May 27, 2015

Quick study: Eric Fischl leaves Mary Boone, Kenny Schachter's report from the dark side, GeoAb in Peru,Havana, space in DUMBO



According to The Art Newspaper, Eric Fischl, painter and author of a 2013 memoir called Bad Boy, is leaving Mary Boone's gallery after thirty years. “Eric has wanted to change his working relationship with the gallery,” says Ron Warren, a director and partner at Mary Boone. “I think he has decided that the art world and the market have changed so much that he wants to concentrate on making his work, and distance himself from being represented by a gallery.” Hmm. Perhaps Fischl is hankering for a larger presence at the art fairs (the subject of his 2013 series), or a museum retrospective, because his affiliation with MB wouldn't seem to diminish his productivity....  Read more.

[Image at top: Eric Fischl,Art Fair: Booth #4 The Price, 2013, oil on linen, 82 x 112 inches.]

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"Put Your Eye in Your Mouth," Christian Rosa's May 2015 exhibition at White Cube Mason's Yard in London.

At Artnet, Kenny Schachter pens a column on an art world geared more toward the global, auctioneering, art-flipping set than the DIY, regional NYC art world to which I feel most connected. Here's a sample that I'm sure will make Two Coats readers want to run for the hills:
The backstabbing and mean-spirited natter, usually intended to throw a wrench into another's deal, can resemble the cruelest of schoolyard brawls. There was one in-and-outer (professional art flipper) who, in order to get his hands on a Christian Rosa when that necessitated finesse (which it doesn't any longer), swore on his unborn child that it was for keeps. Surprise, surprise, the work was pawned off in the next Phillips day sale, making a hefty profit for the then newborn who became the world's youngest speculator in the process.
It didn't end as well for the hapless dealer who sold the work, which so infuriated the artist when the newly painted painting landed in auction, that he had to pay Rosa a hefty penalty related to the high price the work fetched at auction to save face. Even more ludicrous was the father of the baby-dealer who himself got pissed off at yet another dealer who did the same thing with a Nate Lowman painting, landing him in hot water with Massimo de Carlo. Meow.... Read more
Nice that Bushwick Open Studios is just around the corner to take my mind off the dark intrigue of the art underworld.

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Han Sungpil installation in Havanna

Friday the 12th edition of the Havana Biennial opened in Cuba. According to the website, the program of activities includes "performances from the worlds of dance, theatre, music, film and literature. In the words of one of the organisers: 'It won’t be a Biennial for collectors or gallerists, but rather to make a connection with the city.' There will be no official opening or specific venue; art will spill out of the galleries, bursting into the streets which will be bubbling with ideas." Read more about it on Carolina' Miranda's LA Times Arts & Culture Blog.

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Benjamín Moncloa, “Egipto” (1956). Image via Hyperallergic.

At Hyperallergic, Laura C. Mallonee visits the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI) and stumbles upon "The Other Edge: Geometric Painting in Peru (1947–1958)." Fantastic. Check out her report here.

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DUMBO News: 

Minus Space is moving from the gallery building on Front Street to the building where Galapagos used to be--16 Main Street. The opening for the new space is on Saturday, May 30, 6-9 pm, and the inaugural exhibition comprises new paintings by Robert Swain --the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Also, if any readers want to join the growing art community on the waterfront in DUMBO but are afraid the rent is too high, Two Trees Management has announced that they will be accepting new applications for the Cultural Space Subsidy Program through June 15. I was invited to participate in the program last year, and love my new studio (three-year lease, see view below). Get on it! Details are here.


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May 26, 2015

May 26: Andrew Ginzel's list of NYC shows, opening and events


SOME but not all NYC SELECTED SHOWS TO SEE / May 26, 2015  / Listed south to north. Compiled by artist Andrew Ginzel for his students at the School of Visual Arts. Note: Images have been selected by Two Coats of Paint.

