Friday, October 29, 2010

Free Cards Friday ~ Melissa's Analysis of Picasso & KmBerggren

Katie m. Berggren & Pablo Picasso

An Art Appreciation Analysis by Melissa Larey, Jacksonville Florida
©October 22, 2010 (reprinted with permission)

How does one define art? I do not think there is a universally accepted definition of art. Art, to me, means beauty, awkwardness, uniqueness and impulsiveness. It is any interpretation that is being represented to the person viewing the art. There are many different styles of art and many different mediums that are used. A lot of times, the meaning of art can come from the era in which the art is produced. In this research paper, I have found two pieces of art that were created in two different eras. These pieces are exactly 105 years apart from each other. I will define the differences in communication between the two pieces of artwork as well as the elements and principles of design that are being used.

The first piece is a painting called Finding Words and was painted by Katie Berggren in September 2010. This piece was found online at Katie m. Berggren's website and is currently located in Washington.

The artist, Katie Berggren, says “Capturing and releasing are the two reasons I paint – to capture a fleeting moment or to release an emotion.” My initial analysis of this painting seemed to depict a mother’s sense of holding on and nurturing her child from the outside world. The child is looking away in wonderment of what is out there. It is the “typical” depiction of a typical mother wanting to keep her child safe and a child wanting nothing more than to let go. The essence of capturing and releasing as Katie describes is very apparent in this painting.

Finding Words, ©KmBerggren

Elements of Design: The first element of design that I noticed in Finding Words are the complementary colors that are being used. The bright colors are instantly noticeable. The blue shirt of the mother and the orange shirt of the child are direct opposites from each other on the color wheel. By using them right next to each other the colors appear brighter and more intense. These colors also suggest warmth which leads us to feel the closeness of the mother and her child. By using these warm colors, the objects were brought to the front of the painting while the cooler colors of the space and the moon seem to be kept in the distance.

The second element I noticed was space. The left side of the painting is full of objects while the right side is empty. The entire right side is negative space and the left side is positive space. While the space on the right is negative, it perhaps has the greatest meaning in this painting. It represents vastness, wonderment, infinity, pretty much everything and anything out there in this world.

The third element I saw was the use of curved lines. The lines used give the representation of comfort, closeness, safety and relaxation. The way the mother’s hair is curved around her child gives off the meaning of security and closeness as if she wants to become one with the child. The single strand of curvy hair can suggest us to look at the negative space. This could be the main focal point of the painting. This curved strand of hair could also imply the division between the outer world and her child.

Principles of Design: In Finding Words I noticed several principles of design were being used; Contrast, emphasis and asymmetrical balance. In this painting I was able to clearly identify the strong use of contrast. One side of the painting has very vibrant colors while the other side is using only the color black. The loud use of the colors lets us see the lighter side of the painting as more important than the darker side of the painting. The largeness of the mother and child figures matches the size of the space so that it balances the painting out.

I also noticed the emphasis that was used in the child’s eyes to draw us to what the child is looking at. By opening the child’s eyes and turning his head, we can now understand the feeling of longing to know what else exists in their world besides the mother. A simple focal point like this is what brings the meaning of this painting together in words. This painting reminds me of a saying, “Seeing through the eyes of the beholder”. We have to imagine the world through the child’s eyes not our own.

The last principle of design that caught my attention is the use of the asymmetrical balance. Both the left and the right side of this painting are equally balanced out based on the size of space and the size of the mother and child. While both sides are completely different in terms of content, they balance each other out based on size.

The second piece I have chosen is called Tumblers Mother and Son and was painted by Pablo Picasso in 1905. The painting is done on a canvas, 35 ½ x 28 in., and is currently located in Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart. Pablo Picasso went through many periods during his painting years including the Rose Period.

Tumblers Mother & Son, ©Pablo Picasso

The Rose Period began around 1904 when Picasso’s painting became brighter and were dominated by pinks, light blues, roses and beiges. My initial analysis of Mother and Son depicted a mother and son’s sadness. They both are looking away from each other, not in wonderment, but in either anger or being displeased with one another. They are sitting so close, but seem extremely distant from each other.

Elements of Design: In Mother and Son, the first element I saw was the color that was used. Because Picasso painted this during his Rose Period, you notice the warm pink and beige colors as well as the light blue color of the son’s costume. By using the blue next to the pink colors, the focus draws your attention to the son. The blue color stands out in intensity amongst the rose, pink and beige shades. By using the warmer shades on the color wheel such as pink and beige, while using a cooler color of blue, the contrast in the painting is noted. You begin to feel a warmness and softness feeling and as your eyes are directed to the blue costume you feel sadness and despair.

