Monday, December 31, 2012


Lets start the new year naming our favorite artists or art work. 
 I will go first, then you can add yours.

Charles Demuth       Engine Number 5

Rauschenberg  Monogram
Claus Oldenburg  French Fries
Van Gogh        Starry Night
Calder             Circus
Cornell            Everything he did
Monet             Water lilles 
Duchamp         Re Mutt
Dali                 Psychedelic Toreado 
Picasso           Bull with Bicycle Handlebars
Demuth          Engine Number 5
Johns              Orange and Green American Flag



DALI MUSEUM                                                   ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Cave Paintings of Lascaux     from google

This is worthy of a discussion and has been for as long as man first picked up a stick of charcoal to draw.  From the days of the cave man when drawings of bison and deer were depicted on the walls of caves man has been involved in the act of making things and expression.  The caves of Lascaux, France did not show stiff nor ultra realistic drawing, but drawings that show movement and a knowledge of oneness with nature.
 I am sure there are people today, if these drawings were taken out of context, would call them too fluid, not realistic enough, a limited color pallet and so on. Every period of art, every movement of art has been met with controversy of some kind. From ancient Egypt to Italy, to France, to Asia and the Middle East, culture upon culture, age upon age, the needs and styles of art have changed.

Egyptian side view with frontal eye                     google image

I think another part of this discussion is why does man need to draw or create? Why did the cave man feel the need to pick up a piece of charcoal, mix earth and chalk to recreate their hunts?  One could have just told stories or sung songs.  In some cultures drawings become real things that have a life of their own.  Each culture has a need to create, to reflect upon itself and as our technology has changed so has our art.

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci 
from google image

Artist once were chained to their studios because paints in a tube were yet to come and easels were not portable.  Colors had to be made and ground out, brushes were licked to a point by assistants, and there were periods where anything could become a base for a color, such a mold for green, or mollusks for an intense purple.  Whole villages died due to lead poisoning from the lead in the artists paints and assistants lips were distorted from pointing brushes loaded with lead.
The Greeks came up with perfect proportion, the ideal.  Leonardo dissected bodies to learn the true structure of a human to the risk of his own life.  Math came into play as Renaissance artists wanted a truer since of perspective.
Once the camera was invented there was not the need to record images for the sole sake of representation.  Now artists could take more leeway in interpretation, emotions, and experimentation. The art movement in Paris led us away from stiff dark colors, to emotion, light and movement. Impressionism moves forward with Monet, Renior, Van Gogh, and Degas.  How does the light seem, what is the emotional play through the artist to the subject at hand.  How can I show just the quick look of movement and light?

Monet's Gardens at Giverny, France
from google image

Then came harder times with violence, poverty and war.

Salvador Dali                                                     Surrealistfrom google image

Dadaism was a reflection of a senseless time at the end of WWI that people questioned to the core of their beings the desperation of their times. Science and art often go hand in hand.  As Freud is questioning the meaning of our dreams and symbolism then surfaces art that presents symbols and the nature of the mind. Surrealism was not long to follow, then we begin to question again what perspective truly is as Picasso shows us a multi -dimensional person with the nose to the side and the eye looking forward. 

Picasso                  Cubism   google image

Cubism is born and we look at many things, not just people from a different view. We know objects are three dimensional, so what is realistic and not?  
And now we are at a time when Modern art often has a disconnect with people who view it.  So we must ask ourselves why is that?  What is it about our age and our culture that has produced art that seems is harder for people to understand?  As we are more complicated as a society, as we are more advanced as a civilization, and as our technology rapidly changes...our art reflects us as a people.  Art reflects the confusion of the time, the alienation people feel from a modern world that often leaves them in their wake of rapid change, and changing value systems.  I have oft heard it said that artists are the shaman of their times....we reflect our world back to our culture.  Modern art makes us think, asks us questions that are not simple, and rarely is a representation of the sake of representation.  

Andy Warhol                            Pop Artist

 The need is not there because we have cameras, computers, and the ever expansive flow of data.  As technology expands even further and more things become possible that seem beyond our imagination now...what will artists do with it?  They will create, that is what they do.  They will interpret our world for us when it gets to complicated to comprehend.  They will make us think deeply and help us to see things in a way we never would have.
 Should it always be pretty, should it always be easy, should it always be representational-I would put to you it should not be.  It would be to our detriment if it was.

Robert Rauschenburg      from google image

  Should it be ugly and hard to understand...yes, sometimes for that is how we are as a world and as people.  We would dishonor art to take away artists freedom to think and create, we would diminish art if we demanded artist only copy nature or people realistically and more so we would limit our growth as people and a civilization if we do not encourage our artists to experiment and grow and to envision what can be.
 If Gaudi had never envisioned architecture as if it were fluid and melting instead of angular, if Da Vinci had never dissected the first body, if Buckminister Fuller had never built the geodesic dome, if the cantilevered arch had never been invented, if Van Gogh had never painted starry night, and Michelangelo had never lay on a pallet painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, if Picasso had never painted Guernica protesting the massacre of the Basque in Spain, and Pop art had never pointed out the mass commercialism of our times, the Eiffle tower was never built, and Frank Lloyd Wright had never picked up building blocks....our world would be poorer for it. Look about where ever you are, right now.  Now imagine if there were no art..the walls bare, the architecture non existent, the furniture no imagined, the halls of all the buildings signs, no nothing, just bare..that is a world with out art.
 I am not an art historian, but I have had many art history courses.  I am open to discussion and correction.  I think we should be open to a fascinating discourse on the arts.  Please feel free to add to the discussion.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Degas In New Orleans