[Image at top: Rosy Keyser @ Maccarone through 6/6]

May 22, 2015

Bill Jensen: Painting is a prayer


Contributed by Katelynn Mills / One can never hide who they are in their work - I’ve always known and felt that painting is a direct extension of the artist’s soul. Be the individual a shallow, fabulous Warholian, or a deep and tortured Rothkoan, or anyone in between, a (wo)man’s capacity is marked by their expression. Painting is a meditative diffusion of the ego, which allows something outside the artist, something much greater, to enter. It’s a white-hot focus of energy that cannot afford distraction. But mostly what painting is, is a yearning for the impossible union of spirit and physical matter – an insatiable prayer. A union is to be had in the completion of a picture, a provisional answer to our prayer. A form which demands the viewer to believe the illusion and content. But because time will not afford us the solace of everlasting perfection, the artist is thrown right back into the search for meaning. In lustful agony, our Greek ancestor, Diogenes asked “would to heaven that it were enough to rub one’s stomach in order to allay one’s hunger?” No. As long as there are people, painting, in all its decadence, will serve as essential means to meaning and truth for those who desire. One such artist who can be noted by his passion in his spiritual quest is Bill Jensen.

[Image at top: Bill Jensen, Message, 2011-14, oil on linen, 40 x 50 inches.]


May 21, 2015

The new Whitney



On my way to the studio, cruising down the West Side Highway bike path, I always pass the new Whitney Museum of American Art, which opened a few weeks ago with so many parties and festivities that I began to feel sorry for the staff. If I had to describe the architectural design in terms of American painting, I'd say it's a mash up of Charles Demuth or Elsie Drigg's Precisionism (on view on the eighth floor) and the expressive, clunky form of Arthur Dove or Marsden Hartley.

[Image at top: A snap of the Whitney from the bike path. All the windows pictured face the river.]


May 10, 2015

Cecily Brown on motherhood: "You’re forced to be more conventional"


Cecily Brown, a painter who recently left the Gagosian stable and has a show at Maccarone this month, parents a six-year-old daughter with architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff. In a recent interview on Vulture with Julie Belcove , Brown talks about her experience of being a mother.
We lucked out; she’s a good kid. Fingers crossed we don’t screw her up. She does give me a hard time for working. Of course, I feel incredibly lucky that I have something that absorbs me so much. But my fears were founded: It is really challenging to do both well, to feel that you’re doing both well. There is a lot of conflict, and there is a lot of guilt. It’s changed my work life utterly, beyond recognition. But I try not to beat myself up because I feel so many women just spend their time feeling they’re not doing well enough.
When I last saw you professionally, I was working all the hours. I could start late; I could work late; I could work weekends. Suddenly, you’re in the world in a way that you’re not when you’re an artist and don’t have a family. You’re forced to be more conventional. School starts at a certain time and finishes. You’re forced to go on vacation when everyone else goes on vacation — you’re forced to go on vacation! I mean, I was famous among my friends for never taking one. They would tease me about it.
And yes, I do begrudgingly admit that I’m probably more focused as everyone said I would be, but I miss being unfocused. I also know it’s going to go quickly. In five years, I’ll be lucky if she wants to hang out with me.
Happy Mothers' Day everyone. Try not to spend it in the studio!

[Image at top: Brown's studio near Union Square, courtesy of the artist.]

Related posts:
Neo-Maternalism: Contemporary artists' approach to motherhood
DISCUSSION: Owning motherhood
ON FILM: Blonde on blondes
Toughen up, lady
 
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May 9, 2015

Your May Horoscope! by Crystal “Kitty” Shimski


Transcribed by guest contributor Jennifer Coates / Kitty divides her time between New York City and Montauk. She is a freelance Intuitive Technique Specialist and part-time Trance Inducer. She was recently certified in Trauma Re-alignment and holds a dual Associates Degree in Breath Dancing for Painters and Creative Shock Control from the Online Academy of Spiritual Transit. She is devoted to helping painters live out their truth on the surface of their choosing.

[Image via Four Muddy Paws]

Gemini (5/21-6/20)
The month begins with a profoundly exciting development in your approach to painting, your love life, your child’s life, or your neighbor’s life. While it could be emotionally charged, you, your child or your neighbor will feel fulfilled. Throughout the month, expect a boost to your looks, whether it’s that acne clearing up, the loss of a few pounds or shinier hair from more expensive shampoo. You look great, so why not flaunt it at the art fairs or the new Whitney Museum! Mars moves into your 12th House of Privacy at the end of the month, however, when it will be time to turn inward and develop some inner resources. Stop looking to others to validate you in meaningless texts or on social media. Just get in the studio, turn off your phone and paint!

