Wednesday, July 17, 2013


This Painting Surprised Me!  After viewing so many recent hard edged paintings, the soft cotton candy cherry blossoms are astonishing. It is true that Alex has always maintained a painterly approach. His earlier paintings revel in color, and he still uses color notes to prelude his larger more mapped out work. But here, zen and Rothko- like, this picture is a poem!  I recognized Cherry Blossoms from my observation of two flowering cherry trees that were in my front yard on Long Island. The blossoms were pale pink and fleeting. Even a soft breeze would cause them to flutter and sail gracefully to the ground in large heaps of arc shaped petals- not as fragile as magnolia leaves, but quietly delicate.

Here,  tufts of blossoms look similar, but reveal a subtle soft shading like clouds. The dark reed like branches give rhythm, eye movement, with hints of gold winking around as well. And the gradual darkening of the pink suggests grounding, without any sign of a trunk. 

Alex has a clear, unfiltered eye that only has expanded in time in a burst of originality and growth. His brush is an extension of this vision and with new paintings such as this,  he graciously gifts us great rewards.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


This is a really perceptive presentation of the essence of Alex Katz.

It is extraordinary that Alex is receiving such recognition and wide acclaim appealing to all ages, and being recognized around the world for his accomplishments. It is such a testament to his uncompromising faith in his vision, that throughout his long career, he has held fast to the straightforward methods of seeing and painting that have brought him to this satisfying place. He is an inspiration both in the way he creates, and the way he presents himself. He always has something honest and true to say in explaining his process, his subject matter, and his approach to art. The depth of his knowledge, expressed in simple yet cuttingly perceptive words, is startling and refreshing.

Monday, November 19, 2012



One day I decided it was time! In reading Art publications, when an artist's work compelled me to want to see more, invariably there was a web site link at the end of the article where I could browse and get a sense of the artist's style, technique, passion. I enjoy reading the bios and artist's statements. I enjoy seeing how different subject matter is handled. And even, ultimately, I enjoy seeing how the web site presents itself. The design is also about the artist.

Since I enjoy design, I wanted to embark on this web site adventure for myself, but felt that doing my blogs, which I enjoy immensely, was within my capacity. But a web site was intimidating. I'm not sure if there's a lot of difference, but when I went to search for information about web site creation, it seemed complicated.

So I looked around and found a business person with good credentials, and decided to work with him to create my site. And work with him is the operative phrase here. Since I had a basic concept of how I wanted the site to look and function, I presented that as a framework. Based on that, we agreed on a price and I proceeded to create an outline of what I wanted the site to contain, and how I wanted it to work.

Building the site

I did not realize the adventure I was undertaking would become so involved. At first, I picked a fancy script font for my name, as the heading for all the pages. But about a third of the way into the design, I found out that the script font did not translate from my iMac to my iPad, showing up differently on the latter. So I reluctantly chose a font that would be standard across all formats: iMac, iPad, iPhone, and other devices.

The new font made my name look different, spatially, physically, so I felt positioning the name differently would work better for the heading, which would carry through all the pages. Once this was decided, it was easier to see how the site would develop: the Narration bar to the right would appear in the same font, capital and small, to my liking.

Thumbnails were the next thing to address. The thumbnails open to larger versions of the art  for easy viewing. They should open smooth, have pleasant borders or no borders, and be of similar sizes when opened. I am still trying to understand the sizing of the pictures so they open reasonably similar, even though some are vertical, some horizontal. Pixels, inches....stay tuned. 

Organizing all so it reads in a logical order, determining which illustrated art to accompany some of the written pages, and establishing a contact page for the viewer to input their comments or write for more information, such as pricing, was the last but important page to create. And I thought it would be cool to have a slide show on the last page, where the pictures might change for variety and a subtle special effect.

Finishing Up

Since I am almost at the end of the process, I can say it is a great learning experience. I wonder if I used a "Create Your Own" service I would be able to handle it. I know for sure, I would need a lot of feedback from the "support team!" My vocabulary has increased and perhaps I will add to this post with some of my new 'technical' terms'. I've also learned that whether you use a do it yourself service, or engage a business to create this for you, you must have 'support' that  you can work with, because the web site ultimately represents you, and so you have to feel that what you create does just that.

