Summer is going by swimmingly, and I am soaking up as much time outside as possible! That means lots of plein air painting. I am excited to share two new paintings that are available, Soft Sea and The Inn at Cape May. Soft Sea is part of the new Era Contemporary Gallery group online exhibition, Summer Love! I am thrilled to be exhibiting with such fabulous artists. Soft Sea original is available for purchase on my website here. I am also making hand signed, open edition prints of this piece, available to order here.
The other new piece available is called The Inn at Cape May, and is a portrait of a hotel of the same name. I visited Cape May with another artist friend this month and we explored the coastal town. The Inn is a dramatic, historic presence within the Victorian beach town. In the fall of 1894, William H. Church, a contractor and builder, of West Cape May, began work on a 60-room boarding house at the foot of Ocean Street opposite the Star Villas, one of the most delightful locations on the beachfront. This was the Inn at Cape May. It is full of beauty and eccentricities in its design, both interior and exterior, and captured my imagination. I am sure it has seen many things! It is available for purchase on my website here.
I have also re-opened my shop, new and improved! To celebrate this, please use the code JULY to take 15% off anything you like, code good until midnight, July 22nd.
Happy International Women’s Day! I am so happy that there is a day to celebrate courageous and wonderful women all around the world, regardless of what stage of their life that they are in. Let’s celebrate the women in our lives who are our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, relatives, colleagues, and creative that we look up to! For this international women’s day, I wanted to honor the women who are part of our community of the visionary artist salon! If you haven’t yet joined our Facebook group, you can do so here! We’d love to see what you’re working on, be invited to your exhibitions, and hear your struggles and triumphs.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, I like to focus on one woman a preeminent artist who was a favorite portraitist of Marie Antoinette, Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun. Elisabeth was an independent artist, mother, wife and world traveler, as well as frequent Salon host. Her subject matter and color palette can be classified as Rococo, but her style is aligned with the emergence of Neoclassicism.
Marie Antoniette, by Elisabeth Vigee Labrun
She enjoyed the patronage of European aristocrats, actors, and writers, and was elected to art academies in ten cities. As her career blossomed, Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun was granted patronage by Marie Antoinette. She painted more than 30 portraits of the queen and her family, leading to the common perception that she was the official portraitist of Marie Antoinette. At the Salon of 1783, Vigée Le Brun exhibited Marie-Antoinette in a Muslin Dress (1783), sometimes called Marie-Antoinette en gaulle, in which the queen chose to be shown in a simple, informal white cotton garment.
She led a long and interesting life, escaping the French revolution when the tables turned on Marie Antoinette and making a home for herself in Russia for quite a long time before returning to her home country of France. And accomplished artist, she was known not only for her brilliant self portraits and masterful execution Color and form, but also subtly influenced the fashion of France. She was the one who, through her own style of wearing a simple white dress with a colored sash, influence Marie Antoinette to do the same, and when her portrait was done in that style, it became all the rage as the fashionable style.
Vigée Le Brun, Marie-Antoinette in a Muslin Dress
Vigée La Brun created some 660 portraits and 200 landscapes. In addition to many works in private collections, her paintings are owned by major museums, such as the Louvre, Hermitage Museum, National Gallery in London, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and many other collections in continental Europe and the United States. She lived 1755-1842.
There is a fabulous dramatized documentary on Netflix about Elisabeth you might enjoy, The Fabulous Life of Elisabeth Vigee La Brun, in honor of International Women’s Day!
Elisabeth lived during a time in France where salons, from which the Visionary Artist’s Salon is inspired by, were just gaining popularity. You will see in the film dramatizations of the salons that Elizabeth held within her own apartments, sometimes dramatic affairs with costumes, feasts, and artists, writers, and thinkers of the day present. The Parisian salons of the 18th century allowed women to play a positive role in the public sphere of French society. Salons provided a unique outlet where women’s ideas could be heard. Women, in addition to conversing with men at an academic level, had the power to influence the topics major philosophers studied. The cross-class communication that salons fostered also allowed social groups, which had never before interacted, to share ideas. Women’s contributions to the development of intellectual and scientific ideas through their role as salonierres marked a cultural shift in how women should be accepted and involved in society.
Above, Madam Grande, by Elisabeth Vigee Labrun
I hope this little history lesson has inspired you and empowered you to create your own epic story if you are a female artist! Speaking of which, the luminary or the salon will be opening in a few weeks, and if you are a female contemporary realist artist, this may be the program to ship to you into a higher plan that you have been looking for. In this program, I am sharing how to build a profitable, authentic art career while embracing your own feminine spirit. You can get on the waitlist to learn more about it by clicking here! Thank you so much for shining bright, and happy International Women’s Day!
