Tag Archives: painting

A Succulent Affair

I admit that I have an obsession with succulents. Thankfully, its not a fatal attraction. Its hard to kill one…even the leaves will start growing roots! My attraction has produced several paintings. If I get a good photo sometimes I paint it more than once.

I like to experiment and use different mediums, change the composition, and see what I can do with it. Sometimes, the combination is so successful that I produce a series using the same concept but with different photos, like my Shadow Dance series. I have this amazing agave that is producing pups like crazy. I took some photos of it and the shadows on all the pups just really stood out and when I painted them, they turned into the focus. These little gems are painted on an upcycled panel from an art crating warehouse that ships art for museums. I love these little panels. They are covered in a brown paper that I primed so I could paint over it. The brown paper is what you see in the background.

ShadowDanceCollage

Another painting I’ve done 3 different ways is the Prickly series. I just liked the photo so much that I kept painting it. The first one I painted is the pastel on black paper in the middle. I love the texture in that paining. The second one was a commission that I did and its a very large oil paining (3’x5′), the details and soft color changes in the agave’s petals are beautiful, you can really get lost in it. The last one, on the right is my most recent rendition. I have been working on a series of small paintings on paper with acrylic. With all the different mediums and surfaces, the effect produced is entirely different.

Prickly Collage

I was asked to paint a series of my agave and succulents on paper for a show at the Rebecca Molayem Gallery this past July. I had seen some new paper from Arches at Blick that you could paint with oils on without any additional prep work. So I bought several sheets of it and created these paintings.

MolayemCollage

The original paintings are available on my website athenamantle.com. You can find these and my other southwest prints on FineArtAmerica.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Art Exhibition, Art Work, Succulents

Vintage Cars

I’m not sure why but I seem to have an obsession with vintage cars.  I guess they are more interesting than your average modern car.  They have interesting shapes and colors.  I would love to have one but fear I wouldn’t like the lack of modern niceties that come with cars these days like um….power steering, seat belts, power windows, oh and my favorite feature, power locks. My favorite thing about my Prius isn’t the gas mileage, but that is nice I admit, its the keyless entry.  I hate searching in my purse for keys!  I love that my car knows I’m there and unlocks the door for me!  But you don’t want to know how lazy I am so let me tell you about my vintage truck paintings.

Somehow I am always finding cool vintage cars in my travels.  I think its one of those things that when you like something you see it all around.  I’ve managed to get some great shots of these cars and make paintings of them.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  There is one location in Lyons, Colorado that I took several shots of and ended up making 3 paintings from.  I’m not sure if I can squeeze out one more but it was just such a great subject!  That blue truck made it into all three! Here they are in the order they were painted:

Here are some more of my vintage finds…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Good Shepherd Charity Design Project

Today designer Mollie Ranize picked up my painting “New Blue Agave” for her design project at the Good Shepherd Homeless Center for Women and Children where she is beginning her transformation of one of the many rooms that are part of the Good Shepherd Design Project.

Mollie makes sure to stay connected with the design community through her professional memberships with ASID, NKBA and USBGC.  She is also a regular contributor to many environmental, animal and human welfare organizations.

Her interior design studio ranges from large scale residential renovations, exclusive photography and production studios, restaurants and lounges to highly publicized health and fitness centers. dmar interiors is a well versed design company with impeccable attention to detail, respect for budget and belief that customer service is what makes the most positive outcome on a project.

I’m excited to see how she incorporates the piece in the renovated room.  I’ll share some photos when we get the big reveal!  Happy Designing Mollie!

Leave a comment

Filed under Art Work, Charity, Oil Paintings

Celebrating Women Artists of Southern California

The Women’s City Club of Pasadena at The Historic Blinn House is pleased to announce “Spring Forward – Celebrating Women Artists of Southern California.”  The exhibition, which runs from May 1 through July 30, 2011, features fifty paintings by seventeen Southern California women artists.  It will be the first exhibition produced by Margaret Danielak, The Women’s City Club of Pasadena’s new Curator of Exhibitions.  

The “Spring Forward” exhibition features the work of artists Ruth Olenick, Beth Summers, Carol Steinberg, Elizabeth Wallace, Linda DuPas, Frances C. Muenzer, Ellen Brown, Barbara Thorn-Otto, Julie Snyder, Kate Moriarty, Beverly Lazor, Athena Mantle, Anna T. Kelly, Judy Taussig, Marian Fortunati, Merrilyn Duzy and Robin Neudorfer.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Blinn House was built in 1905 for lumber baron Edmund Blinn and his family.  The Blinns hired popular Chicagoarchitect, George Washington Maher to design their Californiahome in the Midwestern Prairie School Style.  The building has been home to The Women’s City Club since 1945 and continues to serve the Pasadena community as a meeting place for civic, cultural, and educational activities.

