The History and Process of Lithograph Art

Lithography is a medium that has dominated printmaking since the 18th century, but its defining principle is rather simple: oil repels water. By inscribing an oil-repellent image onto a flat, porous stone, one can use the stone to create thousands of near-identical prints and spread their words and images far and wide.

But what is lithography in art? Lithography has applications in advertising, wallpaper production, computer printing, and even nanotechnology, but it is also an intricate art medium if you have the patience for it. 

Discover how lithograph art works and heighten your appreciation for the craft at Marcus Ashley Gallery.

The Origins of Lithograph Art

The first mention of the word lithography comes from Germany in 1796, when author and actor Alois Senefelder wished for an inexpensive method of printing his theater materials. Lithography comes from the Ancient Greek lithos, ‘stone’, and graphein, ‘to write’. German limestone, known for its hardness, porous qualities, and fine grain, was the first stone used to create the smooth surface required for a perfect print.

Senefelder used pencils made of fat or resin, then treated it with a special chemical process that could be washed and reused a great number of times without reducing the quality of the drawing, unlike the cumbersome woodblock printing process that was customary back then. 

Essentially, lithography art is the process of creating an image that ink can adhere to in order to make a large number of near-identical prints. Lithography was an early printmaking method devised for a simple purpose that has had a monumental impact that persists to this day.

How Does Lithography Work?

The process of how lithography works can vary widely from artist to artist, but typically, the process of creating a lithograph goes as follows:

  • An artist draws the design onto flat stone (usually limestone) using oil-based ink.
  • The completed design is then processed, or etched, using layers of talc and rosin.
  • Acid and/or gum arabic mixed with acid is brushed onto the stone to create a chemical reaction, fixing the oil drawing into the stone.
  • A solvent removes the drawing, and a material is applied that etches the stone into place. 

Modern lithography can often skip some of this process, utilizing polymer coatings and metal or plastic plates to achieve a similar result. Additionally, a derivative method called offset lithography uses sheets of rubber and the same concept of oil and water in order to print large amounts of paper, and it has persisted as the most popular printing method since the 1960s. Photolithography also plays a part in the mass production of electronics and other technology.

What Is Lithography in Art?

Lithography is a highly technical form of creating prints, but it doesn’t just have technical uses. After overcoming technical difficulties in the medium’s initial stages, inventors were able to develop a way of adding artwork to paper and newspaper prints, allowing for one of the world’s first simple mass production of artists’ works. 

Soon, lithography art could also be produced in color. An artist creates a different stone for each additional color and a separate layer of ink would be applied to the paper for each stone. The artist must take great care to align the etchings perfectly so that the colors do not overlap.

Artists began to use lithography about a century after it became a popular printmaking method, and in the mid-1800s, it became a trend amongst popular artists like Delacroix, Géricault, and Goya. 

Lithography allowed artists to achieve renown and recognizability like never before. For the first time, the masses could see masterful, gorgeous works of art in books or newspapers, making art much more accessible to the average person and different social classes.

Lithography fell out of favor as an art medium for a while, but it was revived when a new generation of famous artists including Picasso, Matisse, and Miró were encouraged to pursue it. New and easier methods were refined in this time, which made lithography popular for wallpaper, printing, and of course, art.

Michael Parkes: A Famous Contemporary Lithograph Artist

Michael Parkes has reached a near-legendary status in the art world for his mastery of stone lithograph art. He has spent decades learning this difficult technique, and an understanding of what is involved in his artwork’s creation makes his result even more impressive.

His meticulous art style lends well to the incredibly precise and detailed technique required for lithography, and he can create fantastical, intricate scenes with the same refined quality as his paintings. His lithographs are hardly sought after, and Marcus Ashley Gallery is fortunate to offer many pieces from his collection on our online gallery, which you can peruse at your leisure.

Discover Masterful Lithography Art at Marcus Ashley Gallery

If you have any questions about purchasing limited edition print artwork for your collection, what lithography art is, or other fine mediums on display in our collection, one of our experienced art consultants would be happy to help you. Contact us anytime. Browse our gallery online or visit our vast gallery in person at South Lake Tahoe. 

Explore Our Menagerie:
Animals in Art at Marcus Ashley Gallery

Capturing the natural world in art is an ever-impressive feat, and those who manage to portray the mannerisms and beauty of animals in art have a rare talent. Read about some of our most popular artists who explore animals in their artwork.

Loet Vanderveen

The late Loet Vanderveen was one of the most famous modern animal sculptors of the 20th and 21st century. His iconic bronze animals have been collected by Queen Elizabeth II, The King of Tonga, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many more notable individuals. Vanderveen sadly passed away in 2015, making his limited collection of sculptures all the more rare and exclusive.

Black bronze sculpture of a kudu with curled horns by Loet Vanderveen.

Kudu, Greater-Regular

Vanderveen’s childhood was influenced by his love for the zoo and his dreams of exotic safaris. After serving in the R.A.F during WWII, he was able to pursue his artistic career and learn rare patine bronze sculpture techniques. This elegant form is enhanced by delicate patina work that gives it an entrancing color and shine.

Sculpture of two giraffes by Loet Vanderveen.

Giraffe Pair

Look closely at this sculpture and you can see the small cracks in the patina, carefully chosen to imitate a giraffe’s. It is only with Vanderveen’s immense skill that he could manipulate patina and bronze with such care.

