Tag Archives: Surrealism

Weekly Art Challenge: SURREALISM!

Hello Folks!


This weeks art theme is Surrealism! I love Surrealism, its one of the most creative and thought provoking art movements of the 20th century. The movement evolved after WWI and was focused on exploring the inner workings of the mind through art and literature. In my opinion it was one of the emotionally liberating moments in art. People would let their imaginations fly as they looked inward for their inspiration.


RjHell Toast, Pen and ink on Paper – I have yet to decide if RJ is feeling excited for the upcoming Halloween festivities or had a very bad experience with his breakfast this week and THIS is his surrealist revenge! The details, as always, are impeccable. That toaster looks very hellish and cavernous; and I feel rather sorry for the toast. My favorite detail, the tiny hearts from the heavenly toast crumbs, the toast found peace after its hellish experience in the toaster! 🙂

hell toast


Tony: Mind and Self,  mix media on paper – Tony’s explanation of his piece:

“It’s about liberation, freedom of mind and being open to the possibilities of the Universe [ I drawn our Galaxy on the Lock to represent that ]. When you are attached to Love [ Heart ], or material things like money, or hurt feelings, you need to step back and think about more than all that and free yourself from those things. By doing so, your mind thinks [ thoughs are represented by the Energy on the guys’s head ] and those thoughs become acts [ Act = The guy’s big hand ] and you can detach yourself from everything [ water running out the tube and giving water to the flower which is a sign of nature, Earth. But also starts the mechanism that makes the hand moves towards the lock Then it unlocks the Brain – Mind, and the eyes in order to think and see more than what you usually think or see ]. The birds going out of the cage are obviously symbol of freedom that someone wants to reach. The phone is a part of things that makes us materialists, the chess-like floor is just a thing that is often used in Surrealism art so I took it as a symbol for this theme. The trains goes toward the left/future and is a part of the man [ smoke/beard ]. So it’s also one of the metaphors. The eye in the Hand is another sign. In Buddhism it is symbol of protection called Hamsa. I used Buddhism a lot in this drawing because my double theme represents something like reaching the enlightenment.”

Mind and self


Amber: Untitled Dreams, Watercolor, acrylic, graphite on paper – I still have some detail work to complete on my piece, but for now I am happy.  The inspiration came from a recent discovery of an old collage drawing that I started years ago, but never finished.  It was a terrible collage drawing of my yellow tea mug with a weird blue paper mosaic in the background. I thought that maybe I could improve it by using it for one of the art challenges, but I left home in a hurry for a work trip and did not bring the horrid artwork with me… I still liked the image I had in mind for the piece so I started fresh – I think it looks better than it would with the other piece.

For my piece I combined a variety of meaningful images into a composition that reflects a series of bizarre but relevant dreams I had not to long ago with my fear that should I settle then my life would grow stagnant and I would eventually begin to sink into the dreadful unseen.


Untitled Dreams



Thats it for this week, Next art challenge: BOLD COLORS! 


Woman Artist: Leonora Carrington

Hello everyone!

March, as many of you know, is Women’s history month and today is International Women’s Day. I should have been doing this for the past week, I seriously do not know why it didn’t occur to me until today, but for the rest of the month I am going to dedicate a post to a woman in the arts each day. I hope to help educate the public on the importance and value of art and of women in the arts.

Happy International Women’s Day!!

Leonora Carrington – British-born Mexican artist. April 1917- May 2011

I was first introduced to Carrington’s work in a general art history class way back in 1998.  I was 18 years old, a freshman in college and trying my best to learn as much about famous artists as I could. I remember having a fear that none of this art history I was “learning” would actually stick and everyone would soon know that I was really very clueless about art.

It was surrealism day in class and Leonora Carrington was one of the few female artists that graced the screen that day, or even that semester. I am fairly certain that her work was there more as a filler image for my professor’s lecture and an attempt to show some diversity in a course that was dominated by white male artists. My professor never did expand too much about Carrington work or her life and I don’t recall having to study her for any exam. But up on the screen amid the Dali’s and Magritte’s pops up Carrington’s ‘Self Portrait (1937)’ and I was immediately in awe. Her work seemed so much different than the other surrealists. Her self-portrait was raw and self-aware. At the time I didn’t know anything of her, but it was evident that she was expressing her core self.

Self Portrait

Carrington used events in her life to draw from for artistic inspiration.

She was raised in Britain by a wealthy family and educated by a governess. At a young age she rebelled against the social life of the wealthy British. Kicked out of several schools due to “unruly behavior” until her father consented to send her to Florence, where she studied art. Shortly afterwards she attended Chelsea Art Academy and later the Ozenfant Academy in London.

In 1936 she met and fell in love with the German artist Max Ernst at a surrealist exhibition in London and later ran away with him to Paris where the two artists would nourished each other’s artistic visions. Her family was not very supportive and due to her relationship with Ernst she became estranged from her father. She painted Ernst’s portrait in a frosty landscape featuring him in an odd furry purple costume and an ice horse in the background as homage to their love.

Portrait of Max Ernst

Unfortunately WWII was looming in the near future and the two artists were separated. Ernst was first arrested by the French officials as a hostile alien and then later by the Nazis, where he was briefly placed in a concentration camp. The stress and fear of what as happening to Ernst caused Carrington to flee to Spain where she had a nervous break down and was institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital. Her experiences here were later recounted in the book ‘Down Below’. When both Carrington and Ernst were able to meet up again, too much horror and trauma had happened for them to reconnect.

Carrington then married Mexican diplomat Renato Leduc to help her relocate to Mexico where she experience more success for her work than in her native Britain. When she and Leduc amicably divorced she then married photojournalist and Hungarian immigrant Chiki Weisz, had two sons and spent the rest of her life divided between Mexico City and New York City.

Leonora Carrington died May 25, 2011 at the age of 96.

Additional links for further discovery of Leonora Carrington.



http://maricarmenvillares.blogspot.com/2012/01/leonora-carrington-la-inasible.html – A blog in Spanish.