Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nw Painting, " Would You Even Know Me if Your Eyes Were Closed?"

36" x 48"
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas

Peace comes from within. 
Do not seek it without. 
~ Buddha

Was playing around with some new colors and working slightly larger than normal...a little out of my comfort zone, but that's when growth happens. 

I worked on this piece at the same time I was working on a commission in the same color scheme. The commission is totally abstract, but I felt like this one needed something more subjective, more tangible.  The idea of a branch came to mind and then the painting took on a life of its own.

I am often asked how long it takes me to complete a painting. it's so hard to quantify, as I work in so many stolen moments out in the studio of 10-30 minutes while the kids are occupied/napping/playing outside with me...but that works and has actually enmeshed with my process because the pieces contain many layers, many intricate applications of colors and drips and carvings and geometric shapes and lines one on top of the other, and in the end I feel like they are done when I have found a way to calm my monkey mind and resolve the busyness and find peace in my composition and in my heart. 

That's when I know they are done...when I look at a painting and feel peace. A peace I continue to feel when I close my eyes, which is sort of where the title came from.

It's crazy how the seasons influence my painting on a subconscious level: think about the tree from "Our True Nature" done in the Spring, 

and this new one, with its spicy , earthy, warm colors is so completely's a detail pic:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

RISING Gallery: A Work in Progress

I paid a little visit to the boys at Rising Gallery this week.  Rising has a special place in my heart, as it was the first gallery to show my personal artwork, back in 2008. Since then, they have established themselves as a major player in the Dallas Arts Scene. 

After moving from their initial location on Insurance Lane just off Knox and being housed in a temporary space on Jackson Street since the Spring, they are just weeks away from unveiling their gallery's permanent home. 

The cool part? Their permanent digs are directly below their current location.  This area is set to become the crown jewel uniting Southside on Lamar, Victory Park and Downtown.  Lots of eyes have been on them these past few months, and the watched pot is just about ready to boil.

I got to take a sneak peek at the (quite literal) work in progress at the gallery.

A speakeasy, moveable walls, 
multi-media areas, 
private event venue, cutting-edge LED lighting
...this gallery has left no detail 
to chance.  

They will be unveiling their new space in conjunction with the opening of the
Galileo's Garden Exhibiton
Friday 11/11, 6p-9:30p

Denver based husband and wife artists Tyler & Monica Aiello 
bring their conjoined solo shows collectively titled 
“Galileo’s Garden”.  

I've already marked my calendar. Now mark yours.

Rising Gallery
800 Jackson (basement level)   .    Dallas, TX 75202
                  214.559.4158    .             

Gallery Hours
Tuesday-Friday 10a-5:30p
Saturday 11a-4p and by appointment

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Painting, "The City of Blinding Lights"

My Soul is Restless Til It Rests in You
36" x 36" x 1.5"
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas
Fine Art Giclee Prints available via The Art Menu

“Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colors, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential. ”- Wassily Kandinsky

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Let Me Come and Be Still in Your Silence

24" x 48"
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas
Khudairi Collection
Houston, TX

This painting now belongs to a wonderful couple form Houston
who came to visit my studio in Dallas.

Mr. Khudairi asked me to 
explain the meaning behind the painting, 
what did those words say that were 
barely legible in the background.

As far as the writings, I frequently incorporate the written word into my 
Poetry has really found a unique place in my life.  I collage 
favorite poetry of mine into the background of my pieces.  I've found that 
most of the writings are barely legible in the background, it is a way for me
to give my 
even though 
paintings a "voice", and convey a meaningful, personal message from my soul 
to the viewer, 
a message that is left up to them to interpret. 

Pablo Neruda is my favorite spanish speaking poet, hands down. 
Some of the writings 
in the background come from this poem below, as does the title. 
The rest are pages from my handwritten journals. 
Neruda directs his language so well in this poem, 
making you almost whisper most of it. 

I Like for You to be Still
I like for you to be still: it as though you were absent,

and you hear me from far away and my voice does not
                          touch you
It seems as though your eyes had flown away

and it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth.
As all things are filled with my soul
you emerge from the things, filled with my soul.

You are like my soul, a butterfly of dream,
and you are like the word Melancholy.
I like for you to be still, and you seem far away.

It sounds as though you were lamenting,
 a butterfly cooing like
                          a dove
And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach
Let me come to be still in your silence.
And let me talk to you with your silence
that is bright as a lamp, 
simple as a ring.

Your are like the night, with its stillness and constellations.

Your silence is that of a star, as remote and candid.
I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,

distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.

