Tag Archives: John Singer Sargent

Spiritual Liberation – make Art, view Art, buy Art

Paul ShampineTop ten reasons why I shaved my head:

10.          Humility.
9.             Eliminates bed head.
8.             Vulnerability.
7.             Saves  $519.73 annually in haircuts and hair product.
6.             Empathy.
5.             Triathlon performance…saves  3.14 seconds off my run, 2.718 on my swim and  4.20 on my bike.
4.             Vanity.
3.             Fitting in with the other inmates.
2.             Cleansing.
1.             Spiritual Liberation.

If you’re less likely to shave your head to experience spiritual liberation, then make Art, view Art or buy Art.  Start now and view the Art of Mary Blum,  Sara Biersteker, Linda Bladen and Helena Hötzl.
Thank you.

Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Mary Blum, NYC
Summer Mary Blum 2012When did you first discover your creative talents?

In Kindergarten, a loaded brush, a bib and smile ear to ear for the praise from my teacher and classmates. . . a beginning. At 10 years old standing two feet away from the big Larry Poons dot painting at MoMA, my mother quiet on one side of me and my father standing on the other, I heard his soft voice say, “I don’t really think this is art”. I felt a slow running wave of shock moving from my feet to my now bulging eyes. How could my hero of information, a man who traveled Europe just to see the art, say something so completely illogical. I was stunned. I felt so confused and finally so angry! We had a well controlled argument in the Cafe. As I experienced the rest of our visit, blue dots still swimming in front of me, I realized, I was sort of like Larry Poons. Art didn’t have to be a particular thing. It just was. That day I gave myself permission to be an artist in “the Larry Poons sort of way”!

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. Selling my first piece, a glistening blue and gold leaf painting of a fish, was a thrill, not unlike the feeling that morning in Kindergarten. Selling pieces is a fascinating push pull. (I’ve signed my child up for sleep away camp, the morning comes—- his gleeful face and I think I might go a bit mad. Who’s idea was this? He’s going away). Am I taking too much money for the piece? Have I not set the price high enough? Should I have done the piece in the first place? Oh, my. Within the realm of good business sense, for me, the theme is letting go, and letting go some more. Letting go as I paint and as I offer to share a part of myself with the world.

Who are your favorite artists?  The William Bouguereau exhibition at the small museum where I worked was magic. Everyday I met his porcelain figures, his surfaces miraculous painting. Narratives that told infinite stories.
So very powerful. Then there’s Joseph Albers, formal and minimal, often repetitive. Assuring color and form. Robert Rauschenberg‘s Combines. A stuffed goat with a tire around it. I only wish I could have been the tourist who sat on it. Unfortunately it had to be repaired. An extreme sport for the tourist and the restoration team. Louise Bourgeois with her visceral eccentricities. I wonder what it would be like to be Jean Basquiat for a day.  His brief and brilliant gushing of life and paint. Or Yayoi Kusama. Dots!!! So many artists inspire me. . . so many! And I’d like to think, the best is yet to come.

Artist: Mary Blum
Title: Summer
Medium: Mixed media metallic on canvas.
Dimensions: 36 ”x 24”
Website: http://www.maryblumstudio.com

Sara Biersteker, Venice Beach, CA
When did you first discover your creative talents? When my mom wanted me to clean the cat box when I was young, I would sulk in my room and draw a picture. These pictures were always the same. I would draw my mom as a massive queen in renaissance attire, sitting on a wooden throne. I would then draw myself very small and wearing rags. I would be sitting at the base of the throne with large tears that resembled bullets jutting out of my face. Once I had finished my drawing I would give it to my mom and run back to my room. Sometimes it worked and I wouldn’t have to clean the cat box. Sometimes it didn’t. I believe this is when I learned that visual representation has a great power to manipulate and therefore evoke strong emotion. Emotional responses to artwork give us, as artists, opportunities to experience our unadulterated selves. I believe that this process is the core of creativity.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. The first person to approach me about buying a painting was a tall woman from Topanga Canyon. She told me that the painting reminded her of her favorite book. The painting, a 36’’ x 36’’ acrylic on canvas, I had painted for my cousin’s graduation from Berkeley. The subject was our great grandfather as a youth atop a large horse. The photo I found had been taken in old Rancho Malibu somewhere in the 1880s. Though I needed the money badly, I wanted to give the painting to my cousin so that she would feel connected to her family. I declined the offer and proceeded to give my cousin the painting. I am glad it went to her because it was created for her. She recently sent me a picture of it hanging in her bedroom of her new apartment.

