Crazy for Books

December 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

I think books are pretty marvelous things, and that anything that encourages reading, inspires creativity and ignites the imagination is also marvelous. And because it’s gift-giving time, just maybe you or someone you know will consider some of my works worth the giving! It’s been a joy to create them, and an even greater joy to watch them being appreciated. I hope they’ll make lots of people happy this holiday season… the little and the tall, the big or the small; there’s something for all to enjoy. 😉

With peace, love and magic – Patricia

4books-promo_red

Where?

All books can be found at http://amazon.com/author/patriciasaxton
Or individually:
52 Weeks of Peace: http://a.co/gNCy4sM
A Book of Fairies: http://a.co/0uir8Kg
Book of Dragons: http://a.co/hffGpIh
The Book of Mermaids: http://a.co/aE3IGC9
Magnetic Mermaid Dress-up: http://a.co/aw8h4u1
Related gifts: http://www.cafepress.com/saxtonboutique

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Tim Cantor: Amazing

June 17, 2016 § 2 Comments

Tim Cantor is ridiculously talented. (I’m pretty sure if you look up the word “amazing” in the dictionary, his picture would be there.) With a brand new exhibit (on both coasts) and a beautifully produced 333-page hard cover coffee-table book showcasing his extraordinary art and poignant writings, he’s a shining star and rightly so. (Oh, and did I mention that one of his paintings inspired an original dress design? I don’t recall who designed the dress – apologies! – but did have fun seeing it.)

Last night I had the opportunity to meet Tim and his incredibly sweet, gracious wife, Amy, at the opening of his show in SOHO at the AFA Gallery. Props to my friend Roxanne for the introduction, and thanks to the weather for making it a perfect evening to stroll through the city. Then, of course, was the phenomenal art, admired with a glass of champagne in hand.

And, there was a dragon! A marvelous dragon, and another point of connection between two artists finding a few moments amidst the flurry of an opening reception to chat about how our minds work and how we don’t really go to many art shows and never wanted to be influenced by other artists so kind of kept our heads down, eyes on the canvas, brushes ready for the whichever inspiration would win out over another. (I don’t think you realize missing other people “getting” that sort of thing until you stop working long enough to rub shoulders.)

Tim, though, unlike myself, has made his fine art into a hugely successful full-time endeavor – and with his mastery, it would be a crime if he didn’t.

His demeanor is gentle and genuine, and his work – even if you didn’t know that he’s considered an artistic “rock star”, or that his art was introduced into the permanent art collection of the White House at age 15, or that his paintings hang in numerous celebrities’ homes (Robert DeNiro, Robert Redford, for example), have been exhibited around the globe and garnered wildly impressive media recognition – is truly exceptional. Seeing his surreal pieces in living color in the relatively intimate, high-ceilinged well-lit space of AFA was a delight.

The exhibit is up all summer at 54 Greene Street New York, NY 10013. Details here.

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All art created in oils, © Tim Cantor. See more of Tim’s work at timcantor.com.

 

Sorry Cupid, I Have Plans with My Cat

February 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

Valentines’s Day isn’t for everyone, and Cupid doesn’t always hit his mark.

For some, yes, there’s devotion to the whispering of sweet nothings, and the worship of chocolate and roses. But for some it can feel more like a bitter pill than a joyful tonic.

Others may simply prefer to spend the day with their cats. (Yeah, I get that.)

Regardless of how one feels about it, Valentine’s Day has a long history celebrating perhaps the most important, and often misunderstood, human condition: love.  And love will not be ignored. Poets write about it, songs are sung, paintings are painted. Endlessly. From the beginning of time to its last breath.

Whether it’s romantic love, or family love or friendship love or self love, love is what matters most. I don’t mean the love-you-think-is-love that hurts. Or the heartbreaks or the losses. I mean the fact that love heals, love lifts, love binds, love seeds and nourishes and shines a light; love enhances, love honors. It’s the root of all good that ever was or will be.

So spend the day however you like; just try to do everything, big or small, with a spirit of love. Your heart will be glad.

