Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Eye Candy of an Entirely Different Sort

I am endlessly fascinated by the things that feed the lives of artists. We have very interesting conversations about this from time to time in the Art Jewelry Elements contributors lounge (would you believe that for some of us, Crunchie bars from the UK inspire a special passion??), so last week I asked my fellow contributors to share with me some of the artists they particularly love. What you'll see here today is all non-jewelry art and none of the artists necessarily inspire or influence our own jewelry work. But they are artists whose work speaks to us in some way, feed our spirit, or make us think. And I suppose in some way, that winds up influencing us as artists, right?

I first came across Jeannie Laske's work a few years ago, when this print turned up in an Etsy search for "silent." It made me cry the first time I saw it.

Silent for a Time

Among other things I do and love in my life, I am a singer. I have been on the worship team at every church we've been a part of since the mid-90's, and it is one of those things that just feeds my spirit. There's something deep and intimate about making music with others in the first place, and when the element of worship is added in, it's really transcendent. Then when we moved to Texas, I was beset with horrible allergies for the first time in my life, especially an allergy to mountain cedar. At their worst, I am nearly incapable of singing - my voice just seizes up for about three months of the year and I have come to dread the late fall and winter. Being silent in that way has been heartbreaking for me. This print speaks to that part of my life, how my time in worship feels when my voice fails me - the utter abandon of the figure, raising his arms to the sky, and being met with silence. I love this print so much, because it reminds me that the silence is temporary.

You Will Still Be Here Tomorrow But Your Dreams May Not
There is something deeply moving to me about the way the larger figure is cupped around itself, a little protectively, and yet leaning intently forward to hear the earnest encouraging words of the little sprite. When I see this print, I think of the people who speak truth into my life, and most especially those who were supportive of my decision to walk away from 25 years in small business management to pursue a creative life. This figure looks very much the way I felt at the time - a little wounded and tired, but daring to hope. I get a lump in my throat when I look at this one.

With All Quiet Motion
In 2009, I fulfilled a life-long dream of swimming with dolphins. This print reminds me of the joy of that moment, the silent power of the dolphin pulling me through the water, the exhilaration of looking deeply into her eyes and touching her skin. There's something quietly joyous and yet a little melancholy about this print, a sense of solitude but not loneliness, of freedom and peace within reach.

All That it is to Remember
Like many other people in the world, I have been through things in my life that have been deeply painful and challenging. Remembering those things in a way that is constructive and intentional and healthy is hard work sometimes, as is getting past them so that they don't wind up defining us. This print expresses a little of the solitude, the bravery, the accomplishment of that work, the coming out on the other side whole and standing tall.

The Brilliant Hush of Conclusion
Have you ever worked on something you love, worked really hard and come to the end of it and been proud of the work but sorry to see it end? It's a wonderful moment, but also a little bittersweet - because now that thing you loved and immersed yourself in is finished. For me, there have been times and projects that have left me deeply fulfilled at the same time they've left me a little drained, perhaps even on the edge of exhaustion and a little lonely in the finishing of it.

Jeannie's work is very whimsical and I think it would be easy to just label it and move on. But one of the things I love about it is that I see some new detail every time I look at one of her pieces, some little element that escaped me the first time or that makes me reconsider my response to it. And the characters  are so unique and evocative that I am always curious to know what happened in the moment just before we see them, or what's happening in the moments immediately after. Thankfully, she's in the process of writing and illustrating a book, and I'm very much looking forward to a deeper look into her world.

* * * * * * *

In preparing for this post, my AJE teammates introduced me to some of their favorites - and amazingly, I was familiar with none of them. (I actually love that about the collaborative life - that we introduce one another to ideas, techniques, ways of thinking that were entirely unknown to use before we engaged one another.)

Jen Cameron owns a few pieces by Vladimir Kush and is hankering after a few more, including this amazing and surreal piece.

Moonlight Sonata
She likes the incredible detail of his work, and the unexpected elements that sometimes aren't immediately apparent. (Do you see that all the audience members are in cocoons?)

She is also fortunate to have a few pieces by Tom Everhart - because, as she says, "You cannot be in a bad mood when you see those silly Snoopy faces!"


And finally, Jen mentioned Kristina Laurendi Havens, who does stunning figural work.

Guarded - Figure in Deep Blue
Lesley Watt introduced me to Angie Lewin, a Scottish printmaker who works in linocuts, wood engravings, lithographs, and screen printing. Some really fun things here!

Knockando Thrift & Feathers
Thames Fireworks
Jenny Davies-Reazor introduced me to Beth Cavener Stichter, whose ceramic work is unlike anything I have ever seen before. About Beth's work, Jenny says, "Her sculptures are fluid, and graceful and lyrical - yet haunting, emotional and often a little upsetting. Her use of clay amazes me always. She achieves a balance between beauty and sadness that really touches me."


So this is just a peek into the art and artists that speak to some of us, that make us happy or make us think or shake us up just a little bit. There are many more, too many to squeeze into this post, but we'll plan on sharing again at some point in the future. In the meantime, who are the artists that inhabit your world? Share in the comments - we'd love to explore a little with you!

Until next time!


  1. Wonderful post!! I love being introduced to new artwork and artists.

  2. What a sumptuous collection of work Francesca - I know nonw of these artists other than Angie Lewin but they are all obviously huge talents. I think the sculpture is particularly stunning - the muscularity and tension worked in clay is astonishing and very beautiful.

  3. Great post! I loved hearing what each piece of art meant from your eyes and those of your team mates. I kept going back and looking at each one over and over.

  4. Oh! How I love this! I am constantly finding solace and energy in the works of art in other mediums. What a great idea! So many talented people in the world! I have a local artist that speaks to my soul. Her name is Ann Singsaas and I her website is http://www.annsingsaas.com/. Her aluminum panel oils of botanicals are especially amazing. I even commissioned her to make me a triptych that hangs in my dining room. Thanks for sharing all these wonderful artists! Enjoy the day. Erin

  5. Beautiful post Francesca! It truly is amazing how many talented artists are out there to inspire us. Thank you for sharing :)


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