John Anderson

Why Do Artists Create Art?

7 Artists Share Their Inspiration

When choosing art to bring into our homes or offices it is often illuminating to know what compelled the artists to create it. What do they strive to communicate to us?

The answers we receive may add enormous pleasure to our viewing experience. For some artists it is equally important that their art provide a transformative experience for their viewer as well as for themselves.

These special artists have been curated into the Manhattan Arts International Featured Artists Program. It is an honor to present them to you. Click on their names to see more of their art work and learn more about them.

All rights reserved. Do not copy any images without the artist’s permission.

Click on images for larger views.

Susanne Buckler
Susanne Buckler, Surprised Survival/Ablutions, each piece available individually. Signed limited editions, archival inkjet prints on paper and canvas. Available in sizes 17” x 22” and 48” x 60”.

Susanne Buckler

“The images (in the ‘Survival Series’) capture me and the disease at discrete moments but they have been modified by my aesthetic process and by machines much like my own body. It is my aspiration that these personal images can be a shared healing for myself and for others.”

Visit her website


Cherilyn SunRidge
Cherilyn SunRidge, Deer Tracks Beckon, acrylic, 30″ x 30″ x 1.5″

Cherilyn SunRidge

“We must each hold a personal sacred hoop in our hearts, and we must each cultivate our Light-filled relationships in any arenas which beckon us. We must live like we matter, and my nature-spirit-art is a daily reminder of that.”

Visit her website


John Anderson
John Anderson, Edges, digital art on aluminum, 60” x 40”.

John Anderson

“My work (‘Visual Alchemy’) is not timid. My art literally bursts forth in an explosive energy that leaves much room for interpretation. Though I title my work, I always hope each viewer will see the work, not through my eyes, but through his or her own. The unity of my work is found in my own emotional feelings and thoughts that flow through the work like a thread through a tapestry.”

Visit his website


Marnie J. Blum
Marnie J. Blum, A Tale of My Own Making, mixed media: acrylic, ink, paper, images, marker on canvas, 20″ x 20″

Marnie J. Blum

“Inspired by the human experience, my work is a close encounter with one’s innermost voice: our deepest desire for connection, the reality of separation, and the undying hope of our spirit. I am driven by a need to make sense of this inner monologue.”

Visit her website


Elaine Hunter Photographic Art
Elaine Hunter, Golden Moon, photographic manipulation.

Elaine Hunter

“My goal is to uplift, inspire and support you on your journey through life. I wish to excite you as you gaze upon the images of Nature that I create. I feel that I am revealing the soul of Nature, and hope that you too, experience the love that I have in my heart for the world around me.”

Visit her website


Keith Morant
Keith Morant, Music Of The Spheres, mixed media in canvas 36” x 36”

Keith Morant

“My art is always a journey of discovery into the essence of being. It is an effort to externalise the truth of my own existence on as many levels as possible and communicate a greater awareness of the quality of life. It is an attempt to generate enquiry into the greater spheres of understanding which lie beyond conventionalised intellection.”

Visit his website:


Ren Crawford
Ren Crawford, River Rises, oil on canvas, 48″ x 36″

Ren Crawford

“I feel that when I paint I bring happiness, balance and joy to my own life and that it speaks to others in the same way. I am proud that my art is included in many healing art collections so that it can reach many people who need it most.”

Visit her website


You may also want to read “Why Do Artists Create Art”, Part I.

Learn more about the Manhattan Arts International Featured Artists Program.


Eric Maisel

New Book by Eric Maisel: Life Purpose Boot Camp

A Life-Changing 8-Week Program

By Renée Phillips

Eric Maisel, PhD, is a renowned licensed psychotherapist and regarded as America’s foremost creativity coach.

In addition to working with clients as a creativity coach he also trains creativity coaches, and provides core trainings for the Creativity Coaching Association. He leads workshops nationally and internationally.

He is the author of more than 40 books on a wide variety of subjects, from the challenges of living the creative life, to natural psychology, and the new psychology of meaning. A few of his widely acclaimed books include Mastering Creative Anxiety, Brainstorm, and Coaching the Artist Within.

Life Purpose Boot Camp

About Life Purpose Boot Camp

Thanks to Eric Maisel and his newest book Life Purpose Boot Camp: The 8-Week Breakthrough Plan for Creating a Meaningful Life, published by New World Library, readers have the benefit of receiving his wise counsel to potentially transform their lives. That’s of course, if they are ready and willing to follow his sage advice and do the work provided in his program.

Eric Maisel takes us through an 8 week life-changing, empowering experience. In my professional opinion, this may be the best gift you give yourself to insure that 2015 is your best year ever. I also encourage you to buy several copies and gift them to your loved ones and friends so you can share the journey with them.

As the title of the book implies it is a  wake up call that requires discipline. Maisel reminds us if we are seeking meaning in our lives we need to step up to the assignment of adopting certain ideas and engaging in specific practices.

The notion of using a boot camp mentality to attain our potential is genius. It makes so much sense and prepares the reader for the best proactive, no nonsense frame of reference.

Imagine what you will discover and explore in such chapters as “Creating Your Menu of Meaning Opportunities”; “Naming Your Life Purposes”; and “Creating Your Life Purpose Icon and Mantra.”

Why Did Eric Maisel Write This Book?

Unquestionably,  there are a lot of books about life purpose, however Life Purpose Boot Camp is different.  Eric Maisel shares his reasons for writing this book:.

“Most traditional books on life purpose argue that life purpose is a kind of alignment with the universe. You discern what the universe wants from you—that information passed to you via books like the bible, via gurus or experts, via meditation practices, spirit quests or desert treks, via preachers and their sermons—and then you align yourself with that wisdom and knowledge. Life purpose is seen as something you must seek out and, if you are lucky, find. This is our long-standing vision of life purpose and connects to all sorts of religious, spiritual, and philosophical traditions.

“It is time to change our mind about this and make the profound paradigm shift from seeking meaning to making meaning. If you believe in ideas like evolution and if you have a secular orientation, then it follows that there is no life purpose to find because the universe has zero life purposes in mind for you.

“Nature is not interested in offering you life purposes or in commenting on your life purposes. Rather, life purposes are decisions you make about what you value, what feels meaningful to you, what principles you want to uphold, how you want to represent yourself in life, and how you want to make yourself proud by your efforts and your actions.

“Life Purpose Boot Camp presents a systematic program for doing exactly that: identifying your life purposes, articulating your life purposes, and making plans for holding your life purposes ‘close’ so that you actually get to them on a daily basis. Growing up, you never learned these ideas, skills, or strategies: skills like writing life purpose statements, creating your life purpose icon, starting your day with a morning meaning check-in, and so on.”

“Creative Folks Have Special Problems”

Eric Maisel has devoted his career to helping creative people. He knows what triggers our fears and anxieties. In this book he provides a series of questions to awaken the truth and help us deal with our circumstances.  He helps us see what may be currently hidden from our view. He shows us how to upgrade our personalities. He motivates us to take positive action to achieve long term benefits.

Maisel states, “… creative folks have special problems with life purpose for the following two reasons, among many others:

“It is hard to succeed in the arts, so while you may feel like you are following your life purpose by performing or creating you are likely thwarted at every turn and may end up in unfulfilled day jobs, in arduous second careers engaged in to support your creative life, and so on. The challenging nature of the creative life makes it hard to sustain the effort of holding creating or performing as a primary life purpose.

“Creatives tend to put all of their meaning and all of their life purpose into their creative pursuits and end up taking too few other meaning opportunities and pursuing too few other life purposes—for instance missing out on love, intimacy and relationships. It is fine to have a primary life purpose like creating but we really need multiple life purposes, not a single life purpose.”

In Life Purpose Boot Camp Eric Maisel shows us how to identify our multiple life purposes and manage them with the right tools. This book may revolutionize the manner in which you advance through life and achieve your goals.  I encourage you to step up to the Life Purpose Boot Camp challenge and reap the benefits!

