Saturday, January 31, 2009

Inspiration: Leonor Fini

Here are some photographs of one of my all time favorite artists, Leonor Fini:

Her striking countenance can be found time and again throughout her amazing body of work. Leonor Fini’s art and life are a constant source of inspiration for me. She is most definitely a Beauty to be Exalted.

If you’re interested in viewing some of the incredible works created by Leonor Fini, peruse this excellent selection found at the Weinstein Gallery
and CFM Gallery. You will be inspired! :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Betzie’s Mad Men Quiz

I stopped by my friend Betzie’s blog (Time Enough) and discovered that she had taken the Mad Men Quiz “Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn?” I’m not normally one to take quizzes but I did just put up a post about Marilyn Monroe, so I thought, why not? Well, it was surprisingly accurate. I think you’ll get a kick out it. I discovered that I am a Bette!

You are a Bette -- "I must be strong"
Bettes are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.

How to Get Along with Me
* Stand up for yourself... and me.
* Be confident, strong, and direct.
* Don't gossip about me or betray my trust.
* Be vulnerable and share your feelings. See and acknowledge my tender, vulnerable side.
* Give me space to be alone.
* Acknowledge the contributions I make, but don't flatter me.
* I often speak in an assertive way. Don't automatically assume it's a personal attack.
* When I scream, curse, and stomp around, try to remember that's just the way I am.

What I Like About Being a Bette
* being independent and self-reliant
* being able to take charge and meet challenges head on
* being courageous, straightforward, and honest
* getting all the enjoyment I can out of life
* supporting, empowering, and protecting those close to me
* upholding just causes

What's Hard About Being a Bette
* overwhelming people with my bluntness; scaring them away when I don't intend to
* being restless and impatient with others' incompetence
* sticking my neck out for people and receiving no appreciation for it
* never forgetting injuries or injustices
* putting too much pressure on myself
* getting high blood pressure when people don't obey the rules or when things don't go right

Bettes as Children Often
* are independent; have an inner strength and a fighting spirit
* are sometimes loners
* seize control so they won't be controlled
* figure out others' weaknesses
* attack verbally or physically when provoked
* take charge in the family because they perceive themselves as the strongest, or grow up in difficult or abusive surroundings

Bettes as Parents
* are often loyal, caring, involved, and devoted
* are sometimes overprotective
* can be demanding, controlling, and rigid

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Enjoy! :)

Rhyme Nor Reason

Shakespeare: “When in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme nor reason?”

I am thrilled that many of you have been excited about the various inspirational posts I have and will continue to present, however, I must warn you ahead of time that they may have absolutely nothing to do with the end result of my long term project. The long term project is something that I’ve slowly been working on since November and still do not have a strong sense of its direction. The project’s premise has wavered and evolved along the way and will probably continue to do so until it finally doesn’t. I am attempting to allow the process to happen instead of forcing an end result. Because of that I think this project is something I need to go through in silence, it feels as though sharing the specifics of the process will somehow ruin the *magic*. The only thing I can say for certain is that I would like to develop a series that focuses on the formation of a symbol/icon/character that can express the greater aspects of humanity with out necessarily being human. So for now, try to view these inspirational posts as paper embers floating above the flame, full of burning potential but likely to grow cold before they ignite into a full blown creative fire. These things which have neither rhyme nor reason make no sense from a logical standpoint, but if you read my recent Inspiration tangent then
perhaps you’ll understand the desire to collect inspiration from the most diverse of sources. The mind works in mysterious ways…

There will still be plenty of art for you to see here in the interim. I plan to continue to create and present new paintings, such as the Poppies, while I develop this project. Eventually I’m sure I’ll bore you to death with all of the gory the details of the new project. But in the meantime, stay tuned, there is more (random) inspiration on the way, as well as upcoming painting exhibitions and medallion parties!

