Wednesday, February 29, 2012


 Gilded is a 24x20 open studio oil by Shirley Fachilla.
Does she look a bit familiar?  I posted a painting of the same model in the same pose here. Actually, I think they  look very different though the primary distinction between this painting and the prior post is size. The first one was tiny, 6x6 inches. This one is a size I use all the time in open studio, a 24x20 inch. 
There are several other differences between the two, in palette (see Artful Definitions) and composition, but mainly for me, in the overall feeling of the paintings. I find the 6x6 to be soft and dreamy and focused upon establishing a mood while the big one is bolder and much more of a rather abstract design statement.
As you probably realize, it’s usual to paint the big painting from the little “study” not the other way around.  But I reversed the process with this duo. I wanted to explore the colors and values a bit more which led me to do it again but small... and quite differently!
I think I’ll have both big and little Blondie in the Art in Artesia show here in Nashville on March 29th. To tell the sponsors you may be coming (and I'd love to see you there), click here.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Alternative Worlds

Morisot's Alternative Universe is a 20x20 oil by Shirley Fachilla done partially in open studio.

Have you ever wondered why Berthe Morisot was the only woman included in the founding group of Impressionists? Did you (as I did) assume that her marriage to Eugene Manet, Edouard Manet’s brother had a significant role in her acceptance?
If you did, you were mistaken. She was a member of the group long before she married Eugene. In fact, she was probably the member most responsible for organizing its exhibits.
She made the group on her merits. She was a wonderful artist with a true impressionist style. She was a serious painter who considered herself a professional. Of course, it helped that she was Parisian and beautiful. And it certainly didn’t hurt that she and her brother-in-law Edouard liked each other tremendously.
I’m happy I was mistaken. I’ll be less ready to discount talent next time!
My open studio painting includes Morisot’s A Summer’s Day in the background. A Summer’s Day shows the sort of leisure activity approved for women during Morisot’s era. Berthe’s devotion to her art would have been looked upon with less acceptance.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Gone and Yes, (Almost) Forgotten

Listen is a 20x20 oil done partially in open studio by Shirley Fachilla.

The woman in the painting within the painting is named Cecilia Beau. She was a portrait painter extraordinaire, in her time, perhaps as successful as her contemporary, John Singer Sargent.
I consider her success well-earned; for I think she was as good as Sargent. Her work has same fluid grace of brushstroke, elegance and exquisite light.  She painted as much as Sargent, too. And her subjects were often as wealthy though usually not quite as famous. But today Sargent is well-known and Beau practically forgotten.  
I really can’t explain or understand it. The fact that she was a successful woman artist should have made her more memorable rather than less, for in her time, women artists were scarce on the ground.  
I found Cecilia in an exhibit at the High Art Museum in Atlanta a year or so ago. I’ve included many links to her paintings so you may discover her too.
Listen above shows two portrait artists, Cecilia Beau and my painter friend Jean Gauld-Jaeger

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Painting within the Painting

Bracquemond Revisited is a 30x24 oil by Shirley Fachilla.
The painting within my painting above is a Marie Bracquemond. Marie was that rarity, a successful woman artist prior to the 20th century. She was a convert to Impressionism and therein lay her problem.
Her husband, also a noted artist, disliked both the Impressionists and his wife’s work which he sometimes ignored or, in the alternative, belittled. Plagued by ill health (and obviously, her husband!), Marie simply gave up painting.
There are few Bracquemonds and those are mostly in private hands. I’ve only seen two and found them both extraordinary. The one I painted is a portrait of Marie, her husband and her sister. It’s a beautiful interplay of light plus a psychological study of complex relationships.
Bracquemond Revisited is one of several paintings in which I included a painting of the past in the background of an open studio piece. I plan to show you more of them.     

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

To Have My Cake and Eat It, Too.

Websites and blogs both have their special advantages.

Blogs are very immediate while websites are more comfortable for browsing and page flipping.

Blogs invite regular readership and interaction through comments, “following,” and links. Websites are don’t and seem more “professional” for it.

The more you have to say and show, the more filled (some might say cluttered) a blog can become. Of course, this gives the viewer much to see and a reason to linger. But images only stack in a blog. On the other hand, websites can be spare and minimal; and websites allow images to be grouped for the ease of the viewer.

I love my blog and intend to keep blogging away. But now after months of dithering, frittering and procrastinating, I’ve discovered that web design can be easy for even the technically inept (like me). So I think I'll have that cake and eat it, too. 

Do come visit my new website, Shirley Fachilla Fine Art. I think you’ll like it there!  (And I intend to change it, add to it, and in general polish it up, quite often.)

Is it too early to send an invitation?

Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...