Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays from Finding Fine Art!

Stocking Stuffers by Polly Jones - Acrylic on 6" x 6" canvas

Here at Finding Fine Art we want to wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday! We look forward to introducing our readers to more wonderful visual artists and original art in 2011, and we thank you all for supporting this blog and the hard working artists we promote.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Artist Interview with Jen Ashmen

This week, it's my pleasure to introduce you to the original artwork of Jen Ashmen. Jen is a professional, fine artist living in southern New Jersey. Her current preferred medium is ink, but she also enjoys working in oil and watercolor. Jen's colorful and bold murals can be found throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.   

"More than anything else, I enjoy drawing images of the world around me." - Jen Ashmen

Orange Masks - Oil on 48" x 24" canvas

Who are some of your favorite famous artists?  
There are so many famous artists that I adore! I love the motion and emotion of Dorothea Tanning's oil paintings. Edward Hopper's use of color is magnificent. I enjoy Herakut's thought provoking wall paintings. Remedious Varo is also an artist I greatly admire.

Always Changing - Watercolor and ink on 5" x 8.5" paper

Who are some of your favorite peers making art today? 

Emily Carroll, Junko Mizuno, Barbara Maxwell, and Marc Sijan are currently creating stunning art that is unlike anything that came before them.  

Papyrus Peacock - Ink on 5" x 5" cotton paper

How long do you typically work in any one sitting - do you need to take a lot of breaks or do you work for hours and hours at a time? 

I typically work for three hours at a time, break, and then work three more hours. Some paintings, like my small plein air watercolors, only take three hours to complete. 

Second Tree from the Right - Watercolor and colored pencil on 8" x 10" canvas board

What are your feelings on the state of Art in the world today? 

Artists today are some of the luckiest of all time. The internet has afforded artists the ability to speak directly to their audience, without the filter of an art dealer or gallery.  Immediately after finishing a work I can post it online. The work will be seen by hundreds of people before it is even a day old. While there is nothing like looking at a painting in person, social networking allows artists to share exactly what they are creating when they are creating it.

 Princes - Oil on 48" x 36" canvas

If you could try any new medium or art-form, what would it be?

I've always wanted to branch out into more sophisticated digital art. My Photoshop and Illustrator skills are more than adequate, but I would love to learn animation and 3-D rendering.


Thank you so much, Jen, for taking the time to share a little more about yourself, your work and your interests. I really appreciate your take on the effect the internet has had on the world of Art and I couldn't agree more! 
- Jessica Torrant

ETSY -  

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What's New?

This is the first installment of the "What's New?" series featuring the latest works by Finding Fine Art artists. The Finding Fine Art team is a curated group of visual artists selling original fine art on Etsy.

Jack by Chris Zahner - Mixed media on wood, 8 x 10

Chris on Jack: "I finished this piece on Saturday. It's part of a series I'm working on where I draw all the members of the senior class from a 1972 yearbook. He's Jack. I like the fact that he's probably only 18 years old, but tried to look older for his picture. Funny, I look through these yearbook photos and wonder what became of these people as their lives moved forward." 

 From the Trees by Philippa Jones - Original hand pulled etching

Cotton Candy Kaleidoscope by Sarah John Afana - Mixed media on canvas, 30" x 30"

Poetic interpretation by the artist herself... "Floating weightless and spinning through the air the crystal particles glisten and shine enchanting with their wink."

Snowy Plein Air Landscape by  Joy Appenzeller Bauer - Oil on canvas, 11" x 14"

 Joy's latest painting is painted "ala prima (wet-in-wet) rather quickly in the traditional Impressionism genre."

Borrowed Underwear by Gabriele Maurus - Mixed media on canvas, 12" x 12"

 Urban Sunset by Kim VanDerHoek - Oil on linen panel, 6" x 8"

Kim was inspired her view from home. "When the sky is this dramatic, I have to pick up my paintbrush! This view is just above my neighbor’s house. Every time the sun sets, I am treated to a stunning view."

Textures in the Shed by Nancy Bray - Photograph

Nancy shot this photograph in her friend's shed. "Interesting articles stacked in the the corner of an old shed... I was taken by all of the different textures; wood, basket weave, twisted wire - all in rich, warm tones to create a beautiful still life for me to photograph."

 Museum Mannequin by Jen Ashmen - Watercolor and ink, 5" x 8.5"

Jen shared that this was "painted at the Noyes Museum of Art in Oceanville, New Jersey. This piece features a worn yet beautiful plastic mannequin in front of a vibrantly abstract painting".

