Beginning my “Let’s Connect Philly” painting for the Barnes Foundation

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This month I am lucky enough to be living in a Philadelphia zip code, so am eligible to participate in the Barnes Foundation and Mural Arts competition and exhibition at the Barnes Foundation, called “Let’s Connect Philly.” It’s a really cool idea– artists are to pick one piece that inspires them (I picked Renoir) and do a small piece inspired by it! During the exhibition (in May–June) the public can go and vote on their favorite pieces, with the winning artists getting a residency and stipend at the Barnes! Needless to say I’m very excited to enter! Above is a time lapse for the first 7 hours of painting I’ve done on my piece. It’s not done yet, but when it is, I’ll post a side by side of the piece by Renoir that inspired me and my own.

Jessica Libor

Www.jessicalibor.com

Spring Exhibition with St. John Knits

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I’m very excited to invite you to a very special exhibition this Saturday, April 21 from 1 to 6pm at St. John Boutique at 160 North Gulph Rd. in King of Prussia, PA.  This exhibition is made possible by a collaboration between St. John and Era Contemporary Gallery.  I will be exhibiting 7 new paintings along with Nathan Durnin, also with 7 of his new gorgeous paintings, interspersed among the Spring collection of fashion designs for women by St. John.  I will be there and excited to meet visitors!  Light refreshments will be provided as well.  I hope to see you there!  Scroll down to see a selection of the work that will be on display.  If  you’re interested in a piece, simply email eracontemporary@gmail.com!

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Beginning a new painting: Magical Creatures

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It’s always the first day that it goes the quickest. After that, it is all about refining the details. Here is a unicorn painting inspired by my visit to the Met Cloisters and seeing “The Hunt of the Unicorn”. Click the video to see the time lapse!

You could spend forever on a painting, but it’s all about the quality and focus of the time you spend on it. Blocking out all other distractions and focusing all your mind and skill on the painting is like a meditation practice. I am always surprised by how much more quickly and better quality work comes out of a painting session when I’m in this state! I read a book once that described this state as “flow.” Perhaps it deserves a post of its own!

This painting I’m currently working on, “Magical Creatures,” is not completed, so be on the lookout for another post about the finished painting.

In the meantime, my recent painting after Fragonard, ” The Chase,” is completed, with a limited edition print run available in my shop. The prints turned out beautifully…every little brushstroke is captured in detail, and each one is on acid free archival quality paper that is velvety and smooth. Hand signed by me! To grab yours, click here.

Spring in the Studio

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It’s my favorite time of year! For a brief window of time during the Spring, the heavenly cherry blossoms visit and can be seen all over the landscape. This painting here, “Discovery,” was inspired by the cherry blossom trees around Fairmount Park, as a setting for the famed equestrian Terese Renz, who was the first female to own her own circus.  Read her full story here…you must see the amazing original photos from her time period with her horses.  Original and prints available on my website! Click here to browse.  Enjoy the Spring… April showers bring May flowers, my dears… ❤️

Get a similar look to my outfit with this skirt and top, or with this adorable dress.

Tell me, where is your favorite place to see cherry blossoms in the Spring?

xo, Jessica

www.jessicalibor.com

The fairy tale story behind “The Chase”