“Spring Forward” will be on view from May 1 through July 30, 2011.   The Women’s City Club of Pasadena is located at 160 N. Oakland Avenue in Pasadena, CA  91101.  Parking is accessible behind the building from Madison Avenue.   The phone is 626-796-0560 and website is www.womenscityclub.com

 The Women’s City Club of Pasadena is open for art viewing Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  During the run of the exhibition, Curator Margaret Danielak will be on hand for special viewing hours on Fridays from 3 pm until 5 pm and by appointment.  Margaret Danielak may be reached through her blog at www.gallerywithoutwalls.blogspot.com , via email at Margaret.danielak@gmail.com or via phone at 626-683-9922. 

3 Comments

Filed under Art Exhibition, Art Work, Oil Paintings, Pastel, Plein Air Painting, Succulents

Artists Against Drugs

I firmly believe that drugs are not the answer. Unfortunately, so many people turn to drugs not only recreationaly but through prescriptions from trusted professionals to “handle” problems that they have no solution for. I understand the need to make the problems go away but I’ve never believed that taking a pill would solve anything.
I support the non-profit Say No To Drugs every year by running (ok, mostly walking) the 5K held at Universal Studios.  When I was approached by the group’s organizer, Ryan Kugler, to donate art to the Artists Against Drugs Art Show I was delighted to contribute. The show is Saturday the 21st of May at Satine Boutique in West Hollywood.  I hope you will join me in supporting this group by attending the art show and hopefully taking home a piece of art to call your very own.  I’m told there is art from all kinds of artists including some by actor Jason Lee (My Name is Earl).  Who knows what kind of celebrity folk might show up for this! 
It’s sure to be a fun night…I hope to see you there!
Athena

1 Comment

Filed under Art Exhibition, Plein Air Painting

Just Plein Painting It!

It has been my goal to get out there and paint the world in real life – not using photos. So, this past week I did just that. I thought I’d take a moment to share with you what I did.

I started last week inside a friends house with some lovely Iceberg roses that caught my eye.  I decided I’d try making a pastel sketch and then do a painting for each subject.

These were both painted “al a prima” or in one sitting.  I am not sure if it’s just the rectangular orientation of the pastel or what but I prefer the pastel on this subject. How about  you?

The next day I was able to capture a succulent with pastels in my friend’s backyard. This was fun because all the other succulents I’ve painted have been from photos.

“Iceberg Roses” and  “Propagation” are available in my Esty shop.

Stay tuned for more plein air painting and I’d love to get your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment!

Happy painting!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Just Plein Motivation

I find it hard to get out there with the easel and paints and just start creating.  I liken it to getting out to exercise.  Sometimes it’s just hard to get past the comforts of home and get out there. I took a workshop in plein air painting recently and really enjoyed it. It is a whole new world for painting, I think it stretches your creative muscles much more than painting in a studio from photos. I even went so far as to buy a painting box meant for this activity as the French easel I bought was so huge and clunky compared to what all the other students had. Not to mention I brought every brush I own and the instructor teased me about it. It really does helps to have the right equipment and not a stitch more. The idea of lugging a huge easel, all the paints, turpentine, brushes, towels, canvas or boards, etc. to some beautiful remote location made me forget the idea the minute I considered it. Taking photos was a much more appealing option.

I just came across this great article by Lori McNee which I really does give that needed motivation to get out there and paint!  http://www.finearttips.com/2011/03/10-motivating-tips-for-the-plein-air-painter/.  Read it and subscribe to her blog, she’s full of good information for artists.

Below is a slideshow to give you a glimpse of the fun I had at Frank Serrano’s urban painting workshop, in and around downtown Los Angeles.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

5 Comments

Filed under Art Work, Oil Paintings, Plein Air Painting

Making Myself Into A Twitter Ninja

My Tweet Story:

How I Got Two Friends Featured In Southwest Art Magazine

Last year I joined Twitter after learning more about it during an art marketing workshop put on by The Art Engine.  The basic strategy I was given was to follow those that you want to follow you.

So I joined and started following Southwest Art Magazine and it’s Associate Editor Courtney Carpenter because my art has a bit of a Southwest feel to it.  A few weeks after I signed up I saw a tweet by SouthwestArt that said:  We’re looking for figurative artists….any ideas? So, I replied: @SouthwestArt check out www.juliesnyder.com and www.kellyreemtsen.com both wonderful in different ways.

