Birds Inspire 


 

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Today is a beautiful, sunny day, and the air is warming just slightly. Looking for inspiration, I often turn to nature as a most reliable source. Today’s focus is birds and flight, representing the power of the soaring spirit, indomitable and ever uplifting. What a blessing to hear the flutters and chirps outside my window. It gives me renewed determination to appreciate and preserve our natural environment.

Starting with a selection of bird paintings by artist Paul Klee, and one to honor Paul Klee, above, we move through a variety of media and artistic approaches.

Interwoven in this feature are bird sculptures and paintings/drawings I found everywhere.   I hope you enjoy their whimsy, movement and beauty today. I hope that a focus on inspiration and hope conveys the asssurance that we are so much more than a consumer culture repleat with an eternal quest for power and domination.

 

Check  out this poem by for a riveting summation and warning of how our culture could look to outsiders from the future.  This excerpt presents a perceptive view of a predominant movement in today’s culture.

This slim book of poetry — Mary Oliver’s Red Bird contains many wonderful poems. Here are A few lines of “Of the Empire”

We will be known as a culture that feared death
and adored power, that tried to vanquish insecurity
for the few and cared little for the penury of the
many. We will be known as a culture that taught
and rewarded the amassing of things, that spoke
little if at all about the quality of life for
people (other people), for dogs, for rivers. All
the world in our eyes, they will say, was a
commodity. And they will say that this structure
was held together politically, which it was, and
they will say also that our politics was no more
than an apparatus to accommodate the feelings of
the heart, and that the heart, in those days,
was small, and hard, and full of meanness.

 

 

And yet, Art can provide a reminder that our hearts and souls are larger, more compassionate than the metallic noise and dissection surrounding us now.  Compassion, insight and courage are still valued, still appreciated, still embodied by our culture at large.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


https://credmayne.com/2017/03/11/come-to-mama/1975-come-to-mama/

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Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrated in Our Classrooms


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Dawn Smith’s Spanish class and my Visual Art class joined together for a week long unit on creating paintings influenced by Mexican Alebrijes this week at Western Hills High School in Frankfort, Kentucky.  Painting and creative writing combined together for a learning experience in Social Studies, Spanish and Fashion Design.

To learn Global challenges of how to resolve conflicts, students had to work in groups and combine at least 2 animals from 2 different continents. They had to paint the animals, list their conflicts, how the animals could resolve those conflicts and capture these conflict resolutions in their choice of creative writing from poetry to dialogue to narrative writing. The writing portion was inspired by the book “Fantasy Animals” by Janis Kirstein, where a South American anteater and African lion are joined together and have to learn how to get along. This book was inspired by Mexican Alebrijes from Mexico, created with bright floral patterns in the 1930’s of conglomerations of various animals all in one being.

To see lesson plans for this unit,  go to:  https://kirsteinfineart.com/2016/07/27/lesson-plan-for-fantasy-animals/

To see the book written by Janis Kirstein inspired by Alebrijes,  go to: www.amazon.com/author/janiskirstein

 

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This Painting was inspired by Mexican Alebrijes, by Janis Kirstein in Mercedes Harn’s art class this summer. This class was for a teacher Inservice given by The Academy with the Kentucky Center for the Arts, combining the teaching of Social Studies, Visual Art and Spanish Language.

 

 

Collector’s Choice: Shelley S. Davies


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Art to Zucchini and Everything in Between
I’m an illustrator who lives beside the sea on the west coast of Canada with my family and an imaginary dog. Sometimes two. I have a background in animation, film and graphic design. I also love to take photographs, which gets me away from my desk with all those teeny, tiny bits of paper!

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I’m a Canadian artist living by the sea on Vancouver Island, creating paintings, collages, and photographs that are bold and colour-infused. All my work, aside from the photography, is proudly handmade with scissors, glue and paint; many with 3-dimensional aspects.

 

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With a background in animation, feature films, television and theatre, my many creative pursuits have led me to the joys of illustration. Colour, wit and a good dose of play are what I aim for, using collage, paint and a strong graphic design sensibility. For the past ten years, I’ve contributed illustrations to numerous magazines and newspapers on a regular basis with editorial, fashion and botanical themes, while my heart still belongs to children’s illustration.

 

 

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I’ve created a line of greeting cards, which you can find at my Etsy shop, and I’m delighted to be creating an ongoing series of photo-collaged jigsaw puzzles for Cobble Hill Puzzles/Outset Media. I also write the blog ‘Children’s Illustration‘ with author/illustrator extraordinaire Julie Fortenberry. You can find all my social media sites at the top of my home page, and my Instagram page has all my daily photographs.

