible influence of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. In fact, two of my favorite exclusive Gallery Direct prints are directly inspired by the classics: Sean Jacob's Classical Vision I and Classical Vision II. [caption id="attachment_4099" align="aligncenter" width="528"] Sean Jacobs' Classical Vision I[/caption] I love these prints. They remind me of how even though the Roman civilization disappeared thousands of years ago, we are still connected to them in the modern day. My visit to Rome certainly proved that. What about you? Do you feel connected to classical antiquity?

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)?

Art Historical Inside Jokes

Tweet Greetings from Italia! My first two weeks here have been full of pasta, sunshine, and adjusting to countryside-Italian living. In addition to visiting an olive oil mill, adventuring into the nearby town of Orvieto and seeing its beautiful duomo, or … Read More

Greetings from Italia! My first two weeks here have been full of pasta, sunshine, and adjusting to countryside-Italian living. In addition to visiting an olive oil mill, adventuring into the nearby town of Orvieto and seeing its beautiful duomo, or cathedral (more on that later), and sampling the local pizza, I've been thoroughly ensconced in art historical education. One of my professors here in Amelia (see my last post) is an expert in early seventeenth-century Italian art, and so naturally, he began our first class by talking about Caravaggio. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is perhaps one of the most important and influential figures in the history of western art. He was also, incidentally, a total rebel. He was quick to anger, and was at one point arrested for killing a man over a disputed tennis match. The drama in his personal life directly translated into his art, as his command of drastic changes from light to dark (also known as chiaroscuro) make his scenes emotionally moving and incredibly engaging. He was also, unsurprisingly, incredibly full of himself, and deemed himself the most famous painter in Rome. He even went so far as to call himself "The Better Michelangelo," referring, of course, to his preeminent predecessor, Michelangelo Buonarroti, while simultaneously referencing his given name. His comparison of himself to Michelangelo, however, did not stop there. At the end of the sixteenth century, Caravaggio began his so-called Saint Matthew Cycle, which consisted of three paintings depicting the life of Saint Matthew for the San Luigi dei Francesi church in Rome. One of the first paintings he completed was The Calling of Saint Matthew, which depicts the moment at which Christ calls Matthew to be one of his disciples.
caravaggio calling saint matthew
[caption id="attachment_4043" align="aligncenter" width="528"] Caravaggio's Calling of Saint Matthew[/caption] Caravaggio intentionally inserted a sort of wink to his forebear in a small detail that often goes unnoticed. Namely, the hand of the figure in the upper-right hand register mirrors that of the hand of Adam in Michelangelo's masterpiece The Creation of Adam. [caption id="attachment_4044" align="aligncenter" width="475"] Detail of Caravaggio's Calling of Saint Matthew with detail of Michelangelo's Creation of Adam[/caption] By making this visual homage, Caravaggio asserts his own position within the art historical canon while also reinforcing the religious message of his painting. The implied cue to the viewer of the painting is that Caravaggio is as talented - and as important - as Michelangelo, which was a pretty grand statement to make at that time. It may seem like a silly coincidence, but Caravaggio never did anything unintentionally. And besides, it's these kinds of visual jokes and puns that keep art historians such as myself trudging along the hard road of academia.