Magical moments are all around us. We cannot ask for them, but when they come into our lives, we can recognize and enjoy them if we have eyes to see.
I’ve been feeling quite bookish lately, perhaps it’s all the rainy weather. What is your favorite fiction novel? I’d have to say mine is The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. I read it in grad school and could not put it down. The 2002 film is also quite enjoyable, although different than the book. Tell me your favorites, I need a new book to read/listen to while painting!
Lord Byron said, “There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is music in the shore, a society which none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not man the less, but nature, more.” The dark reflecting pool is from a castle in France, Chateau Chenonceau which I had the good fortune of visiting this summer. Unlike Byron, I do not wish to be without friends or family for very long, but I do enjoy the solitude of a walk in nature and the poetry of its peace. Where is your favorite place to enjoy the enchantment of nature?
Perfect peace…no filter here. At a manor where life, love, death, joy, and war have played out for hundreds of years. The memories are deep in the land, the backdrop for our human dramas. This was taken at 5:30 in the morning when I work up and saw this out the window and had to capture it. There is always something so magical about the very beginning of a new day! In Normandy, France…so inspiring. This might have to become a painting!
Freedom, peace, and the sea! The infinity of the ocean and the abundance of life it possesses is so inspiring. Three new pieces done to capture the feeling. These are oil on panel, 5″ x 7″. Available, email email@example.com for details. Warning: these paintings may contain sand! 🙂
The definition of romance: to make special. The romantic life, then, is making each moment, person, and experience special, everything you do with love and intention, to create a life filled with romance. From France at the dreamiest Chateau ever, I felt like I was in a Bronte novel! The French certainly know a thing or two about living romantically. Where is your favorite place you have stayed? This was certainly it for me!
Treasure each moment in the stream of time, for once you pass this way, the water is always different, always moving ,always new, even if you dip your hand in the same place. The only constant is change. Find peace in the moving rhythm of time by soaking in each moment’s beauty and feeling its wonder or pain fully. Then your life will be really full, extraordinary in its depth of experience, even if not what the world may deep accomplished. There is an integrity and quiet happiness when you savor each moment, that you can take with you whenever you go. Doing small things with great attention. Here, a picture from the Loire Valley, France in a pink-paneled room I loved staying in earlier this month. And today in the USA, watching the lightning for a moment out my window before painting. What small things give you great joy in life?
art exhibition, female artist, inspiration, jessica libor, Let’s Connect Philly, oil painter, Philadelphia artist, philadelphia museum of art, renoir, statistics art, the Barnes foundation, women's statistics artists
May I share something with you? Recently I read several articles about studies done in the art world. These studies gave details and statistics that are upsetting for women artists.
These statistics are taken from the artnet Analytics and Maastricht University study joint conducted in November 2017. This study has been described as the largest empiracal study ever conducted on gender discrimination in the cultural sector.
As a female artist entrenched in the art world, it was deeply frustrating and upsetting to read this. It can feel like you are fighting an uphill battle.
Post-war artist Georg Baselitz, whose paintings have sold at auction for 3.2 million pounds, went as far to say on record recently that “Women don’t paint very well. It’s a fact.”
At the Saatchi Gallery, right before Jenny Saville’s first exhibit, art critic David Sylvester said he “Always thought women couldn’t be painters,” because “that’s the way it has always been.”
In 1937, when speaking of Lee Krasner’s paintings, artist Hans Hofmann said her artwork was “So good, you would not know it was painted by a woman.”
(source, Independent Newspaper)
It has been assumed that attitudes towards women in the arts have changed since 1937, but the numbers still show a great discrepancy. Why is this? And more importantly, what can we do about it?
If you’re anything like me, this attitude makes me want to prove them wrong. My recent work has been focusing more and more on empowering women to be leading ladies and heroines of their own lives. It is important to me that women can recognize their power to change the world, lead by example, achieve incredible things, and care for the world around us, our natural habitat–in ALL avenues of life, the arts included. It is time we see women embrace their power.
YOU CAN HELP ME.
I have entered my painting “Madame” in an exhibition at the Barnes Foundation in downtown Philadelphia, PA. The original painting is oil on canvas with gold leaf and Swarovski crystal (her earring). It takes inspiration from the Renoir painting, “On the Grass,” and evokes a reveling in nature, depicting the glamorous beauty of a summer day being spent in the grass. She lies totally relaxed, enjoying the feeling of being one with nature. Like nature’s flowers and greenery, she displays and adorns herself to blend with the beauty that surrounds her. This exhibition is also a competition for votes from the public. The winner receives a stipend and studio residency at the Barnes Foundation.
If I won, it would be a huge leap for my career, and mean that I would have the funds, space, and audience to create bigger, better, and more powerful artworks that would specifically empower women.
This is a way to make a difference in the art world, and in my career, without spending a dime.
Will you help me by VOTING for my piece?