May 7, 2015

Roadtrip: Beacon, NY


Beacon is best known in the art community as the home of Dia:Beacon, but there are plenty of other things to do in town. Karlyn Benson, owner of Matteawan Gallery (where my solo show opens on Saturday, May 9, 6-9pm) has put together this list of other interesting places in the neighborhood. "I love this town so much," Karlyn told me when I asked her to put the list together. "It's hard to pick just a few places." The list is in order, starting at the west end of town, and runs east towards the gallery,. Everything is within walking distance of the train station and the Dia Foundation.

[Image at top: Main Street, Beacon, NY, circa 2010, via Museum Chick]

"New Social Situations" opens in Beacon on Saturday


This Saturday, May 9, please join me for the opening of "New Social Situations," my solo show at Karlyn Benson's Matteawan Gallery in Beacon, NY. The show features small work from the past few years--from the time I was subletting space at the Elizabeth Foundation through paintings made in DUMBO this past year. I haven't spent much time in Beacon since I was a resident at Simon Draper's Habitat for Artists, so I look forward to returning this month. Beacon is perhaps best known as the home of Dia:Beacon, a massive art complex situated in a former cracker factory where Minimalist work by all the heavy hitters--Sol Lewitt, Richard Serra, Fred Sandback and so forth--are on permanent display, but there is more to see. Karlyn has graciously put together a list of other things  going on in Beacon.

Press release:
Matteawan is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by Sharon Butler, an artist and writer based in New York City. The show features paintings and mixed media works on canvas.

Sharon Butler’s art is influenced by the world around her, taking inspiration from things both serious and mundane. The images in her work come from many disparate sources, from a kid’s camp T-shirt, to sculptures in the National Gallery, an industrial air conditioner, or a pile of sweaters in a store. Butler isolates shapes, colors, and objects, arranging them on empty canvas supports, creating ambiguous and ironic images that evoke a make-something-from-nothing aesthetic. Offering a fresh take on geometric abstraction, Butler combines images, jumbled text, pattern, and brightly colored shapes cut from found T-shirts, sometimes sheared into cheeky fringe. The construction of her work, loose and intentionally slapdash, calls attention to the support and the materials as much as to the image. Butler’s work rejects traditional painterly illusion and depth and embraces real-ness, inhabiting space in a way more akin to sculpture.

In an interview with Thomas Micchelli in Hyperallergic, Butler said of her work: “I guess what interests me are the metaphorical possibilities of lethargy, bad decisions, mistake-making, and turning things inside out as reflected in a painting. From these things, I reckon there is quite a bit to infer about not merely how we perceive the world but how we live in it.” Agnes Martin, a small painting on canvas featuring a painted white square and a series of horizontal pencil lines, is a good example of this. In Butler’s interpretation of Martin’s pristine geometry, the canvas is stretched all wrong, exposing the wooden stretcher on the top with fabric bunched up below. Butler is paying homage to an artist she admires, while at the same time doing it her own way.
Image at top: Sharon Butler, Untitled (Camp Sloan), 2014, t-shirt scraps, pencil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches.

"Sharon Butler: New Social Situations," Matteawan Gallery, 464 Main Street, Beacon, NY. May 9 - June 7, 2015.  Contact: info@matteawan.com  / 845-440-7901 / Metro North goes to Beacon from Grand Central--a beautiful ride up the Hudson River.

 Related posts:
Last chance: Summer shows in Hudson and Beacon (2014)
Habitat for Artists: Studio shack update (2008)
Studio Update: Summer progress (2008)

Imi Knoebel's restoration at Dia: "24 Colors--For Blinky" (2008)

 
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May 6, 2015

Art and Film: Hell and high fashion


By Guest Contributor Jonathan Stevenson / Kurt Cobain, the prince of grunge who took his own life in 1994 at age 27, would have disdained haute couture, and newly anointed Christian Dior creative director Raf Simons would have disparaged Cobain’s thrift-shop dress sense. Yet for all the corrosive chaos of Cobain’s artistic life and the perfumed orderliness of Simons’s, each recognized the indispensability of both spontaneity and deliberation. Measured against preconceptions about their respective artistic environments, Cobain’s process was unexpectedly organized and Simons’s surprisingly shambolic.