One word then, one smile, is enough.

And I am happy, happy that it’s not true.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Other Creative Souls: Christian Millet

As a creative person, it fascinates me to learn how other like-minded souls tick. Thanks for joining me today to pick the brain of Artist Christian Millet.  Christian is the man behind the collaborative art effort known as "The Seven Project", among many other projects in the area that focus on cultivating local creative talent. Here is his story.

Christian Millet

Current City/Hometown
Lima-Peru. Reside in Denton, TX

Almost a bachelors in Fine Art
Modern Dance
Project Management
Graphic Design

Tell me about your work in one sentence. 
Unintentional flow of emotional transitions

Describe your normal day. 

French Press or cold brew at my front porch to start, with  the company of my cigarettes. 

Network, e-mail, management of my brain.
Paint for hours at the time.
Lunch/Dinner, coffee for desert!
Paint, create, flow!
Documentary or scrabble, more paint!

What are your passions? 
Art, indy films, espresso. Wine.
Who are your creative influences?
Peruvian painter Jose Tola. My mother for her perseverance and any individual that has enough creativity built up that is constantly emerging, changing and moving forward. In my current collaboration project Nix Johnson stands out!

Are there any other relevant experiences that shaped who you are today and what 
you do?
 A funny detail of my career "I failed Art Class in my last year of High School".
During my teens a family member commissioned me do to a couple of replicas of a well know Spanish painter. Before I even realized it, that created my life's path.

Is there anyone you really look up 
to as an inspiration?
Jose Tola for his development as an artist and his multiple channels of expression.
How do you summon your muse?
I define my muse as a constant and challenging energy. My Fiance is fulfilling that role.
Borges and Vargas Llosa to read.
Pearl Jam and Silvio Rodrigues for music.

What motivates you on a daily basis?
I don't like seeing empty or white formats without color! 

What's your working style? 
I work a lot, many hours at the time. My only breaks are other types of work and the impossible invasion of family and cigarettes.

What are your websites/social networking links?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Colors of Fall - in progress

Today, in my mind at least, was the first real day of Fall in Dallas--at least, the first day that it felt like Fall. I sent the kids to preschool in their jackets, their chubby cheeks rosy from playing outside in the backyard.

The leaves swirled around in the wind outside the studio as I worked and sipped on my green tea.  It is always amazing to me to feel things outside, inside and then through my brushes.  The invigorating weather today was no exception as it manifested itself in a brand new color palette of spick pumpkins, cranberry, burnt umbers and deep charcoals.

I am stepping outside of the comfort zone and working bigger.  That square painting is 62" x 62".  It and the tree painting are commissions, the one on the right is just for fun. We'll see where they end up.

Mecox Gardens

Mecox Gardens is an emporium of delightful objects for your home. They now have 8 stores nationwide and I am so excited to have my paintings featured at the Dallas location. Here's a peek at a few of my paintings that are currently on display:

Stand Calmly
36" x 36" x 1.5"
There is so much to see here, from furniture to home accents to original artwork. The space is beautifully laid out and it is evident that there has been a lot of thought that went into the merchandising. It is easy to envision how these pieces would look in your room, due to the clever vignettes. What's so good here is the fact that there is a fresh approach to design, mixing important pieces with excellent art and accessories. It's also not the same old stuff that we have been seeing for years.

Impermanent Beauty
36" x 36" x 1.5"
My Soul is Restless til It Rests in You
36" x 36" x 1.5"
Local friends, please pop in and check them out next time you are cruising Knox. 

Mecox Gardens
4532 Cole Ave.
Dallas, TX 75205

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cowtown Indie Bazaar

Fort Worth friends, lots of great art/artists today right in your own backyard. The Cowtown Indie Bazaar is the ONLY Fort Worth craft show PRODUCED by local indie artists FOR indie artists to CELEBRATE indie artists.  Please stop by and take special notice of the awesomely eclectic work of  Nix Johnson , my fellow colleague on The Seven Project and all-around nice guy.

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Middle Son

There is something about this little guy... 

Callum was working in the studio with me this morning. His baby brother was napping and big sis is in kindergarten.  

These rare one-on-one moments that I get to share alone with him fill my heart with peace and gratitude.  I love watching him paint when he doesn't see me looking, and am inspired by the place of freedom and joy from which he creates. 