Onion Bulb by Kristina Closs - Watercolor on paper, 10" x 11" 

Finally we have this beautiful painting by Kristina Closs which is brand new and already sold! (Hint hint - if you love a work of original art, remember, it's an original, and once it's gone, it's gone!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Artist Interview with Monica Stevens

What a pleasure it is to bring you the first of our Artist Interview series with the extremely talented Monica Stevens. Monica's expressive paintings exude such a vibrant energy and intensity. You can visit her website at or visit her Etsy shop where she sells her original artwork at

Androids of Suburbia Unite - Acrylic and oil pastel on masonite, 47'' x 35'', 2010

Were you interested in art as a child? If so, what were your favorite things to create?

I was involved in more performance-based art forms when I was a child. I loved going to the theatre in New York, and one of my majors in college was theatre. As a child, I enjoyed more "silent" types of performance, such as mime. As a theatre major, I thought I would be more engaged in the performance aspect of the theatre, but I quickly realized that I enjoyed the design aspect much more. I loved creating scale models, drafting, and making color renderings of costumes.

Fields - Water mixable oil and oil pastel on artist's panel, 12″ x 12″, 2010

Do you have a creative family? How does your family feel about you being an artist?

I sang gospel music as a child with my family. Many people in my extended family played multiple bluegrass instruments, and there was always what my grandfather called the "best instruments", our voices. I fantasized that our family were modern day Von Trapps. Today, my sister is a singer/ songwriter, my cousin is an indie filmmaker, and my brother-in-law is a lighting designer in Hollywood. My family is more performance-based, so visual art is something that separates me in some way, although I can't describe exactly how. There is the introspective, more inward quality of a visual artist as opposed to the more outward quality of someone who performs.

Lavender Harvest - Water mixable oil and oil pastel on canvas, 16" x 20", 2010

Take us through a typical day in your world.

I make a living as a psychotherapist, who works with children, adolescents, and families. I am fervent about and committed to my work as a therapist. I enjoy doing play therapy and find that it is connected to my work as a visual artist in ways that continue to amaze me. Play therapy is extraordinarily metaphorical, which suits my work as an abstract artist. The very word "play" implies my approach to painting. It is a way I unwind at the end of the day. My curiosity as a therapist translates into my visual art, as I approach painting with an innate questioning of my experiences, beliefs, and environment.

Smiling Medusa-Woman of the Hills - Acrylic and water soluble oil pastel on canvas, 16" x 20", 2010

Who are some of your favorite peers making art today?

My favorite peers making art today are without a doubt my friends, who are artists. They are inspiring to me and create work that challenges me in myriad ways. They are supportive and nurturing without being competitive, and, besides, they are great company!

Who are some of your favorite famous artists?

My favorite famous artists who immediately spring to mind are Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Joan Mitchell, Carroll Dunham, Alyson Fox, John Singer Sargent, David Park, Barbara Rae, Otto Dix, and Jennifer Wen Ma.

Woman and Ukelele - Acrylic and oil pastel on canvas, 24" x 30", 2010

Do you like to work in silence or do you prefer to listen to music when you work?

I find that I work best in silence. At the end of the day, it gives me a chance to reflect and meditate. Rarely do I listen to music while I paint. I couldn't live without music, but for some reason it distracts me from painting. I do love when my dogs come into my studio and root around, though.

Have you ever had an awakening moment as an artist where something new clicked into place and propelled you to a new level as an artist? Tell us about that experience.

Definitely! When I visit art museums, I am struck with new knowledge on both a cognitive level as well as an intuitive one. I just can't wait to fly back home and make art! Viewing a living, breathing piece of art is a transformative experience for me. There is always a sense of curiosity and new learning for me. An example is when I saw Monet's Water Lilies in a museum. I really "got" it for the first time. I had always seen them in books, and I thought they were beautiful. But I had never "seen" them, and, as the saying goes, "what is seen cannot be unseen." I never realized how big they were. Seeing art in a book is great and inspiring, of course, but I did not quite imagine Monet's Water Lilies being the size of entire gallery walls. While at the museum I learned for the first time, that Monet suffered from cataracts, and this naturally changed the way in which he "saw" and influenced his palette. I was amazed that the same images I had seen on paper since childhood, images that had become banal to me, were suddenly transformed in my sight.


It's so wonderful to get to know the person behind the artwork and I want to thank Monica for her thoughtful and interesting interview. I too was struck by Monet's Water Lilies at the MOMA and can really relate to that sense of awe that she described. Please do go on to visit her websites and consider purchasing the work of this incredible artist!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giving the Gift of Art - Part 2

Here are some of the gorgeous treasuries curated on Fine Art Friday. Click on any of the images below to see each collection on Etsy.

Remember this Place by SarahJohnAfana.

Fine Art Friday Gift Guide! by jvdarcy.

Give the Gift of Fine Art by JessicaTorrant.

