Category Archives: Inspiration

I’m walking on water

Standard

I traveled to Italy this week with my husband and some friends to see Christo’s newest work, “Floating Piers” on the beautiful Lake Iseo.  I have always loved Christo’s work and have been fortunate to see his “The Umbrellas” in California in 1993, and “The Gates” in New York City in 2005.

 

Floating Piers web

Our group decided we wanted to view this work in every way we could.  We started the tour by helicoptering from the north end of the lake, flying over the steep mountains that border this lake before swooping down to circle around the various piers and island surrounds created by Christo.  After setting down, we walked the short distance to town to join the thousands of other tourists and walk the 5.5 km of golden fabric covered “floating” piers and walkways that are part of the exhibit.

File Jul 01, 4 11 32 PM

The walkways are assembled from 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes that form its 53 foot wide walkways. Its surface is covered with a waterproof bright saffron-colored fabric that contrasts beautifully against the deep blue of the lake. I could see the movement of the water on the lake and feel the rocking of the waves under my feet. One of my favorite moments was just sitting on the edge of the pier and feeling the movement made by the water under me and the walkers around me.

image

We finished off the tour with a ride on a stunning 1971 Aqua Riva power boat that carried us around the piers and wrapped islands in high style before speeding down to the south end of the lake to finish off our tour.

It was a special day with special friends and I feel lucky to have had them with me to share it with.   Now I have my fingers crossed to see Christo’s next planned installation in Colorado…”Over the River” hopefully installed in the next few years. Except this time, I’ll experience his art on a white water raft!

Advertisements

A snack with zero calories

Standard

IMG_4994

I love getting stuff in the mail.  I don’t mean bills, promotional magazines, or jury duty summons.  I mean fun stuff!  One of my daughters treats herself to monthly makeup subscriptions (Boxy Charm and Glam Bag) and my son subscribed to a monthly healthy snack club (Graze) last year.  My other daughter subscribes to a weekly food service (Blue Apron) that delivers recipes and pre-portioned ingredients to her doorstep.  I’m not really into makeup, healthy snacks are an oxymoron, and why would I want to cook when I live in NYC and can order takeout?  So what would I like for a monthly gift…why an “Art Snack” of course!

ArtSnacks is a monthly subscription service that delivers new and  uncommon art products, providing artists with an opportunity to try out top-of-the-line art supplies. I purchased the one-year monthly package for $200 and I got my first box today.  Here’s a look at what art supplies I received and my critique of each one.  I received a General’s Layout Pencil ($0.75 retail), a Caran d’Ache Fibralo Brush Marker ($2.25 retail), a Kuretake No. 7 Brush Pen ($7.00 retail), a Spectra AD Marker ($5.15 retail), a Denik Custom Mini Sketchbook ($5.00 retail), and a green Life Saver.

After eating the Life Saver, I decided to test out each item.  The General’s Layout Pencil was great.  This pencil has been around since the 1930’s and is still a favorite of illustrators and cartoonist.  The graphite is soft enough to make beautiful dark-to-light gradations and doesn’t smear. Honestly, this is the best pencils I’ve ever owned.

Next item was the Caran d’Ache Fibralo Brush Marker.  The fiber tip offers the control of a marker and the flexibility of a brush.  I added a little water to the ink and developed a pale watercolor wash.  The specially formulated ink is designed not to bleed through paper though it did slightly bleed through the thin notepad paper I tested it on.  Other than that it’s a pretty ordinary pen with only a single tip.

I got another orange pen, a brand new Spectra AD Marker, an alcohol-based marker that makes permanent marks and carries less odor. It has a chisel tip that makes three different line widths plus a brush tip that creates smooth varied lines. I liked this juicy marker with it’s dual tips and versatility.

My favorite pen of the bunch was the Kuretake No. 7 Brush Pen.  This pen is similar to a foundation pen as it uses ink cartridges. It comes with two cartridges, the first that easily clicks into place while the second cartridge stores inside the pen body.  The dark black ink flows smoothly and evenly onto the paper with excellent control.  I’d love to get this pen in a variety of ink colors. The ink is not waterproof so you can add shading by wetting the drawing.

The last item was a mini sketchbook by Denik.  Denik’s mission statement is, “Art can change the world.”  A portion of the sale from every notebook goes to help build schools in developing countries.  While I admire their philanthropy, the notebook was flimsy and made with very thin paper.  Definitely not worth its $5 retail price.

