Thursday, March 31, 2011

Artist Amy Dixon Pays the Huffingtons a Visit

One of our favorite painters, the exuberant and lively Amy Dixon, called us a few months ago to tell us she was coming to town.

Amy in her studio (with assistant)

She had graciously donated one of her iconic wine bottle paintings to the High Museum Wine Auction, which is a huge fundraiser for the museum and a really big deal around here. She was planning on flying in to attend the auction and shindig.

Amy’s well-known for her loose and luscious portrayals of wine bottles, beer bottles, martini glasses and steins…she donated this painting to the High Museum of Art Wine Auction.

Amy has lots of friends and fans here in Atlanta, and she agreed to our idea of having a painting demo here at the gallery. We love doing painting demos: it’s so fun to watch the artist get into their special place - and learning about techniques and tricks is invaluable if you’re a painter.


Sure enough, we had a full house of artists and we all hung on Amy’s every word. Amy brings an entertainment value to the whole demo concept: she dons her painting outfit (which consists of paint-spattered jeans and a top that are so cool and edgy that she’s often stopped by people asking her if she bought them at Neimans…)


She’s also lots of fun and chats away the whole time she’s painting. She welcomes questions and shares plenty of little tips. We loved watching her mix her palette and, with deft strokes, create little masterpieces.


She’s a very painterly painter, and we have always loved the texture, drips, layers and light she incorporates into her work.

Copy of New Horizons 36x36 New Horizons, 36 x 36

low res My Pleasure

My Pleasure, 12 x 12

lost love

Lost Love, 10 x 10

Amy’s also got a great sense of humor, which we think translates beautifully into her work. Her renditions of our fave bubbly had us all salivating:

Veuve compressed Vive La Veuve, 20 x 10

Check these out, too:

Copy of Dixon Arts and Ale Overflowing 14 x 11Overflowing, 14 x 11

Huff Harrington Amy Dixon Oatmeal Stout 24 x 12.jpg Oatmeal Stout, 24 x 12

Amy also paints the most delicate and ethereal figures that are barely there on the canvas.

lo res standing tall Standing Tall, 60 x 36

by the window low res

By The Window, 36 x 48

After about two hours of hard painting, Amy packed up her brushes and paints and dashed off to the auction, leaving behind some very happy people. Amy’s joie de vivre is contagious and we all think we caught a little of it last Friday. Thank you, Amy.




Monday, March 21, 2011

The Blonde Bombshells: Grace Under Pressure

We’ve been slammed for the last couple of weeks preparing for the opening of this wonderful new exhibit called The Blonde Bombshells.  It turns out that we have a handful of artists who are fair-haired, paint exquisitely and whose paintings all work beautifully together. 

Blond Bombshells 019 The Blonde Bombshells (top row left to right: Lorraine Christie, Melissa Payne Baker, Dawne Raulet.  Bottom row left to right: Bonnie Beauchamp Cooke, Aaron Whitehouse.  Missing: Liz Barber) 

We have had a great time with every aspect of this show: the advertising, marketing and public has been a blast; cataloging was relatively effortless and hanging the show was fun.  All in all, we loved the way it all fell into place as an exhibit.

We decided to preview the show with a private collectors’ evening, which meant we were expecting a smaller, more intimate gathering.  We hired Eric Hassel, our favorite piano player and we had the table groaning with delicious nibbles and Demaris manning the bar (champagne, wine and Guinness in honor of St. Paddy’s Day) By 6 p.m., the six bombshells were all present and accounted for, the gallery was gleaming and we were all ready for showtime. 

Small Day Tomorrow 24 x 36 low res

Lorraine Christie’s Small Day Tomorrow, 24 x 36, oil on canvas

Swan 60x60 3400 - Copy

Dawne Raulet’s Swan, 48 x 48, photography and mixed media

 Green 48 x 36 lo res

Bonnie Beauchamp Cooke’s Green 48 x 36 mixed media

the epiphany 60 x 48

Aaron Whitehouse’s super cool Ephipany, 60 x 48, mixed media and resin epoxy

Water Reflections 6 low res

 Liz Barber’s Water Reflections, 12 x 12, mixed media

24x36 Colorful Landscape VI

Melissa Payne Baker’s Colorful Landscape, 24 x 36, mixed media 


And then disaster hit.

