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

Hiking in the New Year

I’m not “ringing” in the New Year, I’m “hiking” it in! Getting out and tramping around is how I get inspired to paint.

After abundant winter rains, southern California greened up. This is as green as it gets!

Cheseboro Canyon Cheseboro Canyon after the rains.

Yeah, it’s still pretty brown out there. That’s why I like to spice up the colors a little in my paintings. (Maybe more than “a little.”)

"A Touch of Sun" painting by Barbara J Carter “A Touch of Sun” by Barbara J Carter, acrylic on canvas, 11×14 inches

If you missed seeing my art in 2012, fret not. I’m planning to get out and exhibit more in 2013. Being on my mailing list is the best way to get reminders about my shows. Click here to join, and I’ll see you at my next show!

January 3, 2013 at 11:41 am

Silverlake Open Studios Nov. 10-11, 2012

An annual tradition, I’m showing my work at the Silverlake Open Studio tour this weekend, November 10-11, 2012. That’s the Silverlake neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Now, my studio isn’t in Silverlake. I sneakily get into the tour by showing at a friend’s studio, which is in Silverlake. Fred Chuang has graciously given me space on the tour for several years now. Here’s the street view:

Fred and I hang our work side by side and then hang out together all weekend. It’s a very casual, drop-in kind of event. We’ll have drinks and munchies, including Fred’s famous turkey chili (mild by default, but possible to hot up with optional saucy additions). Fred’s lovely dogs will be on hand to greet everyone (and beg for chili). It’s good, relaxed fun. I hope we’ll see you there!

Silverlake Art Collective Annual Open Studios
Saturday & Sunday
November 10-11, 2012
12 noon to 5pm
2974 Waverly Drive, Los Angeles, California

November 7, 2012 at 8:17 am

Silver Lake Art Collective annual exhibit 2012

Fall is in the air, and the annual Silver Lake Art Collective annual exhibit is on!

Following careful preparation…

the show is finally ready for prime time. My work is there…

(If you’re not sure which ones are mine, you should maybe take another look at my website for a refresher.)

And of course that of many other artists, both 2D and 3D…

Want to come see? The show is free and open to the public. And there are receptions! Both an opening and a closing reception… no end to the fun. You should definitely stop by.

Silver Lake Art Collective Annual Exhibit “Spectrum 2012”
Citibank Art Space Gallery
2450 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles (between the bank branch and the coin-op laundry)

Opening Reception: Saturday Oct 20, 2012, 6-10pm.

Open Hours: Fridays through Sundays Oct 21-Nov 17, 2012. 12-8pm Fridays and Saturdays, 12-5pm Sundays.

Open Studio Tour: Saturday and Sunday Nov 10-11, 2012, 12-5pm. See my website for details.

Closing Reception: Saturday Nov 17, 2012, 6-10pm.

October 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Highlights from Art Platform L.A. 2012

The two-year-old international art fair Art Platform was held September 28-30, 2012 in Santa Monica, California.

That also happened to be the weekend when the biggest freeway of Los Angeles was entirely shut down for 2 days of massive construction work. I avoided the traffic nightmare by visiting on Friday before the shutdown. It surely had some negative impact on attendance Saturday and Sunday, but I don’t know how bad. My heart goes out to the galleries, many from very far away (Tokyo, Hong Kong, Miami and Amsterdam to name a few), who were taken entirely by surprise at this turn of events. I hope they did OK and sold enough art to at least pay their expenses.

It was pretty quiet Friday morning (exactly how I like it):

Art Platform 2012

I didn’t know what to expect from this contemporary art show. I’m not a fan of all contemporary art, indeed I find much of it sophomoric and ugly. Happily I saw a lot to like at this one.

I took too many photos to show you everything I liked. I’ll just show you some highlights to whet your appetite. Consider this the tip of the iceberg.

One of the first booths I visited was Now Contemporary from Miami, where the entire booth was devoted to the work of a single artist: Federico Uribe. I loved his playful animals made from recycled books, bike tires, sneakers and pencils.

Zebras by Federico Uribe

A wall of zebras made from recycled bike tires and sneakers. Detail below:

Detail of zebras by Federico Uribe

Uribe’s massive giraffe made from colored pencils hung cantilevered over the rest of the booth and was, for me, the star of the show. I’ll admit I did wonder about the structural integrity of the display wall it was hung from.