To learn more about Eric Maisel visit his website

To learn more about his book and how to become a Life Purpose Boot Camp instructor visit


Do you have a new book, workshop, art exhibition or other art project to announce? Learn how Manhattan Arts can help you get the word out.


ACA Galleries

ACA Galleries Presents Peter Blume Exhibition

A Modernist Artist With A Complex Mix of Influences and Involvement With Metaphysical Experimentation

ACA Galleries
, a gallery in New York, NY, has announced the exhibition, “Peter Blume” (1906-1992), on view November 6, 2014 through January 31, 2015. The exhibition will feature paintings, drawings and sculpture from the artist’s estate.

Concurrent with the ACA Galleries exhibition is the first Peter Blume retrospective since 1976, “Nature and Metamorphosis”, organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts (PAFA), Philadelphia (November 14, 2014 – April 5, 2015). This exhibition will travel to the Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, CT (June 27 – September 20, 2015). A catalogue will be available.

Peter Blume
Peter Blume, Still Life with Satyr and Paint Brushes, Oil on canvas, 32 x 16 in.

Transcending Modernist Conventions

Peter Blume’s modernism embodies the clashing contradictions of the 20th Century: abstract complexities with nostalgia for a simpler past; the rush of urban living with the yearning for a lost pastoral life; the cold reality of politics with the quest for spiritual meaning in a world ravaged by two world wars and a ruinous economic depression.

By embracing the irreconcilable, Blume transcends Modernist art’s conventional aspirations to re-define order in a chaotic world. His oeuvre is metamorphosis itself, a realm where paradox rules. Within that clash Blume found profound meaning and sublime beauty.

Bume’s deep knowledge of art history holds these disparate elements together. We see the elegance of Renaissance rendering, the balance and figurative perfection of Classical antiquity, the rule-breaking energy of Modernism, and the spontaneity of folk art. The latter reflects his Russian Jewish roots and his embrace of the culture of his adopted land, America.

Peter Blume
Peter Blume, Studio Table Study, 1967-69, Oil on board, 6 3/4 x 5 1/8 in.

Involvement With Automatism

Together with his understanding of the emotional properties of color, the structural backbone of architecture, and the physicality of sculpture, Blume was able to corral these elements into a surreal narrative.

Adding richness to Blume’s already complex mix of influences was his involvement with metaphysical experimentation. His interest in Automatism and “automatic writing” found its way into his preliminary studies for paintings and his works on paper in particular, where he allowed his hand to move spontaneously across a surface.

The results are dynamic works of flowing lines and exciting shapes existing in metaphysical tension, where the physical facts of the world meet the whispered secrets of the mind and spirit.

Peter Blume
Peter Blume, Study for Boulders of Avila, 1971-75, Oil on canvas, 49 x 73 in

Critical Acclaim and Museum Representation

In a life that spanned nearly the entirety of the 20th Century, Blume’s art recorded not the dry facts of that century but the soul of it, its struggles against incomprehensible violence, and its triumphs of survival over man-made madness. This achievement won Blume critical acclaim throughout his career, winning a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Carnegie International Prize in the 1930s.

His work is represented in major public and private collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Smithsonian Institution of American Art in D.C.; Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh; Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

ACA Galleries
Peter Blume, Study for Boulders of Avila, 1975, Oil on canvas, 22 x 38 in.

About ACA Galleries

Founded in 1932, the American Contemporary Art Galleries are dedicated to representing and exhibiting prominent Contemporary & Modern artists. It is located at 529 West 20th Street in New York’s Chelsea district, New York, NY.

Visit ACA Galleries website:


Matti Sirvio

Matti Sirvio Expresses A Colorful Universal Language

His Art Creates A View Beyond Time

By Renée Phillips

Matti Sirvio
Matti Sirvio in his studio.

Matti Sirvio was born in Sotkamo, Finland and currently lives in  Muscat, Oman. He has lived in Sweden, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and more recently in Istanbul, Turkey. He has  also exhibited in many countries around the world.

The artist is fluent in many languages, including his native Finnish, plus English, German, Russian, Turkish, and Hungarian, and is currently adding Arabic to the list.

He brings a universal language to his art that engages viewers immediately and transcends geographical and cultural boundaries.  As the artist states, “I want people to see the unseen world through my art, a view beyond time into eternity.”

All rights reserved. Do not copy any images without the artist’s permission.

Click on images for larger views.

Matti Sirvio
Matti Sirvio, Russian Spring, oil on canvas, 59″ x 47″.

Spontaneity and Discovery

Created in the style of  Semi-Abstract Expressionism,  Sirvio’s bold paintings are immersive in scale and infused with dynamic  expansion and depth.

His inimitable style exudes an effortless, fluid spontaneity while his compositions reflect a sophisticated juxtaposition of forms, colors and textures.  The artist integrates ebullient colors in varying chromatic and tonal ranges.

These attributes permeate his canvases with contrast, balance and harmony.  Most importantly, they us on visual and visceral journeys that ignite our innate quest for discovery.

Matti Sirvio
Matti Sirvio, Heaven And Earth In Me, oil on canvas, 59″ x 59″.

Imaginative Use of Symbols

Sirvio asserts an active imagination and incorporates symbols into his art. These symbols arise from influences from rural Finland, where he lived as a child, to his current adventures in Muscat, Oman.

“I see symbols all around me as I move through life. Are they ordinary things? Or can we look together beyond the facade of everyday life and physical existence and see more deeply—the picture beyond the picture? Do you see a vacant cube? Or a gift–a box full of kisses?”

Matti Sirvio
Matti Sirvio, Angels on Their Way to Syria, oil on canvas, 47″ x 47″.

Reflection and Hope

It is apparent the artist’s world view is all encompassing, inclusive of all sides of humanity, and yet there is a sense of euphoric possibility throughout his works. “Angels on Their Way to Syria”, for example,  opens a dialogue for personal interpretation and profound reflection.

Sirvio states, “When completed, I believe my paintings are hopeful. I encourage people to look, ask questions, and find answers.”

Matti Sirvio
Matti Sirvio, Morning in Kyrgyzstan, oil on canvas, 39″ x 47″.

International Exhibitions

Matti Sirvio has a long list of solo exhibitions and public art events, such as Art Takes Manhattan and the Izmir Art Biennial.

The artist and his art work have traveled to many part of the world — from China through the Mediterranean, Egypt, and Morocco, as well as the United States and Canada.

He has been a guest lecturer at the National Fine Arts College and the University of Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat Oman.

Matti Sirvio
Matti Sirvio, Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, oil on canvas, 59″ x 59″.

Humanitarian Work

There was a time in Sirvio’s life that he became disillusioned by the art world. For two decades he dedicated himself to humanitarian church work in Sweden and Hungary and among the Turkic nations in the former Soviet Union.

After the long hiatus, upon moving to Istanbul, Turkey in 2006, he was inspired to paint again.

Fortunately, for art enthusiasts yearning for an enlightened visual experience, Matti Sirvio has been painting ever since.

Visit Matti Sirvio’s website


Lola Lonli

Lola Lonli Creates Dramatic Energetic Paintings

An Artist Influenced by Cosmism, Music and Dreams

By Renée Phillips

Lola Lonli
Lola Lonli

Lola Lonli is an artist from Moscow, Russia who creates mesmerizing  and melodic works of art in the style of Cosmism.

Positive messages, rhythmic, swirling patterns, intense colors, and bold design characterize her works of art. She combines unique and skillful painting, drawing and mixed media techniques with egg tempera and florescent pigment.

Lonli’s award-winning art work is in  private collections world wide and also museum collections. She has had more than 100 exhibitions that include many juried competitions.

All rights reserved. Do not copy any images without the artist’s permission.

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Lola Lonli
Lola Lonli, Someone’s Footprint on the Universe’s Face, egg tempera and fluorescent pigments on canvas, 27-1/2″ x 27-1/2″.

Influenced by Cosmism

Since childhood Lonli has followed her curiosity about the internal energy fields of the universe. Her art reflects aspects of Cosmism, a philosophical and cultural movement that emerged in Russia in the early 20th century. The artist explains, “For me, the main aspect of Cosmism is the interconnection of every person with the Universe’s spirit, energy and evolution.”

