Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Huffingtons Go To New York

New York City is a favorite destination for the Huffingtons – how could it not be? We’ve lived there, studied there, taken countless subways and buses, eaten at hundreds of restaurants and each have our favorite neighborhoods and haunts. Art and food usually figure high on the list of preferred attractions for the visiting Huffingtons and on recent visit, this was no exception.

One of us Huffingtons recently landed at LaGuardia with a friend and couple of teenage daughters in tow. The teenagers, sweet girls anyway, were delighted with our proposition of mixing rocking retail therapy with art eye-candy for the adults.

First Stop: The Whitney Biennial 2010 (
http://www.whitney.org/), which is the 75th edition of the museum’s signature exhibit. It’s a breath-taking compilation of modern and production art by contemporary American artists and runs the gamut from a 1950s white hearse with a black and white film flickering on its cracked windscreen to one of our favorite pieces by Jennifer Jackson Hutchins: a childhood sofa repurposed as art and covered entirely by newspaper articles about Barak Obama.

JJH Sofa
The re-purposed sofa as art by Jennifer Jackson Hutchins at the Whitney

One of my favorite pieces is this simple and beautifully edited 12 x 12 oil painting by Maureen Gallace, who purposely leaves her structures without doors and windows so that the viewer can attach his or own associations to the building. I love the luminous simplicity of this painting with its wet-on-wet layers of oil. (Run, don’t walk to this exhibit, which shows through May 30th, 2010.) We wandered, eyes open and mouths agape, and loving every minute of it.

Maureen Gallace, Cape Cod, Early Sept

Maureen Gallace, Cape Cod, Early September, 12 x 12, oil on panel

Next, on to the Metropolitan Shrine . How does one describe this mecca of beauty? Even its stately presence on upper Fifth Avenue is powerful. We stood on the steps, in the sunlight, just drinking in the sheer physical aura of this place before dashing in to admire the lobby’s frothy and enormous cherry blossoms (brought in twice a week from New Jersey, we found out)

Met Atrium

We zipped through Ancient Greeks and Romans (stopping to oogle the jewelry which feels fresh and chic even today, 2,500 years later.) Then, up the stairs to the ultimate altar of art: the Impressionists. Call me old-fashioned but Monet’s light-filled rendition of the Houses of Parliament brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. The funny thing about the Met is that after a while, the sensory overload begins to dull the senses so after a while, you find yourself thinking, oh is that a Degas dancer? Nice. Oh, and a Van Gogh still life? Hmmmm, let's move on to that Manet over there. It's a rather decadent feeling.

Monet Houses of Parliament

It doesn't get anymore beautiful and inspiring for me than this, The Houses of Parliament, Effect of Fog by Claude Monet.

My cute girlfriend wanted to see her favorite painting, Madame X by John Singer Sargent and we were perplexed when we couldn’t locate it. “It’s not where it normally is!” wailed my friend. (I thought, hmmm, even the Met rotates paintings just like us Huffingtons.) The lovely and polite docent kindly directed us down to Visible Storage, which, if you haven’t been, is a treasure trove.

It’s a cavernous space filled with acres of glass display cases, full of Mary Cassats here, John Singer Sargent there…oh, and yes, here’s Madame X, sans frame. There were miles of gilded, ornate and carved frames. And we didn’t even get to the decorative arts cases.

Back up to modern art, where we feasted our eyes on a Mark Rothko (one of my all-time fave artists.)

Rothko MoMA

...but felt a little insecure about Damien Hirst’s preserved and odd shark. We weren't sure if we got it.

Hirst Shark

Damien Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, 1992.

And, sadly, by this time, it was time to put into action the Short-but-Sweet museum theory, which always works perfectly for the younger ones in the group. The key is make it fun and lively…then leave just when everyone is ready for more. Believe me, this strategy works everytime…our cute teens are already begging for their next trip to museum land.

As we skidded down Fifth in our cab, I reflected for a minute about the immeasurable power of art in all its forms to document beauty, translate social and cultural ideas and to inspire, empower and provoke its viewers to a higher level. It was a special moment that made think about how much I love what I do and how lucky I am do have our little haven of art and beauty.

Then, it was on to Balthazar for lunch (a transporting experience and the closest thing to Paris this side of the pond) and our pretend NYC life kept zipping along at ninety miles an hour…

Balthazar NYC

The fun and lively scene at Balthazar

Au revoir, New York! Until we meet again..hopefully sooner rather than later.