And while you’re at it, here are some classic paintings you and your cat can enjoy. Happy Valentine’s Day. ❤

1. Dance in the Country PierreAuguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919) 1883 oil on canvas *Paris, Musée d’Orsay. *Photograph © Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, NY. *Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Dance in the Country / Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1883

 

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The Kiss / Gustav Klimt, 1909

 

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Cupid and Psyche as Children / William Adolphe Bouguereau, 1889

 

The Fisherman and the Syren / Frederic Leighton, 1858

 

El_Beso_(Pinacoteca_de_Brera,_Milán,_1859)

The Kiss / Francesco Hayez, 1859

 

Noon - Rest from Work (after Millet) / Vincent van Gogh / 1890

Noon – Rest from Work (after Millet) / Vincent van Gogh, 1890

Patience and Process: Part II

February 6, 2016 § Leave a comment

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The beauty of oil paints is not only the way they flow and breathe; the way they can bend and curve to your brush ‘s command like spreading soft butter or icing a cake; it’s also their longevity. A tube of good oils can last years and years and years, and I love that you can “wake up” a painting after a month or a year, the paint still pliable.

The un-beauty of their longevity is that the caps may become stubborn as a mule, or a little dog who doesn’t want to go for a walk. They won’t budge. And if you did a really lame job of replacing the cap, the paint inside will harden, which definitely isn’t conducive to a good experience.

Of course, if you’re a tidy painter who takes precise care of their tools, such as deliberately cleaning off any paint residue from the top of the tube before putting the cap neatly back on, this may not happen to you. But I’m not a tidy painter. This is kind of in opposition to my general character (a topic that could easily lead me to talk of astrological signs, but I’ll spare you…); nevertheless, it’s true.

And so, when I sit down to twist open the first glorious tube of Titanium White, the cap doesn’t cooperate. I then have to resort to using pliers and muscle, or if they fail, I’ll use fire. (First time I used fire I was pretty nervous. But it does work, briefly heating with a match just around the bottom edge of the cap. Still, don’t take my word for it, please. There are all kinds of remedies, so read up first if you find yourself with a stuck cap. And by the way, I’ve heard that running a little vaseline around the rim before replacing the cap does wonders.)

If it’s irretrievably old and crusty, the last resort would be to buy a new tube. Because of my Scottish blood and a father who taught us, perhaps too well, about re-using and making things last for eons, I’m loathe to buy unless necessary.

Luckily, today, pliers did the job. And once I’d gone out for new turpentine – which I unexpectedly did need (ugh) – I was now, finally, ready to dip the brush and slather some paint on a couple of ever-patient canvasses.

It was so much easier when everything was all “set and ready.” All the stop and go and stop and twist takes away some of the vibe. The good news is, I’m on course again.

So. Patience. Process. Progress.

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Patience and Process

January 31, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Everything’s got a process. The seasons, falling in love, solving a problem, making a meal, setting sail, etc.

So, too, with art.

With design, it’s largely a mental process. One word, one image, one “sense” can set off a cascade of ideas for the mind to siphon and distill, then execute with the clean tools of my Mac. (Not like the old days of things like rubber cement, and amber sheets for separating color, which I readily admit not missing at all.)

With illustration, it’s both a mental and physical process – lining up my tools, making physical sketches, conjuring ways to illustratively express different concepts and then execute, still, for me, primarily by hand.

With painting, it’s almost purely a physical process – brushes, paints, canvasses – along with a great deal of heart. There’s not a whole lot of “figuring” things out. The act of painting takes the lead, as opposed to the mind taking the lead.

And then, sometimes, the process – any process – gets clogged. There’s a setback. Things happen – often things that are out of our control (although, most of life is [out of our control], despite what we might like to think… but that’s another talk, for another time.); acts of God and so forth.

A few years back there was a huge flood in my studio. Took a few months to get my design and drawing stations in workable shape, which was key. Next would come the painting area. But time went by, and went by. The task was daunting, and I was busy writing and illustrating Dragons* in between client work.

Still, the canvasses whispered. Then they called. Then they shouted.

Finally, with some help, I cleared the space enough to feel I could answer their longing, incessant chatter, and right away felt better. Chomping at the bit, I would designate Saturday’s as painting day (other days were welcome, but this would be an agreed-to arrangement between me and paint). Yes! All was lining up.

So. On the appointed day, I clear off some last things from the table beside easel #1, clean it like new (a little lemon oil does wonders), grab a favorite old oversized shirt, a paint rag and one of the many not-so-patiently waiting images already engraved in my mind’s eye.

Just a few more things moved aside uncovers my marvelous palette, which I see, to my imminent dismay, is loaded high with caked on paint remnants. I decide it’s a work of art in and of itself – but will not do for squeezing fresh paints over all its hills and dales, nor sweeping a brush through assorted nooks and crannies.