Her paintings have been included in the catalogue “Russian Cosmists of XX-XXI Centuries” published by International Centre of Roerichs.

Lola Lonli
Lola Lonli, Invisible Life. Love, egg tempera and fluorescent pigments on canvas, 43-1/2″ x 35-1/2″.

Unique Alteration of Colors and Moods

The self-taught artist learned to draw at a young age while observing nature and the art of master artists and quickly became skilled in using India ink, watercolor, and oil paints. She also is adept in using egg tempera for her paintings, which is very long lasting medium. She also adds essential oils to her paints.

Lonli paints with fluorescent pigments which change in color when viewed in different lighting conditions. This unique process dramatically alters the viewing experience and mood of each painting. On her website she provides examples of how the same paintings appear in normal lighting as well as with black lights.

Her kaleidoscopic swirling patterns conjure up associations with the “Psychedelic Art” movement of the late 1960’s counterculture.

Lola Lonli
Lola Lonli, Maytreya’s Crystal, egg tempera and fluorescent pigments on canvas, 31-1/2″ x 23-1/2″.

Inspired by Music and Deep Concentration

Music has always been of great importance for the artist who enjoys a versatile range – from Jazz, blues and classical.

Lonli states, “I have not worked out a single painting without listening to music. It helps me to achieve creative meditation; so I choose the music according to subject and energetic content of the particular painting.”

Her inspirational art works come to fruition when she is in deep concentration. The art seems to automatically flow through her onto the canvas. She states, “I take subjects for my paintings from ancient legends, real life and my dreams. ”

Lola Lonli
Lola Lonli, Armageddon. Thinking Movement, egg tempera and fluorescent pigments on canvas, 23-1/2″ x 35-1/2″.

Exhibitions, Honors and Awards

Lola Lonli’s artwork is included in many private collections and museums throughout the world including Nicholas Roerich, Moscow, Russia; V. V. Vereshchagin Mykolaiv Art Museum, Mykolaiv, Ukraine; and Simferopol Art Museum, Simferopol, Crimea.

She has had more than 100 exhibitions since 1993,  including the Colors of Humanity Art Gallery, Bedford, PA;  and Gallery 25N, in Fishkill, NY.

The Light Space & Time Online Gallery gave her two Special Recognition awards in their exhibitions. She received a Certificate of Honor at the 9th Art Contest by Artavita and was Awarded Best of Show in the Dreams Art Competition sponsored by Focus Point Shape International Online Art Gallery.

She was chosen as a finalist of the Em*bodied Art online competition presented by ArtScene Today, in New York, NY.  She was also selected as a winner of the Traditions juried exhibition presented by Linus Art Galleries, located in California.

Lola Lonli
Lola Lonli, Miles. Aura. Into Creation, egg tempera and fluorescent pigments on canvas, 27-1/2″ x 27-1/2″.


Lola Lonli has been a member of the International Federation of Artists and Federation of Artists of Moscow region, section of graphic arts since 1996. She is a member of the Executive Committee of International Association “Universal Day of Culture” and the Director of the art-studio “The World’s Treasure”.

Visit Lola Lonli’s website at


Victoria Pendragon, collage, 12" x 12".

Victoria Pendragon One-Person Exhibition to Raise Awareness

“Witness, A Visual Exploration of the Ramifications of Childhood Sexual Abuse and Incest”

“Witness: A Visual Exploration of the Ramifications of Childhood Sexual Abuse and Incest” is an important exhibition of 18 collages, based on the life experience of artist and writer, Victoria Pendragon, BFA, DD.

The exhibition will premiere at Locality Gallery, on October 10, 2014, from 7-9 PM. The highlight of the evening will be an opening talk presented by Victoria Pendragon.

The exhibition will run through November 8. The Locality Gallery is located at 142 East Pitt Street,  in Bedford, Pennsylvania.

Victoria Pendragon
Victoria Pendragon, The Way Out is the Way, collage, 12″ x 12″

About This Important Exhibition

This not-for-profit event is designed to raise consciousness about the subject of childhood sexual abuse and incest and to help banish shame.

The collages are accompanied by text panels that provide interpretation for a visual journey which begins by introducing the major players – parents and grandparents – in the story, providing background for events that are alluded to by the artworks, events that are mentioned in the text panels but never visually depicted as the art itself. They are designed to evoke feeling senses, emotional responses to the unseen abuses, thus paralleling Victoria’s original journey which was rooted in denial and repression.

Victoria Pendragon
Victoria Pendragon, Well Begun is Half Done, collage, 12″ x 12″

Open Sharing and Services for Victims

Artwork and text panels work in conjunction and function in a way that is not dissimilar to a graphic novel. The goal of the show is a candid and open sharing of a subject that is usually kept – like the acts themselves – hidden in order to lay a foundation for viewers who may have been similarly affected to feel more secure about speaking what is their truth.

Trained counselors from nearby Your Safe Haven will be available in a nearby yoga studio for those needing to speak with someone about their emotional responses to the show.

Your Safe Haven Victim Services Program in Bedford County, serves victims of sexual assault and provides victim/witness services to all crime victims including, sexual assault and incest.

Statement from Victoria Pendragon

Victoria Pendragon
Victoria Pendragon

I come from a background of wealth, higher education and extreme sexual abuse. My entire adult life has been a journey towards wholeness.

In 1988 and through 1989 I experienced the crippling of my whole body and the hardening of my internal organs due to progressive systemic sclerosis. Art – and pretty much everything else – stopped for me as I embarked on an adventure that would first save and then change my life. My highly unlikely recovery led me towards work where I could be of assistance to others and I practiced hands-on healing for about 15 years. Art and writing, except for my own therapeutic uses, took a back seat for many years.

I have, in the past four years, participated in over a dozen juried art shows, authored two self-help books and am about to experience my second one- woman art show. I can dance like a maniac; I have a wonderful husband, and two amazing offspring.

About Victoria Pendragon’s Books

Victoria Pendragon
Book by Victoria Pendragon

Victoria Pendragon’s book Sleep Magic, Surrendering to Success is about emotional cellular reprogramming, based on her most usual healing from scleroderma. It was published by Ozark Mountain Publishing in 2012.

The book is available at Amazon as a paperback or for Kindle or may be ordered from Red Wheel Weiser.

Victoria Pendragon’s next book, Feng Shui From The Inside Out, is scheduled to be published in 2015.

Victoria Pendragon also offers mentoring for what she calls Spoon Fed Sleep Magic.

Additional Information

Michael Corle is the Gallery Director of Locality Gallery. The Gallery telephone: 814.623.5020

The works in this show are not for sale. However inquiries from appropriate venues for future exhibitions will be welcomed.

Visit Victoria Pendragon’s website at


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National Academy Museum

The National Academy Museum Presents Beyond The Classical

Artistic Links Between Past, Present and Future

The National Academy Museum presents Beyond the Classical: Imagining the Ideal Across Time, which explores the ways in which artists have referenced classical themes such as history, mythology, allegory and idealism over the course of 200 years.

Beyond the Classical is conceived as an investigation of past and present. Whether rejecting or responding to the Classical, artists are conditioned and influenced by its framework. From this point of view, classicism is present in virtually every age, culture and civilization.

National Academy Museum
The Bounty KillArt, Aloha al Sudore, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Polimenco de Fiacca.

A Range of Artists

The exhibition, which runs from October 2, 2014 – January 11, 2015, features 19th- and 20th-century works from the Academy’s permanent collection. The exhibition is curated by Maurizio Pellegrin, Filippo Fossati and Diana Thompson.

It includes works by Edwin Blashfield, Asher B. Durand, George Lober and Maxfield Parrish, alongside works on loan by major modern and contemporary artists, including Marcel Duchamp, Anselm Kiefer, Robert Rauschenberg, Kiki Smith, Cy Twombly, Susana Solano and Mickalene Thomas, to reveal a variety of classical and “anti-classical” perspectives.

