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.
Do people want to know how a BMW is made or do they just want it to go fast? What level of knowledge do you require regarding the items in your life, particularly the big purchases? Those things you’re going to live with for a while: your car, your flat screen TV, your kitchen counter top.  At Gallery Direct, we know that artwork would also fall into that category.  It’s a purchase you think about, something you’re going to live with for a while, for some people years, many years.  For the art lovers who know us, they know we’re the guys who let you make the big purchases without breaking the bank, a pleasant oxymoron. We’ve wondered, if more people want to know how the artwork is made or if they just shop on price. We don’t know that it can be both. The price is obvious, so we created this video that shows the step of the process, right after the original is created and checked into our facility. Our specialty is limited edition artwork. This means an original work, created by one of our artists was meticulous curated and reproduced.  The Cruse Scanner is a fascinating part of the story of how an original work of art makes its way to your wall as a limited edition.

Ciao Gallery Direct!

Tweet Greetings from Italy! It’s been a while since I posted to Off the Wall, but in my defense, I have been in transit. I am pleased to announce that I am officially Gallery Direct’s first Foreign Correspondant! After finishing … Read More

Greetings from Italy! It's been a while since I posted to Off the Wall, but in my defense, I have been in transit. I am pleased to announce that I am officially Gallery Direct's first Foreign Correspondant! After finishing my internship in the merchandising and marketing department, I said goodbye to beautiful Austin for a summer of postgraduate education, traveling, and, of course, lots of art. I am honored to be taking part in the Postgraduate Certificate Program of ARCA, the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art. As you may recall from my previous posts about the Isabella Stewart Gardner theft and the destruction of two Klimt paintings during World War II, I have a special interest in art crime and cultural heritage protection. This ten-week intensive program will allow me to explore these kinds of topics in-depth in both a practical and academic setting. Oh, did I mention that this all takes place in a small, hillside town in Umbria?
amelia umbria italy
[caption id="attachment_4021" align="aligncenter" width="528"]amelia umbria italy View of the Umbrian city of Amelia, Italy.[/caption] My first week of classes consisted of a crash-course in the contemporary art market. Learning about the inner-workings of the gallery world, the auction houses, the role of the dealer and the collector, as well as the new, speculative market that has recently taken shape, I got to thinking about how Gallery Direct is very much on the cutting edge of the market. With the growth of technology, art is disseminating more quickly than ever before, as even large auction houses like Christie's conduct some sales either partially or entirely online. It's almost too obvious to say that the online marketplace allows more and more people to participate in the art market than ever before. But what distinguishes Gallery Direct from those traditional institutions that are adapting to the digital space is that our model allows us to price our artwork at a level that is accessible to everyone. Being in the art world is consistently governed by who has the most change to spare, and as prices at the auction house flock toward the billions of dollars, it's so encouraging to see, as a young student, that there are alternatives to these unimaginable sums. Working at Gallery Direct was great exposure to the potentials of the future of the art world, and I am so glad to continue that exploration from abroad. This summer will be filled with adventure, education, and loads of great art. I'll be sure to keep you updated on all of the above.

Study: Men + Art = Happiness

Tweet In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I would share some insight into men: Art makes them happy! Norwegian Men are known for seeking happiness in life, they even build research teams tasked to discover how they can be more … Read More

In honor of Father's Day, I thought I would share some insight into men: Art makes them happy!

Norwegian Men are known for seeking happiness in life, they even build research teams tasked to discover how they can be more satisfied in life!

