“The Nightowl” (2021), oil, embroidery thread, and yarn on canvas in a wood frame, 28 x 22 inches. All images courtesy of Paradigm Gallery, shared with permission

The lengthy exposure times required by 19th Century photography were not conducive to newborns and fidgety toddlers, a problem many mothers tried to remedy by cloaking themselves in fabric and hiding behind furniture. As a result, those Victorian-era portraits, while capturing an endearing stage of life, are often spectral and slightly unnerving, shadowed by phantom limbs and textile silhouettes that closely resemble an inanimate backdrop despite their lively features.

This desire for disguise informs the multi-media works of Philadelphia-area artist Sarah Detweiler, whose ongoing series Hidden Mother is on view at Paradigm Gallery through May 22. Depicted without children, Detweiler’s portraits subvert the original photographs to instead draw attention to the figures otherwise purposely relegated to the background. Fabrics rendered with a combination … Read the rest

Eli Broad, a collector who dramatically reshaped Los Angeles’s art scene with a museum in his name and large financial contributions to top arts venues, has died at 87. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which oversees his collection, announced his death on Friday night.

“Eli saw the arts as a way to strive to build a better world for all,” Joanne Heyler, the founding director of the Broad, the L.A. art museum he opened in 2015, said in a statement. “He was a fiercely committed civic leader, and his tenacity and advocacy for the arts indelibly changed Los Angeles. He will long be remembered for his unmatched generosity in sharing the arts passionately and widely.”

With his wife Edythe, whom he married in 1954, Broad amassed a world-class collection filled with artists ranging from Jeff Koons to Kerry James Marshall. The Broads have ranked on the annual ARTnews Top … Read the rest

Female blanket octopus in Palm Beach, Florida. All images licensed, © BluePlanetArchive/Steven Kovacs

After sunset, self-taught photographer Steven Kovacs plunges into the open ocean around Palm Beach to shoot the minuscule, unassuming creatures floating in the depths. He’s spent the last eight years on blackwater dives about 730 feet off the eastern coast of Florida in a process that “entails drifting near the surface at night from 0 to 100 feet over very deep water.” Often framing species rarely seen by humans, Kovac shoots the larval fish against the dark backdrop in a way that highlights the most striking aspects of their bodies, including wispy, translucent fins, iridescent features, and bulbous eyes.

Because Kovacs doesn’t have formal training in marine biology, he often enlists the help of scientists around the world to identify many of the rare fish he photographs. At the top of his list for future encounters … Read the rest

Over the course of a career that spanned more than half a century, Emma Amos profoundly shifted the course of art history through her varied experiments combining painting and textiles. These works exploded with color, and they brought forth new mediations on what figurative painting could be, reckoning in the process with issues of race and gender. “I try to make a painting resonate in some kind of way,” Amos said in an oral history with the Smithsonian Archives of American Art in 2011.

The influence of Amos, who died last year at 83, now looms large in the art world, but that wasn’t always the case. She struggled to find gallery representation early on in her career, and for much of her life, she didn’t sell many works. Even fewer of her paintings entered museum collections while she was alive. But Amos was never one to give up easily. … Read the rest

In the 1940s, Toshiba began producing index typewriters with massive, horizontal cylinders containing thousands of symbols. One edition, the BW-2112—watch the demonstration by the New Orleans-based Typewriter Collector above to see how the redesign utilizes manual rotation and a metal pointer to print the characters—was a particularly advanced model with keys in three languages: Japanese, Chinese, and English.

The trilingual device ordered the characters in a manner similar to what you’d find in a Japanese dictionary, which is explained on the Typewriter Collector’s page as follows:

They’re arranged phonetically by most common “on-yomi” (or kun-yomi in some cases) according to the kana syllabary (many homophones, of course)… Red characters help parse the readings. Last character to left of equal sign can be pronounced “kin” (exert) and the first character in next row “gin” (silver), then “ku” (suffer) in red followed by “kuu” (sky, empty), “kuma” (bear), “kun” (teachings, meaning

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If you’re looking for a new craft, consider basket weaving. Basket-making kits make it easy to get started, offering all the supplies and instructions you need in one neat package. Many people find weaving baskets to be calming, and it helps children develop dexterity and learn new skills. The best part, of course, is the final product, be it a simple kids’ creation or an impressive piece of home decor. Ahead, find our favorite basket-weaving kits, including challenging options, beginner favorites, and a few in between.

Traditional Crafts Coiled Basket Kit, Pine Needle
Many indigenous peoples such as the Chocktaw have long used pine needles to create strong and lightweight baskets. This kit includes the pine needles, binding raffia, steel needle, and coiling gauge needed to weave Read the rest

“Veils of Knowledge” at Grenoble Street Art Festival in France. Photo by Andrea Berlese. All images © Rosie Woods, shared with permission

As if lifted by a breeze, oversized ribbons and bunches of fabric float across the trompe l’oeil murals by London-based artist Rosie Woods. The gleaming, prismatic textiles sway and subtly twist into folds and ripples in the spray-painted works. Through the flowing movements, Woods explores the fluid, ever-changing nature of the human experience by synthesizing abstraction and realism. She explains:

I often wonder what my soul would look like if it manifested itself as an object I could see and touch on this earth.  My artwork today looks to express the depth, growth, and complexity of the mind as well as its ability to encompass both light and dark spaces emotionally. I’d like to think you can “feel” my artwork with your eyes.

Woods translates her massive, lustrous … Read the rest

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Watercolor pencils are like colored pencils, only their pigments are water soluble, which means they will spread like paint when you wet them. This is a really fun medium, but it can offer a slight learning curve as you get used to loading water and applying pressure. If you’re relatively new to watercolor pencils or are on a budget, we suggest you purchase a set geared toward students. Student-grade pencils won’t offer the incredible colors or longevity of their professional-grade counterparts, but they are still highly capable and encourage experimentation with techniques like creating washes, working wet-into-dry, or vice versa. Get started with one of our favorite student-grade watercolor pencil sets, reviewed below.

General Pencil Kimberly Watercolor Pencils
General’s pencils sit at the top of our list Read the rest

As we collectively count down the days until we can safely enjoy post-vaccination visits with friends and family, a delightful animation has a comforting message for those of us struggling to reign in our anxiety: “If this disruption undoes you, if the absence of people unravels you…lean into loneliness and know you’re not alone in it.”

A collaboration between poet Tanya Davis and filmmaker Andrea Dorfman, “How to Be at Home” plucks some of the same scenarios from the duo’s wildly popular “How to Be Alone”—watch the 2010 film on YouTube and pick up the illustrated book from Bookshop—and translates them into quarantine terms fit for 2020: where benches and public transit once were spaces ripe for interaction, they’re now hazards to be avoided, and a lunch-time scroll through your phone is no longer a distraction but a welcome way to stay connected.

The animated scenes emerge from the … Read the rest

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Call it what you will—outsider art, folk art, visionary art, outlier art—but the artists associated with these overlapping and sometimes conflicting rubrics have two things in common: They are all visual autodidacts—self-taught, if you prefer—compelled for one reason or the next to create works of often astonishing impact. They also usually occupy a marginal place in society (sharecroppers, inmates, the developmentally disabled, self-proclaimed alien abductees, and so on). But this lack of education and fringe status are precisely the reasons why a certain aura has been conferred upon self-taught art as something unmediated by conventions, a direct expression of artistic insight free of cultural constraints. An overly romanticized bromide? Perhaps. But like all clichés, it possesses a kernel of truth that overrides whatever label you choose to use for … Read the rest