The 2014 Palm Springs Fine Art Fair

For a few days I escaped from Los Angeles to Palm Springs. I visited several art galleries, saw a very fine Richard Diebenkorn exhibit at the Palm Springs Art Museum, and attended the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair.

Palm Springs is only a couple of hours away from Los Angeles. It’s a well-known winter vacation getaway in the middle of the desert. Famous for its devotion to the aesthetics of the mid-20th Century, it’s also one of the most gay-friendly cities in the US. It’s a relaxed, happy place, and I always love visiting.

The Palm Springs Fine Art Fair is an international art fair similar to, but smaller than, those I’ve blogged about here in Los Angeles. I was surprised to learn that this was only its third year; it looked really well-established. The exhibitors were universally upbeat and enthusiastic (in contrast with some of the grumps I’ve run into in L.A.). A few had traveled quite a long distance, from Europe or Asia, but all were smiling. I guess it is hard to be unhappy in Palm Springs. (The super warm weather didn’t hurt either.)

Palm Springs 2014 Fine Art Fair

Friday at midday it was nice and quiet, just the way I like it. Not deserted, just not too busy. (The previous evening’s opening party was mobbed. You could hardly move, never mind see the art.)

2014 Palm Springs Fine Art Fair

The emphasis of this art show is “modern and contemporary” which means 20th and 21st century.

The work seemed mostly well chosen and highly finished. Even the conceptual stuff, which I’m not usually enamored with, was mostly well done. No half-assed art-school projects here! But mostly I prefer aesthetics over politics.

Here are some of my favorites:

Frost at PS Fine Art Fair

Sarah Frost, “Y Pause (QUERTY #13),” 2014, made of discarded computer keys (and a few typewriter and other keys), 48 x 96 inches, $20,000 from William Shearburn Gallery, Saint Louis, Missouri. I really like this, it’s so clever. It’s one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” pieces.

Here’s a detail:

Frost detail

Encountering this next artist at the (overly crowded) opening party led to a fun conversation about technical details that I could relate to as a fellow acrylic painter:

Quinones at PS Fine Art Fair

Kristina Quinones, “Incubate,” acrylic on panel, 36 x 36 inches, $6,000 from The McLoughlin Gallery, San Francisco, California. The artist uses highly fluid acrylic paint flowed across the surface in sheer veils. The super-glossy finish is pure acrylic. We both agreed this is superior to the “shiny today but yellow tomorrow” resin finish that’s such a fetish with artists right now. How fun to encounter a kindred soul in that sea of humanity. High fives were exchanged.

Kratz at PS Fine Art Fair

Artist Mayme Kratz with her work in the Lisa Sette Gallery booth from Scottsdale, Arizona. Left: “Fragments,” 2013, resin, shells, crabs, starfish, bone, buds on panel, 36 x 36 inches. Right top: “Circle Dream 40,” 2013, resin and Mexican bird of paradise seeds on panel, 24 x 24 inches, $4500. Right bottom: “Circle Dream 50,” 2013, resin and acorn cupules on panel, 24 x 24 inches, $4500.

I felt really fortunate that Kratz was present on Friday. She was very free with details about her fascinating technique. (I do so appreciate artists who aren’t insecure about sharing their “secrets.”) She embeds carefully-placed natural materials within deep, colored resin pours, and then sands down the surface to reveal cross-sections of the seed pods, grasses, and shells. Some of the fair’s promotional material featured her work (and it caught my attention), but it’s even better in person. The tiny crab at the bottom of “Fragments” is just too cute.

Check out the superb photos of Kratz’s work here (gallery’s website).

And, finally, some more conceptual work. Yeah, conceptual isn’t usually my cup of tea, but this piece is pretty powerful:

Ellsworth at PS Fine Art Fair

Angela Ellsworth, “Seer Bonnet XIX (Flora Ann),” 2011, made from 24,182 corsage pins, fabric, steel, and wood, 64 x 25 x 40 inches, $13,900 from Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona. A lovely pearl-studded bonnet made entirely of sharp pins… pretty on the outside and painful on the inside. Ouch!