Jackson Pollock

Okay, so this post has little to do with the actual Jackson Pollock and more to do with the fact that my son Caden, has, without prior knowledge of the afore mentioned famous artist, taken up action painting! Last night I discovered that my darling boy has (over the course of a week) been creating a splashy masterpiece with MILK on my bedroom wall! I’m assuming he looked a little like the master himself (pictured above). Do you suppose it was winter boredom in combination with spastic male energy that inspired Jackson Pollok’s renowned art movement? Am I to congratulate Caden on his creative brilliance or simply forbid him from having beverages in my bedroom? If I happened to be an Earth Mother type, perhaps I would be better able to foster his artistic genius, but unfortunately for him (despite my own artistic proclivities), am more the anal-retentive type, who, in the heat of the moment, couldn’t get past the destructive aspect or the smell of spoiled milk. I’m feeling guilty today and wondering what sort of indulgence I will bestow upon him to assuage my guilt. I wouldn’t want to live with the fact that I squelched his artistic potential…

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Inspiration: Marilyn Monroe

I think Marilyn Monroe is the ultimate Exalted Beauty! Here are a few inspirational images I found of the famed icon in the LIFE photo archive:

Photographer: J. R. Eyerman

Photographer: Ed Clark

Photographer: Ed Clark

Photographer: Alfred Eisenstaedt

Photographer: Alfred Eisenstaedt

Here are some Marilyn Monroe books that I thought you might find inspirational:

Marilyn Monroe: A Life in Pictures

Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed

Marilyn: Her Life in Her Own Words

(BTW - My search of the LIFE archives wasn’t totally random - I had hoped to present the LIFE images and article featuring my grandmother but I was unable to find them. My step-mother has a copy of the magazine somewhere but I’ve yet to collect the date of the publication to do a more accurate search in the LIFE archives. I’ll share those as soon as I can.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Caden and Tonka

Here are Caden and Tonka in the studio:

The boys like to sit next to me, torturing me with endless comments and suggestions as I work. I’m very slowly plugging away at the research and sketches for my long term project. You can probably imagine from seeing the mischievous look in Caden’s eyes and Tonka’s smirk of agreement what sort of art direction these two hellions came up with. Very naughty, and not at all helpful to my concentration levels, suddenly I’m beginning to recall why I haven’t attempted any *Serious Work* over the past 5 years. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


My grandmother Margaret (Peg) L. Fraser passed away on Saturday January 18th, 2009. My “Nana” was an extremely gifted craftswoman, exceptionally skilled in a multitude of fiber arts, she knitted amazing creations with yarn she made from her own sheep, she was an accomplished seamstress who made many well remembered costumes and designed award winning, gallery exhibited quilts. She was a devoted wife and mother, a talented baker and wine maker, a painter, a lover of animals, a woman always ready for fun and adventure, a fiend for flee markets and yard sales and an obsessed collector of dolls and teddy bears. She was a brash, opinionated, independent individual who was proud to be exactly who she was. While my cousin Shana may carry the the legacy of her striking countenance, I was apparently “blessed” with her strong character. I know this from my mother’s exasperated “Little Margaret” comments throughout my early childhood to my father’s quiet uh-oh when he sees me give my own son “The Look”. But by being so much alike, we often rubbed one another the wrong way. I’m sorry I wasn’t always able to get past my own opinions enough to graciously accept she had the right to her own, but who better to understand that then the woman herself? My Nana gave us all a piece of that essence, I see it in my aunt, my uncle, my father, and cousins, and I think we all know it is as both blessing and burden. Whatever the case, she will not be forgotten, she will be missed by her family, friends and community.

Please pardon my absence as I’ll need to take a few more days to get my head back together. Between the week long attack of the evil vomit virus and then Nana’s passing, I fear I slipped into a state of blah, lost in the pages of books and denial. I’m on my way back, no time left to welter and wallow, life continues for the living. There are many things to look forward to, Julie’s Exalted Beauty Medallion is in two weeks, and the Penn State Exhibition opens the week after that and as usual we have Caden’s hockey stuff, as well as birthday parties and play dates scheduled. I’ll be back next week to share inspiration while I work behind the scenes developing my long term project.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fraser Family Crest

Check out this beautiful Fraser family crest:

Image from Scottish Heirloom Jewelry

Note the family motto: “Je Suis Prest”. I Am Ready.

