Month: November 2011


The Apilco Series: Progression in Painting | Elysian Studios

The Apilco Series: Progression in Painting

Categories: Apilco Series, Elysian Studios, Erin Fickert-Rowland, painting

I have completed two new paintings in my Apilco Series, and I thought I would invite you into my studio for a closer look at my painting process.

Hand-mixed oil paint colors on my palette

I begin each piece with a plan, but then let the painting develop intuitively. Once colors have been mixed, and composition determined, the journey begins!  It’s not always an easy experience, but rather a dance between application and obliteration of paint, and cooperation between myself and my materials. (I found this nearly impossible to photograph, so please forgive a few poor photos!)

Painting “Apilco No.3”

oil on canvas panel


There’s always a big change between the last two steps of my paintings.  Here, after the seventh layer, I allowed the painting to dry almost completely.  The last layer involved applying thick paint over the entire surface.  I was particularly interested in allowing my brushstrokes to become abstract movements across the image, while retaining the sunny, cheery mood of the warm colors.

Painting “Apilco No.4”

oil on canvas panel

Again, big changes happen between the last two stages of the painting.  For this piece, I focused on finishing the image with thick, brilliantly colored paint.  I also had a few complex shapes and perspectives to work out (especially that citrus juicer at eye level!)

I am enjoying the process of creating this series, and have quite a few more planned.  Every piece is an opportunity for me to explore new colors and techniques, while keeping the same subject matter.  I’ve only completed my fourth piece in this series and I can already feel how my skills have grown.  

I will keep you posted on more paintings coming out of the studio (and a few big inspirations I am experiencing right now!)

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Art Reads: Lee Krasner-A Biography | Elysian Studios

Art Reads: Lee Krasner-A Biography

Categories: Art History, Art Tours, Book Reviews, painting

“I like to surprise myself.  I have to be interested in what I’m doing.  Surprise, for me, is as important as it is to anyone that views (a piece) once it be comes a painting.” – Lee Krasner


I am so excited to share a book that has deeply inspired me recently: “Lee Krasner: A Biography” by Gail Levin.  This compelling account of the life of an incredibly talented and influential painter of the 20th Century delves deeply into events and issues that changed the art world forever.

Thoroughly researched and eloquently written by Gail Levin, this biography provides intimate access to the events, work, and emotions behind Lee Krasner’s remarkable achievements.  Gail Levin knew Krasner personally. Once the curator for the Whitney Museum of American Art, Levin was an early advocate for recognizing Krasner’s achievements in painting.  Krasner respected Levin, and promoted her as an authority of her painting career.

“Self-portrait” by Lee Krasner, oil on linen, c. 1930, The Jewish Museum

A Jewish immigrant, an independent spirit, an incredibly hard worker, a passionate artist, a political activist, a fiercely intelligent and stubborn woman, and a devoted wife are only a few ways to begin to explain the incredible life of Lee Krasner.

Most famous for being the wife of the world-renowned painter,Jackson Pollock, Lee was a masterful artist in her own right. Though her recognition and fame came late in life, the art world now knows what an incredible affect she had on the development of the Abstract Expressionism movement in American Painting.

“Number 8” by Jackson Pollock, 1949; Oil, enamel, and aluminum paint on canvas; Neuberger Museum, State University of New York  

Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock photographed in their Springs garden by Wilfrid Zogbaum, c. 1949

Lee Krasner was a pioneer.  There was no “Feminist Movement” when she was going to school or struggling to develop her own career.  Born in 1908 to Russian Jewish immigrant parents, she faced obstacles in life that a woman of my generation can’t even fathom.  This book completely opened my eyes to what happened to the art world during World War II, The Great Depression, The WPA Program, the Spanish Civil War, and the struggles for racial and gender equality. 

Highly influenced by the perspectives of Picasso’s Cubism, the saturated colors of Matisse’s Fauvism, and the non-representational compositions of Mondrian’s Neo-Plasticism, Krasner and her contemporaries developed an entirely new way of creating art which prioritized the act of painting itself.  Abstract Expressionism was the singular art movement that put America, specifically New York City, at the center of the western art world.  The idea that artists no longer needed to paint nature, but rather, that the artist and the art were nature, transformed the way future artists would think about their work.