Ellsworth detail

I saw nearly this exact piece at the Palm Springs Art Museum just before going to the fair, so it was a double-whammy for me. It’s a striking piece; you can’t help but stop and look (twice, even). A pointed comment on femininity, you might say.

So, did you notice anything unusual about this lineup of artists I picked out? They’re all women. Yup, the gals are doing some amazing work out there. I didn’t realize all my favs were by women until I started going through my photos, but then it struck me. Maybe someday that won’t be noteworthy.

If you’re in Palm Springs next Presidents Day Weekend, I recommend the Palm Springs Art Fair. It’s well worth seeing.


February 18, 2014 at 7:26 pm

The 2014 Los Angeles Art Show

Every January for the past 19 years, art galleries from all over the world have schlepped selected works of art to Los Angeles for the LA Art Show. Other large art fairs here seem to come and go, but the venerable (19 years is venerable in L.A., trust me) LA Art Show keeps going strong.

I think it was even bigger and better this year.

Sadly, we seem to have lost the Affordable Art Fair which ran concurrently with the LA Art Show a couple years ago. It was easy to walk to it from the LA Art Show, but it’s nowhere to be seen again this year. I guess Los Angeles just can’t handle that much art. Still, I’m excited to see the LA Art Show doing so well. We need more people in this city taking an interest in and collecting art. The money is here, it’s just a question of education and taste. (Always a bit questionable in Tinseltown, admittedly.) This is the kind of show to draw them in.

My reviews of previous years: 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008

I finally remembered to take an establishing shot of the exterior this time! It only took me 7 years. This is the LA Convention Center, where the LA Art Show has been held since 2009:

LA Convention Center (exterior)

The show ran Thursday through Sunday, January 16-19, 2014. I went on Friday, and like the last couple years I took public transportation to avoid Los Angeles’ infamous traffic. It’s no faster than driving, but it is easier and safer. Plus, this year I discovered there was a whopping 50% discount on show admission if you showed your Metro (“Tap”) card, so I happily claimed my discount. I’d prefer free, but half off ain’t bad.

Weekdays at this show are pretty quiet, which is great for me (I want to see art, not crowds). It’s less good for the exhibitors who sit around twiddling their thumbs for two days. It does seem to pick up in the evenings, but the daylight hours on weekdays are somewhat wasted for the exhibitors. Sorry guys! I like it like this:

2014 LA Art Show on Friday

I found myself skimming through the traditional section pretty quickly, and didn’t really stop for pictures. One gallery I wanted to take photos in didn’t allow it (I always ask first), and the others didn’t have anything that grabbed me enough to stop. But I did see some good art by dead artists; it’s worth going to this show if you’re into that. There’s always a lot of early-California Impressionism here; I saw several Edgar Payne paintings.

Of the more contemporary work, which made up the bulk of the show, there were some real standouts for me this year.

Facing each other across the open space pictured above were the two galleries I thought had the best booths of the show: Leslie Smith Gallery (Amsterdam) and ACE Gallery (Los Angeles).

My favorite was Leslie Smith Gallery. This was their first year in the LA Art Show, and they really started with a bang. They must have paid dearly for their prime location and extra-large booth space, but it sure looked good. As soon as I entered the hall I was drawn to this huge Australian Aboriginal painting on the outside of their booth:

Tjawina Porter Nampitjinpa at Leslie Smith Gallery

Tjawina Porter Nampitjinpa (b. 1950), untitled, acrylic on canvas, 96 x 192 inches, price on request from Leslie Smith Gallery. Really, this painting should be in a museum.

detail (click to enlarge):

detail - Tjawina Porter Nampitjinpa at Leslie Smith Gallery

Inside the booth was more Aboriginal art, which they specialize in (along with other contemporary art). I enjoyed all the work they showed but since Aboriginal art is a passion of mine I just took pictures of that.

Emily Kame Kngwarreye paintings at Leslie Smith Gallery

Emily Kame Kngwarreye (1910-1996), “Grass Seed Blue” and “Grass Seed Red,” acrylic on canvas, 73 x 35 inches each, $125,000 each at Leslie Smith Gallery.