The second element that caught my attention is the use of lines. The curved use of lines on the mother’s hair and wrap seems to lead you to her face where you can see the despair and sadness. The use of straight lines on the collar of the son’s costume, lead you to his face where there is also a look of sadness. The lines on the collar also pull away from his face and onto his folded arms which represents anger and a feeling of being closed off.

The third element I focused on is the implied depth that is being used. The closeness of the table which has been painted as a three dimensional piece making the table seem closer than the mother and son. By making the table closer than the mother and son, I wonder if Picasso wanted someone to notate the small amount of food on the table. Is poverty the issue between the mother and the son? This painting was done in a time where poverty was at its most high so I can only wonder if this was the reason for the sadness and despair in the painting.

The last element I noticed was the value contrast. By using a darker color for the food against the white plate implies the little amount of food that is left on the plate. I also noticed the paleness of the mother and son’s faces against the warm colors in the painting. This to me only exaggerates the despair we already noticed in the painting. The pale faces scream fragileness and delicacy.

Principles of Design: As discussed in the elements section on color, the contrast shown in this painting is very noticeable between the light blue shade versus the warm pinks and beige shades. By using only one cool color in this painting, the attention is drawn more to the son than any other portion of this painting. The roughness of the table against the soft curved lines of the mother’s wrap stand out to create variety.

Another principle of design I will analyze is the asymmetrical balance of the warm and cool colors that are being used. The brighter pink color of the rose in the mother’s hair balances out the blue costume that the son is wearing. The paleness of the faces seems to be balanced out by the rosier color of the son’s legs. The straight and diagonal lines used for the table and mother are balanced out by the diagonal lines used on the bottom right portion where the son’s legs are.

The last principle of design I noticed was the unity. The placement of the mother’s head with the son’s head, indirectly leads us to think they are connected in someway. They are perfectly diagonal from one another representing closeness. Even though they are looking away from one another, they are still connected in this painting by the use of the different lines being used. The diagonal, straight and curved lines pull the entire painting together as a whole. By surrounding the entire painting in the warm beige and pink colors also unifies this piece of art.

In closing, I chose both of these painting because they represented very different points of views from the way a mother and child act towards each other as well as the use of the elements and principles of design. While one artist captured the beauty of a mother and her child the other captured the beauty of poverty and despair. Even though Picasso’s subjects were saddened the use of the colors portrayed a solemn feel. Berggren’s vibrant painting represents a bolder outlook on life while capturing embracement and compassion.

It is amazing how these two pieces of art have spoken to me in so many different ways. As I sit here looking at both of them I can not help but to think how I would portray them next time I looked at them in, say, 50 years.

Thank you Melissa!

It's Free Cards Friday! Add your comment to this blog post (here at the blog or on the Facebook page) throughout the weekend and be in the running to win some cards ~ I'll choose the winner on Monday.

Have a great weekend,
Love & Sincerely, Katie

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thoughtful Gifts to Serve A Purpose

This season fills my mind with thoughts of how I can buy less & buy smarter. Thinking quality over quantity ~ I remember the value of giving one or two small thoughtful gifts vs. gifts that strive to impress (do expensive gifts really show our love? I think not.)

It's even better when those thoughtful gifts serve a purpose, or fill a need.I've paired my personal philosophy with my art to offer easy ways to achieve several thoughtful gifts in one package (and save $).

And these thoughtful gifts DO serve a purpose ~ if you need proof
read what people are saying in regard to theKmBerggren prints & paintings
they have in their homes.

and here are some more.

Holiday Gift Packs
are now available in the Online Shop in 3 sizes: $39, $59, $89

(guaranteed to cross at least 2 people off your list, but available only through December 5, or while supplies last)

Holiday Gift Pack – 12x12 (shown above)
•3 Archival 12x12 prints of your choice
•1 Glass Charm
•2 5x7 Cards
$89 ~ a $108.50 value!
now available in the Online Shop

Holiday Gift Pack – 8x10

•3 Archival 8x10 prints of your choice
•1 Glass Charm
•2 5x7 Cards
$59 ~ a $72.50 value!
now available in the Online Shop

Holiday Gift Pack – Mini (shown above)
•1 Archival 12x12 prints of your choice
•1 Glass Charm
•2 5x7 Cards
$39 ~ a $50.50 value!
now available in the Online Shop

When I'm asked to buy with motivation of guilt and claims of products improving lives, I rebel and run. The whole sell-sell process drives me batty. Does this go against being an artist who creates from-the-heart artwork to share?
It doesn't.
I support, and my business accepts, heart-initiated purchases. Especially handmade, especially local, and especially from someone you know, like and trust.

