Crystal Spear

Posts by Crystal Spear

I was raised in Wichita, KS and I have been drawing and painting as long as I can remember. I paint the interior of my house according to the season and could not imagine a world without colors. I am a writer, mother, and grandmother - My motto in life has always been "Any day you wake up is going to be a good day".

The Fallacy of Modern Art

When we call something to be modern art, what do we mean? What constitutes Modern Art these days?

Written by on August 16, 2012

The word “modern” is defined “pertaining to present or recent times”.  But what happens when Modern Art is no longer “present” or “recent”? To label the current period of art as Modern Art you should look to the forms and appearances of our modern realm and what art means to artist and the audiences in present time. Modern Art should be and is viewed as a swift and drastic art style with countless deviations.

Rothko - White and Black in BlueA different attitude towards art is arising from technology and society’s view of what is even considered art. In times past, artists were hired by only the wealthy and it was used as more of a status symbol by most. Now, art is art. It is acceptable to use art to express ourselves and show our inner feelings. What once might have been considered Abstract or Cubism is now being called Modern.  Artists are constantly looking for ways to provide an escape from reality. Abstract, Modern, Pop Art are all nothing new to the art world of course, but it has become more accepted in today’s world.

Feel Like You’re in a Dream? What Would Dali Do?

Everything is not as it seems - See the World through the Eyes of Salvador Dali.

Written by on July 11, 2012

The world around us is constructed in math, but have you ever felt that math slip away. That everything was not as it seemed. That people were watching people who watched people.

Dali - The Meditative RoseWelcome to the world of Salvador Dali, one of the most psychological pronounced painter in his artwork which depicted surrealism and the painting of all things. The art of Surrealism takes place in a dream world, and the painting of this was the surrealism movement, Salvador Dali was its leader. His art was said to be directly influenced by the Renaissance leaders themselves.

Dali was born on May 7, 1904 in the town of Figueres, Spain. Known for his “everything excessive, luxury and love of oriental clothes” style and his self-proclaimed “Arab lineage.” At a very young age, 5, Dali was taken to his brother’s grave and told that he was his older brothers reincarnation who had died nine months before Dali’s birth.

Salvador Dali can be found everywhere, his most prized art is kept original by the museums in Spain. Dali’s real name is Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech. Dali’s sister had published a novel in 1949. His sister was three years younger than he was, and Dali was expelled from the art academy in 1926 when he was accused of causing unrest.

In 1958 the “Meditative Rose”, much resembling a person in meditative state, but giving the viewer a rose to state that one is connected to the earth in the deepest of roots. Dali’s art was influenced by both religions and politicians; his artwork is at every major arts and crafts shop as examples of his line of art. Now we are influenced by this pillar of art that still has his reach in art years after his death.

So when everything seems hazy and in a dream, you might ask yourself… What would Dali do?

The answer, paint it.

Paris To Recognize the Art of Tim Burton

The Museum of Modern Art is holding an event celebrating the creation of Tim Burton. The event, which is held in Paris, places Tim Burton's work on the heights of echelons as an art form in and of itself.

Written by on July 10, 2012

Tim Burton has broken down barriers when it comes to creativity. His unique characters and settings have created a whirlwind of emotions in viewers of all ages. Burton’s work will be featured in Paris thanks to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) at the Cinémathèque Française where all can see how his work has evolved over the years and see into Burton’s twisted mind. The show will feature over 700 pieces of Burton’s work including the beginning drawings of now famous characters and will be on exhibit until Sunday, August 5th.

Paris Recognizes Tim Burton’s WorkBurton grew up in a suburban home in California, and from the time he was a young child he has always been interested in things that were a little abnormal. While other children were out playing, Burton was busy drawing robots and long-toothed monsters. Thanks to Burton’s ingenious mind, we now have well-known characters such as Jack Skellington, Sweeney Todd, Edward Scissor Hands, and many more unique and twisted individuals.

Inspiration came to Burton through a few different outlets. Some of his influences include Vincent Price, Edgar Allen Poe, and Walt Disney. Each of these influences used different Medias and methods, but still played a big part into how Burton used them to further his own career. Burton was able to combine these unique sources and use them as a canvas for his creative designs. While he did use many of these artists for inspiration, he also has a love for the classics. When he first began drawing his disturbing characters he looked back into the German Expressionism era. The disturbing images that were portrayed acted as a gateway to a darker world for the young Burton.

