Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Game Any Artist Would Love- Monument Valley

Have you ever wanted to walk through a painting? How about the illustrations in a story book? Well, about two weeks ago my lovely sister introduced me to a game that lets you do just that...Monument Valley!

This masterpiece of a game is a mix of beauty and brains, giving the player a feast for the eyes. As you go through the levels, you stretch and twist your perspective as you guide the "silent princess" within the 1- 2- and 3-dimensions that make up each scene.  

Another interesting aspect of the game is that it all feels so intricate and small in stature, like the inside of a Faberge egg. Its so flawlessly made that you could play the game for hours without realizing it. Each level is designed with rich colors and patterns reminiscent of Asian and Mideastern art and architecture. 



Every level leaves you excited to go on to next one, all of them unique and unexpected. So happy gaming and I hope you find some enjoyment in this little interactive piece of art work!

note: images are part of screen shots and press kit, which can be found at

This game is currently available for kindle fire HD and ipad. See it in action below!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Visual Food for Thought Week 11 - Paradise 13 by Thomas Struth

When I was a kid, I used to read these amazing picture books about a little girl who would walk through the pages of a book, straight into a different time and that I think about it, the girls name was Alice, but it wasn't wonderland she went to! 

Visiting this large scale exhibition of Thomas Struth's work at the Metropolitan Museum this week, I felt like I was able to become part of the art work. The quiet, mysterious nature of his photos was a welcome to the loud clanging of the city streets outside. This photo in particular, Paradise 13, depicts the Yakushima forest in Japan. Struth did an incredible job developing the rich contrasts, effectively showing the dark shadows of the trees, the rocks, the dirt. I feel like I can take off my books bag, leave my cares at the picture frame and take a nice, leisurely hike along a road less traveled.

Sigh... the problem was, Alice's mirror kept getting in the way. Oh, wait, it was the GLASS that the Met put the photos behind. It was so glossy that I had to mentally block out the image of the photo on the wall behind me that was being reflected over the work. I would have much preferred thirty yards of velvet rope and sirens to this. The work was great, but the curator really should have thought this one through. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Israeli Paper Art from Zichron Ya'akov

Going to the village of Zichron Ya'akov (which means 'Remembering Jacob') I had no idea that art was so prevalent there. Stumbling upon the Tut-Neyar Paper mill as I meandered along the side streets of this quaint and historically rich place was just an extra bonus to my day.While I had a meaningful and kin-esthetic experience at the Aaronsohn Houses (a.k.a the Nili Museum) that are up the street from the mill, it was a refreshing turn of events to see the beauty that thrives in this community after all that sacrifice. It was good to go from the deep dark history of why this village is so important to seeing examples of how it is alive and flourishing today.

Here is a picture of the workshop opposite the mills store and gallery (boy, what would I give for one of those!):

You can see where all the inspiration comes from, with that incredibly blue Israeli sky, the plants and trees. Walking up to the place I went by some lemon trees that smelled soooo good. Every moment was pleasing to the senses during my visit here!

I happen to LOVE paper. One of my most favorite parts of printmaking in the studio is when I get to handle the different types of paper we use to print on. It helps you realize how art making starts on the surface, not with the image on top. And the paper I saw at this mill didn't even need anything on it to be artwork, or beautiful for that matter! Here are some tidbits of what I saw.

Below is a close up (horizontal view) of that last panel on the right. I thought that this work had such a dialogue with the land and history of this place, and of Israel as a whole! The artists, Timna and Izhar Neumann as well as others, have taken the agricultural landscape and incorporated it into the composition of their work; something that was not lost on me as a viewer, especially after my experience at the Nili Museum (where I learned about the wild wheat found in Israel that helped start agricultural developments in the 1800s):

Please take some time to visit the mills site (linked above)! There is so much more interesting info. about how they make the paper and the history of the artists who make it! I briefly met Timna Neumann in the store, and she was both kind and friendly.

Personally, I think that approachability gives you all the more reason to go and see an artists work... and buy it *wink* (one of my English traveling companions fell in love with some of the hand-sized cards they make here and had to have one). I also found out from Timna that she went to Parsons University here in the NY! It was an added surprise to bring a smile to my day.

So, if your ever in Israel, visit Zichron Ya'akov!! It's worth the trip. And don't forget to get ice cream afterwards! Without it your day wouldn't be complete.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Art of Israel: Finding Hidden Gems Among the Old and New

So, as you can guess from my last post, I've been a little preoccupied for the last two months exploring a new frontier for me... travel! It's been an exciting whirlwind of an adventure, with more surprises and discoveries then I could have ever imagined. When I decided to go adventure-seeking, I never knew how much art would be involved, old and new!

As I ran, walked, and stumbled through the land of Israel, I came to one conclusion: this place is a living masterpiece! I found beauty and mystery everywhere I looked. Mountains and valleys rise and fall majestically here, and even the most hum-drum village is worth pulling out your camera for. Here is a view I had of the Jezreel Valley from the Muhraqa Carmelite Monastery on Mt. Carmel in Northern Israel.

