Monday, December 31, 2012


Lea Colie Wight  "Self Portrait"  2008
Lea Colie Wight is a Philadelphia based painter specializing in figurative work and still-life. She studied at the Minneapolis  College of Art and Design and Studio Incamminati, studying with the artist Nelson Shanks. She is now an instructor at Studio Incamminati.  The piece above was featured on the cover of American Artist Magazine (November 2009.)

Lea Colie Wight  "Self-Portrait"  2012

Wight maintains studios in New Jersey and in Philadelphia, PA. She is represented by Haynes Galleries, New Masters Gallery and Main Street Gallery. The artist's website can be seen here

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Nayanaa Kanodia  "The Magic of Moscow"
Nayanaa Kanodia is an Indian artist who works in the tradition of l'art naif. She was in fact, essentially self-taught, as her original university training was in the field of economics. A short apprenticeship with the artist Anjolie Ela Menon convinced Kanodia she was on the right track, and she has not looked back. Her work has been exhibited widely in India and abroad and is in many collections including that of the Musee International d'Art Naif in Paris. 

"The Magic of Moscow" was painted after a tour of Russia, where the artist was delighted by the fairy-tale architecture and flattered by the interest shown in her clothing (saris.) "At home, the sari is everyday attire" she explains, "but the people of Moscow found it as unusual and fascinating as I did their architecture."

Nayanaa Kanodia  "The Artist Couple"
"The Artist Couple" does not portray any particular people Kanodia knows, but is more a playful exploration of what it might be like to be part of such a creative team. (She includes herself as the portrait model.) Kanodia describes her work overall as a reflection of the changing face of the Indian nation. The artist's website can be found here.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Anchers

Anna or Michael Ancher  "Assessing the Day's Work" 1883
This painting is sometimes attributed to Michael Ancher (1849 – 1927) and other times to Anna Ancher (1859 – 1935.) Whoever actually painted the scene, it depicts the two artists at the end of the work day discussing their day's work. The artists met on the Danish Island of Skagen, a fishing community and rustic resort, which became well-known as an an artist's colony. Anna Ancher's parents owned the hotel on the island, making her the one native member of the group known as the Skagen Painters. Michael and Anna married in 1880. At that time there was a great deal of societal pressure for married women to devote themselves entirely to domestic life, but despite this pressure Anna Ancher continued painting after marriage. She was completely and unreservedly supported in this by her husband, even after the birth of their one child. 

Michael Ancher "Anna Ancher teaching her Daughter to Draw" 1888

In fact, Michael Ancher seemed to be very proud of his talented wife, and drew and painted her frequently throughout their courtship and marriage. In this painting he shows her teaching their daughter Helga to draw, using a small wooden gnome as a model. Helga Ancher (1883-1964)  grew up to become an artist, like her parents.

Michael Ancher "Helga Painting Daffodils" 1896
Michael Ancher "Anna Ancher Painting in the Studio"
I was unable to find a date for this last painting, but the brightness of the palette, the high key of the colors, makes me wonder it might be a somewhat later work. Michael Ancher studied at the Royal Danish Academy of the Fine Arts, and he had a harder time than many of the other painters of the Skagen school in breaking away from the traditional "brown gravy" academic mode in painting. This may be one reason he so respected the work of his wife Anna who quickly developed her own artistic voice and was considered a pioneer in the observation of light and color. Anna Ancher grew up observing the many artists who came to the island of Skagen and later studied in Copenhagen at the Vilhelm Khyn School of Painting and also in Paris with Puvis de Chavannes. 

The Skagen residence of Michael and Anna Ancher is now a museum, run by the Helga Ancher Foundation. The husband and wife artist team are currently featured on the DKK1000 (the Danish 1,000 kroner bill.) They are both wearing their painting hats.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Taking Some Flack

Audrey Flack "Self-portrait Holding Charcoal Stick" 1956 Miami University Art Museum

Audrey Flack (b. 1931) was an early pioneer of photorealism, and was the first photorealist to have work purchased by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, in 1966. She was also one of the first and few women to make it into an early revision of Janson's History of Art, after an awareness spread that this venerable backbone of art historical education contained not a single reference to any woman artist past or present. "Mary Cassatt and I, we got in together!" Flack has said of that notable achievement.

