All about the inspiration behind the art. Acrylic Paintings, Impressionism, Art, Southern, Modern, Contemporary, Coastal, Flowers, Famous Places, New Orleans, Florida, Gulf Coast, Food, Expressionism, Fauve, Cityscapes, Architecture, Decor, Painting, Beach, Tropical, Seascape, Landscape, Still Life Mona Vivar Fine Art: March 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

What I Believe About Art

Spring is a time of renewal.  It is no accident that Easter coincides with spring.  Each year this cycle makes me pause and take note of those things that inspire me to continue creating art. 

I believe that art makes us look inward.

I believe that art makes us look outward at our surroundings from a new perspective.

I believe that the need to create art is a gift to be used and treasured.

I believe that art is a path to healing.

I believe that making art or enjoying art is a necessary part of being human.

I believe that art is powerful.

I believe that art is both simple and complex.

I believe that art is necessary.

For all of you, I wish you the gift of art during this time of hope and renewal.

Mona Vivar, "Dazzling Hibiscus", 11 inches by 14 inches, acrylic on canvas
Image copyright of Mona Vivar 2013



Friday, March 22, 2013

The Slippery Slope of Spring

Spring officially began on March 20.  I decided to get a jump on it by going to Bellingrath Gardens to see the azaleas.  Although the day was overcast when I visited Bellingrath, I still saw gorgeous flowers and fountains.

I did not anticipate the rush of impulse to beautify my back porch and yard after my trip to the gardens.   Before I knew it, I was poking around in my local garden centers and bought some pretty pansies and petunias from the Robertsdale trade school students.  The pansies became a whimsical headpiece for the Grecian bust I found at Tuesday Morning.
Suddenly, I ordered the Tuscan Garden Fountain online from Lamps Plus.  All 54 inches of it!
Now I will begin to dig out bed areas near the porch for who knows what.   And the domino effect begins!
At least I can use my various purchases as models for current and future paintings.
Mona Vivar, "Pansy Goddess", 14 inches x 11 inches, acrylic on canvas
Now available on Ebay at
All images copyright of Mona Vivar 2013.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Taking Risks While Dodging Reality

Every so often I decide that depicting things as they are just won't do.  Actually, most days I think this.  I have been known to delete a bush or a tree or add an object to a painting to make the image more interesting.  I completely parted with reality this week and followed the advice of the Fauvists (Henri Matisse was a member of this group) to simplify, do some abstraction and use strident color in a painting.

Example of a fine Matisse Fauve painting:

Henri Matisse, "Woman with a Hat", 1905, San Francisco Museum of Art (via Wikipedia)
I wanted to do a painting of one of the Flagler College lion faces located on the entrance gate to the college.  The building and surrounding gate and courtyard were built in 1888.  Here is one of the lion faces as it really appears: 
Photo courtesy of Kate Spencer
Very beautiful sculpture with wonderful patina, but I figured that in this instance, I should take a completely different spin on a piece of history.    I went wild on the wild beast and did this:
  Mona Vivar, "Flagler College Lion", acrylic on canvas, 14 inches by 11 inches
now available in my Ebay store at
So there you have it.   I like changing reality!   
Painting "Flagler College Lion" copyright of Mona Vivar 2013


Friday, March 8, 2013

Bad Photos and Unlimited Imagination

Have you ever seen an inspiring view while on vacation, pulled out your camera, taken photographs, looked at the photos and felt supremely disappointed?  Did you wonder why the picture just did not depict what you saw?   Join the crowd (unless maybe you are a professional photographer).

I experience the photo-did-not-show-what-I-experienced-at-the-moment phenomena most of the time.  This is probably due to the fact that my emotions and interpretation of colors and light are not part of the quick photo process.  I am better able to draw or paint whatever charms me about a scene while on site, but truthfully, I don't always have the time or opportunity to paint on the spot when something catches my eye.

Here is a little secret--I like working from not-so-good photos!  Why?  The bad, boring or out of focus photo forces me to tap into my memory and emotions associated with the place depicted.  It also frees me to use my own color sense.  In other words, anything goes!

Here is an example of what I am talking about. 

This photo was taken on an overcast day that washed all color out of the palm trees and foliage.  Dull, dull, dull.  But I was traveling through the Fanning Springs area in Florida and had to keep on the road that day.   I could photoshop everything to prettify this picture, but why do that when I am a painter?

So I drew on my emotion, memory and knowledge of the day and cabbage palms to create this painting:

Mona Vivar, "Palm Duo", 8 inches x 10 inches, acrylic on canvas
I completely made up the color scheme of purple and orange for the palms.  I depicted the sky as blue and abstracted the background vegetation.  These changes make for a far more interesting image.
So there you have it.  I actually like and use bad photos.  Go figure.
All images copyright of Mona Vivar 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

Gardening is a Lot Like Life (and Making Art)

My yard is messy with fallen leaves, branches and windblown camellias from the recent crazy winds and torrential rains of February in Alabama.  As in life, I want it to be perfect:

Mona Vivar, "Spring in the South", 8 inches x 10 inches, acrylic on canvas, Sold 
I despair of ever getting it in that kind of order, so I started with a simple container garden.   

I needed to re-pot my faithful, indestructible Jade Plant into a larger pot.  After breaking open the old pot that the big Jade Plant had become root bound in, I huffed and puffed and finally planted it. I also added a pot for the baby Jade Plants that I discovered under the shadow of the big one.  I have good luck with succulents, so I bought a new one to add to my feeble gardening efforts.   Now I have the beginnings of what I want to be a pleasant back porch.

Knowing that perfection in life, art and gardening is seldom if ever attainable, I follow the premise that I need to keep it simple, use what works best for me, and be patient. 
 Mona Vivar, "Grand Sunflower", 8 inches x 10 inches, acrylic on canvas

All images copyright of Mona Vivar 2013