Friday, May 20, 2011

A Labor of Love

For us here at the gallery, selling art is a labor of love. Virtually every creative aspect of this business revolves around emotional decisions – and frankly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

It all starts when we discover a new artist. Perhaps they have submitted their portfolio to us or an art-loving client has sent them our way with a glowing recommendation. Or we’ve stumbled on their website by accident or we’ve seen their work at a local arts venue. Whatever or however, we know it’s going to work when we Huffingtons all declare it love at first sight.

untitled Figure on white Dress 48x18 It was totally love at first sight when we saw Tracy Sharp’s sexy and mysterious figures.

We always say that there is no exact or scientific method to explain how we choose our artists or hang their work. We do consider whether we feel the work has appeal to our clientele…but more often than not, we’re going off our gut feeling. We look for affirmation from our senses: does this strike a chord and how? Does the palette please our eyes? Does the composition affirm the painting’s objective? Is the painting on course technically?

Golden Evening This jaw-dropper by Jim Richards gets a check next to all the boxes we have when we’re taking on new work or a new artist: the palette’s amazing, the composition is pretty much perfect and from a technical point of view, it doesn’t get any better than this. And it makes us feel so good to feast our eyes on it. Another plus for our clients: this is the tip of Billy Goat Island at Lake Burton, a well-known and much-loved lake not too far from metro Atlanta. People recognize it all the time – and have an immediate connection with the painting.

Once we’ve all agreed to “date” the artist, there comes to delicate dance of initiating conversations between us, working out the nitty-gritties and getting a handle on what makes this artist tick. Usually there’s an instantaneous connection like the one we immediately formed with Aaron Whitehouse. Aaron is a local artist who had the courage to actually stop by (unannounced!) on a Saturday and sweet talk his way into showing us his paintings in the trunk of his car. We adored him and his work within five seconds and we’ve formed a wonderful relationship with him.

oracle 62 x 48Aaron Whitehouse was brave enough to actually stop in unannounced one day – how could we possibly resist his deeply textured and epoxy-resined abstracts that remind us of clear pools of water and beach glass?

Sometimes when the artist is clear across the country, we form a bond through dozens of emails. We’ve never laid eyes on Angie Renfro, but we are crazy about her…and her witty personality shines through every piece of correspondence we’ve ever had with her.

As We Await the Blooms 18x48 We’ve never met Angie Renfro but we have a wonderful cyber relationship with her…

We put our flag in the sand a long time ago about one thing: that showing and selling art for us was going to be a business based on an emotional investment for our clients, not a financial investment. Truth be told, getting a handle on buying and selling art solely as a commodity doesn’t sound very appealing to us. We do know serious collectors who buy art and then routinely store it only to sell it for a profit -- but we can’t relate to it the way we can when you hang a painting in a room and suddenly everything changes in the very best way.

lo res Lorraine Christie paints emotion: lovers meeting and departing, missed connections and chance encounters.

For us, art has a much bigger job to do. We like it to evoke the senses. That doesn’t mean it has to be a thing of beauty or exude calmness. It can provoke, instigate, intrigue or raise questions – as long as it elicits some sort of response or reaction. Personally we feel that with the world in such bad shape, we prefer work that gives us a little peace, a little harmony and a little wonder.

womanonhorse Lo ResJudy Cox’s Woman on a Horse stirs the senses up and raises a few questions. We love that.

And, speaking of eliciting a response, we had a cute story play out here at the gallery. A lovely and well-traveled couple came in specifically looking for a painting they had seen on our website: Nancy Franke’s Magic Hour in Gordes. When they saw the painting hanging, they immediately started pointing out the little road that winds through the village, guessestimating where their hotel was and “oh, remember that meal at the restaurant overlooking the village? And what was that wine?”

We loved the way this painting took them back to a well-loved holiday with their family. And we loved the way this painting spoke to them in such a personal way. We know they’ll always remember that happy stay in France whenever they look at this one.

Franke Magic Hour Gordes 40 x 30 lo res

We’re not sure how we got so lucky to spend our days with talented individuals who create such beauty but we thank our lucky stars each and every morning. We delight in watching and hearing the reactions from clients and visitors when a painting has spoken to them.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Ta Ta.

Friday, May 13, 2011

When Dreams Come True

You may remember, a few weeks ago, we told you about the painting that Melissa Payne Baker created at the gallery with the help of several young, talented and energetic children, who all happen to have Juvenile Diabetes.


