Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lo and Behold: Amy Crehore's "Literartistry" Paintings

Click to enlarge details- Amy Crehore "Story of Lolita" paintings
"The Story of Lolita, Part One" copyright 2007 Amy Crehore

"The Story of Lolita, Part Two" copyright 2007 Amy Crehore

Click on Images to Enlarge

In the book "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov, Humbert Humbert is a demon-man full of lust for little Lo, his twelve year old American step-daughter. Humbert was psychologically stunted at age 13 because his first love, Annable Leigh, had died of typhus at only 12. "Lolita" is a prison "memoir" written by an intellectual adult man (Humbert) who is also a murderer and child molestor. ' In recounting his relations with Lolita, Humbert gradually moves from feeling only blind lust for the twelve-year-old "nymphet" girl, to genuine and everlasting love for a worn-out, old-before-her-time adult woman. The reader abhors Humbert's lust, and using of Lolita, but can empathize with his constant guilt over his physiological addiction.' (link) The novel is brilliantly well-written with continuous streams of complex and clever literary allusions. The poetic novel, "Lolita", has inspired my two new paintings (above) for the upcoming group show, "Literartistry".

The "Literartistry" show opens at Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, CA on August 11, 2007 from 7-10 pm and continues for 3 weeks. About 50 artists will participate, each interpreting his/her favorite book, and the books themselves will be available for check-out in an upstairs library. Please contact gallery for purchases and check their website for online viewing.

To see my paintings without frames go to:

The Art of Amy Crehore

Monday, July 30, 2007

George Barbier

Detail of Fan 1912 by G. Barbier

1912 Fan by G. Barbier
George Barbier (1882-1932) is considered one of the finest illustrators in the Art Deco genre.
He had the same sense of elegance as the finest Japanese printmakers.
George Barbier

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Wanda Gag

Wanda Hazel Gág was born on March 11, 1893 in New Ulm, Minnesota. I wish I had known Wanda Gag. She wrote and illustrated "Millions of Cats" in 1928. It's one of my favorite children's books. Here is a photo of the French version. "Millions of Cats" was named a Newbery Honor Book the year it came out. Gág is credited with being the first artist to utilize the double-page spread and to revive hand lettered text. Her pen and ink drawings have this incredible sense of rhythm. They flow up and down and all around...from page to page. Wanda also exhibited her fine art in NYC galleries and she was a friend of Georgia O'Keefe. I never knew that. It seems she was a very clever artist indeed. She is even sporting a Louise Brooks hairdo in this attractive photo.
You can read more and see a list of books by

Lolita Fashions

"Classical Lolita"
"Lolita fashion is part of the fashion style and subculture Gothic & Lolita, which originated in Japan, largely inspired by Victorian children's clothing and the elaborate costumes of the Rococo period. Other influences include the western gothic and punk fashions."
Read about Lolita Fashions

Erling Wold Blog

Erling Wold, the composer in San Francisco who owns a set of my little pierrot prints, and whom I have blogged about before, has written about my "Tickler" ukulele on his blog. Check out what he has to say... and, while you are there, take a look at a beautifully painted harpsichord by Adrian Card.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Nabokov's Interview with Playboy 1964

Alvin Toffler: "With the American publication of Lolita in 1958, your fame and fortune mushroomed almost overnight from high repute among the literary cognoscenti-- which you bad enjoyed for more than 30 years-- to both acclaim and abuse as the world-renowned author of a sensational bestseller. In the aftermath of this cause celebre, do you ever regret having written Lolita?"

Nabokov: "On the contrary, I shudder retrospectively when I recall that there was a moment, in 1950, and again in 1951, when I was on the point of burning Humbert Humbert's little black diary. No, I shall never regret Lolita. She was like the composition of a beautiful puzzle-- its composition and its solution at the same time, since one is a mirror view of the other, depending on the way you look. Of course she completely eclipsed my other works-- at least those I wrote in English: The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, Bend Sinister, my short stories, my book of recollections; but I cannot grudge her this. There is a queer, tender charm about that mythical nymphet."

