Saturdays Artists Series, Part 1: Marta Cardenas

Marta Cárdenas exhibe el trabajo de su pincel caleidoscópico - Noticias de  Gipuzkoa
(Marta Cardenas, 1944- )

Marta’s work is representative of the Basque School and it is found in many galleries in Spain as well as well represented in ARCO (the biggest contemporary art fair celebrated yearly in Madrid). She was born in San Sebastián, (Donostia), on the 5th of September 1944. She is a painter and engraver focusing mostly on abstract art.

She was a figurative artist up to the 1990’s, then she made a switch to abstract…

Her first expo was in a gallery in her hometown of Donostia (San Sebastián) in 1970. Her career began to take force and rise when in 1980 she was the recipient of a scholarship by the prestigious Spanish organisation Fundación Juan March. And by that time she had made her debut in Madrid with a solo show in 1974.

She spent most of the 1980’s exhibiting in Milan, Paris and Lisbon. Then in 1986 she participated and exhibited in ARCO, which she returns to in 1991.

Her will to look at different ways to express her thoughts, feelings, emotions and messages through her art, being that she has always been an artist with much curiosity and with the spirit of exploration, led her to abstract art during the 1990’s. Her abstract work is closely tied to nature, using natural colours and textures, as she studies the colours of distant lands, the vegetation and the way the sun changes the aspect of things as the day progresses.​

The work of Marta Cárdenas can be found in various museums like Museo Reina Sofía of Madrid or the Museo de Bellas Artes of Bilbao, as well as in the Palacio de la Moncloa, the Biblioteca Nacional de España, the Fundación Juan March, the Colección BBK (Bilbao), and the Fundación La Caixa…

Personally, although I like her work, I cannot see all the things she references. Therefore, as mostly decorative pieces…which all art is decorative…I find the paintings appealing. As being paintings that transmit a strong message, I don’t think so. Her work is colourful and fun, and she is an extraordinary artist that truly works to create and develop her talent, but messages, to me, do not come through. She is, a highly recognised Spanish artist and is most certainly part…an important part…of our art history and of European art history so it is important to get to know her work. She is, after all still active.

I have prepared a companion post of some of her work. Tell me what you think. Tell me what you see in her abstracts and how they may differ to you from her figurative work. I would love to carry on a discussion/conversation about art, not just about this particular painter. So if you like this post and its contents, please like and share to maintain the conversation and extend it much, much further.


Saturdays Artists Series, Part 1: Johannes Vermeer, “A Brief Look…” (photo montage video)

(Vermeer 1632-1675)

Here are some of his greatest works. I know most people know Girl with a Pearl Earring but I think he has others…most I would say…that are brilliant and outshine that one. Take a look and tell me what you think of this great master of light. I await your reply…

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Saturdays Artists Series, Part 1: Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer en venta: Compre Obras Inspiradas de Johannes Vermeer -  Singulart
(Johannes Vermeer 1632-1675)

This could or could not be the artist Johannes Vermeer, as it is a sort of mystery his actual countenance…

First I will say that there are only between 33 and 35 paintings recognised as his. That makes him a rare painter. He lived in the Baroque period, and during the Golden Age of Dutch art where the united provinces of the Low Countries were experiencing tremendous growth, political advancements and economical development. He is recognised for his mastery and for his great use of light. Other Dutch Golden Age artists are Frans Hals and Rembrandt.

Vermeer’s paintings, that we recognise today as being authentic, are few in numbers and most of them are not huge paintings either. This goes to prove that you don’t have to have an enormous body of work to become well known as Vermeer is one of the most famous painters in art history. It is well known that there were many other paintings that are lost and we know this because of auction records of those days. Yet, Vermeer painted little but with great care, utilising expensive pigments. He was not wealthy and left his wife and eleven children debts after his death.

His most famous paintings are View From Delft, The Allegory of Faith, Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window, and The Love Letter. Of course everyone knows Girl With a Pearl Earring, a very small painting that could have been painted as a sample, to show patrons how well he could paint a portrait. It is considered one of his masterpieces but it is nowhere as powerful an example of his mastery as is View From Delft.