Lee Krasner painting “Portrait in Green” 1989, photographed by Mark Patiky
Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, c.1949 photo by Lawrence Larkin

I loved this book.  I need to re-read this book.  I will more than likely read the other books written by Gail Levin ( “Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography”, and “Becoming Judy Chicago”).  As I get ready to view the new Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, I am amazed at the connections and impact this woman had on art of the 20th Century.  If they were influential, more than likely, Lee Krasner rubbed elbows with them (Clyfford Still, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Piet Mondrian, Hans Hofmann, Arshile Gorky, etc.).

Collectively, these artists changed the way we see the world.  They opened horizons that artists, and patrons of the arts, didn’t know existed.  They’ve shaped the way modern artists look at their materials and communicate through their work.  If you have a passion for art, and are interested in learning more about one of the most pivotal moments in American culture, I encourage you to read this book.

What have been your favorite reads lately?  I am always interested to hear about great books, and please stop back and let me know what you thought about this selection if you read it!  

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Woodland Spice: A Handcrafted Jewelry Collection | Elysian Studios


Woodland Spice is a collection of jewelry created by

Erin Fickert-Rowland exclusively for Elysian Studios.

All pieces are one of a kind and available for sale.*

*”Add to Cart” Buttons may not be visible in your email or reader.  Please visit the site page.

Cinnamon, Clove, Saffron, Spruce and Pine have inspired the Woodland Spice collection. These pieces are designed with handmade artisan focals, beautiful natural stone and wood components, and warm, earthy metals.  Glamorous and whimsical, the Woodland Spice collection offers jewelry pieces that reflect your unique style.

All pieces are individually handmade with high-quality materials and craftsmanship.

Elysian Studios guarantees 100% satisfaction with your purchase.

“Nouveau Spice”

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This glamorous multi-strand necklace features beautiful Red Creek Jasper and Brown Snowflake Obsidian coins, warm Jasper Wood rounds, and sparkling faceted Glass Crystals.  Vintaj Art Nouveau Connectors have been customized with polymer clay to perfectly coordinate with the design of this necklace. Vintaj chain and clasp complete the necklace.

This Princess length necklace measures 17 inches, and has a drape of 11 inches from the back of the clasp to the front, bottom center of the longest beaded strand.  The necklace features an extender chain to adjust the length of the necklace up to 2 inches.

Price: $124.00

“Nouveau Spice” Earrings


Shimmering Mocha and Sand Crystals and warm Jasper Wood rounds dangle from hand-finished Vintaj cable chain and French ear wires.  The earrings have a drop of  2 1/4 inches.


“Tiger Lily” 

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A beautiful handcrafted Polymer Clay focal by Humblebeads is the centerpiece of this necklace.  One side of the bead has a Tiger Lily flower carved into it, and the opposite side has a Dandelion burst.  The bead is had-painted with a gorgeous rust and deep brown finish, and sanded smooth to reveal the cream color of the clay.

The focal bead is complemented by asymmetrical Brown Wood stick beads, shimmering Orange Goldstone chips, golden Freshwater Pearls, Copper Filigree rounds, and Copper seed beads and daisy spacers. It is finished with a Copper Toggle clasp.  This Matinee length necklace measures 24 inches long, and has a drape of 13 inches from the back clasp to the bottom of the focal bead.

Price: $55.00

“Cinnamon Silk”

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Cinnamon-colored silk intertwines with two beaded strands to form this elegant necklace.  Rich brown and gold Freshwater Pearls are strung with Carnelian gemstone and Mocha Crystal faceted rounds, and are complemented by warm Beige glass rounds and Copper Daisy spacers.  A strand of Copper seed beads and smooth Copper rounds adds shimmer, and the three strands are connected with Beaded Copper connectors and finished with a Beaded Copper hook and eye clasp.

This Matinee length necklace measures 22 inches long and has a drape of 11 inches from the back to the front center.

Price: $55.00

The “Tiger Lily” and “Cinnamon Silk” necklaces look stunning when paired together…


These pieces can be purchased together for a 

Special Price of $100.00

“Copper and Cinnamon Twist” Earrings


Faceted Carnelian gemstone and Mocha Crystal Rondelles, Copper Daisy spacers, and Beige Glass rounds swing delicately from handmade Copper French ear wires with Copper wire twists.  The earrings have a drop of 2 inches.