Overall, a fun present to myself for less than $17.  I can’t wait until next month!

 

 

CONTEXT New York, a glimpse

Standard

252016T161017.370Artist: Michelangiolo Bastiani

The inaugural edition of CONTEXT New York took place May 3 – 8, 2016 in Manhattan. The fair was held at Pier 94 in Manhattan.  CONTEXT New York is a leading alternative fair of contemporary art. I got an opportunity to see CONTEXT Art Miami during Art Basel this past December and it was fun to see lots of new art and some old favorites at the New York version.  The fair focused on mid-career and emergent artists shown by sixty participating galleries displaying some wonderful examples of contemporary art. I got to walk the show with my husband, daughter, son, and his girlfriend.  I always love seeing what pieces attract their attention and comments.  These were some of our favorites.

 

IMG_4923Seo Young Deok

 

IMG_4925Alireza Varzandeh

 

IMG_4933Moto Waganari

 

IMG_4929Mel Smothers

 

IMG_4931Pino Deodato

 

 

 

Checking out the street art in Berlin

Standard

I just returned from almost a week in Berlin, Germany.  Having never been to Berlin before, I was really interested in viewing the street art scene I had heard so much about. Much of Berlin’s street art scene started at the East Side Gallery, a mile-long section of the Berlin Wall painted in 1990 by over 100 artists from across the globe. But the street art didn’t stop there and has spread all over Berlin onto hundreds of other walls and surfaces.  Below, I’ve shared a few of my favorites.  Sadly, taggers (those non-artists that choose to scrawl their initials on any and every surface) have defaced much of the street art by tagging over the top of it.  Of course, many people think that the nature of street art is its impermanence and that layering one person’s work over another’s is part of the process.  Personally, I don’t consider that art…or at least not good art.  Sadly, the last picture is also a common site in Berlin.  Which side of the argument do you fall on?

AliCè_Alice_Pasquini_Mural_Streetart_Berlin_9086

Alice Pasquin

rlWgMKEuMTS0LFV6rlWmnKcyVwc7VaqcMUEbVwb1ZQNfVzuynJqbqPV6Zwx2sK0fVaOuqTtvBvWcoJSaMKZipUWiMUIwqP90pzS2MJkTMJS0qKWypl9zMJS0qKWyYGZ5ZP1moTyxMF03Zmx3AP0kAQD1ZmH4ZQH0YzcjMlVfVaMypaAco24vBvVvsD

Thierry Noir

berlin wall art

Berlin Wall

img_1838

Berlin Wall “Escape”

street-photography-berlin

A common sight in Berlin

Finished Commissioned Painting

Standard

Almost two months ago, I started a painting commission and I wanted to share the process with you.  After getting approval on the basic composition from some simple sketches, I worked up two small studies with very different color directions.

 

The client picked the orange study but he wanted more orange, less red on the bottom, wasn’t fond of some of the black, and eliminated any ink “doodles”.  Armed with a better idea of my client’s taste, I began work on a larger canvas.  Here are several stages the painting went through along the way, incorporating the changes and preferences of the client’s each time.  As my process incorporates many layers of paint and hand-printed collage paper, adding more layers only enhanced the final painting by adding depth, texture, and complexity.

 

Though the final painting loosely resembles the original study, it took on a life of its own through the collaborative process to its finish.  It was really fun to work together to create a painting we are both happy with.

Avalanche HDAvalanche, mixed media, 36″ x 36″

 

Visiting Art Basel Miami for the first time

Standard

2015-12-03 11.23.23

I spent last week in Miami Beach visiting eight of the almost two dozen art fairs showing work during Art Basel Miami. The US show of Art Basel, which began in 2002, takes place each December and marks the winter reunion for the international art world. This one show featured over 275 galleries from thirty-one countries, attracting seventy-five thousand collectors, artists, dealers, curators, critics and art enthusiasts.  Strangely enough, I didn’t actually make it to the Art Basel exhibition, where artwork prices ranged in the 6 figures and up, but instead checked out eight other art fairs more in my price range.  I found the event  crowded, vibrant, and stocked to the brim with great (and not so great artwork).  If you love contemporary art, this was the place to be!

Joined by my friends at Art Advisory Service, a firm that specializes in developing customized art collections for individuals and luxury hotels, who knew the ins and outs of the massive fair and thankfully let me tag along.  We started at 9 am each day for a quick breakfast, and then off to troll the art fairs sometimes not finishing until 10 pm when the fair “police” would kick us out.  Here’s a photo of some of the fair maps which got heavy use as I was constantly lost inside the bigger fairs.  I visited these fairs:  Miami Project + Art on Paper, Context, Art Miami, Aqua, Untitled, NADA, Pulse Miami, and Scope Miami. Tomorrow I’ll post some of my favorite pieces I saw during the fair.

