Friday, September 11, 2015

Avant-Garde Art Exhibit: Reimagined

16 international artists who reuse and re-purpose unconventional materials to create art are featured in an art exhibit at the Cornell Museum of Art in Delray Beach, Florida. Reimagined is the name of the new exhibit featuring artists who  use recyclable and green materials including pill jars, credit cards, insects and scrap materials such as steel or wood and give them new life and purpose by transforming them into sculptures and portraits.

I am motivated and astonished to see the creativity these artists display in transforming everyday materials into stunning and imaginative works of art. As I travel my own journey to create green art, I appreciate the inspirations of other artists as they turn "trash" into treasures, and select materials that tell a story about their artwork.

"Landscape" by Paul Villinski
uses cans found on NYC streets to create butterflies

flying bird by Sayaka Ganz
uses plastic kitchen tools

"Lindsay Lohan" by Jason Mecier
portrait made from vodka bottles, cigarette lighters and other "hedonistic" scrap
The Details:
  • Cornell Museum of Art, 51 N. Swinton Ave, Delray Beach Florida
  • Reimagined: July 14 - October 18, 2015
  • Suggested donation: $5
I would love to hear how other artists repurpose scrap and transform it into artwork!

Shirley Monestier's online art gallery

à la prochaine,

Friday, August 28, 2015


 I'm excited to share my latest painting that I started this summer:

        Acrylic on Paper
        26” X 20”

This abstract artwork was inspired by reflection of floral colors in my garden and golden sunlight streaming through flowers.  Under-painting was accomplished with a roller (my first time using a roller).  I used eco-friendly Micro gold paint to depict golden sun rays in the garden.

I'd love this to hang in your home or office: contact me today to purchase Golden Summer Garden:

Shirley Monestier's online art gallery

à la prochaine,

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Work in Progress: Golden Summer Garden

I returned to France a few months ago feeling tired and stressed - travel today may be convenient, but it is exhausting! I visited a health clinic to re-energize, decompress and launch a healthier lifestyle. During Art Therapy at the clinic I started a new painting, and was introduced to eco-friendly paints. I spent a full month getting my strength and focus back, and am happy to report that I'm back creating art, inspired by my beautiful French garden.

I want to share with you my art work in progress, which I started during Art Therapy:
artist Shirley Monestier in her garden with work in progress -  ABSTRACT SUMMER GARDEN
artist Shirley Monestier in her garden with work in progress -

I am constantly exploring my creative side … looking for new mediums and techniques to improve my artworks.  In creating Golden Summer Garden, for the first time I am painting with a roller and using ORGANIC micro gold paint for overlay and transparency.  I have become more environment conscience and plan to use non-toxic, eco-friendly artist materials in creating future artworks.

I would love to hear from artists who are using eco-friendly art materials, your experiences in using them and where they can be purchased.

Golden Summer Garden will be finished very soon!!

Shirley Monestier's online art gallery

à la prochaine,


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Exposition by Japanese Artist Yayoi Kusama: DOTS OBSESSION

Shirley Monestier at exhibit of Yayoi Kusama
On July 19th, I visited an amazing Exposition by Japanese Artist, YAYOI KUSAMA:  DOTS OBSESSION (INFINITED MIRRORED ROOM) at the Centre D’Art Le Lait, Albi, France.

DOTS OBSESSION is an immersive work composed of mirrors and "molecules" swollen and standing in space, in a closed world. The infinite reflection mirrors, the obsessive use of white dots applied to organic shaped balloons and the bold color red fascinate and disturb one’s perception. The dotted motif covered the entire floor and ceiling of the expo room .. . the mirrored walls gave you a sense of being in space.  I felt totally immersed in the exposition ... what an experience!

Dots Obsession by artist Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama’s conception and futuristic vision for this installation is extraordinary!

This exposition has been traveling around the world for the past year.  I missed the expo when it was at the George Pompidou Centre in Paris but, fortunately, saw it in beautiful Albi.

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama
Avant-garde artist and writer  Yayoi Kusama as born in 1929 — an inspiration to those who think age 60 or over means going to the pastures! Kusama is making a comeback at 86 years old. After she left New York in the early 1970s to return to Japan, Kusama was nearly forgotten by the art world.

Recently major retrospectives of her work have been held:

  • Museum of Modern Art - 1998
  • Whitney Museum - 2012
  • Tate Modern - 2012
  • George Pompidou Centre - 2012
In 2008 a painting by Yayoi Kusama was sold by Christie's New York for $5.1 million, then the most expensive painting sold by a living female artist.