As a mom, you're not supposed to have favorites, I know, but he and I share a bond that is indescribable. At 3 1/2, he already understands that, too. I hope that feeling of unconditional love gives him as much strength and security as it gives me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Building Your Personal Art Collection

I love GOOP, and Gwyneth, and my friend Sally for sharing this article with me via Goop's site. Not sure where to start on when it comes to your personal art collection? Read on...

From Maria Brito:

Contemporary art is the art of our times and the art that reflects who we are individually and as a society. It engages the eye and the mind and can open doors and windows to places as remote as Kyoto or as close as Brooklyn. It should not be difficult to live with such an engaging and interesting form of expression, and yet, as an interior designer and a collector myself, I see that not enough people are enjoying the opportunity to live with art.

It's my mission to demystify the world of contemporary art and interior design and marry them both in a way that is attainable (and irresistible).”

How to Buy Art

“The contemporary art market is simply humongous. Historically, people have been overwhelmed and terrified by the idea of buying art for a variety of reasons. People associate the word ‘art’ with what's in museums and have pigeonholed the whole notion as too ‘highbrow.’ Not to mention that in the past ten to fifteen years, the auction houses have publicly reported astronomical figures every time they close a contemporary art auction, so a lot of people think that those are the average prices. Finally, there is the misconception that galleries are impenetrable by the average layperson or by those who aren't wealthy. These are all myths that are simply untrue.
     1.  Get an art education ...
The best place to start buying art, to obtain a good foundation and education, and develop an understanding for why you fall in love with specific artworks, are definitely the local galleries, in particular those that have a program for artists and represent them exclusively in their city.
If you are unsure of your tastes and preferences, art fairs are also an excellent source to see a lot of contemporary art, take a crash course in visuals and do some price research. They have proliferated so much that there seems to be a new one in every corner of the world. They are generally crowded, non-judgmental places where people can browse comfortably without being intimidated by the empty hallways and rooms of a gallery.
The mother of all the art fairs is Art Basel in Switzerland, followed by her younger sister, the Miami Beach version. The galleries are all top-notch, the standards to qualify as an exhibitor are the highest, and honestly, it can be a lot of fun and everybody who attends can browse and hang out for hours (or days like I do) and find new and old talents in all sorts of price ranges and from all over the world. FriezeScopePulseRed Dot and the Affordable Art Fair are also great fairs that occur throughout the year in different cities such as NYC, London, Berlin, Singapore and Miami.
     2.  Know your tastes ...
People willing to start buying and living with art usually know their own tastes: is it photography and the boldness and neatness that it conveys? Is it the mystery of having an abstract piece completely open to a thousand interpretations? Is it art with a political context? Or what if someone gravitates time and again toward bright pop-style neons?
     3.  Do your research ...
For your first acquisition, stick to what you love and don't just make a random purchase; get sufficient information on the artist and the gallery.
  • Has the artist won prizes?
  • Been invited to biennials?
  • Represented by a top notch gallery?
Pay attention and learn as much as you can before committing to a piece.
Note: Avoid auction houses (at least if it's your first time)
For people who are just getting their feet wet, auction houses are not good places to buy art. To start with, buyers have to pay premiums. The adrenaline rush that may come along with wanting to win may push you to pay more than you can afford. Most importantly, the education you get from buying art through galleries or consultants is truly invaluable.
There are three other important factors to think about when starting a collection (and don't be scared by the word "collection;" anybody with more than one piece of artwork has already started a collection):
  • Pay attention to the artist's career
    Obviously emerging artists (not necessarily young but generally in the first five years of his or her career) have artworks with price points that are lower than those who are mid-career or established.
  • Consider the medium:
    Prints, editions and photography are more accessible than originals. There are cases, for example, where mid-career or established artists who usually work with oil or acrylic or mixed media on canvas decide to release a limited edition of prints that are a fraction of what the originals would cost. I love prints and photography and recommend them to a lot to my clients because you can get large, graphic works without breaking the bank.

    Note: Whenever possible, buy limited editions rather than open editions.
  • Size is key!
    In the world of contemporary art, bigger is usually better. I will always favor buying a larger piece because of the impact it can make, turning a room from ‘blah’ to ‘wow!’”

How to frame and display

Display tips:

“In general, if you buy art from a gallery, it's best to follow their framing or mounting suggestions which are usually also the artists' wishes for a particular piece.

Living room

As a rule of thumb ...
  • Stretched canvases don't need a frame.
  • Super edgy or super large photography looks best mounted in acrylic or Plexiglas.
  • The bigger the piece is, the closer it should be to the furniture that is accompanying or enhancing (a sofa, a console table…). Separation from the furniture can range from four to six inches. (However, each case is different, in particular if the piece is too big or if the room has high ceilings)
  • The idea is that the piece should be at eye level and not too high above anything that serves as a point of reference.

