Monday, December 31, 2012


Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
18" x 36"
 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground;
for out of it wast thou taken: 
for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.  
-Genesis 3:19

 As we fall to death and decay the dust of our bodies is the fuel for new life.

 It is a secret of the world that all things subsist and so not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again… Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals and mournful obituaries, and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some new and strange disguise.
- Emerson

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday Feature: William Morris

William Morris Tree of Life Tapestry
Inspiration for the Arts and Crafts Movement came from a reverence for the natural world.  At a time when industry and cities flourished between 1890-1910 people craved the delicate beauty of country life.  William Morris was a leading artist in this movement designing tapestries and wallpapers. He believed that beauty should return to every home regardless of class. He wrote, "I do not want art for a few; any more than education for a few; or freedom for a few."

William Morris "Strawberry Thief" Tapestry
Today a resurgence of Morris' work can be found in the form of needlepoint kits and reproduction wallpapers.  Not to mention he is featured on many a Pinterest board including my own.  I think that Morris would have loved that his work continues to honor nature in our homes and that individuals recreate his designs for themselves.  For we have the power to create heaven on earth.

A good way to rid one's self of a sense of discomfort is to do something. That uneasy, dissatisfied feeling is actual force vibrating out of order; it may be turned to practical account by giving proper expression to its creative character.
-William Morris
William Morris "Willow Boughs" Wallpaper
(The most popular of Morris' paper... I so want this for my laundry room.)
With the arrogance of youth, I determined to do no less than to transform the world with Beauty. If I have succeeded in some small way, if only in one small corner of the world, amongst the men and women I love, then I shall count myself blessed, and blessed, and blessed, and the work goes on.
-William Morris

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Star and the Flower

The Star and the Flower
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
You must become brother and sister
to each and every thing
so that they flow through you 
dissolving every difference
between what belongs to you and others.

No star, no leaf shall fall-
you fall with them-
to rise again 
in every new beginning.
-Herman Hesse

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Nativity

The Nativity
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
Prints available on Fine Art America
Yet in the dark streets shineth the everlasting light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
-O Little Town of Bethlehem, Phillips Brooks

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Feature: Carl Larsson

Painting by Carl Larsson
Swedish artist Carl Larsson's depictions of his family offer some of the warmest images of home life during the Christmas season.  This leader of the Arts and Crafts Movement had a style that was both realistic and fluid.  I admire his delicate yet confident line work.  

Larsson's home was decorated with outstanding murals such as this one.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sketch of a Woman

Sketch of a Woman
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Pen on Paper
The human heart has many treasures, 
in secret kept, in silence sealed.
-Charlotte Bronte

Monday, December 17, 2012

Her History

Her History
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
Prints available on Fine Art America

And what's her history?
A blank, my lord.  She never told her love,
But let concealment, life a worm i' the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pin'd in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy,
She sat like Patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief.
-Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Love which is made to be silent is most painful for it goes against the best of our nature.

Conventionality is not morality.
-Charlotte Bronte

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Feature: Claude Monet

Norway Village in the Snow by Claude Monet

Monet equals classic impressionism. Landscapes that capture the subtle changes of light as the day progresses. For paint to reflect the tone of fleeting environments, this was Monet's goal.

For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at any moment.
Every day I discover more and more beautiful things. 
It's enough to drive one mad. 
I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it.
Below are a couple of Monet's quick studies of light...
Haystack by Claude Monet
Haystack by Claude Monet
Here is an excellent example of how light changes over the course of just a few hours... amazing!  The earth is so beautiful.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Love Alters Not

Love Alters Not
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediment. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove: 
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken; 
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error, and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, not no man ever lov'd.
-Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

Monday, December 10, 2012

Leaves Have Ripened

Leaves Have Ripened
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
18" x 36"

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
-Robert Frost

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Feature: Wassily Kandinsky

Composition 7 by Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky is considered most famous as a founder of the abstract movement.  He allowed for symbolic images to drop from his work depicting only non-representational shape and color.  His goal was to communicate emotion through color exemplified by the painting above.

Color provokes a psychic vibration.
Color hides a power still unknown but real,
which acts on every part of the human body.

And that is all cool, influential stuff...
but honestly my favorite Kandinskys are his works just before he hit abstraction... when there was still a hint of a human form or a landscape.  What can I say- I love the more Fauve-ish Impressionism greater than the later forms of Expressionism.
Personal taste.

