Category Archives: Featured Artist

Gustav Klimt (Austrian 1862- 1918)

Gustave Klimt was an Austrian artist of the Art Nouveau movement. He was part of an artistic style called Jugendstil,  named after a magazine “Youth,” which featured Art Nouveau designs.


The Jugendstil is known for floral designs and natural elements and its later Japanese influence, and abstract styles and is a development of the English Art Nouveau Style. Considered modern,  Art Nouveau was a deliberate attempt to create a new style and breaking away from tradition and using impressive line work. The patterning is what stands out in Klimt emotionally expressive paintings.

Detail of Klimt's Sunflowers
Detail of Klimt’s Sunflowers

Gustav Klimt could clearly paint oils in the traditional style, but instead he used materials such as gilding in a unique way and created patterns and richness that has an etherial quality. He used media such as casein paint, gold paint, black and color chalk, graphite, applied plaster, mirror, mother-of-pearl, curtain rings and more.

Water snakes (Friends)
Water snakes (Friends)
Detail of Beethoven Frieze
Detail of Beethoven Frieze

His experience in mosaics informed his work and he was also commissioned by the to build a large scale mural frieze installation as part of a sculpture exhibition in the Secession Building in Vienna in 1902.

Installation Team for Beethoven Freize
Installation Team for Beethoven Freize
Beethovenfries 1902
Beethovenfries 1902
Beethoven Frieze close up thanks to Austrian Artist Gerwald Rockenschab
Beethoven Frieze via Austrian Artist Gerwald Rockenschab

Originally build of light materials the wall was intended to be ephemeral, so it is amazing that it still exists today. The Frieze can be viewed and recently a close up is possible thanks to an installation by Rockenschab.

Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt


“Art is a line around your thoughts.” – Gustav Klimt

“I can paint and draw. I believe this myself and a few other people say that they believe this too. But I’m not certain of whether it’s true.” – Gustav Klimt

“All art is erotic.” – Gustav Klimt

“Today I want to start working again in earnest – I’m looking forward to it because doing nothing does become rather boring after a while.” – Gustav Klimt

“Even when I am being idle, I have plenty of food for thought, both early and late – thoughts both about and not about art.”– Gustav Klimt

If the weather is good I go into the nearby wood – there I am painting a small beech forest (in the sun) with a few conifers mixed in. This takes until 8 ‘o clock.” – Gustav Klimt

“Whoever wants to know something about me – as an artist which alone is significant – they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognize what I am and what I want.” – Gustav Klimt 

“On my first days here I did not start work immediately but, as planned, I took it easy for a few days – flicked through books, studied Japanese art a little.” – Gustav Klimt




Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, 1929)

Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama has been interested in the Pop Art movement since the 1960’s, having moved to the United States in 1958 from Japan. Although she was sometimes violently discouraged from pursuing art by her abusive mother, she ended up seeking out the arts as a method to cope with her insecurities and developing obsessive compulsive disease.  By embracing the bright colors and psychedelic forms of Pop Art, Kusama channelled the phantasmagorical hallucinations she had beginning in childhood into something therapeutic, not only for herself but for her audiences too.

kyayoi-kusama-beloved-media-029 In her early career she painted, sculpted and worked on performance art such as “Happenings.”  As a feminist, she has brought political aspects to her work, and a type of playful edgy sensuality.

Performance Art

She is particularly known for her polka-dot artworks, performances and installations. Environments that she sometimes places herself in the middle of, like a camouflaged entity in her natural environment. By finding ways to blend in with her created world, she sought self obliteration as a way to unite with the infinite universe.


When I arrived in New York, action painting was the rage, de Kooning, Pollock and others. I wanted to be completely detached from that and start a new art movement. I painted obsessional, monochromatic paintings from morning till night. They were huge paintings that had no composition like a 33-foot white infinity net painting. -Kusama

Kusama – Studio 1958
Infinity Mirror Room - 1965
Infinity Mirror Room – 1965

…a polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement… Polka dots are a way to infinity. -Yayoi Kusama

More recently, she has made use of LED technology to build immersive art, where guests can enter and experience something like an infinite reflection of stars in space as seen in her work entitled, “Mirrored Room.” She attempts to give her viewers a glimpse of eternity and actually become it through immersion.

kusama5 kyayoi_kusama-22 kusama6

In 1977, Kusama checked herself into a psychiatric institute in Japan where she continues to live, working in a studio across the street. Despite being diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Kusama as remained a prolific artist who continues to create awe inspiring work and push the boundaries of what art is and what it does.

Major retrospectives on her work have be held at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and Tate Modern and in 2008 and she sold a work for $5.1 million, a record for a living female artist at the time. Also she has written several books and been a long time avant-garde influence in the fashion world. She says she will paint until she dies, always pushing to create more art for the healing of mankind.


Forget yourself. Become one with eternity. Become part of your environment. -Yayoi Kusama

Promotion by Louis Vouitton



Jackson Pollock (American 1912-1956)

Jackson Crouching over a Painting

This post on Pollock has almost as many pictures of him painting in his studio then actual paintings. I think his work has to be appreciated close up because it is all about texture, layering and colors. They way he paints is an important aspect of his style because he broke conventions about what a painting is supposed to be and was harshly criticized for it. I like to see the progression of how his paintings changed and what eventually held his focus was the more abstract.

Pollock Painting
Easter Totem



She Wolf


The Motion

Georgia O’Keefe (American 1887 – 1986)


Georgia O’Keefe has always been my favorite artist because she and I share the same birthday. She captures the essences of those things that seem simple and pure, but are actually complex and common if you only change the way you look at it.