The next couple of posts will be about some of the interesting and thought-provoking artwork and places that I was able to experience on my adventure. Some of it is contemporary, other things historical, but all of it is so cool! I'm so excited to share it with you!

Next week: Israeli Paper Art in Zichron Ya'akov

Monday, June 9, 2014

VFFT week 10 - Among the Sierra Nevada by Albert Bierstadt
1868 Albert Bierstadt oil on canvas, 72 x 120 1/8 in. location: Smithsonian American Art Museum

Perhaps one of the most wonderful aspects of painting is its ability to capture nostalgia. As I embark on a new traveling adventure myself, I sought out art works to reflect my feelings of expectation, excitement, and...a little bit of uncertainty. Looking at this incredible landscape, I can honestly say that Mr. Bierstadt captured my feelings perfectly. The contrast of light and dark, as well as the beauty of the sky above and the earth below speaks of exploration and discovery. 

While I love the foreign, antique, and exotic auras that surround international art, I am always pleasantly surprised by the contentment I find in looking at the American landscape painting. There are so many artist's who have captured the raw places and moments of this country, all with a personal history of travel themselves, whether or not they immigrated here, like Bierstadt (born in Solingen, Germany 1830), or their ancestors did. 

All in all, there's nothing like a good painting to transport you into a new world or time and away from your desk at work! So take a little time and enjoy it before you get back to solitaire...I mean those costumer logistics or whatever....don't worry I won't tell.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Artist Feature: Nathan Brutsky

One of the most interesting aspects about being an artist is that you are constantly seeking out the new and interesting perspectives that other artist are using around you. Lately, I've been interested in finding artwork that has a lot of movement in them. Its kind of like going on a peanut butter and jelly binge for a week. Next month I'll probably be interested in art that depicts the weather...and beef empenadas...I don't know. Anyway, enough newest discovery is an Israeli artist by the name of Nathan Brutsky.

One thing that strikes me about his work is the incredible use of light and movement. As an artist, I have to admit that this is the kind of work that sparks my imagination. He captures contrast (or chiaroscuro) in his composition just like Rembrandt... except with a newly thought out perspective. I see a little cubism in there as well as symbolism (although I don't know if that was intentional on the artist's part).

Whatever painting I see, I can feel the warmth of light above, the swishing of a twirling skirt or wind rustling the pages of a book; music filling the air. Take a look at his site (linked to his name above). Its definitely worth the few minutes it will take...

Pleas note: All photo rights belong to and Nathan Brutsky

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

VFFT week 9 - Young Woman Drawing by Marie-Denise Villers

Young Woman Drawing by Marie-Denise Villers (1801, oil on canvas, 63 1/2 x 50 5/8 in. (161.3 x 128.6 cm)

Outside of Rembrandt, Villers takes the cake for portraiture for me. She had a sharp eye for capturing light and feeling in her paintings and, quite frankly, she doesn't get enough credit for. I mean, the lady's work was credited to her teacher, Jacques-Louis David for most of her lifetime! As an artist, the very thought makes my skin crawl.

This painting is about life size and is twice as brilliant in person (See it at the MET!). The brush strokes and depth within the portrait make you feel like you can walk straight into it and peak at what she is drawing. Is she drawing the viewer? hmmm....

Everything, from the hem of her gown to the crack in the window is made with incredible care. She was certainly a master in her own right. In fact, she was an observer of common life way before the impressionists took up that task. Her paintings of water maids and peasant women and children are both romantic and heart rendering at the same. She took time for them while the masters around her were still depicting Roman and Greek mythology. While her painting style is very different, her work seems kindred to that of Jean-Francois Millet, decades later. Both emphasized a respect for the people they were rendering.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

VFFT week 8 - Arch of Nero by Thomas Cole

Arch of Nero (1846) Thomas Cole, oil painting

Ok, just take a minute and soak in those beautiful clouds and chiffon blue skyline. sigh... This painting reflects one of the most positive attributes of oncoming Spring. Yesterday was the very first day of Spring here in New York City, and the first thing I noticed walking out of my apartment building was the uncommon burst of light coming from over head. The sky was just as Cole depicted it here!

While the temperature has been teasing us with some token days of warmth now and again, the weather has been pretty frozen for the most part. Seeing the sky light up like that is a sure sign that we've shifted a little closer to the sun, and more bright days are a'commin. Only, instead of seeing the ruins of the Roman empire outside my door, I'll be seeing the subway station...either way, their both ancient (*wink*)...

Just to let you know, this art work is in Newark Museum, New Jersey, right here in the tri-state area. If your anywhere near it, its worth going out to see, along with all the other Cole paintings with it. This all American artist has a lot to offer the museum goer, and the internet surfer as well. While there is nothing compared to seeing a painting in person, take some time to look at some work online! It takes only a second and adds a little something interesting to a work or school day, and gives your brain a little TLC, too! Check out my Pinterest to see this work and many others of Master and Contemporary art.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Visual Food for Thought week 7 - A Winter night in New York by Guy Wiggins

With all the snow pouring down here in NYC, I find myself reminiscing about the hard treks I used to take with my mom downtown. Wrapped in the most uncomfortable snow suits imaginable, the snow transformed me into a living breathing snowman!