Lorna Ward Napanangka at Leslie Smith Gallery

Lorna Ward Napanangka (b. 1961), “Marrapinti,” acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 inches, $17,500 at Leslie Smith Gallery.


detail - Lorna Ward Napanangka at Leslie Smith Gallery

Sarrita King at Leslie Smith Gallery

Sarrita King (b. 1988), “Earth Circles,” acrylic on canvas, 59 x 17 inches, $4500 at Leslie Smith Gallery.

Barbara Weir at Leslie Smith Gallery

Barbara Weir (b. 1945), “Grass Seeds,” acrylic on canvas, 47 x 35 inches, $12,500 at Leslie Smith Gallery.

Proceeding around the hall (and around the globe) we now stop in Japan where I admired some painterly textile art:

Chiyu Uemae at Whitestone Gallery

The large central piece is by Chiyu Uemae, untitled stitchwork, 66 x 54 inches, 1989-90, no price indicated, shown by Whitestone Gallery, Tokyo, Japan.


detail - Chiyu Uemae stitchwork

Some more work I found interesting:

La Roc at Lawrence Fine Art

LA Roc (Angel Ortiz), several pieces; the largest: “Yellow Cat,” oil and marker on canvas, 36 x 36 inches, 2013, $14,500 at Lawrence Fine Art, East Hampton, New York. (Puzzlingly, this gallery also had numerous traditional old-school landscape paintings displayed in their booth. They admitted they don’t usually show such disparate work side-by-side in their gallery. I found it quite jarring.) LA Roc apparently worked closely with Keith Haring as a youngster and now his work so closely resembles Haring’s that the gallery feels compelled to introduce him as “not Keith Haring.” (wince)

For more horror vacui, we travel all the way to China:

Li Ying at Hues of China

Li Ying, “Happy,” acrylic on canvas, 79 x 55 inches, 2013, $28,000 shown in the group show “Hues of China.” Can I possibly express how much I love this person’s work? Here, take a closer look (words! heraldry! figures! stuff!):

Li Ying detail 1   Li Ying detail 2

Finally, let’s return to where we started, at that large open space between my two favorite booths in the show. Across from the fantastic display of Aboriginal art at Leslie Smith was the fun and intriguing display by ACE Gallery of Los Angeles. What I loved best about it was the experience of threading my way through the mazelike booth, turning a corner to discover yet another delightful vignette of odd and intriguing works. A couple of standouts for me were these:

Brian Wills at ACE Gallery

Brian Wills, untitled, rayon thread and enamel on wood, 36 x 36 inches, no price indicated, shown by ACE Gallery, Los Angeles. Those colored lines are threads (of the ordinary sewing sort), stretched across the piece and affixed only to the sides of the board. They weave under and over each other near the center to make that translucent effect. Mesmerizing up close, graphic from a distance. My kind of stuff.

Gilsela Colon at ACE Gallery    Gilsela Colon side view at ACE Gallery

Two views of the same piece (which exhibited an exciting color shift as you moved around it): Gilsela Colon, “Rectangle Torque Glo-Pod (Iridescent Hot Red/Pink),” blow-molded acrylic, 31h x 65w x 12d inches, 2013, no price indicated, shown by ACE Gallery. It looks a lot deeper than 12 inches, doesn’t it? Strange and mysterious but oddly compelling.

Thank you, LA Art Show. Good show this year!

January 23, 2014 at 7:49 am 2 comments


A couple times a year I mail postcards to announce an upcoming art show or group of shows I’m doing.

(I say a “couple” because it’s been exactly two per year for several years now. But maybe some year I’ll do three. I’m leaving myself some wriggle room here. Anyway, it’s not much mail. Very non-spammy.)

You are totally missing out if you’re not getting my postcards. They’re free to you, and each features a new painting in full glorious glossy color. Some people frame them and hang them up. I think that’s great! Heck, after a few years you’ll have a nice little grouping for that odd empty corner where nothing else fits.

If you’re not getting my postcards, you should get in on the action. What’s to lose?

Sign up here to get both postcards and emails (also very infrequent and non-spammy), or email me directly if you only want the postcards. My email address is here.

