Category Archives: collecting art

Richard Notkin Lecture at the Renwick

Teapot by Richard Notkin

Teapot by Richard Notkin

Richard Notkin, distinguished ceramicist and sculptor will be lecturing at 3pm today (25 Jan 09) at the Grand Salon of the Renwick Gallery. The Renwick is part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and is located at 1661 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC.

Mr. Notkin was featured on the PBS series Craft in America and currently resides in Helena Montana.  Hope to see you there.


Manifest Hope DC Show Review

Manifest Hope by Sheperd Fairey

Manifest Hope by Sheperd Fairey

Manifest Hope:  DC opened tonight in Georgetown.  The show was sponsored by, SEIU, and Obey and supported by Irvine Contemporary Gallery and several other organizations (complete list can be found at the Manifest Hope:  DC website. 

Kudos go to Martin Irvine and Lauren from Irvine Contemporary who brought order to chaos (fun chaos but chaos nonetheless) from handling the invitations to the event, conducting the art sales and assisting Yosi Sergant in setting up the event.  Martin Irvine hosted an event last week at the Gallery hosted where Yosi Sergant spoke about the Manifest Hope:  DC and the effect that artist can make for the causes they believe in. 

 Location.  The show is held at a storefront at 3333 M Street NW, Washington DC from 17-20

The Crowd

The Crowd

January.   Artists were invited to submit work which fit into one of three themes: Health care reform, worker’s rights, and the green economy. The art ranged from absolute genius to some very avant garde pieces which people really put their hearts into. 

So what was it like?  Picture a large store, a very large two level store with white walls and floors.  Now add people, lots and lots of people.  Mix in some great music with a kickass sound system and great music (last time I felt bass like that hitting me was at a Pink Floyd concert in Mannheim Germany). 


Shepard Fairey Speaking at Manifest Hope: DC

 While I do not want to write a post about Shepard Fairey  (I’ve written about him here, here and here) his influence at this event was inescapable.   Many of the artists riffed off of his now iconic portrait of President Elect Obama. 

As you walk into the door, there is a stage on your right with a large manifest hope collage on stage.  Once the presentations were over, we were told we were welcome to step onstage and take our pictures with the collage.  It was also interesting to see other street artists such as Ron English and Sam Flores who had works in the show. 

U.S. Healthcare Just iLL, by Sharee Taylor

U.S. HealthCare Just iLL, by Sharee Taylor

The prices for the artwork was wildly divergent.  I saw prices  from $50. to $18,000 (trust me the work was absolutely worth it –it was gorgeous!).  Those were the prices for the art which really drew me.  I can’t guarantee this was the entire price range.   Proceeds from the show (10% of all sales) benefit the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in DC.  Students from the school performed during the event and they have some gifted musicians, vocalists and dancers. 

A friend of mine snagged a great screenprint titled U.S. HealthCare Just iLL, by Sharee Taylor.  I was unable to find out anything about her with a google seach, but I will continue looking and add what I can find.

Obama=Lincoln was a recurring theme to the show.  Sometimes this was done quite well and sometimes it fell a bit flat.  I felt no one handled it as deftly as Ron English.  Ron had two fantastic prints in the show both casting Obama as Lincoln.  They were beautiful and I honestly felt they were an incredible bargain. 

Restoration, Scotlund Haisley

Restoration, Scotlund Haisley

I fell in love with two works by local artists, Scotlund Haisley and Michael Gibbs.  Michael’s print American Worker is a brilliant piece of design.  The image and colors were so captivating I kept going back to it.  The print for sale was #1 of 50 and I want it very much. 

Scotlund Haisley created a beautiful painting titled Restoration.  I ran into Scotlund and his wonderful wife after the show.  Scotlund told me he paints his works on tin tiles using acrylics.  I loved both the concept behind the painting and the work itself.