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hangin' in there

(photo credit to Blayne Beacham)

We’ve all been crazy around here preparing for our solo with French abstractist, Pascal Bouterin (it opens to the public on Friday, March 26th, from 6-8 p.m.). If you’ve been reading our blogs you’ll know that curating a solo show takes time, patience, a lot of hard work for all the involved parties…but is also great fun.

By the time we designate a Hanging Day (usually two to three days before the opening of the show), we've already photographed, catalogued, framed and tagged the work. We don our most comfortable flats and jeans, roll up our sleeves and get to work. Because of our wonderful hanging system, we don’t have to remove or add nails to our thick plaster walls, so it’s a snap to clear the walls for the new work to come.

Ann and Scurry

Ann and Scurry take down the last painting from our front room.

Bare Walls

The walls are bare and ready for new paintings. Our hanging system involved picture moulding and stainless steel rods with adjustable hangers...a gallerist's dream.

Usually a pile of paintings destined for temporary storage grows and grows by the door to our storage area – and that’s when the flats come in. Trying to delicately manhandle a 52 x 52 oil on panel can be a challenge when wearing heels (yes, it has been done, but it was dangerous…and it was definitely a two-person job.)

Pile o' paintings

Once the walls are cleared, we get to indulge in our most creative and innovative thinking. Our goal is to make the work shine, sing and complement itself. We like to arrange so that verticals play off horizontals or interesting little groupings co-exist happily next to singular, large paintings. Hanging time is punctuated by plenty of “a-ha” moments and cheers when one of us is particularly inspired.

Ann & Linda hangin'

One wall started off like this:


But we weren't happy until it ended up like this:


We liked the mix of Silke Henkel Wallace's yellow-skied abstract paired with French marine scenes by Christian Nepo on one side and Jim Richard's lush still-lifes on the other.

(Sometimes we also break for a real lunch and celebrate birthdays with a little bubbly.)

The birthday girl!

Our framers would probably tell you that we’re pretty high-maintenance but they kindly put up with us and it’s quite normal a day or two before an opening to hear these hard-working guys screeching into the parking lot on two wheels with a last-minute load of work that’s just been framed. Sometimes, they end up staying on for last-minute wiring or they lend a helping hand with a particularly heavy painting.

Last minute wiring

But, the greatest reward comes when every painting is hung and each room enticingly lures you to the next. Pascal popped in just as we were tagging the last painting and we were thrilled with his reaction to the show. Linda had just worked her magic with a loose little arrangement of flowers on the piano and the whole gallery sparkled and shone with Pascal’s intricate and delicate paintings. In fact, we were so excited we called our friend and photographer extraordinaire, Blayne Beacham, to take some photos of the finished product. Here are some examples of her wonderful work.





(photo credit to Blayne Beacham)

The man behind the masterpieces...

Pascal et Echange

Pascal Explaining

Pascal Final
(photo credit to
Blayne Beacham)

That’s when we love to take off those flats, put on the heels, open the doors and share with you the fruits of our hard-working little team.



Thursday, March 18, 2010

How Does He Do That? Part Deux

If you read our last blog (Part Une), you now know that Pascal Bouterin is a passionate and committed artist who is dedicated to his art and creative journey…and that we’re right behind him every step of the way.

Not only is Pascal great fun to work with, but he’s also extremely serious about the technical aspects of his work. He’s truly one of those individuals who never stops wanting to learn.

What we love about this new exhibit is that it’s a fascinating montage of Pascal’s evolution as an artist. We especially love the way these pieces represent opposites. Somehow, effortlessly and with great grace, Pascal combines a number of opposing subjects.

Echange de Cultures is all about Pascal’s love of two vastly different cultures: his native France and the United States, typified with the use of iconic images (this one struck a chord with all of us Francophiles here at the gallery.)

Echanges de Cultures24 x 24lores We love the way two cultures meet in this painting, Echanges de Culture

He also plays with urban culture and architecture versus naturally created ports, harbors and landscapes.

Le PortProvencal24x49lores Le Port Provencal is a “panoramique,” allowing the eye to roam over the canvas and take in the natural (but softly abstracted) beauty of a port. Brushstrokes barely suggest the presence of white-sailed boats.

