Art is the best accessory

*Original artworks shown in video are listed below

“Art” can be a scary idea. What do I know about art? What’s good art? Can I afford it anyway?

These questions can stop you from considering one of the most satisfying choices available to beautify your world.

I encourage people to think about art as an accessory - the way a scarf or great earrings can make your look. Is it a ‘good’ scarf? Do I really know anything about scarves? These are questions we never ask ourselves. Why not? Because we don’t need to. We choose what we like.

And that’s how the vast majority of us choose art! Do I like it? Does it make me feel good? Will I enjoy seeing it? These are the questions that matter. Now, quality is important - you don’t want to hang a picture that will fade or flake away. You want - and deserve - high quality in your decor. And there are so many great artists out there, creating beautiful work, that’s affordable and of high quality.

My approach to choosing art is very much like my approach to clothing: the clothes can be simple if I have great accessories.

For example - I would rather choose neutral furniture and hang art that strikes a mood than worry over fussy patterned fabrics that will limit my color and style choices in the future. It’s just the way I’d rather wear a simple shirt with interesting jewelry than a complicated outfit.

This is not to say that beautiful artwork and patterned drapes are mutually exclusive! It just means that what you find beautiful, what looks great in a room, is a perfectly valid consideration in choosing art.

This slideshow demonstrates how the choice of art can set a mood, and how a nice room can rise to a beautiful one with one piece of art. Consider the different feel of a soft, pale artwork over the bed versus a bold contrasting one. Which one grabs you? That’s the one you should choose. The one that sets a mood or feeling you like.

Click title to see artwork:

Desert Moon

Desert Rain


Lover’s Dream

As an artist, I feel that original artwork brings tremendous life and energy to a room. Moreover, you share in the human story of a craftsman’s hands creating something unique and passing it to your care. Having said that, I am a big fan of high quality reproductions if your budget is limited.

In my next blog post I will show canvas reproductions of a few of my original artworks; it will be interesting to see if you can spot the difference! My goal is to help you accessorize your space - to beautify it - regardless of budget. For this reason, I offer high quality reproductions of my work on canvas as well as original works in encaustic wax.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Caring for Your Encaustic Art - It’s not Fragile!

WATCH the video below to see the effect of buffing in raising the shine on a dulled piece of encaustic art!!

You won’t believe the before & after!

If you are new to encaustic artwork you might love the texture and shine but be concerned about how to care for it. It’s based in beeswax, after all! Will it melt? Is it sticky? No!

There are just 2 keys to caring for encaustic artwork, and all are easy:

  1. Keep the art out of direct sunlight

    • Hang it in a bright room or a romantically dim room - anything goes! Just choose a wall that isn’t in the path of direct sun light.

    • Your art can be lit with natural or artificial light. An ingredient in the encaustic called damar resin raises the melting point of the wax to over 165F - not a problem! The resin also makes the surface glossy and hard.

    • Direct sunlight falling on a piece even through a window can raise the surface temperature to the point where it softens, so this is the number one consideration on hanging your artwork.

  2. Buff the surface occasionally with a soft, lint-free cloth for a high shine

    • The beauty of encaustic artwork is the reflection of light from its glossy surface; it even enhances the textured areas by reflecting light from the high points.

    • During the first 6 months to a year after an encaustic artwork is created, the surface can show ‘bloom’, or a slighly dull/dusty looking finish. This is a natural part of the curing process of the material. Rest assured that bloom is not a problem: YOUR ARTWORK IS SAFE AND WILL NOT CHANGE IN ANY WAY!

    • How to remove the bloom? Buff (gently polish) it away with a soft cloth.

    • Old t-shirts, a soft rag and even old nylons make great buffing cloths. As long as there is no nap (eg, microfiber or terrycloth) and the cloth is lint-free, it will work wonders. I keep old pajamas and t-shirts in the studio for this purpose.

Art Sweet Art: A Los Angeles Exhibition Opening March 31

Meet the artist! I will be in Los Angeles for this opening event (cocktails, desserts, music!) and would love to see you there.

Click here for your invitation to a wonderful opening event on Hollywood Boulevard on Sunday, March 31! Music, cocktails and new artwork including my own will be on display in the Art, Sweet Art exhibition. Please stop by if you are able!

RSVP if possible as well.

Decoding Abstract

This marvelous essay by Dian Parker says everything that I, as an artist whose work is abstract, would like to say about what is behind a painting of 'nothing'.  In fact, it is everything that resides in the soul of the artist. Please read on:

Decoding Abstract 

by Dian Parker • August 25, 2015

“Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colours, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential.”