BlackFriday Fine Art Sales for holiday gifts! by Furiousdreams.

Giving the Gift of Fine Art - Finding fine art by VictoriaVeedell.

Stories in Abstract by flyingwhale.

I'm looking for something to go over my couch.... And get under my skin by thePaintedSky.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving the Gift of Art - Part 1

In the first installment of Giving the Gift of Art, we've asked the artists of the Finding Fine Art team to tell us a bit about their experiences giving and receiving art as a gift, as well as selling their art to others to be given as a gift.

Jazz Green has a theme going with birthdays.

"A patron, who has since become a good artist friend bought a small piece of my work at an exhibition many years ago for her birthday and it was on her birthday too - she said it made her day - it was lovely to know that! Then she recommended my work to a good friend of hers who then bought a series of works for her landmark birthday! On another occasion I had to secretly deliver a painting to someone's house late on Christmas Eve as he wanted it to be a big surprise for his girlfriend on Christmas morning - but it also happened to be her birthday! Another person bought a large work to mark a partner's life/work-related event, so it seems that landmark life events such anniversaries, retirements, weddings, etc are special moments which are aptly acknowledged through the acquisition of art.

Art is special and people buy art for special reasons."

 Carrie Venezia shares her experience creating commissioned paintings and giving art to loved ones.

"I'm working on a couple of paintings for customers right now that are going to be gifts this holiday season. I love that! It's commission work so I have the pleasure of the story like; the women giving a painting to her very best friend of her kids from a vacation they spent together; you get the idea! There are sad ones too; a loved one passes and it's a gift of a memory shared. I feel like I know them just a bit, so it's a different kind of pleasure in creating the work. A very different feeling then when I'm just creating for my own purpose. However, with that sometimes comes a little anxiety. Something I need to work on!

Whenever the chance arises to give my art as a gift to family and friends, I take advantage of it. It doesn't always happen at holiday time or on birthday's but the times in between, when it's not expected. That's really fun!"

Michelle Pryor shares the thrill of knowing your art is being given as a gift.

"I've always given art and handcrafted items as gifts for the holidays and they have always been well received. I take care to match up the art to the person I'm giving it to so that it will be meaningful to them.

I've also had people buy my art and give it as gifts to friends and family and I've gotten feedback that the recipient loved it.

Of course, we as artists love making each piece - but when someone chooses something that we created, then gives it away as a token of love or affection....well that's the pinnacle, isn't it? It fills my heart with joy to know that what my hands created spread happiness to others."

Paula Manning-Lewis has a great idea - an art swap!

"I have always given my art to family and friends for Christmas, birthdays and wedding gifts. They are always appreciated.

Something I have also done the past couple of years is put together an art swap party where I invite all my artist friends and we trade art to give as gifts or keep for ourselves. It was a huge hit and a LOT of fun! Plus, my family gets different art as gifts for a change of pace!"

Who wouldn't love a Brooke Wandall original as a gift?

"I usually give artwork to my friends and family over the holidays and they adore getting handmade presents especially original artwork!"

 Monica Stevens appreciates the value of art as a gift.

"I always give art to friends and family for the holidays, whether they be pieces of my own or pieces that friends have created, including paintings and pottery. I have found that my friends and family are greatly appreciative of the pieces I choose for them, and it gives me great joy to choose pieces I believe they will like and will suit their personal tastes. Of course, it thrills me when I visit them and see that they have proudly and prominently displayed the pieces I have chosen for them. To me, the holidays and gift giving are about helping my friends and family to be happy and feel cherished and cared about. Art is truly a wonderful way to show them that I care about them and value them. I also appreciate receiving paintings and pottery that my friends have created. It reminds me of them, and I treasure these gifts, as they have been personalized just for me!"

Michelle Arnold has found that special places represented in art are appreciated.

"I have had people purchase my art as gifts because they were of places that were meaningful to them - where they had spent time or vacationed. I have also had people commission paintings or drawings of special places as a gift (and I would like more people to do so!)."

Marilyn Fenn shares her experience giving the gift of art.

"I have given a few original paintings/drawings and a few hand-pulled prints to some of my best friends and to family members, and they seemed to really love receiving a gift of my art--especially when they are allowed to select the piece they want (from a limited selection). It's a lovely feeling when you visit them to see your art on their walls, and to hear them gush over the piece they received.

I also gave a framed giclee print of one of my paintings to two of our favorite local musicians when they got married. Now whenever we see them, they always comment on how much they love that piece, and how nice it looks in their dining room.

Finally, every so often, I will make calendars of my latest paintings and give those as Christmas gifts. These are very popular, but have also been a bit time-consuming in the past. If I found a quicker way to produce them, I would probably do it again. It's a great way to keep your art in the minds of your loved ones (and whoever else you think might appreciate and use such a gift)."