In a recent study conducted by these happiness seekers,  it was determined that men that enjoy cultural activities are better off in mind and body than their uncultured counterparts.  The study followed on over 50,000 men and women to tracked their personal satisfaction, perceived state of health, anxiety and depression. Overall, both men and women who participated in cultural activities—including enjoying fine artwork, had lower levels of anxiety and depression, reported more life satisfaction, and generally “felt better” than those not participating in cultural activities. But the biggest beneficiaries were men. And here’s the strange part: men more interested in watching and looking at fine art images— at home, in museums and art galleries – enjoyed the greatest benefits of all; even more than men actively participating in cultural and creative activities. Lucky for you guys, Gallery Direct has a lot of images hand selected just for the guys!   Here are our top "Guy Art" picks: [caption id="attachment_1410" align="alignleft" width="153"] The Gunfighter by Benjamin Arnot[/caption] This image, The Gunfighter, is a favorite among the guys in the Gallery Direct office. Printed on aluminum and framed it was recently featured in our Gallery right out, Joseph Garcia's office.  This is a creation by Benjamin Arnot, he combines his painting with digital imagery, adding in a geometrical element.  Very manly, yet tasteful! [caption id="attachment_1414" align="alignright" width="255"] Urban Radio II by Sara Abbott[/caption] Graffiti images are very trendy right now and are a top pick among our male customers. Sara Abbott has several graffiti images, including the image to the right. These images look great on any substrate, I think the bigger the graffiti image, the cooler the effect. These next images are sexy, yet sophisticated. Appreciating the female form in a tasteful way can liven up any room, giving it a sexy contemporary look. Cherry Rain I & II by Sia Aryai           For more art for guys browse Gallery Direct's Art For Him Collection
I crave the feeling of new decor, I think I am actually addicted to it.  I love retail therapy for my home. Too often I find myself buying new pillows, pictures, dishes, vases, throw blankets, duvet covers, towels, and most recently a new scale.  That last purchase is when I knew I had a serious problem, I bought a scale because it looked cute in my bathroom, not because I intend to stand on it. I decided it was time to break this obsession with purchasing new items every several days and that I was going to love what I already have. I am on a "no home decor purchase" pact for the next 6 months!  I can still redecorate, but I have to get creative with what I already own.  Here's five tips to show you how I have been coping. Tip #1 Moving my artwork around!  This is my favorite tip, moving artwork from one room to another creates a whole new room and a fun decorating challenge.  First, I started in my bedroom.  I took these love birds by Judy Paul that were above my sofa in the living room and hung them above my bed.  I love how modern the bedroom looks! Tip #2 pile on your pillows.  I grabbed every pillow I had in my entire home and put them on my bed. I am so pleased with the results and it doesn't bother me that they are all a little different.  As I went through other parts of the house, I pulled pillows from the bed to decorate the other rooms and still have 8 left on the bed. Yes I even got carried away and threw a white boa left over from Halloween on the side of my bed to throw the symmetry off a bit. Next up was my living room. Tip #3 I rotated my floor rug by 90 degrees.  This was scary at first, but I stuck it out.  I moved the sofa away from the wall by 3 feet after reading that moving your furniture to the center of the room can make a room look bigger.  I am not sold on this idea yet, but it did give me plenty of wall space behide the sofa to place large pieces of artwork. Tip #4 I took several books piling up in my book shelf and made a side table! How brilliant is this? Tip #5 I took all the blankets I have and placed them on various pieces of furniture. The sofa, reading chairs, even the ottoman. Bonus Tip: #6 I had a small curtain with a black and white pattern laying around. It's actually part of my winter collection.  I placed it on the table in the breakfast nook making a table cloth!  I then filled a vase with some fresh fruit, mostly oranges for the splash of color and to give it a summer like feel. Have a revamp your home tip for us? Please share with me in the comment section below, as I still have 5 months of no spending to go!  Wish me luck.    

Selecting Art with a Point of View

Tweet Summer is the perfect time to update the art around the home. I like to change it up at least once a year, and access to a variety of imagery is one of the great perks of working for … Read More

Summer is the perfect time to update the art around the home. I like to change it up at least once a year, and access to a variety of imagery is one of the great perks of working for a fine art publisher. My project this summer was to update the art in my home office, and I knew that deciding what to display would be the hardest part. When selecting artwork it helps me to define a point of view. Sometimes it is as straight forward as choosing artwork that I personally find beautiful or interesting. Sometimes  it's the desire to showcase photos I took during a family vacation. Other times, the reasons go deeper. I recently lost my grandfather, who was 100 years old. That was a joyous occasion, not because he was a mean old man, but because he lived a full life worth celebrating. Shortly after, I also lost my 41-year-old cousin to breast cancer. She left behind 2 young children, a devastated husband and her widower father.  Somehow I wanted to give a face to the emotions and thoughts I couldn't necessarily express or fully understand. I wanted to reflect on these events and acknowledge that life just keeps marching forward. It was in this mind set that I choose these 3 works from our digital photos library. There is peaceful silence in each of these photos. Because of the fog and muted colors there is also uncertainty and melancholy. The images fit my emotional state, and I enjoy looking at them as a set. They pull me in and my mind can wander and think about what it will. The next step was to customize each image. Gallery Direct allows for a multiple customization options. This is both a blessing and a curse. The options are so varied that it can be overwhelming. I can customize the size, the material the images are printed on, and the frame. Deciding on the size is easy. The room and purpose dictates the size. Learn more about sizing an image here. I wanted the images to be large but my office at home office is small. I had a discussion with myself, measured the wall twice, and we decided that 26" x 26" (outer dimensions) would do the trick. Not too big for the room but big enough to see detail from my desk. Now I had to decide what to material to print on. Gallery Direct offers prints on canvasframed paperaluminumacrylicmirror and birchwood. The home office had a lot of natural light,  and I knew that I did not want a lot of reflections, so that meant aluminum and mirror were out. I also knew I wanted a frame so birchwood was out as well. I didn't like acrylic glass for these images. Prints on acrylic glass offer great clarity but there is a levity to the material that I felt was inappropriate for the subject matter. I was down to framed paper or canvas and eventually decided on framed paper because I wanted a matte around each image. White space around the image was important to me. It allowed the images to "breathe". I then choose a clean white frame to go along with my white walls. This was a pure aesthetic decision. Because of the relatively large size of the set (about 82" across) I felt a darker finish or a heavily ornamented frame would  take away from the subtle and quiet nature  of the images. Overall, I am very pleased with the finished results. It is in part a personal memorial to family members that have passed and a reminder that life moves quickly, but at the same time the selections reflect my taste and personality. -Jhonnie