Tim “Frogman” Cotterill

Every one of Frogman’s unique frog sculptures has a personality all its own. The jewel tone and texture is achieved with bronze, gold, or steel, and his masterful technique lets him create animals in art that are, in his words, “just plain fun.”

Frogman’s modern animal sculptures are currently out of production, so everything you see on our site or in-person is a limited edition and soon to be unavailable. Shop while you can!

Sculpture of a green frog with a red heart called Casanova by Frogman.

Casanova

This lovely piece is just one of Frogman’s many gorgeous frog sculptures. This lively little amphibian looks so real it could almost jump off your display.

Sculpture of a red gecko entitled Diablo by Frogman.

Diablo

Frogman doesn’t just make frogs! His eye-catching geckos spark the same curiosity and whimsy as his classic frogs.

Miri Rozenvain

Miri Rozenvain’s lifelike, kaleidoscopic animals in art are beloved by collectors around the world. Her unique style is a surprising mix of abstract and realism, employing a technique that adds captivating texture to her modern animal paintings. She creates custom pieces for the gallery as well as on commissions for our clients. If you are interested in such a piece, please get in touch with us to learn more. 

 Colorful abstract owl painting entitled Determination by Miri Rozenvain.

Determination (Sold)

Rozenvain is incredible at capturing the depth of an animal’s facial expression in her art, and this free-flying owl is no exception. 

Painting of an abstract colorful horse entitled No Speed Limits by Miri Rozenvain.

No Speed Limits (Sold)

This custom painting has such expressive texture that the powerful horse seems to almost be bursting through the canvas in an explosion of color.

Sally Maxwell

Maxwell has mastered capturing animals in art. Her modern animal paintings feature scratchboard, a rare and unique medium that allows for highly precise lines. She uses a distinct technique in scratchboard that allows her to add color to what’s largely known as a black and white medium. Her process is part of what makes her art highly unique and sought-after. 

Realistic painting of chardonnay, cheese, and a monkey by Sally Maxwell.

Chardonnay Monkey

This painting was inspired by Maxwell’s love for chardonnay, cheese, and crackers on a happy evening: some of life’s delightful simple pleasures. The lifelike quality is utterly stunning.

 Painting of bears and crows entitled Shoo Fly by Sally Maxwell.

Shoo Fly

Maxwell’s experience with depressive thoughts inspired this painting of crows and a bear. These crows represent the negativity she wishes to ward off. Her new slogan: “I AM the bear and I can do it!”

Discover More Animals in Art at Marcus Ashley Gallery

To see more of our modern animal sculptures and paintings, browse our online gallery or visit our expansive gallery in beautiful South Lake Tahoe. We welcome you to explore our inspiring collection!

Loet Vanderveen: The Story of a Legendary Bronze Animal Sculpture Artist

“To capture the soul of the man, one must look into his eyes. To capture the eyes of the beast, one must look into nature’s soul.”

-Loet Vanderveen

Loet Vanderveen was a master of cast bronze sculpture, able to reproduce the elegance and beauty of nature in an art form so challenging and harsh as metal. The story behind this renowned animal sculpture artist is just as inspiring as his art, and one could not exist without the other.

From enduring tragedy in WWII, to designing fashion in bustling metropolises, to moving to the remote coastal mountains of Big Sur, Vanderveen took a passion for the natural world and poured it into art. Learn the story behind the man whose sculptures grace the residences of Queen Elizabeth II, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and avid collectors around the world.

Loet Vanderveen’s Early Life and Influences

Loet Vanderveen grew up in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. As a child, Vanderveen visited the Rotterdam zoo across the street almost every day, fostering in him a deep love for animals and the natural world. He was obsessed with someday traveling the world and creating art, but his life as an animal sculpture artist would not begin until he had overcome great hardship.

Tragedy struck Vanderveen’s life at a young age when he lost his mother to a car accident and his father to a staph infection. In 1940, his home of Rotterdam was bombed by Axis forces, and right before, the Dutch army was forced to slaughter all the dangerous animals in the zoo. 

Vanderveen had half-Jewish heritage, and during the occupation, he was forced to flee the city by bicycle over the Belgian border. During the rest of the war, he served in the R.A.F., where he became a decorated soldier.

From the City to the Mountains

After the war, Vanderveen finally had the freedom to pursue his artistic passions. His artistic career began as a fashion designer, designing sportswear in Paris and London. This cutthroat industry was not enough to satisfy his creative longings, and so, he moved to New York City, where he undertook the challenging art of reduced glazes. He met with the curator of the Far Eastern Department of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Fong Chow, a master ceramicist to whom he owed the rest of his career. Thenceforth, his life as an animal sculpture artist began.

Vanderveen’s career truly took off when he escaped to the wild to pursue his dream of being an artist. He purchased 20 acres of land in Big Sur, California, and built a house with a ceramic studio atop a mountain. After a fire destroyed the original home in 1985, he rebuilt it, and a new wave of inspiration prompted him to pursue casting bronze sculpture full-time.

How Artists Create Bronze Sculpture Art

To create sculptures in bronze, artists first create the sculpture in malleable clay. The clay is then used to create a mold, usually in silicon rubber. The rubber mold is used as the basis for the cast bronze, which is poured into the mold from a hot forge. 

Many materials can be used in the bronze casting process to make the sculptures, including gated wax, silica sand, and ceramic shells. Many artists choose to burn out the wax in the interior of the sculpture, rendering the sculpture hollow. The bronze must be molten, poured, and welded by skilled professionals with great care to ensure seam lines, bubbles, and imperfections do not appear in the finished product. Vanderveen then added an additional layer of complexity by applying colored patinas to his bronze sculptures, which must be applied to the bronze while still hot.

