Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Click to enlarge
I thought I'd bring in the new year with a charming design by the artist Olive Fell (1896-1980). A friend sent me this fabulous vintage card for Xmas. (Thanks, Dr. Powell!) 
Don't you just love this little bear character that she created? Not that different from Mark Ryden's bear. Perhaps Olive was the first western "pop surrealist". She developed a  series of popular "Little Bear Cubs" (shown on this card) in the 1930s to sell at National Parks and other western shops. Olive studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League in NYC. She returned to Wyoming to live for the rest of her days. She rode horses like a real cowgirl, too.  For more about Olive Fell: LINK , LINK , LINK

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Sexy" Tiny Tim in Glam Rock Outfit with Ukulele

Not sure where this photo was taken - maybe the Johnny Carson Show or "Laugh In"? I never saw it before. Tiny Tim is rocking out with a silver ukulele and gold boots. I wonder what song he was playing? (Thanks, Joe Schenkman facebook)
Here's an unusual clip from Australia TV 1970 where he sings "Rock Around the Clock" with go go dancers, minus the uke. Apparently he played in Australia quite a bit.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Terry Gilliam-The Christmas Card

Happy Holidays to you!

I will be spending Christmas/NewYear week working in the studio. 
It's actually my favorite time of year to paint, so I'm hoping to finish these paintings up and start another. I just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful holiday and to thank you all for reading my blog. I won't be going anywhere, so stay tuned. I'll be making a big list for 2012 of all the things that I told myself I would do in 2011, but didn't get around to. 
A special thanks to all of the kind people who have supported my artwork over the years. 
It means so much to me and keeps me going.
Love, Amy

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Remedios Varo at Frey Norris Gallery

San Francisco is in for a treat. Frey Norris Gallery (161 Jessie Street, S.F., CA) will be having a show featuring the artwork of the late, great Remedios Varo. The show, called "Indelible Fables", will run from January 7, 2012 until February 26, 2012. This show marks the first gallery exhibition of Varo's work in 50 years. That's pretty exciting. Remedios Varo died in 1963 at the young age of 55 in Mexico City. Her art is splendidly strange and imaginative. Read more about her here. There will also be an LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) show called "In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States" from Jan 29-May 6, 2012. LINK
More examples of the paintings of Remedios Varo can be found here: Classic Art Paintings   

Monday, December 19, 2011

For those who like the "old" internet better....

For "vintage" internet ads like this old facebook ad - here's a link:
 retronaut (ads by moma). There is a ton of cool stuff on this website, by the way.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Comfort and Joy at the Local Drugstore

Whistling Mitch played a trombone kazoo in the local drugstore yesterday. I took a grainy video with my ipod. I blogged about him last year and took a ton of photos.LINK  (He told me he doesn't use the internet. He's old-fashioned to the max.) He also played a green (vintage) stenciled Harmony ukulele.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My "Peekaboo" is a SammoS Banjo Ukulele, 1919

SammoS banjo ukulele
SammO soprano ukulele
When I painted my "Peekaboo" design on an antique banjo ukulele (shown above) for my solo art show in Los Angeles a couple of years ago ("Dreamgirls and Ukes"), the brand of ukulele was a mystery to me. I loved the unique construction (walnut and maple marquetry), but I had no idea who manufactured these or exactly how old they were. Thanks to Google Books, I found some information in the "Music Trades" publication of 1919. I now know that these particular banjo ukuleles are at least 92 years old, making them older than I thought. An old advertisement (top image) shows one like it and tells us that the The Samuel C. Osborn Manufacturing Company, located in a Masonic Temple in Chicago, made these instruments. Osborn claimed to be the largest manufacturer of stringed instruments at the time. A little more digging and I found out that this company was around since 1897, but went bankrupt in 1921 (after moving to a new building). Mr. Osborn died in 1922 at the age of 50. They also made a soprano ukulele called the SammO, a really nice koa uke (shown above, the one I have at home). It's design seems to have been based on the older Hawaiian ukuleles. Osborn also made mandolins, guitars, taro patch fiddles and something called the Pianoette
The Art of Amy Crehore
P.S. All we can really do is guess at some of these when the label is missing or the brand is not indicated on the headstock.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Two Charming Nudes Together

 Lucas Cranach, "Venus and Cupid" 1537
"Nude Girl on a Fur" by Otto Dix 1932
Click image to enlarge
In the summer of 2010, The National Gallery of Scotland hung these two paintings in a mini face-off show called "Confrontation". The Dix is possibly my favorite painting he's ever done. It's so weird and beautiful all at the same time. I love the tones of yellow and the textures in this painting. The girl's crooked, curled toe completes a great composition. Her eyes and expression (of longing?) are uniquely Dix. The Cranach is one of many (see link) that he did using the exact same theme, but it's a charming one. I love that the "drape" the girl is wearing is so transparent as to be almost invisible (she is holding it up with her hand). 