White Sound by Wassily Kandinsky

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

As the Sea

As the Sea
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
Prints Available on Fine Art America

O Spirit of love!  how quick and fresh art thou,
That, not withstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Moving On

Here is a view of my latest work in progress. Layer number one is always (usually) a thin wash of burnt sienna over the whole canvas with a thicker application of the same color to create the image.   This layer is a bit ghostly and I sometimes find myself liking it so much it is hard to move on to the next step. 

But we must move onward and upward!  Yes?

For all at last returns to the sea, 
like the ever-flowing stream of time, 
the beginning and the end.
-Rachel Carson

Stay tuned; the next layer will be posted on Wednesday.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Feature: Egon Schiele

Holy Family by Egon Schiele
Schiele created characters with distortion to the point of strange and yet they embody personalities just as strong as yours or mine. He abstracted images til they became more "real" to us than a photograph, hitting at the way we feel about things as opposed to what we see.

And... he loved the embrace, as do I.

Schiele's work also tends to provoke the topic of defining the difference between art and pornography. Of this I say that the quibbling usually is done to elevate art and dis porn.  The underlying assumption being that sexuality is bad and should be shunned while "art" deals only with our higher forms of self.  I view sexuality as a sacred energy and think that it is an integral part of who we are.  As such art should not be restrained from addressing issues of sexuality.

If it speaks to you- let's embrace it.
It must be hitting at our core.

 I am only interested in the truth.
Drawing by Egon Schiele
Art cannot be modern, art is timeless. 
I must see new things and investigate them. 
I want to taste dark water and see crackling trees and wild winds
-Egon Schiele

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Time for a Little Romance

My Soul
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
Prints available on Fine Art America
Is it just me or has it been totally unromantic around here lately?  
Sorry about that guys, you know how I love the love.  

Well let's define * romance * shall we?

Romance n. 1 a prevailing sense of wonder or mystery surrounding the mutual attraction in a love affair (Oxford) 2 love emphasizing emotion over libido (Wikipedia) 3 an ardent emotional attachment or involvement between two people (American Heritage) 4 a way of showing someone you care, someone you love, like or choose to cherish. Romance can keep a relationship alive, or help it begin. (Urban Dictionary)
Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love

Read more:
Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love

Read more:

This week I am trying very hard to read a yummy British time-travel romance novel and it is almost impossible for me.  I just can't sit down with it.  My to-do list is too long.  I want to take action.  But I know, I KNOW that I need to take time for the pleasurable lady's smut or at least allow myself to not be so goal oriented for five minutes.

Maybe we should add to our definition of romance that it is about enjoying, savoring, appreciating, accepting, and relishing a person?  Just as I need to relax enough to relish a cotton-pickin' romance novel.

 People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
-Dale Carnegie

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Magnolia Blossoms

Magnolia Blossoms
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
As we approach the coldest time of year 2 things keep me going...

#1- Listening to Billy Joel
#2- Imagining the glory of spring
(You might argue that these two items are one in the same... but maybe not.)

When I painted this rather abstract version of my neighbor's Magnolia tree a few days ago.  I was looking at the shape of the branches, all barren and lifeless.  Then I imagined the blossoms onto those branches again and the colors of spring, when the ice is melting and everything is waking up again.

In the meantime... I need to start the hibernation process, sleep and eat a cookie.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Review: The Man in the Clouds

by Koos Meinderts
Illustrated by Annette Fienieg

Oh the bitter irony... a few hours after posting yesterday's blog entry about issues of buying and selling art, I came across this strange new children's book, The Man in the Clouds.

This is the story of a man who enjoys his simple life up in the mountains and sharing a beautiful painting he owns with his neighbors.  One day however someone tells him that the painting could be worth a lot of money so he starts suspecting that everyone wants to steal it.  He ostracizes his neighbors and makes his life miserable until he finally decides to BURN the painting freeing himself from the horrors of materialism.

I immediately took the book to the art class I teach for elementary age children yesterday afternoon.  I read them the story then asked these questions:

1- What would you do with the painting if you were the man?
2- Why did he come to hate the painting?
3- Why do you create art?
4- What is the difference between looking out the window at a landscape and creating a painting of the scene?
5- Would it bother you if someone burned your painting?

As you can imagine... I got some great answers from the kids.  I was most comforted when the kids said that they love creating art "just because it is fun."  That the enjoyment of the process gives the creation value.  Also one smart cookie said that he loves creating art to document the things he loves especially when he knows that those things will change over time.  (He wants to remember his grandmother's garden.  Sweetness!)