Tim Burton's Art influenced by Great MatersYou can notice similarities between Burton’s art and classical paintings by artists such as Vincent Van Gogh. In his famous work Starry Night , one can’t help but to notice the dark and mysterious feeling created. The scene portrayed is very similar to a lot of the settings that Burton has created in his own works. The Scream by Edvard Munch also looks very similar to Burton’s characters. The deformed screaming figure and eerie feeling given off by the setting is something that Burton is very familiar with.

MOMA is excited to show of the creative mind that is Tim Burton and allow viewers to dive into the beginnings of what made this director the creative monster he is today. Viewers also get to see the artwork that Burton has created over the years and see the unique side to his beloved stories that we have all come to know and love.

Art Lovers’ Around-the-World Summer Tour

A short and non-comprehensive rundown of countries to visit and enjoy world-class art museums featuring breathtaking artworks.

Written by on July 6, 2012

In the U.S., summer vacation travelers hit the road with kids in tow, driving locally in search of the perfect day trip or longer distances to take in what the country has to offer. For more adventurous souls, families will board flights and take to the skies, travelling domestically or internationally.

As art lovers, we love combining our vacation time with a chance to step into a local art museum and take a glimpse into a famous masterpiece. If you intend on going beyond the borders of the U.S., don’t miss the opportunity to visit a world-class museum in route.

Here is a short list of countries and places any art lover should take the time and visit.

Louvre Paris FranceFrance: The best time to visit France is during the summer months. From Paris to Brittany, from Provence to the French Riviera, there is something for everyone in France. Several museums call France home, most especially The Louvre in Paris. It’s one of the world’s largest museums and the most visited art museum in the world with hundreds of the greatest masterpieces exhibited. One of the world’s most famous, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, is perhaps the highlight of the museum visit. Also at the Louvre: da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks, as well as works by Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio… the list is enormous – and priceless. At the Musée d’Orsay also in Paris, many other famous paintings reside.  Cezanne’s The Hanged Man’s House, The Card Players, The Blue Vase and many of his other works hang there.  Also: several paintings by Edgar Degas, including his The Ballet Class and the Ballet Rehearsal, as well as Paul Gaugin, and a plethora of works by Claude Monet all hang here. Of course, upon visiting France, one must visit Monet’s Giverny!

From France, it’s a quick Chunnel ride over to England…

United Kingdom: Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh hangs in the National Gallery; Salvador Dali’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus at the Tate Modern Museum, and many other artists hang in the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as other museums throughout the United Kingdom – especially in this year of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. (See previous post:  London – Art Gets the Royal Treatment for a robust rundown).

Italy: The Eternal City of Rome is also one of the dedicated art lover destinations on the Top 5 list.  History and art is everywhere. One can’t walk a step without being immersed in the ghosts of da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Caravaggio.  From frescoes to sculptures, from painted ceilings to paintings, Rome is steeped in perhaps the richest art history in the world. The Vatican Museums boasts the most masterpieces, whether painted or sculpted (The Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatican Museums), and the Borghese Gallery, although not the largest museum, possesses many works by Caravaggio. And, of course, churches and chapels also hold some of the world’s richest treasures as well, such as Michelangelo’s Pieta inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list of countries to visit rich in art, just a jumpstart on planning. Spain, Greece, The Netherlands, Germany all rank high for art lover summer destinations!

Color Blocking Fashion and Mark Rothko

The illuminating color bands of Mark Rothko recent popularity to coincide with current Color Blocking fashion trend.

Written by on July 3, 2012

The color blocking craze dominated runways last year, spilling over into 2012 and taking center stage in fashion, furniture and flower designs in the Spring. Color Blacking is virtually everywhere this Summer! Bright colors bordering on neon are all the rage in fashion and in furniture, with softer shades of color blocks dominating weddings, as well as other home accents and décor.

Why the focus?  For some in the fashion and furniture world, it harkens back to the 50s and 60s, with a decidedly “mod” focus.  But even then, like so many fashion trends, designers drew inspiration from art.  For example, in 1965, French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent was influenced by artist Piet Mondrian’s color block paintings. Mondrian’s Composition With Red, Blue and Yellow was the inspiration’s for Laurent’s famously unique wool jersey color block dress.

