Tuesday, December 30, 2014

An Artist's New Year's Resolutions

Artist Shirley Monestier in her garden:
work in progress "Hand of God"
2014 has been an incredibly busy and productive year with travel, visitors, some thankfully minor surgeries and the growth of my art business. During this past year I focused on the business aspect of being an artist: marketing and selling my art. I was honored and delighted by the reviews, sales and exhibitions of my artworks.

It's incredibly frustrating when I want only to be in my studio creating art, yet knowing that to share my art I have to devote time to selling my art.

To share my art, during 2014 I:
Thank you to all of my dear friends and online friends around the globe who have supported my art in 2014; I'm delighted to have sold so many paintings this year and had so many supportive emails, posts, and comments from you.

In 2015 I resolve to:

  1. expand my Etsy store with more original artwork, giclees, and art gifts
  2. interview more amazing and inspiring artists and share them with you on my newsletter
  3. share my artist's eye and inspirations with all of you via my online art gallery, on Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest, Google Plus and Twitter
  4. paint, PAINT and PAINT 
    Happy New Year    Bonne Annee    Feliz Ano Nuevo

Wishing you a happy, healthy 2015

Friday, December 12, 2014

Give Art: Unique and Original Paintings by Shirley Monestier

       For the art lover or a new collector,               gift an original painting by             international artist Shirley Monestier

artist Shirley Monestier in her studio in Bordeaux, France
Original art is a special and meaningful holiday gift. Original artworks are a one-of-a-kind gift that represents your relationship with someone special on your gift list.

I invite you to take a leisurely stroll through my art gallery. The artwork I have created has been inspired by years of training in mixed media; my passion for colors, shapes and forms; international travels and living in France; spiritual journeys and special creative moments; and all of my experiences that have contributed to who I am.

I create artwork that is inspired by years of training; my passion for bold, vibrant colors, shapes, and forms; world travels and my personal spiritual journey. A lifetime of travel - throughout the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe - and my experiences living abroad has made a great impact on my life, enhancing me as a creative and visual artist. My spirit yearns to create: artwork, a beautifully designed room, great cuisine, stylized tablescapes, a well-planned party or an inspirational new adventure. Creativity is my gift that I share with you.

At Sunset by Shinrley Monestier
AT SUNSET by Shirley Monestier

My spirit desires to paint artwork that reflects my creativity, deep spirituality, and my passion for vivid colors. I have always been inspired by bright, bold colors. I cannot imagine a colorless world. In my artwork I use colors and images to bring you in closer, to inspire and give you a sense of happiness and well-being. I want to pleasure your eye and awaken your soul.

FEATHERED FRIENDS by Shirley Monestier
FEATHERED FRIENDS by Shirley Monestier

Self-expression of my spirit through creative art has always been a part of my life and is truly a spiritual journey.

I DREAM OF DREAMS by Shirley Monestier
CONTACT ME if you would like to purchase an original and affordable artwork; commissions will be considered upon request.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season,


Friday, December 5, 2014

Art for Christmas - How to Buy Art for Children

Shirley Monestier's Spirit of Art Blog

Art is a gift that continues to give long after the holidays end. Instilling the love of art in children is a gift that lasts a lifetime. A gift of original art is a personal value you can share with the child, and help them develop their own love and appreciation for art. Art education and art appreciation is the perfect holiday gift for a special child in your life!

5 Tips for Giving Art to Children

1. Children love color

Whether the child you're buying for loves bright, bold, audacious colors or prefers muted pastels, children are inspired by color in their environment. What are the child's favorite colors? What colors don't they like? Ask questions to help determine the color choice when buying art for children.

2. Choose a subject they enjoy

Jewel's of the Sea by Shirley Monestier
Jewels of the Sea by Shirley Monestier

Giving a child an original art work of a subject they are interested in opens the child's eyes to how art can be part of their everyday life, not just an activity for play or school. If the child is interested in sports, many sports-themed artworks art available as prints or original art pieces. A child who loves music may appreciate art featuring their favorite instrument or musician. A nature-lover may appreciate art showcasing animals, or a beach scene.

