Saturday, October 5, 2013

Figurative artist blog - we moved!

We worked hard all summer, cut out all the distractions, and worked on a brand new web site and blog to showcase our wonderful community of contemporary figurative artists.


We stopped and listened and studied what we could do even better. We've worked hard to create an exciting new format and now the blog is incorporated right into the wordpress site.

Really, the new site is amazing! A sexy magazine style search feature which is a filterable portfolio and allows visitors to search by medium and see the wonderful artists who choose to use ceramics, sculpture, mixed media and of course painting to express their relationship with the human form.

Dance on over to our new site and mark the new bookmark for this fabulous blog on contemporary figurative artists. You can subscribe to the blog so our news will come straight to your inbox when we publish a new post.

It's been a wonderful journey so far, let's continue on together. See you over at our new site for lots of juicy art and news from the international figurative art world. Our resource section has lots of helpful information for artists and art lovers, so saddle up and come on over....

See you there!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

FigurativeArtist has a brand new look!

After lots of hard work and about 15 weeks of steep learning curve and application, has a brand new look! We had to figure out what we wanted and then figure out how to build it. It’s been an exciting trip! Now our blog will be incorporated right into our sweet new wordpress site. If you subscribed to this blog, please pop over and subscribe to the new one too. You'll enjoy it even more! Wordpress offers bloggers a much more sophisticated toolbox than good old Blogger.

Paul G Oxborough
Thank goodness my wonderful husband Dennis did pretty much all the cooking since the beginning of June so I could give my complete and undivided attention to learning how to create this exciting new interactive wordpress website.

Sue Rubira
Believe me, it took ALL my brain power!

Oiseaux Sisters
A huge BIG THANKS to everyone on the team who helped along the way. I sing your praises! I could not have done it without you and each of you brought your own personal bests to work and helped with good ideas and suggestion. Thanks to Sayata, Maeve, Madeline, Cathy, Ben, Dana, Joy, Robert and all the folks at Media Temple!

Joyce Polance256
Don't hold back, tell a friend about our fabulous new look!

Bill Murcko256_v2
We've just gotten the PayPal connected so please let us know if you notice anything that doesn't seem to work right and we'll get the muscle power right onto it.
Thanks from Paula

Monday, September 16, 2013

Michael Costello, open studio in Boston


Michael Costello

"South End Open Studios"
35 Wareham Street, Boston, Mass
September 21 & 22
11 am to 6 pm

"After Velasquez"
oil on canvas 48x60

After Caravaggio

Michael Costello

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Elaine Despins, studio visit report from Montreal

Paula came from Vancouver to attend her high school reunion here in Montreal (Pointe-Claire). I can’t precisely recall when the Figurative Artists site came up but it was early on that Paula invited me to be part of this great site. I was happy that soon I would finally get to meet her!

Paula arrived at my studio and immediately engaged in her eager and spontaneous spirit with her note book in hand and looking at all the work that was up on the wall. This meeting couldn’t have been timed better… I was actually getting ready for my annual studio sale on the coming weekend. I had cleaned up, painted the walls and hung up all the paintings in their various formats. During the afternoon, Paula asked me several questions, wrote down some notes, took some pictures and we shared on various art related topics. Two days later, to my surprise, I received Paula’s blog link comprising of an informative text accompanied with a series of beautiful pictures of the studio. That was fast! I put up the link on Face Book and also emailed it to a few of my friends. That was a mega help for the success of the studio sale.

During our conversation, I expressed my desire to explore a new series on the theme of the nocturnes. When I underwent my Masters, I did a series of videos where my approach was more related to the qualities of stillness and silence embodied in the tradition of paintings than seen in the regular story based video world. Because I wanted to take a step back from our common experienced daily reality (like I tend to do in my paintings also), while shooting, I relied upon the night vision mode to transpose what was perceived. This function, gave a very greenish tint to all the videos. I found these video stills ranging from a greenish black to light green, quite compelling.