Friday, December 09, 2011

Picture of the Day

"Chalk Cliffs on Rugen", 1818, by Caspar David Freidrich, 
painted as a celebration of his marriage to his wife. LINK 
I found this painting recently online and it reminds me a little bit of the art that I am currently doing, so I must get back to work. 

Salesman 1968

Mark at boingboing posted this trailer to a documentary about 4 salesmen selling bibles.
More info about the movie  LINK

Thursday, December 08, 2011

"The Starfish" 1928 Film by Man Ray

 If you have 15 minutes, here's a wonderful, mysterious little B&W film by Man Ray starring Kiki and a starfish.

Monday, December 05, 2011

"Loan Me Your Heart", a Papa Charlie Jackson Song

Papa Charlie Jackson portrait by Amy Crehore
I love Papa Charlie Jackson's music from the 1920s. He played a 6-string Gibson guitar- banjo. Check out the huge head on this banjo (above). I painted this portrait of him in the 1990s. Our little band, The Hokum Scorchers, did a few of his numbers. One such song is "Loan Me Your Heart". I love this song. 
You can listen to our version (recorded in the 1990s) HERE
(I play washboard/cups and Lou Reimuller plays guitar and sings).
P.S. Another song by Papa Charlie Jackson is "Papa Do Do Do". Our version of that song can be found here: LINK 

A Few Unicorns

for Xeni
Robinet Testard, 1470 from the "Book of Simple Medicines"
 Raphael, 1520, Lady with Unicorn
 Leonardo, 1470s, Maiden with Unicorn
Unicorn Tapestry 1495-1505

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Rembrandt's New Old Man

Experts have reclassified this painting, "Bearded Old Man", as one done by Rembrandt when he was 24 in the year 1630. X-rays show that there is a self-portrait of Rembrandt as a young man sketched underneath. This is only 6" x 8". Small works can be quite masterful. This one has wonderful lighting and great depth of feeling. LINK 
I previously blogged about a current show at The Clark Art Institute, showing a couple of examples of Rembrandt's self-portraits as a young man.

Watch her face

Saturday, December 03, 2011

A great gift for the monkey in your life!

Brand NEW Boing Boing Monkey T-shirt designed by Amy Crehore
My favorite blog, Boing Boing, has partnered with another favorite, Neatorama, to produce this wonderful t-shirt with my artwork and hand-lettering. A friend of mine sent me the photos above. She's delighted with her purchase, which arrived yesterday. She says they look "great"! I want to thank Pop Drawer, for featuring it on their Holiday Shopping Guide, and Kozmicdogz for giving this shirt a big shout out, too. 
You can pick out your size and color and buy this shirt HERE .

Original Paintings and Prints by Amy Crehore

My art has been shown in many galleries over the years: Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, Palm Springs, New York City, Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Art Basel Miami and more. The Portland Art Museum (OR), the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the American Museum of Illustration (NYC) have all exhibited my paintings. Visit my website for available work and a selection of signed prints.
The Art of Amy Crehore

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Creating as I go...

A work in progress by Amy Crehore (11/29/11)
This is how my painting looks today. I have no idea when it will be finished or how many changes it will go through before I'm done. I'm having fun with it. No pressure. Experimentation. 
(Here's my initial drawing, step 1, step 2, step 3

Tinted Siblings

I'm in love with beautiful cabinet cards of children...
(Thanks, josefnovak33)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mr. Peanut Speaks

After 95 years of silence, they have given Mr. Peanut a voice. It's the voice of Robert Downy, Jr. Here's an article about it with a photo of the new animated Mr. Peanut.
I don't really care if Mr. Peanut can talk, I just wish he still looked the same as the old vintage sign that I have at home (shown above). What a beautiful silk-screened face he has. I'm not sure how old my sign is, but I'm partial to this particular "look". Of course, I realize that Mr. Peanut has gone through many changes over the years. If you google him, you can find them. 
 According to wikipedia, Planters Peanuts was founded in 1906. In 1916, a contest was held to design a logo for the company. A 14 year old school boy won the contest by drawing a peanut man. Later, a graphic artist added spats, top hat, monocle and cane. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NEW! Boing Boing Monkey T-shirt Designed by Amy Crehore

I'm so excited about this brand new Boing Boing t-shirt that I designed. It is available now in the Boing Boing Shop in Ash Grey, White and Natural. Mens and Womens sizes S, M, L, XL, and 2XL. 

