me, and some art that I like

Shelley Dell self portrait

about 7 inches square, watercolor and colored pencil

A short biography of me is available on the “about” page of my website at shelleydell.com, in truth I am not all that interesting.

Here are a few examples of some artists and artworks that a greatly admire, and can’t pretend to list every artist who has influenced me so here are a few images that I have thought about today:

 

Kathe Kollwitz “Female Nude with Green Shawl Seen from Behind”  1903 62.6 x 47.2 cm

Kathe Kollwithz

Kathe Kollwitz “Female Nude with Green Shawl Seen from Behind” 1903 62.6 x 47.2 cm

I find this lithograph especially lovely for a number of reasons: the source of the light must be right over the models head causing the highlights on the shoulders to be especially bright, the strength of the light source makes the back look luminous in dark surroundings. This lithograph came from a time where the artist worked directly on litho stones with crayons, no messing around, full commitment to the line. It is listed as “lithograph with green chalk” I would love to see this for real, to see how she drew with the chalk.

 

Richard Diebenkorn “Ocean Park #79”, 1975 Oil on canvas 93 x 81 in.

Richard Diebenkorn “Ocean Park #79″, 1975 Oil on canvas 93 x 81 in.

Richard Diebenkorn “Ocean Park #79″, 1975 Oil on canvas 93 x 81 in.

Richard Diebenkorn has always impressed me, he is a talented figurative artist who also makes beautiful abstract paintings about light and color. This painting comes from a series that he painted in California and though abstract it conveys the brightness and color of that landscape. His work always has a connectedness to place, something that is rare in abstract art. Diebenkorn’s compositions remake the “rule of thirds” into something more like the “rule of seven eighths” but still balanced and interesting to look at.

 

Ellsworth Kelly “Briar” 1961 black ink on woven paper 22.5 x 28.5 inches

Ellsworth Kelly "Briar" 1961 black ink on woven paper 22.5 x 28.5 inches

Ellsworth Kelly “Briar” 1961 black ink on woven paper 22.5 x 28.5 inches

Ellsworth Kelly is better known for his large hard edged color paintings and sculptures. He also drew beautiful contour drawings. I saw some of his plant drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this was one of them. One thing that does not come across in reproductions on the web is the quality of line, he pressed pretty hard, there are no pencil sketch erasures, he drew these sometimes in one continuous line. Some of his plant drawings are 6 feet tall (or long, I have no idea where he puts the paper when he draws) I marvel at his proprioceptive sense of place on the paper.

 

Edward Steichen “Matchsticks and Matchboxes” 1926 gelatin silver print 10″ x 8″

Edward Steichen "Matchsticks and Matchboxes" 1926 gelatin silver print 10" x 8"

Edward Steichen “Matchsticks and Matchboxes” 1926 gelatin silver print 10″ x 8″

Edward Steichen photographed large and small subjects, the quotidian subjects like matches and Life Savers are precise, clean and perfect. Low raking light, careful hard to set up arrangement, every bit of this image is a decision. No mistakes allowed and completely compelling to look at.

 

Dale Chihuly “Summer Sun” 2010 Blown Glass and Steel 12′ diameter

photo copyright Shelley Dell

Dale Chihuly “Summer Sun” 2010 Blown Glass and Steel 12′ diameter
Denver Botanic Gardin August 2014

Dale Chihuly is a glass artist based in Seattle who somehow manages to work with glass like he is bending light to his will. I saw a collection of his installations at the Denver Botanic garden this year where I took this photo, I guessed at the size of this sculpture. Chihuly’s large installations often fit into their surroundings so well that you believe that they are magical plants or flowers. His smaller works seem to catch and hold light and glow from within.

 

"Come Dance With Me" Frank Sinatra 1959

“Come Dance With Me”
Frank Sinatra 1959

Robert Kaupelis taught me to love drawing as a freshman in college, I wouldn’t really understand what a gift that was until decades later. His drawing books are still in print. There was a tired old phonograph in the drawing studios on West 4th Street, the scratchy needle drop to the first song of this album meant it was time to get to work. I’ve got this as an LP, cassette, CD, and download, and I think of Bob Kaupelis and reach for a pencil sharpener whenever I hear it.