The complexity of his process is masked in how graceful and silky his animal sculpture art appears to be, and this is part of what makes Vanderveen so famous. Bronze sculpture art is challenging and imprecise, and the elegance of Vanderveen sculptures is a testament to his patience and mastery of the craft.

Explore Vanderveen’s Legacy at Marcus Ashley Gallery

Well into his 90s, Vanderveen continued to pioneer and innovate in his chosen medium, producing works that would leave an indelible mark in wildlife sculpture forever. He equated his works, and all animal sculpture art, to a 21st century homage to totem poles. Loet Vanderveen passed away in 2015, therefore his remaining collection of cast bronze sculptures are all that there ever will be. Now, his work has passed into legend, and his techniques may never be perfectly replicated. 

If you wish to purchase a Vanderveen sculpture, we are happy to assist you. His sculptures add hope and optimism to any space. With world-class gallery service, your sculpture will be fully insured until it reaches your doorstep. It will come with all the necessary certificates of replacement value that such a rare and valuable piece of art requires. 

If you have questions about Loet Vanderveen’s artwork, please get in touch with one of our art consultants. We also encourage you to explore Loet Vanderveen’s collection online at Marcus Ashley Gallery or come see our collection in person in our renowned South Lake Tahoe location.

How to Choose Art for Your Home

Boots Like These by Todd White, painting of a woman in a dress with colorful patterns, holding a glass of wine

When it comes to selecting pieces of art that reflect your home’s personality, energy, and sensibility, there are a myriad of options to consider. If you are just embarking on the journey of choosing art for your home or are looking for more inspiration on decorating with art, we at Marcus Ashley Gallery are here to help! 

Some of the most popular artworks for decorating interiors include original oil paintings, pastel drawings, watercolor paintings, giclee prints, lithographs, serigraphs, photography, and sculpture. Let’s look at some types of art and types of collections to consider while exploring some of the different artists and their techniques in our collection below.

Original Paintings 

Abstract acrylic painting with multi-colored textural shapes and painterly background blues, white, and oranges by Maya Evantov at Marcus Ashley Gallery
“Abstract – 188741” by Maya Evantov, original acrylic on canvas

Original paintings are a special addition to any art collection and are one-of-a-kind. Limited edition prints of those originals are often available and at a more moderate price point, making them a great place to start for aspiring collectors.

There are a wide variety of painting techniques used in original paintings — some of the most popular options are oil paintings, acrylic paintings, pastel paintings, watercolor paintings, and mixed media works utilizing multiple painting or drawing media. Knowing the basic processes used in creating original paintings can help you when planning how to choose art for your home. 

Oil paint is a slow drying medium and can be used to create wonderful textural effects, and the history of art can be told through this medium since it is one of the most iconic, and withstanding, art mediums in the world. It produces rich colors and is a timeless medium that contemporary artists like Michael Flohr and Mario Jung, Todd White, and Alexander Volkov continue to explore the possibilities of, with some artists pioneering new, experimental techniques such as Rolinda Stotts’ Bella Rotta works. 

The Playground by Rolinda Stotts, a mixed media triptych painting of an aspen grove
“The Playground” by Rolinda Stotts, mixed media

Painting with acrylics also yields vibrant works of art. These paints are fast drying and long-lasting. Pablo Picasso and Jean-Michel Basquiat are famous painters who used acrylics during their lives. We love to see when contemporary artists take acrylics to the next level, experimenting with this medium and painting surfaces to great effect as seen in the playful works of 2Wild, Steve Barton, and Maya Evantov.

Drawing with pastels and painting with watercolors are other techniques known for softer tones and colors, such as the works we know and love from Mary Cassat and Claude Monet. However, both mediums welcome a world of experimentation and “breaking the rules” with bolder colors and unexpected applications. Many artists of the 20th and 21st centuries took these mediums even further with experimental techniques, seen in the painterly pastels of Mackenzie Thorpe and the photoreal watercolors of Eric Christensen.

Modern-day artists use a range of these techniques (or a mix of all of them in mixed media) to create memorable works that will be welcome additions to any wall in your home or office. 

Original watercolor painting on paper by Eric Christensen called Winding Down with wine glasses, a bottle of wine, cheese, and assorted fruit and flowers
Winding Down by Eric Christensen, Original Watercolor Painting

Reproduction Prints

Limited edition print of I Want the World to Know by Fabio Napoleoni
“I Want the World to Know”, Fabio Napoleoni, Limited Edition Giclee Print

In order to produce more than one painting from a single artwork, artists have been using printing techniques for centuries to make copies of an original piece of artwork. Often, artists will do a limited number of these pieces, hand-numbering and signing them for their collectors to easily obtain limited edition, but premium quality, reproductions of the original artwork. 

At Marcus Ashley Gallery, the artists we represent largely all offer limited editions in this way, providing a valuable destination for those seeking masterpieces by renowned artists Michael Parkes, Fabio Napoleoni, and Charles Pabst, for example.

Buying reproduction prints in limited edition or even open edition adds beauty to any collection when considering how to choose art for your home. 

Additional Styles and Media for Art Collections 

Fine art photography continues to be a sophisticated choice for decorating with art, particularly when you consider adding landscape photography by artists such as Jon Paul. These act like veritable windows to the outside world without you leaving home and such photography is known for instilling a calming, serene mood to interior spaces. 