Something about the book rubbed me the wrong way (perhaps the overly zealous anti-materialism that is delivered packaged up in a book ready for purchase), but regardless as an art teacher I found it to be an excellent conversation starter.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ah.. the holidays...

If you are like me you are starting the process of making your holiday list and checking it twice...

I highly recommend supporting one of the many artists (myself included) found on Etsy or Fine Art America.
The Tree of Life Painting
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Original Available on Etsy

On Etsy I sell original paintings.  Most of these are oil on gallery edge wrapped canvas wired to hang.  Esty sellers are required to sell either vintage products or hand-made pieces.  It is an excellent place to purchase high-quality arts and crafts items.

The Cliffs at La Jolla California
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Prints Available on Fine Art America
On Fine Art America you can have prints of mine or other artist's work created.  You can pick which size you want and even have it framed.  I personally like the quality of the "canvas prints" they create.  Except for the bumpy texture I found it difficult to tell the difference between their canvas prints and the originals.  A very diverse range of styles of artists can be found on Fine Art America.

While we are talking about selling I want to go on record as saying that I don't create paintings in order to sell them, that is just a nice by product.  I create art in order to share a message of the abundance of beauty in our world.  (Sometimes I create art in order to convince myself of this more than anything else... but that is another story.)  I used to feel that selling artwork was rather like whoring out a sacred object.  I then went through a period of burning my work after it was created in order to prove that the purpose of it wasn't to come up with an end product.  But that seems overly destructive to me now.  Why should artists not share their work with others and be supported just as they would from any other job flipping burgers?  I love supporting fellow artists to encourage them to continue creating.  For a lot of artists positive feedback is essential to their work because the purpose of their art is to communicate a message.  If an artist hasn't reached anyone and felt that divine echo of understanding they oftentimes fall into despair.  Therefore it is my mission this holiday season to support as many artists as I can with my gift giving purchases and I encourage you to do the same.

I am so thankful for my collectors- thank you friends!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Feature: Jesse Reno

With the Eyes of a Whale and the Wings of a Dove
by Jesse Reno
 "All Signs Pointing - Now - Remember Your Destiny - Remember you're spoiled - Never forget how beautiful."
that is what I love best about Jesse Reno's work.  
Layers and layers of paint that remind me of when I am falling asleep with the images, words and thoughts of the day floating one on top of the other until I am no longer here nor there... until I see the same images, words and thoughts that everyone else sees, 
until I see myth.

In addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature, there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals.
-Carl Jung

If an artist can reflect the universal elements of human experience that person can act a voice for all people... and an echo is sounded in our souls.

We Will Fly Together
by Jesse Reno
 "The past will reach for you - There are many differences between what you were and what you are."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

The sky to the east of my house at 7am.  Amazing!
 I believe that we all have so much to be thankful for... 
for food, 
for shelter,
for our community,
for friends and family,
and if nothing else we can each be thankful that we are alive.

This is a time of year when we can appreciate the natural cycles of the earth.  This is a time of year when we come together to cook and eat with a renewed appreciation for the bounty before us.  This is a time of year to voice what we are thankful for so that we can better appreciate each other.  

Crave only reality.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An Explosion

An Explosion
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
It was an explosion,
I would erupt with all of the wonderful things I saw and understood in this world.
-Boris Pasternak

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wrapped Around

Wrapped Around
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"

An arm is just an arm 'til it's wrapped around your shoulder;
Looped side by side they go stepping out together.
A note's just a note 'til you wake from your slumber,
And dare to discover a new melody.
-Iris DeMent  "Sweet in the Melody"

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Feature: Tom Thomson

The Jack Pine by Tom Thomson
This is an ode to the glory of Tom Thomson and his Canadian "Group of Seven."  

In the 1980s my family traveled every year to beautiful Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada.  It is an amazing maze of lakes and streams.  It is full of loons and moose.  From my memories I can tell you that Tom Thomson truly captured the graceful wild beauty of that landscape.  

And yet... 
and yet while he was inspired by natural form he would let go of realism just enough to allow for a heightened sense of color.  Seeing his work is like looking through technicolor glasses... 
or Paul Simon's "Kodachrome," those  
nice bright colors, the greens of summers that make you think all the world's a sunny place.

And it is.

Autumn's Garland by Tom Thomson

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bridge #300000!

The Double Arch
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" X 20"
Prints available on Fine Art America

I absolutely love painting this scene, the Illinois Street Bridge in Indianapolis.  I keep going back to get it in different lights, seasons and times of day.  I painted this one in the late afternoon on an October day when the bridge looked almost white.  In the mornings it is shadowed from this angle. 