You’re also invited to my Sunday watercolor paint along! Register for the event here, held from 3-5pm on Sunday, March 21.
In my last post, I talked about the challenges that a feminine artist might face as she builds her art career and life. If you missed that, you can read it here on my blog.
However, the feminine artist also has so many strengths and advantages! First of all, what is a feminine artist? We all have masculine and feminine aspects within us, but if you have predominantly feminine energy in your artwork you might feel:
1. Sensitive to your environment 2. Feel your emotions deeply 3. Make art that means a lot to you, and reflects your heart 4. Are drawn to depicting “soft” subjects in your art, like florals, fashion, love, and beauty 5. You are more drawn to being absorbed in your art and creation, and marketing, numbers and strategy is something you avoid or overwhelms you 6. What is going on in your life and the world affects you and your artwork
If that’s you, you’re in good company! I believe the advantages outweigh the challenges of being a feminine artist. The feminine strength is a quiet strength; like the roots of a tree, our strength is anchored in a deep well of subtle power, that eventually grows to become seen and admired, almost like a surprise. There isn’t a lot of noise…until there is massive flowering. So what are some of our unique gifts?
First, femininity is magnetic. It isn’t all about pink and ruffles, either! The essence of a feminine energy is an exquisite acceptance of herself and her work, a deep knowing of the worth of what she makes and who she is. Think of a beautiful flower blooming in your backyard. She is so fragrant, the colors so perfect, her petals so welcoming that the bees are naturally drawn to her. She doesn’t have to chase them down.
This analogy is true in all aspects of life, but if we use it for the art world, think of how an artist with something really special going on in her work is a magnet for opportunities. She doesn’t have to chase or beg press to write her up, or show up at another person’s exhibition to try to talk to the gallery owner.
But that flower still took action by blooming her best in a place where the bees could find her. Likewise, feminine energy artists can blossom in their work, and let it be seen: on the internet, by sending introductory emails, by engaging in opportunities, by showing up and simply being present. But she does so with a deep inner knowledge that her work is worthy, NOT to gain acceptance or prove anything. She shines, and lets her work be seen, so that opportunities that are WORTHY OF HER can be magnetized to her.
Secondly, feminine artistry is deeply creative. Of course all artists are creative, but feminine creativity especially in females is encoded in our DNA. We are literally equipped to create souls, if not in the literal sense, then in birthing our creations.
We have a natural propensity to lean into our creations and put our heart and soul into them. The feminine artist’s work often is full of curved lines, unexpected textures and a beautiful, intricate look to it. This is a mirror of her mind and heart, and the more you let open that door of freedom to your creativity, the more striking and powerful your imagery will become.
The key is TRUST, trusting your inner psyche that you always have more depths of unexplored creativity that grows more powerful the more you use it.
Third, feminine energy is full of powerful archetypes and enduring story. Just look at the stories and fairy tales that resonate with cultures all over the world and don’t go away, that always center on a female protagonist. We do not always embody the princess (although I’m not gonna lie, it’s one of my favorite archetypes!) Feminine archetypes include the Queen, the Teacher, the Princess, the Angel, the Servant, the Heroine, the Crone, the Witch, the Healer, the Saint, the Virgin, the Fallen Woman, and more with almost endless variations of this.
These archetypes are repeated in stories throughout the ages and have been embedded in our psyche. And although none of us is just one of these things, it can be helpful to take some of the powerful stories and imagery of these characters that you identify with, and incorporate it in your business and persona as a feminine artist.
Imagine LEANING INTO the archetypes you like to strengthen your art, your luminosity in the art world, and your understanding of human behaviors around feminine lore…that persist up until modern day! And, you get to create your own story around your archetypes.
By leaning into your favorite archetypes, you can create a more striking and enduring feeling around your art that will linger in the mind.
I will be digging more deeply into Archetypes in my expansive course especially made for feminine, contemporary realist artists that will be launching soon! If you are interested in getting on the waitlist (no commitment, you’ll just be the first to be notified when it goes live!) you can click HERE.
There are so many more benefits to being a feminine artist, and I just wanted to encourage you that you are not alone; that your femininity can be your strength, if you embrace it.
In a few weeks, I will be opening a new course that will be my most comprehensive course yet, especially for feminine, contemporary realist artists who are ready to make the next three months a flowering and growth like never before of their artistic practice and career. This course is open to both men and women but is written for people who create in an emotional, feminine, way in their art.
I have experienced first hand the unique challenges that feminine, empathetic people face in the art world. Some of these setbacks are self imposed, and others are external. Tell me, have you ever felt like this?