Sculpture adds a different kind of presence to a space, quite literally! Artists have been working with sculptural techniques since prehistoric times, and the ways in which humans have learned to shape something from natural or synthetic materials continue to evolve. Our collection tells an intriguing story about the evolution of sculpture: featuring a range of artists from Michelangelo, to 20th and 21st-century figurative pieces by Michael Parkes and Boris Kramer, wind sculptures by Lyman Whitaker, or bronze animal sculptures by Loet Vanderveen, to the innovative cold-glass optical sculptures by Jack Storms.

Curating An At-Home Art Collection 

Abstract figurative sculpture of two figures close together in blue and green patinated bronze by Boris Kramer
“Quiet Encounter” by Boris Kramer 
– Patinated Bronze Sculpture

Fine art collections are exciting and alluring additions to any home. When curating your own art collection, consulting expertly trained art consultants can be a fun and educational way to enrich your experience as you build your own collection. Expert recommendations can help to focus the collection and give your collection a greater sense of scope and depth.

Planning the size of a collection is an essential element in determining how to choose art for your home. If you are beginning a collection from scratch or adding fine art pieces to an existing collection, making art purchases should be thought out. 

Setting the aesthetic goals for a collection is also important. Will there be limitations to what media or subjects are included in the collection? Will the overall feel of the collection be contemporary, eclectic, traditional, or vintage? Is creating a beautiful, cohesive, or eclectic display of pieces the ultimate goal of decorating with art? It is also essential to determine where the art collection will be displayed — home, office, or another space.

Adding To Your Art Collection 

Miri Rozenvain’s Lovely Summer Day acrylic and mixed media on panel
 “Lovely Summer Day” by 2Wild, 
Original Acrylic and Mixed Media on Panel

Collecting art can be rewarding, uplifting, and inspiring. Expanding your art collection will not only increase the volume of your collection, but also your overall knowledge of art, artists, and the art world. Visiting galleries is the best way to gain inspiration for your next piece, and we are happy to host unique events at our South Lake Tahoe gallery, where you can meet the artists, see their techniques in action, and enjoy the ambiance.

As your walls or space fills up with pieces to make up your collection, there will be additional considerations in how to choose art for your home. Perhaps you will want to focus on a certain artist that will be instrumental in rounding out your collection or a special artwork that will enhance the collection.

Enhance your art collection piece by piece over time to create a remarkable addition to your home or office that will last for decades. Questions on how to get started? Get in touch with us today at +1 530 544-4278 or contact us online.

How to Start Collecting Art

Beautiful Florence painting by Michael Flohr with the Ponte Vecchio and cityscape
“Beautiful Florence” by Michael Flohr, limited edition giclee on canvas

Great news! Curating your own art collection does not require a professional education as an art expert. Collecting fine art is possible for anyone interested in enhancing the beauty of their interior (or exterior) spaces. Whether you are interested in working on a collection to display in your home or office, or you are looking for outdoor sculptural works to elevate your property’s curb appeal, art has something to offer everyone.okm

Some may find the art world intimidating, but following a few simple steps can make how to start an art collection a much smoother process. Any day is a great day to discover new art; let’s get started!

A Great Day to Discover giclee print of Fabio Napoleoni’s cute animal characters on a boat on the ocean with stylized waves
 “A Great Day to Discover” by Fabio Napoleoni, giclee on paper

1. Set Your Goals

There are a few key questions to consider when starting your art collection. What do you want to accomplish? Is creating a beautiful, cohesive, or eclectic display of pieces the ultimate goal?

It is also essential to determine where the art collection will be displayed — home, office, or another space.

Once the basic questions of collecting fine art are determined, a scope of artwork needs to be set. Will the pieces be a certain single medium or a combination of media? Should there be paintings, fine art prints, sculptures, or photography included in the collection? Any specific artists that should be included in the collection should also be noted.

The sizes of the pieces desired will also need to be determined. Will the collection encompass a wall, a room, or an entire home or office?

Once these preliminary planning questions (size, scope, media, featured artists) have been answered, the collecting can move to the next step in curating — researching the artists and their art.

2. Conduct Research

Now it’s time to find out a bit more about collecting fine art and fine art prints. Perhaps you want to focus some of the collection on landscape paintings or abstract topics, you can delve into a subject by reading and searching for pieces online or in books. Visiting local galleries, meeting local artists, or attending gallery openings is another great way to learn more about your favorite subjects and media.

Are there local art fairs or other art events in your area? If so, this is a wonderful way to learn more about artists and pieces. Ask questions, read biographies and attend exhibitions. Gain valuable knowledge by increasing your network of art-minded friends by attending events and seeking resources locally and online.

3. Set A Budget

Setting a budget for your collection will help you to see the long-term goals you have for your collection. Decorating with art can be done without overspending! At Marcus Ashley Gallery, we offer convenient financing options for your art purchases thanks to our partnership with Wells Fargo, making it easier than ever to start acquiring your favorite artists’ pieces.

Remember that quality over quantity should be foremost in your fine art collecting approach and budget considerations. Take time to add pieces to your collection and ensure you are able to add value to your collection step-by-step.

4. Buy Your First Piece

Once the budget has been set and an idea of what artwork will be the right addition to the collection has been finalized, it’s time to choose your first piece!