There was a great triptych that you just see in the crowd picture.  It consists of portraits of Ghandi, the Dali Lama, and Dr. Martin Luther King titled Watching, Hoping, and Dreaming (respectively).  There was also an amazing etch-a-sketch portrait of President Elect Obama that was phenomenal.  Of course with my luck I’d buy it and find a neighbor’s kid shaking it so they could play with it.  Hopefully who ever buys it will keep it displayed out of harms way.

My purchase for this evening was modest,  I purchased one of the signed street posters of President Elect Obama.  I guess I am greedy since I do have a larger one (gift from a good friend who attended the Convention in Denver) but it’s unsigned.  I guess we all want a piece of history.

It’s very late and I want to post this so I’ll say goodnight…night!

Newest Additions to my Collection


Finished Portrait, by Robert Liberace
Finished Portrait, by Robert Liberace


Robert Liberace.  One of the neatest bonuses about studying with Robert Liberace is that he sells the demos of his work.  I recently attended his Child’s Portrait Workshop at the Alexandria Art League and purchased two of his paintings.

The painting on the left is a two day study that Rob painted of the oldest sister.  If it sounds confusing its because it is or was.  There were five sisters who modeled for us, this painting is of the of the oldest sister. 

Alla Prima by Robert Liberace

Alla Prima by Robert Liberace

Rob worked on her portrait the first day for several hours establishing a solid grisaille (monotone under painting).  One the second day of the painting, he laid in the color.  More information (including pictures-can be found at this posting).

Robert painted this alla primastudy on the last day of the workshop. The colors may seem fairly bold, (especially since I consider Rob a tonalist vice colorist) but they are an accurate reflection of the colors surrounding the model.  I apologize for the odd angle of the picture, I took it in the studio once Rob complete the painting; so it’s not quite dead on/front and centered.

Rose Girl Limited Edition Print, Irvine Contemporary Gallery

Rose Girl, by Shepard Fairey photo courtesy of the Irvine Contemporary Gallery


What I really love about about this painting is how joyful it seems to me.  You can tell that Rob really enjoyed painting this and had a lot of fun.  This painting reminds me a lot of some of Joaquin Sorolla’s work and I think it’s wonderful. 

This weekend I also framed my Rose Girl print by Shepard Fairey and hung the print over my dining area. 

Sadly I decided it was time to move my ‘wall o Liberace’ and rotate or reorganize several of my larger paintings.

Look both Ways, by Henry Stinson

Look both Ways, by Henry Stinson

I am a firm believer in rotating your art work so I put the majority of my Duane Keiser works (about eight of the egg paintings) in storage. 

I also took most of the Michelle Tully and Leslie Holt works down and hung up some of the newer works they’ve done.

Caught me an Alien, by Novuhito Tanaka

Caught me an Alien, by Nobuhito Tanaka


I am still trying to make room for A Murder of Crows by Gennara Moore, Look Both Ways by Henry Stinson, and Caught me an Alien by Nobuhito Tanaka.   

 Caught me an Alien is another one of those paintings that make me laugh a seriously deep belly laugh every time I see it.  I love this charming painting!

Irvine Contemporary Opening

Hello Hope II 2008, by Leslie Holt

Hello Hope II 2008, by Leslie Holt

I browsed through several Art Galleries in the Washington DC 14th Street art corridor today.

Curator’s Office. My first stop was at the Curator’s Office. Andrea Pollan has a small but wonderful gallery and her current show, Potential Energy-A Collaboration, features works on paper by Ann Tarantino and Kate McGraw.

Ann Tarantino has two works which were featured at Jan Beckman’s 20×200 site this week. Both at beautiful, I particularly loved her print Far and Wide but Flying Colors is wonderful as well. Both are still available but moving briskly at the site.

Regime Change Show at Martin Irvine, from Irving

Regime Change Show at Martin Irvine

Jan Beckman’s site sell large, medium, and small editions of the same print in edition sizes of 2, 20, and 200 respectively. The small size limited edition prints are very affordable at $20.00 each.