Kusama started to paint with polka dots at 10 years old, and has worked in a variety of media including painting, collage, and sculpture. In the 1950s in the US, Kusama began creating large sculptures incorporating mirrors and lights. On her return to Japan in the 70s, Kusama won awards for her poetry and novels. She began doing large open-air works incorporating mirrors and lights in the 1990s. Today Yoyoi Kusama's retrospective exhibit Obsession Infinita is touring the world.

Yayoi Kusama: Dots Obsession will continue at the Centre D’Art Le Lait, in Albi, France through October 25, 2015. I hope you're able to visit and are as inspired as I am!

à la prochaine,


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Activities to Nurture a Young Artist

When children are young, creating art is encouraged with abundant crayons, paper and praise. But as young children grow older, too often artistic activities are neglected in favor of academic projects. A career as an artist depends on many things, one being a nurturing environment to create art. Here are three activities you can do with your child this summer to create art and encourage creativity and expression.

3 Summer Kid's Projects to Develop Artistic Creativity

1.  Museum scavenger hunt: Take a field trip to your local art museum and hand your child a list of works or artists to find. Provide age-appropriate tips and tidbits as clues to find the artwork. For a pre-teen with a cell-phone try a clue like:

this pop artist is famous for his painting of a Campbell's soup can

2. Set up an easel in a park: Kids are used to drawing at home or 
viewfinder for outdoor drawingat school, drawing outside with an easel and pad is a totally different experience. Some children are easily distracted when asked to draw outside: a viewfinder to define the scene can be helpful.

Make your own viewfinder: a piece of 8x10 inch cardboard with a rectangle cut out as a window, about 3x4 inches. viewfinder instructions here

3. Draw a night scene: When children draw nature, they're 
typically encouraged to draw daytime scenes: flowers, sun, blue skies. Take advantage of the nice summer evening weather and (no morning school alarm) to draw night scenes, encouraging different colors and shading than daytime scenes.

For inspiration, discuss Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night.

I'd love to hear how you encourage art in children!
à la prochaine,


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz - New Children's Book

Jelly Roll Morton claimed to have invented jazz - and many fans agree! A jazz pianist and composer, Jelly Roll performed across the country, but New Orleans was home to Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe.

Jelly Roll's music incorporated minstrel, ragtime, the blues and Caribbean sounds to create the sound that became known as jazz, and later performed swing. His hit recordings include:

  • King Porter Stomp
  • New Orleans Blues
  • Dead Man's Blues
  • Original Jelly Roll Blues
  • Black Bottom Stomp

A colorful and popular musician who started Jelly's Last Jam.
performing in brothels at 14 and gained fame in the 20s and 30s, Jelly Roll died at the age of 50 (or close to 50, as there are different years attributed to his birth). His story and music regained popularity in the 90's when Gregory Hines portrayed him in the Broadway musical

How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz  is a new biography and children's book by Jonah Winter and beautifully illustrated by Keith Mallett (release June 16, 2015) that brings together two naturals: music and art.

Children have an innate love for both music and art, and as an artist and jazz fan I'm excited to share this new book that introduces children to the sounds and colors of jazz.

As an admirer of Keith Mallett's art, I highly recommend this book to share with a special child in your life - and you'll like it too!

à la prochaine,


Friday, May 22, 2015

Wild Noise Comes to New York City

Wild Noise: Artwork from The Bronx Museum of the Arts and El Museo Nacional des Bella Artes is a joint exhibition that features a visual arts exchange between the US and Cuba. Running from May 21 - August 16, 2015, Wild Noise is the most extensive visual arts exchange between the two countries in over 50 years. The exhibit includes:

  • an artist exchange with US artist Mary Mattingly and Cuban artist Humberto Diaz
  • a teen exchange program
  • educational and public programs
  • a dual language exhibit publication
The exhibit exchanges more than 100 art works from each country, and offers visitors to The Bronx Museum an opportunity to see contemporary Cuban artists who have long been hidden to US audiences due to political tensions between the two countries. 