Wishing you a day full of Possibilities
~Love & Sincerely, Katie

Painting Motherhood, Please share this link with your motherhood-loving friends.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gingerbread ~ Holiday Cards ~ Free Cards Friday

Finally! A good Gingerbread recipe :)

I have had terrible luck in past years with gingerbread - but this one, YUM! Especially when I substituted syrup for the molasses - they were so good I could hardly stand it :) My boys loved baking these.

this recipe courtesy of my littlest's pre-school. I made them a cookie sheet-sized man for snack a couple weeks ago - and what do you know, after they decorated him and put him in the oven, he escaped and they searched all over the school for him! They found him in their classroom, and munched him.

3 C flour (I used whole wheat)
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 C butter, room temperature
1/2 C white sugar
1 large egg

2/3 C unsulphured molasses (on the second go-round I used maple syrup, and that was my favorite!)

Whisk flour, salt, soda and spices. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar til light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses and beat til well combined. Gradually add flour mixture til incorporated. Refrigerate for 2+ hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut to shapes. Bake 8-12 (more, in my experience). Done when firm and edges start to brown.

"Cooking is like love.
It should be entered into
with abandon
or not at all."

~Harriet Van Horne

(wanna hear something crazy? I searched online for quotes about baking with children and very quickly landed on a page with quotes about cooking children, hmmm)

Holiday Cards are now available!

3 styles of Holiday Cards are now available ~
head on over to the online shop to grab some! (while supplies last, of course)

It's Free Cards Friday! Add your comment to THIS blog post (here at the blog or on the Facebook page) throughout the weekend and be in the running to win some cards ~ I'll choose the winner on Monday.

Have a great weekend,
Love & Sincerely, Katie

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sun Beam & Angie's kind words ~ Free Cards Winner

Sun Beam ©2009. Katie m. Berggren
Acrylic on Canvas, 20x16"

"Thank you Katie! I LOVE the feelings that stir up inside me when I see Sun Beam. My little one is 13 months now and growing so fast. Your work will help to capture our mama and baby moments. Sun Beam looks just like my son and I too. I just love it! I have a perfect place for it! Knowing the painting came from another passionate mama also means a lot to me. I love filling my home with art that connects me with others. Thank you for sharing your passion!"
~Angie, Colorado~ (thank you Angie!)

12x12, 13x19 and 8x10 Archival Prints of Sun Beam are available in the Online Shop

The Free Cards Winner for last week is Lu! Thank you for playing!

Have a great week,

Love & Sincerely, Katie

Monday, October 11, 2010

Holiday Gift Packs Coming Soon ~ Free Cards Winner

Holiday Gift Packs Coming Soon!

Beginning Thursday, October 14, these packs will be available in the Online Shop.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Available Only While Supplies Last or Through December 5!

Holiday Gift Pack – 8x10
•3 Archival 8x10 prints of your choice
•1 Glass Charm (design specified in each shop listing)
•2 5x7 Cards (give one and keep one!)
$59 ~ a $72.50 value!

Holiday Gift Pack – 12x12
•3 Archival 12x12 prints of your choice
•1 Glass Charm (design specified in each shop listing)
•2 5x7 Cards (give one and keep one!)
$89 ~ a $108.50 value!

Holiday Gift Pack - Mini
•1 Archival 12x12 print of your choice
•1 Glass Charm (design specified in each shop listing)
•2 5x7 Cards (give one and keep one!)
$39 ~ a $50.50 value!

The free cards winner for last week is Michele ~ thank you for playing!

Have a great week,
Love & Sincerely, Katie

Friday, October 8, 2010

Free Cards Friday ~ Prioritizing ~ Featured Available 10x10 Painting

Sometimes, I think, we feel as though we are floating-slash-drowning in to-dos. Never quite knowing where to start (as far as business), and never quite knowing which item to do first. Which often leads to time spent on things that really could wait.

Tonite, on a whim, I did a search for the Priority Chart that shows Urgent/Unimportant/Somewhat Important/Important. I remember learning about this when I was the assistant for an amazing top-producing realtor.

I found it on the first search - here it is in a very basic form, I know there are some much more detailed ones out there. This worked for me.

I've decided to try a new way of organizing my to-dos. Versus categorizing them by business/research/contacts/personal/etc etc, I am categorizing them using the chart above. Using one brightly colored sticky note on each quadrant.

I've written before about my urge to do EVERYTHING on my list RIGHT NOW! So, here goes. I'll let you know how it works.

Tonite I transfered my previous weekly to-do chart over to this new version ~ and in the process let some things go that didn't really need to be done at all.

What do you do to keep it all together?

Featured Available 10x10 Painting: Giving Life ~
(grab it here while it lasts)

YAY! It's Free Cards Friday! Add your comment to THIS blog post (
here at the blog or on the Facebook page) throughout the weekend and be in the running to win some cards ~ I'll choose the winner on Monday.