Flack studied studio art and art history at the Cooper Union, Yale University and New York University. She has received honorary doctorates from the Cooper Union and from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Flack's work encompasses many mediums including painting, printmaking, photography and sculpture. She is also a well-regarded writer with many works to her name. (In fact, her book Art & Soul was a big influence on me when I was in art school.)

Audrey Flack  "Self-Portrait with Dark Face"  1960  Miami University Art Museum
Flack is currently known for her sculptures, but these two early works combine expressionistic painting and realistic drawing, a stage before the artist dove into photorealism. They show the importance of self-reflection or perhaps more accurately, self-announcement.  This had to be crucial for an artist attempting to create a place for herself in a time (the 1950s) so inhospitable to the female of the art species that women artists were excluded from the basic art history discussion.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Self Portrait With Headphones

Kristy Gordon  "Self-Portrait with Headphones"  2006

Canadian artist Kristy Gordon attended the Ontario College of Art and Design but is currently living in New York City where she is studying in the master's degree program at the New York Academy of Art. She has received numerous honors and is the recipient of an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant. Independent curator Rachel Marsden has said of the artist's recent work, "Kristy Gordon embraces self-reflection through intimate portraiture. Situations and identities are frozen through her honest realist yet dream-like surrealist works. A sense of fragility runs through the brush marks, stating a true emotional connectivity with the subject and almost a sense of fear through the process of self-discovery."

Gordon writes a lively blog documenting her creative process which can be seen here:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Very Probably...

Jeanne-Philiberte Ledoux  "Lady Artist in her Atelier" (Very Probably a Self-Portrait)  location unknown
Jeanne-Philiberte Ledoux (1767-1840) was born in Paris. She was the daughter of architect Claude Nicolas Ledoux, and became a pupil of painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze with whom she studied both pastel and oil painting. Some of her works were mistakenly attributed to Greuze in the past, although it seems that art historians have become more aware of her work and some mis-attributions have recently been corrected.

Ledoux was contemporaneous with Louise-Élisabeth Vigée-LeBrun, but far less is known about her. She apparently worked in both pastels and oils, and was noted mainly for her portraits of girls and women, and occasionally young boys. She participated intermittently in the Paris Salons, between 1793 and 1819 exhibiting in ten of these events. Her work is in several museum collections, including the Bowes Museum in England, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

 A charming painting of Ledoux as a child with her father, painted by Greuze, can be seen here.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

With Children in the Mirror

Zinaida Serabriakova  "Self-Portrait with Children in the Mirror"  1917 Private Collection
For some reason I can't stop thinking about the Russian artist Zinaida Serebriakova (1884-1967) lately, and some kind soul sent me this painting which I had never seen before. So, something about Serabriaova's tender attachment to her children is in the air right now.

Serabriakova came from an illustrious art family but suffered much upheaval in her life, including the early loss of her husband, banishment to another country and concomitant separation from her beloved children. I am amazed nobody has turned this woman's life into a movie yet.. she was really something and lived through a lot of world changes. To see my earlier post on this artist click here or just click on her name in the side bar.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Winter Portrait

Ellen Eagle "Winter"  2006
Ellen Eagle is an american artist whose subjects are usually friends and family members. Her preferred medium is pastel. She attended California College of the Arts, and also studied privately with portraitists Daniel Greene and Harvey Dinnerstein. She has received numerous awards including two grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation. Eagle teaches at the Art Students League of New York and also at the National Academy of Design. She has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally, and is currently represented by Forum Gallery in NYC.

Eagle's sensitive yet sure touch is all her own, yet her beautiful portraits, almost tremblingly alive, evoke memories of Chardin and Avigdor Arikha.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Elin Danielson-Gambogi "Self Portrait, Sun" 1900
Ateneumin Taidemuseo, Helsinki, Finland
Elin Danielson-Gambogi (1861-1919) was lucky enough to have her talent recognized at a young age, and to be born at a time when opportunities for women's higher education in Finland were blossoming.  She was one of the first generation of women to study at the Art School of the Finnish Art Society, and this group of female artists are often collectively referred to in Finnish art history as the "painter sisters' generation".