Online galleries make fine art collecting from the comfort of home convenient. You can expect to find clearly-listed prices or info on how to request quotes, easy access to a wide variety of artworks, and, in the case of our online gallery at Marcus Ashley Gallery, the opportunity to meet with an art consultant virtually to help you with your orders. Online purchases let you browse through all of your favorite artwork, take your time choosing the right pieces, buy your favorite original art, and have it delivered to your doorstep.

Colorful bronze Frogman sculpture with a gold frog perched on blue wildflowers with a blue pattina and ladybug accents
“Forget Me Not” by Frogman (Tim Cotterill), bronze 11.75 ”x 7.75”x3” sculpture

5. Expand Over Time

Once you have started collecting fine art, the itch may be hard to stop! Research the next piece you are interested in adding to your collection or meet with one of our virtual art consultants to help you select your next treasure.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with our art professionals today, or connect with us in person at one of our upcoming events in South Lake Tahoe.

Artist Process Spotlight: Famous Pastel Artist Mackenzie Thorpe’s Career and Works

Mackenzie Thorpe is one of the highest-selling British artists in the last few decades. From a humble background in the industrial northern English town of Middlesbrough, Thorpe has created a legacy of art that has sent ripples throughout the international art world.

It takes only one look at Thorpe’s famous pastel art to see why collectors fawn over his work. The smooth, careful strokes, the vivid colors, and the surreal shapes and forms tell stories and show emotions that words don’t have the power to express.

The art consultants at Marcus Ashley Gallery invite you to learn about this renowned oil pastel artist and his technique.

Thorpe’s Oil Pastel Art Technique

Mackenzie Thorpe works with a variety of media, including gouache, watercolor, acrylic, and of course, pastel. He is most famous for his use of pastels, particularly because he uses no additives or stabilizers in his pastel products — only pure, crushed pigment. This provides the strongest, most intense color possible without smearing or excess moisture.

Unlike other famous pastel artists’ techniques, all of Thorpe’s pastel works are quite literally painted with his bare hands. Thorpe works with a brush for classic paint mediums (gouache, watercolor, and acrylic) but he uses only his hands for pastels. Getting his hands and fingers into the work gives him precise control over the vivid colors and unique texture of pastels.

You can see the passion and control Thorpe exercises on paper with every pastel stroke: for example, when he creates ripples in the sky, he often uses just his pinky finger!

Spotlight on Thorpe’s Most Famous Pastel Art

According to Thorpe, this oil pastel art entitled We Need A Bigger Boat is about the job we all have to do in life: “getting love from one generation to the next.” The fishermen in the boat cannot possibly carry all their love into the boat — but they can try, because it’s the only thing worth saving.

Red boat in a black lake and forest entitled Loving by mackenzie Thorpe.

In Loving, Thorpe uses a streak of red in a sea of black and green to show the ability of love to overcome any adversity. Thorpe smears his pinky finger in the background to suggest a somber, haunting landscape, but the focus never shifts from the hopeful, solitary boat.

Red boat in a sea of pink entitled Over the Sea by Mackenzie Thorpe.

In Over the Sea, Thorpe illustrates what he saw as an endless sea of beauty when he moved from busy London to quiet North Yorkshire. In his overwhelm, he tried to capture the feeling of being utterly lost in beauty and wonder.

Thorpe’s Role in the Art Industry and his Inspiring Philanthropic Efforts

Mackenzie Thorpe achieves something in his art which is very rare: he captures the human experience, with all its tribulations and flaws, and shows the hope that can shine through and triumph over adversity. He does not hide that life can often feel like an endless challenge, but he determinedly finds the rays of optimism in self-expression and creativity.

Thorpe has passed on his tremendous success to a number of ongoing philanthropic efforts. As a child with severe dyslexia from an industrial town, he grappled with expressing himself, and he knows that without help from key individuals he would not have achieved the success he has today. As such, he supports several national and international charities, including the Royal British Legion, the Meningitis Trust, the NSPCC, the U.S. Boys and Girls Club, and the Japanese dyslexic society, The Edge. He dedicates the proceeds from much of his artwork to organizations like the NHS and the NE Autism Society.

Purchase Thorpe’s Famous Pastel Art at Marcus Ashley Gallery

Thorpe’s legacy is profound, with his artwork having been collected by the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, JK Rowling, and Tom Hardy. He is not just a famous pastel artist, but a sculptor and painter as well, and his mixed media talent all plays into the common themes of love and hope while honoring the struggles of his working-class background.

You, too, can become a collector of this famous oil pastel art with the services available at Marcus Ashley Gallery. Explore Thorpe’s originals and limited edition giclee prints or contact one of our knowledgeable art consultants.

Exploring the Style of Watercolor Realism: The Fine Art of Eric Christensen

Gold Rush by Eric Christensen

The terms “watercolor” and “realism” are rarely seen together in the world of fine art. Yet, achieving hyperrealism with watercolors is an astounding feat that artist Eric Christensen achieves time and time again.

His artwork evokes the verdant beauty of vineyards, gardens, and bountiful tables. Often, realism falls into the trap of looking like a high-quality picture rather than a work of art, but Eric Christensen’s fine art has total command of the composition to make his paintings eye-catching, beautiful, and as blissfully intoxicating as the wines they portray.

Dive into the world of Christensen’s contemporary watercolor art, available to purchase for your collection at Marcus Ashley Gallery.

What Makes This Contemporary Watercolor Artist Unique

Few people can achieve the attributes of realism using watercolors, and even fewer have mastered watercolor art with such impeccable detail as Eric Christensen.