A few days later she sent me a message asking: @AthenaMantle Hey, do you have any idea where Kelly lives? Her work is so different and fun! Thanks for your suggestions! So I replied: @SouthwestArt Kelly lives in Los Angeles. and started thinking…this could really lead to something!  I sent my friend Kelly (who’s not on Twitter) an email saying: Hey, if you get a call from Southwest Art Magazine asking for an interview or something you have me to thank!! A week or so later I saw a post by Julie that said: I’m stoked! Just got interviewed by Southwest Art – January issue. Thanks @SouthwestArt Now, I got to thinking….did I do that?  I didn’t know Julie that well at this point so I tweeted Courtney and made sure to include Julie:@courtney_swa @ArtyJulieSnyder Courney, did you pick Julie for the mag because of the recommendation I sent you on the figure artists? and she said:@AthenaMantle Yes I did!! I actually am including Kelly too—I just haven’t gotten ahold of her yet. We’ve been playing phone tag! Now, I knew that I had just gotten my two friends into a national art magazine, wow…I was just beside myself!

Now you tell me that Twitter is a waste of time!  I think not!  Here is a scan of Kelly’s feature in the magazine that was published in the January issue.  Julie’s is coming out in March.  I have to say I felt pretty good about my good deeds!

My Turn, Making Twitter Work For Me

Keeping a keen eye on my tweet thread, I saw a post looking for artists to feature in a gallery with only a phone number listed.  I called, set up a meeting and landed myself a solo show.  Not too shabby for a few weeks on Twitter!

Anyone else have any Twitter stories?  Follow me @AthenaMantle…tweet you later!

Leave a comment

Filed under Art Marketing, Art Work, Oil Paintings, Uncategorized

An Unlikely Muse

An Extra-Ordinary Street

The Lake Avenue street median in Pasadena has been catching my attention ever since they landscaped it with some really unusual curly agave and a large variety of other agave and succulents.  I secretly scheme in my mind ways to go steal pups from the plants in the middle of the night.  It’s become a joke between my husband and I because every time we drive down that street I point them out as if he had never seen them before.  He turned it around on me and started pointing them out to me, “Hey, did you see THOSE?” he’d say.  It gave me a good chuckle.  The truth is I could sit on that street and stare at the plants for days and be perfectly happy.  I find something new to admire each time I pass by, they are just mesmerizing!

I had my camera with me one day and took some photos.  For some reason I didn’t paint them right away as you might expect.  Maybe I had too much built up in my mind about what great agave paintings they would make or maybe I just hadn’t formulated how the heck I was going to pull it off. Who knows my motivations…certainly not me!   I didn’t photograph my favorite curly agave because the late afternoon light was blocked by the office buildings.  Oh darn, I’ll just have to go back and look at them some more. But these beauties caught my eye so I snapped a few shots.  I started the drawings for these weeks ago and today I went for it with the paint!  I am doing a diptych (or a series of two) so I painted them simultaneously.

Here are some in progress photos…

I’d love to know what you think.

Lake Avenue Agave step 1

Lake Avenue Agave Step 2

Lake Avenue Agave Step 3Lake Avenue Agave step 5

1 Comment

Filed under Art Work, Oil Paintings, Succulents

Painting In The Back Alleys Of Burbank

This past weekend I took a painting workshop with Frank Serrano, an Artist Member of the California Art Club, to learn urban plein air painting. I have been primarily working from photographs in my recent work, figure drawing is all I’ve really done working from life. I’ve painted outside a few times but never with any instruction. This was a great experience!  Here are some photos of what I did on Saturday…

Urban Workshop Paintings

The pictures on the left show my reference and on the right are the paintings I did. Frank demonstrated before each new subject and explained his process.  After the demo we were let loose to find our spots and whip out the paint. You can see in the first photo that I have 2 artists painting a different view sitting right in the middle of my painting. Thank goodness he told us we could leave stuff out!

In the early part of the day the light changed so much that you really had to nail down where your light and shadows were going to be so you didn’t keep changing things. By the time we left the first location it was 1pm and time for lunch. We moved to our next location in a more industrial section of Burbank. Frank really knows some interesting spots. I have to say I preferred the gritty industrial section of Burbank to the horse alley we started with. I love the little field studies I did that day, I didn’t have a chance to finish them as we ran out of light but I did learn a lot that day.

The main lessons I came away with were…

  1. Stay loose – don’t worry so much about the small stuff.
  2. Pick you focus and gray the other areas down.
  3. I’m the artist…if the picture is better with something left out or changed, do it!

If you can think of anything I missed or have any feedback, leave a comment I’d love to know what you think.

After just one day I knew I would have a different approach to photographs so I’m testing out my new skills…stay tuned!

1 Comment

Filed under Art Work, Oil Paintings, Plein Air Painting, Uncategorized