Who are your favorite artists?  The artists I love change with whatever mood I’m in. My mom used to say that when I would ask her what her favorite color was. It would make me so mad. But it’s true. One artist that will always be in the forefront of my mind, though, was my grandmother. She was an advertising artist for Bullock’s-Wilshire while it was still in business. While her body of work was marked by profound control of line, she was also talented with watercolor. There are a few California coast landscapes done on cold pressed paper that hang in my studio. My favorite piece, however, is a watercolor of an old Mexican scarecrow. For years I thought it was just a man with a cigar until I finally learned to actually look at what I was seeing.

Artist: Sara Biersteker
Title: Old Rancho Malibu
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 36 ”x 36”
Website: http://www.BierkstekerArt.com

Linda Bladen, Los Angeles, CA
Maria.Linda Bladen
When did you first discover your creative talents? My father was a professional artist in Chicago. Both my parents discovered that I could stay amused for hours with some paper and crayons. This began at a very early age – possibly around three years old. I was lucky to have my father around to validate me and encourage me. It shaped my identity as an artist from the beginning of my life.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. My biggest thrill was probably when I sold a piece before the show opened. The Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors was screening for new members and then showing the work at the La fond Gallery. It was exhilarating because I was accepted into the group and then discovered a red dot next to my piece when the doors opened. It had been purchased by the juror of the show.

Who are your favorite artists?  Since I grew up going to the Art Institute of Chicago, which holds the largest collection of French Impressionists and Post Impressionists outside of Paris… I will say I love Degas, Gauguin, Caillebotte, all of them really…  van Gogh is one of the greatest painters, Camille Claudel‘s sculpture, Corot – a great innovator, the American painter George Inness, Matisse, Constantin Brancusi, Isabel Bishop‘s character studies… too many to name.  Then going back a little… Georges de La Tour and then Velasquez, who started new ideas about painting, and inspired the great portrait painters like John Singer Sargent – “a painter’s painter”.

Artist: Linda Bladen
Title: Maria
Medium: Oil on wood panel
Dimensions: 32 ”x 48”
Website: http://lindabladenart.com

Helena Hötzl, Alingsas, Sweden
When did you first discover your creative talents? I always used to paint and draw and worked several years as a make up artist painting faces. One day I got an email from a man at Saatchi gallery in London telling me that they liked my website and thru them I was invited to participate in a Scandinavian exhibit with the best contemporary artist in Budapest, Hungary.  That was when I realized that I actually had an creative talent in me.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. I had done a piece with women with trench coats that I went to a gallery to ask them to frame it for me.  The man at the gallery looked at it and asked me who had done it? I was very shy and remember looking at the floor telling him that I did that one.  He bought it as fast as I can remember telling me how great it was.  I started to realize that maybe other people would like to buy my art too.

Who are your favorite artists?  I love Gustav Klimt. My favorite. At an exhibit I had a man told me I had some similarities of Modigliani. Never though about him but starting to like him more and more. There are so many good artist out their today.

Artist: Helena Hötzl
Title: The lady in the red dress
Medium: Acrylic/kohl and pearl liquid
Dimensions: 100 x 70 cm
Website: http://www.helenahotzl.com

Accidental Inspiration?

Kathleen Kaller succinctly states that her “work is derived from life’s drifting REVELATION-Kathleen Kallerinspiration.”  As a study of nature, I couldn’t agree more. It’s the sum of the whole―a collection that makes up the matrix of our souls.

I had a spell of this enigmatic “inspiration” this V-Day. Simply, I made a necklace.  A fun project, but a bit risky for a gift.  I always feel like a child when IPaul Shampine present a new artistic concept…a little boy approaching his mother with a precious object behind his back….hoping…waiting…

Ultimately, I just want create to have others “feel” that same inner spiritual feeling.  It’s when you actually feel your soul.  An unbalanced but comfortable place. That tightness in your chest when you feel happiness, anger, proudly, lonely, excited, guilt, joy and…..inspiration.

I’m always asked the unanswerable…what inspired this?

Paul ShampineHope these guys do it for you…did it for me…
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine


Eleanor Rahim

Surface to Air-Eleanor Rahim


When did you first discover your creative talents? I think it was around the age of six. My mom gave me a painting by numbers set and I did a pretty good job! Teachers at school started asking me to paint the windows at Christmas and do various decorating jobs around the classrooms. Yes, I think I knew quite early on that I had a talent. However, none of my family were artistic so I didn’t grow up with a great awareness of art or have any idea what to do with my talent!