Learn more about Clan Fraser HERE.

Unearthing interesting facts about one’s ancestry can be truly fascinating. They say the most meaningful creations are those that come from your soul.
Think of the inspirion you could discover while learning about your family history!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


After last week’s whirlwind painting competition frenzy and a very sick child to attend to, I finally crashed and caught the evil vomit virus that’s been haunting our house since the weekend after Christmas. So now, despite the hundreds of things on my big To-Do list, I’ve been forced to take some time off to recover. With the ability to do little else, I figured why not read a great book to keep my mind off the dizzying nausea? My cousin Shana has me hooked on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I purchased the first book a few months ago and have been addicted ever since. Shana had been raving about it for years, and now I understand, so far the Outlander series has been riveting. Actually, the first book was so intriguing that I immediately bought the other five books in the set (Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow and Ashes). I’m glad I had them here because they have been a wonderful distraction from my rather disobedient body. The Outlander series was described by Salon magazine as "the smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting "Scrooge McDuck" comics." the Outlander series tells the story of Jamie Fraser, a Scottish Highlander from the 18th century, and his time-traveling wife, Claire. Sounds interesting right? So that’s where I’ll be for a bit; hanging out with Jamie and Claire. Reading the series will allow me to take time to recover and possibly provide new inspiration for my new art project. Who wouldn’t be inspired by lusty adventures led by one’s own ancestors set in 18th century Scotland?

To learn more about Diana Gabaldon, check out her blog HERE

If you find the time to start a new reading addiction, I highly recommend beginning your journey with this book:

Enjoy! I’ll be back when I’m feeling better.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Woodland Mist

Woodland Mist” [
The Poppy Series]
By Amy E. Fraser
Medium: Acrylic Paint on 140#, Acid Free, Archival Watercolor Paper.
Size: 12” x 12”

Quiet Contemplation

Quiet Contemplation” [
The Poppy Series]
Amy E. Fraser
Medium: Acrylic Paint on 140#, Acid Free, Archival Watercolor Paper.
Size: 12” x 12”

Midnight Flame

Midnight Flame” [
The Poppy Series]
By Amy E. Fraser
Medium: Acrylic Paint on 140#, Acid Free, Archival Watercolor Paper.
Size: 12” x 12”

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Evening Embers

Evening Embers” [
The Poppy Series]
By Amy E. Fraser
Medium: Acrylic Paint on 140#, Acid Free, Archival Watercolor Paper.
Size: 12” x 12”

Red Enchantment

Red Enchantment” [
The Poppy Series]
By Amy E. Fraser
Medium: Acrylic Paint on 140#, Acid Free, Archival Watercolor Paper.
Size: 12” x 12”

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Growing Optimism

Growing Optimism” [
The Poppy Series]
By Amy E. Fraser
Medium: Acrylic Paint on 140#, Acid Free, Archival Watercolor Paper.
Size: 12” x 12”

Fading Glory

Fading Glory ” [
The Poppy Series]
By Amy E. Fraser
Medium: Acrylic Paint on 140#, Acid Free, Archival Watercolor Paper.
Size: 12” x 12”

Small Works Competition

By the way, I haven’t spent all of the New Year pondering and pontificating! I’ve actually been working like a mad woman on some new Poppy Paintings. I’m hoping to present three new pieces for submission to the National Association of Women Artist’s 2009 “National Small Works Exhibition” competition.

Accepted works will be shown at:
N.A.W.A. Gallery
80 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1405
New York, NY 10011
February 26 – March 20, 2009

The Top Award is a Solo show at N.A.W.A.’s Fifth Avenue Gallery. 4 Runners up will receive a copy of “An Artist’s Handbook – Materials and Techniques” by Margaret Krug and a Cash Prize.

While winning the solo exhibition at the Fifth Avenue Gallery would be a dream, I would be happy just to be awarded a place in the show! Last year’s small works submission was rejected so I’m feeling the pressure! The competition is fierce (open to all U.S. women, 18 and older) and the clock is ticking! The mail-in deadline is THIS Saturday, January 10th!