And thus ended my first day of renewed painting. The mood cut short by a crusty old palette, and the need for a new one.

Initially frustrated, I soon realize it’s just part of the process. Making ready, preparing the space. There’s a ritual to it – shirt or apron, rags, the gathering and oozing of colors, the first strokes of the brush – and I hadn’t yet gotten to the place I’d been before, where ritual flows, all “set and ready” for when the spirit moves and chunks of time move with it.

Patience child, you’re almost there. Trust the process.

In the meantime, even more inspiration was uncovered by my delightfully messy palette (especially the underside – who knew?!) – just in case I needed any more. 😉

saxton palette / topside

saxton palette / topside

saxton palette / underside

saxton palette / underside

 

* Side note: “Book of Dragons” is officially almost here. I have my advance copy in hand! The rest will arrive …. soon, and you’ll be among the first to know.

Twelve Months of Flowers

December 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

If only it were true. Unless you count holly berries, there’s really not much in the way of floral color in northeast winter months.

But “Twelve Months of Flowers” can be had via art prints, from the series published in 1730 by renowned British horticulturist and author Robert Furber. Mr. Furber’s name is highly attributed to these exquisite prints, and while I’m grateful that he had the insight, substantial research and knowledge (and, no doubt, the funds) to produce the collection, I’m mostly interested in the artistry.

We had two of these prints hanging in our dining room during my growing-up years – one May, one November, the months of my parent’s birthdays. Admired by all, they adorned a modest space with a rich, subtle elegance, (and now that I think of it, may have had an influence on my own interest in drawing things botanical) ~ but in all those years, while we probably did, I don’t remember talking about the artist. Regardless, for some reason they lodged in my mind’s eye today ~ so I went looking.

First of all, they are hand-colored engravings, produced by English engraver Henry Fletcher from paintings of Flemish-born artist Pieter Casteels . (They also produced an equally stunning second series, Twelve Months of Fruits.) Each work is a glorious detail of plants in seasonal bloom, with each plant numbered, and, at the time, a list of the corresponding names. More than 400 plant species were featured. This was no small project.

And so a few centuries later, I thank them ~ all three of them: Furber, Fletcher and Casteels ~ for their fine, luscious collaboration of study, talent and skill. They are so beautiful, I might even venture to call them a labor of love. But that’s what art is.

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Art and Tragedy: 11 Art Works from 9/11

November 19, 2015 § 7 Comments

Recent global events have been a harsh reminder of the savagery that exists in our world and how that brutality can, and does, infiltrate our daily lives. It is far-reaching and unfathomable; its senseless wreaking of horror and devastation is wearisome.

Our hearts ache, we mourn deeply. We are sickened. And yet, we have no choice but to carry on with our lives – life, by nature, urges life – and for us mere mortals, our battle cry might even be to “carry on”, to refuse to live in a state of fear. But we really don’t stop grieving for today’s, yesterday’s, or any tomorrow’s that may carry this awful weight of sorrow, anger and frustration.

And we don’t forget. It’s like a hard line drawn in time: Before and After. Here at home, every time an act of terror succeeds in killing, events from 9/11 come roaring back into our minds, like an unwanted but necessarily indelible imprint.

As such, I’m also reminded how the artists of our time process these events – and I’m particularly reminded of the 9/11 ten-year-anniversay retrospective exhibit I was honored to share with some remarkable artists on September 11, 2011; each artist contributing their awareness of the time as well as contributing to a broader, long-term healing.

Some of the art lifts us, inspires us. Some carries deep symbolism. Some fearlessly ensures we don’t forget. Some recounts and catalogues. Some of the artists are quite well-known, some are not. All are gifted statements and expressions from the heart.

A friend recently suggested I post some of that art again. I can’t say exactly why, but it seemed a good idea. I chose 11 pieces, simply because the number feels right, to honor the artists, and in some way the victims, and all who care to make a difference in this world of ours. (For all artists’ works from the 9/11 retrospective and full descriptions, you can view the online catalogue, here,).

And I say yet another prayer. That good wins. That love wins.

richard

 

joel

 

carole

 

duda

 

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patricia

 

ultra

 

milton

 

nemat

 

yoko

 

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Twelve Months of Flowers

February 20, 2015 § 4 Comments

If only it were true. Unless you count holly berries, there’s really not much in the way of floral color during northeastern winter months.