As depicted in Brett Morgen’s searing and seamless documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the Nirvana frontman painted, drew, and kept a detailed journal in the service of articulating his raw vision in song. Simons, showcased in Frédéric Tcheng’s hiply elegant Dior and I, prowled art galleries for ideas about Dior’s 2012 fall-winter women’s line, settling on painter Sterling Ruby (the so-called guerrilla Gerhard Richter) as a major inspiration, and effectively story-boarded the collection, which was not ready until hours before its triumphant debut show.

Both men also appreciated the importance of cultural history to making new art, acknowledging and laboring under the considerable weight of hallowed tradition. The punk generation spoke atavistically to Cobain, and mix-tapes of cadged late-seventies tunes helped him find the voice that would croak the grievances of broken suburban youth in the 1990s – “I wore them out, played them every day,” he said – and make him a great rock musician. Simons admitted consternation over carrying forward Dior’s rich DNA but had the wit and courage to co-opt the house’s signature 1950s A-line, H-line, and bar jacket for his new designs. In the film, he says that the creative juxtaposition of the original and the innovative – “from that time with this time” – is “modernity itself.” Christian Dior probably would have agreed and, perhaps after providing a profane and self-deprecating translation, so would Kurt Cobain.

Related posts:
Art and Film: Revenge of the casualists?

Tangled up in blue


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On procrastinating: Gwyneth Leech


"Two new directions began to develop as I was winding down a portrait series in 2010. One involved daily drawing and painting on used paper coffee cups. Stalled in the studio, I initially experienced this habit as procrastination--until I began embracing it as a highly generative art form. Having amassed many hundreds of these upcycled cup artworks, I hang them as large-scale, permutable installations, shown in public art spaces and shop windows as well as in traditional galleries. An important component of the installations is often my own presence-- I make the cup artworks in a portable studio, thus combining drawing and performance in ways that allow dialogue with the public and create a social and conversational art-making environment that is a counter-balance to the extended time I spend alone in the studio. When I did finally sit down to paint, it was an act of pure observation, engaging with the urban panorama seen from my studio window on the 13th floor of a building in midtown Manhattan.

[Image: Gwyneth Leech, Westin on 42nd: March Morning, 2015, oil on wood panel, 8 x 8 inches.]

May 5, 2015

Focus: Melodie Provenzano

Last year Laura Hutson wrote in Nashville Scene that Melodie Provenzano’s playful paintings "land somewhere between Jeff Koons kitsch and Takashi Murakami cute ... bridging the tricky gap between commercial and accessible." I'm looking forward to checking out Provenzano's quirky brand of realism in her first solo show at Nancy Margolis later this month. Provenzano was one of two readers who correctly identified all the images in the Spring/Break Art Show post in March. The opening reception for her show is Thursday, May 14, 6-8pm.

"Melodie Provenzano: Stealth Peace," Nancy Margolis Gallery, Chelsea, New York, NY. May 14 through June 27, 2015.

BONUS VIDEO: Animation of the figurines in action!


Related posts:
Donald Kuspit's four kinds of realism (2009)
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth: Q&A with Megan Marden (2012)
Catherine Murphy questions our relationship to the commonplace (2009)

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Report: "Command-Z" at Improvised Showboat


Improvised Showboat, a curatorial project developed by artists Zachary Keeting and Lauren Britton, mounted its seventh one-night show this past weekend in my new DUMBO studio at 55 Washington Street. I gave Keeting and Britton the basic idea: "Command-Z" would include work that reflected our increasing devotion to digital tools and online life. They combined their picks with my short list and invited each artist to bring one piece by the studio at 5pm the day of the show. On Saturday, Keeting and Britton showed up at 4pm with six cases of PBR, a few bottles of wine, and their installation tools. The artists arrived as scheduled and unwrapped their work. Keeting and Britton hung the show, and the doors opened to the public at 6pm.

[Image at top: Heather Leigh McPherson and Jacob Feige. Installation images courtesy of Zachary Keeting.]

