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Friday, October 22, 2010

Why I Love To Paint Landscapes

The other day I was working on a new piece and I wondered why I loved painting landscapes so much. I think it is because nature is ever changing, regenerating itself despite season, desolation or man's interference. The elements of nature will be here long after man has disappeared. A volcano erupts, lava flows and what do you get? More land. Something that can be so destructive actually creates more than it takes. A fire burns, leaving the acrid smell of smoke and ashes and what does that leave? Regrowth. Buds burst from the burnt cinders and generates the wonderful gift of nature for us to enjoy once again.

The ability to destroy yet also renew, to be both as beautiful as the first bloom of a spring flower or as glorious as the most ominous storm cloud is why I love landscapes. It is never the same. I see something new in every leaf and every petal. My senses glory over the smell of newly cut grass, the scent of an impending rainstorm, the wonderful quiet of a hidden field of wildflowers that only I have managed to discover; at least in my own mind.

When I paint landscapes, in some small way, I try to show the viewer that though the nature of a season may remain the same, none are ever identical.


Monday, June 28, 2010

2010 Renoir Exhibit In Philadelphia

I visited the Renoir exhibit on Sunday at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I could not get enough of his beautiful, soft and wistful canvases. Captivating people painted with whimsical expressions having fun and looking delightfully cheerful. Pretty girls in frilly dresses that now would be called costumes. A style so distinct you recognize it immediately as a Renoir. This is a man who, like many of his peers, dedicated his entire life to his craft. In his later years even after developing arthritis he still painted for another 20 years. I strive to learn from this artist. Not necessarily his style but definitely his passion for painting, which never faltered.
My favorite Renoir quote -

“I think I’m beginning to know something about painting,” said on the day he died.

To learn more about Pierre-Auguste Renoir visit here or here.

Best Regards, Monica

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blick Art Materials Sponsored Red Bubble Winner!

Congratulations to the very talented George Paul Miller who won the Blick Art Materials sponsored challenge on Red Bubble.

George's winning entry titled "Lauren's Gift - With Hope" and more of his work can be viewed on the Red Bubble site by visiting here.

Thank you Blick Art Materials for your continued support of the arts and sponsoring this challenge. The products you offer and your fantastic deals keep me coming back! I hope others will discover what your website has to offer.

Best Regards, Monica

George Paul Miller

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blick Sponsored Art Challenge!

Announcing an oil painting challenge currently in progress in the Oil Painting group (OPG) on a site I am a member of called Red Bubble (RB). If you don't know about it, it is a social networking art and photography website and is a wonderful forum for communicating with other artists and also exhibiting and selling your art. Unfortunately, the contest is for RB members only, but now that you know about it - check it out! You may want to become a member and enter the next contest. Please visit the Oil Painting Group Challenge Page to follow the challenge titled "Artists Choice". This challenge is sponsored by Blick Art Materials . If you haven't visited their website you're in for a treat! They are currently celebrating their 100 yr anniversary so please visit their website to discover all this company has to offer.

Best Regards, Monica

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Results of the Red Bubble Challenges Sponsored by Kama Pigments

And we have our winners! The talented artists who won the Kama Pigments sponsored challenges on RedBubble are:

Graham Clark won the Landscape challenge with his painting "Brimham Rocks".

Elena Oleniuc won the Still Life challenge with her painting "Happy Morning" .

and Elena also won the Human Figure challenge with her painting "Dance" .

To learn more about Graham...Graham Clark or
To learn more about Elena...Elena Oleniuc .

Red Bubble hosts thousands of talanted painters, photographers and writers. Please pay a visit to the wonderful art networking site.

Thanks again to Kama Pigments our sponsor for these challenges and visit their website to discover all this company has to offer.

This was a wonderful challenge but I have one question. Are you ready for next year?

Best Regards, Monica

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Announcing Oil Painting Challenges

This message sponsored by Kama Pigments

Announcing numerous oil painting challenges currently in progress in the Oil Painting group (OPG) on a site I am a member of called Red Bubble (RB). If you don't know about it, it is a social networking art and photography website and is a wonderful forum for communicating with other artists and also exhibiting and selling your art. Unfortunately, the contest is for RB members only, but now that you know about it - check it out! You may want to become a member and enter the next contest.

Please visit the Oil Painting Group Homepage and then click on the challenges tab to access the three current challenges - The Landscape, The Still Life & The Figure In Movement all sponsored by Kama Pigments.

Please visit their website to discover all this company has to offer. Two of their unique pigments now have a permanent place of my palette so I hope that you will visit their website - you will not be disappointed.