Because I have done so many paintings of this scene I asked the facebook pals to help me come up with new titles.  This title was suggested by Roy Lynn Myers.  Thanks friends!

They never forgot their beginning;
they didn't trouble their minds
searching for what their end was.

They received life as a gift
and handed it back gratefully.
Minds supple, faces serene,
in a crisis cool as autumn,
in relationships warm as spring,
they were balanced, throughout the four seasons,
and in harmony with the Tao.

There was no limit to their freedom.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Roses and Silver Fountains

Roses and Silver Fountains
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"

No more be grieved at that which thou hast done:
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud;
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
-Shakespeare, Sonnet 35

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I Still Believe

I Still Believe
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
9" x 12"
Original available on Etsy

I still believe that people are really good at heart.
-Anne Frank

Monday, November 12, 2012

Morning Light

Morning Light
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
Prints available on Fine Art America

There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Feature: Patrick Bremer

Satyr by Patrick Bremer

What I love about the artist Patrick Bremer's work is how he takes the image of human flesh and distorts it all to hell.  Despite this twisting and manipulation he somehow captures the essence of a human or animal.  You can feel the character of that being staring back at you.  It pushes me to think that we need to come up with a new term for this representational art that can't be called realism... it is like... essencism, when an artist is depicting the emotional energy of an object or being. 

China Bones by Patrick Bremer

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Building Bridges

Building Bridges
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
9" x 12"
Original painting available on Etsy $175.
There is a certain magic that happens when you go outside to paint on a beautiful day.  When I do it... well somehow the air and atmosphere affect the color choices in an interesting way.  Take this example from a few weeks ago- the painting I did is so much more bright than the photographs of the scene.  It just FELT like such a bright sunny morning.  The air was so light and clear.  

The first rough sketch in
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things,
but their inward significance.

And it is all even more fun with a painting buddy- thanks Charlene!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Golden Spiral

The Golden Spiral
According to common sense we judge a well-proportioned thing beautiful...
Pythagoras contended that all things exist because they are ordered and they are ordered because they are the realization of mathematical laws, which are the condition of existence and beauty.
-Umberto Eco

I am going to math-geek out on you a bit here.  The image of the "Golden Spiral" above mimics the proportions of many organisms found in nature and was designed by Pythagoras. Many architects and artists have used the "secret" equation of the golden ratio to inspire their work.  It is said to be a perfect reflection of the beauty of the natural world.

And yet... can beauty really be reduced to a mathematical equation? 

I believe that life is just a bit more messy than that.  I still just love the concept behind the Higgs boson discovery that in order for particles to exist a spark of energy breaks symmetry.  In other words- for creation to happen there must be a break down of structure.  We hunt around for patterns to make sense of our crazy world, but the patterns can only take us so far.  For the beauty of creation to occur asymmetry must be thrust into the mix.

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.
-Sir Francis Bacon

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Holding My Baby

Holding My Baby
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
Prints available on Fine Art America

In silence we must wrap much of our life,
because it is too fine for speech.

This is one of several paintings I just did of my daughter and I when she was an infant.  Because she was jaundiced and born early she had therapy from a biliblanket.  The glow of it was ethereal somehow and I remember feeling scared for her health.  A quiet silence filled the space as we held our breath and she started growing.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Blue Bridge

The Blue Bridge
Copyright 2012 Addie Hirschten
Oil on Canvas
9" x 12"
Original Painting available on Etsy
How one walks through the world, the endless small adjustments of balance, is affected by the shifting weights of beautiful things.
-Elaine Scarry

p.s.- This painting depicts the blue pedestrian bridge over the Broad Ripple Canal by Illinois Street and Westfield Blvd. in Indianapolis.   I think it was round about 5pm several weeks ago when we still had leaves on the trees.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Feature: Odilon Redon

Mystery by Odilon Redon
One of my favorite symbolist artists is Redon.  The soft and colorful texture of his pastels give his work an ethereal quality.  Some of his thoughts...

Any documents of emotion and passion, of sensitivity or even of thought left on marble, on canvas or in a book, are sacred. There is our true inheritance, our most precious one. And with what nobility it clothes us, poor and precarious creatures that we are: the slightest chronicle, the most precious date, a simple human fact, could they ever tell what the marvels of a cathedral reveal, the smallest shred of stone from its walls! Touched by man, it is steeped in the spirit of the time. Thus every age leaves behind its spiritual age. It is by art that the moral and thinking life of humanity can be felt again and recovered.
-Odilon Redon
Head of a Woman by Odilon Redon