Dresses, handbags, shoes, jackets are all getting the color block treatment, along with a DIY component. Because of the dominance of tangerine as color of the year, blocking uses shades of orange as the driving base, stacked with neutrals and creams primarily, but also along with other “hot” shades (pinks and reds).

For home furnishings, color blocking is rampant in shelving and bookcases, with clocks a bold blocking statement for the walls.

But no artist does color blocking as painter Mark Rothko. His vibrant shades of oranges, reds and yellows are some of the most recognized in the world of art. His work was a key contribution to the abstract expressionist style in America during the late 1940s and early 1950s.  Although instantly recognizable, Rothko’s paintings are not chunky blocks of color. His works contain subtle gradations and hues, seamlessly transitioning from one hue into the next.  With blurry edges, many of these paintings are reminiscent of torn pages, softly tattered around the edges with layers of rainbows.

Perhaps the color blocking craze has also influenced art lovers.  Last month at Christie’s contemporary art evening sale/auction, Mark Rothko’s  “Orange, Red, Yellow”  work from 1961 sold for a record-breaking $87 million dollars.  The work, measuring nearly 8 feet by 7 feet, beat the previous record for a Rothko — set at Sotheby’s in 2007 by philanthropist David Rockfeller’s “White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose),” from 1950 — by more than $15 million. Christie’s acquired a dearth of contemporary art from the estate of David Pincus, the Philadelphia clothing manufacturer, who died in December, and his wife, Geraldine.

Currently, works by Mark Rothko hang can be seen at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, at the MOMA in New York City, at the Whitney in New York City, the Whatever color blocks desired for the home, Rothko is an inspiration, from his dominant Oranges, Reds and Yellows, to his blocks of cooler hues of Blues, Blacks and Rusts. Guggenheim in New York City with his Untitled (Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red) 1949, the Menil Collection in Houston Texas, the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art)  in Los Angeles, and the Rothko Chapel (built by the Menils) in Houston. The Rothko Chapel is a non-denominational chapel which also serves as a major work of modern art. The walls are fourteen black-hued paintings by Rothko – and since September 2000, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Artistic Visions as Venus Transits Across the Face of the Sun

Art reflection on the rare heavenly phenomenon involving the transit of the planet Venus across the face of the Sun.

Written by on June 25, 2012

On June 5th, an event occurred that won’t happen again for more than a century – 105 years, to be exact! If you were lucky enough to have witnessed it… congratulations! For those who did not, you may be wondering what “it” was. What was the event? The transit of the planet Venus across the face of the Sun.

This celestial spectacle is so rare, that schools, museums and astronomy clubs had Venus viewing parties!  It all began late Tuesday afternoon in the Western Hemisphere (Wednesday morning in the Eastern Hemisphere), as Venus appeared as a small black dot floating across the surface of our Sun.

Botticelli - Birth of VenusThis unique event, a phenomenon called the “transit of Venus,” had both Earth-bound observers as well as astronauts aboard the International Space Station transfixed.

Following a solar eclipse protocol, viewers could not stare directly at the sun, donning protective glasses (solar eclipse glasses which, for future reference, can be purchased at a local museum or online), looking through telescopes outfitted with special filters (at observatories and museums at the aforementioned view parties), wearing welder’s glasses (number 14 or darker), looking through a homemade cardboard pinhole projector or watching online via NASA’s broadcast , or one of several which broadcasted live.

This heavenly phenomenon lasted 6 hours and 40 minutes and was visible from the western Pacific, eastern Asia and eastern Australia.  For stargazers and skywatchers across the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the northern part of South America, the beginning of the transit could be seen before the sun set on Tuesday, beginning around 6pm EDT.  The end of the event could be seen in Europe, western and central Asia, eastern Africa and western Australia after sunrise on Wednesday morning.  The best viewing spot?  Hawaii. Across the islands, it was one of the prime viewing spots, since the complete transit was visible!

But one had to know where to look, as there was no change to the sky, no change in brightness. Just a small freckle on the face of the Sun.