Artists do not typically attempt realism with watercolors; the medium inherently bleeds and behaves somewhat unpredictably for most artists, and fine details can get lost when colors spread and blend. Oils and acrylics are usually preferred for realism, but Christensen achieves masterful hyperrealism nonetheless.

Christensen uses a special layering technique to ensure dryness and precision in every aspect of his watercolor realism approach. When you look closely at an original or print, you can see the meticulous brushstrokes he employs. He uses photographs for reference in his initial sketch, often manipulating several reference images at once and using them primarily for conceptualization. In his paintings, you can often glimpse familiar, recognizable landscapes in Napa Valley.

A Closer Look at Examples of Christensen’s Watercolor Realism

Still life of North American plants and vases entitled Casaba and Protea by Eric Christensen.

Casaba & Protea 

This painting, set in a rustic kitchen, evokes a warm mood and the lush bounty of an autumn harvest. Featuring yellow winter melon and sugarbushes, Christensen draws from his backyard garden and the natural beauty that inspires him daily. The sunny hues and composition inspire a homey coziness that will brighten any room.

Casaba and Protea is one of the rare original pieces of Eric Christensen’s fine art available at Marcus Ashley Gallery. It’s truly one for the collectors, and we invite you to come view it personally in our South Lake Tahoe gallery.

Triptych of watercolor paintings featuring wine, fruits, and vineyards entitled Estate of Bliss by Eric Christensen.

Estate of Bliss

This triptych displays exquisite attention to composition, color, and form. It manages to capture the essence of Napa Valley in all its flavors, beauty, and sensory delights.

A remarkable aspect of this watercolor realism painting is that all three panels were painted at the same time from start to finish. Christensen’s hallmark patience, attention to detail, and phenomenal skill are especially evident in this prime example of contemporary watercolor art.

A painting of a fireplace, cheeseboard, and wine entitled Golden Glow by Eric Christensen.

Golden Glow  

A cozy fire, a bountiful cheese board, and fine wine — some of life’s finest pleasures. This sumptuous Christensen painting draws you into an intimate, classy life, where problems melt away.

This inviting painting is sought after by the owners of fine estates, urban restaurants, vineyards, and personal collectors. With such a warm scene and enticing palette, who could resist its appeal?

Purchase Eric Christensen Fine Art For Your Collection

Marcus Ashley Gallery is proud to play host to some of the finest contemporary watercolor artists of our time, including Eric Christensen. Our skilled art consultants have many years of experience advising art collectors and connoisseurs about framing, shipping, and which painting would look the best in their gallery. If you’re interested in services like international shipping or even a private home show, peruse our range of world-class gallery services.

Eric Christensen takes commissions, and they don’t have to be of Napa Valley landscapes or wine! He can breathe life and vibrance into any still life or treasure that you desire. If you would like to get in touch with him and see if he can bring your artistic vision to fruition, contact one of our knowledgeable art consultants.

Exploring the Beauty of Lake Tahoe Through Art

 

The breathtaking natural majesty of Lake Tahoe is best experienced in person, but the second-best way to see it is through the eyes of an artist. While we and our community contend with the effects of wildfire to the lake, wildlife, skies, and surrounding Sierra hillsides, art can help provide a window into the Lake Tahoe we all know and love.

Our talented featured artists use their creative vision to capture the beauty of the local area in stunning, inventive ways. We’re happy to share with you some of our favorite Lake Tahoe paintings, photographs, and the artists behind the canvas.

Enjoy a sampling of our collection of Lake Tahoe art, and consider bringing one of these pieces of artwork into your personal collection with high-quality Lake Tahoe prints from Marcus Ashley Gallery.

Photograph of a blue and pink sky and mountains reflecting on Lake Tahoe entitled Ancient Shoreline, Alpenglow, Fallen Leaf Lake by Jon Paul.

Jon Paul: Gorgeous Lake Tahoe Landscape Photography

A renowned nature photographer, Jon Paul has a prolific history of capturing the tranquility of Lake Tahoe and the wildlife it holds. Incredibly, Paul does not digitally enhance his photos; their beauty and composition is due entirely to his excellent eye and technical knowledge.

Paul has lived in the Tahoe area since 2002, and photographed the surrounding area for many years prior to moving here. He’s drawn to the colorful landscape and unblemished beauty that makes Tahoe such a fantastic place for photography. He is also a skilled wildlife photographer and has successfully captured rare animals like bears, coyotes, owls, and osprey up close in their natural environment.

 

A painting of a blue and yellow sunrise over Lake Tahoe entitled Sunrise by Michael Flohr.

Michael Flohr: The Ideal Tahoe Sunrise

Flohr’s contemporary impressionist paintings are infused with the phenomenal beauty of the American West. He paints with pigment straight from the tube like Cezanne, giving his pieces a rich color palette. His Lake Tahoe art has a very distinct style which has been described as a mixture of abstract expressionism, impressionism, and avant garde. 

Despite the many names and labels Flohr’s work has been given by art aficionados, Flohr insists a piece of art doesn’t have to have a deep or dense meaning to be enjoyable. He simply seeks to replicate the beauty that he sees in nature on canvas. 

Colorful painting of a sunset over Lake Tahoe entitled Catching the Colors Together by Rolinda Stotts.