Price: $27.00

“Cinnamon Branches” Bracelet


This unique bracelet features rich Dark Brown Wood stick beads, Gold Freshwater Pearls, brilliant Orange Carnelian rounds with Copper bead caps, and a Copper Filigree round surrounded by two handmade marbled Polymer Clay rounds.  The bracelet is finished with Copper seed beads which form the Toggle clasp.

The bracelet is not adjustable, but is sized generously and measures 8 inches long.

Price: $33.00

“Cinnamon Stick” Earrings


Asymmetrical natural Wood stick beads dangle and twirl like mobiles from these fun earrings. They are finished with a sparkling faceted Mocha Crystal rondelle and Copper findings, including Copper French ear wires.  The earrings have a drop of  2 1/4 inches.

No Longer Available

“Allspiced Up” Earrings


Creamy Yellow Lucite discs feature a frosted Brown Leaf print, and hang from a hand-wrapped Copper link on Copper French ear wires.  Hand-wrapped dangles of  faceted Moss Agate, Goldstone, and Bronze and Topaz crystals sparkle and shimmer on top of the printed discs.  The earrings have a drop of 1 5/8 inches.

No Longer Available   

“Little Canary”

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A sweet “Little Canary” rests at the focal for this whimsical necklace.  This handmade bead by Humblebeads is hand-carved and painted with a soft Yellow and Cream finish, which also reveals the Terra-Cotta colored clay.  The Canary hangs from a large Vintaj jump ring that is beaded with Copper Rounds and a Vintaj Brass spacer bead.  

The necklace also features a large Vintaj Brass etched Eternity Ring, and Vintaj Brass cable chain, intertwined with Cream colored metal chain. Gemstones of Dark Green Lizardite Ovals, Goldstone and Moss Agate chips, and a Yellow Jade Tumbled Nugget, are hand-wrapped on coordinating wire links, and complemented by a singular Czech Glass Yellow leaf and Carved Bone round.

This Princess length necklace is 18 1/2 inches long with a drape of 11 inches from the back to the bottom of the Canary.  It is finished with a handmade wire hook and eye clasp that is designed to clasp on the side.

No Longer Available

“Changing Leaves” Earrings


These fun earrings feature all Vintaj Brass components, including the French ear wires.  Hand-wrapped gemstones of Dark Green Lizardite, Yellow Jade, and Goldstone dangle from White colored metal chain links.  The earrings have a drop of 2 5/8 inches.

Price: $28.00

“Saffron Leaves” Earrings


Lovely golden Yellow Czech Glass leaves are hand-wrapped with copper wire and hang below shimmering faceted Goldstone rounds.  These earrings are finished with Copper components and Copper French ear wires, and have a drop of 2 inches.

No Longer Available

“What a Hoot”
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A delightful handmade Owl Polymer clay sculpted focal steals the show of this necklace.  Perched a top hand-wrapped dangles of a Copper Oak Leaf and faceted Moss Agate, Carnelian, Topaz Crystal rounds and a Gold Freshwater Pearl, his Topaz Crystal eyes shimmer and catch the light.

A gorgeous strand of faceted Green Moss Agate rounds, Natural Pinon Nuts, Orange Carnelian rounds, Topaz faceted Crystal rondelles, Copper Oak leaves, Copper leaf tubes and small flowered Copper cornerless cubes complement the handcrafted Owl.  The necklace is finished with a textured oval Copper Toggle clasp that is designed to hook at the side.

This Matinee length necklace measures 21 1/2 inches and has a drape of 13 1/2 inches from the back to the bottom of the leaf in the focal.

Price: $140.00     

“What a Nut” Earrings


Natural Pinon Nut beads dangle from the bottom of these Bohemian-style earrings.  Faceted Carnelian rounds, Topaz Crystals, and flowered Copper cornerless cubes are strung on Dark Brown Waxed Linen cord, and finished with Copper cord crimps and French ear wires.  The earrings have a 2 3/4 inch drop.

No Longer Available

“Carnelian Leaves” Earrings

Warm, shimmering, abstract Copper leaves swing from Copper French ear wires, and are complemented by hand-wrapped dangles of faceted Carnelian rounds.  The earrings have a drop of 1 3/4 inches.

Price: $16.00

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