April 19, 2015

Web world: The New Museum's 2015 Triennial


Entering the New Museum's 2015 Triennial "Surround Audience" is like stepping into someone else’s search history. If you’re passionate about the same information that he or she is, you might find the work fascinating. If not, you may feel as though you’re laboring through a reading assignment, or worse, correcting homework. Either way, though, curators Lauren Cornell and Ryan Trecartin have managed to create a fascinating equivalent for online life, with all the confusion, distraction, contradiction, and uneven quality that we have come to associate with post-analog existence.

[Image at top: Verena Dengler, Identity, 2014.]

April 17, 2015

Peter Halley: Hyperreal


When I stopped by the Florence Griswold Museum during a snowstorm in mid-March to see Peter Halley’s retrospective, the glowing neon color and interlocking geometric forms – what he has called cells, prisons (that is, rectangular sets of prison bars), and conduits – had transformed the museum into a dazzling chamber of vibrating light. This extraordinary exhibition, “Peter Halley: Big Paintings,” consists of nine monumental paintings made between 1987 and 2015 that take abstraction beyond the utopian ideals of early modernism and address the isolation and control imposed by government and corporate interests on our everyday lives.

[Image at top: Peter Halley, installation view at the Florence Griswold Museum.]

April 14, 2015

Your Monthly Horoscope! by Crystal “Kitty” Shimski


Transcribed by guest contributor Jennifer Coates / Kitty divides her time between New York City and Montauk. She is a freelance Intuitive Technique Specialist and part-time Trance Inducer. She was recently certified in Trauma Re-alignment and holds a dual Associates Degree in Breath Dancing for Painters and Creative Shock Control from the Online Academy of Spiritual Transit. She is devoted to helping painters live out their truth on the surface of their choosing. [Image via Four Muddy Paws]

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
You can count on pain in the early part of the month. That secret practice you’ve been nursing in the studio will lead mostly to frustration. If you have been experimenting with oils, where before you only used acrylics, you will come face to face with your weaknesses and inabilities. If you use watercolors and are attempting to use enamel, you will likely develop breathing difficulties. While I am not saying you should abandon your efforts, just do not show them to anyone. You may not understand your relationship with these new mediums until early June. You may take small comfort in the fact that as Venus enters your financial sector towards the end of the month you may have some sales opportunities, but likely they will be only small, early drawings, sold to a friend who feels sorry for you.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
In early April, your romantic partner, should you be lucky enough to have one, comes to your studio and hates your new painting. You go out to dinner after and cannot lift your head to speak to him or her. Dejected, you may drool onto your shirt. The good news is that as Venus enters your sign, this will be a time to become more confident in spite of the lack of support for your work from any arena. In your studio you are you! It’s a great time to invest in new clothes for the studio, perhaps install a mirror to see if ultramarine blue is staining your nose before going out to the hallway. A New Moon in your friendship sector will bring more social opportunities despite your haircut. Anything is possible!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Stress and anxiety are your studio mates this month. If only you could finish a single painting, you would feel better about things. All you can do is try to wash your hands before eating. After the middle of the month, start using more purple. After all, it is the color of bruising and it is the color most likely to recharge your spiritual batteries. If you don’t have a gallery, this month will find you pining for one that will never consider you. Career news does brighten, however, at the end of the month, thanks to the beauty of the New Moon in your professional 10th house. This is the ideal time to curate a show that includes yourself, or go after whatever other meager offerings that are out there that may enhance your reputation. The future is now!

Leo (July 23-August 22)
A friend invites you over for a studio visit and complains about a career problem that you would kill to have. You may experience frustration but do your best to take the high road: remember that this person may invite you to an insufferable long dinner, where you *might* meet someone who *might* come to your studio in five years. Thankfully Venus enters your friendship sector and you actually have a lot of fun this month, so be sure to accept all your invitations. Be open to possibilities! At the end of the month your heart will be set on new horizons in the studio. This is the time for inner journeys and incorporating text into your paintings. Life is good!