Stay tuned! I’ll need your help choosing the three pieces to submit. I’ll post the new paintings as they are completed and photographed. I can't wait to hear your picks! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Penn State Exhibition

I am thrilled to announce that “Textured Poppy 1” has been selected by Gallery Director/Curator Ann Shields for the upcoming National Association of Women Artists’ “N.A.W.A. 120th Anniversary Exhibition” at the HUB-Robeson Galleries at Penn State University!

Title: “Textured Poppy 1
Amy E. Fraser
Medium: Mixed Media and Acrylic Paint on 140#, Acid Free, Archival Watercolor Paper.
Size: 11” x 14”

Here is the Artist Statement for “Textured Poppy 1”: “The diversely expressive Poppy was the muse for this painting series. There is something very human about the countenance of a Poppy; they convey the power of beauty while also alluding to physical fragility. In the Textured Poppy series, I chose to contrast patterns and textures while keeping the colors subtle as a means to express a more tactile sense of the bloom’s emotionality. Time is fleeting for the Poppy; its lifespan is a precarious thing dependant on weather. One heavy rainstorm will quickly diminish the Poppy’s beauty, forcing it to shed its petals, leading to a premature death. They stand to express the things we fear but accept as inevitable. I believe it’s this unknowing; the unpredictability and preciousness of the Poppy that creates vulnerability, and emotionalism that expresses a very soulful take on both human and nature.”

The “N.A.W.A. 120th Anniversary Exhibition” runs from February 19th – April 26th 2009.

Artists’ Reception: Thursday, April 2, 2009 5-8 p.m.

HUB-Robeson Galleries
Penn State University
University Park, PA 16802

Monday, January 05, 2009

Personal Symbolism

Today’s question for the ages is: What is your Personal Symbolism? Meaning, when people think of you, what do they connect your identity with? What would some of the symbols and iconography of your *caricature* entail? Are you a horse enthusiast? A sports fan? A music aficionado? A food connoisseur? What has been your lifelong *thing*? We all have them; it’s what makes us, well, US.

Here’s a historical (er, rather hysterical) perspective of me photographed with one of my personal symbols, CATS:

Throughout my life I have been notoriously camera shy, but apparently I become a bit braver when holding a cat! If all of these photos are in existence of me with my fabulous feline friends, then you can imagine how full of cats my life has been. For as long as I can remember, and despite the many canine friends I have had, I have been called a “Cat Woman”. One day I’ll probably be known as the crazy old witch with a house full of cats! Well, maybe not, but they have been my lifelong familiars. I connect with, relate to and understand cats on many levels. It could have something to do with the fact that I was born a Leo? Whatever the case, I adore cats. Whether they were strays, feral, barn cats or rescues, the wilder the better! There is no greater loyalty then the love and trust earned from the untamed feline heart.

It’s something to think about; identifying one’s own personal symbolism could ignite the true heart felt inspiration you’ve been seeking for your art endeavors.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Here is a photograph of a painting I completed in 1993 entitled "Genesis":

Genesis: Beginning - The time or circumstances of something's coming into being.

The post “Innocence Lost
had me digging through photographs of my own baby shower (held a mere 4 days before Caden burst onto the scene, 5 whole weeks before his due date!). I was amused to find this (rather unflattering) snapshot of Life imitating Art (10 years later in 2003):

While I didn’t give birth to the beginning of the world I certainly did bring forth a true force of nature!

If you can’t tell, I was quite ill and uncomfortable in my pregnancy. In all of my years of celebrating and painting the pregnant female form, I never once imagined that pregnancy would be as dreadful an experience as it was for me. How I envy those women who had ideal pregnancies. Sometimes the things that inspire us most, are those we dream of, rather then truly understand. I don’t think I have painted a pregnant woman since experiencing it for myself! And you may note that the Pregnant Women I painted while pregnant
were not especially joyous.

Well, perhaps with the exception of my award winning piece entitled “Expectations”:

They say time heals all wounds. Maybe someday I will be re-inspired to celebrate the cycle of life in the symbol of the pregnant female form, but for now, I am more content exploring the concept through botany!