the human figure in the gallery and the studio

From prehistoric cave paintings to classical Greek sculpture to pop art screen prints, art from every era is populated by countless depictions of the human figure. After all, what is more fascinating to us than ourselves? Whether seeking to tell a story, portray an individual, celebrate physical beauty, or delve into the psyche, artists have used the figure to explore who we are and what it means to be human.

She Jumps Out of the Past  by Michael Williams

In She Jumps Out of the Past, Michael Williams combines photography and digital manipulation to transform a traditional figure study into a surreal, dreamlike image.

For generations of artists, studying the figure and observing live models have been central to developing their craft. Not only is such study a must for learning how to accurately portray people, it is also an important exercise for honing one’s observational skills.

Standing Woman #3 by Matthew Feuer

Standing Woman #3 by Matthew Feuer has the immediacy of a sketch. The energy and texture of the clay hints at the artist’s creative process.

As an artist, I certainly find this to be true. Though I had worked from photographs and drawn clothed figures in high school, it wasn’t until college that I first worked from a nude model and learned traditional figure drawing techniques. It was challenging, compelling, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately rewarding. I saw my skills improve dramatically the more I drew. And I found myself fascinated by the expressive possibilities of the human form.

Woman Waiting I by Pamela Allen

Woman Waiting I by Pamela Allen is a beautiful abstract piece. The colors and patterns make it feel like a painting in fabric, yet intricate topstitching add detail and dimension unique to quilting.

I am no longer a student, but I still find drawing and painting people to be fascinating and challenging. I now attend figure drawing sessions at a local art studio once a week, joining other artists in a shared pursuit of creative practice. This weekly activity has helped me find a supportive artistic community and maintain a commitment to my own artistic development. Plus, it’s just plain fun to get out my pastels or pencils and dive into a work of art surrounded by others who are doing the same.

Reflection by Dina Angel-Wing

I love the contrasts in Reflection by Dina Angel-Wing. The figure is abstracted and angular, yet soft and almost fluid. The gesture is introspective, yet dynamic, with a sense of movement.

The studio has a laid-back atmosphere of camaraderie. We listen to music, we bring snacks, we share praise, critiques, and advice. Though each artist there has a different background and a unique style of working, every one shares a passion for art. I love the open and welcoming nature of this studio and the people I meet there.

Nude with Bowl by Elisa Root

To me, Nude with Bowl by Elisa Root captures the atmosphere of the art studio—right down to the bag of goldfish crackers in the corner. The complex yet balanced composition is full of color and expressive brushstrokes that keep your eye moving.

Of course, it’s not just artists in the studio—there are the models, too. Holding still for an extended period of time can be hard work, and so the artists always focus on helping the model be as comfortable as possible. This includes everything from giving them plenty of cushions and regular breaks to creating a welcoming and respectful atmosphere. Modeling can be fatiguing, yet many models I’ve talked to say they enjoy the experience, especially once they walk around and see all the images of themselves reflected through the eyes of multiple artists.

Mia Turning by Cathy Locke

I love working in charcoal, and I enjoy seeing how other artists use this medium. In Mia Turning, Cathy Locke renders the figure’s gesture of graceful strength with dramatic contrast, soft tonal gradations, and well-placed expressive smudges.

Throughout this post, I’ve highlighted a handful of my favorite figurative pieces by Artful Home artists. Exploring the myriad ways that artists depict and interpret the figure gives me new ideas that I take with me to the studio every week. It also fascinates me to see the new ways artists are making statements about who we are and what it means to be human—following in the footsteps of artists throughout history.

By |January 20th, 2015|articles|1 Comment

CYDWOQ

The newest addition to Artful Home is a line of fabulous shoes from CYDWOQ. Artful Home CEO Lisa Bayne talked about why they’re so special in her blog post, and I’d like to take the time to introduce the company and the featured styles to you.

CYDWOQ founder, Rafi Balouzian, comes from a long line of master shoe-makers. Learning at the knee of his father, Krair, Rafi spent years immersing himself in every facet of shoe-making.

cydwoq

Image courtesy of CYDWOQ

Prior to starting CYDWOQ, he found that the space-age materials, padding, and air bubbles found in modern shoes were impeding his natural stride during his favorite activity — long walks. He set out to create a line of shoes using his vast knowledge of shoe-making and inspired by nature. Studying the contours of the foot, the circular motion of walking, and experimenting with designs and materials, Rafi finally crafted shoes that he believes are the next best thing to barefoot.

rafi

Rafi Balouzian, image courtesy of CYDWOQ

We are introducing five styles as a start and hope that you are as thrilled with these shoes as we are.

Barrier Shoe

Barrier

In pearlized, vegetable-tanned Italian leather, this striking flat features eye-catching straps detailed with rivets. A rear elastic loop allows you to slip it on and off with ease.

 Dimension Shoe

Dimension

A classic black slip-on combines timeless design with the artistry of angled side cutouts, a squared toe, and contrasting tumbled and skived leather.

River Bootie

River

This must-have Chelsea boot is designed with CYDWOQ’s signature all-leather construction and fabulous attention to detail. Slip it on with the ease of elastic side gores.

Strip Shoe

Strip

This elegant flat with a sleek pointed toe, extended sole, and delicate elastic cords combines classic beauty and architectural design.

Yoga Shoe

Yoga

Crisscrossing elastic laces add creative flair and comfort to this simple ballet flat with a gentle rounded toe.

