As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -- Calvin and Hobbes

Thursday, October 29, 2009

From Water to Oil; the process of talent

Title: Betty in the Botanical Garden (sold)

Painter number 4 is Valerie Chitvanni, who's name is pronounced (kit-vah-ni). She is a funny, warm-hearted, multi-media painter (and Grandmother!)

Valerie is a member of the Southern Watercolor Society, and you may see her work on their website. It would be an understatement to say she knows her watercolors, but wow, she really knows her watercolors! Remarkable manipulation of paper and pigment! Valerie's love of plein air is only part of her talent. She also paints in oils and in the studio, even acrylics.

Here's a piece that Valerie is painting in oil. It's began with a plein air watercolor to get the composition and now she is working the oil. I know this pic is a bit small, but if you want to see the transition from on site watercolor to grand oil painting, Read Valerie's blog!

For more information on the Southern Watercolor Society and to join, visit their website:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why Jessica really Cooks!!!

Above: Shirt; Oil on canvas, by Jessica Cook

My third randomly chosen artist from the weekend workshop adventure is Jessica Cook, a fresh-styled, smart talent who seems to be quite comfortable working in oil as well as watercolor. I gave up oils 15 years ago in favor of acrylics, because I like to wash my brushes in water, and seriously, that's the only reason. Acrylics were hard to learn as an oil painter, because they dry so fast. But, I can tell you that learning watercolor is a task unlike any other and the good ones make it seem so easy! Jessica has quite a number of watercolor figure portraits in her portfolio, and what I find so wonderful about her figures is the abstract ephemera surrounding their faces.

Abstract work is very impressive to me. You, as an artist or even observer, might assume that realism is the tough thing. We often think maybe they paint abstract because they don't know how to paint well. Lots of people paint abstract, but not that many do it really well!

I want to be lured in, and stay a while because of the blend of the colors and maybe the subtle or shocking changes in elevation of the piece. Perhaps the bold contrasts that I just have to linger on as if I'm filling in the pixels in my imagination to come up with some kind of story behind the liberal brush strokes...and, I want to go back and see it again, because the memory isn't enough! ..that's when you've pulled it off well. Even though Jessica has a separate section for abstract, I found the abstract quality of the figure drawings to be most alluring!
Above: Artemis; watercolor and gouache on paper

I think Jessica has a great future, and I can't wait to see where she goes with all that talent!
To see Jessica's complete portfolio, visit her website today!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Talent in the family

Here is a piece by another of the great artists I met on Saturday, Susie Burch!

She work in various media and has numerous pieces on glass windows in her portfolio as well as many amazing oils like this one! Susie told me her husband works in clay and likes to make pottery. I can't wait to see his work! Sounds like a lot of playtime at their house!

At our home, we are always playing, too! The amount of art supplies here is impressive. We really could run a small school out of our home, if only we had enough room for one! Right now, I really only have room for one-on-one sessions in my studio, maybe one-on-two. I will just keep imaging that perfect studio...ahhh!!

And now for something completely different...

A bit of time this coming week will be spent helping the Etsy shop of some new girlfriends I met about a month ago. A group of talented young women who are thinking way beyond what many of us perceive to be disabilities (such as down syndrome). They are painters, jewelry designers, crafters and more! What's even more important is that these remarkable ladies, guided by their incredible Mom Natalie, contribute to the community in numerous and generous ways. I'll be helping them post really great pictures and a pretty new banner! To purchase an item made by one of the girls, visit their Etsy shop: Its My Life - From Disability to Independence!

For more on Susie Burch, visit her website and drool!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

A day with crazy talent!

This painting is by a remarkable artist, Emory Daniel, one of 9 amazing people I met today! (Title: Abandoned) I will be posting one painting every day from the other 8 for the next week!

Today was a great day! I spent it the company of some fine people and talented artists at the Atlanta Artist's Center, sharing my online experiences with them, hopeful that they'll take the information and be wildly successful!

We played on our laptops, exploring the net, photo manipulation, blogging and selling online, only there was an entire day's course on the subjects of pictures and blogging alone. I regret to say we didn't even get to selling. That will be part deux. You can't absorb too much information in one sitting anyway, so they will be darn good bloggers before we meet again for the next info assault!