Best Regards, Monica

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Cubism Movement and Why I Finally "Get It"

I visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art today and saw the Picasso and the Avant-Garde in Paris exhibit and I now have a new and utterly profound respect for the Cubist Art Movement. Previously, I liked the art form but I was not in love with it. I am a lover of nature; show me a Turner, Moran or a Constable and I am in heaven. But Cubism, though interesting, was just not all that fascinating to me. I never “got it”. Until today. Walking through that exhibit I finally understood the concept of this wonderful and energetic movement, it’s ability to take the average and make it exciting, forcing the viewer to experience this world in a different and, in my opinion, wonderful way. I know now why these innovative artists hold a very important place in art history. I learned today that what might seem boring and mundane can be shattered and remade. What may have been plain and uninteresting before I now know can be dissected, and a work of art can be created by eliminating my preconceived ideas of what reality and beauty look like.

Why did it take me so long to see it? Maybe viewing the actual artwork in all of its glory helped or maybe as an artist who is continuously expanding her art education, I wasn’t ready to understand it before now. Strangely, it wasn't even a Picasso piece that enlightened me. It was Gris. Juan Gris to be exact and believe me I want to be exact because standing in front of his painting “Still Life Before an Open Window. Ravignan” was a very strange experience. My first thought was (exactly what I always thought when looking at anything abstract, including cubism) -“Hmmmm. Interesting”, while walking away. And then I stopped, backed up and really looked at it. And there it was. For some reason Gris was able to communicate to me through his canvas and finally I understood Cubism.

The painting I am speaking of is below. Is it pretty? Well, quite honestly, I don’t think so. Does it have a stunning color palette? Again, no, I don’t think so. But, for me, it is now one of my favorite works of art. I will tell you what I saw when I looked at this painting and why I like it so much.

The trees above framing the top half of the composition gives me the impression of being enclosed as if Gris was looking out of a window. I then saw what looked like a balcony with a table in front. I saw the writing which made me think it was a newspaper on the table and I also saw what looked like a cup. I imagined Gris sitting at his balcony deciding to share the view of his world at that moment but on HIS terms. Through Cubism.

Juan Gris, Spanish
1887 - 1927
Currently on exhibit here

Everyone has different taste. Maybe you don’t like this painting and believe me, I respect that. But I would ask that you use my story as an example to please keep an open mind when experiencing new things or, like me in this case, try looking at the previous in a different way and you may notice something you hadn’t seen before. And just in case you don’t know, this advice does not apply only to art.

If I could talk to Juan Gris today, I would say thank you! Thank you for taking me on a magical journey and allowing me to see the world through your eyes if only for a moment.

To learn more about Juan Gris
To learn more about Cubism

Best Regards, Monica

Sunday, February 28, 2010

African American Artists

This blog post is dedicated to master African American Artists who many may have never heard of. I will try to add links to their work, biographies and their movement. There are so many many more that are not included on this list. To continue your art history education and to learn more about these and other African American artists not included in this blog, a great start is Artcyclopedia. This site provides the artist, date of birth/death and worldwide locations of their artwork. These artist’s have contributed their creative vision to the history of art and I hope some will research and view their body of work and enjoy.

Robert Scott Duncanson, 1821-1872. Hudson River School Painter. Beautiful and serene, Duncanson’s work sheds light on American art that has been forgotten over the years…

Edward Mitchell Bannister, 1828-1901. Painter/Tonalism. Although primarily known for his idealized landscapes and seascapes, Bannister also executed portraits, biblical and mythological scenes, and genre scenes…

Harriet Powers, 1837-1910. Quilting. She used traditional appliqué techniques to record local legends, Bible stories, and astronomical events on her quilts…

Edmonia Lewis, 1845-1911. Neoclassical Sculptor. Was the first African American and Native American woman to gain fame and recognition as a sculptor in the international fine arts world…

William “Bill” Traylor, 1854-1949. Folk Artist. William Traylor was a self-taught artist born into slavery on a plantation near Benton, in Lowndes County, Alabama…

George Joseph Herriman, 1880-1944. Illustrator/Comic Art. was an American cartoonist, best known for his comic strip Krazy Kat…

James Van Der Zee, 1886-1983. Photographer. He was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance…

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"Lily" is Completed

I have just completed a new painting titled "Lily". The concept for this painting was to use a predominately cool color palette. I wanted to know if the composition would be balanced with only a small portion of the canvas warm (in this case, the skin tones). I am happy with the end result.

HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams...

William Butler Yeats

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Samaritan Hospice Exhibit 2009

I am posting a couple of photos from my latest exhibit "Arts for Awareness". It was an important fund-raising event for a wonderful cause, The Samaritan Hospice. Check out if you get a chance. It is a beautiful venue.

I wish all of my fellow artists creative and productive year!

Best Regards, Monica Vanzant

Lily - "The Icon Prize" Finalist

A huge thank you to Lane Von Herzen, author of "The Unfastened Heart" and the Icon Prize committee for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful project.


Set To Music...

Creation of still life "The Two No One Wanted"

Fine Art Paintings by Monica Vanzant

Video of Black and White Photographs

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Video Skyscape - Heavens V

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Video Skyscapes - Heavens IV

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Video Skyscape - The Heavens

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Video Skyscape - Heavens I

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