Wild Noise is taken from a poem by Victor Hugo, Ma vie est déjà dans l'ombre des la mort.

click to see images from Wild Noise

For details on Wild Noise visit: The Bronx Museum of the Arts

I admire the work of Juan Antonio Picasso, a Cuban artist and distant relative of Pablo Picasso. The Havana artist enjoys being relatively unknown outside of Cuba, and his art expresses Afro-Cuban history and culture.
Blue by Juan Antonio Picasso

A 1999 Spanish documentary about The Black Picassos and his first exhibit in 2004 have put a spotlight on Juan Antonio Picasso, yet he is still able to work in his preferred anonymity.

à la prochaine,


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Petit Déjeuner in Bordeaux

After several months of travel and spending the winter months in Puerto Vallarta, I'm happy to have returned home again to Bordeaux, France. Getting back to my familiar routine as the spring weather arrives gives me a burst of creative energy and inspirations.

One of my favorite routines of our life in France is Saturday morning petit déjeuner at my local market, les Marchés des Capucins in Bordeaux. Extremely popular with both locals, who rely on it for fresh produce and meeting our neighbors, and tourists; this traditional marketplace is an ideal location to enjoy the tastes, scenery and sounds of French daily life. My favorites at the market include the fresh seafood (I adore the oysters), the breads, flowers and of course, the wines.

One of our favorite routines is to enjoy breakfast at les Capu. Here you see my Saturday morning petit déjeuner of café et croissants. Petit déjenuer is the French phrase for breakfast, and literally translates to 'little lunch'. Déjenuer means 'lunch', and jenuer translate to 'fast'. So the phrase petit déjeuner means a small meal to break your fast. A traditional French breakfast is coffee and bread, or for children hot chocolate.

Bon Appétit!

à la prochaine,


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Art Lovers Rejoice: 

the Metropolitan Museum of Art has FREE art books to download

Met Publications offers five decades of Met publications on art history, available to read, download and/or search for free. Launched in 2012, Met Publications continually adds to their collection of free online books.

Every year The Met produces stunning art catalogues to promote their exhibitions: but if you don't live in New York City, and can't continuously purchase the many wonderful art catalogues, that art goes unseen. Now, art catalogues as well as other art books that are out of publication and readily available to the public through The Met's free download program. Virtual museum tours are a wonderful opportunity for armchair travel to some of the world's outstanding museums, the Met's online art books allow you to continue your virtual art education.

Met Publications books can be read online, or downloaded as a PDF. Each available art book lists:
  • book title
  • author
  • description
  • year released
  • book cover image

Some of the titles available for download are:

Christian Dior by Richard Martin and Harold Koda (1996)

La Belle Epoque by Philippe Julian and Diana Vreeland

Masterpieces of the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Barbara Burn (2006)

Ancient Egyptian Jewelry by Ambrose Lansing (1940)

Note: The Met also has over 400,000 free art images online for you to download.

à la prochaine,


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring Street Art Comes to New York City

Gazing Globes by artist Paula Hayes
When spring weather arrives to cities hit hard  by the winter's cold and snow, outdoor art installations sprout over night. New York City is blooming with spring flowers and public art exhibits, rewarding locals and tourists after an unusually brutal winter.

Madison Square Park in downtown NYC is home to an exhibit by artist Paula Hayes, Gazing Globes. This is Hayes' first outdoor art sculpture, and consists of 18 illuminated orbs filled with recycled objects from modern urban life.

Reminiscent of Christmas ornaments or snowglobes,  the clear globes merge memories of the city's winter streets filled with snow, sleet and ice dotted with street trash. Artist Hayes used:

vintage parts because technology moves at such a fast pace.  These play a role in the current landscape and how information is transmitted from one part of the globe to the next. I am making an illuminated landscape evocative of the designed landscape of Madison Square Park. Both are born of human imagination and technology.
Gazing Globes in Madison Square Park

Gazing Globes in Madison Square Park
I'm invigorated by the burst of beautiful spring weather and public art sprouting up in cities and towns everywhere. What street art has popped up in your neighborhood?

à la prochaine,


Thursday, March 26, 2015

7 Motivational Quotes by Artists

Writer's get writer's block.
Painter's get painter's block.
Artists get artist's block.

Sometime's my creativity is blocked, and even though I want to be at my easel, paintbrush in hand, I simply can't express myself. When I'm experiencing artist's block, sometimes all I need are some inspirational words to release my creative energies, and allow my hands to express what is in my soul. I have many favorite artists, and here are some of my favorite artist's quotes that inspire me to paint.