Degas in New Orleans 
Click on arrow to play movie from you tube.
Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
Edgar Degas
Degas during the time he lived in New Orleans                     from google image



Rothko   from google image

I just read a fascinating article on the involvement of the Central Intelligent Agency with the Modern Art Movement.  Names like Motherwell, de Kooning, Rothko, and others are mentioned.  It seems though it has been a rumor for many years it might just be true.  During the Cold War the American government was intent on showing creativity and intellectual freedom of artists that were controlled and punished in the Russian Socialist Regime.  So it is evidently now a fact that the CIA supported and promoted Modern Art world wide for many years.  The article is a good read and may interest you, as it did me.  Just click on the title Modern Art and the CIA and it will take you to the link for the full article.

"The decision to include culture and art in the US Cold War arsenal was taken as soon as the CIA was founded in 1947. Dismayed at the appeal communism still had for many intellectuals and artists in the West, the new agency set up a division, the Propaganda Assets Inventory, which at its peak could influence more than 800 newspapers, magazines and public information organisations. They joked that it was like a Wurlitzer jukebox: when the CIA pushed a button it could hear whatever tune it wanted playing across the world."   Independent News

de Kooning  google image
Motherwell     from google
Jackson Pollock 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Can You Guess What it is?

I love to do close ups of known things, so close one is not sure what it is.  I used to do this in teaching with elementary students and special education children.  It was amazing what they would guess, sometimes very accurately and other times I could understand what they thought they were seeing.  Adults are less accurate, we are too used to screen things quickly and not really seeing.  In art one must see and really look closely.  That is our training, for if we do not see the details see do not see so much else..the shape, the contour, the change of color, the volume, the delicate line nor the blending or contrast.  The brain must be trained to see and sense so much. Those not trained in the arts do not really understand what seeing means.  Can you tell what this close up detail is of?  Scroll below for the answer.

                                                                   * Photo is of light crystal globes on a chandelier. 

Portrait of a Fortune Teller

It was a bitterly cold and windy night.  I walked out of a warm hotel bustling with holiday cheer when I  looked up and saw this solitary figure bathed in the soft muted light of store windows that seemed to frame her into a portrait of Renaissance proportions.  What could Vermeer done with this image, or Renior, or Manet...even John Singer Sargent.  Each would have lent their individual styles and the portrait would have become translated according to their personal expression.   Her tarot cards ready and waiting patiently, enduring the cold and wind, to tell a future for a farthing.  It is such a classic picture it could be on the streets of Paris, or Amsterdam or London.  Step up, have your fortune read, the madam is ready.

French Quarter, New Orleans                                                                 photo by Elizabeth Gordon

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Dog and the Accordion Player

I was captured by this street musician and his dog.  Walking down in the quarter always promises interesting people and events, no one knows what they will see on any given day.  It was a chilly day and the wind was whipping up.  Most of the performers, or musicians had taken cover somewhere.  This man had backed into an old store front entry way to play his accordion for a bit of change.  His dog had crawled in to his instrument case and was accepting tips as well.  I love the sequencing of the pictures and peoples reactions, like time lapse photography.  My favorite is the last one, with the little girl so enraptured by the dog and the musician.
French Quarter, New Orleans    photos by Elizabeth Gordon  

You Go Girl Scribbled on the Wall, a Monkey backpack and the musicians expression are all so wonderful in the photo.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Peace to the World on this Day

photo by Elizabeth Gordon

What I wish most for everyone world wide is peace, art, kindness, tolerance and can bridge gaps of misunderstanding and offer a language to share in understanding with each other. May this day bring each and every one of you peace and beauty.! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

French Quarter Christmas/New Orleans

“In the spring of 1988, I returned to New Orleans, and as 

soon as I smelled the air, I knew I was home. 

It was rich, almost sweet, like the scent of jasmine and roses 

around our old courtyard. 

I walked the streets, savoring that long lost perfume.” 

Muriel's in the French Quarter

I just love mules!

One of the Best Values and Tasty Meals in the  Quarter

Jackson Square

get your fortune read

listen to a bit o music
 There is always action on Jackson Square. One could people watch all day long. Six flags have flown over New Orleans and the flavor of many cultures can be experienced here! 

Jackson Square Church

Light a  candle 

Say a prayer

New Orleans Christmas

elizabeth gordon

Jackson Square is full of artist of all kinds.  Visual artist, musicians, performance artists and con artists.  It is always lively and full of excitement and action!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A New Orleans Christmas

Roosevelt Hotel   New Orleans

Roosevelt Hotel

Fleur de lis                  New Orleans 

Canopy of Roosevelt Hotel

Christmas Wedding                        French Quarter

Christmas lights                 French Quarter

New Orleans Decked Out for Christmas


Saint Hotel New Orleans 

Saint Hotel Lobby

Roosevelt Hotel       New Orleans

Roosevelt Hotel French Quarter New Orleans

Friday, December 21, 2012


Shrimpers and pleasure boats 
Outside one of the funk art shops throughout the town

Camilla's Blooming outside Shearwater Pottery

One of many charming art galleries through town

Biloxi is over the bridge, Geogre Ohr Museum, Shearwater Pottery near the Gulf waters, and Walter Anderson Museum down town.  So much art for such a small area.  And then to think of the Eudora Welty, Grisham and Faulker...Mississippi has such rich history.
Walter Anderson Style is popular all over town!

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