 If you wish to comment on this post, with your own experiences in designing a web site, or having one designed for you, I would enjoy hearing from you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012




                                                         (c)2012 Louise E.D. Herman "Ranier Cherries," oil on canvas, 30 x 20 inches
                                                                                                          private collection

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lynda Barry and the creative process

Reading the NY Times Magazine article about Lynda Barry lead me to purchase two of her books, one on writing, and the other on making art. In these journal-like books, she addresses the changes in attitude and behavior children go through as they grow into teens and adults and what happens to their creativity. Each page seems as a stand alone collage and it's refreshing to read this way, as you can get lost in each page. Taking the books as a whole, they are motivators, encouraging the free flow of words, and lines... streams of consciousness, or unconsciousness. Lynda's catchphrase..."Good, Good" as she teaches, is meant to encourage each participant to zip out of their self conscious judgemental mode, and open themselves up to the discovery of who they truly are.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Serene with a hint of vibe, an Alex Katz painting, print, cutout, wows without sweat. Appearance and style rule; as the artist himself confirms,every move that the sleek haired Ada makes could be freeze framed. Alex looks at a person's gesture, or that person against a certain atmospheric condition, an iconic printed scarf, a dappled pond surrounded by, for example, birch trees....and says:
that's it! And through all the process that incurs to make the resulting image, the one-look remains.

The vibe occurs from the juxtaposition of subtle color which, at first seems contained. Yet each color plays off the other to create rhythmic images that jolt the eye of the viewer: the Wow. People and scenery in the paintings seem familiar, their features pleasant and unchallenging, gazing slightly away. Clothing, draped attractively on figures is simple and no trinket adornments occur to compete for attention. Leaves and tree bark are often silhouetted against a clear sky. But patchy, yet controlled eye movement sets up when reflections in water surface assertively point out the light, as if our camera's flash worked overtime to highlight the individual oddity of these surfaces. We know we are looking at a fleeting moment, and yet...

The cleanliness of the painted surface is refreshing every time. Painting with confident strokes, the hand of the artist, the brush stroke, is implied just enough to use the word painterly. Although obviously enamored of the scene before him, the artist refuses to let it get in the way of the music he is making. Think piano technical ability, which is all but forgotten as we are swept up in the beauty of the music.

Katz is a painter's painter in his loving application of broad sweeps of clear tones and subtle contained shapes indicating form. However, his gift for universalizing his subject matter comes from his ability to make icons at the same time. While certainly painting individuals, he sees their pose as a type, and this type, painted with strong areas of color that appear fresh, intimate, and 'cool,' immortalize the subject matter and stamp it in our minds, long after we leave the gallery or museum. We come away with a sense of looking at and thinking about the world through the eye and language of the artist.
Just as Keith Haring developed a unique form of symbolism to communicate, Katz sees the world through his own rose colored glasses. He gives us a way to navigate the every day commercialism all around, to elevate our conception of the observable world, and make painterly sense of the mosaic of stimuli that we encounter every day.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Computer Montage in Photoshop

What a way to preserve memories and connect thoughts surrounding events. I have a zillion photos stored in various folders on my computer. Events that go way back. In addition, it is easy to scan in saved mementos to add to the collection. Sometimes, these photo montages seem to create themselves.

I start with one picture for the middle. Unless I use one picture as the background. Usually I don't fiddle with opacity, but that is certainly very effective, especially in fading the background for a base. As I bring in each photo, I adjust the size, sometimes directly, sometimes I use the photoshop tools to scale them just right. The further along I get in the project, the more I am apt to use the scale tool, and then the mover tool, to fit the photo into a desired spot. Magnifying sections lets me see how well I am doing, as often the photos have to butt against others, but sometimes I overlap for a design effect. I haven't experimented with putting layers in front or back of one another...have to get into that. Also want to get into selection features so I can make backgrounds disappear if needed. But none of that has been necessary so far and I have been very pleased with just jigsaw puzzling around and making a composite of favorite and topical photos, usually combined with some type in appropriate colors. You have to remember to sample the color and adjust the font and size, and I keep each word separate, so I can move them individually if there are only a few words. That way, I have control over how the type is placed.

All in all, time flies when working on one of these projects, which really is a symbiotic process...a way to connect with the person I am making the montage for, the event such as a birthday, and the walk through the photo albums of time to create a world of special meaning. TG for photoshop and all the fine art tools it has to offer. Sampling a color helps with a quick airbrush to remove some errant colors in a snapshot, or selects just the right color of type to blend with colors occurring in photos. As with some watercolor collages I have created, you can just airbrush around some pictures, or draw with the brush, to continue a scene where a picture leaves off.

New ideas just seem to grow, from one project to another. Had a bit of a printing problem till it was revealed that the 32 bit did not gel, nor the tiff. Had to print at 16 bit, and pdf. Stay tuned.