3. Personalize it

Can the artist inscribe the painting with your child's name? Can a sports figure in the piece wear the child's team number? For young children especially, personalizing the art with something unique to the child makes them excited about the artwork and helps them relate to the piece.

4. Discuss it

When you give a child a piece of art, explain to them why you bought if for them: what features of the art piece made you think of the child? Ask the child to discuss the art with you, what do they like about the piece, do they like the colors, how does the art make them feel? Tell the child what kind of art you like - and what kinds you don't like - to help the child understand that its OK to like some pieces more than others, and to understand better why they do or don't like specific art pieces.

5. Share the artist's story

artist Shirley Monestier in her studio in Bordeaux, France
artist Shirley Monestier in her studio in Bordeaux, France

When possible meet the artist in person to understand their story, or do some research to find out about the artist. Understanding who made the piece, what their story is, helps kids understand and get excited about the artist's creativity process and inspirations.

Children love art, and are inspired by color and creativity. This year, give a special child in your life an original gift of art, and start them on a lifelong passion. 

I invite you to visit my online art gallery for original art gifts this holiday season:

a la prochaine,


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wishing all my family and friends,
where ever you may be,
a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

a la prochaine,


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Art of Jazz

Jazz is a true American art. The relationship between jazz and art is heavily intertwined. Jazz music is a highly visual art form and was promoted through bold, vibrant and colorful posters, album covers and promotions.

Jazz can be enjoyed and appreciated through live performances and recordings. Jazz lovers visit intimate music venues recalling the early days of smokey jazz lounges, large jazz festivals and cruises, and museums dedicated to the history of jazz musicians and music. We have had the opportunity to enjoy jazz around the world - especially New York City and Paris.

In addition to well-known venues such as Birdland and the Harlem Jazz Museum in NYC or Preservation Hall in New Orleans, there are small museums across the United States dedicated to promoting and preserving The Art of Jazz:

1.  The Museum of Jazz and Art - MOJA - in Oakland, California, is dedicated to raising the awareness, importance and preservation of jazz and art to American culture.
artists rendering: The Museum of Jazz and Art

Connect with MOJA online:
2.  Loves's Jazz & Art Center - located in Omaha, Nebraska was established to preserve, promote and present African American Art and Jazz. Honoring local legendary Jazz musician Preston Love Sr, the museum is 

3.  American Jazz Museum - in Kansas City, MO, is the "only museum in the world solely focused on the preservation, exhibition and advancement of jazz music."

Visit the American Jazz Museum online:

I'll be sharing more jazz and art stories soon... stay tuned!

a la prochaine,


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Virtual Museum Tours - Field Trips Online

Have you ever read about a museum you would love to visit, but circumstances - time - money - travel - make it impossible to visit the museum in person? Often I read of a wonderful exhibit in Savannah, or a new museum in Paris, an architectural wonder in South America, and wish I could drop everything and visit.

Today museums, world heritage sites, historical artifacts and monuments can all be explored via the digital world.

Here are some of my favorite online resources for virtual field trips:

  • Google Cultural Institute and World Wonders - Over 500 Google partners from 60+ countries have uploaded over 6.2 million objects and artifacts to the Google Cultural Institute website. In one year from June 2013 - June 2014 over 19 million unique visitors have viewed over 200 million web pages. FREE
Google Cultural Institute website

  • MoMA, New York City - The Museum of Modern Art App for iPhone lets you see and hear a wide variety of exhibits and artists, find out about upcoming events, and organize and share your favorite museum artworks. FREE 
MoMA iPhone app

  • Musée Du LouvreParis - Discover the Louvre Museum with this iPhone app that presents over 1000 pieces from the museum's collection, presents a history of the castle that houses the museum, and has a video tour of the Louvre. FREE
Musee du Louvre iPhone app