Rolinda Stotts: Perfectly Imperfect Nature Scenes

Nature is beautiful, but it is not pristine and unblemished. Leaves fall, branches break, and there is an endless cycle of growth and decay. Stotts’s style emulates the perfectly imperfect cycles of nature in her artfully distressed scenes of Lake Tahoe and other elements of nature. 

Her Lake Tahoe paintings are usually comprised of acrylic painted on board, which she then cracks and intentionally damages at the very end of the process. The result is a leaf-like crackling and bark-like texture that looks like the very subjects it represents. Stotts’s Lake Tahoe art is unique and highly sought-after by locals and collectors alike. 

Animated gif of an abstract copper sculpture that turns in the wind entitled Agave by Lyman Whitaker.

Lyman Whitaker’s Wind Sculptures: A Quintessential Tahoe Art Landmark

No list of Lake Tahoe art would be complete without the work of Lyman Whitaker. While his subject matter does not feature the lake itself, Whitaker’s work adorns our very own Marcus Ashley Gallery, where it greets thousands of visitors from around the world.

The Tahoe breeze brings these sculptures to life, and they’re best perceived in motion. The rotating effects give these sculptures an impressive illusory effect, creating a hypnotic infinite animation. We’re proud that these sculptures are the first incredible sight our visitors see when they enter our gallery.

Visit Our Expansive Gallery

The only place where you can see all of these Lake Tahoe paintings, photographs, and other artworks in one place is at Marcus Ashley Gallery. Located in the heart of South Lake Tahoe, our gallery is impressive not only for its size, but also for the range of contemporary and classic artists we host. Art lovers of all ages can enjoy the variety of our collection.

If you’re interested in owning one of these Lake Tahoe prints for yourself, then we welcome you to visit our online gallery and see the range of artwork that’s available for your collection. Enjoy your stay at the gallery online or in person!

How to Hang Artwork

How you display the artwork in your collection is almost as important as the artwork itself. A beautiful display gives the artwork the justice it deserves, while a poor display can potentially reduce the artwork’s integrity.

There are two key elements regarding how to hang artwork: the aesthetic arrangement, and the technical process of hanging it on a wall. Here, we’ll go over both aspects: how to hang unframed canvas and framed art, and how to hang art gallery style.

Steps

  1. Measure Your Artwork 
  2. Cut Out Paper the Size of Your Artwork
  3. Plan Your Layout with Painter’s Tape
  4. Drill or Hammer Holes
  5. Hang the Artwork

What You’ll Need

  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Paper 
  • Painter’s tape
  • Level
  • Nails (or screws for heavy artwork)
  • Hammer (or a drill and screwdriver for heavy artwork)

Step 1: Measure Your Artwork 

Measure all of the artwork you wish to hang. Be precise, or you could end up with irritating errors and off-centeredness. 

Measuring tape for artwork displays

Step 2: Cut Out Paper the Size of Your Artwork

Cut out paper in the exact size of your art (and its frame) that you’ve measured. Tape paper together if it’s not big enough.

Write the name or description of the artwork on the paper so you know which paper represents which painting.

Placing pieces of paper on a wall Descriptive file name

Step 3: Plan Your Layout with Painter’s Tape

Now that you have the paper cut out for every painting you wish to display, you can hang up the paper in your desired layout with painter’s tape. (More on aesthetic layouts below).

Make sure you use blue or other designated painter’s tape only! Painter’s tape won’t damage your wall, unlike other tapes.

Tip: Learn how to hang artwork so it’s at the right viewing level. The golden height galleries use to place the center of a framed piece of artwork is 57 inches, the average human eye level.

Artists’ tape and an exacto knife for prepping artwork hanging

Step 4: Drill or Hammer Holes

How you should hang paintings depends upon their weight:

  • A light painting (<10 lbs) requires only a single central nail
  • A medium painting (10-25 lbs) requires a picture hanging hook 
  • A heavy painting (25-50 lbs) requires a drill, screws, and screwdriver. 

Important: If your painting is heavy, use a stud finder to hang it securely and avoid wiring in your walls. You might also consider having a primer or spackle at the ready for covering any previously existing holes or damage along the way.

Supplies for hanging art and decor on walls: stud finder, hammer, drill, and patch up paint

Step 5: Hang the Artwork

Hang your artwork on the screws using the wire at the back of the frame. Make sure you use a level to ensure your artwork hangs straight.

With that, you’re done! The hardest part isn’t learning how to hang artwork — it’s deciding where to hang artwork.

Hanging artwork on a wall

Tips On How to Hang Unframed Canvas

If your artwork doesn’t have a frame, then it requires a few more steps. You’ll need to attach a wire to the stretcher bars in order to have a place to hang it. Here’s how:

  • Insert two eye hooks into opposite stretcher bars.
  • Cut a string of wire slightly longer than the painting.
  • Attach the ends of the wire to each eye hook. 

Tips on How to Hang Art Gallery Style (a.k.a. Salon or Museum Style)

What’s important to note is that there are no real rules regarding how to hang artwork in your home, so you should use your own artistic vision to determine how art is arranged on your wall. 

When you let your own vision and inspiration guide you, your art collection can tell a story, an idea one of the artists in our collection, Rolinda Stotts, might agree with. To quote Stotts, “You have a story to tell. How will it be told?” Rolinda is a master of figuring out how best to display art on a large wall creatively, and we are always inspired by her local home show displays. 

Inspiration and vision matter, but there are some important and common guidelines you can follow so your artwork is arranged attractively if you need some ideas. 