Portrait by Steiglitz
Jack in the Pulpit No. 6
From the Lake No. 1
Pelvis with Distance
Blue and Green Music

Georgia O'Keefe


“To create one’s own world in any of the arts takes courage.”

-Georgia O’Keefe

Julia Morgan (American 1872 – 1957)

Julia Morgan

Julia Morgan was one of the first women to graduate from University of California at Berkeley with a degree in civil engineering, the first to graduate with an architecture degree at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the first woman to work as a professional architect in California. During her 45-year career, she designed more than 700 homes, churches, office buildings, hospitals, stores, and educational buildings, including the famous Hearst Castle.

The pool at Berkeley City Club
Hearst Castle Interior Swimming Pool
The Neptune Pool - Hearst Castle

I especially love the pools she designed with blue mosaic and sometimes gold glass inlaid.  She also designed Hearst’s Summer House in N. California called Wyntoon, right on the river.

Drawing of Wyntoon
Exterior Murals - Wyntoon

Several other places she designed include Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, Redo of the Fairmont Hotel in SF after the Earthquake and YWCA’s in Oakland, Utah and Hawaii.

Chapel of the Chimes
Hearst Castle
Julia Morgan at Hearst Castle

Julia Morgan Quotes:

“Never turn down a job because you think it’s too small; you don’t know where it can lead.”

“Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves.”

“My buildings will be my legacy… they will speak for me long after I’m gone.”

Read more:

Nicholas Roerich (Russian 1874-1947)

Self Portrait with Guga Chohan

Nicolas Roerich was a Russian Artist who was part of the Czar’s Family who escaped when the Revolution happened. He traveled in the Himalayas and painted many of the sights. Some say he visited the secret city of Shambala and he brought back with him a special box with an unknown relic in it.

He created the slogan “Peace through Culture” and designed the emblem. In 1939 Franklin Roosevelt signed his Pact the “Pax Cultura.” Saying that culture, as distinct from civilization, must be protected.  He founded the Agni Yoga Society, Pax Cultura Initiative, an Art School called Master Institute of United Arts and the Institute of Himalayan Studies “Urusvati” in Kullu Valley.

Battle in the Heavens 1912

Treasure of the World

Treasure of the Mountain
Roerich also designed sets and costumes for Theatre
Snegurochka Set


The Great Helpers of humanity do not abandon the Earth so long as sufferings go unhealed. Wholehearted fellowship can easily heal the wounds of a friend — but it is necessary to develop the art of thinking in the name of Good. And this is not easy amid the day’s hustle and bustle. But the examples of the Great Helpers of humanity can encourage and infuse new forces.

“Wealth in itself does not generate Culture. But broadened and subtler thinking and the sense of Beauty produce that subtlety, that nobility of spirit which are distinctive for a cultured person. It is this kind of person that can build the future of light for its country”.

Maxfield Parrish (American 1870-1966)

Maxfield Parrish

American Maxfield Parrish has a color of cobalt blue named after him. He was a painter and illustrator from the Art Deco Era. He painted storytales and advertizements for Harpers Bazaar and companies like Edison Mazda.  He almost always painted a landscape in his paintings even if they were tiny and through a window. Towards the end of his life he started doing versions of his figurative work without the person.

Primitive Man
Dinky Bird

Moonlight - With figure painted out
Maxfield with Painting

Maxfield Parrish Quote: “There are countless artists whose shoes I am not worthy to polish – whose prints would not pay the printer. The question of judgment is a puzzling one. “

Wayne Thiebaud (American 1920 – Present)

Wayne Thiebaud was born in Arizona but moved to Los Angeles at a young age. Eventually he came to Northern California, studied more art and became a teacher at UC, Davis. I love his San Francisco Hillside Landscapes. It looks just like Pacific Heights!

Watermelon Slices

35Cent Masterworks

Great Wayne Thiebaud Quotes:

  • “A conscious decision to eliminate certain details and include selective bits of personal experiences or perceptual nuances, gives the painting more of a multi-dimension than when it is done directly as a visual recording. This results in a kind of abstraction… and thus avoids the pitfalls of mere decoration.”
  • “Art means something very rare, an extraordinary achievement.”
  • “An artist needs the best studio instruction, the most rigorous demands, and the toughest criticism in order to tune up his sensibilities.”
  • “Commonplace objects are constantly changing… The pies, for example, we now see, are not going to be around forever. We are merely used to the idea that things do not change.”
  • “If I don’t have anything better to do that day, I’ll copy paintings, generally by people who have some relationship to the work of the moment.”
  • “We all need critical confrontation of the fullest and most extreme kind that we can get. You can unnecessarily limit yourself by choosing your criticism”
  • “an artist has to train his responses more than other people do. He has to be as disciplined as a mathematician. Discipline is not a restriction but an aid to freedom. It prepares an artist to choose his own limitations…”
  • “The figures… are not supposed to reveal anything… It’s like seeing a stranger in some place like an air terminal for the first time. You look at him, you notice his shoes, his suit, the pin in his lapel, but you don’t have any particular feeling about him.”

Jay DeFeo (American 1929-1989)

Jay DeFeo is a painter and photographer who lived in San Francisco during the Beat Generation. She is known for her painting “The Rose.” It is a large canvas that weights, over 1 ton!  Its 8 x 11 feet and over 3,000 lbs. She worked on her masterpiece for 8 years from 1958 to 1966. The sculptural nature of her paintings and the very minimal color palette, shows that she studied South Asian Art, especially the stone sculptures of Gandhara. This crossroads area of land in the Indus Valley, now Northern Pakistan and Eastern Afganistan saw many influences including Vedic, Greek and Buddhist Culture.

The Rose

Untitled (Florence)
Songs of Innocence