As always, when trying something brand new, we were a little hesitant about committing one of our artists to the daunting task of creating a painting with the purpose of raising money for a cause. What if it didn’t work out? What if it nobody bid on it and it didn’t raise any money? But we are also all very committed to the cause and it was clear, as the artists whipped out their magic and the painting started to unfold, that our fears would soon dissipate. Melissa and her team painted a gorgeous, vibrant and touching painting that had us all swooning over the end result. In fact, I knew that I’d be the first to bid on it at the gala and was already secretly plotting where I would put it.

And then the big night of the gala arrived, with all of us dressed to the nines, but none looking more beautiful or angelic than our lovely artist, Melissa Payne Baker.

Melissa with easel

Melissa stood by the painting, with her wonderful husband Rick by her side, and posed with many of the adorable children who had contributed to the art.

Melissa and Rick

Melissa and Rick Baker

with Mitchell and Amelie

Melissa with Amelie and Mitchell (who, by the way, is the single best fundraiser you will ever meet!)

With Clare

With cute Claire.

With three kids

And proudly posing with their gorgeous work of art.

I want to be an artist

Remember that Melissa asked all of the artists to write down their dreams, and she incorporated them in to the final painting.

so I don't have to

Some dreamed of becoming artists, or actors, or astronauts. While others dreamed of being able to do sleepovers, or never having to worry, or being able to eat lunch without having to go to the nurse and get shots. All of their dreams were poignant and heartfelt. And all of them strengthened this already powerful painting.

The young ambassadors on stage

And then, drum roll, the moment we were all waiting for. In my mind, the highlight of the live auction, with Melissa and Rick proudly displaying the beautiful painting up on stage, while the artists posed in front.

The bidding began at $2,000 and quickly rose to $5,000. I raised my hand eagerly a few times over, until I realized that it was going out of my league. And as much as I wanted the painting, I couldn’t have wished for anything better.

$10,000 and we were sure it would stop there. The kids were ecstatic! The parents were cheering! I was in disbelief. And like a fast moving ball game, the bids continued to bounce around the room. And then the words that made us all cry:

Going once.

Going twice.

Sold, for Twelve Thousand Dollars!!

Thank you Melissa. Thank you artists. This was a dream come true.



PS The Atlanta JDRF gala raised a record whopping $1.6MM for this event. Congratulations to all. We were thrilled to be a part of it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

It’s All About Moms

This Sunday is Mother’s Day and we hope everyone will be celebrating happily with their moms – or being feted themselves with breakfast in bed and other goodies. We’re saluting our mothers with lots of love, nice dinners and fresh orchids arranged a la Sam Jones (who works here at the gallery and is also immensely talented when it comes to floral arrangements.)

The holiday did get us thinking about (what else?) paintings and mothers -- and how art can elevate its subject matter to heavenly heights.

Mothers have been heralded for centuries with countless paintings of the Madonna portrayed as saintly and pure – which she must have been.

Jorg Breu The Younger, “The Madonna and Child”

(We love her poignant expression – and the richness of the palette and way the light shimmers off the folds of her clothing.)

File:Johann Gottlieb Hantzsch - Häusliche Szene, 1831.jpg

We’re drawn to the ordinariness of the subject: this mom’s a busy working woman and it looks like it’s almost naptime. The play of light and dark in this painting is exquisite and the composition is just about perfect.

Johann Gottlieb Hantzsch (1794-1848), Domestic Scene

You can’t think of paintings of mothers and children without Mary Cassatt coming in at the top of the list. We’re huge fans of this American impressionist painter and we’re collectively crazy about her tender and evocative paintings.

Mary Cassatt, Breakfast in Bed (how perfect is that?)

The Young Mother - Mary Cassatt -

Mary Cassat, The Young Mother

Mary Cassatt, Sleepy Baby

Mary Cassatt, Mother and Two Children

Another impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, also painted softly rendered images of mothers, including this one of Madame Charpentier and her two children:

Madame Charpentier with her Children, oil on canvas, 1878(Madame C. looks so proud of her two beautiful girls)

Picasso rendered his mother and child with sharp lines and over-proportioned limbs – but the love and playfulness still shine through.

Pablo Picasso. Mother and Child.

Pablo Picasso, Mother and Child, 1921-1922

Mother Holding Baby, 1986 Art Print

Keith Haring did his colorful and acutely simple version in 1986’s Mother and Child.

So, happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. We hope it’s filled with plenty of sunshine, love and laughter.

Mother and Child by Frances Hodgkins (pastel and charcoal, 1917)

Ta ta.