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. Following on from your first question, my education and career went in the direction of graphic design and illustration. I started as a fine artist only four years ago when I moved from London to New York and discovered the Art Students League. I entered a painting in the class concours and won a Red Dot award. The show was open to the public and a man contacted me to ask if he could see more of my work. I really didn’t have many paintings to show him but he fell in love with a piece called Calm at Present, 40 x 30 inches, acrylic on canvas. He immediately wrote a check for my asking price. Having been in business for many years with design, I always got a kick out of sealing a deal. However, this was different. When I paint, I paint for myself. My thoughts and emotions all go into the painting. It is very personal. Suddenly, I found someone who understood my work, it resonated with him and he had to have it. It was the most exhilarating feeling and I shall never forget that day, or the collector! I still get excited when I sell a painting and I love to hear how a painting makes the owner feel. I’m fascinated by what people read into my work and the effect it has on their emotions.

Who are your favorite artists?  Well my list keeps growing but I’ll throw out a few, in no particular order of preference: Claude Monet for being the ‘father of abstract expressionism’ as my tutor and also one of my favorite artists, Ronnie Landfield, told me. Gerhardt Richter for his use of color, texture and subtlety. I recently saw his fabulous retrospective in London at Tate Modern. John Singer Sargent, especially his male nudes. Peter Paul Rubens for his anatomical studies, Egon Schiele for his use of line, Pablo Picasso for his sketches, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Ilya Repin, Hans Holbein, Johannes Vermeer, Diego Velázquez, Joan Mitchell, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul Jenkins, Clyfford Still, Norman Bluhm…..oh it goes on and on.

Artist: Eleanor Rahim
Title: Surface to Air
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 48 ”x 72”
Website: http://eleanorrahim.com

Ali Gallagher
Astral Dust-Ali Gallagher



When did you first discover your creative talents? Like most children I enjoyed painting and drawing when I was young. As a teenager I realized the feeling of sweet positive release while creating and knew I needed to maintain this flow throughout my life.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. The first time I sold work to a stranger I remember the feeling of curiosity as to where the piece would live in a space I had never seen. It was warming to think that they felt a strong enough connection to want to house the piece in their personal sanctuary. I remember they wrote a check and I just kept rereading their name and was so thankful that someone I had never met before was in support of the artwork.

Who are your favorite artists? William Blake, Kathe Kollwitz, Margaret Macdonald, Swoon, Shona Heath, J.M.W. Turner, so many!!! The process of creating is more important than the outcome but these prophets definitely stand out to me.

Artist: Ali Gallagher
Title: Astral Dust
Medium: Oil on wood.
Dimensions: 18”x18”
Website: http://www.aligallaghercreations.com
Blog: http://aligallagher.wordpress.com

Karen Duckles
Hula Hoop-Karen Duckles

When did you first discover your creative talents? I think I first discovered my creative urge when I was a kid.  My mom had art supplies around and she helped me paint a seascape.  I was just fascinated with painting and making things look how they do in real life.  I remember becoming obsessed with painting rocks and making them look three dimensional with light and shadows.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. I sold the first piece I can remember when I was in high school.  It was a landscape, and a friend of mine bought it.  He chose that one because he said he thought it looked like it took a long time to make.  I think I got about ten dollars for that.

Who are your favorite artists?  One of my favorite artists is Mondrian.  I love how his paintings are so precise, and yet so human at the same time.  They are so elemental, and really quite complex.  Another artist I just love is MorandiHis paintings have a wonderful stillness, just being.  The colors are so soft and subtle, just lovely.

Artist: Karen Duckles
Title: Hula Hoop
Medium: Oil on cavas
Dimensions: 37”x63”
Website: http://karenduckles.com

Michelle Oppenheimer
Untitled-Michelle Oppenheimer
When did you first discover your creative talents? I first discovered my creative talents when I was a child but it really blossomed when I was in school studying to become a Doctor of Oriental medicine. That was about thirteen years ago. I painted for a study break. Acupuncture school was arduous for me. I found a serenity when I painted.  I started with water color. I love how water color bleeds and how delicate it is.  I rarely showed anyone what I was painting. I was incredibly shy and vulnerable about my art. I have no formal training and felt insecure about it. My husband encouraged me to continue with it. Explore with different materials and sizes.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. I sold my first painting to a dear friend almost twelve years ago.
It has been one of those paintings that I have never grown tired of.
My friend is an art collector and I was incredibly honored he bought it.
He bought it for 300.00 dollars and it has been one of the most asked about
paintings on my website.

Who are your favorite artists?
I love Rothko.  I love Franz Kline. I love Ed Moses.
All three continue to inspire me on an incredibly deep level.

Artist: Michelle Oppenheimer
Title: Untitled
Medium: Mixed media on paper
Dimensions: 50”x50”
Website: http://michelleoppenheimer.com