  • National Gallery, London - The National Gallery iPhone app has over 250 artworks with video and audio stories about the collection. Famous artists, writers and experts discuss the artworks and introduce the stories behind the masterpieces. $2.99
National Gallery iPhone app

  • Smithsonian Museums, Washington DC - Each Smithsonian Museum offers different virtual websites and apps for online tours, exhibits and background. The Museum of Natural History offers a panoramic room-by-room tour of the museum. FREE
Smithsonian Natural Museum of History Virtual Tour

What are your favorite virtual museum and cultural tours? Leave me a comment, I'd like to visit!

a la prochaine,


Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Brooklyn Museum - Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe

Last week on ArtDaily I discovered a new exhibit at The Brooklyn Museum Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe. The exhibit features over 160 shoes ranging from contemporary high heels to 16th Century heels, displayed alongside decorative arts and images of high heels in art, movies and films commissioned for this exhibit.

These shoes are an ART FORM: handcrafted, painted, sculptured works of art! Styles from platforms to stilettos to thigh-high laced boots demonstrate the history and our fascination with this provocative fashion accessory.

Shoes on exhibit include designs by:

  • Manolo Blahnic
  • Christian Louboutin
  • Chanel
  • Salvatore Ferragamo
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Andre Perugia
  • Elsa Schiaparelli
  • Vivienne Westwood
Glass Slippers by Nicola Ghesquiere for Balenciaga 

Skyscraper Inspired Heels
Chinese Manchu Platforms 

Platform Stilettos 

Animal Prints

Fantasy Booties

screenshot from the Killer Heels e-book

still from Marie Antoinette movie by Sophia Coppola

still from commissioned short film 

Killer Heels is a journey through the history of high heels that will keep you awing and marveling at the artistic creativity and imagination of shoe designers.

For more shoe images from the Killer Heels exhibit visit here.

The exhibit runs through February 15, 2015, at The Brooklyn Museum, Robert E. Blum Gallery.

a la prochaine,


Friday, September 19, 2014

A Visit to Whitney Museum of American Art and the Jeff Koons Exhibit

Jeff Koons A Retrospective

Jeff Koons is one of the most popular artists alive today; his latest exhibit Jeff Koons: A Retrospective is at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City until October 19. Koons is an American artist born in 1955, who is know for his bright, colorful and whimsical paintings, sculptures and reproductions of everyday objects. In 2013 his "Orange Dog" sold for $58.4 million - the highest sale price for any living artist.

Jeff Koons is widely regarded as one of the most important, influential, popular, and controversial artists of the postwar era. 

With 150 objects in the exhibit dating back to 1978, the exhibit is on 4 floors of the museum and in the courtyard. The entire city of New York appears to be paying homage to Koons:
  • Split-Rocker is a giant living plant sculpture on display at Rockefeller Center
  • a limited-edition gold Dog Balloon purse is on sale at HandM  and Koons is curating an exhibit at the 5th Ave store 
  • a 6-story billboard of the Dog Balloon proclaims Fashion Rocks from the side of the building

To respond to the huge crowds and public enthusiasm for the exhibit, the Whitney expanded its hours to include Mondays on September 1.

Cat on a Clothesline by Jeff Koons

Purple Heart by Jeff Koons

Michael Jackson and Bubbles by Jeff Koons

Play-Doh by Jeff Koons

Moustache Lobster by Jeff Koons
A friend in NYC attended the exhibit in early September, and the lines were out the door and around the corner. While waiting, she overheard several families with young children discussing the sexually graphic nature of some of the art, and that they would not be visiting several rooms of the exhibit. When my friend visited those rooms, she did note that there were many children with their parents visiting that part of the exhibit.