Giraffe by Federico Uribe

The giraffe’s brown spots are brown pencils, the white lines are white pencils. Its mane is a bunch of sharpened pencils standing straight up. Clever, eh? Every home should have one.

Speaking of pencils as a sculptural medium, artist Lionel Bawden also uses pencils. He glues colored pencils together into solid blocks and then carves beautifully sinuous shapes from them:

Lionel Bawden Lionel Bawden, the amorphous ones (the spirit of repetition), 2011, white Staedtler pencils, epoxy and incralac, 25 x 11 x 28 inches. Shown by Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. The “pedestal” is a simple stack of plain white paper. If you buy the sculpture you get the paper too. (I had to ask.)

Wandering about, I noticed several hallway displays of large hard-edged paintings. They seemed very familiar. I quickly realized these were pieces by Karl Benjamin, who passed away just this year.

Karl Benjamin paintings from 1977-78 Paintings by Karl Benjamin from 1977-1978. I liked these better than from other periods.

Karl Benjamin at Louis Stern Fine Arts Karl Benjamin paintings from ca.1984, shown by Louis Stern Fine Arts.

At first I was moved by the displays honoring the recently deceased artist. But then I wondered: are these galleries just looking to cash in now that the artist is gone? One of those thoughts was unworthy, but I’m not sure which.

There were other convergences to be seen. It’s always fun to pick out the coincidences and muse on whether they represent trends or mere statistical flukes.

One trend I spotted was round works. The “tondo” (a fancy term for a round painting) was much in evidence at this show, in various media. Here are a few examples that I particularly liked:

Hadieh Shafie

This intriguing work by Hadieh Shafie was shown by the Leila Heller Gallery from New York. It’s 3 feet across. The colored bits are tight coils of paper, colored on the edge and written lengthwise with arabic script that says, simply, “love.” How delightful! Here’s a detail from the side:

Hadieh Shafie detail

Close to my own heart, artist Michelle Grabner paints small dots in neat rows and tight spirals. A small nonprofit exhibit space from the Netherlands, PS (Amsterdam), had a single painting of hers on display:

Michelle Grabner painting

The painting was about 2 feet across. Detail below:

Michelle Grabner detail

The backdrop behind this painting was more dots, in bright pink, plastered over the entire booth. Dots on dots – a dizzying effect!

Another round piece caught my eye because of its bright colors, and held my interest because of the unusual materials. This is by Yael Kanarek, shown by bitforms from New York:

Yael Kanarek White between “The Green Blouse” and sneakers, No. 1

The luscious material is cast silicone, colored and hand-cast by the artist. The shapes are words. In this piece, the words all say “white” in 9 different languages.

One more circle painting:

Sungyee Kim

This is Lament/A Thousand Tear Drops For You, 36×28 inches, 2009, by Sungyee Kim, shown by the Mindy Solomon Gallery of St. Petersburg, Florida. All it said was “mixed media,” but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some encaustic involved. I love the translucent depth you get with encaustic.

Speaking of depth, I was attracted to a good many pieces with depth or layers. Even just a hint of depth is enough to quicken my pulse. Why is that?

Here are some of my favorites:

Tom Wesselmann Tom Wesselmann, Maquette for Negative Blue (Deep), 1996, liquitex on bristol board, 7 1/8 x 6 1/4 x 1/2 inches. Shown by Forum Gallery, Los Angeles.

Liam Gillick Liam Gillick, Weekday in Sochaux, 2005, anodized aluminum in 4 layers/colors. Shown by Galerie Sho Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

Satoshi Uchiyama Satoshi Uchiyama detail Satoshi Uchiyama, Soaked Paintings, acrylic paint on wooden objects, about 4 to 10 inches each. These works reference the 2011 tsunami. Shown by eitoeiko, Tokyo.

Jaq Belcher - Unbounded 2011 Jaq Belcher, Unbounded, 2011, hand-cut paper (17,020 cuts), 48×84 inches. Shown by (and photo courtesy of ) JHB Gallery, New York. Detail below:

Jaq Belcher detail

That’s enough! If you need to see more, you’ll just have to come to the show next year. See you there!

October 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm 1 comment

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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.

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Why I call my landscapes neo-Pointillist landscape paintings

A bunch of my abstract dot paintings

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