The transit of the planet Venus across the face of the SunVenus transits come in pairs. The last time this transit occurred was June 8, 2004.  After this week’s event? Not in our lifetime. The next pair occurs in 2117 and 2125!  Lovers of the night sky who missed this unique show will be disappointed.  Prior to Tuesday’s sky spectacle, only six have been observed since German astronomer Johannes Kepler first predicted it in the 17th century (the 1600s). This week’s made it only the seventh observed transit of Venus.

The night sky has always been a source of wonder and amazement, as mere mortals observed celestial occurrences with awe – and a sign from the gods. Venus, the planet also known as the Morningstar, so bright she shines like a star in the first blush of dawn, was named after the Roman goddess of beauty and love (her Greek name is Aphrodite). Botticelli’s famous Birth of Venus paid homage to the goddess. The stars sprinkled across the evening sky like diamonds on black velvet held a special beauty for and influence on Vincent van Gogh, in his Starry Nights and his Starry Nights Over the Rhone.

No matter the heavenly event, we will always be fascinated with the sky tapestry beyond our Earth.

Celebrating 150 Years of Gustav Klimt Art

Gustav Klimt is honored by museums around the world celebrating the artist and his creations. If you have the chance, take a trip to Vienna, the homeland of Gustav Klimt, to enjoy his most vast collection on display.

Written by on June 23, 2012

Gustav Klimt, the Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent artists of the Vienna Secession movement, is being feted this year throughout the art world on a global scale in honor of his 150th birthday anniversary celebration.  Klimt, born July 14, 1862 (-February 6, 1918), is best known for his use of gold leaf and the sheer opalescence – and eroticism – of some of his works.

Klimt - Black Feather Hat

From May 24 to August 27th, the Neue Gallerie in New York City joins other museums around the world to celebrate his extraordinary talent and legacy. In his birthplace of Vienna, Austria, museums including the Albertina, the Belevedre (which houses the most complete works of Klimt anywhere), the Leopold, the Wien, and the Kunsthistorisches are all focusing on and honoring varied aspects of Klimt’s work.

Klimt’s major works were vast: painting, murals, sketches, as well as other art objects were all part of Klimt’s vision. While nature played a part of his subjects (Tree of Life, and Apple Tree) with an emphasis on the deeper meaning behind these works, his primary – and favorite subject – was the female body.

Klimt - Pendio Montano a Unterach

With the female body, Klimt envisioned goddesses:  sensual and statuesque.  Being a leader in the Vienna Secession movement, a movement which had no manifesto, no declaration and no one particular style (Symbolists, Naturalists, Realists all coexisted and encouraged one another), it’s no wonder that Klimt brought the group’s symbol – Pallas Athena – to 2-D life.  Athena, the Greek goddess of the arts, just causes, strategy and wisdom was painted by Klimt in 1898. This work was part of his “golden era”, using gold leaf and silver, encrusting the canvas, raised in places.  As part of this “Golden Phase,” Klimt created perhaps his most famous work, The Kiss.

Athena was not the only goddess or goddess-like woman he painted. Hygieia – the representation of Medicine – was a prime example of this, along with his painting of Judith. Yet, many of these paintings caused scandal in Vienna society, with an outcry by the public, deeming his works “pornographic.”

In the Gustav Klimt: 150th Anniversary Celebration at the Neue Gallerie in New York City, many of Klimt’s most famous works are on exhibition from the museum’s collection: Pale Face (1903), Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) (which was bought by the museum’s co-founder, Ronald Lauder for a record-breaking $135 million in 2006), The Black Feather Hat (1910), The Park of Schloss Kammer (ca. 1910), Forester House in Weissenbach on the Attersee (1914), Forest Slope in Unterach on the Attersee (1916), and the late work, The Dancer (1916-18), as well as rare and never-seen photos of the artist. I had the pleasure of visiting the Neue Gallerie a few year back.

Along with the paintings and photos, several of Kilmt’s sketches are also on exhibition – most importantly for his project, the Beethoven Frieze. This particular project was completed in 1902 for the 14th Vienna Secessionist exhibition.  This frieze was painted right onto to the walls of the building and afterwards was thankfully preserved. But, it took over 75 years for the public to see it, going on display for the first time in 1986.

Now, in 2012, 150 years after the birth of one of the most influential artists in the world, we don’t have to wait to view the true genius of Gustav Klimt.

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