The exhibit is open:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 
          Saturday, Sunday                                     11am - 6pm
  • Friday                                                         11am - 9pm

Visitor rates are:

  • General Admission                                    $20
  • Ages 19-25, over 65 and FT Students:      $16
  • Members and 18 and under                       FREE
  • Fridays from 6-9pm                                    Pay As You Wish

Jeff Koons: A Retrospective will be on display at the Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris, from November 26, 2014–April 27, 2015; and the Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, June 5–September 27, 2015.

a la prochaine,


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Street Art and Graffiti: Foreshadowed by Paris Advertising Art of Toulouse-Lautrec

A new exhibit at NYC's MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) showcases "The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters." Henri Toulouse-Lautrec is remembered for his posters advertising the night life of dance halls, theaters and cafes in Paris' Montmarte district.

In the late 1800's Montmartre's bohemian and decadent night life attracted tourists and locals to a lifestyle flaunting alcohol, prostitutes and frequently drugs. As a handicapped artist needing to make a living, Toulouse-Lautrec was hired to make posters promoting the Montmartre lifestyle. His 'art' was scorned by many other artists, but his confidence from an aristocratic background and deteriorating health from alcoholism and birth defects left him few options to earn a living.

Ironically, today Henri Toulouse-Lautrec is renown for his advertisements depicting the people, places and moral decay of Montmartre.

Once considered a crime, graffiti art was quickly cleaned or painted over, and removed from buildings, buses, billboards and trains. Today street art is becoming increasingly popular and collectible. Urban artists such as Banksy and Zephyr are hailed as artists, rather than criminals, and their street art is preserved and showcased.

Reminiscent of Toulouse-Lautrec, street artists are being hired for graffiti advertising campaigns by companies including Miller beer, IBM and Domino's Pizza to target young, hip consumers.

I love the vibrant, energetic colors and shapes these artists bring to our world: while I never want private property defaced or destroyed, I welcome the art being easily available to the public. Take a look below at some street art from urban artists around the world, and see my Pinterest board for more examples of urban art.

à la prochaine,  


street art by Banksy

              British urban artist Banksy 

                Mexican urban artist Neuzz

graffiti art on the High Line in NYC

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Resources for Marketing and Selling Original Art Online

I am an artist: I create original acrylics and sell them on my website, in art galleries, and at art exhibits.
Shirley Monestier, artist

A brush in hand, tubes of vibrant paints, a blank canvas and divine intervention is my formula for visual, beautiful and colorful artworks.
~ Shirley Monestier, artist

Last year, I made the decision to dedicate more time to selling my art, and decided to increase my online art marketing efforts. During the past year I have:

  • reactivated my blog. I hadn't blogged in nearly 2 years, and decided this was a good way to connect with others interested in art
  • restarted my newsletter:  this is a great way to share special sales and information that isn't on my blog to friends and fans who asked for more information
  • social media: I was active on Facebook and LinkedIn, but am now also on Twitter and Pinterest and Google Plus.
  • opened an Etsy Store: I'm just uploading my first paintings this week!
  • Saachi Online: I have created an account, and will be uploading art very soon.
As I researched information and ideas for marketing art online, I discovered some great resources for selling art online:
As part of my research on marketing art, I discovered the Creative Insurgents Podcast. Here's a recent episode on living a creative life on your own terms.

I also started a Pinterest board: Marketing Tips for Artists: visit it here.

I'd love to hear from other artists on tips and ideas for marketing their art online. 

And of course, in addition to marketing my art I'm also happily in my studio. Here's my latest work:

Acrylic on Canvas
21” x 29”
Prints available soon!

à la prochaine,


Friday, July 18, 2014

The Artist's Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children

Art brings such joy and purpose to my life, I can't imagine living in a world without art. And yet, I understand that not everyone shares an artistic view of the world. But I believe art can be nurtured and encouraged, particularly when started at a young age.

I recently discovered the book The Artist’s Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children by Julia Cameron. I was not familiar with Cameron's book The Artist's Way, but understand that many parents wanted her to write this book to help them encourage raising children to be creative and to practice art.

I also understand that for some, encouraging creativity in their children does not come naturally. So I welcome Julia Cameron's efforts to provide a how-to book for parents who want to raise their children to experience and appreciate creativity.