Read more of this enlightening and entertaining

Blues Women Playing Nationals

Sister Rosetta Tharpe with sunburst Triolian
Sister Rosetta with Count Basie
Memphis Minnie with Electric National

Vintage photos of women playing National Guitars. Love them.
The Art of Amy Crehore

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Details of Lolitas

Detail of "Lolita Part Two" copyright 2007 Amy Crehore
Detail of "Lolita Part One" copyright 2007 Amy Crehore
Here are a couple of details of my paintings for the Corey Helford "Literartistry" Show which opens August 11, 2007. I did a set of two paintings, "The Story of Lolita" Parts one and two.
I should be able to show you the entire pieces in the near future. I am glad to be done. I worked very hard on them. They are oils on linen panels and will have ornately carved frames. They are not literal interpretations of the novel, they are more symbolic. You'll see.
This show will have 50 different artists -each interpreting his/her favorite book.
Participating artists to date include: Jason Shawn Alexander, Erik Alos, Chris Anthony, Chris Conn Askew, Attaboy, Anthony Ausgang, Lauren Bergman, Andrew Brandou, Dave Burke, Paul Chatem, Greg Clarke, Amy Crehore, Camilla d’Ericco, Jason Dugan, Korin Faught, Sarah Folkman, Melissa Forman, Andrew Foster, Lauren Gardiner, Andrew Hem, Michael Hussar, Stella Im Hultberg, Mari Inukai, Wednesday Kirwan, Kukula, Joe Ledbetter, Tiffany Liu, Kevin Llewellyn, Lola, Jeff McMillan, Lisa Moneypenny Murray, Tom Neely, Joe O’Neill, Alex Pardee, Kevin Peterson, Joshua Petker, Carlos Ramos, Sergio Rebia, Joey Remmers, Lesley Reppeteaux, Isabel Samaras, Mijn Schatje, Nathan Spoor, Bob Staake, Gin Stevens, David Stoupakis, Cassandra Szekely, Heidi Taillefer, The Pizz, Sage Vaughn, Amanda Visell, David VonDerLinn, and Jasmine Worth.

Chalk it Up for Literacy -Portland, OR

Lee Moyer's "Odin" poster from 2004

I am going to participate in the 5th annual "Chalk it Up for Literacy" event in Portland, Oregon on August 4th, 2007 from 10am-4pm in Pioneer Courthouse Square. I did this event in 2004 and it was tons of fun. That year, it was held under a tent at the Portland Art Museum because of rain. But, usually it is held outdoors. About 40 or so artists and illustrators will create posters in chalk "live" between 10am and 4 pm. The art will be sold later to benefit Oregon Literacy, Inc. This is a really good cause! "Everyone has a right to literacy." I hope to see my artist friends and also meet some new Portland people this year. Read more about it here:
and a gallery of past art
The Art of Amy Crehore

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Uke Hunt Blog

Quite a few blogs and forums picked up the story of my art uke including King David Ukulele Station in France. I just happened to see this post over at Uke Hunt today:

"The art ukulele by Amy Crehore that I mentioned on Friday caused a bit of a stir on the intertubes after it was picked up by Boing Boing, so I thought I’d take a look at some of the other b-uke-iful creations out there."
see and read more about other fabulous Art Ukes at:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Paint Job of Tickler Uke

Here are some of the steps that were taken in order to paint the Tickler Uke.
Krylon primer was sprayed on the wood of the uke (after the pores were filled with pumice and shellac) before painting. The fingerboard, bridge and hole were masked off with tape or cardboard. I rubbed in layers of paint and also brushed them in. I hung it up with a hook to paint it, but I also held it in my hands. I patiently waited for the oil paint to dry between layers, but I also used Liquin medium which has a dryer in it, so that helped. I brushed Liquin over the whole thing after I was finished to give it a nice, protective hard coating (it's a varnish, too). Click on photos to enlarge. Sorry that these photos are out of order, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lady Godiva

Here's a beauty: "This painting was painted in 1898 by John Collier the English Pre-Raphaelite artist (1850-1934). It depicts Lady Godiva, an eleventh century Anglo-Saxon gentlewoman. Legend says that she rode naked through the streets of Coventry (now a small city in central England) as a protest against the heavy taxes imposed on the local populace by her husband, the local Lord." MORE BY THIS ARTIST


I'm working on some very special paintings for a very special show at a very special gallery called Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, CA. The show is called "Literartistry" and about 50 artists (including my favorite fine art photographer, Chris Anthony) will be doing interpretations of their favorite books. I am doing the novel "Lolita" by Nabokov in two parts. I will write more about this show very soon. And the first "Tickler" ukulele should be unveiled by the end of the week. I still have to have photos taken and tweak it a bit. It's interesting just how much a luthier's craft is like that of a fine jeweler. Plus, the added dimension of making sure that the instrument is quite playable and sounds good. It was not an easy thing to paint with oils either. I'm very happy with the results and I hope you will like it, too.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Miss Josephine Baker

Images of Josephine Baker!
She was a delectable muse for many an artist and extraordinary American entertainer in Paris.
The Art of Amy Crehore

Friday, July 13, 2007

Vintage Hollywood Magazines

Look what I found at
Aren't these beautiful old illustrations from the 20's?
The Art of Amy Crehore