2015-12-09 15.45.42

Taking a summer break to recharge

Standard

I was in Colorado most of the summer, avoiding the New York City heat and humid as much as possible.  I found being away from my NYC studio caused me to take a short hiatus from creating fine art.  Instead, I found myself doing more “crafty” art projects, enjoying the break and exploring different artistic challenges.  I thought I’d share a few of these projects with you.

Sketching shells while visiting friends in Nantucket.

2015-08-02 13.50.26  2015-07-28 13.53.15

Helping my oldest daughter create a sequin wall in her new apartment (though I did more of the planning, cutting and painting while she did most of the actual pinning).  I’m not sure her thumb will ever recover.

2015-09-25 11.04.51  2015-09-25 11.04.27

Spray-painting a bronze bed to make it white one.

2015-08-12 17.54.342015-08-12 17.54.07

Assembling “do it yourself” furniture for my younger daughter’s room…putting together a dresser, a chair, a desk, a side table, and a bed frame while adding funky knobs to the dresser.

2015-08-19 15.46.342015-09-03 17.36.52 2015-09-03 17.37.59 2015-09-03 17.38.22

And lastly, sewing myself five new wrap-around skirts

2015-08-24 18.19.362015-08-06 11.12.232015-08-09 18.55.15 2015-08-24 18.12.48

I hope your summer was as restful and recharging as mine was!

SURTEX is like a candy store for artists

Standard

surtex

This week in New York City’s Javitz Center, I got to visit SURTEX, a trade show for selling and licensing original art and design.  My licensing agent, Wild Apple Graphics, was there with a huge booth and about ten art directors to pitch to clients.  They were nice enough to get me a ticket to walk the show to get a better idea about this whole licensing world that I’m just learning about.  In addition to the licensing houses, artists from all walks come together at SURTEX to show their new collections and introduce their beautiful artwork to clients.

My head is still swimming with all the great design work I saw there.  As I’m a newbie, I really didn’t know what to expect when I went.  There were hundreds of booth with artists and licensing agents pitching their newest work and I enjoyed getting a sense of what current trends are. It was pretty overwhelming, but after walking it three times I finally got a sense of what’s out there.

I’ve got lots of ideas for new designs so it’s time to get back to my studio and start creating some fun, original work for next year’s show!

The therapy of scissor work

Standard

File May 05, 3 25 18 PM

I’ve struggled to create some work for my licensing company, Wild Apple, that I think they will like.  I have sketched out and discarded a number of ideas.  Nothing seems creative enough or unique enough to stand out from the competition.  I finally realized that I’m going about it the wrong way.  Instead of trying to create something I think they will like, I should create something that I find enjoyment in making instead.  Then if the paintings don’t meet their needs, at least I had fun creating something uniquely mine.

What art technique do I find fun to do?  I’ve always loved scissor work.  By that, I mean I can sit for hours cutting out intricate shapes out of paper.  Many people might find this boring or tedious, but I think it is meditative and therapeutic.  I just finished cutting out about 200 flowers and leaves and I’ve started painting them.  I have no clear idea of where I’m going with them and how to incorporate them into my work.  I’m going to take my advice and I just play around, enjoying myself and see where it leads.

Reaching for the “Stars”

Standard

Postcards

Actually the “Stars” are all of you, my blog readers!  I’m trying to reach you with more information and more fun stuff.  Twice a year or so, I send out postcards with new paintings of mine on them.  They are fun to use as mini-art on your refrigerator, as a bookmark, or folded up as a shim under that wobbly table leg.  Personally, I LOVE getting “snail mail” that’s not a bill and that is colorful to boot, and I hope you do too!

Newsletters

I’ve started sending out an e-newsletter too every couple months with updates, new work and stories about the inspiration behind my paintings.  If you’d like to receive either or both of these, please send me your mailing address (for the postcards) and/or your email address (for the e-newsletter).  You can send this info one of two ways.

1.  Just leave information as a comment to this blog post below.

2.  For a more private method, send the information to my email…info@kathyfergusonart.com

If you think you have friends that might be interested, please forward this blog post to them.  Wishing you an “artful” day.

Kathy Ferguson