And, he never forgets about romance, so a number of paintings feature the merest hint of figures (he says inspired by his love of music and musical notes). He’s painting more strongly than ever with bold lines and powerful strokes that are balanced with his trademark intricate details and delicate brushwork.

Abstraction et la Blvd 46x46lores Abstraction et Le Boulevard is a perfect example of Pascal’s light touch with romance. His elongated, elegant figures under an umbrella help take the eye to the focal point of the painting – that glorious blurry spot when the road converges.

And to watch Pascal paint is a real treat (note: he’ll be here at the gallery with easel and paints on Saturday, March 27th from 1-4 p.m. for a painting demonstration). He applies layer upon layer of oil paint until he has the perfect surface, full of texture and depth, upon which to add the more intricate details of the painting: a structure, figures or ports. A painting, from beginning to finish, can take hours especially when one factors in drying time (oils are notoriously long-drying). Like many artists, Pascal enters his own “zone” when he paints and is happily unconscious of commotion going on around him.

During our recent visit to Pascal’s warm and inviting studio (filled with just the right amount of clutter and painting paraphernalia – and paintings, of course), he let us in on a little nugget of knowledge. He had discovered an amazing “util” (tool) that produced the most remarkable results when wielded by his competent hand. When he pulled the object out, we all struggled for a minute in our respective languages to come up with the right name. “Essuie-glace!” shouted Pascal. “Squeegee” we yelled in unison, and then all stood in amazement to see what this lowly common tool could do, in the hands of a magician.


Le squeegee: it does more than clean windows

Pascal, after carefully studying some brave window-washers atop an Atlantan skyscraper, had stopped in ‘Ome Depot to pick one up and immediately loved the sweeping effects of his squeegee. Of course, he realizes he’s hardly the first, nor will he be the last, artist to manipulate paint on canvas with a squeegee. But his excitement was contagious and all we can say is Long Live the Essuie-Glace - the results are spectacular.

Copy of Le dejeuner avec Pascal

Even hard-working artists get to take a break. We love this photo of a relaxed Pascal enjoying a little lunch.



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How Does He Do It?

We recently wrote a blog that was a twist on an AJC column called, “Why I love my job.” We turned it around to say, “Why we love our employees,” and wrote glowingly about our marvelous Madame, Linda Mohan. Well today, we’re going back to the original story to talk about why we Huffingtons adore our jobs here at the gallery.

About a week ago, we were invited to artist Pascal Bouterin’s studio to talk about his upcoming solo show, and to preview some of his new work. Pascal, being the gracious and polite Frenchman that he is, had scheduled the visit during the early evening hours so that it felt a little less businessy and a little more festive (that’s so French.)

Bouterin studio shot 1

As he welcomed us to his studio (to the sounds of some gorgeous, smokey jazz), he poured us each a perfect glass of wine. A fire crackled in the fireplace. We noticed a loosely done floral arrangement set casually on the side table. A platter of smoked salmon nibbles and some cheese had thoughtfully been placed on the coffee table.

Ann and Pascal

And thus, so effortlessly, the scene was set. We spent the next hour sipping our wine and admiring the new works that filled every easel. With his lovely and beautiful girlfriend, Ashley, by his side (to whom we introduced him to, by the way, but that’s for another blog that he probably won’t let us publish!), our enthusiastic and charming artist/host-with- the-most took us through his airy and painting-filled studio.

The palette


We ooohed and aaahhhed with great sincerity because Pascal has grown immensely as an artist and we always find that so exciting. We felt a little like kids in a candy store and have to admit it was a bit of a giddy feeling.

Pascal Meg and Ann

The fruits of Pascal’s hard work and creative soul-searching have been delivered to the gallery and are in the process of being catalogued, photographed and framed in preparation for his solo show, which opens to the public on Friday, March 26th, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Bouterin unloading paintings 004

So…back to why we love our job so much. It’s positively exhilarating to work with artists because everything they do is so personal and heartfelt which leads to remarkable creativity and emotional growth. This couldn’t be more true than with Pascal Bouterin, who is the consummate professional on the one hand - always perfecting his craft- and the sincere, emotional artist on the other, who won’t keep doing the same thing over and over just because it’s been successful for him. He is truly an individual who to grow, evolve and go to new places with his art.

