Thursday, March 30, 2006


One thing that you may have noticed on this blog is that while there is a section for artist links, only one has been linked so far (and a photgrapher at that) despite my featuring two artists so far, and two artists whose work we love, as evidenced by our purchase of multiple works. The reason for that is simple, loyalty.

Both of these artists are represented by Thomas Reynolds. We only know about them because he took the time and the risk to seek them out, work with them and then feature their work. I think that it would be the height of disloyalty by us to attempt to purchase works from either gentleman outside of Thomas's gallery given all he's done to educate us.

A commenter at Edward's site asks today I also wonder whether collectors think about 1) directly supporting artists they believe in By "directly supporting" I assume that he means attending (and buying at) open studio events, attending art school shows etc. We haven't done this yet, attended official events that is, but probably will in the future since by now I think we can trust our eyes. 10 years ago, not so much. I think actually purchasing the art is the support we can offer. Perhaps there are others out there that can afford to be a patron and simply pay rent or something in exchange for discounted art or first looks? I don't know.

As I think about it, I'll also say that while the first paragraph is pretty set in stone, I will say that some gallerys seem to me to be more business than pleasure. Melicious and I go to Limn Gallery as often as possible, but don't have the same feeling about it that we do for Thomas's place, or I for Plus Ultra for that matter. Maybe that's the key for us, that personal touch from the people whose name(s) are on the door.

Perhaps that's some good advice for artists; if you want to cultivate collectors like us, choose a good small gallery with an involved owner who loves your work. They're infectious, but in that good way ;)

Friday, March 24, 2006

I'm not really interested in this site being anything other than art, but the following bit in today's SF Chronicle was just too cool not to share: On Tuesday night in San Francisco, Whitney Priest spotted a Muni bus going east with the destination sign on its front reading "Nowhere in Particular.'' Muni confirms that this notation exists on the sign rolls of some older buses. I love that SF has this little bit of oddity roaming the street, it's almost official graffiti.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ch-ch-ch-changes, try'in to buy the artists changes, it ain't easy in this commercial world, landlords still want cash, and you can't change thaaat. Sorry for the bad Bowie rendition, but I've just been thinking about something that's been discussed at Edward's a number of times in recent months. On occasion the conversation veers towards artists whose style changes throughout their careers and whether that's good or bad and what effect it can have on them financially etc. etc. So, I thought that today I'd show a few works that illustrate the point.

On the one hand take Terry Miura whose 16 x 20, oil on board, "Afterschool" is pictured above. We really love this painting and purchased it just last year from Thomas Reynolds (who was very generous with terms as I bought another painting at the same time), it having been painted in 2004. Just look at the colors of the ground to the viewer's left of the tree. Look at the color of that sky. It just says "Picnic under me. Go ahead, open the good French white.". It's magical. Now compare it to the one below that we purchased at the same time we bought the big Veerakeat in 1999. "Silent Ones", oil on canvas, 40 x 30 was painted by the same man. It too totally captivates us, the person sneaking in the door, the perfect roundness of the light globes, the bright orange of the post, the sheer scale of the building depicted.

It probably won't be surprising to you that Mr. Miura was living in NYC when he painted "Silent Ones" and near Sacramento, CA when he painted "Afterschool". My understanding though, is that neither scene actually exists, they are exocative of his feelings of a place. This is what ties his work together for me, how he feels when he paints (and the obvious skill of course), rather than what he paints.

On the other hand, take the 8 x 10, oil on canvas Veerakeat shown below. It was painted in the same period as the big one pictured last time, but seems almost Villierme-esque, as if he saw some of Mr. Villierme's work and thought, "Hey, that'd be interesting to try". It looks like Villierme, a bit, but in a totally Veerakeat way. We love Veerakeat for his willingness to try things and change. The final painting shown is "Big Blue" which we also like, but do not own. It has a lot of the same energy of his "normal" works, but the blue is something new.

As collector's we buy what we like and I would say that if our experience is any indication, artists should feel comfortable in changing because your collectors will follow you as long as you continue to paint with love and passion and skill. I feel fortunate to have had the ability to purchase different paintings from the same wonderful artists.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

We're headed out of town for a bit of a long weekend, but it occurred to me that I mentioned a larger Veerakeat that we owned. "Telegraph Hill" was painted in 1999 and is 48" x 48". The purchase of this piece and another (by another artist we'll feature later) was a pretty big departure for us. This cost mid-4 figures and represents one our largest outlays for artwork. It's worth every nickel. Click on the photo to enlarge it. Go ahead, I'll wait, it's worth it. The photo does absolutely no justice to the power of this work on the wall, the way it captures the changing light in our home to mimic the changes seen on the real Telegraph Hill, the sense of movement in the street and sky, the richness of the colors. This is what I meant by "energy" as discussed in the previous post about Veerakeat. We adore this piece. ADORE it.

Having said that, and in my new role as a "collector" I must say that I'm proud of our purchase of this piece. I'm not sure if Veerakeat has done anything as large (or at least I don't think he has very often and definitely (my recollection) not before 1999), plus I think that this is one of his best pieces combining the movement you see in the street, with the beautiful golds of the roofs and the intensity of the sky. So, as an investment in Veerakeat, I see this as quite astute. Plus, did I say how much we love it? ;)

A word about Veerakeat in case you didn't read about him on Thomas' site. He's one of the nicest people we've met in the city. He honestly seems to delight in the love people have for his artwork. He seems to really appreciate how blessed he's been (as seen in his recent auction to build a hospital to help those in Thailand hurt by the tsunami). He's a great guy. He and Thomas Reynolds even delivered and hung this one for us personally.