Bathrooms & Kitchen

From the bathroom to the kitchen, anything goes. I don't think that there is a space that isn't game for contemporary art. In fact, I love to try daring combinations and incorporate art in unexpected places. It's a treat that delights both the owners and their guests.


I go a bit more subdued in the bedroom because I subscribe to the idea that bedrooms should be restful sanctuaries.
  • Black and white or sepia photography, watercolors and mixed media works that incorporate some pastels and softer colors are usually a good bet.
  • Bedrooms are also the place for smaller pieces. You don't need the impact of the bigger works in here.


I love creating galleries with a lot of small pieces that have mismatched frames and styles. In fact, I think it's the only time where a lot of mismatched frames and styles work well. Hallways are perfect for this kind of display.
I encourage people to have art in a variety of media that can range from acrylic on wood to photography to sculpture. However, I also suggest that there has to be a cohesive theme tying the artwork together, either a specific period of time when the artworks were created or works that belong to the same movement even if they are from different artists or works coming from artists from a specific region such as Latin America.
To make your own gallery display ...
  1. Start by making a "blueprint"; Take a roll of paper the size of the wall (or paste paper panels together) that is to become a gallery and then put it on the floor.
  2. Place the mismatched works on top of the paper the way you want them arranged on the wall.
  3. This is your chance to rearrange and experiment with the works until they look just right.
  4. Use a pencil to mark exactly where each should go.
  5. Tape the paper on the wall and put nails in the places where you want each piece to go.
  6. Carefully rip the paper off the wall and and voilà, there's the gallery!”

How to mix and match contemporary art in your space

“I have always focused on creating rooms and I'm drawn to places that feel like real homes. Thus, I love layering pieces and adding colors, textures (wood, fabrics, rugs, glass, metal) and patterns (flowers and stripes) as well as mixing modern pieces of furniture with vintage finds. This is when the contrast becomes all the more interesting. Here are a few ways of tying it all together:

Contrasting color schemes

One tip that works for most rooms is to try to develop a contrasting color scheme that goes well together (for example, grey and yellow) and then incorporate a third color that will add punches of colors here and there (in the example above, red, magenta and purple go particularly well.) The art that you put on the walls doesn't have to match the colors of your furniture or accessories, but I tend to find that most people gravitate toward the same color scheme over and over again and so it's not that unusual to find that people select artworks that have a similar palette to that of their décor. The idea is to get an overall design that makes visual sense and is not overwhelming to the eye. If you feel there's too much of a particular color, then you're probably right and you'll be better off taking a few pieces out.


Vignettes are also cool ways of making spaces look more alive. I love creating vignettes with anything that may fall in my hands at any given moment. For example, I may try to work around a small piece of contemporary art by adding a few books with colorful spines (never judge a book by its cover, but if you want to create an exciting vignette, then you need colorful spines!); an eBay or thrift shop object that is cool and interesting, and a vase with flowers or a vintage tin letter, the possibilities are really endless!

Kids and Art

Finally, a word on art and kids: I'm the mother of two very intense, very active boys, and we somehow happily coexist with my art collection, and all the bells and whistles that come with living with the things that I love. Lots of my clients are moms and most of my friends are moms. All of them worry about buying art because the kids will mess with the art. I think that you have several options in this situation ...
  • Hang the art higher than what their hands can reach. This is my least favorite solution because of the visual effect that it generates but between having to live with no art and having art that is hanging higher than what it should, I take the latter.
  • Teach kids the value of living with good things. This is my favorite option and the one that I have been using literally since each kid came home from the hospital. Children who live with art (whatever media, whatever shape, color or form) and know how to appreciate it and relate to it early on, develop a sensibility and a perspective that those who don't have this opportunity never get.”
Interiors photography:
David Lewis Taylor, Scott G. Morris, Maria Brito and Marni Salup.
Photographs from PurePhoto:
Sara Jessica Wilson, Pink Car, Paris, France.
Thomas Birke, Paris #21.
Maria Brito is an interior designer, a tastemaker and an authority on mixing contemporary art and interior design. She is the CEO and creative force behind Lifestyling® By Maria Gabriela , a company that offers full interior design and decoration services, sourcing, curating, and displaying art collections that truly reflect clients' tastes and lifestyles. Maria lives and works in New York City with her husband and two sons.

Gina Marie Dunn, Utopia Pkwy. Art Studio's Fan Box


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