Bouterin unloading paintings 003

We are so proud and excited to introduce his new works to our clients in Atlanta next week. Stay tuned for our next blog that will discuss Pascal’s inspirations and techniques (some are very surprising!) and, what makes this complex young man tick…

Pascal Inite



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Houston, do we have a problem?

When we decided to start a blog for Huff Harrington Fine Art, we'd be the first to admit that we really didn't know what we were doing. Of course, we have never let that stop us from charging ahead.

When we asked ourselves what we really wanted to create and say in our love letters to life, we did what any self-respecting amateurs would do: We researched blogs that we loved and that inspired us. The list was long and so totally entertaining. Being in Atlanta, we are guilty of unconditionally loving on Things That Inspire, Stylecourt, The Peak of Chic, and Atlanta Homes and Lifestyle. All these blogs make us so proud to be Atlantans.

Velvet and Linen has us California Dreaming and French Essence takes us to France when the airlines don't. Are there such things as 'blog stalkers'? If so, we may be guilty as charged!

But in our "blog design meetings", we always refer to our all-time favorite blog, Cote de Texas written by the lovely and talented Joni Webb from Houston, Texas. This blog is our inspiration, stimulation, obsession and motivation. In the Huffington dictionary, next to blog goddess, we have Joni's photo. Her blog is creative, entertaining, informative, detailed and oh, so much fun. When we read her posts, we always feel like we've just had a satisfying luncheon with a fabulous friend. We find ourselves coming up with ideas for our blog and then asking "What would Joni say?" We even talked of shooting off an e-mail to Joni headed "Houston, we have a problem" and then have her respond in her delightful Texan drawl (which somehow comes through even in e-mails) with the perfect solution. Let's face it, Joni is our imaginary friend at all our blog discussions.

SOOOOO....imagine our delight and surprise when we went live with our first blog with much trepidation and sat and waited to see if anyone would be reading. On our January 26 posting, A Huffington in House Beautiful, you can imagine our surprise and delight to have Joni,( yes, our imaginary friend from Cote de Texas), leave a charming comment about our post. We were burning up the e-mail trail between all of us shooting off virtual high- fives and celebrating in cyberspace.

So today, we are going to have some fun with Joni's latest posting. (We did this in our February 25 posting Having Some Fun about a posting from another favorite blog, Velvet and Linen. Beautiful Brooke sent us the cutest comments on that blog which made it even more fun.)

Joni has been working on a design project for her neighbor across the street (wouldn't we all love to live across the street from Joni?).

Cropped side view

Cropped other wall

In her post on March 5, Webb Design: The Albans House, we got to see Joni at her best, designing a beautiful home for a family whom she cares about. We couldn't resist letting our inner child out again and playing dress up with our art in this fabulous living room.

Cropped LR

We saw this mantel, and we couldn't help ourselves: Imagine how it would look with a wonderful Lorraine Christie , whose soft romantic art transports you to another place with her evocative images and soft palette?

Houston-Lorraine Lorraine Christie, Marry Me, oil on canvas, 24 x 36”


Or an abstract from Jeffrey Terreson, like Storm Break, mixed media on canvas, 40 x 54”


Doug Foltz, A Momentary Opening, oil on canvas, 36 x 60”

Houston-Renfro Angie Renfro, San Francisco Heights, oil on board, 24 x 16”

Houston-Unknow Michael Bowman, Provence Views, oil on linen, 18 x 24”

And for another gorgeous wall that immediately grabbed our attention, we took our inspiration from the photos of the clients' young daughters. Here, we thought of our artist, Angela Nesbit, who paints such dreamy portrayals of children that seem to suspend their playful personalities in time as a reminder of how fleeting childhood really is.

Houston-NesbitAngela Nesbit, Skipping Girl Study, oil on canvas, 14 x 18”

Houston-Unknown2Or a beautiful landscape by Nancy Franke, entitled Watercolor Skies

Houston-Nesbit2Angela Nesbit, Yellow Roses Study, oil on canvas, 16 x 12”

Houston-Stockton Elizabeth Stockton, Unwind, 36 x 24"

Houston-Nasri Georges Nasri, La Femme au Marche, watercolor, 25 x 21”

So no, Houston, we don't have a problem. Instead, we thank you, Joni, our favorite Houston, for being such a great role model for all of us.

Ta ta!