Full Disclosure, we live at the bottom of Telegraph Hill. While our place is not pictured here, this is a scene we are intimately familiar with, and that says something doesn't it? That we, who actively seek to view all parts of our city (The Ten Year Tourists*), should choose artwork that presents what we see everyday in such a wonderful light just goes to show how much Veerakeat's work (and SF itself) has touched us.

*Now there's a good name for a blog of photos of a city by residents, maybe even a good name for a book of photography. Consider it taken by me ;)

Monday, March 13, 2006

So, what were we thinking when we bought this, out first oil painting ("Aft" 1997 10" x 8")? Well, it was less than $1k (much less) so it was in the right price range. And, you know, I was about to say that we weren't thinking about "collecting" but then I guess we were since there were, of course, many other of Veerakeat's works (see previous post for more info about him) at higher prices that we would have liked to have purchased had we the funds. So, in the sense that we desired one of his works for our (as yet nonexistent) collection we were "collecting" already and not simply filling space. This should have been clear to me since, well, 10" x 8" ain't really wall filler material. Then again, as I think back, originally this work hung in the 600 sqft place we started out in and it was hung in a very prominent location. So wall filling wasn't so important after all.

Why did we want one of his works? I think it 's the energy of his work. He brings a sense of movement to the everyday (and this is actually one of his few figurative pieces) that we love. He's also very good, IMHO, at rendering light. As a sailor, that's how it looks on the water. The perspective also gives me a sense of how it feels. I can almost feel the deck underneath me when I look at it. I also found it very cool that he first painted the canvas red (especially since it's a water piece) and then painted over that. I had never heard of that before, although I've seen it since.

Anyway, with this painting began our love affair with Veerakeat's work resulting in our owning 9 paintings, many of them small ones like this (I dream of a day the SFMOMA asks us to lend them ours for a "Petite Veerakeat" exhibition), and one 4' x 4' that I'll profile another time.

I'm told that the proper way to list art dimensions is HxW, so that would make "Aft", shown above, 8x10.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

In the beginning, there were posters; posters of movies, then framed posters of old advertisements or cool events attended, but posters nonetheless. When the Mrs. (who'll you see posting here as Melicious) and I purchased our first (and only) home here in SF lo these many years ago (thankfully just before real estate went berserk (make that REALLY berserk) in the Bay Area) we had many blank walls and a goodly number of posters adorning them. This was ok in the beginning, but really only as ok as the 70's tile, formica counters and bland carpeting, which is to say that they did their job of covering blank walls.

In 1999 we discovered two things. The first was Thomas Reynolds Gallery and through him the paintings of Veerakeat Tongpaiboon. Thomas "discovered"* Veerakeat through some paintings that Veerakeat had placed in his parents' Thai restaurant and, following his bliss rented the Victorian that now houses his gallery for six weeks to display and sell the work. The rest is history, er Thomas's history.

The history of The Crionna Collection begins with our first oil painting purchase, shown above. "Aft" is 10" x 8". At the time we were the proud 1/3 owners of an old Hunter 30' sailboat and the painting just spoke to us. We loved Veerakeat's style and still enjoy this painting. Since that time we've become friends of Thomas Reynolds and regulars at his gallery. His ideas about how to collect art made an impression on us and we soon found ourselves with a good number of paintings, mostly purchased from him.

As blogging made its impression on the world I came to know a gallery owner in NY, Edward Winkleman, through the comments section of a blog called Tacitus. Tacitus has changed since then and neither of us post there as often but a while back Edward created a blog just for art. Recently, Edward and I met and he mentioned that our collecting and attitudes about such might be an interesting topic for a blog. In fact, until that exact moment I'd never thought of "collecting" art, but rather purchasing it as something wonderful.

So, here it is, The Crionna Collection. We don't collect in order to be cool or to speculate financially, although IOHO having an art collection is, to us, much more interesting than having say, a nice used Ferrari, or some land on which to build a weekend house, both of which could be had for the value of our collection. We'll post photos of our purchases and discuss what we were thinking when we bought them. Now that we're "collectors", we'll discuss what we think we need to do to enhance the collection. We'll discuss objects of desire that we have yet to purchase, and may never, as well as things that some may call crafts, but that we call art. We'll also pick up on topics of discussion in the art world and try to give a mid-range collectors view on things.

We're open to receiving email questions, but have a comments section that we'll attend to regularly. We're thinking that weekly posts are about right. Check back on Mondays and I'd guess we'll have posted sometime during the week before or on the weekend.

*You'll pardon me if by using this word I give Thomas more credit for bringing Veerakeat to the attention of San Franciscans than is proper, I just couldn't think of a better term and don't know the really detailed story. We certainly discovered him through Thomas and are very grateful.

I believe that Thomas Reynolds can indeed be said to have discovered Veerakeat, only it was at his Aunt's restaurant where the paintings were hung. Also, the size of the piece above is 8x10.