Thank you to all the new bloggers for a great day! I'm really looking forward to seeing your amazing work and reading your stories!

Atlanta is a great city for art and music! If you live in the neighborhood, come by the gallery! It's nestled between the trees on Grandview Avenue near Pharr Road in the heart of Buckhead. The AAC as it is lovingly referred to by it's more than 400 members (I wanna say it's up to 600 now), has been around for 55 years, making it the city's oldest continuing artists organization. Have dinner right next door at Basil's or across the street at Anise and hit the gallery on the way back to the car on First Thursday!

or more information:


2979 Grandview Avenue

Atlanta, GA 30305

(404) 237-2324

Gallery Hours:

Tuesday-Thursday 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Friday 10-4 PM and FIRST FRIDAY ONLY: Friday Evening 6:30 -10:30 PM

Saturday 10:00 AM -4:00 PM


Friday, October 16, 2009

Leo, anonymity, pride and bowling

I heard that they discovered a new Da Vinci...his fingerprint is on it, so that is gonna be hard to dispute. But, he didn't sign the thing. Here's the painting, a chalk, ink and pencil drawing. It is known as "La Bella Principessa".
Artists don't always sign their work, for various reasons. The guy that bought this on behalf of some other buyer, paid like $19,000, and it could be estimated at $150million! I wonder what commission he gets. All I can say is "Darn it! Now I really don't have a chance of finding the last Da Vinci" Everyone wants to find a gem, but it is pretty unlikely you'll find one at a yard sale, the only place I ever look.

Anyway, if someone asks me to do something I don't really want to do, then I probably wont sign it. I think Da Vinci didn't sign this one because it was just a study of some sort, maybe a commission, but obviously not very personal. There couldn't have been much money in painting mugshots back then. When you're a commercial artist, you paint for money, and do what the client asks for; you find yourself saying, "this is not mine." You might not even like it, so why sign it?

Also, it would be in obvious poor taste to sign something that you copied or wasn't your idea. The painting above is a complete hack job rip off, for example. And a lousy one at that! I have a book on acrylics, giving techniques from a number of painters on the subject. I thought I would attempt to follow some other painter's instruction and see if I could paint that way, since I will be teaching a little workshop in the Winter. It didn't work out so well, but hey, this blog is a documentary, isn't it? Naturally, I wont sign it. In fact, I think this one is going to Bill. (If you use a magnifying glass, Bill, there must be a weed in there somewhere.) He wont be happy that I am sending him my junky cheap ripoffs, but I am amused, and I think he would appreciate that at least.

Among advice I have received from some successful people over the years were a few key ideas that stuck with me: "Live long enough, do good work, and screw 'em if they can't take a joke!" So, with that in mind, do the first 2 publicly, and with the last, take liberties.

For the not so good work, don't sign it, and think of the great freedom that allows...You can now sell all the crap in your basement that wasn't good enough to sign, and no one will know you painted it! Or sign someone else's name! Get some extra cash and go bowling!

Monday, October 5, 2009

We're celebrating Fall - Southern style!

If you're online October 9-11th, you'll be in the area to visit the Georgia Etsy Street Team's Fall Sale! (search "all items" for GAetsyteam, or Itsfallyall).

Among the over one million handmade artisans who call Etsy home are some 300 here in Georgia, creating wonderful products with their Southern charm! Visit the Georgia Etsy Street Team members on Etsy to find clothing, handbags, Mommy products, kids stuff, home decor, bath and body, beauty, candles, custom blended tea, pet products, Georgia team sports items, accessories, jewelry, fused glass and stained glass, fiber goods and textiles, fine art and folk art and lots of other great products that my senile mind can't remember at the moment!

We have a few sales a year, but it's neat to have a whole team participate, because you just do one search and find thousands of great items from hundreds of crafters and artists! Now is a great time to begin your Christmas shopping experience! When you browse like this, you find all kinds of beautiful, irresistible goodies and oodles of practical ones too!, you often find things you will find no where else on earth! See, handmade is never mass produced, so each item is special and unique! Give yourself and your friends the gift of handmade!

Don't forget to visit Etsy this coming weekend and support one microcosm of handmade happiness! (I'll be there, too!)