While I was there, Andrea showed me two new Leslie Holt Hello Kitty paintings, Hello Hope and Hello Change. Both paintings featured different riffs on Shepard Fairey’s famous Obama poster. Both were wonderful but only the Hello Hope was available so I quickly snagged it. Lucky me!

Irvine Contemporary. I ended up at Martin Irvine’s gallery, Irvine Contemporary. There was an amazing show that opened tonight, Regime ChangeStarts at Home features the works of Shepard Fairey (The artist behind the tricolor Obama poster), Al Farrow and and Paul Miller (DJ Spooky).

Rose Girl, by Shepard Fairey, Image from the Irvine Contemporary Website

Rose Girl, by Shepard Fairey, Image from the Irvine Contemporary Website

Shepard Fairey’s work is phenomenal, it is a combination of a collage, stencil and acrylic paints; this is street art at it’s best. Fairey has a strong graphic design background and it really shows in his work. According the his bio at the Martin Irving Gallery Fairey graduated in with a BA 1992 from the Rhode Island School of Design. His work reminds me of some of the intense and graphically powerful socialist party posters I used to see in Germany during the early 1990s. Sadly most of the work was far out of reach for me since it was priced at $16,000-17,000 but the impact of seeing it up close was incredible.

Fairey created a limited edition poster of his larger work, China Girl (original China Girl is shown on the left). the collage background looked like newspapers and the type of thin paper with intricate pattern that reminded me of the delicate wrapping papers available from India. The image is large and powerful.

Rose Girl Limited Edition Print, Irvine Contemporary Gallery

Rose Girl Limited Edition Print, Irvine Contemporary Gallery

The limited edition print (450 total) lacks some of the depth of the original. Understandable because there is no collage involved; it’s a sexy image anyway. Although I love the original the print was very inexpensive at $100 each. The graphic image was amazing and yes I did buy one; how could I not?

The alley behind the gallery featured numerous posters that had been pasted to a wall. As a cohesive whole they were amazing. Beside thin posters featuring images by Fairey, there was also some of the paper he’d used in his collage works. Many of the posters were blocked together and there were also a few unique ones. Gallery guests were welcome to photograph them.

Obey Poster Wall (segment/fragment)

Obey Poster Wall (segment/fragment)

I spied a large Obama poster of Fairey’s which had been pasted on the third story wall of a building near Whole Foods. There were also several freshly pasted posters plastered up on different surfaces throughout the 14th Street corridor.

Overall it was an amazing show. The first time I’d seen Fairey’s work was the Obama poster (which I love). I was lucky enough to have a friend give me the Obama poster when they returned from the Democratic Convention in Denver.

If you live in the DC area make sure you stop by the Martin Irving Gallery to this show; it’s amazing. They are located at 1412 14th Street NW, Washington DC 202-332-8767.

Note- there are several great blog posts about this show and Shepard Fairey as well.  checkout Adventrues of Hoogrrl.

Update on Duane Keiser’s Oddment Blog

Krispy Kreme by Duane Keiser, 60x60" Oil

Krispy Kreme by Duane Keiser, 60x60

Artist Duane Keiser seems to enjoy working with extremes. Sometimes he will render a krispye kreme doughnut or other edible snack in his standard Painting a Day (PAD) postcard size of 3″x5″ and sometimes, well he gets a tad bit carried away.

Note: In case you didn’t know a Krispy Kreme doughnut is a glazed doughnut and slice of nirvana for the uninitiated.

I love this picture for several reasons beyond the painting itself, I love that fact that you can see that the doughnut was painted from life since a doughnut is off to the side on the lid of it’s white box. Duane told me that this painting sold the first day he posted it to his blog. It made me very happy for whomever was lucky enough to own this wonderful piece of art.

Garlic Oddment, By Duane Keiser

Garlic Oddment, By Duane Keiser

Ok, so for the update. Duane loves working very large and very small. For most folks, working in a 3×5″format would be small enough, but Duane also enjoys working even smaller.For the tiniest of paintings he created a new blog/website called A Thousand Small Paintings and he’s added a twist to his business model. At least for the first 1-50 oddments he’s mixed up the rules.