Recently, I was looking at the works of James McNeill Whistler and Frederic Remington. Both worked with this theme of nocturnes in their own unique ways. Although I’m not a big fan of Americana themes, I find the moonlit outdoor scenes in Remington’s painting utterly, amazingly striking. He is real master at this. I am leaving this week to do some oil studies from his paintings at the Frederic Remington museum in Ogdensburg, NY. On the other hand besides the beautiful evocative qualities of Whistler’s paintings, I find Whistler’s process to be quite inspiring. He would create this series of nocturnes from memory. In this process, Whistler explored different ways such jotting down on a small piece of paper a few key words, or turned away, he would attempt to recount a thorough description to his friend standing beside him, or sometimes a very primitive diagram to guide him to reconnect with the scene while back in his studio.

This is part of the process in which I will be engaging in with this future Nocturne’s series. I realize that it is a considerable shift from my previous work. This new approach will be calling upon a process of a greatly simplified composition and limited range of colors in an attempt to convey the effect of the perceived atmosphere in an intimate way more than trying to depict it in an almost photographic fashion.

Elaine Despins

Thank you for your supportive and inspirational work in creating such a rich connection between a multitude of figurative artists with various practices. I am also delighted to say that it was through the site that a Chicago art collector discovered my work in Montreal and consequently was inspired to acquire one of my paintings, seen above.

À suivre!...
Elaine Despins
Read about Paula's visit to Elaine's studio here

Elaine sent this photo of herself set up in study mode at the Remington Museum. Good luck, Elaine. We'll watch as your new journey unfolds...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

5th National Figurative Drawing & Painting Competition

5th National Figurative Drawing & Painting Competition
News By ArtDeadline.Com
National Deadline: September 2, 2013
- The Lore Degenstein Gallery is now accepting entries for our fifth annual, national, juried visual art competition, open to two-dimensional figurative artists (referencing the human figure), working in painting, drawing or printmaking who are over the age of 18.

This year's juror is Alessandra Sulpy, a figurative painter and art educator currently living and working in Pittsburgh  Pennsylvania. Sulpy will select the exhibition works and announce the awards (totaling $5,000) during her gallery talk at the opening reception. Exhibition dates: October 19 - December 6, 2013.

This is a juried visual art competition and exhibition that is open to two-dimensional figurative artists (referencing the human figure), working in painting, drawing or printmaking, who are over the age of 18.

First Prize - $2000
Second Prize - $1125
Third Prize - $825
Fourth Prize - $625
Fifth Prize - $425

Friday, August 16, 2013

Scam artists, how to spot them

I got this email this morning-
Hi Paula, I believe I have been subjected to a scam via your site. I received an email from one Thomas Map offering to buy two drawings. I believe that the person was just after my bank details. The email came from Lagos Nigeria and the person firstly went to my 'information' page to get my email then went on to just one gallery page and chose two drawings to nominate. Have you had any other reports from your artists?
Susan Williams

Apparently Smart Detective Susan above could see that the email came from Nigeria, info below from Susan. That seems to be an excellent place to start to examine a long distance request from.

Hi again Paula, I'm pleased you can warn other people. The info I have on him comes from my web stats and is as follows:
location: Lagos, Nigeria
IP address: Visafone (
browser : Chrome 28.0 O.S. Windows 8

I use STATCOUNTER for my analytics. He obviously just went straight on to my info page, got my email then used his own email to contact me so I was able to reply to him directly. It's a shame this man didn't have a website from which he operated because then all you have to do is to go onto WHOIS and you can find out who registered the domain name, their address and telephone number and lots of other info about who they are and their operations.  

In the past when people have set up websites which try to rip off artists I have given them a good fright by writing directly to their home address. One gallery in London (Brick Lane Gallery) is a real rip off company and I was able to find out loads about their businesses  and reported them to the Inland Revenue who were very interested in them. 

One woman in New York set up a website to try to get artists to pay her to exhibit online with them (and supposedly in their physical gallery of which there was a picture) and I was able to find out that the 'gallery' was an office which she had rented in Manhattan for the afternoon. I went on to Google Earth, found the building and so got on to the  managers of the property who readily gave me the info on who rents the spaces and for how long. 