Unknown Flemish Masters

Portrait of the Artist and his Wife, 1496, Oil on panel, 38 x 26 cmKoninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp
Be sure to click to enlarge this one. It's so cool. Check out the fly on his wife's bonnet!
Some of the unknown masters of Flemish and Italian art of the 15th century are amazing.
Unknown Flemish masters and lots of other art:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Eight Useless Facts

Here are the rules:1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts. 2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves. 3. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules. 4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and that they should read your blog.
Eight facts about me:
1. I used to suck my thumb and it gave me crooked teeth
2. I ate at the same Korean Restaurant once a week for the past 7 years or something.
3. I have a scar on my lip from being hit in the face with a jack-in-the-box when I was six.
4. I post things on forums or this blog sometimes when I am tired and upset and not thinking. Then I regret it later and I have those things removed. And then I try to have the posts removed from search engines.
5. I played the song "Gloria" on the back of Ken Kesey's float in a parade. He was dressed in a bear suit. He almost hit his head on a tree branch.
6. I am painting a couple of paintings right now of "Lolitas"
7. I am sitting in a big mess and it's 100 degrees.
8. I hike up a small mountain once a day if possible.
Okay...this is a dare from mardecortesbaja.com and I'm supposed to post links to eight other blogs and dare them to do it, too. Louise Brooks- maybe she will come back from the dead and speak to us!
John Brownlee at http://www.ectomo.com/
Marshall Sponder at http://www.artnewyorkcity.com/
Mark Fraunfelder at http://www.boingboing.net/
Chris Keeley at Daily Dreamtime

Uke Angel

Ukulele Angel oil painting by Artist Chet Saur, Darien CT.
Image from Ukuleles.Us
I think there are a lot of Ukulele Angels out there. It's time to get in the mood. I should be unveiling my fine art uke by the end of the week. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Piero Di Cosimo 1462-1521

The Death of Procris 1510

Venus and Mars 1498
There is something strange and unusual about these two paintings by Florentine painter Piero Di Cosimo. The dog in the top painting and the rabbit below both seem to have empathy for the human characters. I especially like the "Death of Procris". It's got a lot of feeling, glowing colors and nice composition.
Be sure to click on "vote for me" if you like this blog. Thanks!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Martin Johnson Heade 1819-1904

"Magnolia on Red Velvet"
"Cattleya Orchid and Three Brazilian Hummingbirds"
"Thunderstorm on Narragansett Bay"
I have a special place in my heart for American artist Martin Johnson Heade: his dark seascapes with approaching storms, tropical landscapes with hummingbirds and orchids, magnolia blossums on red velvet, and beautiful sprawling marshlands. He was a painter with an amazingly accurate technique who rendered nature's changing weather patterns unlike anyone else. He discovered a way to capture the translucency of exotic orchids and the metallic feathers of Brazilian hummingbirds and set it all off against atmospheric, lush, surreal mountain backdrops. He had an impeccable design sense, too. The quality of his work is astounding.
He was born in rural Bucks County, PA (a place I know well) and learned to paint from his neighbor, folk artist Edward Hicks. In 1858, he moved to the new Tenth Street Studio Building in New York City -- home to leading Hudson River School artists such as Frederic Edwin Church. Read more about his fascinating life:
Martin Johnson Heade and here
The Art of Amy Crehore

Friday, July 06, 2007

It Doesn't Have to Be Explained

Painting by Balthus
Great painting doesn't have to be explained. It doesn't need a political tagline to make you understand the meaning of it. You won't squint at it and scratch your head, you'll just soak it in, because you can't take your eyes off it. It will make you feel something. And no one has to tell you what to feel. It's a personal experience. And you will come back and look again. It will resonate. Balthus doesn't need to explain his hard work. You don't have to ask why?... or what is it? He didn't just slap it together and try to fool somebody into thinking it was something more than it is. He spent months and years on his paintings. Slowly layering and building them up. Each one is provocative and powerful. Each stands on it's own. Each has an organized design of angles, color and form. It's not just about the idea or a superficial style. It's like a great book. Or a great film. He didn't talk about it. He just did it. And gave it to the world. No matter how long it took to paint it and get it right. This painting called "Therese Revant" (1938) is a masterpiece. And I'm sure he struggled with it until he was satisfied.


Photo by Maya Lama of Charlie Nothing

Photo by Joan Martin
What are they? Guitar sculptures made out of American Cars called Dingulators™ by artist Charlie Nothing. He is featured in the current issue of "Fretboard Journal" (#6).
Check out his wonderful website:
Charles Martin Simon