Monday, September 30, 2013

Vermeer's A Girl Reading a Letter....

By an Open Window.

Ipad rendering of Vermeer's Girl Reading a Letter
Inspiration can come from the strangest places. For the last few days I've been thinking about what painting I wanted to work with next. Would it be a Motherwell, a Rothko, what to do?

Finally, I was reading a New Yorker article on Eileen Fisher (the clothing designer/company) and the writer was describing the office of the Color Designer. She had a picture of the Girl with a Pearl Earring on her inspiration board. Finally, it clicked, Vermeer! It's a Vermeer kind of week!

One of the many things I love about his work are his utterly strange and even confusing compositions. To illustrate this, I chose the painting A Girl Reading a Letter By An Open Window. Why is that green curtain there? Was it absolutely necessary for him to place his subject in the middle of the frame? Why is she standing behind a still life? It's so bizarre and so doesn't follow the "rules" of composition, but it totally works. It's mysterious, intriguing, beautiful. This should be a fun week!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Interpretations of El Greco's View of Toledo

Starry Sky, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung 2013
 I've always loved dark skies and light colored landscapes. Since the sky is normally lighter than the landscape, it's appealing to see the opposite. Could that be why we like the look of stormy skies so much?

Dark Desert Sky, graphite and colored pencil, copyright Nina Leung 2013
 The two above were also partially inspired by a great Georgia O'Keeffe painting. I took her technique.

Umbrella Tree, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung 2013
 This tree is right down the street from me and it really does look like this. the colors really do blend from yellow to red. The strong contrast reminds me of the View of Toledo.

Big Sky, watercolor, copyright 2013

Gio's Story Sky, tempera and crayon, copyright Nina Leung 2013
 The boys did their own version of a stormy sky. They first did some finger painting. I gave them one color at a time and let them go crazy. They loved it!

The next day, they received a piece of green paper to cut in half. Eamon needed a little help as he's not yet 2. Then they colored it with some brown and black crayons and then glued it to their stormy sky. They were pleased with the results.

Eamon's Stormy Sky, tempera and crayon, copyright Nina Leung 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Living in View of Toledo

Living in View of Toledo

Woven blanket, $795 / Arte italica / West elm / Rectangle mirror / Simon Pearce silver bowl / Be the Light NY Spanish Saffron Heat Candle / Home decor

Dark browns, natural materials, gold decorative touches, all remind me of medieval Toledo. I like to think that El Greco himself had a few items like the one's above.

While we were in Toledo, we learned that trestle tables were first created there. The point was to allow the monks to put their feet up while they were eating so they stay warm. Those darn stone floors are pretty chilly!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Favorite Finds for View of Toledo

The stormy sky that inspired this weeks posts.
Loving these inspiring photos of stormy skies.

Really?! There are people that love clouds this much?

A fashion designer inspired by El Greco.

What it's like to go to Toledo.

Looks like I'm not the only one that compares El Greco to Cezanne!

Very informative El Greco info.

Dressing for View of Toledo

Dressing for View of Toledo

Object Collectors Item long sleeve sweater, $68 / Balmain mini skirt / Burberry ankle booties / Valentino clutch / Guerlain italian home decor

The city of Toledo is medieval, so it was necessary to choose an inspiring film set in the medieval period, The Three Musketeers from 1973. Doesn't Raquel Welch look amazing? 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Travelling with View of Toledo

Okay, this is an easy one. If View of Toledo were a place, it would be.......surprise, surprise, Toledo!

View of the Toledo from the bridge. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

El Greco's View of Toledo

Ipad rendering of El Greco's View of Toledo
A stormy sky in the Bay Area on Saturday inspired me to choose this painting.  I love dark skies and light colored landscapes as in El Greco's View of Toledo. I never knew he made any landscapes, so I feel that this one is pretty special. Doesn't it look modern? It reminds me of Van Gogh's Landscape at Saint-Remy, painted almost 300 years later.

El Greco traveled throughout Italy learning a combination of techniques including color and design in Venice, composition that he learned from Michelangelo, and the Mannerist style both in Rome. He certainly traveled a lot! Imagine what that was like back in the late 1500's! He left Italy for Spain after being ostracized by Michelangelo. Apparently, El Greco was pretty vocal about his not so flattering opinions of Michelangelo's work. Doing so forced him to go find patronage elsewhere.

He finally made his way to Toledo where he created his most famous and praised works, including The Burial of Count Orgaz, one of my favorites. He loved Toledo and lived there until his death.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Interpretations of the Cyclades

Naxos Skies, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2013
Greece is water and white and blue....perfect for watercolors! There is so much contrast in the landscape of Naxos, I believe it's well interpreted with watercolor.

My son Eamon got involved with painting this time. Dipping his brush into the water was his favorite part!

Naxos River, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2013

Grecian Pool, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2013

Grecian Pod, watercolor and ink, copyright Nina Leung, 2013

Cyclades Sea Life, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2013

Eamon's Cyclades, watercolor, copyright Nina Leung, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dressing for the Cyclades

Dressing for the Cyclades

Raquel Allegra tie belt / Ancient Greek Sandals sandals / Madewell real leather purse / Vince Camuto golden jewelry / Michael Kors golden jewelry / Alexis Bittar punk jewelry / Miu Miu sunglasses / Tom Ford nude lipstick / Guerlain curling mascara / Estée Lauder perfume fragrance, $52 / Bobbi Brown Cosmetics pink shimmer nail polish

Perfect for exploring the island of Naxos....a good sundress, a comfortable pair of handmade sandals, and jewelry inspired by the sculptures of the Cyclades. I was inspired by the sculptures, but also the movie Before Midnight. In the movie, the couple dines and walks through the Greek countryside. The Mediterranean light is so strong and the atmosphere so palpable, it feels like you're there.