National Academy Museum
Anselm Kiefer, Dem Unbekannten Maler, 1980. courtesy of the artist and Sonnabend Gallery, New York, NY

Classicism is Present in Every Age

“Beyond the Classical demonstrates how classicism has been understood and expressed by artists for centuries, and the ways in which their response to classicism and classical subjects still resonates in the cultural dialogue,” says Maurizio Pellegrin, the National Academy’s Creative Director and the show’s co-curator. ”

Pellegrin adds, “A show such as this one, which creates a dialogue around the undeniable links between past, present and future, honors the spirit of the National Academy with its historic connection to the Hudson River School and its current embrace of a range of contemporary artistic practices.”

National Academy Museum
Titus Kaphar, Sacrifice, 2011. courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY

About The National Academy

Founded in 1825, the National Academy is the only institution of its kind that integrates a museum, art school and association of artists and architects dedicated to creating and preserving a living history of American art and architecture.

National Academy Museum
1083 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street)
New York, NY 10128

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Cheryl SunRidge

Cherilyn SunRidge Creates “Nature Spirit Art”

Her Healing Paintings Reconnect Us To Our Source

By Renée Phillips

Cherilyn Sunridge
Cherilyn SunRidge
is an artist  whose vision is “to help mend the split of our souls from our spiritual source.” She explains, “For me, this is attending and tending to an earthly walk of acknowledgement and gratitude.

She brings a multidimensional artistic vision, philosophy, energy studies, and travels to her unique paintings. Her lineage is Swedish, Irish, and Comanche. She has worked in southeast Alaska, lived in the Rocky Mountains, and traveled from the Midwest to the western coast. She currently lives in Oregon City, Oregon, and has exhibited her art extensively in that state as well as in New Mexico and Colorado.

All rights reserved. Do not copy any images without the artist’s permission.

Click on images for larger views.

Cherilyn SunRidge
Cherilyn SunRidge, Deer Tracks Beckon, acrylic, 30″ x 30″ x 1.5″

Energy Training and Earth Exploration

Her art is imbued with her extensive training in energy studies including yoga, sacred dance and bodywork, body energy systems, sensory re-patterning, non-culturally-specific shamanic spiritual healing as well as decades of geologic fieldwork in the remote wilderness.

She explains her visual themes encompass “personal mythology, abstractions of ‘images of exploration,’ delightful spirits-of-place, and the quest to see and feel and portray the energy of the land and world.”

Cherilyn SunRidge
Cherilyn Sunridge, Blue Mesa Bridge, acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 40″ x 1.5″.

Circular Forms and Their Symbolic Meanings

Cherilyn SunRidge’s art connects us to the earth through the use of her gentle palette and metaphorical forms that suggest the elements of nature as well as the vistas beyond our senses.

Her spherical shapes that suggest pods, seeds and portals to other realms evoke primordial symbols of life and rebirth.  Her rhythmic vistas are invigorated with continuous movement and an affirmation of limitless potentiality.

She provides viewers with the catalysts to comprehend a higher level of consciousness and discovery, and her poetic titles open the dialogue, such as “From Where Comes Seed” and “Seven Steps to Heaven”.

Cherilyn SunRidge
Cherilyn SunRidge, First Innocence, acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 30″ x 1.5″.

The Sacred Hoop Mandala

The paintings that appear on this website are from her “Current Hoops” series. Her intention is to suggest the idea of the native medicine hoop, the sacred hoop mandala as observed throughout different cultures. However, her art presents it within a contemporary context and purposeful “non-culturally specific ways.”

Her message is profound yet universal: “That we must each hold a personal sacred hoop in our hearts, and we must each cultivate our Light-filled relationships in any arenas which beckon us. We must live like we matter, and my nature-spirit-art is a daily reminder of that.”

Cherilyn SunRidge
Cherilyn SunRidge, From Where Comes Seed, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″ x 1/5″.

Praise From Collectors

Patrons who have acquired her work have commented that they receive a gift of joy, peace and balance and a reminder to live a stable spiritual life.

One of her collectors remarked, “…You really move with stylized organics, depicting something organic but the abstract element is a direct part of the organic, not just next door. This is a celebration! You’ve created another superb canvas, and I feel like I have been ‘chosen’ to hold something precious, as I gather up all this outrageously awesome art! Quite an honor.”

Cherilyn SunRidge
Cherilyn SunRidge, Seven Steps To Heaven, acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 16″ x 1/5″.

Exhibitions and Awards

Cherilyn SunRidge shows throughout the greater Portland, Oregon region at juried festivals and galleries. Her work has been juried into shows at Art on Broadway, Grapevine Graphics, Three Rivers Artist Guild Gallery, Open Studio tours, Portland’s Trinity Cathedral, and Art-In-Public-Spaces programs.

She is currently showing “Large Works” at Soham Yoga LLC, in Oregon City, Oregon, through December, 2014 and is in a group exhibition at Grapevine Graphics through mid October, 2014.

She received the First Place Juror’s Choice award at The Mary Show in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her art and poetry have been published in her book “Nothing Is As It Was: Every Day is Remarkable and Remakable,”  published by Balboa Press. It won a National INDIE Excellence Award and received national recognition in the Self-Help / Motivational category.

Visit Cherilyn SunRidge’s website at


Judy Pfaff

Judy Pfaff Exhibition at Garrison Art Center

An Exhibition of Prints by Judy Pfaff During Printmaking Festival

Judy Pfaff will have a one-person exhibition in The Riverside Galleries at Garrison Art Center, 23 Garrison’s Landing, Garrison, New York. The show opens October 11 and runs through November 9, 2014. There will be a reception on October 11, 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Pfaff’s exhibition of prints in The Riverside Galleries follows fittingly on Garrison Art Center’s Steamroller Printmaking Festival at which artists — along with an enthusiastic community of toddlers to seniors — will create colossal wood blocks printed by a giant steamroller on the pavement in front of the Art Center. Both the exhibition and the festival are celebrations of printmaking and of the 50th Anniversary of Garrison Art Center.

This exhibition runs concurrently with two more exhibitions of Pfaff’s art in Chelsea at Pavel Zoubok Gallery and Loretta Howard Gallery both on West 26 Street, New York, NY.

Judy Pfaff
Judy Pfaff, Rosie’s Bed, 2009, 91” x 91” x 6” Cut, burnt & perforated bond and Crown Kozo paper, joss paper, sheet music, silk & paper flowers, honey comb packaging material, wire, fishing line, coffee filters, ink, kite parts. Courtesy of Judy Pfaff, photographer Rob Van Erve

Establishing Presence as An Installation Artist in 70’s

Judy Pfaff was born in London, England, in 1946. She received a BFA from Washington University, Saint Louis (1971), and an MFA from Yale University (1973). In the early 1970s Pfaff established her place in American art as an installation artist. Her installation work fills space with disparate objects that seem to spring from the walls and floors like a big bang, and then as if by magic freeze as a beautifully organized chaos that at once provokes and enchants viewers.

During Pfaff’s long career these big bangs have existed alongside her other seemingly very different creations, such as the mixed media woodcut prints that will be included in her exhibition in Garrison, New York. In these works objects collide on paper and are surprisingly like a steamrolled version of her installations–a sort of reverse bang.

Her Steadfast Independence

With a BFA from Washington University, Saint Louis, and an MFA from Yale, Pfaff was well prepared for these four decades she has spent teaching thousands of students of art which makes her prolific career as a working artist even more of a cosmic wonder.

Additionally, in the art world of recent decades in which the paradigm has been that artists who do one thing are legitimized over those who do it all, Pfaff clearly bucked that notion. Pfaff’s steadfast independence, be it intentional or not, may be one of the reasons that her name does not appear on lists of Post-Minimalist artists.

And according to art critic Roberta Smith, “Ms. Pfaff’s liberated decorative sense may have kept her from being considered the late Post-Minimalist that she is. If the Minimalists revealed space in all its static grandeur and the Post-Minimalists messed with it beyond belief, she has more than carried on.” (Art in Review, October, 2010.)