Barbara J Carter's 2013 Kings Mountain postcard

My last postcard, shown here, announced my participation in the 2013 Kings Mountain Art Fair in northern California. Doesn’t that look nice?

September 4, 2013 at 8:51 am

Kings Mountain Art Fair turns 50

Kings Mountain Art Fair, photo by Barbara J Carter, 2012

I love showing my art at the Kings Mountain Art Fair. It’s held once a year, on Labor Day weekend (end of August/early September). This year marks the show’s 50th anniversary! Woo! Congratulations Kings Mountain! That’s longevity.

Coast Views Magazine did a very nice story about the show’s history.

If you’re anywhere near the San Francisco Bay Area this Labor Day, you should come. I’ll be in my usual place anchoring the far north end of the show, under the majestic redwood trees. The spectacular forest setting has to be seen to be believed. (The photo above is a view of the fair from near my booth.)

Of course I’ll be showing a whole bunch of brand-new never-before-seen paintings, including several tree paintings in bright, happy colors, as well as some experimental new work. Wanna see? Come to the show! (Subscribers to my highly infrequent email newsletter* get a sneak peek.)

Kings Mountain Art Fair
13889 Skyline Bl, Woodside, California (click for map)
Saturday, Sunday and Monday
August 31 – Sept. 2, 2013
10am – 5pm
Free admission, free on-street parking, free parking shuttle

*Sign up for my email newsletter here!

August 8, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Some good press

Fellow Los Angeles artist and friend Sarah Hage wrote about my art in her blog. I didn’t know until after she published it. “Hope you don’t mind I blogged about you” she wrote me.

No, I don’t mind. I’m honored! And she writes really well, which is always a pleasure. You should read it. (click here)

July 11, 2013 at 2:35 pm

La Jolla Festival of the Arts – June 22-23, 2013

I and my booth full of paintings are traveling next to the La Jolla Festival of the Arts. I did this annual show only once before, several years ago. It’s about time I went back, don’t you agree?

La Jolla Festival of the Arts 2009

Unlike my last time there (when I took the photo above) the show is now held in a grassy field. I think that’ll be nicer.

And hey lookee, the local rag chose one of my paintings to feature in their calendar section. Whee! I’m famous! (click to see larger)

June 2013 San Diego Magazine calendar section featuring painting by Barbara J Carter

La Jolla Festival of the Arts
June 22-23, 2013
10am – 5pm Saturday & Sunday
Warren Field, University of California at San Diego (click for map)
3453 Voigt Dr., San Diego, CA
Paid admission, free parking

I’m in booth 903 but there aren’t 900 artists at the show. I’m just located on Row 9, which is the last row.

Here’s a detailed map of the show layout (click to see):

La Jolla 2013 show map 1

June 6, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Beverly Hills Art Show – May 18-19, 2013

I’m showing my art in the beautiful Beverly Hills Art Show this year. Held in a lovely park in the heart of Beverly Hills, this is easily the best Los Angeles outdoor art show. It’s well worth visiting if you’re in the area.

Beverly Hills Art Show, photo by Barbara J Carter

This is a highly competitive show for artists to get into. I’ve shown here before, but I don’t get accepted every year! So I’m very happy to be back this year.

And of course this show is local for me, so no traveling and no hotels. I get to sleep in my own bed. Ahhhh! That’s nice.

See you there!

Beverly Hills Art Show
May 18-19, 2013
10am – 6pm Saturday & Sunday
Santa Monica Blvd & Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, California
Free admission

Look for me in Booth 401, in the end block at the east end of the show.

Beverly Hills Art Show promo card, Spring 2013

May 13, 2013 at 8:50 am 1 comment

Scottsdale: When you gamble, sometimes you lose

I was so excited to do the big art show in Scottsdale, Arizona. (The Scottsdale Arts Festival, March 2013)

Scottsdale Arts Festival 2013, photo by Barbara J Carter Some sad, soggy art.