I would similarly like to give this Thomas his come uppance as I'm really tired of people trying to exploit artists who have a tough enough time anyway!
I'm very pleased you are doing your blog.
Best Sue.

The dramatic painting by David Dalla Venezia above represents our frustration really well! Grrrrrrrr!!!!

Unfortunately the person purporting to be Thomas Map from Glasgow seems to be a scam artist. He emailed me last week and we went back and forth in several emails but when I kept asking him how he had come across my site, what other artists he had bought similar work from that I could check with about they purchasing experience, he of course terminated our emails.

Saying he was in Glasgow, I offered him the option to mail a check to a British friend or to pay with Pay Pal, which he declined.

Please be careful and vigilant with any and all requests from long distance buyers of your works. Request secure payment form and make sure it clears before mailing anything. There are many great legitimate buyers out there but unfortunately many scam artists out there too.

When I asked others about their experiences with long distance buyers they shared these interesting and useful responses:

Kez - Hi Paula, I have used paypal through Etsy for years now. I have also sold ceramics in Norway through Paypal. Remember to estimate your shipping through the Canada Post site and allow for very good packaging. Your client should not have a problem with paying, it clearing, etc.

Cindy - I have sold my work via PayPal, moneybookers, bank transfer and through Saatchi online. I have yet to have a problem and have sold dozens of pieces overseas from England to Kuwait.
P.S. It has been my experience that most international inquiries are genuine. The cons are rather easy to spot. I'd say 35-40% of my sales are international.

Leah - I have clients in the US & Australia Paula and I simply invoice them through Paypal and it works like a charm. There is of course the fees but very reasonable. They also have the option of disputing the payment within a certain time frame which may give them comfort in knowing that they do have some recourse - whether it actually works or not - to come back to you if you do not give them the art work (Not that you are going to do that but something to consider on their end of it)

Scott - Bank drafts and money orders can be faked and usually you do not know till they fail to clear, some times 30 days after you have deposited them. Of course this is not always the case, many people are honest : )

Kathy - i have used paypal for several is a wonderful & secure i once ordered shoes online, which never came, and i submitted a report (easily) and i was credited my money back!! i would definitely recommend!... i also do etransfers through email..... very handy!

Stephen - Yes Paypal, used it many times when selling art domestically and abroad, the fee stings a bit, but secure at least.

Kenneth - Paypal is the way to go. It was set up to do just that.

Katie - Paypal does work. I always stipulate that shipping, insurance are buyer's responsibility & must be prepaid along w/ the purchase price for the item. I never accept any credit card, western union or bank tsf payments. I also think most international requests are scams. Usually the english is grammatically flawed & I take that to mean it's a scam. Paypal is good because u never need to give out any info. & if a pp notice is genuine u can tell by how it's worded.

Good luck all and keep up your detective skills! Artist Sue Rubira above.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lita Cabellut "Trilogy of Doubt"


power, injustice, ignorance

After a successful international tour the Spanish artist Lita Cabellut now presents her work for the first time on a grand scale in the Netherlands in The Noordbrabants Museum in 's-Hertogenbosch.

The title of the exhibition, Trilogy of doubt, is derived from her latest trilogy. Five triptychs are being combined with a collection specially made for the Noordbrabants Museum entitled Strong Women: Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo, Anne Frank, Mother Theresa, Madame Curie and Billie Holiday; female icons that symbolize exceptional ideals.

Trilogy of doubt and the other triptychs are socially inspired paintings about power, injustice and ignorance. The insightful characters act as a magnifying glass on life, on both its light and dark sides. They evoke associations with familiar types of art. Through her Spanish origin and her artistic career in the Netherlands, Cabellut feels as equally at home with Diego Velazquez and Francisco de Goya as with Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel.