Nancy Jean has filled her shop with gift worthy art. 

"In my shop, I'm trying to concentrate on smaller works for gift-giving and trying to market them almost more as objects than wall art. I'm hoping that if people think of them more in terms of something they can hold in their hands, maybe that will feel more gift-like!"

Debbie Shirley shares her joy receiving art as a gift.  

"I love getting art as a gift! I have been fortunate enough to have been given a number of original pieces as gifts from various extended family members and friends. As a result, nearly every piece hanging in my house has a special meaning to me because of the association with the person I got it from."

Dotti Berry has a beautiful story about receiving art on her wedding day.

"One of the most special art gifts I have ever received was for our wedding. We received other very special art gifts but this one had a special story which enchanted everyone who knew it. An artist friend who was very reclusive came to the wedding (completely surprising me as he never makes this type of appearance), bringing a beautiful painting which had a special significance to me. I hadn't ever seen it before, but as soon as I opened it later I realized why he had chosen it for us. I think of that thoughtfulness in recognizing a motif special to me every time I pass by it. I'd also like to mention that even though others were dropping off gifts that day, everyone instantly gathered around and became interested in the contents since they could tell it was a painting and could sense the gravity of the presentation. My friend wanted me to wait to open it until later and I honored his wishes (we weren't opening gifts at the reception of course but there was so much interest I would have done this if he wanted us to). When my friend brought the painting in to the reception, we were greeting guests on the other end of the room. A few of our guests came up to me and led me over (by the hand!) to see my friend holding the painting. There was a circle of people gathered around him, smiling quietly. There was something magical about them standing there in a respectful but joyous hush, recognizing that "Art" was being given as a gift and supporting that moment."

Jessica Torrant

So this holiday season, instead of getting caught up in big box shopping and Black Friday mayhem, consider the gift of art for your loved ones. Clothing goes out of style in a year, every home has more than enough nick-nacks, and gift certificates are so impersonal (unless you are getting one from an Etsy seller, that is!). The gift of art is a gift that, like a fine wine, just gets better with age. Not only does original art gain monetary value in time, it grows in emotional value as well, which is really what's most important. It is something that won't be a great fit for everyone on your list, but if you know someone well, have listened and payed attention to what they appreciate, purchasing art as a gift won't be as daunting as it's made out to be. In fact, it can be a real thrill picking out the perfect piece for that special someone!

Join us tomorrow for another Fine Art Friday celebration with a focus on art as a gift. Search the Treasury on Etsy using our tag "fineartfriday" and if you're inclined to make a treasury, think about art as a gift and be sure to tag your treasury with fineartfriday AND "gift guide".  Part II of this special "Giving the Gift of Art" blog post will be a collection of gift worthy art discovered on Fine Art Friday (tomorrow) which will be published on Sunday. In the meantime, stay away from the crazy shopping, make yourself a cup of tea, and enjoy some art this Friday.

(PS Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers!) 

Curated and written by Jessica Torrant.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A new and easy way to shop for Fine Art on Etsy has become the go-to website for arts, crafts, vintage goods and craft supplies. The number of new items listed every minute can be overwhelming and make shopping for one particular thing a challenge. Artists and art buyers alike have complained in the past that it's a challenge to find Fine Art when shopping on the site. Even though there's so many talented artists selling on Etsy, their art can easily disappear amidst the sheer volume of other merchandise being offered.

Now there is a new way to shop for Fine Art on Etsy that makes it easy to find gallery quality, original two and three dimensional art, hand pulled prints, and photography. We have created a growing, curated team of visual artists on Etsy whose work fits the categories of original paintings, drawings and mixed media works, sculpture, printmaking or photography. These artists have tagged appropriate items that fit the requirements with the tag "findingfineart" so buyers can search that tag for a virtual gallery experience.

You can also search for a particular medium or style within the team. The following are some examples of what you'll discover searching for findingfineart original paintings.

Search for original drawings from our team...

(not a photograph, this is a pencil drawing!)

Discover a diverse collection of original mixed media works.

Search for hand pulled prints like wood and lino cuts, and serigraphs.

You can also search for Fine Art photography from our team.

And finally, we have a growing group of sculptors on the team that are sure to delight you.

This team is new and growing quickly. The artists featured above are just a fraction of the many talented members of this team. Please visit the Finding Fine Art team page to view all of our members' shops.

Artists interesting in joining this team should visit the team page linked in the previous paragraph, and read about requirements in the "Who can join?" section to see if you'd be a good fit. 

- Written and curated by Finding Fine Art Team Captain, Jessica Torrant