7 Artist's Quotes to Motivate Your Inner Artist

1.  I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for. ~ Georgia O'Keefe
Georgia O'Keefe art quote

2. If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh art quote

3. Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment. ~ Claude Monet

Claude Monet art quote

4. The only I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration. ~ Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo quote

5. You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. ~ Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou quote

6. Il ya des fleurs partous pour qui veut bien les voir. ~ Matisse (There are flowers everywhere for those who bother to look.

Matisse art quote

7. Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist. ~ Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso art quote

I'm on Twitter - @6636ophelia - and one of my favorite Tweeters is @GreatArtQuotes - here's their profile photo:

What quotes inspire your creativity? I'd love to know!

à la prochaine,


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Visual Artist, Novelist and Poet Barbara Chase-Riboud

In celebration of Black History Month, throughout February I'm sharing with you three women artists who have made significant contributions to the art world:
This week I'm excited to introduce you to:

Visual Artist, Novelist and Poet Barbara Chase-Riboud

Barbara Chase-Riboud with Malcolm X Stele (USAToday)
Barbara Chase (b. 1939) was born in Philadelphia and at age 8 began attending the Fleisher Art Memorial School. In 1957 Chase-Riboud received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Temple University in 1957, studied at the American Academy in Rome, and received her Master's Degree in Design and Architecture from Yale University in 1960. Since 1961 Chase-Riboud has lived abroad in Paris, and spends extensive time traveling.

Starting out as a sculptor and painter, Chase-Riboud published her first novel Sally Hemings in 1979, and her novels and poetry have sold millions of copies and inspired a TV mini-series, plays and major films. Despite living all her adult life abroad, including marrying twice and raising two sons in France, most of Chase-Riboud's works focus on life in the United States.
Barbara Chase-Riboud The Malcolm X Steles
I don't write as a white or black woman; neither do I write about "white" or "black" characters. I write about human beings and the human condition, which is universal.
~ Barbara Chase-Riboud, 2010, Historical Novels 

Barbara Chase-Riboud's works include:
  • Le Lit drawing series,1966
  • 13 Malcolm X sculptures, begun in 1969
  • Book of poetry From Memphis & Peking,1974
  • Novel Sally Hemings, 1979
  • Book of poetry Portrait of a Nude Woman as Cleopatra, 1987
  • Novel Echo of Lions, 1989
  • Roman Egyptien, poetry written in French, 1994
  • Monument Drawings, 1996-97
  • Sojourner Truth Monument, 1999
Barbara Chase-Riboud exhibits and honors include:
  • solo exhibition was at the Galleria L'Obelisco at the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Italy, 1957
  • John Hay Whitney Fellowship, 1957
  • Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best novel written by an American woman Sally Hemings, 1979
  • Carl Sandburg Prize for Poetry 1988
  • knighted by the French Government and received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 1996 
  • commissioned by the United States General Services Administration for the memorial Africa Rising, at the African Burial Ground National Monument NYC, 1979
  • won an important copyright decision, Granville Burgess vs. Chase-Riboud, 1991
  • honorary Doctorate of Letters from Muhlenberg College, 1993
  • James Van Der Zee Award for lifetime achievement, 1995
  • honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Connecticut, 1996
  • American Library Association Black Caucus Award for fiction for her novel Hottentot Venus, 2005
  • Women's Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award, 2007
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art presented Barbara Chase-Riboud: The Malcolm X Steles, 2013
Sojourner Truth by Barbara Chase-Riboud

For more works by Barbara Chase-Riboud

à la prochaine,


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Alma Woodsey Thomas: Celebrating Women Artists During Black History Month

As a female African American artist who has lived and traveled around the world, I'm inspired by the many artists I have met on my journey. During Black History Month, I want to share with you three women artists who have made contributions to the art world.  I have met, admired and followed many black female artists on my travels, and am excited to share with you 3 African American female artists who represent the many black visual artists I've encountered.

Throughout February I will be sharing with you the artistry of three female African American artists:
This week I'm honored to share the works of:

Painter Alma Woodsey Thomas

Alma Woodsey Thomas in her studio, 1968.
Photo: Ida Jarvis, Archives of American Art,
Smithsonian Institute 
Expressionist painter, educator and art advocate Alma Woodsey Thomas (1891-1978) was born in Georgia but grew up and spent most of her life in Washington, DC. Alma Thomas spent 35 years as an educator, primarily teaching art and promoting appreciation of the arts, and at age 60 retired from teaching to devote her next 20 years to painting.