Danielson-Gambogi quickly earned prominent status in Finnish art circles, which was unusual for an artist of her gender at that time. She was seen as a kind of female Akseli Gallen-Kallela; "the fluency and sureness of her brush is at times astonishing to have come from a woman's hand," praised the Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper. While highly regarded as an artist, Danielson-Gambogi ran into difficulties negotiating the "office politics" of the Finnish Art Society's School, where she was teaching by the late 1880's. She left Finland for Italy in 1895, and Italy soon became her second home.

Raffaelo Gambogi "La Pittrice: Portrait of Elin Danielson-Gambogi"

The artistst's husband Raffaelo Gambogi (1874-1942) painted this charming sketch of his wife at the easel.  Raffaelo Gambogi met Elin Danielson while he was studying art in Florence. The couple married in 1898. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Painter Painting the Painter's Wife

Fairfield Porter "Jane Freilicher and Anne Porter" 1954 
This little gem of a painting is a bit of an art mystery. I first glimpsed it in a stranger's Tumblr account, and later saw it again pinned to another person's Pinterest board. I have searched extensively online, but am still stumped about the painting's actual whereabouts. It rarely appears in searches and when it does appear with provenance it is cited as belonging to the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York. However, multiple searches of that museum's site and even an email to the staff (unanswered) have left me wondering if it is really there at all. If anyone has an answer please let me know! 

Jane Freilicher (born 1924) and Fairfield Porter (1907-1975) were great friends who often painted together.  Freilicher would frequently visit with Porter and his wife Anne at their family home on Long Island. Porter painted her on numerous occasions although this is the only painting I could find that shows her in the act of painting. She and Porter were both strongly influenced by the work of Bonnard and Vuillard and what Porter (an art writer as well as a painter) once wrote of her applies equally to himself, “… when she has to choose between the life of the painting and the rules of construction, she decides to let the rules go." Freilicher and Porter's work is so closely aligned that they exhibited in many of the same galleries and have had many exhibits together, even (as re Porter) posthumously.

Freilicher received her B.A. from Brooklyn College and her M.A. from Columbia University. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Academy of Design. She has exhibited widely and is currently represented by Tibor de Nagy Gallery in NYC.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Artist with her Mother Artist

Rolinda Sharples  "Self-Portrait with Mother" 1814 Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol, UK

Rolinda Sharples  (1793–1838) was born in England, emigrated to the United States with her family as a young child, and then moved back to the mother country after the death of her father in 1811. Sharples' parents and three brothers were all professional artists. Her mother pictured above was the artist Ellen Wallace Sharples (1769-1849) (who had perhaps even a more fascinating personal history than her daughter!)

Rolinda Sharples was one of the first female British artists to attempt multi-figure compositions, and one of her best known works in that genre, Clifton Assembly Rooms (1817), is often seen on covers of Regency-era novels such as those by Jane Austen.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Plein Air for Camphill painters!

Nancy Bea Miller "Betsey Batchelor Painting at Beaver Farm" 2012
These two paintings of women in the act of painting are from this year's Plein Air for Camphill, a non-traditional plein air event which benefits Camphill Special School in Kimberton, PA (USA.)

My son attends this school which is the only Waldorf school for kids with special needs in the whole of North America, although there are several other Camphill schools across the globe. Because this is the only one on this continent kids come from all over to attend this special program, and I do mean all over: Henry has had classmates from Kodiak Island, Alaska and from Bermuda!  There is a huge demand for this type of education for certain children and the school has been trying to expand to accommodate more students. They bought a nearby farm where the older students could be housed and food for the school could be raised and when I saw this beautiful place I realized I needed to get my artist friends involved in raising further funds. Hence the concept of Plein Air for Camphill, which is now a popular semi-annual event. This year's exhibition comes down later today but work will continue to be sold from the online gallery for the next several months:

Plein Air for Camphill 2012 Online Gallery

One note, the online gallery has not yet been updated since the show's opening reception where there were lots of sales, so there will be many, many, more "sold" notices appearing tomorrow. If you were interested in purchasing a piece, please don't get your hopes dashed if it is no longer available!

David Lee "Plein Air for Camphill (Molly Bolger Jenssen at work) "  2012