P.s. This ad backdrop with the falling leaves was lovingly painted by Rebecca Salcedo (smellyrhinostudio) and the wicked graphics were layered by Maria Allen (Kartu Graphics)


List of Participating Shops:

Amber's Aromatherapy
Handmade soaps, lotions, lip balm, milk bath and custom blended teas
20% all orders

Amelia's Soap Co.
Handmade Soap Products
15% discount on soaps

April's Afghans
Afghans and other crocheted household items
Free U.S. shipping

Artistspirit - A Reflection of Mind
Glass fusion jewelry, plates and coasters
15% off any item

Beautiful Tree Huggers
Homemade all natural soap, lotion, etc.
Everything in the store 20% off

Be Inspired Designs
Scrabble Tile Pendant Jewelry & Accessories
Buy 2, Get 1 FREE plus FREE SHIPPING

(stuffed) animal skin loveys
Free U.S. shipping, $5 off shipping everywhere else!

Bug's Hugs
Unique handmade creations for anyone that could use a hug!
Free shipping (U.S. only) plus 10% off all orders

Cindy’s Too Cute Creations
Boutique Monograms and Personalized Gifts
25% off of all Embroidery Blanks!

Cocoa Dreams
Personalizable baby bibs, blankets, burp cloths and aprons
Free domestic shipping on everything in shop

Crafters Crossing
Handmade Swarovski crystal and wire jewelry
10% off merchandise orders totaling up to $99.99
15% off merchandise orders totaling $100 or over

The Crafty Coop
Handmade resin jewelry with glitter
All necklaces 20% off

embrodiery,dolls,quilted items
20% off section

Deb's Pane In The Glass
Anything Stained Glass from sun catchers, ceiling fan pull chains to business card holders and holiday items
Free USA and International Shipping!

Deuce Goods
Be original this Fall with one of a kind accessories & gifts
15% off All Hats and Scarves

Everyday May
toddler items and women's accessories
FREE shipping to U.S. on all items

Adorable Art for Children, Babies and Fun Grownups!
Free worldwide shipping, plus 10% off storewide -all refunded via paypal

Fluffy Flowers
cute Creatures & pretty Pouches
FREE shipping to ANYWHERE in the world

The Goddess Within You
Artisian Jewelry
Free shipping

Jenjie's Stuff
Beautiful and Fun Handmade Items
Free U.S. Shipping and 10% off all items

JoyAnna - all things beautiful
Purses, pillows, scrapbook covers, tissue holders etc
FREE SHIPPING within the Continental USA on everything in the shop.

Kartu Graphics
Designer of our fabulous sale graphic
15% OFF

K. Berlin Metalsmith
Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry - Precious Metals and gems
Free Shipping on All items

Madame Monogram
Personalized intems for Bridal, Baby, Child and Home
FREE pair of luggage tags with any purchase, a $12.00 value

Maria Luna
Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry and Fine Art Photography
15% OFF excluding items that are already on sale

mod momME
Accessories for mom and baby
10% off your total order. Use promo code "fallyall" Money refunded via PayPal.

Nicolita Love
Handmade and Vintage Jewelry and Accessories
Free Shipping on orders over $20 & Free Nola Brooch with purchase

Unique Handmade Jewelry
Buy one get second one half off (BoGo)Sale

Princess Ciarra Raye’s Designs
Jewelry for the little girl inside you
Free Shipping

The Print Duchess Studio
Custom Stationery & Personal and Promo Designs
20% off Rectangular Address Labels

Original Mixed Media Art
15% off everything!

Handmade Silk Scarves and Gifts
Sale Items 15% off with Free Shipping

Kids wear and more
Free shipping

Smelly Rhino Studio
Art with a little Humor! Original paintings and Prints
10% off and free shipping!

Sweet Pea Boutique
Colorful hairbows and clips for girls of all ages!
Buy any hairbow or clip set and get one HALF PRICE, with FREE SHIPPING for orders $10 and up

Worthy Soy Candles & Crochet
Soy Candles & Unique Crochet Creations
10% Off Everything!



Things to Ponder

Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches. -Andy Warhol

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
-Walt Disney
Follow smellyrhino on Twitter