I chose this next VFFT piece because it encapsulates nostalgic NYC with a heavy touch of impressionism. Guy Wiggins was an artist who lived from 1883 to 1962. I thought that was pretty cool because he was able to live out the last two decades of the 19th century and experience all the advancements of the 20th century as it progressed. He lived through both world wars and millions of structural and cultural transformations to this city, and to the world. If any artist had something to paint about, it was him!

Looking at this painting, you can feel the wet, the cold, and the wind rustling the coats of the passerby's. When I saw this painting (previously located at REHS Galleries, inc), I immediately recognized the Plaza Hotel (popularly known as the home of the fictitious Elois!). Its shows the rising skyline around this grand building, successfully incorporating an older world with a blossoming new metropolis. I've walked by the Plaza many times in my travels. The whole area around it really takes you back to a different time, with a open square surrounded by horse and carriages. One block over and your back to the 21st century. sigh... too bad I have to take the train.

Tweet or facebook me your opinions on this piece, or any other you would like to discuss!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Visual Food for Thought week 6 - Three Musicians (1921) by Picasso

When I was younger, one of the first "abstract" artists I ever learned about was Pablo Picasso. His work was both odd and exotic to me. Now that I am more developed as an artist myself, his work doesn't seem so alien and impenetrable. In fact, the cubist attributes of his paintings are both interesting as a subject matter and as a storytelling device to me now. Yes, learning to understand the meaning behind his abstraction methods has made Picasso a more esteemed artist in my own opinion.

Looking at the three musicians at the table, you can almost feel the music bouncing off of every angle, every pointed knee and squared off elbow. Look how they are all squeezed side by side, united as one entity, one object instead of three. How can they play when stuck together like that? It makes you think the music must be  quick, squeaky, sharp at times... a lively tune! Each man, mustached and debonair, giving his best performance, stuck in the middle of the frame.

This beautiful piece of work is currently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Visual Food for Thought week 5 - self portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn

One of the many patterns that a viewer can observe in art is the making and re-making of self portraits by certain artists. Some of us barely make them ,while others make it a weekly habit (I know a few of those myself)! As for me, there is one master whose portraits I could stare at for hours on end, and that's...Rembrandt.
I went to the Frick about a month ago (you can read about it here ) and came across this one, entitled Self Portrait 1658. For me, Rembrandt's portraits have something really special about them. Whether it's himself or another subject, the figures pull you into their world. There's a few ways that he makes this happen. First and foremost, his eyes. You can never really tell from a photograph, but when you stand in front of this picture, the soulfulness, the age, understanding, and regrets of life come through his eyes.

Secondly, the luminosity of his figure against a warm, dark background makes him look so living, as if hes captured  little bit of his own body temperature and stuck it between the folds of his garments. While some artists have shied away from showing the signs of age in their portraits, Rembrandt gives you a (seemingly) honest look of his features. While he is quite stately, his face shows the signs of a life fully lived, with imperfections in the skin and even a light scar on his cheek. His hands are not smooth like a young mans, but angular. He is even holding what looks like a walking stick, a true sign of well earned age.

This painting alone is worth making a trip down to the Frick! If your not in New york, try finding some dutch master works in your local museum (if you have one). If not that, look online!

Please leave any comments below, or on the NYCImpressionista facebook or twitter page (links on sidebar).

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Sweeter Side of Kandinsky

Accompanied Contrast (Contraste accompagné), March 1935, Photo credit: Guggenheim Museum Website
Kandinsky in Paris, 1934–1944, an exhibition now showing at the Guggenheim, explores the art work of Vasily Kandinsky during the 11 years he lived in France, after the Nazi shut down of the Bauhaus school in Germany.

okay, enough with the formalities...

There are very few abstract artists whose work I would care to search out. As an artist myself, I have dragged my feet when it comes to analyzing this type of work, for one reason or another. But, last year I was first introduced to the work of Vasily Kandinsky by a friend of mine and realized that there was abstract art that I could enjoy!

The work above is as large as the average human wingspan, full of rich colors, textures, and...surprisingly to me, light. Light is the last thing I would expect when I look at abstract art. He made this work with oil paint and SAND on canvas, which I thought was pretty cool. The shapes dance on a glowing background, each one interacting with the other. In the words of Anne Shirley (my favorite fictitious heroine), Kandinsky work contains a lot of "scope for the imagination!"

This work in particular was made during his time in France, at the end of his life. I have to say that the work from this time in his life strikes me as the most beautiful and well formed out of all his work. Looking at an artists work is a lot like looking at a bottle of aged wine. You hope that it holds the finest product of that artists life. I think that this exhibit shows how Kandinsky succeeded in this!

Any comments about Kandinsky's work? What about the show at the Guggenheim? Leave any comments below or on my facebook or twitter!

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