Check out my work online on a new gallery venture called Flow-305. It's easy to see the work of my friends and check out individual pieces that represent the best I have to offer. Please look at it and if you can, forward it to a friend. I have some new paintings, all inspired by the joy of living in a tropical zone.
Birds of a Feather
All acrylic works on paper, 12 x 18 inches. Right now I am asking $400, but the price might have to go up.
My level one Design and Composition class just worked on creating symmetrical designs of unique court cards. I gave the most point to the ones who could register the most colors. Everyone had to use at least two.
3 colors by a 10th grader
3 colors by a ninth grader
three by a ninth grader
First they drew a half design and made their own carbon transfer paper to trace it twice onto a linoleum plate. Making sure that the two halves met somehow interestingly. Then they carved out the white, printed yellow. Carved out the yellow, printed red or blue, and repeated the process, printing black as the last color.
lots of diversity in designs
3 color print by Sophmore
2 color print by senior
They were required to start with as many prints as there were people in the class- so either 17 or 19. By the end- the challenges of registering each print in place made the edition size only 3 or 5.
Sometimes you need 3D glasses to make it pop out at you!
Lucas Cranach the elder (1472-1553) made his reputation by painting the nobility and court personalities into biblical or mythological stories. By this way he was granting the German princes of 1720 a lineage back to the beginning of the calendar. For a non-literate society, Cranach's paintings and prints really read as the truth.
He made his fortune painting barely veiled nude women for his male patrons.
Just resting on a decapitated head
And he garnered respect from the women by depicting them as victorious, saintly and beautiful.
I am so happy to be part of an Artsy gallery put together by Nicole Maynard-Sahar called Flow 305. Most of the artists are Miami friends and the work is diverse and awesome. Please check it out! Let me know what you think, what you would like to see, and which pieces are your favorite.
One line of imagery that seemed to interest Cranach was Death and the Maiden. Biblical stories such as Judith and Holofernes depicted women as heroic defenders of Germany as well as provided cautionary tails for men. Even though Cranach painted at least 40 of them, there was not a single Judith in any of the churches and cathedrals we visited. Looking on the internet I quickly located 23 versions painted by Cranach and his assistants. They are spread around the world in collections from NYC to Vienna, Frankfurt, Washington DC, Glasgow, Ponce, Kassel, Stuttgart, San Fransisco, Dublin, Syracuse, Cologne, Budapest, Greenville, and (one) in Berlin! The paintings are enigmatic... decorative and almost titillating. Cranach painted aristocratic women richly dressed calmly smirking as they run their fingers through the hair of their decapitated foe. The lopped off head is most always shown with the gore and hints of vertebrae turned towards the viewer. It is a creepy yet elegant scene and I wonder if it in some way excited the male gaze of the 16th Century courts.
I am torn between thinking of them as a perfect revenge trope for the #MeToo movement or an early advertisement of warning that precludes the next half century of rabid witch burning. The paintings, made by a man for other men, might have been a best seller sold under the guise of patriotic heroines to admire, yet I don't think the women benefited from the depictions. The models were real women of the court and little is known about their lives. For men, the image clearly presents women's sexual behavior as a real threat to society. These paintings are of the vulnerability of man and the passionate, violent, sexual beings of women. These images would have justified retaliation by society. Within 50 years there is widespread "witch craze" through out Europe of the 1600's and 1700's.
Have you heard of studio envy? What about time envy? Well my sister and I were traveling through the family tree and stumbling through Wartburg castle outside of Berlin in Germany, when we both agreed that the reason Martin Luther got as much as he did done was because of his forced seclusion under the protection of Frederick the Wise. After the 1521 Diet of Worms trial the Roman Catholic Church announced Martin Luther an outlaw and, hoping to avoid angering the masses, put off determining the punishment for two weeks. Records now show that they were hoping to quietly assassinate Luther. Frederick the Wise, (who earned that name), 'kidnapped" Luther on his way home and took him to one of his secluded mountaintop castles, a stronghold, for safety. Luther managed to get out a message to his buddy Cranach that he would have rather died than agree to be whisked away for safety, but that upon seeing the accommodations at Wartburg, he put his mind at ease and started to get to work.