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Once upon a time, in a faraway land full of enchantment, there lived a beautiful princess named Cornelia.  Cornelia was the heir to the throne of her kingdom, but she did not think much of it as she was used to her life in the palace and enjoyed the fine clothing, beautiful fountains and pleasant companions at the palace.  She had never been outside the palace gates.  When Cornelia came of age, her parents began to introduce her to all the eligible princes of the neighboring kingdoms.  They came with gold and jewels and beautiful gifts to win her heart.  She danced with each one, but was troubled because her heart was unmoved.  She sought solace in the beautiful palace garden, where she would walk the grounds with her ladies in waiting, and admire the beautiful flowers.  One day they came across a poor gardener tending to the weeds.  “Hello gardener,” said Princess Cornelia.  “What a beautiful garden you have made the kingdom.”  The gardener was young and handsome and polite, and responded, “Thank you, Princess.”  As the days went on, Cornelia grew more distressed as she had to choose among princes.  She started visiting the garden every day, to talk with the gardener, who did not pressure her to make decisions the way the princes did.  From him she learned the plight of the poor in the outside kingdoms, the simple skills of gardening, and the joy of companionship.  She petitioned to open up the garden to the people of her land, for them to enjoy its beauty.  One day she said to him, “I fear I cannot choose a prince because I do not want to lose your friendship.”  The gardener did not say anything, and the princess was distraught.  The next day, she was to meet the last prince, and make her choice.  When he was introduced, he stood tall and in fine clothes, but held a simple flower as a gift for her.  Princess Cornelia gasped as she recognized him.  It was her gardener!  “Forgive me Princess,” he said.  “I am Prince Louis, from a neighboring kingdom.  I wanted not only a good alliance, but also love, so I hid my true identity so that we could see what friendship we could have.  I am and will always be, your humble servant.”

I hope you enjoyed this little fairy tale I created to tell the story of what I imagine is happening within this painting!  To order the original painting or the print, visit here.

Copyright story and image Jessica Libor 2018.

New painting after Fragonard: The Chase

Spring has sprung, and Easter just passed! There’s starting to be blossoms on the trees and nature plays of tug or war of frost and sunlight. In this atmosphere I have finished a master painting after Fragonard, “The Chase”.

It is 16″x 20″ oil on linen, and available for purchase. Also exciting, is that I am releasing a small limited edition run of prints of this one, out of 50, each one hand signed. To nab yours, click here!

In the Spring I feel a draw towards simpler clothes, the velvets an sparkles of winter are put away and light cottons like this white peasant top come out.  I think of Elizabeth Vigee Le Brun, the favorite portrait painter of Marie Antoniette who made it fashionable to wear light, cotton clothing comfortable for moving and working.  Her style was so influential that she even convinced the queen to sit for a portrait wearing a simple cotton dress, unheard of in that time.

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Having just finished watching a documentary on Ms. Le Brun, I’m very inspired by her life and will be sharing more bits and pieces of her career in future posts!  For now, enjoy the Spring as much as I will…

xo, Jessica

www.jessicalibor.com

New Painting: The Beginning of the Future

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She stands at a threshold, and holds back the curtain of time, to reveal the first untethered flight of mankind, a hot air balloon created in Paris, France by the Montgolfier brothers. Further in the distance and past the shadowy gardens, one glimpses the Empire State Building, another symbol of progress as we learn from our predecessors. Where will we go next?

This is an oil on linen-mounted panel painting that is 11″ x 14″, with accents of genuine gold leaf in the trim of the dress and earring. The model is the lovely @vintagemaedchen_by_victoria  and the vision is inspired by progress and discovery.  I also thought about the strange portraits of queens, strange in that the stylized lighting often made little sense but produced an unearthly glow and theatre-like look.

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Check out the images below to see the progress of the painting.

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The Beginning of the Future, oil on linen, 11"x14", Jessica Libor 2018

This painting is available as an original, or as a limited edition print.   For the next few hours (until Valentine’s Day at midnight), this limited edition, hand signed and numbered print on 11″x17″ archival paper is offered at $35. On midnight on Feburary 14, the price will go back to $75, the regular cost. Click the link below to snag yours!

https://squareup.com/store/jessica-libor-studio

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Jessica Libor

www.jessicalibor.com

The Hunt of the Unicorn: a visit to the Met Cloisters

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Recently I was able to visit the Cloisters, a division of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  The Cloisters is located in a beautiful castle-like structure that was built by a sculptor and student of Rodin, George Barnard.  George wanted to show off his collection of beautiful Medieval art by creating a poetic interpretation of the middle ages.  The Cloisters are a gorgeous tribute to his inspiration.

