“Everything about Florence seems to be colored with a mild violet, like diluted wine.” —Henry James, 1869 • I was fortunate enough to spend a summer in Florence a few years ago, studying painting with the @florenceacademyofart . It was the first time I experienced a step by step process of building a painting, and was amazed at the results that could be achieved—paintings that looked like old master works—by following the same steps they used carefully. I was instantly hooked in this ultimate fantasyland of classical painting. That summer seems golden and beautiful, in part because of the overwhelming art that filled the city. This photo is from Florence, Italy, at the Villa Medicea de Lillian… I couldn’t find the photographer, but it is representative of the beautiful structures and paintings that are around every corner in the beautiful city. What is a city that has influenced your art?
Into the coppery halls; of beech and intricate oak; to be close to the trees; as they whisper together; let fall their leaves!
—Whim Wood, by Katherine Towers ✨. The first frost has come and winter is almost upon us. Each season brings its own aesthetic I enjoy for its own reasons. The end of autumn feels very mysterious and elusive to me.
Color is powerful, especially to us creatives. Color can determine your mood, and has been proven to effect the way that we feel. I’ve always been drawn to purple and lavender colors. I love this current time of year because it’s socially acceptable to let your personality really shine with unusual costume choices. I was able to break out my lavender wig this week, and it was so much fun! It definitely let out a different part of my personality, something more playful and more creative. Just seeing myself embody this color made me feel differently! So what about you? What’s your power color? Here’s an interesting list of colors, and what some experts think they represent. Red: ambition energy, confidence, bold, passionate. Pink: sensitive, intuitive, loving, caring, respect. Purple: fantasy, creativity, distinguished, modesty, deep. Black: strength, power, professional, accurate. Orange: freedom, social, warmth, motivation, impulsive. Yellow: optimism, energetic, fun, logical, attentive. Gray: balance, neutral, timeless, practical, solid. Green: growth, nature, equilibrium, positivity, stable. Navy: responsible, integrity, trust, peace, order. Blue: ambition, perspective, aware, open. Let me know your power color and what you associate with it in the comments, I’m curious to hear!
I don’t know about you guys, but I often feel like I am rushing around every day, trying to check off a list of things to do and never seem to have quite enough time. It gets to the end of the day, and I always wish that I had more time to get the needed things done. The to do list actually never ends. There’s always more that we could be accomplishing and that we could be striving for in life. I took some time out this week and allowed myself to just relax for an afternoon. I allowed myself the luxury of a bubble bath. I read a few articles that were interesting to me and generally enjoyed doing nothing for a few hours! I honestly can’t remember the last time that I did this. At the end of that time, I realized that I was in such a relaxed and creative state of mind. I felt more playful, more optimistic, and so excited to dive back into the paintings and the projects that I’m currently working on. The time away made those things feel interesting and dynamic again. Also, we must remember that we are not machines! We are organic human beings who need rest I need variety in our lives. We can’t be healthy if all we do is work and all we do is put stress on our self to constantly be accomplishing things. Life is about more than that. Also, what is the point of accomplishing all these things if you can’t even enjoy life? So, I highly recommend taking some time to just relax and guilt free do nothing for a few hours once in a while. You might be surprised how positively it affects you, when you are so much more excited to be present in your artwork, and in your life!
I heard these words this week and it made me think. I don’t like to view the art world as competitive— in fact, I think the only person you compete with is really yourself in this life.
But, it’s interesting to think of how the mindset of “playing not to lose” looks like rather than “playing to win.”
In a small example, perhaps I’ll do a small painting rather than a large one, to minimize cost loss in case it’s not bought for a long time. In that way I’m not playing to win (or, to really actually use my vision in the size which would make it look best). Or maybe when applying for a grant I don’t spend too much time on it because if I DO spend too much time on it and I don’t get it, I would have lost that time. In that way I am playing not to lose (time) rather than playing to win (believing I have a shot and giving it my best).
I can tell when I’m playing to win because there’s a sense of leaning in and commitment. What do you guys think about this concept? Have you ever “played to win” or “played not to lose?” How does it feel for you?
As we begin the search for holiday gifts, please consider special items handmade by artists and makers with love. In honor of Black Friday, I am running a sale for my artwork that goes for 48 hours starting today (Friday!). You may take 25% off anything in my online shop with the checkout code FRIDAY. This includes several new winter studies and the “Wildflower Duet” above made with vintage frames, oil painting and 23 karat gold leaf. To see what’s available, go to www.jessicalibor.com and click on “Available Works”. Have a happy holiday weekend!
Ohh April! My very favorite time of the year is when the cherry blossoms are out in full bloom, and the great long stretch of summer is out before us in glorious, warm possibility. I spent some time this week painting the cherry blossoms and happily reveling in their heavenly beauty… I was in the park almost every day! Check out my time lapse of the painting done and a few of my other pieces. Send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in collecting any of these oil sketches.
White top and pink skirt: Forever 21. Lavender dress: true vintage. Blue dress: Urban Outfitters. Floral dress: true vintage. Striped top: Lucy Paris. Hats: Forever 21. Sunglasses: Green Street Consignment.
Which is your favorite look? What about favorite cherry blossom painting?
I can’t leave without posting the most epic floral painting ever. “The Roses is Heliogabalus” by Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema. Enjoy! Until next time,
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.
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.
Screen still from “The Rending”, short film by Jessica Libor, 2014
Recently I have become more curious about the psychology of colors. In my paintings, I see recurring colors come up as part of my personal taste. Many times these colors are reflected in the clothing choices and home decor choices I make as well. While most people have a favorite color that they can remember from their childhood, I find it interesting how the color(s) you gravitate towards can say something about your unique makeup as an individual.
The colors I like to bring into my life are rich greens, deep indigo-purples, lavenders, pale pinks, and shimmering golds and silvers.
Looking at other artist’s work, I can see color preferences reflected in their visions, as well. Some artists have a turquoise-blue tone to their work, others a gray tone. Some paint in sepia, others, pure shades of black and white. Some render their work in brilliant technicolor, and some out of shiny substances like bronze or copper. Each artist has a unique color palette that becomes evident through the mediums they choose to work with, and the colors (or lack of colors) that they include in the spectrum of their creation.
Below are some basic physiological meanings of colors, first in their most positive lights, and also symbolic negative meanings to take into account.
Red: ready to take action, passionate; could mean angry
Orange: optimism, social communication; could mean superficial
Yellow: cheerful, optimistic, intellectual; could mean cowardice and criticism
Green: balance, growth, self reliance; could also mean envy
Blue: trust, peace, loyalty, integrity; could also mean cold and unforgiving
Indigo: idealistic, intuitive; could also mean ritual
Purple: imaginative, creative, individual; could also mean impractical
Turquoise: clarity, clear communication; could also mean idealistic
Pink: nurturing, unconditional love; could also mean silly and girlish
Brown: serious, security, protection; could also mean dull
Gray: the compromise of white and black, a color between two non-colors
Silver: feminine, changing, fluid, sensitive, mysterious, related to the moon; could also be seen as unstable
Gold: success, triumph, and splendor; could also be seen as showy
White: purity, innocence, perfection; could mean blank
Black: mysterious, hidden, secret; could mean evil
I hope this piqued your interest as you look at the color choices you have made in your artwork and life. I think symbolism can be used in color intentionally, but often it is the choices we make unintentionally in our artwork that are the most interesting. Now that I’ve learned about this I just may take a look at some of my past work and see if I can decipher what I was really thinking.
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