Originally, I painted this particular monkey (wearing a plaid jacket & tiny derby, smoking a pipe) on a vintage banjo-uke and called it the "Squirm". It was part of my solo art show, "Dreamgirls and Ukes", which took place in Los Angeles in 2009. The monkey was perched on a lump of grass, floating in a cloudy sky. I also drew him in ink (sitting on a cloud) for the very first Cloudy Collection print set.
For this brand new Boing Boing Monkey t-shirt design, I created a special typeface and hand-lettered the words "Boing Boing". You may have seen my "monkey love" paintings featured on Boing Boing in the past. I want to thank everyone at Boing Boing for making this t-shirt happen! 
The Art of Amy Crehore

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Progress and Process in Painting (Amy Crehore)

 Blocking in some shapes.
Adding color to background.
Here, you can see my progress with the new painting. This is just the beginning. Some interesting things are happening as I go along. It's fun to document the steps. I have no idea how this will end up. I am "creating" as I go and enjoying the process. Each painting is really an experiment. I do not have a specific chronological order of doing things. The design elements are leading me around the painting. Around and around I go. Adding layers of paint. I'm loving the contrasting colors shown here. But, it will change a thousand times before I am done. I based this composition on a drawing that I made in pencil first. (See my previous posts here and here.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

The beginning of a new painting....

I'm using a red undercoat for this new painting. The beginning is always fun. 

(See my previous post for pencil drawing of this image)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What am I working on? Drawings, Paintings

 Amy Crehore Studio Nov 17, 2011
Drawing of Figures on Rocks by Amy Crehore 2011
Here are some quick photos (taken with my ipod touch) of my studio with my large cove  painting on my easel (which I am still working on) and a new drawing that will soon become a painting. You may wonder what happened to my custom-built Tickler Uke #3. It has some really unique features that I'm so excited about it, but I simply can't jump the gun by showing it just yet. The luthier is a perfectionist. Good things come to those who wait! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Article/interview w/artist Amy Crehore, INKED magazine (Feb 2009)

 CLICK image to ENLARGE (to read)
In case anyone missed it when it came out, INKED magazine did this wonderful feature on my art with an interview for their Feb 2009 issue. It's nice to look back on good things.

Neo Rauch at David Zwirner

 Die Warte, oil on canvas by Neo Rauch 2011
Fundgrube, oil on canvas by Neo Rauch 2011 
The artist Neo Rauch is currently showing at David Zwirner in NYC (533 West 19th St.) Nov. 4th thru Dec. 17th, 2011. The show is called "Heilstatten". 
LINK to more images. 
Shown above are two paintings that demonstrate his amazing ability to meld narrative, surreal images into utterly fascinating, nostalgic works with a command of colors and highly unusual compositions. My eyes immediately travel to the the familiar-looking bright yellow forsythia bushes in Fundgrube (like those in my own backyard) and the green tornado of a figure in Die Warte (my favorite color is green, especially that green). But, there are plenty of things going on in his canvases to keep you transfixed and unsettled for hours, trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Neo Rauch's skewed perspectives are wonderful things.
UPDATE: Here's an interview w/ Neo Rauch that I just found in the Art Newspaper, if you are curious.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Two exhibits at the Frick and the Clark that I would love to see

 Sleeping Peasants 1919 by Picasso
 Pierrot and Harlequin 1920 by Picasso
Woman with Flowered Hat 1921 by Picasso 
All works shown above copyright 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso/ ARS/ New York
Picasso's drawings from 1890-1821 are currently being shown at The Frick Collection in NYC, 1 East 70th St.(Oct 4, 2011 thru Jan 8, 2012). If you can't make it to the show, the exhibit is online HERE
There is also a catalogue that you can buy: HERE.
And, I would love to see this exhibit at the Clark Art Institute which just opened yesterday: "Two Young Artists: Rembrandt and Degas" (Nov. 13, 2011 thru Feb 5, 2012) 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. Here's the special website for this show: LINK  There is a nice slide show sneak peek on their BLOG. 
Shown below, a couple of works by Rembrandt that inspired the young Degas.
Rembrandt self-portrait with curly hair- etching 1628
 Rembrandt self-portrait oil 1629
Degas self-portrait oil 1855