This is a sketch of his room where, for a little over half a year, Luther worked on translating Latin and Hebrew new testament sources. In a phenomenally quick time he produced a German language New testament translated Bible for the Cranach presses! The room was wood paneled- the yellow and tally marks are my imagination at work. There was a whale vertabrae in his room for use as an apparent footstool, an elaborate ceramic heater, and a carved wooden cushioned arm chair. The amenities at the castle included hot baths, a theater, 360 degree views and an extensive library.
Mountain top stronghold
Inside the castle grounds
What would I give for a forced retreat/residency like that?
Here is a story about the first German Bible: Martin Luther's translation in 1522 was not the very first German bible, but it was the first that was translated from Greek and Hebrew original texts rather than from the Latin Vulgate, and it was translated into the common street language of Luther's time. So any German who could read in 1522, could study the word of God in their own language. This was a tremendous event, for it not only codified a national language, it personalized the relationship of the Word for the people.
The first edition of the New Testament (3000 copies)published in September, sold out almost immediately. The December Testament sold out as well. By Luther's death 100,000 complete copies are sold...in a way unifying the country in that everyone was now reading and discussing the same text.
Lucas Cranach's 21 wood cut illustrations of the Apocalypse were patented to be the only ones used in the first and subsequent editions. The art and translations were not without controversy. Accused of being a heretic, Luther, who was in hiding, hoped to gain the support of the people. He authorized Cranach to publish a pamphlet of full page illustrations showing the contrast between Christ and the Pope as a contrast between good and evil. The illustrations are wildly clear to anyone regardless of their ability to read. The pope is demonized. The Catholic church immediately retaliated with pamphlets attacking Luther as a 7 headed devil. Each side starts fervently publishing opinions on the matter.
The bible and subsequent printed pamphlets were a phenomenal success for Cranach's office. Between 1500 and 1530 more than 10,000 pamphlets with estimated 1000 copies per edition are printed in Germany... that's almost 20 pamphlets per literate German. And Cranach's press is responsible for creating 15% of all German books in the country!
Cranach's Wittenberg workshop and press
Check out a copy of "Luther's Bible" on Amazon--- collectible for around $725, or used $203.
The home of Lucas Cranach and his workshop was a dream destination for me.
Wittenberg Castle, home of the patron of Cranach
my sister on the streets of Wittenberg
Map of the center of Wittenberg
The Elector of Saxony, Frederick the Wise, hired Lucas Cranach to be his court painter in the early 1500's. Cranach made his entry into that employment by preparing the hunt fields (trapping and sealing exits for the animals) and then painting very quickly the trophies and catches for all involved. He was very quick and able to convey a sense of abundance in his souvenir paintings so that he soon was in high demand by all the participants. That caught notice of the Elector. Once hired as the official court painter, ( a position he kept through out the life of Frederick the Wise and his two successors), Cranach's responsibilities increased tremendously. Not only was he in charge of the castle decor, documenting historic events, embellishing and highlighting the nobility of the Saxon family by placing them in scenes of biblical and mythological settings, but he designed the fall and spring uniforms for the staff, created the themes for entertainment, decorated all horses, wagons, and squares for the pageants and tournaments, designed the wedding beds, painted alter pieces, murals and portraits, worked as ambassador and politician and printed pamphlets for both the Roman church authorities and, most famously, Martin Luther and the reformation.
Cranach was awarded a family seal of a winged serpent to show all the world how amazingly fast a painter, Pictorus Cellerimus, Cranach was!
The Cranach seal on his press
me inside Cranach printing office
The workshop is now an art school, exhibition space with an apparent resident printmaker. It was great to be able to stand in the space and smell the ink!
The sewer caps in Berlin have these marvelous images etched into them of the landmarks of the city, from the Reichstag to the Brandenburg gate. Our hip hotel, the 25 hour Bikini Berlin, was right across the street to the Kaiser Wilhem Kurch, which was one of the memorials on the street cap as well. Tools needed- baby wipes, ink plate, water soluble ink, new German-bought hand roller, sheets of paper and a look out person.
new roller bought first day in Berlin
the Reichstag image
adding pressure and being nonchalant
My sister was a great look-out person, and even took these pictures. So ended my first day in Berlin, a fantastic city to play in.