Strong women is a gallery of the artist’s alter egos. Cabellut draws attention to characteristics such as bravery, compassion and sacrifice with these overwhelming figure pieces, their billboard-size format and striking self-developed technique. Her interest lies in the fragility of mankind. For her, art should be the way to the heart and to reason.
August 30 - December 1, 2013 - Noordbrabants Museum

Visit her site for fabulous work and a wonderful video which image above is from.
Lita Cabellut

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cheryl Tall, ceramic sculpture, upcoming exhibitions

Cheryl Tall, ceramic sculpture, upcoming exhibitions. Hope to see you!

Fallbrook Art Center, Fallbrook, CA
July 27 - Aug. 25, 2013
Reception:  Jul. 27, 2013, 5-7 pm

"Villa Borghese" by Cheryl Tall

Del Mano Gallery, Los Angles, CA

Hot Tea! 2013
July 20-Aug. 23, 2013
Online Exhibition and Sale

"All the Tea in China", teapot by Cheryl Tall

Horton Gallery
San Joaquin Delta College
Stockton, CA
Curated by Peter Held, director of the Ceramic Research Center, ASU, Tempe, AZ

AUG. 22-SEPT. 19, 2013
Reception:  Aug. 30, 2013

"Blowing in the Wind" by Cheryl Tall

OCT, 5-26, 2013

RECEPTION:  OCT. 5, 5-7, 2013

"Minerva". auction item by Cheryl Tall

A five artist exhibition curated by Karen McGuire, Dir.

Nov. 17, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014
Reception:  Nov. 16, 2013

"The Phoenician Couple" by Cheryl Tall

Cheryl Tall  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Christy Rogers, figurative underwater photography

Opening Nov 2, 2013 at Galeria de Art AFK in Lisbon, Portugal

"Show Me How to be Whole Again" 

“SHOW ME HOW TO BE WHOLE AGAIN” , the newest collection by artist Christy Lee Rogers begs an explanation for the title piece with its mysterious faceless matador, animating a human skeleton swathed in red who joins her disparate cast of symbolic characters in their underwater dance; it’s in the shadows down below that one finds illumination from Rogers’ frieze of mankind’s most vulnerable points, bringing us back up to the surface with a message of strength - life, death and the pursuit of something more.

With titles like “Vanity and Vexation”, “Grip of the Undertow” and “Oppressed by Figures of Beauty” her combination of a Native American Indian, clown, French soldier, cowboy, African tribesman and human skeleton, propose complex ideas set in scenes outside of the bounds of history and geography, which, so released, unleash the boundless sensation of endless humanity.

"Grip of the Undertow" 

Each figure is one fragment of infinite references to a cultural framework it's trapped inside of, unable to exist outside of, incapable of being alone, nothing on it's own - a fragment of the whole. Show Me How To Be Whole Again by Christy Lee Rogers brings myriad references back where we started - the sea, where together they swim in our collective conscious in the hope one day we may make them whole.

Shot in Hawaii, during the night in local pools, Rogers’ works once again pushes the boundaries of what is possible with a photograph, while creating all of her effects in camera, on the spot. The collection will be released starting in November at Galeria de Art AFK in Lisbon, Portugal, The Miller Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio, and many other shows and art fairs for Rogers are confirmed in Paris, Angers, Brussels and London.

Rogers is a visual artist from Kailua, Hawaii. Her works have been exhibited throughout the US and Europe and are held in private and public collections throughout the world. She has been featured in International Magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar Art China, Eyemazing, Photo Professional, Casa Vogue, Photo Technique and others.

"Vanity and Vexation" 

For image usage or inquiries contact Christy Rogers

Friday, August 2, 2013

Michael Abraham, Evergreen Cultural Centre

Michael Abraham, Red Carpet 

Michael Abraham: Apologues
Art Gallery at Evergreen Cultural Centre
Coquitlam BC – Jul 20-Aug 31, 2013

Michael Abraham is a popular Vancouver artist who creates fanciful images in a magic realism style. Formerly represented by the Simon Patrich Gallery for 13 years, he was taken on by Gallery Jones in 2006. After numerous solo exhibitions of Abraham’s work in Vancouver, Apologues is his first public gallery exhibit and a retrospective of his work.