There are four primary ways of hanging framed art:

  • Straight across in a line
  • Evenly spaced in a grid
  • Clustered, arranged in free formation
  • Gallery style (also known as salon style or museum style)

Gallery style is perhaps the most cohesive and professional way that you can display your collection. To learn how to hang artwork gallery style, follow these key tips:

  • Align the top and bottom of the paintings horizontally, and align the left and right of the paintings vertically. Your paintings should have a neat upper and lower bound which should remain an appropriate distance from the top of your wall — likewise with the vertical edges.
  • Define clear visual lines. Gallery style hanging looks messy when it doesn’t have clear and even visual lines separating the artwork. Ensure there is a margin of at least a few inches between each painting, and keep the margin consistent. These first two tips are what differentiate gallery style from clustered style. 
  • Plan the design out before drilling holes. This should go without saying, but it can’t be left unsaid. Many home designers can get nervous about drilling a ton of holes in their wall only for the whole design to turn out slightly off-center. The solution is to hang up placeholder paper with painter’s tape, as we suggested above.

Contact the Professional Framers at Marcus Ashley Gallery

There are endless factors involved in creating your personal art gallery: the space you’re working with, your preferred aesthetic, the frames, the artwork itself, and much more. If you would like personalized advice on how to hang artwork from experienced curators, then don’t hesitate to contact the knowledgeable team at Marcus Ashley Gallery. Our art hanging and framing services are here to help you create the most beautiful home collection possible. 

Artist Process Series: Malcolm Tibbetts & Woodturning Art

Some dedicated masters have the talent and skill to breathe flowing, dynamic life into a material as harsh and rough as raw wood. This is known as woodturning art — an art technique which shapes wood into curved, irregular shapes.

At first glance, the work of Malcolm Tibbets and other woodturning artists seems like it couldn’t possibly be made out of wood. To further heighten your appreciation for the time and skill that goes into this craft, we want to explain what woodturning is as part of our ongoing artist process blog series. Learn more about this remarkable craft and how it’s made at Marcus Ashley Gallery.

What is Woodturning?

In its most basic form, the art of woodturning involves placing raw wood material on a woodturning machine or lathe, and then turning it evenly to carve and shape it in a circular motion.

You likely have already seen plenty of woodturning art without realizing it. Most wooden bed posts, doorknobs, spindles on railings, and similar round wooden carvings are made using woodturning. Like woodworking in general, woodturning has been around for thousands of years, and some of the same techniques used by our ancestors are still used today — albeit with much more advanced tools and technology.

Carving wood into a round shape takes an impressive amount of skill, patience, and practice. Woodturners need highly specific tools, including a high-quality lathe, to produce the best effect. As an art form, woodturning has a steep learning curve and requires a remarkable amount of technical skill.

It takes a very long time and a lot of dedication for woodturners to start creating high-quality products, and it takes even more time to feel relaxed and comfortable around the lathe and start experimenting with artists’ individual styles. For those who have the diligence and persistence to hone these unique skills, woodturning art can be incredibly rewarding.

Taking Woodturning Further: Segmented Woodturning Artists

As if classic woodturning wasn’t intricate and beautiful enough, some dedicated artists take woodturning much further.

Segmented woodturning involves turning a wooden piece that consists of multiple, sometimes hundreds, of glued-together pieces. This allows the artist to create turned art with endless color variation and patterns that enhance the curved shape of the piece.

Basic woodturning already has its challenges, and segmented woodturning art multiplies them tenfold. For many oddly shaped sculptures, the artist must design and build their own jig to hold the piece into place for carving. The segments must be meticulously adhered to one another for the shape to hold and stay in place, and artists often have to turn to some crafty innovation in order to achieve their desired result.

While segmented woodturning has an enhanced difficulty, it has equally enhanced rewards. A skilled segmented woodturner can produce such gorgeous patterned creations that must be seen to be believed.

Colorful segmented woodturning art sculpture entitled 28 Flavors by Malcolm Tibbetts.

The Unique Woodturning Art of Malcolm Tibbetts

Malcolm Tibbetts is one of the most renowned and respected segmented woodturning artists in the country today. Tibbetts grew up woodworking in his grandfather’s workshop, and he spent his entire life developing his skills. He nurtured a furniture-building hobby that saw his entire home filled with handcrafted furniture.

This hobby turned into an art form after he was fortunate enough to acquire a workshop of tools. After that, he started experimenting with segmented woodworking, and his hobby became a passion. Even with his lifetime of experience in working with wood, segmented woodturning art was a brand new adventure.

Tibbetts uses remarkable imagination and ingenuity to develop his complex structures. His mastery over the craft allows him to create wood sculptures that resemble spiraling knots, stellated dodecahedrons, and Mobius strips. His sculptures are so precise and awe-striking that it’s hard to believe they were created by a man and not a machine.

As a master woodturner, Tibbetts has also dedicated part of his career to instructing future woodturners by creating several instructional videos and participating in educational initiatives and symposiums. His efforts ensure that this rare and intricate artwork will be passed onto future generations. We are honored to have him as part of our local South Lake Tahoe artist community, where he lives full time.

Experience Woodturning Art at Marcus Ashley Gallery

Located in beautiful South Lake Tahoe, Marcus Ashley Gallery is a premier gallery displaying magnificent woodturning art. If you’d like to see what woodturning is in person, we would be happy to invite you in.

On our online gallery, we also have a number of woodturning art pieces available for you to purchase for your collection. Explore our selection and see what fantastic artwork inspires you.