In the past, if you were the first person to email Duane stating that you wanted to buy an oddment (I always chose the elegant subject line, “Gimme”) it was yours. Now Duane has added two ways to buy the oddments. You can either take a chance on being first in line, or his ‘crackerjack’ method where you reserve a number and once it’s finished it is popped in the mail to you.

This is the explanation from his site.


There are two ways to purchase an oddment:

1.) the first-come-first-served way: be the first to email me when an oddment you want is posted (simply place the number in the subject line of your email.)

2.) the “Cracker Jack” way: if you like surprises, buy a painting that is yet to be painted. For example– email me to buy a number, say, 42. Painting number 42, once completed (and whatever it may be) will one day show up on your doorstep (for the time being this is limited to 1 thru 50.)

A red dot in the lower left of an image on my blog, or a red number in the archives, means the painting is sold.

Each oddment is painted on Belgian linen mounted on 3/8″ natural fiber board and are about 3″ x 2.5.”

They are currently $150 each.

Click here to see the archives and available numbers.

Pussy Willow, by Duane Keiser

Pussy Willow, by Duane Keiser

Now I love the idea of the element of surprise that is involved. Of course there are risks, if you hate paintings of bugs and say a cicada caught his eye when your number you may have a jewel of a painting on a subject you don’t care for. If you are a person who is risk intolerant recommend you stick with the tried and true method of waiting for one to post.

If you are a person who loves surprises or who has tried in vain to win an oddment than the crackerjack method is for you!

If you’re wondering, “So what?” or “What’s the big deal” please take a look at the oddment painting of the garlic clove. I own it and it is a jewel. I have a fairly wide-ranging collection of art (most are smaller pieces under 12×12″) but when someone new comes into my living room 9 times out of 10 that is the first painting they gravitate towards. It’s that beautiful.

The painting on the left was not sold as an oddment, it was completed as part of “the Found” project that Duane experimented with last year. I posted it so that you could could see how well he works in a small scale format.

Duane Keiser’s Newest Blog

Marble 9 - 3

Marble 9 - 3, by Duane Keiser

I had to debate a bit about posting this, because, well I am a greedy gus. Simply put I want them all. If you’ve seen his work, I am sure you understand.

Duane Keiser has started a separate blog called A Thousand Small Paintings, which he now uses to link and sell his small works that he calls ‘oddments.’ Duane’s oddments usually measure 3″x2.5″ (7.6x 6.4cm) but can be a tad longer depending on the subject he is painting. The oddments sell for $150. each (plus shipping) and you can pay for them directly through the site using your paypal account. Very convenient.

I have several of his lovely oddments, one from his studio cam project (Rose in vase) and one that was a gift (Garlic Clove).

I look forward to this newest venture and wish those of you who are looking to buy an oddment the best of luck towards buying one of these. Happy hunting.

And now, for a complete change of topic. I found this highlighted at the wordpress main screen. I think it seems like an interesting commentary on Ms. Palin. For those not in the United States, Sarah Palin is the Republican Vice Presidential candidate. I believe the aurthor of the blog post did her best to be fair but she had some pretty strong feelings about Ms. Palin.

Peanut Butter and Jelly

PB&J 12 by Duane Keiser

PB&J 12 by Duane Keiser


In Amercia a favorite sandwich for both children, adults and now artists is a  peanut butter and Jelly sandwich.  

I love artist Duane Keiser’s work especially his paintings of mundane food.  I have a number of his egg paintings and drool over his paintings of raspberries, kisses, and PB&Js.  Hi current work for sale at his eBay store is a great painting of a PB&J sandwich.  Even funnier is the name of the movie he shot of him making the painting, it was initially titled, “How to Make a PB&J” (it’s now titled PB&J(v2).