Collector’s Choice: Jani Freimann


http://jani-freimann.pixels.com

 

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Peace And Justice

“It seemed fitting to paint the horses with the colors of the American flag considering the title and considering that I am very much a patriot to my country. The horse in the back is Justice because he has his eyes covered. The Greek statue for justice wears a blindfold so she cannot see the bribes being offered to her. This is my version of blind justice.

The horse in the foreground represents peace. Peace and justice are side by side and beget freedom and nothing represents the power of freedom like unbridled horses running.

The red background has a subtle texture to it created by using Saran Wrap. Click on the picture to view through the green high Res box.

The red is a Daniel Smith acrylic color called Venetian Red. When I saw the paint can, I immediately grabbed it. No worries about having a whole quart of this fabulous color. I will use it frequently.” Jani Freimann

 

Jani Freimann
Port Orchard, Washington

Jani is an award winning water media and graphite artist who specializes in horses and people, but can paint or draw anything.

“I paint with a lot of water. Because of the texture that creates, I decided to make it work for me and I make it part of my style. Embracing the drips and blooms; doing them on purpose with bright colors has been very freeing. It fits my spirited, adventurous personality.

Many times I’ll use my drawing skills by adding pastels and/or India Ink. Sometimes watercolor alone just doesn’t capture the depth needed to tell the story. When pastel or ink is added, it seems to complete certain pieces of art.

‘I will probably forever be adventurous in my art. Lately, I’ve been exploring a new media – water mixable oils.”

Jani Freimann

 

Sketches

What thinking process does an artist go through before the final piece, the original piece, of artwork is completed? I sketch out ideas, make notes about what colors I want to use, and what mood I want to portray.

The preliminary sketch is where I try to work out any problems that might arise, create a composition that works with breaks of space, and determine the intended focal point with values or shading (which sometimes changes in the painted version. And by drawing, I have the opportunity to just loosen up.
Through drawing I warm up the drawing muscles and connect myself mentally to the work.

Sometimes, I like my sketches better than the painting. Sometimes, it is a good thing nobody sees them, but me. Those go into my ‘sin pile’ along with paintings that didn’t turn out (I rarely throw away art) until the day comes that they can be used in another way.

A good example of resurrected paintings are my horse paintings: A Cool Morning Breeze and Painted By The Wind. The under painting of those was originally intended to be urban scenes. Here, in this gallery, are some preliminary drawings that were decent enough for others to see. By Jani Freimann

 

 

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Not only does Jani paint and draw people and horses, but she also paints delightful birds of all kinds. To see more of her paintings and drawings of people, just click on her web site at top of this page. Below you will find more of her animals in a variety of media. Janis Kirstein

Picasso Trigger

 

 

 

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This is Watercolor and India ink on watercolor paper. I recently went to Hawaii and snorkeled with many of these beautiful and colorful, tropical fish.

Trigger fish are called triggers because of their boney pectoral and pelvic spines. They use these two spines to lock themselves inside of a hole in a rock or coral. When the sea gets rough or they get scared they can ride out the troubled waters locked away from danger.

FOWL CREATURES

Robins, hummingbirds, chickadees, warblers, bluebirds, crows, song birds, birds of prey, chickens, roosters, small birds, large birds…anything with beaks, feathers, wings, and talons and anything that chirps or tweets. A variety of bird art for all bird lovers, bird collectors, birders, and bird watchers.


Female Cardinal 3

Before choosing to paint a Northern Cardinal, I had no idea that the female of the species was so colorful. Mostly because you never see a painting done of them. Usually their male counterpart is painted because of their distinctive red color. Besides the blue/black mask around their eyes, shades of yellow and red are visibly mixed into the expected brown/grey plumage. by Jani Freimann

Crested Croquette Hummingbird. This tropical, crested hummer was a fun one to paint. I like how he seems to be sportin’ a ‘tude, but in a good way that gives him character. Maybe one of his lady friends flew by and he just wanted to impress her.

After painting birds with oils for a while, I decided to try watercolor and India ink again. It went so smoothly (probably because I was using the intended media for Aquabord rather than forces the Aquabord to accept water-mixable oils) and I had so much fun with it that I think I’ll be painting this way for a while again.

 

 

 

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Collector’s Choice: Diana Mulder


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“I have a steady request for dog portraits and now am expanding my subject list and media to include acrylic and plaster.” Diana Mulder

 

http://www.dianamulder.com/

 

About Diana Mulder

 

Diana, born and raised in a New Jersey suburb in the shadow of New York City, is a modern day renaissance woman.  She studied Illustration, Graphic Design and Fine Art at Parsons School of Design in NYC.  She started her artistic career with a Southern California commercial design company, eventually forming her own architectural design firm where she worked for many years.  In addition, she continued to pursue her passion in the fine arts.