Born in Montreal, Michael Abraham studied first at the Ontario College of Art during the 1980s and subsequently in Florence, Italy. Like an eclectic mix of Rousseau, Dali, Breugel and Bosch, Abraham’s paintings are flavoured by a fairytale sensibility with exaggerated people, fantastic animals, enchanted gardens and mythical landscapes. The surreal qualities of the scenes are emphasized by the vacuous expressions of his subjects – often including himself as model – and their strangely smooth skin and clothes.

Playful at first glance, the bizarre images often carry darker undertones of madness and chaos. Displaying what reviewers have described as “skewed realism,” “enigma and imagination,” and “whimsy, bemusement and contrasting veracity,” the paintings are heavily symbolic and rife with dense allusions to both public life and private reveries. Mia Johnson read more...
Michael Abraham

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mural Mosaic public art project

A few months ago I was approached by Mural Mosaic to participate in a large art installation project. Of course my first reaction was to be a bit suspicious but after checking out their web site and seeing some familiar names on the previous art projects I agreed to participate.

Here's what figurative artist Heather Brewster says about her involvement in an earlier project:
"Without any hesitation, the guys from Mural Mosaic are great. I know them personally.

I would jump at the chance to do any work with them.....and you would be smart to link to them.
I have received much attention from the work I have done with them.

They have big hearts, and have supported me through thick and thin... sickness and health.

I can't say enough good things about them." Heather

The theme for this large mosaic piece is "sports" and the piece will be unveiled in Sherbrooke, Quebec in August 2013. A total of 223 panels, each 16 by 16 inches, will create one large image on the theme of sports and each panel within the large piece is its own separate painting on the theme of sports. I received my panel #137 above with the blues and rosey streaks painted onto it already as an undercoat. My instructions were to completely cover the panel but follow the general color information.

I chose rhythmic gymnastics as my sport and spent some time perfecting my drawing so that it would fit within the confines on the panel as there would be no second chance. I had put away my acrylic paints a few years ago in favor of oil paints but we were obliged to create our panels in 100% acyclic paints so I pulled them out of storage and put them to use here. I created almost all of my panel with a palette knife and added only a few licks with a brush for the final top layer.


We can see the final image coming together here but will have to wait for the final unveiling in August to see the entire image. I see some other fine artists from group in this lineup:
Igor Postash, Autumn Skye Morrison, Phillip Buller, Heather Brewster, Kai McCall, Juan Martinez, Steve Adams, Andrew Benyei, and myself Paula O'Brien.

We'll post the final mural when it's completed. Meanwhile good luck and get going to any artists who have not yet completed their panels and mailed them back to the team. Cheers all! A great project!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chris Woods paints Star Wars

It's not often that your gal in the trench gets to the opening of an exhibition of one of our figurative artists but last week I did! Chris Woods opening at The Reach in Abbotsford, BC had been marked on my calendar for a couple of months and my brother just lives 2 blocks from this fine gallery so we made the small trek over there last week.

The theme of the show was Star Wars and even the food was influenced by this pop culture icon.
Fourteen large canvases explored the Star Wars story from Darth Vader's point of view.
The Reach says...
In his first solo museum exhibition, Chris Woods' Sandstorm is a collection of 14 epic-scale paintings that will tackle the most important movies in the history of pop-culture: the original Star Wars Trilogy.

These paintings will ask the question: What if we saw the events of Star Wars through the eyes of its main antagonist, Darth Vader?

Sandstorm will take stylistic inspiration from the 19th century French Romantic painter Eugene Delacroix and will be based on scenes from the original Star Wars trilogy. These oil paintings on canvas will look, darkly, through Vader’s artificial eyes at the heroes, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo.

To Vader, these heroes must have appeared in his nightmares as shadowy figures that had but one mission: see Vader dead and everything he built destroyed.
The images below show Chris' son Peter as a young Luke Skywalker and himself as George Lucas. Display cases housed drawings Chris had made as a young boy about the movie and its characters as well as interesting original fan club materials. Gee, do fan clubs by mail still exist or is it all online now?