Here’s what you can do:
1. Register to VOTE by following the link below. Registration opens May 10!
2. Go to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, PA in person between May 21 and June 4 for FREE and VOTE for my piece! All votes must be made in person. You can go Wednesday through Sunday 11am to 5pm, and visit the museum and vote for FREE. However, you must register online first!
Thank you in advance for your efforts! This truly does mean so much to me, and it is my hope that together we can change the system of the art world to reflect more value for women.
–Jessica Libor, Visual Artist
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.
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,
Where attention goes, energy flows. I don’t remember where I heard this phrase, or if it came to me after observing life, but it’s the truth.
Wherever your attention goes, that is the part of your life that grows larger, gets bigger, and creates momentum. For almost ten years, I’ve worked as a makeup artist in addition to working on my painting and drawing practice. I remember graduating from art school and wondering how I was going to make enough for rent, groceries, etc. and going through a mental list of possible jobs. While I sold artwork right out of college, it wasn’t enough to sustain a basic comfortable lifestyle. I had several short lived positions: receptionist, waitress, graphic designer, gallery assistant, art teacher– many of these were consuming enough that when you went home for the evening, you had to either prepare for the next day, or continue working on client projects. I needed something I could leave at the door, that left energy for painting. One day, I was walking by a makeup store when the idea came to me. The hundreds of tiny shiny pots, brushes, pretty setups, aesthetic surroundings–was this so different than painting? I had always had an interest in beauty–and mixing paints to put on a client’s face as opposed to a canvas couldn’t be that difficult. I remember walking into the store with no experience, completely inexperienced, and selling the manager on my color mixing skills from art school. I got the job. While it started as “Hey–this is something I can do!” turned into an unexpected career. It came easily to me–and although there could be boring days and frustrating clients, for the most part I loved working with makeup–and most of all making someone feel they were beautiful, by telling them, and showing them a side of them they may not have seen. It really did have the same creative feeling as putting on the finishing touches on a painting, sculpting the shadows and light out of the materials. I noticed that in my paintings, I was drawn towards painting skin. I looked at skin all day at work, and I was drawn towards capturing it on canvas, too. My models started to have the same glow as my clients.
Many well known artists and writers have been influenced by their day jobs. Frida Kahlo was a stenographer for a time.
T.S. Elliot was a bank teller, Richard Serra owned a moving company (Chuck Close one of his employees) and Phillip Glass, a famed composer, worked many menial jobs during his career including a cab driver and a plumber. Even after his work being premiered at the Met, Glass worked for 3 more years as a cab driver. He describes one of his most serendipitous experiences:
“While working, I suddenly heard a noise and looked up to find Robert Hughes, the art critic of Time Magazine staring at me in disbelief. ‘But you’re Philip Glass! What are you doing here?’ It was obvious that I was installing his dishwasher and I told him I would soon be finished. ‘But you are an artist,’ he protested. I explained that I was an artist but that I was sometimes a plumber as well and that he should go away and let me finish.”
I, too, have had my share of interactions with collectors of my paintings who were surprised to see me working at a makeup counter. I learned to laugh and embrace it, however–people like the ideal of the artiste creating in the garret, with no need for money–but I had other needs besides fulfilling that image for other people. A few years in I realized, however, that the energy that you use during a day is finite. I would try to stay up later, get up earlier, to finish more paintings and create more work. I got sick a few times after pushing a little too hard, and learned that balance is key. But to balance, something had to go–and temporarily, it was painting, because no was makes you do that, but you. Where your attention goes, energy flows. I started getting opportunities at work, and the thought of painting became dreamy, and intimidating. Time is money, but time is also finite, and there comes a point in every artist’s life where they decide if art is going to be a hobby, or a career.
I started formulating a plan to be able to paint more full-time. I knew it would only be then, if I set myself up to create without fear of survival, with the time to create freely, that I could go further.
Today I am on my way to implementing that plan. The key, I believe, for any artist, is giving themselves permission to fail. It every artwork must be a masterpiece, or else you are a failure, then it becomes difficult to pick up a paintbrush. What if you use your energy as an artist, to fail forward, create fearlessly, and see what happens out of that offering? Fail again, and again, and more and more beautifully. Let your true essence of your personality shine through in your work, no matter how strange, wacky, or silly it may seem. The more visceral it is, the more alive you feel as your create, the more powerful a work becomes, because the viewer will feel it as they look at the work. As Lera Auerbach writes in her book Excess of Being, “A coward is a servant of his fears. A hero enslaves his fears.”
All you need is faith, and the belief in yourself that your artwork is worth something. Not just monetarily (although that, too) but as a cultural offering of service to the world. To artists who are working a day job, my only advice would be that it be a job that allows you energy to create outside of work–not a job that is all-encompassing, if you are serious about making art. You are a sliver, a mirror reflecting the world, in your own unique way that no one else has. You are the only person who can create your masterpieces. Don’t waste it. The world is waiting.