Numerous Awards

Although Pfaff’s work refuses to fit neatly into an art movement, she has received numerous fellowships and awards including the coveted genius award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and is one of the artists featured in the acclaimed documentary produced by PBS Series “Art 21” (2007.) Her work is in the permanent collections of museums throughout the world including the Museum of Modern Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art.

For more information on this and other programs visit Garrison Art Center’s website

Garrison Art Center
23 Garrison’s Landing, P.O. Box 4
Garrison, NY 10524

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Marnie J. Blum

Marnie J. Blum Creates Universal Stories in Mixed Media Paintings

Her Art is Driven by Inspiration, Instinct and Intuition

By Renée Phillips

Marnie J. Bloom
Marnie J. Blum

Marnie J. Blum was born in California and currently lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina. The highly innovative artist works primarily in water-based media, which consists of acrylics, inks, and water-soluble crayons. She also incorporates clay, fibers, paper, and writings into her art work. She delights in using whatever she has in her studio to achieve the desired effect.

Blum continuously strives to challenge herself in different creative directions to encourage artistic growth. As she states, “I believe tapping into other media adds to the dimension of my work.”

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Marnie J. Blum
Marnie J. Blum, A Tale of My Own Making, mixed media: acrylic, ink, paper, images, marker on canvas, 20″ x 20″.

Enchanting Art That Lifts The Spirit

Marnie J. Blum brings a dynamic and vivid imagination with sophisticated artistic prowess and a heartfelt sensitivity to human needs to her art.

She creates narrative art by interweaving and superimposing a plethora of  positive symbols and forms —  from hearts and flowers to humans, animals and fish.  The elements flourish in a reverie of rhythmic motion, translucent layers, and soothing colors.

Her compelling  compositions induce a dreamlike trance amidst universal themes. She take viewers to enchanting healing places where she calms the mind and lifts the spirit.

Marnie J. Blum
Marnie J. Blum, Offering, mixed media: acrylic, ink, tissue, polymer clay, pastels, marker on canvas, 24″ x 36″.

Each Work of Art Begins with A Story

Marnie J. Blum informs us that her art, like her life, is driven by instinct and intuition. She explains, “Each piece begins with a strong personal connection to a short phrase, song lyric, or idea that matures into a deeper ‘story’ in my imagination. Being connected to this story is essential for me breathing life into the work. Each of my pieces becomes richer, deeper, and more complex by layering brightly-colored water-based paints and inks; collaged images and papers; and the written word.”

Marnie J. Blum
Marnie J. Blum, A Dream of My Own Making, mixed media: acrylic, ink, paper, images, marker on canvas, 16″ x 20″.

Inspired By The Human Experience

The artist states, “Inspired by the human experience, my work is a close encounter with one’s innermost voice: our deepest desire for connection, the reality of separation, and the undying hope of our spirit. I am driven by a need to make sense of this inner monologue. My pictorial stories become universal – transcending gender, age, and ethnicity – through abstraction and symbolism. I often incorporate silhouettes to focus on human similarities rather than individual differences.”

Marnie J. Blum
Marnie J. Blum, Between The Lines, acrylic, ink on melamine, 11.5″ x 11.5″.

Publications and Special Honors

Blum’s art work has been published in two “Best of Mixed Media” books titled “Incite: Dreams Realized” and “Incite 2: Color Passions”, both published by North Light Books.

She has received Special Recognition for her work “Exposed” and Special Merit for “The Thundering Rocks at Jade Cove” from Light Space and Time.

She has also taught mixed media through workshops in North Carolina. She is an exhibiting member of the Visual Art Exchange, and also a member of the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild, and Wake Forest Art Guild, Wake Forest, all in North Carolina.

Marnie J. Blum
Marnie J. Blum, Thawing, mixed media: acrylic, ink, metallic wax rub, paper on canvas, 16″ x 20″.


Marnie J. Blum has had several one-person and group exhibitions. Her art was accepted into a juried group exhibition in October, 2014, at the Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh, NC, juried by Lynn Scarff, Interim Director of Science Gallery, Dublin, Ireland. Her one-person exhibition titled “A Soul’s Journey”, took place at Blake Street Studios, Raleigh, NC, this year.  She will be a featured artist at Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh, NC, in January, 2015.

Visit Marnie J. Blum’s website


Aparajita Sen

Aparajita Sen Evokes A Sense of Mystery in Abstract Paintings

Her Mixed Media Art Explores The Dynamic Force of Metamorphosis

By Renée Phillips

Aparajita Sen
Aparajita Sen

Aparajita Sen began her artistic journey at a very early age while living in New Delhi, India. She enjoyed drawing and sketching and was inspired by her maternal grandfather, who was a well-known Indian artist who trained with the renowned poet and artist Rabindranath Tagore in Shantiniketan.

Her art resonates with a sense of mystery, poetry and the transformation of dynamic forces in living forms.

The artist who currently lives in Princeton, New Jersey explains, “My background and rich influences of different cultures have steered me to explore the concept of symbolism and imagery. The mythical implications in various cultures have always intrigued me.”

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Aparajita Sen
Aparajita Sen, Metamorphosis I, mixed media,  28″ x 22″.

Inner and Outer Realms of Existence

Aparajita Sen engages in experimentation with different mediums and artistic expression. Her  lyrical and poetic abstractions in mixed media are sublime and mysterious. Her compositions continuously evolve, expand, and raise our awareness about the inner and outer realms of existence.

Her backgrounds are atmospheric and ethereal, resembling the expansive sky, water and cosmos over which she applies tactile forms in contrasting colors and textures. This technique enhances her art with  depth, dimension and movement.

Aparajita Sen
Aparajita Sen, Metamorphosis II, mixed media, 28″ x 22″.

A Study of Transformation

Sen reflects her understanding that all living forms — in nature and in humans — are in continual transformation and growth. Her images invite contemplation and inquiry into the mystery of metamorphosis and form. She describes her Metamorphosis series as, “the study of a transformation as well as a unification of two states of being reflecting a change of a form from everyday life.”

Through her paintings we explore the depths of living forms that rest in natural phenomenon and the changes we go through as individuals and as a society.

Aparajita Sen
Aparajita Sen, Metamorphosis III, mixed media, 28″ x 22″.

Following Her Artistic Passion

Although she graduated from St. John’s University, New York with a Computer Science/Finance major her passion for the arts led her to acquire her art education.

“My strong desire to study art led me to make the decision to forgo my career in banking and pursue a career in Fine Arts and I enrolled in art classes at the Visual Arts Center in Summit, New Jersey. I have since completed several years of training with many award winning artists and worked with various mediums such as oil, pastel, acrylic, charcoal and watercolor as well as mixed media.”

Aparajita Sen
Aparajita Sen, Into The Storm, mixed media, 24″ x 36″.

Exhibitions, Awards and Honors

Within the last seven years Aparajita Sen has exhibited in several juried group shows in the tri state area. A few of the exhibitions include those with the Pastel Society of New Jersey, Indo American Art Council in New York, and The Center for Contemporary Art in New Jersey.

The artist was awarded the Award of Excellence from the Pastel Society of New Jersey, in its Annual Member show, Bernardsville, NJ. Her paintings are in numerous private and corporate collections throughout the U.S., U.K., and India.

Aparajita Sen
Aparajita Sen, Reflection 3, oil on paper, 4″ x 4″.

She Invites Viewers’ Interpretations

Aparajita Sen’s paintings are open for viewers’ interpretations about the natural elements continuously evolving as well as the elusive worlds and occurrences beyond our comprehension.

As she states, “I enjoy capturing the effects of the unification of visual ideas or subject matter and evoke a sense of mystery in my work.  I also take delight in exploring the compositional possibilities in creating abstractions from everyday life.”

Visit Aparajita Sen’s website at


The American Society of Contemporary Artists

American Society of Contemporary Artists 97th Members Exhibition

Leading New York Artists Organization Exhibits High Standards of Artistic Creativity

ASCA exhibition at Broome Street Gallery, in New York, NY, 2009. Photo: Hank Rondina.