Chris Woods earlier works explored other aspects of pop and modern culture as shown below.

Chris Woods

Thursday, July 11, 2013

James Van Fossan wins Chairman's Choice Award

We are very pleased to announce that James Van Fossan was given a Chairman's Choice Award at this year's prestigious ARC (Art Renewal Center) Salon for his large, multi-figure painting, Magnum Opus! Such a high honor is a beautiful compliment to the hundreds of hours put into a truly stunning and powerful work. Please enjoy an image of the award winning piece (above).

Magnum Opus is currently available at S R Brennen Galleries and the ARC Salon and awards can be seen at

James Van Fossan

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Figurative Art Jewelry

Facèré Art Gallery (pronounced fa-cherry) in Seattle is a wonderful little jewel box of art jewelry from over 40 artists. I always make a point of popping there to admire, be inspired and hunt for a treasure that one day might be added to my art jewelry collection.

Their jewelry artists range from bold and simple to fanciful and amusing and everything in between. Some of their artists works feature little humans doing amazing things. Here are a few of them...

Cynthia Toops
Cynthia has been working in polymer clay since the 1980's.

Examples of Cynthia's polymer clay mosaic pieces can be seen in numerous museum collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Tacoma Art Museum and the New York Museum of Art and Design.

Kristin Lora
Scooter Earrings
In plastic and sterling silver. Approx 1 1/2" tall.

Featured Artist: Margaux Lange
March 4, 2009 - March 25, 2009
This month Barbie will turn 50. Brooklyn based artist Margaux Lange makes jewelry with a little help from the icon. Lange has been creating accessories from 'discarded and repurposed' Barbie dolls since earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2001, where her 'Plastic Body Series' was first conceived. 

Lange credits a childhood obsessed with Barbie's miniature world for nurturing her creativity and dexterity. "Whether you love her or hate her, there are few who feel neutral about the plastic princess. I am fascinated with who Barbie is as a cultural icon and the enormous impact she has had on our society." Lange's work has exhibited extensively and has been published in books such as '500 Bracelets' and '500 Necklaces,' by Lark Books, as well as 'Cool Green Stuff' highlighting 'Green Design,' by Random House Publishing.   

Facèré is located in the City Centre Building (on the first floor behind the escalator) at 1420 Fifth Avenue in the heart of downtown Seattle. City Centre is bounded by Fifth and Sixth avenues, and Pike and Union streets. View map.

Mailing address:
Facèré Jewelry Art Gallery
1420 Fifth Avenue, #108
Seattle, WA   98101

Phone: 206.624.6768
Gallery hours: Monday through Saturday 10am to 6pm and Sunday noon to 5pm.


Friday, June 28, 2013

FAB new site is underway, would you like to help me?

Hi there! is well underway with a fantastic big update and I'd love to have some help from cyberland. The new site is a wordpress site so that means the blog will be sweetly incorporated right into the site.

An easy task that could be farmed out to a helper is to set feature image to the old posts as that makes the new site really zing!

Here are some screenshots of the new site in development:

This is what the blog page looks like with the feature image beside the blog excerpt. 

The fabulous new sort by medium page. Here is is showing the top part of the page for ALL artists at the moment.

Here's what happens when you sort by mixed media. The images slide around to featured only the artists tagged with mixed media.

This is what the old museum style pages with 30 figurative artists per page will look like.

Below is what the new pages will look like for each artist. There will be two styles of pages available, depending on the support and donation made by each artist. Artists who joined us before Jan 1, 2013 will automatically get the simpler page and will be encouraged to support the site and opt for the fuller look.

Simple page per artist:

Full page per artist with 3 images selected and shown on the page and in image slider. The 3 images that appear in the slider would flow down the page but are cut off here in my screenshot.
How can you help? I'm so glad you asked. Email me and we can chat about giving you editor status on the new site and then you can log in and set those feature images. Don't worry if you don't know how. I will make a video that will show you how to do it.
If you're already a member artist, you probably have my email.
If not, try submit @
xxx Paula