– Wassily Kandinsky

It’s a bewildering time for the art viewer. Abstract art is a mystery, certainly, but it can also be an electrifying experience. When you see paint that is boldly applied to a canvas with confidence and authority, by the likes of Joan Mitchell or Jackson Pollock, it doesn’t matter that you don’t ‘understand’ what it means. In fact, what it means fades into the background because the work speaks. It sings out and touches you personally. It may not do the same for your partner or best friend. But that is the beauty of art. It is your own personal relationship with a work of art that is what matters; it is an intimate and private affair.

Peter Schjeldahl, the New Yorker art critic, said, “Painting today is not dead but it has lost symbolic force and function in a culture of promiscuous knowledge and glutting information.” This is the difficulty. We are over-populated with art because, well, there is over-population. So many people. So much art. So much money for art. Recently, at Christies, Barnett Newman’s abstract painting, Black Fire I, sold for $84.2 million, while Mark Rothko’s Untitled fetched $66.2 million. Andy Warhol’s Race Riot went for $62.8 million and Monet’s water lilies painting, Nympheas, for $27 million. Picasso’s Le Sauvetage, sold for $31.5 million. The art market has moved far beyond borders and become global. Asian countries are now dominant players, particularly in contemporary art sales.

Those are only a few examples of the prices being paid for abstract art these days. So what do we make of all this? Not much. The realm of the art market is quite different from the inner world of the art observer. A world inhabited by those of us who gravitate to paintings and sculpture because we gather much joy in absorbing art. We have an emotional response to the work that often we can’t explain. And it doesn’t need explaining. What one is drawn to in art is often inexplicable, sometimes complex, and deeply personal. Our love for a work of art is an intimate affair, which is why we long to own the work so we can live with it- touch it, move it around, and have it as our own. When the work is abstract, there are endless reasons for our attraction.

Abstract art is an abstraction. It does not represent anything. It is nonobjective. Instead of depicting what we recognize in the world of objects, people and nature, abstract art is concerned with color, line, form, and texture. It is not reality-based but emotionally-based. It is expressive and gestural. When an artist paints or sculpts, they are driven to express what they see and feel. And because no two artists see or feel in the same way, we have a broad spectrum of presentation. Couple that with the viewer and alchemy takes place. The emotion in the art synergizes with the evoked emotion of the viewer and voilá, you love the work, hate it, or remain cold. When viewing the work, you may feel dreamy, or hyper tense, float with a buttery pattern, or grow dizzy in a geometric structure. Clean lines, drips, swathes of color, loaded canvases, arched steel, holes in stone, towering monoliths of brass or tiny boxes painted in colored grids; the range of abstraction is infinite.

Picasso said, “There is no abstract art. One always has to begin with something. One can then remove all appearance of reality; one runs no risk, for the idea of the object has left an ineffaceable imprint. It is the thing that aroused the artist, stimulated his ideas, stirred his emotions.”

How can we possibly know the heartbeat of the painter, the angle of their body when they work, the tension they feel, the anxiety in their actions, the months it took to make that particular piece of art? Everything goes into a painting. Every thought, emotion and experience is in that stone, carved out of the sweat of the sculptor for us to see and touch.

It is not easy to paint abstractly. It takes years of learning the craft before an artist can let go of the “real” world and be free enough to allow their whole self to enter that canvas and paint what is inside of them. The arc of steel or the hole in the stone isn’t necessarily about anything we know in the world, but it is certainly inside that sculptor. It is their expression in material form. Heart and soul, anxiety and love- it’s all there.

The range of abstraction in art is wide. From the impressionists giving impressionsof things, such as Cezanne and Van Gogh; to the Fauvre painters, like Matisse, those “wild beasts” with their radical use of color (so unrealistic!); to Picasso and cubism that saw the world from many different view points; to abstract expressionism with the action paintings of Jackson Pollack and the color field paintings of Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko – all these so-called movements were breaking the rules of what came before. But really, at the root, they are the dance of the artist with his or her medium. Picasso said that when cubism was invented, the participating artists had no intention of inventing cubism. “We were simply expressing what was within us.”

Whether it be canvas, felt, stone or steel; whether oil paint or water, ochre or red, big or small, encaustic or monoprint, bronze or wood, etching or gold leaf; the artist finds and manipulates the materials to express his or her self, to find their own language.

Any art, be it abstract or representational: it is all about the being behind the brush, the soul behind the steel. And the only way to get to the crux of it is for us to spend time, alone, taking it in, absorbing it emotionally to get to the truth of what went into it. And don’t even try to name it.