1. You find yourself struggling to share your work because it is so close to your heart and emotional to you. You fear being hurt if you expose yourself.
2. You are drawn to representing pretty things, love painting fashion, romance, motherhood and other “soft” subjects, that you fear the art world will never take seriously, but that touch your heart and bring you joy.
3. You are overwhelmed with the business side of art. When it comes to taxes, keeping inventory, marketing and advertising, you would rather just go back to the studio, put on some beautiful music and get lost in your painting again. You feel like you’re not good at that stuff. ( Or is it that you have just been socialized to believe that? )
4. You struggle with pricing your work over a certain price point because it then crosses the threshold into making serious money. ( Is my art worth that? What if I make more than my partner and am no longer the feminine one? What if someone tells me it’s not worth that much? What if I intimidate people? Will people laugh at me? I will no longer be a cute, approachable artist if I ask people to pay this much! )
5. You struggle with feeling like you have to choose between a traditional family or a soaring career.
6. You feel like you never have enough time to expand your career because you are taking care of other people and things, and have given so much of yourself in other areas.
(Above) Portrait of Fanny Eaton, be Simeon Solomon
7. Sometimes you feel like your desire to have a great, successful career is selfish.
8. You often damper down your femininity in life and in your art because you do not want to appear silly, especially in a male-dominated art world.
9. Sometimes you struggle to take yourself and your ambitions seriously because you have been brought up to believe that art is not a serious profession.
10. You feel things very deeply, whether that be your cycle each month, the fluctuations within your family or romantic relationship, and world events, all of which impact and sometimes immobilize your creativity.
If you recognize yourself in any of these things, just know that you are not alone. I have spoken to many feminine people who have felt these unique challenges.
But, we ALSO have unique strengths in the art world that are invaluable, which I will be covering in my next letter!
In the meantime, if this course sounds like it is of interest to you, please join the waiting list to be kept abreast of all developments (you can join the waitlist HERE, with no commitment of any kind).
I would also love to hear from you. What unique struggles have you faced as a feminine artist? Do these challenges resonate with you? What have I left out?
I’m very excited to share that I will have a solo exhibition in April called WILDLOVE!
This will be an all new collection of artworks I’m currently making. It will be different in many ways than anything I’ve made before. I will be giving you glimpses into my process as I create the pieces, but the actual work will be a secret only to be unveiled during the virtual exhibition!
I invite you to register for the special virtual event and read more about it by clicking the button below! Those who register will get a hand-signed postcard of a show image signed by the artist and mailed to your address.
This week, I began a magical piece involving spiky pink cactii flowers, the palest violet shades, and a lady and her wildcat for WILDLOVE. I also finished my #21visions challenge, which was to create 21 small ink pieces during the month of January.
These new ink pieces are now photographed and you can browse and purchase them by clicking the button below!
In this episode, I chat with Philadelphia artist and educator Nancy Bea Miller about using challenges like the Strada Challenge to increase productivity, skill and efficiency within your art practice! Having completed such challenges several times Nancy gives us tips to help complete each challenge you set while using it to further your art practice. Enjoy this fun and relaxing conversation between friends.
Listen to more episodes of the Inspired Painter here.
I’m excited to share that two pieces from my recent pastel collection from my show “Enchanted Portals” has been featured on The Art Blog, on their series “Artists in the Time of Coronavirus”.
Several pieces from this collection are still available through my shop here.
The article includes my statements on the work:
Each portrait revealed is a different woman, and these drawings are inspired by the idea of the selfie as a self portrait. The enchanted portal today is technology, and through technology we can curate the way that we are seen, in the same way that artists in other centuries flattered their subjects or imagined a different surrounding for them. I was particularly inspired to do this series because of the impact on millions of quarantined individuals. With nowhere to go socially, how wdo we as individuals still express our creative personalities through our styling? Does it still matter to get dressed up if no one will see you? How does creating a selfie with your cellphone mimic the process of creating a work of art? Many things are the same: choosing the elements, composition, lighting, colors, and subject matter. In many ways, the selfie and the self-portrait are the same thing: the artist’s version of themselves that they want to reveal to the world. Through blending fantasy and reality, they can be perceived as who they aspire to be. How does creating an idealized fantasy world surrounding you create relief psychologically? Is it escapism, or creativity?
It is my belief that the self-portrait of today is the selfie—a way for any individual with a digital device to record their own existence in whatever way feels good to them. It is a way of asserting their presence in the world and reflects the human’s timeless desire to make a mark on society and the world: it is a way to be seen.
“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!