Tag Archives: Art

Reflecting the Differences

I started to name this image Dancing By the Light of the Moon because it felt free and magical. When I created this photograph, I used difference as one of my layer modes. The result was unplanned and I liked it immediately. If you walked along the riverside, you’d expect the image and its reflection to be the same colors.Experience teaches  that one would reproduce the other, just like in the mirror. Of course you have to wonder if our reflection is always just what we expect to see? Do we really look different than what we see in the mirror ? Perhaps our image to others is brighter and bolder than we think. What a welcome surprise!


This collage speaks to what drives a musician to compose or play. The elements are classic: love, demands, desire to please or to play two lives. For each artist the challenges differ. Some are life-changing, others not so extreme. But each decision feeds our art and the story of our lives. Sometimes the little choices may have the most far-reaching effects and of course, we never realize it at that moment. For some , passion feeds the soul to create; for others,  it may be loss. Each step creates a path that is original and instinctive to us. We can trace our steps back but never reach the same point in time. (Unless you are an Einsteinian physicist  who has figured it all out.) Moving forward is how we grow and survive.

Portrait of an Artist

Looking at this photo, you’d automatically respond – artist. He’s French ( met him in Nice) and looks his part. Of course it’s a stereotype and often what we picture in our minds is how we think we must be, if we’re to be taken seriously.Wear the smock, dress in wild colors or layers of layers, drink, smoke and party until a new day begins.I’m not sure that makes one an artist. Is it a matter of dress or demeanor?  A suitcase full of fears or the ability to live with abandon? Is an artist the one who markets himself well? ( I must admit I did buy a watercolor from this man, but it really was fine!) Or is the artist the one who can look at the world in a unique way? Someone who can create something out of little? One who can hear music where there is a breeze and see art when there is shadow? Is there one right answer? Most likely , it’s a crazy quilt combination of attitudes and characteristics unique and shared that creates an artist. Just take a look in your mirror and you’ll see for yourself!

Sometimes I Get Carried Away

This photo collage began as a moody shot of old church remains from outside Savannah, Georgia. While fine on its own, it appeared to need a gothic/romantic element, so I added a ghost.I knew she was there , but to the casual observer ( I used my husband as the guinea pig) , she wasn’t noticeable.  The shoe came next, probably too Cinderella, but I pictured an outdoor ball on a dark evening, so of course we needed light. A few filters later and I was done or should I say overdone? That is the question.

Paint by Numbers and Green Goddess Dressing


     Entering  the Lovin’ Spoonful Cafe in Clarksville, TN, I stand speechless (and that doesn’t happen often!). Transported back to my childhood and the smell of oil paint in our New York apartment , I can see my dad carefully  painting by numbers. There’s the old mill, a German Shepherd, and the Asian farmer hanging proudly on the walls and surrounded by hundreds of others.I can’t wait to explore , but given that it’s past lunch time , the tempting aromas lead us to sit at a table presided over by a fifties Blackamoor lamp. Other tables sported fifties and sixties pieces of Tupperware and kitsch.

The menu is an eclectic mix of comfort food and current trends.Green Goddess dressing for my salad and a chicken asparagus casserole make time travel possible. While waiting for the food, I rush to emptying tables to examine and shoot photos of the paintings. My friend and I reminisce over which ones we remember.

The food was wonderful and I was tempted by a dessert that described itself as having a 60’s secret sauce, but I was more curious about the paintings. Having adopted Memphis as home for the past years, I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t an Elvis paint by number displayed . After searching, I eventually found it.

As we left, I realized I knew next to nothing about paint by number paintings and needed to learn more. Dave Robbins is credited with creating Paint by Numbers kits for a toy show in 1951. In an interview with Egg on PBS, Robbins said the idea came from a process used by Leonardo Da Vinci to help his students develop their design skills and to complete large paintings. Robbins never expected the idea to become a cultural icon – so much so,  that in 2001-02, the Smithsonian Museum of American History held an exhibit of paint by number paintings. Dave Robbins also didn’t expect the controversy that arose as to whether the kits were art or craft. Packaged and presented as craft, affordable to a large segment of the public, people did see them as their masterpieces. He also was surprised that the Last Supper was the overall biggest seller. There was more than one at the restaurant.

The paintings have regained popularity today with collectors and artists. There is a Paint By Numbers Online Museum at which you can view, search or learn more about the paintings.I came across an Alice and the Mad Hatter painting at an antique mall and was able to determine the date and manufacturer.

Artists have  also used the paintings for inspiration or as part of  new creative work. One such artist is Trey Speegle. His collection is large and there is an interview available with him as well.

In case you want to create your own pieces, a blog, Under the Sycamore Tree , offers a DIY tutorial on how to change old Goodwill prints into paint by number type art. Using acrylic paints , it will certainly smell better. and looks like fun. If you want no mess, there are several APPS, one is Fingerpaint by Number for iPhone and iPad. I found the iPad version easier to manipulate.

It’s amazing how  now I am seeing Paint by Number pieces almost everywhere I turn. I learned that the Alice is much less expensive on Ebay, only $ 5.00, but that the Asian Farmer is $115.00.  Maybe I should start a collection?

By the way, the Green Goddess dressing dates back to 1923  in San Francisco and the Palace Hotel. The chef created it to honor an actor, George Arliss, who was starring in a production of  The Green Goddess.

Links:www.Lovinspoonfulcafe.com ( great restaurant in Clarksville, TN)
EGG – the Arts Show – http://www.pbs.org/wnet/egg/229/paint/interview.html      ( interview with Dan Robbins and Trey Speegle)
http://www.paintbynumbermuseum.com          ( great to browse)
http://www.treyspeegle.com                                    (artist using paint by number in his work)
americanhistory.si.edu/paint/introduction.html  (Smithsonian exhibit info)

%d bloggers like this: