Robert Wood

I’m thinking that if anyone of us comes up with a way to do a search on paintings when we know the painting but not the name of the artist or the title of the work, we who design that reverse word search engine will be the next Google millionaires! That is, wouldn’t it be nice to put the picture in our heads into the search bar, and get back the date, title, and artist’s name?

Oh, well. In the meantime, there’s many a fine artist who deserves to be named and whose work should be discussed–by title and description. Today’s spotlighted artist is Robert Wood.

Considered a master of the American landscape, Robert Wood was for decades, says one scholar, America’s best-known painter of landscapes. Born to and raised by father W. L. Wood, who was also a painter of Victorian pieces, Robert showed skill and abilities early. He studied painting in Folkstone, a town near the White Cliffs of Dover and Sandgate (where he was born and grew up). He served for a time in the Royal Army, then immigrated to America, where he first worked on a farm, then traveled the country (moving with family, often) recording in splendid detail the environs he would later depict.

After traveling to and living in Florida, Los Angeles, Ohio, and elsewhere and after settling in Texas, Robert Wood would make “sketching trips,” according to one authority, on which he would detail the Cascades, the Grand Tetons, the High Sierras, the Rocky Mountains, and Yellowstone National Park.

For seventeen years Wood would engage in artistic activities, in what would become hundreds of paintings such as “Evening in the Tetons,” “Texas Spring,” “Texas Blue Bonnets,” and “Desert in Spring;” and would then move to Laguna Beach in California–to give us such stunning paintings as “Coast of Monterey,” “West Wind,” and “Pacific Coast.”

While each and every painting by Robert Wood is vibrant with blue spreads of blue lapin or dreamy in muted greens and subtle golds, for example, and while his work was constant and much appreciated in the original form, what also contributed to the painter’s popularity was the practice of reproduction.

According to Jeffrey Morseburg, artist, lecturer, and art dealer, Wood’s reproductions made their way further and in greater volumes than his originals–covering the whole of the US and finding homes in Europe and elsewhere (purportedly, even Africa!).

When you see a Robert Wood, then, you’ll know it. Or will you? Might it be a reproduction?

Quick Home Interior Remedies

The holidays are just around the corner, which means lots of opportunities for entertaining. More than likely, you will have many family members and friends that you have not seen in years stop by to visit. As much as we all hate to admit it, people judge. Your guests will look around your home to see what has changed in the last several years since they last saw you-or the lack of change. Just like clothing, home interior decorating styles change over time too. It is important to keep your home up-to-date. With a few simple tricks, you can transform your beautiful 90’s house into a stunning 21st century home.

Nancy Schoen has been an interior designer in North Texas for the last 20 years. She has seen styles come, go and come back, and many styles come and go, but continue lingering in many homes. According to Schoen, there are a few tricks to making your home really pop and show that it belongs in 2009. First of all, the most important thing is to get rid of the old. There’s a reason the saying goes, “Out with the old, in with the new.” It doesn’t matter how much new stuff you have, if you have one silk ficus tree or eucalyptus plant, your home will automatically lose some of it’s visual appeal. “Kick the silks to the curb,” Schoen said.

The next most important thing, according to this designer, is to add on to what’s already there. For example if you have a light fixture that you’ve had several years, but you want to add a little pizzaz, get some stylish lamp shades. You do not have to upgrade and get an entirely new light fixture, just make the current one pop by adding a little flare. However, if you still have a brass light fixture or chandelier, you should definitely try to upgrade. Baker’s racks in kitchens are totally hot to play with too. Schoen said she loves to see homes that use their baker’s racks as a source for a display; put some cornucopia up there for fall, dangle some big Christmas ornaments from it in the winter, just play with it and add a little something special to make it stand out.

Lastly, if you really want to catch the attention of your guests and add value to your home, add some metal work and sconces. “Metals and earth tones are the hottest thing right now,” Schoen said. Adding ironwork mustaches and finials above doorframes is a great way to accent the entrance to a room. Sconces are also a great choice on either side of artwork or in the corner of a room because you can do so much with them. Use it as a plate or plaque display, put a dried flower arrangement on top of it, or fill an empty sconce with decorative balls. Use your imagination. And when it comes to actually accenting the walls themselves, stay away from white and basic contractor’s colors. Use the muted earth tones to add warmth. Using the sage greens, raw umber, and browner shades will add to a complimentary flow throughout your home. Just remember it is vital that in painting your home, whether just an accent wall or the entire room, to pay attention to the lines. Cut in the paint to the corners and especially the ceiling. Taping-off before hand is the best way to prevent accidentally rolling or stroking paint onto another wall. If a paint line is not straight, it will distract from the beauty of the room, and detract from the value of your home should you ever want to sell.

So just remember Nancy’s simple steps; Out with the old, make due with the used, and then in with the new. It is necessary to keep these steps in this order. And if applied properly, your home can go from drab to fab!

Top Three Exterior Home Remodeling Projects Under $5000!

Replacing Your Front Door.

A warm and beautiful front door is appealing to the eyes and also to a home-renovator. This type of project is known to bring an average of a 100% return. For about $1200 you can get a great quality steel front door, giving your home curb appeal and increase its value without breaking the bank! Be sure to hire an experienced door installer for best results.

