Monday, June 15, 2009



© Joanne Licsko 07

oil on canvas 30"x40"

 I am feeling pleased these days, and I owe some of this good feeling to generosity of another artist

I am very proud to have four of my paintings included in an exhibition "In The Bag" showing the works of eleven women artists.  The theme is "Purses or Satchels - a mobile container or personal accessory that often hints at the personality of the person wearing it."


For several years I have a been inspired to work a theme based on women's shopping experience, focusing particularly on the brightly colored shopping bags that retailers know we love.  "Wrapture" is my favorite of the series so far.  It is a celebration of the ecstasy women feel upon the return of a successful hunt in the retail jungle.  Bags of different shapes, colored tissue paper in excess, even the brand name tastefully displayed on the bag that says Chanel, all enhance the thrill.  The chiaroscuro effect of black to white, the pink and cream tissue, the reflected and transparent lights, were all pure pleasure for me to paint.

"In the Bag", curated by Sandra Hemsworth, is currently on display until July 11th at the Olive Hyde Gallery in Fremont, Ca.  Mostly 3D works, the work is both insightful and delightful.  The reception on June 12 th, gave me the chance to admire  the work of all the artists, and meet with carved cardboard artist Judy Johnson-Williams.  Her brilliantly constructed bag made to look like breasts is a work few will forget. 

San Francisco artist Marni Mutrux graciously sent an email to tell me of the show, knowing the theme was perfect for me.  Thank you Marni!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


© Joanne Licsko
18"x20" oil on canvas

Giving a title to a work of art is not mandatory.  Some artists are content with no title, some will simply number their works.  In my own work, I prefer to give some direction to understanding where I my feelings were, or where the inspiration came from.   A title may prompt a viewer to take a second look, to go deeper.  To please myself, I strive for aesthetic pleasure, therefore, making it too easy for the viewer to assume the painting is just a pretty picture.  Usually, I have a theme, or a serious statement behind what I consider to be my better works.   An appropriate title will help make the connection I am hoping for.

Of all my paintings, my favorite title "Wrapture" came from a rapid fire, verbal duel with my friend Joe who possesses a great wit.  Showing the newly finished work to him, I mentioned I had not yet found a satisfying title for it.  He started in with all sorts of ideas, mostly humorous.  His playfulness took me out of my ineffective "search mode".  Spontaneously, and mindlessly, the title flew out of my mouth.  We both new instantly that it was perfect.

Rarely, the title for a painting will come before the painting has begun.  This can happen when a juried show has a theme, and one knows the subject before the vision.  

Most frequently, my muse delivers the title near the completion of the painting.  Sometimes, I think she must be on vacation, or having an affair with another artist, or maybe she just doesn't like the painting, because the work never seems to find a title with any sparkle to it. Example: Bowl with Peppers.

To my dismay, the painting shown above, sat on the gallery wall much longer than I expected.   The painting was the unintentional result of a late summer trip to my farmers market.  I had returned home with a big bag of exotic peppers knowing they would be greatly appreciated by my Hungarian born husband.  I poured the peppers into a stainless steel bowl, and placed it on a table already covered with a leopard print cloth.  The scene was lit by the late afternoon sun from a west window.  I fell in love with the sight, and a series of chance events became a painting titled "Bowl with Peppers".  

Recently, I changed the title.  I didn't tell my gallery, but in my computer files, I changed the title on all references to the painting to reflect what I at last understood was my genuine inspiration -  the harvest bounty, abundance.  Within two weeks of changing the title, it sold.  Coincidence?  Perhaps.