The American Society of Contemporary Artists (ASCA) is presenting its 97th annual members’ exhibition at the High Line Loft, 508 West 26th Street, New York, NY, from October 18 – November 1, 2014.

The opening reception, which is open to the public is October 18, from 2-4:30 PM.

On view will be a variety of extraordinary paintings, sculptures, collages, photographs, wall hangings and mixed media works created by ASCA members.  All exhibiting artists have been juried into ASCA’s membership based upon the highest standards of artistic creativity and quality.

There is no charge associated with the exhibition.

The American Society of Contemporary Artists

President’s Statement About This Exhibition

According to Barbara Browner Schiller, ASCA’s current president, “It is ASCA’s great privilege to annually honor the remarkable talent and creativity of its members via the members’ annual exhibition. Their artistic vision is presented in the exhibition and many, if not most, of the members have achieved professional and commercial recognition by achieving distinguished awards as well as sales. ASCA wholeheartedly welcomes the general public to its 97th annual exhibition.”

About ASCA

The American Society of Contemporary Artists
An exhibition of the ASCA Artists

ASCA was launched in 1917, in Brooklyn, with initial exhibitions at Pratt Institute and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In the 1930s, exhibitions were held at the Brooklyn Museum among other venues.

Unlike many other artists’ organizations, which excluded women from membership during the early and mid 20th Century, ASCA always included female artists among its membership. Past prominent artists have included Chaim Gross, Minna Citron and Adolph Gottlieb, among others.

100 Outstanding Members

The American Society of Contemporary Artists membership is comprised of about one hundred artists, curators, critics, teachers, and members of other important art organizations. Networking and community are very important components of the organization.

Members benefit from attending receptions, meetings, and studio visits, exchanges of ideas and friendships. These experiences add to the vitality of the organization and explain its longevity. Through its exhibitions, sales, and connecting with fellow artist members, the needs of the painter, sculptor, and printmaker are met.

The organization is always open to accepting new members and holds meetings twice a year to review its submissions. Artists should visit the ASCA website for more information.

“A Forward Thinking Organization”

In a review of a previous ASCA exhibition in Gallery & Studio magazine, art writer Marie R. Pagano  stated, “ASCA is one of the more forward-looking of such artist’s organizations, less mired in tradition than some others, and its annuals in-variably yield a number of surprises.”

To learn more about The American Society of Contemporary Artists visit the organization’s website at


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Joan Miro

Artists Joan Miró and Karel Appel

Two Artists Who Expressed Childlike Spontaneity

By Renée Phillips

Two artists, Joan Miró and Karel Appel, who were born nearly three decades apart, and from different cultural and geographic origins,  shared the characteristics of simplified forms, experimentation, and  uninhibited childlike spontaneity. They were also leaders in their respective movements — Surrealism and COBRA.

Joan Miro
Joan Miró, Metamorphosis, 1936, Albertina, Vienna – The Batliner Collection © Successió Miró 2014/Bildrecht, Vienna, 2014

Joan Miró – A Leader in Surrealism

Catalan artist Joan Miró (1893 – 1983) is unquestionably one of the most popular artists of the 20th century and one of the most prominent artists connected to Surrealism. The most compelling attribute of Miró’s paintings is the childlike spontaneity.

Born in Barcelona, Miró’s inimitable style exudes a pictorial language that is magical and universal. His animated compositions are populated with shapes of moons, stars and comets, eyes and insects reflect his central motto “from earth to sky”.

Joan Miro
Joan Miro, Painting, April 12, 1933, Oil on canvas. Národní Galery Prag © Successió Miró 2014/Bildrecht, Vienna, 2014.

“Miro: From Earth to Sky” at the Albertina Museum

The Albertina Museum in Vienna, Austria, is a museum steeped in history. In early 1919 ownership of both the building and the collection passed from the Habsburgs to the Republic of Austria. In addition to housing one of the largest and most important print rooms in the world it also has on permanent loan two significant collections of Impressionist and early 20th-century art. The museum also houses temporary exhibitions.

“Miro: From Earth to Sky”, is a comprehensive, one-person retrospective exhibition of  Joan Miró’s art work that includes around 100 paintings, paintings, works on paper and objects.

This exhibition, which runs through January 11, 2015, is part of a program featuring artists presented within a broad context of Surrealism, as represented in the Albertina’s Batliner Collection. This exhibition has been curated by Dr. Gisela Fischer with guest curator Jean Louis Prat.

Visit the Albertina Museum website at

Karel Appel
Karel Appel, Square Cat, 1951, oil on canvas, 31-3/4 x 55-1/16 inches

Karel Appel – Co-Founder of COBRA

Another artist whose art expresses childlike simplicity is Karel Appel (1921-2006), an artist who was born in Amsterdam. He was a member of the Dutch Experimental Group and later Art Informel. His sources of inspiration included folk art, children’s drawings, and the works of the mentally disturbed.

Appel was co-founded the COBRA group with Asger Jorn, Christian Dotremont, and Constant. The COBRA artists’ working method was based on spontaneity and experiment, and they drew their inspiration in particular from children’s drawings, from primitive art forms and from the work of Joan Miró and Paul Klee.

Karel Appel, Big Bird Flying Over the City
Karel Appel, Big Bird Flying Over the City, 1951. Oil on canvas, 49-3/16 x 65-3/4 inches (125 x 167 centimeters)© Karel Appel Foundation, c/o ARS New York, 2014. Courtesy of the Karel Appel Foundation and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles.

Karel Appel at Blum & Poe

Blum & Poe , a gallery in New York, NY, is presenting an exhibition of Karel Appel’s paintings and works on paper through November 1, 2014. The exhibition has been organized in collaboration with the Karel Appel Foundation in Amsterdam, this exhibition represents the first significant overview of Appel in New York City in more than forty years and will be comprised of works dating from 1947-1981.

The exhibition Karel Appel at Blum & Poe, New York marks the first in a series of upcoming exhibitions of the artist’s work, including a drawing retrospective at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2015), which will travel throughout Europe.

Karel Appel
Karel Appel, Flying Head, 1974, oil on canvas, 59-1/16 x 59-1/16 inches.

A retrospective exhibition of Karel Appel’s art will open in 2016 at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Netherlands, followed by an exhibition of painting and sculpture at the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (2016) and a retrospective exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2017).

Georgia O'Keeffe

Iconic Georgia O’Keeffe Painting at Sotheby’s Auction


Sotheby’s to Offer One of the Most Iconic Works by Georgia O’Keeffe Ever to Appear at Auction

Sotheby’s is honored to announce that it will offer one of the most iconic works by Georgia O’Keeffe ever to appear at auction, as the centerpiece of its American Art sale in New York on 20 November 2014.

Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 is one of the most well-known examples of O’Keeffe’s celebrated flower paintings, which stand among the most recognizable images in both art history and popular culture.

The painting is one of three works by the American artist that are on offer from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which are being sold to benefit its Acquisitions Fund.

Georgia O'Keeffe
Georgia O’Keeffe, Jimson Weed/White Flower #1

About Jimson Weed/White Flower #1

Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 will be on view in Los Angeles and Hong Kong, before returning to New York for exhibition in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries beginning 15 November. The work comes to auction with an estimate of $10-15 million, well in excess of the artist’s auction record.

O’Keeffe first saw Jimson weed growing in northern New Mexico – a setting that would come to define much of her career – and painted the present work in 1932.

At a significant 48 by 40 inches, Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 is one of the rare instances early in her career that O’Keeffe chose a canvas size noticeably larger than her usual format. The same year, the artist had started plans for a mural construction for Radio City Music Hall, which was then under construction in Rockefeller Center. This may have led her to experiment with a larger format in her paintings.