Replacing Your Garage Door.

What’s the first thing you see when you drive down your street? If your garage door faces the front of the street and has dents or is just plain, old and ugly then it’s probably a good idea to replace it. Believe it or not for around $1300 – $1500 dollars you can get a new garage door installed! Save money by utilizing the existing garage door motor and be sure to hire an experienced garage door installer.

A Fresh Coat of Paint On Your House.

Whether the exterior of your home is stucco, siding, or painted brick the color and uniformity of the overall property makes a huge first impression. This is a great time to think about repairing any cracks or holes and cleaning out any attached gutters as well. Always power wash old exteriors and use a good quality primer. You can save money by painting yourself or by touching up any necessary problem spots with the existing house color.

For best results an experienced painter could be contracted. You can paint yourself and save hundreds of dollars or hire a painter to get the job done. Either way, the average cost with labor for exterior painting of a 2000 square foot space is anywhere around $2100 to $3500 dollars. If you just need paint touch-ups, you can paint yourself for under $100 (depending on project size).

Project Recommendations.

I always recommend customers to use the best building materials they can afford. Staying on budget is equally important in order to complete the job and aids you in being financially responsible in your remodeling or new construction project. Remember to set daily goals and work with a reasonable time frame.

How I Helped A Customer Save Hundreds On Painting.

A customer once consulted us for a painting project on their home. They were trying to freshen up their house so that they could get it rented. In some areas of the home, the bottom three feet of the interior walls had been scuffed and looked messy. When I found out the owners wanted to re-paint their whole house the same color, I advised them to just touch up the areas that needed to be repainted. The owners were worried that they would not be able to find the same exact color, since they had no idea what paint name, or finish was used.

My Solution.

I helped them cut out a small square of their existing painted wall, and carefully peeled it out leaving the drywall intact. I then re-textured and primed just that spot, so it could blend in seamlessly again once it was re-painted. We took the cut out piece to Sherwin Williams, and had them color match it using their computer. We were also able to get a matched finish.

Happy Customers.

The result ended in two happy homeowners who were able to save money by painting only the necessary areas as opposed to the entire house! This process can be used to save money on both interior and exterior painting. For exteriors, you may have to remove a small piece of siding and take it in to get color matched. For best results, please use an experienced contractor.

Lavinia Fontana – An Artist From the Mannerist School of Art

Italian Mannerist painter Lavinia Fontana was born in 1552 in Bologna. Her father Prospero Fontana (1512-97) was a fresco artist of the School of Bologna, who even trained her initially on the youthful Mannerism. Later, Lavinia progressed towards Carracciesque style, which dealt with quasi-Venetian coloring. Italian Renaissance artist Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625) highly influenced her work.

‘Monkey Child’ (1575) is her earliest known painting. Her second painting ‘Christ with the Symbols of the Passion’ (1576) is still at the El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, USA. Lavinia was known among the affluent for her ability to integrate the intricate work of fabrics, rich gold jewels, and textures into her rich images. She was famous for the attention she paid on the details like the poses and the use of delicate palette. She was exceptionally good at painting large-scale mythological and biblical figures, including female and male nudes. Unfortunately a few of her competent art works such as ‘Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon’ (1598-1600) and ‘Venus; the Virgin Lifting a Veil from the Sleeping Infant Christ’ have mistakenly been attributed to the Italian Baroque artist Guido Reni (1575-1642).

At the age of 25 Lavinia met painter Giano Paolo Zappi at her father’s workshop and got married to him in 1577. They formed a very successful partnership that facilitated a successful life for them. While Zappi assisted Lavinia with her art and cared for their eleven children, Lavinia concentrated on her paintings and providing for the family. At twenty-seven, a Dominican scholar and church historian Pietro Ciaconio (1526-81) commissioned her self-portraits. ‘Self-Portrait Seated at Her Desk’ (1579) was the product. Fontana has more than 135 refined oil paintings to her credit. She is considered as one of the most successful female artists before the 1700s. ‘Portrait of a Noblewoman’ (1580), ‘Portrait of the Gozzadini Family’ (1584), ‘Allegory of Music’ are a few examples of her excellence in creating female forms on canvas.

By the age of thirty, Lavinia Fontana had gained ample fame in her devotional genre of art. ‘The Holy Family’ (1575), ‘Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalen’ (1581), and ‘The Dead Christ with Symbols of the Passion’ (1581), are few of her highly appreciated creations in the style. While she created ‘St. Francis of Paola Blessing a Child’ (1590) for the Church of Santa Maria della Morte in Bologne, her ‘The Holy Family with the Sleeping Christ Child’ adorns the Escorial Palace in Madrid, Spain. In 1603, Lavinia and her family moved to Rome upon Pope Clement VIII’s (1536-1605) invitation. There she executed her famous 20-feet altarpiece ‘The Stoning of St. Stephen Martyr’ for the Papal Palace, Vatican. In 1611, sculptor Felice Antonio Cassoni (1559-1634) honored her contribution to the field of Arts. She was also nominated into the Accademia di San Luca of Rome. On August 11, 1614, at the age of 62 Lavinia Fontana died.