It was a gamble. I knew that. Coming from out of state meant my travel costs were high (there’s no such thing as a cheap hotel in Scottsdale). But it’s such a great show! Everyone says so. I did a lot of research, read lots of reviews, both from artists and from patrons. It sounded perfect. I was ecstatic when I was accepted to participate. It’s not an easy show to get into; the competition is pretty fierce. I was really looking forward to this great show I’d heard so much about.

Note: when a patron says a show is “great” they mean that the art is of consistently high quality and the show is a visual treat. When an artist says a show is “great” they mean that art collectors come to the show and buy lots of art. Usually the two overlap to a high degree.

I had very high hopes for this show.

Unfortunately, my hopes weren’t matched by reality. Frankly, I lost my shirt on this one.

The weather was against us for 2 of the 3 days. Cold winds and rain doused us all day Friday and most of Saturday. That surely dampened spirits. Oh yeah, and it hailed on Friday. Twice.

But actually a lot of people came to the show, in spite of the rain. (They did all leave when the hail started.) And even more people showed up Sunday when the weather was nice. It got quite crowded. So I can’t blame the weather. Plenty of people showed up, more than I expected.

Scottsdale Arts Festival 2013, photo by Barbara J Carter

It just wasn’t the right crowd for me. I gave it my best shot and lost. Sometimes that happens.

The good thing is there’s always another show. Up next for me is the Beverly Hills Art Show, May 18-19, 2013. Also a gamble, but at least I get to sleep in my own bed. See you at the show!

May 3, 2013 at 3:53 pm 2 comments

2013 Scottsdale Arts Festival March 8-10

I’m going for the best. It’s my very first out-of-state art show, all the way in Scottsdale, Arizona. There are a lot of art shows in Arizona (no, really, a LOT) but by all accounts the Scottsdale Arts Festival is the best. And only the best will do! So I’m off to Arizona!

Scottsdale Arts Festival 2013

My art and I will be in booth 32. Come take a look! It’s going to be a beautiful show.

February 26, 2013 at 1:24 pm 6 comments

The 2013 Los Angeles Art Show

2013 LA Art Show

I scaled back this year. I opted to attend only one big January art fair, the LA Art Show (under new management). I decided to skip Art LA Contemporary, held in Santa Monica the same weekend. The third big contender from last year, the Affordable Art Fair, skipped Los Angeles this year after last year’s splashy debut. Which just shows how fluid the art market really is. I wonder if it will come back, or if they’ve given up on Los Angeles altogether.

So, this year’s LA Art Show, held as usual in the downtown convention center, backed off its grandiose “3-in-1” claims from last year and was truly just one big show. There were internal groupings, much as in previous years, but it all flowed together.

2013 LA Art Show

As usual, I started in the traditional-art (i.e., dead artists) side of the hall and worked my way to the contemporary side. I snapped fewer shots this year. I’ll show you just a few select favorites.

On the traditional side, not much really grabbed me this year. It looked a lot like previous years. But I did find a few rare Pointillist paintings, a style close to my heart since I too paint with dots. Two Pointillist pieces I particularly liked were by Jac Martin-Ferrieres, shown by Kendall Fine Art from Atlanta, Georgia. Interesting to note that these pieces date from the 1920s, well after Pointillism’s original heyday in the late nineteenth century.

Jac Martin-Ferrieres, "Paris la Seine, Notre Dame," ca1920, 18x21.5 in

Jac Martin-Ferrieres, “Paris, la Seine, Notre Dame,” ca 1920, oil on canvas, 18×21.5 inches, price not shown (Kendall Fine Art).

Jac Martin-Ferrieres, "La baie de St Tropez," 1921, 14x17

Jac Martin-Ferrieres, “La baie de St Tropez,” 1921, oil on canvas, 14×17 inches, price not shown (Kendall Fine Art). This piece shows an appealing merger of the older Pointillism style with a modern 1920s-era aesthetic. I find it fascinating.

As a transition between traditional and contemporary, this large piece struck me as very Matisse-like, and quite appealing:

Damian Elwes, "Marrakesh," 2001 Damian Elwes, "Marrakesh," 2001

Damian Elwes, “Marrakesh,” 2001, acrylic on canvas, 48×72 inches, shown by Denenberg Fine Arts of West Hollywood, California. It can be yours for some $300,000 or $400,000. (Sorry, I don’t recall the exact figure posted.)