Georgia O'Keeffe
Georgia O’Keeffe, On The Old Santa Fee Road

On The Old Santa Fee Road Also In Auction

Also on offer from the Museum’s collection and sold to benefit the Acquisitions Fund is On the Old Santa Fe Road, estimated at $2/3 million, and Untitled (Skunk Cabbage), estimated at $500-750,000.

“This deaccession is part of the maturation of the Georgia O’Keeffe institution and aligns with our future collecting strategy, coupled with planned giving and donations,” said Rob Kret, Director of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Income Will Benefit O’Keeffe Museum

Kret also stated, “This has been a thoughtful process that has unfolded over the course of more than a year, and the deaccession is fully supported by the donor of the three works and was unanimously approved by the Georgia O’Keeffe board of directors. All of the income from this sale will be used for future acquisitions to support the growth of our dynamic, vibrant O’Keeffe collection.”

About The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

To inspire all current and future generations, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum preserves, presents and advances the artistic legacy of Georgia O’Keeffe and modernism through innovative public engagement, education, and research. Opened in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1997, the Museum counts O’Keeffe’s two New Mexico homes as part of its extended collection. The Museum’s collections, exhibitions, research center, publications and educational programs contribute to scholarly discourse and serve a diverse audience.

For more information please visit


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Ren Crawford

Ren Crawford Shares Magic and Healing in Abstract Paintings

Her Colorful Art Brings Joy to Others

By Renée Phillips

Ren Crawford Artist
Ren Crawford in her studio.

Ren Crawford is a full-time artist working from her studio and gallery in Strasburg, Virginia.

Her exuberant abstract paintings express universal states of being and strong nuances of perception. Rendered with color harmony and informed brushwork they  reflect her powerful command of communication.

Throughout her illustrious art career Ren Crawford has traveled extensively and has exhibited her work in many countries. She attributes the pleasure of living in such colorful places such as Hawaii, California, and Japan as having influenced her radiant palette and her robust spontaneous style of painting.

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Ren Crawford
Ren Crawford, Tribute for Tara, mixed media, 30″ x 36″.

She Communicates With Color, Form and Line

In the style of abstract expressionism, and her proficiency in a range of mediums, one of the words that characterizes Ren Crawford’s artwork is versatility. Her use of both complementary and analogous colors generates a visceral intensity. Spatial depth, contrast and harmony are achieved by the the juxtaposition of broad, sweeping areas combined with rhythmic gestural lines. Her expansive vocabulary includes organic forms as well as geometric shapes.

As the artist, with a plentiful supply of joie de vivre exclaims,  “I feel compelled to communicate with color, form and line.”

In one series she adds words to emphasize a powerful message. In another series she provides several interchangeable small canvases to create larger compositions.

Ren Crawford
Ren Crawford, Puzzlement, mixed media on canvas, 24″ x 30″

Her Many Collections Include Healing Arts

Ren Crawford’s art is included in numerous collections throughout the world including The Wellness Center and The Concord, both in West Virginia; and Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg, Virginia. An artist who is aware of the healing impact of art she is pleased that her art has found its way into many healing and medical facilities.

She states, “I feel that when I paint I bring happiness, balance and joy to my own life and that it speaks to others in the same way.” She is very proud that her art is included in many healing art collections so that it can reach many people who need it most.

Ren Crawford
Ren Crawford, River Rises, oil on canvas, 48″ x 36″

Her Galleries and Art Leadership

In addition to her own studio and gallery that is open by appointment her art work is on display in Gallery One, Winchester, Virginia; Shenandoah Art Works, Strasburg, Virginia; and Little Gallery at SML, Monetta, Virginia.

In addition to being a formidable artist she has contributed to the arts community. She is the former director and owner of the Danner House Art Gallery in Middletown, Virginia. She was also president of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of National Pen Women’s organization promoting both writing and visual art for women.

Ren Crawford
Ren Crawford, Etude For Erin, oil on canvas, 36″ x 30″.

Contributions to Art Education

Providing art education has been very important to Ren Crawford. She was an art teacher in North Carolina Public schools and was selected by the Cultural Arts Program to begin a pilot program for the schools on the coast of North Carolina.

She taught painting at the Rockbridge Fine Arts Workshop on the campus of Washington and Lee University. She also served as a volunteer in art programs for the Special Ed programs in elementary schools, Lexington, Virgnia.

Ren Crawford
Ren Crawford, My Garden, mixed media on canvas, 36″ x 30″

She Shares The Magic and Miracle of Creative Expression With Others

From the time she was a child Ren Crawford has been mesmerized by the many possibilities that await her whenever she approaches a blank canvas or sheet of paper. She refers to her creative talent as being “under that spell” and explains that she has felt that way ever since she received a gift of a “Magic Box of watercolors” when she was four years old.

“I have seen art as a healing and as an expression for many who have no other means to express themselves. That is why I have volunteered countless hours in special education classes. To witness a person being able to connect through art is a miracle.”

Ren Crawford received her BA degree in education at Behaven University, Jackson, MS and continued her art training with John Brady, Charlotte NC and with Akira, in Japan.

Visit Ren Crawford’s website at


Gaia Orion

Why Do Artists Create Art?

Michael Amrose, Linda S. Watson, and Gaia Orion Share Their Inspiration

One of the most magical questions of all time is why do artists create art? What are the sources of their inspiration? The replies are as diverse as the art they create.

For this article we selected three different artists from the Manhattan Arts International Featured Artists Program to share their insight.

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Michael Amrose

Michael Amrose is an artist who creates ethereal abstract photographs that convey a sense of tranquility and the sublime. His unusual subject matter, striking compositions, and unorthodox digital photographic techniques all serve to enhance his poetic works of art.

Michael Amrose Abstract Photographs
Michael Amrose, C1-Series, photograph

Michael, when did you first become interested in art and why?

MA: My interest in art began at an early age, however, opportunities to cultivate this interest were limited. It was not until I met my girlfriend who later became my wife that I developed an obsession for photography. With the use of her 35 mm single lens reflex camera (Konica) I became infatuated with the camera—how it worked and captured reality. I started reading books on 35 mm photography and the photographic image, taking photography courses, and looking at photographs. This was the beginning of my journey into fine art photography.

What does Art mean to you?

MA: Art is like a good book—story telling, political statements, documentation of events, places, or things and/or expressing great depth of emotion. Much like a good book, art teaches, informs, entertains, and best of all, it reaches into my heart and soul to move me. When I started in photography art was, and still is, a great source of gratification and enjoyment.

Read more about Michael Amrose here:

Linda S. Watson

Linda S. Watson creates awe-inspiring, tactile and colorful mixed media abstract paintings. Her paintings, that are inspired by the cosmos, the volcanoes of Hawaii, and minerals, remind us of the mystifying relationships we share with our natural environment.

Linda S. Watson
Linda S. Watson, Nebula Rising, watercolor, ink, and mixed media on paper, 6” x 8”.

Linda, when did you first become interested in art and why?

LSW: Iʼve loved making art ever since I was a child. My desire to become a painter was solidified by a visit to the M.H. de Young Museum in 1971; it was there that I saw a major exhibit of Vincent Van Gogh and my life was changed forever.

Do you have a particular philosophy or belief that guides your creative expression?

LSW: I think Andy Warhol said it best when he quipped: “Donʼt think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if itʼs good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

Painting abstract art gives me the freedom to throw out all the rules. Abstraction allows me to tap into my feelings, intuition and inventiveness, and work in a more spontaneous manner. I enjoy a creative process in which nothing is ‘wrong’ and the joy comes from playing with materials, colors, shapes, ideas and design.

Read more about Linda Watson here:

Gaia Orion

Gaia Orion has received international acclaim for her visionary paintings and for her participation in many worldwide projects that strive for positive change.

Her universal themes that embrace love, unity, equality, and harmony have led to numerous exhibitions and have attracted many awards and collectors.

Gaia Orion
Gaia Orion, Wholeness, oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″.

Gaia, what message would you like viewers of your art work to receive?

GO: I find that my work takes people into the world of self reflection: even though each painting has a story and a reason to exist that is in relation with my own personal journey, they are often interpreted according to the viewer’s state of being and life. This is a way for each person to learn about themselves.