 

Depending on the day, you might find her preparing architectural designs for a client, working on a textural painting, or toiling on a new project in her art studio where she spends most of her time these days.  Her passion for the fine arts finds it way into everything she does and her attention to detail is obvious in her professional as well as personal projects.

 

Diana enjoys using many different materials in her work such as reclaimed wood, industrial and textural pieces, old books and zinc metal.  She is passionate in her goal of creating that which will inspire her clients, students, and friends alike.  This passion has been a life-long pursuit and her greatest joy is sharing it with others whether professionally or just for fun.

 

Throughout her career, she continued to paint with watercolor and would get requests for dog portraits on a regular basis.    She also exhibited at the Watercolor Society of San Diego gallery and the Good Earth Coffee Shop.  She is  also a member of the National Watercolor Society.

 

After many years painting with watercolor, she decided to let herself explore as an artist, and found a love for other mediums like acrylic and oil along with plaster, papers and texture.

 

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Diana creates dog portraits with remarkable empathy for her subjects. She manages not only to convey the dog, but the spirit and personality of each dog.

 

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Abstract Landscapes

 

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Diana painting a seascape.

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In this closeup of the landscape painting, you can see the wonderful textures found in her work through the use of paint and plaster.

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Diana’s paintings of birds and bird eggs.

Abstract and graphic, you can see the variety of textures from the use of multi media.

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Collector’s Choice: Joan Fullerton


 

http://www.joanfullerton.com

 

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About the Artist

Colorado Artist Joan Fullerton

Evocative Landscapes Real and Imagined

“Born into a Wyoming ranch family, I grew up with a deep regard for the natural world.  For me the subtle nuances as well as the awesome power of nature’s beauty, made the solitude of the isolated prairie sacred.  While raising 3 children, I studied watercolor with Edgar Whitney, Frank Webb, Charles Reid and other nationally known watercolorists.  In 1985 I returned to college and achieved BFA and MFA degrees in painting from the University of Wyoming.  I was a college art instructor from 1990 to 2003 in Cheyenne, WY.  And in 2003 I fulfilled a long-time dream when I moved to Taos, NM, to paint full-time.  After 8 successful years in Taos, I am now in the Denver, CO area, painting and teaching workshops.”

 

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This is a video about Joan’s artistic process. She tells how she works, what materials she uses, and how she builds her ideas, images and layers.

 

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Joan’s collages and paintings are a combination of abstraction and landscape. It is hard for me to choose which subject matter and style of hers I prefer. The abstract collages show a depth of color, a strong sense of proportion, balance and contrast, as well as a great palate of visual markings.

Her abstract landscapes incorporate tree images as a design element. The tree brances emerge from the abstract layers of paint, moving in delicate, subtle nuances of line and form. Her color palate tends to neutral with touches of dark areas, and flashes of brilliant red, oranges and turquoise.

Her reverence for nature is obvious in her fine rendering of the landscape. Her paint washes combine with dark tree brances to capture a strong sense of space and place in each of her landscape images.

Written by Janis Kirstein

 

 

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Collector’s Choice: Laura Lein-Svencner


 

 

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http://1-laura-leinsvencner.pixels.com

About Laura Lein-Svencner
Laura Lein-Svencner was raised in Downers Grove IL not far from her grandfather’s farm and resides now Darien Illinois for the past 30 years. She’s continued with her personal studies in drawing, printmaking, sculpture, papermaking and collage.

Seeking inspiration from one artist to another, Laura has pursued her love of paper; this steady pace of exploration has led her to become a member of many local and international collage groups.

She also co-founded the Midwest Collage Society which exhibits throughout the Midwest region.

Her works have won many awards and most recently the 27th Annual Juried Exhibit with the National Collage Society. Her work has been published in Watercolor Artist Magazine 2009, Creating Collage in all Dimensions 2010, Flavors for Mixed Media 2011 and Painting in Mixed Media. Laura’s work is on exhibit at J2 Gallery in Chicago IL and The Flying Pig in Algoma WI.
For the past 14 years Laura has taught her technique of collage at LaGrange Art League, and Naperville Art League.

During the summer months you will find her creating in her studio, gardening and walking in the woods with her dogs but when she’s not doing that you will see her exhibiting at local art fairs and teaching collage workshops throughout the Midwest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura creates delightful collages, expressive of her feelings and states of mind. She places symbolic references in her work often pointing to thoughts and feelings about natural occurrences around her. She shows particular mindfulness and a reverence to the earth and its creatures, giving homage to the gifts of plants, water and animals. Her strong affinity to paper gives a flexible surface for her to construct her transmutable surfaces into visual poems of all of the living things around her.

Janis Kirstein

 

 

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