But “Twelve Months of Flowers” can be had via art prints, from the series published in 1730 by renowned British horticulturist and author Robert Furber. Mr. Furber’s name is the one most highly attributed to these exquisite prints, and while I’m grateful that he provided the insight, substantial research and knowledge (and, no doubt, the funds) to produce the collection, I’m mostly interested in the artistry.

Two of these prints hung in our dining room during my growing-up years – one May, one November, the months of my parent’s birthdays. Much admired, they gave a rich, subtle elegance to a modest space (and now that I think of it, may have influenced my own interest in drawing things botanical) ~ but in all those years, strangely, I don’t remember talking about the artist. So I went looking.

I discovered that the meticulously hand-colored engravings were created by English engraver Henry Fletcher, based on the paintings of Flemish-born artist Pieter Casteels, and that Twelve Months of Flowers was originally produced as a gardening guide in catalogue format and sold by subscription. (They also produced an equally stunning second series, Twelve Months of Fruits.) The images were aimed at wealthy landowners interested in growing plants for beauty more than functionality.

Each work is a glorious detail of plants in seasonal bloom, with each plant numbered, and, at the time, a list of the corresponding names. More than 400 plant species were featured. This was no small project. Huge talent. Enormous dedication to both botany and craft.

And so, a few centuries later, I thank them the three of them: Furber, Fletcher and Casteels ~ for their luscious collaboration of study, talent and skill. They are so beautiful, I would even venture to call them a labor of love. But that’s what art is.

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Fun With Apples

October 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

Fruits may very well be one of the most universally painted subjects. Fruits, flowers, landscapes, portraits – all very classic.  But fruits in particular, ah … they’re full of delicious secrets, hidden like magic beneath their splendid curves, their dappled, imperfect skins protecting succulent juices dripping with nutrients, new life at their very core. They are marvels. God’s candy. Delivered fresh every season. And to the artist’s eye, something entirely pleasing, century after century.

For me, it’s always been pears and apples. Grapes are nice. Peaches, too. But apples and pears are my favorites. So I delighted in some apple-picking last weekend, and pulling out my handy-dandy iPhone for some on-the-spot shots. And since I’m now an expert, I share with you how to have fun with apples:

First, you go to the farm and walk to the apple orchards. You see your favorite variety (SunCrisps), and just because it’s a beautiful day, stop and take a few pictures. Then you start picking.

Next you take a selfie with your daughter (< insert your own favorite person) (well, she takes the selfie); pick a few more apples, put ’em in the basket, take ’em home.

Then you notice the afternoon sun streaming in lovely ribbons through the kitchen window, grab your camera and shoot a few  more shots of your freshly picked produce. Added bonus: you get to eat your prize. All in all, a pretty sweet way to spend an October day. Costs little, inspires much.

But it didn’t end there, because I thought I’d share some apple art into the mix here too. for a real apple fest. Enjoy! :  )

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Art Love

June 2, 2014 § 1 Comment

Just a quick post to say I fell in love the other day. With another artist. More precisely, with his work. Yes, he was also charming and handsome, but it was his work that first caught my eye.

It happened at a recent “Mansion in May” event ~ where the rooms of old, immensely grand homes (usually no longer occupied) are dressed to the nines by a select slew of interior designers who are no doubt thrilled to have this kind of opportunity to showcase their work.

Andrew’s artwork was the first thing you saw when entering the lavish entranceway ~ and I have to say that after having visited room after room, eventually winding my way to the outdoor gardens and broad, beautiful views, his work had already stolen the show for me.

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I adore how he juxtaposed the old and new in his entranceway ceiling mural. Just brilliant. But he really took my heart away when I saw the monkeys in the study.

With all the fuss going on in so many of the rooms (granted, the designers, understandably, want to show off as much as they can during these rare and well-attended events ~ and what an extravagant, rich setting – a designer’s dream! ~ but more often than not it was way over the top for my taste ~ “less is more” was clearly not the overriding theme), his monkey paintings delightfully brightened the space with the right touch of unexpected whimsy.

And that was when I fell in love. It was all over. Hook, line and sinker.

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More of Andrew Tedesco’s outstanding work can be seen at http://www.andrewtedesco.com/ 

For more about the Mansion in May organization, visit http://www.mansioninmay.org

 

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