What is the greatest reward you receive from being an artist?

I find it so gratifying when I can engage with others and when we share personal stories in relation to my pieces. I learned that when presenting my art it is essential to be present. People are not just buying something they like, they also take home the experience and connection that they had with the artist. These many moments of intimacy and sharing with people from all walks of life has been the greatest reward I received from being an artist.

I am looking to embrace and touch as many people as possible in the understanding that we are all looking to live a peaceful and meaningful life.

Read more about Gaia Orion here:

Header image: Equilibrium, painting by Gaia Orion

Cubism at the Metropolitan Museum

Cubism at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

An Exhibition of Cubist Art by Braque, Gris, Léger and Picasso

Reported by Renée Phillips

An incredible exhibition of Cubist Art will be coming to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, NY this fall.

Cubism is recognized as the most influential art movement of the early twentieth century and remains a major source of inspiration for many artists today.  Cubism marked a major turning point in the whole evolution of modernist art in this century. It is credited for having paved the way for the pure abstraction that dominated Western art for the next 50 years.

The Cubists, led by masters Picasso and Braque, dismantled traditional perspective and modeling in the round in order to emphasize the two-dimensional picture plane. By doing so, they destroyed traditional illusionism in painting and radically changed the way we see the world.

An important introduction to this period was Cubist collage. This art form introduced fragments of mass-produced popular culture into pictures, thereby changing the very definition of art.

Cubism at the Metropolitan Museum
Juan Gris, Pears and Grapes on a Table, Céret, autumn 1913. Oil on canvas, 21 1/2 x 28 3/4 in. / 54.6 x 73 cm. Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection

Exhibition of The Leonard A. Lauder Collection

Over the past 40 years Leonard A. Lauder, the philanthropist and cosmetics tycoon, has selectively acquired masterpieces and seminal works to create the most important collection of Cubist Art that has existed in private hands.

This unsurpassed collection is now a promised gift to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and will be shown in an exhibition “Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection”.

The exhibition will be on view from October 20, 2014 – February 16, 2015.

Fernand Léger (French, 1881–1955). Composition (The Typographer), 1918–19. Oil on canvas; 98 1/4 x 72 1/4 in. (249.6 x 183.5 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

79 Masterpieces by Four Preeminent Cubist Artists

Included in this unprecedented exhibition are 79 paintings, collages, drawings, and sculpture by the four preeminent Cubist artists: Georges Braque (French, 1882–1963), Juan Gris (Spanish, 1887–1927), Fernand Léger (French, 1881–1955), and Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973).

Works by Picasso and Braque will surely serve as the exhibition’s focal point, however, the exhibition will also include a number of exquisite papiers collé by Juan Gris and a stunning array of Léger’s most famous series, his Contrasts of Forms.

Cubism at the Metropolitan Museum
Pablo Picasso, Nude in an Armchair, Horta de Ebro (present-day Horta de Sant Joan), summer 1909. Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 × 28 3/4 in. / 92.1 × 73 cm. Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection. © 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Exhibition Traces History of Cubism

The French art critic Louis Vauxcelles coined the term Cubism after seeing the landscapes Braque had painted in 1908 at L’Estaque in emulation of Cézanne. Vauxcelles called the geometric forms in the highly abstracted works “cubes.”

The exhibition and accompanying publication will trace the invention and development of Cubism using iconic examples from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection.

The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10028-0198
Phone: 212-535-7710

For more information visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

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Cheryl Rau

Artist Cheryl Rau and The Healing Power of Art

She Shares Her Inspirational Story

Shared by Renée Phillips

Cheryl Rau is an extraordinary photographer and digital artist and courageous individual. She discovered her passion for photography in her 40s and has since explored a wide range of subjects and genres.  In 2013, while recovering from eye surgery and adapting to life with decreased vision, she began to experiment with digital art forms in the style of abstraction.

All rights reserved. Do not copy any images without the artist’s permission.

Click on images for larger views.

Cheryl Rau
Cheryl Rau, Rolling in the Deep”, digital art, 12″ x 12″.

Winner in Celebrate The Healing Power of Art

Cheryl Rau’s art has been selected for numerous regional, national, and international juried exhibitions. You may recall she was one of the artists selected for the Manhattan Arts International “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” juried competition earlier this year. The exhibition was expertly juried by Lilly Wei, art critic and curator whose articles have appeared in Art in America and ARTnews magazines, among others.

In this competition Cheryl Rau won a distinguished award from Aletta de Wal, who is an author, artist advisor, and certified visual arts coach. Through her Artist Career Training   (A.C.T.) de Wal  “helps artists make a better living making art – and still have a life.”

Cheryl Rau
Cheryl Rau, Take the Long Way Home, digital art, 12″ x 12″.

Cheryl Rau Creates Art Despite Vision Challenges

When I asked Cheryl Rau to comment about her art and award I was surprised to learn about her personal journey and her enormous  inner strength and fortitude.  Her poignant statement is sure to provide inspiration to many people who face uncertainty and change.

The artist states, “Just over two years ago, I was diagnosed with a degenerative cornea disease that I had never even heard of, and my initial reaction was terror at the possibility of losing my vision and with it the ability to do what mattered to me most, my photography.

“The best cornea surgeon in the city has told me that most of his patients are 20-30 years older than me, and he has never seen corneas degenerate so rapidly. The normal progression is very slow over 10-15 years for this disease.”

Cheryl Rau Healing Power of Art
Cheryl Rau. I Can See Clearly Now, digital art, 12″ x 12″.

Find New Ways to Make Art

Her inner strength is reflected in her statement: “Obviously, the universe was sending me an important message: ‘Make art a different way.'”

“In the months just before and following my cornea transplant in my right eye, I simply could not see well enough through the viewfinder of my camera to shoot. I began experimenting with digital collage and painting on my computer. Last year, I made a lot of really bad art that never saw the light of day.”

She continues, “Early this year, I began creating the abstract digital art in the series from which my winning entry came. With the cornea transplant in my left eye scheduled for later this year, I am uncertain what sort of art I will be making by this time next year, but I am determined that I will be making art.”

Cheryl Rau Healing Power of Art
Cheryl Rau, Accidents Will Happen, digital art, 12″ x 12″.

Cheryl Rau’s Statement About Her Art

“Take The Long Way Home”, the award-winning art work, and the other images you see here, are from the artist’s “Abstract” series.

About this collection of art she states, “Each image in this body of work began with one of my conventional photographs, which I completely transformed in Adobe Photoshop using multiple effects, filters, and layers. As you may guess from the titles, I always listen to music while I am working at the computer. When I begin each piece, I have no clear idea of what the final image will be. The genre, tempo, and lyrics influence the movements of my hands during the creative process.”

The Award Sent A Message to “Keep Going”

Rau explains, “Being selected for this exhibition was both an honor and a validation from respected jurors that this new work has merit beyond the great satisfaction I derive from creating it. I believe that winning the “Aletta de Wal Artist Career Training Award” was the universe hitting me over the head just in case I still wasn’t getting the message. ‘Yes, you are on the right path. Keep going.’”

Sharing Artists’ Stories Is Also Part of the Healing Process

As many artists who submitted their art to the Manhattan Arts International “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” competition prove their art often is a healing process for them and it may also provide a healing experience for the viewer. Sharing artists’ stories, like the one Cheryl has graciously provided,  brings this to light. It adds another important aspect about the value of art and its ability to heal.

If life throws you a curve ball and you are faced with a challenge, no matter how traumatic and frightening it may be, remember Cheryl Rau and her inspiring story of courage and commitment. She reminds us of the relentless creative spirit within that inspires us to “make art a different way” and to “keep going”.

Visit Cheryl Rau’s Website at

Celebrate The Healing Power of Art 2015

Manhattan Arts International is now preparing its next Celebrate The Healing Power of Art for 2015. We will announce the details soon. We will be asking artists to submit their stories and we will share the winning artists’ statements with you.

You may also want to read Artists With Courage and Commitment.


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