About five minutes before opening our little blue door to welcome our guests, there was a tremendous bang – followed by darkness.  No lights, no power, no air-conditioning.  The gallery was bathed in a lovely soft light from the setting sun…perfect for a romantic dinner date, but not so great for viewing art.

A ray of sun

With no lights on, Lorraine’s painting glowed softly in the late afternoon sun.

Around the feast

We lit our feast with candles and everyone happily dug in.

We frantically ran downstairs to our icky mechanical room and started throwing switches but to no avail.  Our ex-flight attendant, Linda, took charge and sprinted over to the grocery store across the street to clean out their supply of flashlights.  We didn’t necessarily panic, but we had a new empathy for the poor captain of the Titanic when he realizes his ship is going down.


Crouching to get a better look

With flashlights in hand, our intrepid clients examined every painting.

Lorraine paintingOur Sarah, flashing the light on Lorraine’s gorgeous painting, “I Wish.”

It was beginning to feel like summer camp with all the flashlights.

Then we found out that someone had hit a utility pole nearby and the power was out in a mile square radius.  It was a small consolation that it wasn’t our fault, but it didn’t really help matters.

So, what do you in a situation like that?  Our lovely artists, the eternal optimists they are, carried on doing their thing and assured us confidently that somehow we’d fix the problem.  We were wowed by their grace under pressure and the seamless way they continued to meet guests, talk animatedly about their paintings and generally charm the pants off each and every one of us at the gallery.

We all absolutely made the best of it and between candlelight, flashlights, some chilled bubbly and good music, our lovely clients and artists mingled and had a great time. 

The lights finally came back on about an hour later and the party rolled on as if nothing had happened. 

And, as it turns out, our blondes are not only talented bombshells but also cool-headed and gracious when the going gets momentarily rough.   Bravo to one and all – and yes, they do really have more fun!

Blond Bombshells 020

Ta ta …


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Blonde Bombshell: At Home and In the Studio

Nothing makes a Huffington happier than to score an invite to visit an artist’s studio – his or her private inner sanctum where inspiration and creativity take physical shape. Some artists are extremely proprietary about this space and others are open and willing to share. We love it when they want to share (and, of course, respect them immensely when they don’t.)

Dawne Raulet, a relatively new artist for us and one of the stars of our Blonde Bombshells show (which opens on Friday, March 18th) extended a warm invitation to us the other day. She works out of her home so it was a double treat for us Huffingtons.

We were there to view paintings that Dawne is submitting for the show – and those were no disappointment. Dawne paints with a combination of her own original photography and mixed media - and the results are dramatic and jaw-dropping. We knew she was a lover of all creatures because her subject matter usually involves something with four legs (or two with feathers…)

Elegantly Poised Horse, 30 x 40

We adore these paintings and love the way Dawne subtly imbues the painting with character and personality.

Caged Dove, 16 x 20

Baby Bull, 40 x 30

Heart-Shaped Nest, 47 x 47

Our hunch about the animals was right. When she greeted us at the door of her lovely home, her entourage (or menagerie) included two round and elderly chihuahuas, a delightfully tousled (and also rather round) shih-tzu and a fluffy Siamese cat.



All four followed us around until one of the chihuahuas had enough of art talk and decided to take a nap instead.


Just look at that face…

We went down to Dawne’s studio, which is large, sunlit terrace level space that opens onto her back lawn. It was wonderful to see her pieces in progress: she likes to paint big, so the panels are custom made for her.


Dawne’s sunny and enormous studio space

Her work involves layers and layers of medium over the photography (she still hasn’t quite revealed her secrets to us) so the space was a hodge-podge of medium, brushes, panels and all the other accoutrements an artist needs.