This brings us fully into the contemporary section. There was lots of Damien Hirst on this side, but I managed to mostly ignore it.

2013 LA Art Show, contemporary section, photo by Barbara J Carter

In a mood for simple shapes and large compositions, I found a few pieces I really enjoyed in the contemporary section. I liked the large-scale paintings exhibited by Winterowd Gallery of Santa Fe, NM. Even though the works are all by different artists, I thought they looked good together:

Winterowd Gallery

Below left, two pieces by Cecil Touchon caught my eye, “PDP 588” and “PDP 575,” collage on canvas, 66×44 inches each, $18,500 each, shown by Timothy Yarger Fine Art of Beverly Hills:

Cecil Touchon, "PDP 588" and "PDP 575," Timothy Yarger Fine Art

In a similar vein, here is Caio Fonseca, “Pietrasanta C11.55,” 2011, mixed media on canvas, 34×34 inches, $42,000, offered by Abby M. Taylor Fine Art of Greenwich, CT and New York:

Caio Fonseca, "Pietrasanta C11.55," Abby Taylor Fine Art

Going even more monochromatic, this painting all in black uses only texture to masterfully create an image of waves:

Karen Gunderson, "Hudson Moment," Waterhouse & Dodd

Karen Gunderson, “Hudson Moment,” 2008, oil on linen, 40×40 inches, $20,000, offered by Waterhouse & Dodd of New York and London.

At the extreme far end of the show were clustered the galleries from Asia: primarily South Korea and China. The work shown here can be pretty varied, but I found a few pieces to like.

Li Yueling, "The Future Ahead of Me," Nancy's Gallery

This Chinese artist assembles highly photorealistic images of children out of large patches of flat color in a large-scale pixelation or Pointillist approach. Naturally, it appealed to my Pointillist heart. Here’s a closeup:

Li Yueling, "The Future Ahead of Me," Nancy's Gallery

Li Yueling, “The Future Ahead of Me,” oil on canvas, 120×150 cm, $15,800, offered by Nancy’s Gallery from Shanghai, China. The artist is a fellow from Beijing, according to the gallery representative I spoke with.

One of the biggest showcases of Chinese art was to be “China Fusion,” a large pavilion meant to show the work of several Chinese artists working in an east-meets-west aesthetic. However, when I was there (the first day of the 4-day show) there was little art to be seen in the pavilion, and most of it was on the floor. Clearly something had gone horribly wrong. Instead of “China Fusion” I called it “China Confusion.”

Late in the day I saw people scurrying back and forth, carrying paintings into the pavilion, and one fellow hurriedly hanging the works:

Hanging China Fusion

Someone there told me the shipment had gotten hung up in US Customs. “Maybe ship earlier next time,” I suggested brightly. I’m sure they greatly appreciated my sage advice.

One artist’s work, miraculously already hung and even labeled, caught my eye. Another nod to Pointillism:

Bai Hongwei, "Flower and Bird No. 2," China Fusion Bai Hongwei, "Flower and Bird No. 2," China Fusion

Bai Hongwei, “Flower and Bird No. 2,” 2012, oil on canvas, 50×60 cm, $7000, shown in the China Fusion pavilion. I liked the subtle colors and the way the bird was picked out in an orderly grid against the looser background. A nice melding of East and West.

February 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm

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Barbara J Carter

I'm an artist. I make paintings with dots.

I work in acrylic paint, in a couple of distinct styles: landscapes and abstracts.

Native to California, I've lived elsewhere and only recently returned to my home state. I now live in Los Angeles.

I mostly show my art in outdoor festivals in California. I also occasionally show my work in art galleries or open studio events. You can see an up-to-date list of upcoming shows on my website (click here).

I invite you to sign up to receive my free email newsletter, in which I list my upcoming shows and talk about my latest work. I send it irregularly, a few times a year.

My links

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Follow me on Twitter: @barbarajcarter

Why I call my landscapes neo-Pointillist landscape paintings

A bunch of my abstract dot paintings

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