Within the Cloisters are a famous group of tapestries: The Hunt of the Unicorn.  They were much larger than I had anticipated, having seen the reproductions in various places.  It was even more beautiful in person.  The collection consists of seven tapestries, created around 1500, most liked in Brussels and commissioned by Anne of Brittany to commemorate her marriage to King Louis XII of France.  The tapestries are woven with a mixture of silk, metallic thread, and wool, which gives them a rich, vibrant appearance.   The subject of the unicorn was heavy with symbolism in the Medieval world.  People actually believed that the unicorn was a real animal, and were portrayed not in a silly way, but with great reverence.  They were symbols of purity, fidelity, and rare beauty, and their horns were thought to posses healing, purifying powers.  Narwhal horns were sold to unsuspecting medieval people for huge prices under the guise that they were unicorn horns, and kings would often drink out of them as goblets so as to minimize the effects of poison.  Today, they are a beautiful idea, a symbol of a time long past, that still holds enchantment.

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I came home inspired to perhaps work some unicorns into my own artwork.  To incorporate unicorns into your own world, I found an adorable necklace and art print–just click them to see the details!  What do you think of the symbolism of the unicorn? Does it change the way though think about the legends from the Medieval times? I’d love to know your thoughts!


Stay inspired, until next time,

Jessica

www.jessicalibor.com

Valentine’s Day Painting Giveaway

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Happy week of Valentine’s Day!  To celebrate the holiday of love, I’ve decided to show my appreciation to my patrons and collectors!  On Valentine’s Day at 3pm, I’ll be choosing a winning participant to receive this original framed oil painting I’ve done.  If you win, wherever you are in the world, I’ll ship it to you…free!

To enter, all you have to do is share this blog post on a form of social media, and comment below on a reason you enjoy my work.  That’s it!  This contest is also being run on my Instagram account, @jessicaliborstudio.  If you win, I’ll message you on February 14 to get your shipping details.  The painting is called “The soft sky and silky river,” and is an oil on canvas, 2.5 by 3.5 inch painting.

It reminds me of one of my favorite vacation times ever, when my family and I went canoeing for the weekend down the NJ rivers.  I saw wildlife, fish, cloud formations, forests, and had the sensation so peaceful of floating on the water just how a bird does.  So remember, just two steps: 1. share a link to this post on social media. 2. Comment below on what you enjoy about my work.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, this look was created by pairing a velvet top with a long pale pink skirt,  and a small simple velvet choker around the neck.   The pictures were taken at the magical, fairyland “fernery” at the Morris Arboredum, a beautiful gem in the suburbs of Philadelphia.   I normally have long hair, but created the bobbed look by curling with hot rollers and using a hair net to create the illusion of shorter hair.

Recently I’ve been getting into vintage styling as a creative outlet, and will also be using this blog as a place to share some favorite looks, as well!  I can’t help but feel that fashion is an extension of art, and the two fields influence each other, and certainly my work.

Good luck with the contest, and Happy Valentine’s!

xo,

Jessica Libor

www.jessicalibor.com

Copying the Masters: Part 1

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Today I began copying a Fragonard painting.  Copying is a centuries old tradition in that it helps an artist understand composition, color, and form, especially if an artist is trying to learn certain techniques from that master.  I chose this piece to copy because I am interested in the coloring, brushwork and composition that Fragonard uses.

First, I washed the linen with a mix of ultramarine blue and green, using Winsor & Newton Winton Oil Colors, very thinly, diluted with odorless turpenoid.

Next, I began sketching out the forms using burnt umber and a small brush, also diluted with mineral spirits.

From there, I began painting from the back to the front of the painting (from the background to the foreground).

First the darks, then the lights, getting progressively more detailed.

Part 2 to come!

Jessica Libor

www.jessicalibor.com