The Artist's Way for Parents is written in a very straight-forward, easy to understand way; with exercises and activities parents can use with their children:
  • storytelling
  • a walk in the park
  • making music
  • creating art
Julia Cameron is an artist (poet, playwright, and filmmaker), and many of the ideas she shares are activities she used in raising her own daughter. 

Every child is creative. And every parent is creative. Your child requires joy, and exercising creativity, both independently and together, makes for a happy and fulfilling family life.
~ Julia Cameron

I think The Artist's Way for Parents would make a wonderful gift for any parent and child in your life!

à la prochaine,


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Private Preview of Vietnam Orchids Series

Ambassador Mattie Sharpless (Left) and Ruby Singleton Blakeney, Art Curator 
I was honored by the Private Preview of my Orchids of Vietnam Series held on May 25, 2014 at D'Art Gallery, Washington, D.C.

To contact D'Art Gallery:

à la prochaine,


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Creative Ways to Display Art

As an artist, I don't think your house becomes a home until you fill it with art: art is a representation of your feelings, your travels, your interests. Every home should have an ORIGINAL art whether decorative, meaningful or just a piece that catches your eye or piece you just love. There's nothing that brings color and life to an empty room faster than a large vibrant painting on the wall.

But hanging a painting on an empty wall isn't the only way to display art. Here are some creative ideas for displaying and sharing art in your home.

Anyone can put a photo on a bookshelf. Here House Beautiful shows how beautiful art looks hanging from a bookshelf.

Build a living green wall to frame your art like Boka restaurant in Chicago.

Make a collection by using the same matting and frames on different pieces like Coastal Living did.

Copy, shrink and mount children's artwork on a mat and frame says Little Moth Design.

Art displayed on chair backs turns average chairs into artistic decor at Home and garden.

For more creative ways to display art visit my Pinterest board.

You can never have too much art! But sometimes, you don't have enough wall space and need to find creative ways to showcase your treasured works.

How do you display your art?

à la prochaine,


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Using Technology to Stimulate Children's Interest in the Arts

art apps for kids
Children have a natural interest in observing and creating art: every parent knows that providing their child with crayons and paper can occupy an entire afternoon, and the art produced can decorate an entire refrigerator! Every parents prepares for the day their child gets their first harmonica, or toy piano: and the endless "music"

As children become older and their schedules are full of gymnastics, swim lessons and play dates there is less and less time reserved for creating art. In previous generations, the kids had "Art" and "Music" as part of their school schedule. Now budget constraints have eliminated the arts from many schools.

Kids today love technology and are very comfortable using smartphones, tablets and laptops. I'm excited to learn about new apps and games for kids that stimulate their interest in the arts.

Here are some art and music apps that will develop your child's love of the arts:

1.  MoMA Art Lab is a free app from the Museum of Modern Art in NYC for kids age 7 and up with nine activities to create artwork inspired by MoMA's collection, including Henri Matisse and Alexander Calder.

guides you through different styles of modern art and then lets you give it a try yourself, just like a great teacher would do.

The MoMA Art Lab app is free at the Apple Store.

2.  Mini Monet Creative Studio and Art Club for Kids is a free-form drawing app where kids can join the art club to share their drawings and earn point for drawing. The system for earning coins for sharing is a little confusing, but its not necessary to participate to use Mini Monet. Designed for ages 4-8.

Mini Monet is $1.99 at the Apple Store. 

3.  Mibblio is a music app that combines stories and music to form MIBBLETS: illustrated songs with loads of musical features that enable kids to read along, sing along and jam along.  

Download the free Mibblio music app for kids for iPad at the Apple Store. The first Mibblet is free, additional Mibblets are $.99 each.

4. Zebra Paint is a coloring app for young children - around age 3-5 - to fingerpaint with their fingers and choose their own colors for the 24 templates.

Zebra Paint is a free Android app, Zebra Pro is available for $.99.

I love how technology and art come together to help children appreciate the arts. How do you foster a child's interest in the arts? Tell me: I'd love to share your tips!

à la prochaine,