Have a great weekend!
Love & Sincerely ~ Katie

Monday, October 4, 2010

2 New Videos ~ Amy's Lovely Words ~ Free Cards Winner

A smattering for you today!

Finishing Up Three Souls

Process of Undiluted ~ Part 1

Amy's Lovely Words

"Katie -- We received the painting today (Beyond Expectations, above) and words cannot describe what I felt when I opened the box. I have just been blown away this entire time by this painting, but it is even more impressive in person! You captured our relationship and my feelings perfectly. Our nursing relationship is "beyond expectations" and so is this painting! It is exactly what I was hoping for when I commissioned the painting. Thank you so so much!! You are a truly talented artist and a joy to work with!"
Amy in Texas

The Free Cards Winner
for last week is Toni, thank you all for playing!

Have a GREAT week!

Love & Sincerely, Katie

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Things To Love ~ besides the little ones & the hubby

Recently, I'm being kind to myself. Really. Maybe I should have been doing these things all along.

1) I'm reading. Even if it is just a few minutes a day ~ I'm doing it. I have two busy boys, a lot of laundry, a compulsive impulse to have a tidy and germ-free house, a full-time (pretty much) home business which includes a lot of painting and such, and the tactics of a saboteur (sabotaging myself in relation to goals and sleep). But when I realized that I had put away this inch-and-a-half book in less than 2 weeks I was inspired.

Broken For You, by Stephanie Kallos ~ really good. And clearly I have time to read, right?

Tonite I started: Life's Work, Confessions of an Unbalanced Mom, by Lisa Belkin

2) I'm browsing for art I like. I always said that when I had a house I loved, I wanted to decorate it with art that I loved, and art from my artist friends. I'm doing so (because I finally love my house).

Barbara Paanakker's Elephant Exhibit hangs proudly in my hallway ~ the morning light graces it and reveals the beautiful textures.

I await this beautiful print (left) from artist Susana Tavares which I will proudly hang. Susana lives in Portugal. ©

3) I'm taking time to watch a bit of television. Hulu, to be precise. My actual television treats me to MarioKart with my little ones, but that is all, besides the occasional movie on the couch with the hubby. We like Hulu; no commercials, pick and choose ;) Parenthood, The Office & Modern Family are the ones I like.

4) I'm cooking healthful meals. Get that: I'm Cooking! Yes! When you eat healthy you have energy ~ and said energy can then be recycled into cooking more healthy meals! It seems so simple. But it certainly is not. We do our best. I love smoothies packed with spinach, apples, lots of bananas, orange juice, vitamin c, frozen blueberries and strawberries and I just started adding Goldenseal to help us stay healthy during flu season.

5) I'm buying more unhealthy (but not too unhealthy) treats, too. Freddies Nutrition Center ~ thank you for offering snacks that allow me to be a bit bad, but still good.

6) I'm talking to people I love. Not all of them, just yet, but as many as I can. Skype and the telephone ~ don't forget the value of a smile and the time to listen ~ they remind our loved ones that we care about them. When it comes to those I love, I think about a quote I read years ago (something like) "the tears cried at a grave are tears of regret"... I don't want those tears. Other kinds, yes, but not the regret ones.

7) I'm talking to people I don't know. Lots of them. It is so very fun. I give my smile, kindness and greeting to so many strangers now (that is a tricky subject with my little ones, so I best not get into it with them since I have been promoting Stranger Danger since they were tiny). Well, except that guy on the phone at my hosting company the other day ~ he didn't get my kindness, he got my grumpy attitude and my urge to stand up for myself and not take any crap from anyone. I really should have apologized before we hung up, but I forgot. Sorry man, I know it wasn't your fault.

8) I'm taking breaks from email and computer ~ realize that we sometimes get locked in to feeling our worth based on how many emails/etsy sales/facebook posts & friend requests we get? I'm not turning the computer on in the a.m. until my big boy is at school and my little one and I have had our walk together, it is working for me (of course there are exceptions to this!). Need me before 10:30am? Call me. And, if you are wondering, I am using the wonderful invention of scheduled-publishing, so blog posts can appear in the a.m. while I'm off galavanting.

9) I'm cutting myself slack - in cleaning and work. I'm going to bed with toys on the floor and unfolded laundry (even the wet stuff). I don't stress as much about baths and spots on the floor.

So, this is a start. Life is short. I recently read somewhere, someone said (something like) "when I think about the fact that I will someday be dead, it helps me to..." fill in the blank. Prioritize? Cut some junk from the to-do list? Stress the small stuff a little bit less? Whatever works for you.

So, now, clearly I'm sabotaging, because it is far too late for a mama of 2 early-risers to be tapping away.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Do something nice for yourself, maybe?

Love & Sincerely, Katie