P1010432 A painting in progress

Dawne’s a stockbroker-turned-artist and the flash point came a few years ago after a particularly stressful work week. In desperate need of a break from her job and two small infants at home, she attended a watercolor workshop. “I realized afterwards that for an entire two-hour period, I had been completely focused on that peaceful watercolor we were painting. It was then that art became my sanctuary and I’ve been obsessed ever since,” she told us.

P1010418We’re quite sure we can’t live without this painting for our Blonde Bombshell show.

After we talked and talked about the paintings and decided which ones we couldn’t live without (pretty much all of them), our attention turned to Dawne’s home which was also knocking our socks off.

We were sort of familiar with the interior because it used to belong to Atlanta’s leading empress of design, Suzanne Kasler and it’s featured prominently in her book.

Here’s the foyer when the home was owned by Suzanne Kasler.


Here’s Dawne’s version – we adore that painting.

Dawne’s interpretation of the home was completely different and we loved the easy-going, comfortable and welcoming vibes it gave off. One Huffington (me!) couldn’t get over the choice of upholstery for two sleek and Belgian-inspired sofas: cream chenille – the softest, yummiest cream chenille I’ve ever run my hand across. I wanted to bury myself in those sofas.

Dawne’s art taste runs the gamut so her groupings included crusty old oils picked up on trips to Europe, some edgy charcoaly figures and plenty of other pieces that had us ooohing and ahhing. Everything was bathed in sunshine and the rooms were filled with whites or linen colored upholstery. What made it so special were the small touches that Dawne had placed here there and everywhere. Her technique is very spontaneous, so nothing felt over-decorated or stuffy. It just felt amazingly comfortable, homey and welcoming – just the way a home should be.

The Blonde Bombshells (back row left to right: Lorraine Christie, Melissa Payne Baker and Dawne Raulet. Front row, left to right: Bonnie Beauchamp Cooke and Aaron Whitehouse. Missing: Liz Barber.)

If you’re local, be sure to come by and check out our new show, The Blonde Bombshells, debuting on Friday, March 18th from 6-8 p.m. at the gallery. Or check it out on our website beginning Thursday, March 17th.

Ta ta.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Artist Inspiration : Jim Seitz

At the beginning of this year, all of us gallery gals were talking about how much we’ve enjoyed getting to know all of our artists and how it influences the way we view their work. Where they’re from, how they got started, what inspires them – all of these factors only serve to further enhance the artwork. It seems to come alive a little more when you know the creator.

At the beginning of the year, we asked each artist to write us a little note about what inspires them, in the hope that this would help our readers and clients get more of a feel for who they are, not just what they paint. We hope that you enjoy our new blog series, “Artist Inspiration.”  First up is Jim Seitz.

In Jim’s own words,

“I have traveled extensively throughout my lifetime.  My favorite painting was inspired by a river I crossed frequently to get to the oil fields near Agha Jari (Southern Iran).   I never took a photo of it, and always regretted that.  It was something I could never get off my mind.  

Several years ago, I took it upon myself to try to paint it as I remembered it.   This river was located in their lower plains area (very flat and you seemed to be able to see forever).   As you crossed the river and looked out over the plains, the river seemed to extend to eternity.   I wasn't sure how the painting would turn out, but gave it a try anyway.

Seitz Beyond Time1 Beyond Time, acrylic gold leaf, 30 x 30”

To my surprise, the painting was "free flowing" because it had been burned in my mind for so long.   The name is special as well.   Iran was a difficult place to live, but had so much history.. it is the "cradle of civilization" and dates back to the beginning of recorded time... therefore the name Beyond Time.  I believe someone from California now has it hanging on their wall.  My all time favorite for many reasons.”

Here are some other beautiful examples of Jim’s work that we have here at the gallery:

4200 Essence of Autumn 40 x 30 Essence of Autumn

3950 Forever More30x40 Forever More

24x36 Golden Afternoon $1,600 Golden Afternoon


Be on the lookout for more “Artist Inspiration” profiles over the next few months! Who are you interested in learning more about?



P.S. – We hope you have your calendar marked for our “Blonde Bombshells” show- Friday, March 18 at 6 p.m. It’s going to be a knockout!