Virgo (August 23-September 22)
Take control of your finances! You are spending too much money on art supplies and alcohol. You may lose a source of income this month so time to cut down on drinking and make less paintings with fewer colors! Whatever the details, just remember you are resourceful and you will get through this, perhaps even shedding a few pounds in the process. Things brighten towards the end of the month as Venus enters your career sector, bringing you validation from your friends who are more successful than you. This is an ideal time to ask for a studio visit from a curator you’ve had your eye on. You may even hear news about a group show that seems promising. Be confident and move forward!

Libra (September 23-October 22)

The bad news is that you are more sensitive this month. The cosmic sky is playing out its dramas in your mind and you cannot tolerate the criticism of others. A studio visit turns nasty as an acquaintance tells you “the truth” about your paintings. But if you can endure this shaming without reacting until they leave, slowly but surely you will be able to begin painting again around Memorial Day. If there was ever a time to go see shows in the galleries, this is it. Besides, who knows? You might see something you like! Empower yourself! Fortunately a New Moon is coming into your relationship sector by the end of the month: time to make a new friend who is nicer than the old friend.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

Be nice to yourself this month. That bad review or bad news affects you at your existential depths. All you can do is try to sleep, not get sick, and not become a full-on addict. Finances are on the upturn this month though, as you sell a large painting directly from your studio at market price, with only a minimal discount. The New Moon in your work sector marks a fresh start. Either a friend of yours has also suffered a career blow or you may have an idea for a new series of paintings based on someone else’s paintings. You’re likely to feel excited by the end of the month. Things are looking up!

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
This month is about letting go. It may be of an expensive but paint-stained shirt, a competitive friendship or a long-held dream of having a museum exhibition. If this happens it’s because the thing is just not workable in your life and facing reality once in a while is actually healthy. Magical thinking works great in paintings but not always in life! Meanwhile Venus makes a tour of your relationship sector, so expect that special someone, if there is a special someone, to be much more accepting of your “quirks.” You’ll feel strongly that this person is really on your team. Towards the end of the month your paintings will require more impasto and smearing. Make it happen!

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

If your paintings are really good, this month you will get the attention you deserve. You may even receive a grant or award. However if they are still somewhat derivative or perhaps even weak, you will find out one way or another, over and over, for several days in a row. It’s possible that a friend accuses your colors of being muddy or too often used straight from the tube, or maybe that your work looks like someone else’s. Whatever the criticism, even if it rattles you, it is correct! You would do well to really examine your process at every level. Keep in mind that even if this brutal self-assessment leads you to never paint again, it’s better to know now what you are truly meant to be doing with your life. Make it count!

Aquarius (January 20-February 18)
This month has a crisis of conscience in store. For some reason, you are overly concerned with ethics and morality. Whatever the details, you may either have to stand up for something you believe is right or come clean about borrowing the ideas of an unsuspecting grad student in the Midwest whose art department you visited late last year. Even if you can’t make it right, you can expect to grow as a person, if not an artist, from this experience. In lighter news, Venus will be touring your love sector towards the end of the month and this once-a-year phenomenon will finally help you to enjoy sex. A brilliant New Moon will also ensure your studio neighbors will be quiet this month.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)
Your finances may be a source of frustration this month. You may owe more money than you thought to the IRS or you may face an audit. The next several months will be a nightmare of paperwork and distraction from your studio practice as you realize you have not been religiously saving receipts and you’ve taken way too many Ubers. Just remember! It will pass. In happier news, once you resume painting, you gain a sense of confidence about using spray paint, despite its irksome prevalence. If you need to find a new studio mate, you are likely to find a good one this month! One who does not clog the toilet, one who does not play Enya, one who does not leave behind rotting lunchmeat. Peace and harmony are coming your way.

Aries (March 21-April 19)
Relationships may be touchy this month. Avoid doing any studio visits or you will find yourself telling someone you hate their paintings, or comforting them as they cry about a situation you can’t relate to, or spending a long time giving relationship advice to someone who is supposed to be looking at your work. You might find yourself in some unwanted sticky situations! So spend a lot of time alone over the next few weeks. By the end of the month, your confidence will receive a major boost. It’s a great time to get back to the gym, so you will actually look better rather than just think you do. Meanwhile, the sky is the limit in the studio: splurge on some new canvases and show us what you got!

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