Helen Frankenthaler, American Legend (1928 – 2011)

Helen Frankenthaler, American Legend (1928 – 2011)


I wonder if my pictures are more “lyrical” [that loaded word!] because I’m a woman. Looking at my paintings as if they were painted by a woman is superficial, a side issue, like looking at Klines and saying they are bohemian. The making of serious painting is difficult and complicated for all serious painters. One must be oneself, whatever.
* Helen Frankenthaler, source of her woman artist quotes on modern art & paintings: ‘Interview with Helen Frankenthaler’, Henry Geldzahler; ’Artforum’ 4. no. 2, October 1965, p. 39

Helen Frankenthaler died yesterday at the age of 83, and the art world is taking notice of her contribution to the history of art.  She was a legend in her own time and an inspiration to thousands of young artists including myself. She began painting and seriously studying art as a young teenager and worked up until the very end of her life. The legacy that she left behind was more than just about her art; she influenced thousands of young women artists during that time when women were not as prominent as their male contemporaries in the world of art. She has been a favorite artist of mine as long as I can remember, and her techniques of staining the paint directly onto the canvas, along with her lyrical painterly style, will be remembered as one of the major innovations in modern art history and color field painting. Helen Frankenthaler has been quoted as saying, “I do not judge a painting as being good, I ask myself did I create something of beauty?”

Critics, collectors, and curators will undoubtedly agree that she created something of beauty. For that reason alone, she left the world better than she found it. Namaste, Ms. Frankenthaler.

The 20 Most Powerless People in the Art World: 2011 Edition

The 20 Most Powerless People in the Art World: 2011 Edition

Click to read this very funny list:
The 20 Most Powerless People in the Art World: 2011 Edition.

This is a hilarious and very timely list in response to the recent Art Review  “Top 100 Most Powerful People in the Art World”

I am still trying to figure out what a “Pre-post-studio Mono-medium Artist” is.

I would add one more Most Powerless to this list:

21.  Emerging artists who donate their art to local charities for “great exposure”

Yes, we have all done it, but it is time to stop.  I stopped after I was asked to donate a painting of mine to a very expensive private school in town (my kids are in public school) for their annual auction.  “It’s great exposure” the parent informed me, adding “these parents have a lot of money.  Last year we made over $165,000 in one night!”

So if these people have so much money, why are they getting an unfairly low price for a great work of art, while we essentially support their private school?  I might even call this one number one on the list.








American Art Award Winners

American Art Award Winners

Congratulations to the many amazing artists who recently won different categories in the American Art Awards contest.  This contest is juried by 25 Art Gallery owners from around the United States.  It even includes a very timely category of Teen Bullying for teenage artists.  Some of these artists will amaze you.  My favorite is the second place winner in the Human Figure/Acrylic Category  “MARKET AND POWELL, SAN FRANCISCO” 24 X 48″ Acrylic on canvas by Dan Simoneau, featured above.  Maybe it is part nostalgia for me, having lived in San Francisco for 5 years and still one of my favorite cities.

See some of the other winners at the American Art Awards website

10 Tips For Artists Approaching Galleries

10 Tips For Artists Approaching Galleries


1. Be Professional – think in terms of a job interview – what can you offer the Gallery?

2. Have a Good, consistent body of work – You should have 10 to 20 strong works available. Think in terms of a SOLO show. What pieces work well together? A Gallery doesn’t necessarily need to see your realistic figure drawings if your focus is Urban Landscapes. Galleries want to see that you have a direction and focus. This is one of the biggest mistakes emerging artists make, is trying to show everything they do – from jewelry, realistic portraits, abstracts etc. A gallery director needs to be able to see a vision and be able to communicate that to collectors.

3. Have good quality photographs of your work and have them digitally available as well. Most Galleries now prefer digital images (on CD) over slides. Many Museums and Juried competitions however still require slides, but that is changing quickly. The art establishment has been slower to adopt new technologies.

4. Have a postcard or other visual the Gallery can keep on file, which is representative of the kind of work you do.

5. Research the Gallery first – again, think in terms of job hunting, and researching an employer. What kinds of work do they show? It doesn’t do you any good to submit work to Galleries that don’t sell your style of work. Ask questions. Are they looking for new artists, do they only show established artists? Find out what their submittal criteria is and follow it!

6. Have a simple, well written artist statement without the use of “Artspeak”. Use language the average collector can appreciate. The Gallery may appreciate it, but they need to be able to translate that to the average collector. Really think about your work and what makes it different, or better, or interesting. What motivates you? What influences you? Try to leave out that you are influenced by XYZ Artist. They were not trying to be someone else, and you need to find your own form of authenticity.

7. Have a record of exhibitions or awards (or not)? Even if your exhibitions are limited list where you have shown. List any Art Consultants you have worked with, juried competitions entered or CO-OP Galleries shown with. If you haven’t shown, you need to make every effort to start exhibiting your work. Again this is like a job interview and any experience no matter how small reads at a minimum like an internship.

8. Respect the Gallery and realize that the Gallery owner is also trying to make a living in the art world, and has a great deal of expenses and time involved, beyond just “hanging art”. Know that most Gallery owners are also artists or art lovers and have the same passion for art that you do.

9. Understand it is an interdependent relationship – you both need each other. The easier you make it to sell the work, the more they will sell. Also, know there are other options for exhibiting and selling your work, so if it doesn’t work out other options will present themselves.

10. Don’t take it personally. It is not personal. Most often the Gallery has a specific niche, which is valuable to know before you approach them. Is it conceptual, western art, glass art, works on paper, etc.? Where and how does your work fit in with their mission?

<A HREF=”http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Fthfiarne-20%2F8001%2F173626ae-f9ce-4e35-99eb-ab36cf720921&Operation=NoScript”>Amazon.com Widgets</A>Recommended Books:

Caroll Michels – How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist – Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul. Very good book written by a career coach for artists, outlining many different possibilities.

Cay Lang – Taking the Leap – Building a Career as a Visual Artist –
A very clear roadmap for how to build a career from the beginning. Written by a professional, exhibiting artist.