Thomas earned her undergraduate degree at Howard University as the first woman to graduate from their fine arts department, and her MFA at Columbia Teachers College in 1934. 20 years later Thomas returned to school to study art at the American University.

Alma Thomas became the first African American woman artist to solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC in 1972 at age 80. According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Thomas became an important role model for women, African Americans, and older artists. 

Alma Woodsey Thomas' Watusi (Hard Edge) is on display in the Obama White House.
Do you have any idea what its like to be caged in a 78 year-old body and to have the mind and energy of a 25 year-old? If I could only turn the clock back 60 years I'd show them. I'll show them anyway.
~ Alma Woodsey Thomas, 1970, A History of African-American Artists 

Alma Woodsey Thomas' works include:
The Elipse by Alma Woodsey Thomas
cover art for Maya Angelou
Letter to My Daughter
  • Skylight
  • Watusi (Hard Edge)
  • Scarlet Sage Dancing a Whirling Dervish
  • Springtime in Washington
  • The Singing Head
  • Air View of a Spring Nursery
  • Breeze Rustling Through Fall Flowers
Alma Woodsey Thomas exhibits and honors include:
  • Gallery of Art, Howard University, 1966
  • Whitney Museum of Art, 1972
  • A Life in Art: Alma Thomas, 1891 - 1978, Smithsonian American Art Institute, 1981
  • A Proud Continuum: Eight Decades of Art at Howard University, 2005 
  • Vice President and helped establish Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, DC, 1943
  • Honor Roll of Distinguished Women by National Association of Colored Women 1962
  • Two Thousand Women of Achievement Award, 1972
  • Alma Thomas Day in Washington, DC, September 9, 1972
  • Invited to White House by President Jimmy Carter in 1977
For more photos of works by Alma Woodsey Thomas

Next week, I look forward to sharing with you the artistry of Barbara Chase-Riboud.

à la prochaine,


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

3 Female African American Artists You'll Want to Discover

In honor of Black History Month, I want to share with you three women artists who have made
Mother and Child by Elizabeth Catlett
courtesy of
contributions to the art scene. As a female African American artists who has lived and traveled around the world, I'm inspired by the many people I have met on my travels, and am excited to share with you three African American female artists who represent the many black visual artists I have met.

During February I will be sharing with you the artistry of three female African American artists:
This week I'm honored to share the works of:

Sculptor and Printmaker Elizabeth Catlett

Elizabeth Catlett, artist
courtesy of
Born in Washington D.C. Elizabeth Catlett is best remembered for the political sculptures and prints she created during the 60s and 70s. Catlett earned her MFA at the University of Iowa, where her mentor artist Grant Wood influenced her to to focus on African American subjects, especially black women.

After a brief art teaching career and move to Harlem, she married her second husband, Mexican artist Francisco Mora; and permanently moved to Mexico where she raised her children. She taught and became head of the sculpture department at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, as well as worked with other artists to use their art to encourage social change.

Her political outspokenness about the plights of African Americans - including picketing, protesting and arrests - and becoming a Mexican citizen resulted in being banned from returning to the US for 10 years.
Are we here to communicate? Are we here for cultural interchange? Then let us not be narrow. Let us not be small or selfish. Let us aspire to be as great in our communication as the forefathers of our people who's struggles made our being here possible.
~ Elizabeth Catlett, 1961, Washington D.C., address to

Catlett's works include:
  • Sharecropper
    Louis Armstron by Elizabeth Catlett
    courtesy of
  • Malcolm X Speaks For Us
  • Dancing Figure
  • The Black Woman Speaks
  • Target
  • The Singing Head
  • Statue of Louis Armstrong in Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans
  • Ralph Ellison Memorial in West Harlem, NYC
  • Children of Flowers in the National Mall, Washington DC
  • Sculpture of Mahalia Jackson in New Orleans
In addition to her formal education, Elizabeth Catlett received the following honors:
  • Women's Caucus for Art
  • Elizabeth Catlett Week in Berkley, California
  • Elizabeth Catlett Day in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Honorary Doctorate from Pace University, NYC
  • Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award
  • Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Jazz piece Quiet Pride about her sculptures by musician Rufus Reid
  • NCAA Image Awards 2009
For more photos of works by Elizabeth Catlett 

Next week, I look forward to sharing  you the artistry of  Alma Woodsey Thomas.
  • Alma Woodsey Thomas
  • Barbara Chase-Riboud
à la prochaine,