We’d love to hear what you think — and feel! — about these fabulous shoes.

 

By |January 13th, 2015|articles, spotlights|0 Comments

winter apparel 2015

This season, it’s all about the details. An unexpected fabric choice, a twist on the ordinary seam, unique pleating, or reversible colors — there is something special about every piece in our Winter Apparel Collection. We’ve hand-picked a selection of beautiful artist-designed apparel that will enhance your wardrobe in a truly artful way. There are so many incredible pieces, it was nearly impossible to choose — but I’ve selected a few of my favorites to tell you about.

The Amore Cardigan by Ball of Cotton is a fabulous go-to cardigan with gorgeous smocking and a scalloped, bi-level hem. It combines feminine flair with effortless comfort. The epitome of an artful essential, it is extraordinarily distinctive, yet somehow manages to look great with nearly everything in our wardrobes. Whether casually styled with jeans and boots or more formally over a dress, this is one you’ll pull from the closet again and again.
Amore Sweater by Ball of Cotton

That jacket that you want to wear with everything, the Drago Jacket by Cynthia Ashby is fully reversible, making it really versatile. It features unexpected details like a flattering pintuck at the back, a contrasting yoke, and color blocking that show off the shape of the jacket. Its elegant A-line silhouette drapes to an asymmetrical hemline. Worn over leggings with some flats, I love the fact that it’s two completely different jackets in one.


linen_jacket_l
9b9b4756-7c45-4091-bc45-be06b918d618_70949_45773_l

Talk about an artful black dress! The New York Dress by Comfy USA is fun and sophisticated at the same time. The memory fabric with a bit of sheen is unexpected in a LBD, but the designer pulled it off perfectly. Roomy pockets and a stitched waistline with an adjustable front bow are equal parts playful and polished. I love this sweet alternative to the traditional black dress.
New York Dress by Comfy USA

When a great white shirt combines classic styling with unique, artful details, it quickly becomes indispensable in our wardrobes. That’s exactly the story with the Mod Shirt by Planet: black grosgrain trim and buttons add bold contrast, while fabulous inset and venting details in the back create a flattering drape. This is a white shirt with serious personality.
Mod Shirt by Planet
Which of our extraordinary winter apparel pieces will you be adding to your wardrobe this year?

By |January 9th, 2015|articles|0 Comments

you asked, we listened

Ever since we began to sell women’s apparel, I have been flummoxed about finding the right shoes to show with our clothes. I’ve borrowed from my own closet and purchased a few pairs to use, and as a result, our Customer Care team has received frustrated calls and emails from apparel customers asking one question:

“Where can I get those shoes!?”

Finally, we can answer, “Right here!”

It has always seemed to me that someone, somewhere, should be able to understand that women want interesting style AND comfort — that the two should not be incompatible. I’m not talking about stilettos; they are neither my personal style nor does their mission have anything to do with comfort. (I have fantasized that one day Jimmy Choo or Christian Louboutin’s mother would demand that he design shoes that she could wear!)

Naturally, I was thrilled when I discovered CYDWOQ — for several reasons:

First of all, their designs are fabulous, original, perhaps a little quirky at times, and I find myself wanting to try on everything they make. So often I am bored with the copycat ho-hum choices found in the plethora of women’s shoes. CYDWOQ marches to its own beat. And then, the shoes are so darn comfortable! As someone with foot and joint problems, I have been amazed by how great these feel. The rest of our staff, many of them younger than I, have also been knocked over by how great the shoes feel. We’ve found that these shoes actually get better over time, as the supple leather ages and molds to the shape of each individual’s foot.

cydwoq crop

And finally, the story behind CYDWOQ speaks to my heart and to the mission of our company. CYDWOQ is one of a very select number of shoe companies to manufacture completely in the USA, an artisanal small-batch designer similar to other designers we work with. Quality is critical to them and their materials are outstanding.

We are introducing just five styles this season. At our photoshoot, we were thrilled with how effortless it was to accessorize our clothing with these shoes — a great fit (pun fully intended). I hope you like them as much as we do and I’d love to hear your feedback.

By |January 6th, 2015|articles, spotlights|4 Comments

in with the new, in with the old

Ah, New Year’s. This is usually a time to say, “out with the old and in with the new.” But I propose something slightly different: “in with the new and in with the old.” Let me explain.

In the world of art and design, the hunt for new and beautiful things is ongoing. As the New Year begins, we are thrilled to introduce many new artists and designers. The freshness and vitality of their work echoes the hopes we have for a positive and exciting 2015.


10:10 Chair by TJ Volonis 10-Piece Silhouette Necklace by Ashley Buchanan
Sanctuary by Kue King Cut From the Same Cloth by Ealish Wilson


 

At the same time, the culture of “new” can make it all too easy to overlook the mastery of established artists and designers, those who have been honing their vision and craft for years. As the new year begins, we want to salute these great artists, too. We revel in the work they created yesterday and the new work they are creating today.

 

Venn Diagram Orange by Tim Harding giclee_print_f
Homage by Randi Solin


Your love of the finest art and design keeps us motivated and ever-looking. Your willingness to consider Artful Home a place to discover beautiful work makes it worth the effort.

Thank you for your continued interest and patronage, and here is to a terrific new year for all, new and old.

 

By |January 1st, 2015|articles, events|0 Comments