Controversies? But of course. It has been argued that Vermeer, and other artists of the time, used mechanical aids, optics they might be called, like curved mirrors, camera obscura and camera lucida to aid in their compositions, providing for more precise positioning of the figures painted. This has been called the Hockney–Falco thesis, named after Hockney and Charles M. Falco, another proponent of the theory.

To me that is not important. If used, it was a tool and nothing more. Just like artists now use computers and other such implements to create. That does not mean that these tools create for the artist. A musician that uses a synthesizer or computer aided instrumentation and orchestration, is still creating due to his knowledge and ideas, the electronic aid is simply a tool. Vermeer would have been a master with or without those devices, that is if he ever did use them.

I will prepare a companion piece with his most famous paintings. I hope you access that too and I hope you tell me what you think of Vermeer and others as well…


Saturdays Artists Series, Part 2: Mark Ryden, a photo-montage video

(Mark Ryden and his wife Marion Peck, his wife)

Well, here it is! This is an artist I am certainly into…hope you like it. And if you do, please let me know, especially with your comments, replies, suggestions et cetera…

And we would certainly appreciate a like, a share and a subscription to our YouTube channel. A like will boost our algorithm enormously and would help us disseminate more information about art, about artists and about the art world as a whole. Thank you!

(Please don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to our YouTube channel, thank you so much!)


Saturdays Artists Series, Part 2: Mark Ryden

Mark Ryden
(Mark Ryden, 1963- )

Definitely a painter I like. Yes, I know, some of his works are a little gory and unsettling but they are quite brilliant nevertheless, at least to me. Mark Ryden, was born in 1963 in Medford, Oregon, United States. Together with his wife, Marion Peck…also an artist…they are the reigning king and queen of what some call “Pop Surrealism” (or “Lowbrow“) and have become one of the most important artistic couples in Los Angeles.

Inside the surreal home of artists Marion Peck and Mark Ryden - Curbed LA
(Mark Ryden and Marion Peck)

It is clear by looking at his work, Mark Ryden is influenced by mystery. He may find it in the face of dolls, toys, anatomic models, skeletons, dissected animals and religious images. Then he takes them and gives them those soft colours, mostly pastel, rose, light green, silver et cetera and they look very eerie indeed, I would say, but cool…

Although he was born in Oregon, he was raised in California. Ryden graduated from the Art Center College of Design of Pasadena, (California), in 1987. He started his career by designing and creating record covers, and not for unknown wonders, but for big names like Michael Jackson, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Aerosmith, Four Non-Blondes and others, perhaps not so well known. He also did book covers during those years, 1988-1998, for such authors as Stephen King. He continued his work until artist Robert Williams, put him on the cover of Juxtapoz magazine, which is considered the guide to the “Lowbrow Art”.​

His solo debut was with a piece titled “The Meat Show” in Pasadena, California, 1998. You may not know it, but now you will, the famous meat dress worn by Lady Gaga was inspired by one of Ryden’s paintings. Ryden is certainly no vegan, his opinion is that although we seem rather disconnected from the animals that nourish us, meat is the reason we are alive and continue to exist.

There are two more things I need to say about Mark Ryden. And that is, one, in 2014 he released a musical album titled The Gay Nineties Old Tyme Music: Daisy Bell. There’s a lot of well known music stars collaborating, including Katy Perry, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Nick Cave, Kirk Hammet et al. They all sing the same song, “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)”, some are pretty nice renditions, others are grotesque and quite unbecoming, even for something Lowbrow as this record. However, the idea was good, being that all proceeds from sales goes to Little Kids Rock, an organisation that promotes musical education to school-children with problems.

The second thing, is that I would like to mention…what “they’ve” considered…two of Mark Ryden’s “muses”:

​The first one is Christina Ricci and the second one is Jessicka Addams-Fodera. He considers them a great source of inspiration, according to what has been said in some publications about Ryden. And it is also undeniable that Ricci has “appeared” in more than ten of his paintings. Addams-Fodera “Jessicka” has collaborated with Ryden in his paintings and in photographs.

Jack Off Jill - Happy birthday Jessicka Addams. May you... | Facebook
Christina Ricci adicta al sexo
(Christina Ricci)

So, I will, of course, follow up with a photo montage video…with original music…that will feature some of the work of Mark Ryden, I hope you will take a look…


Saturdays Artists Series, Part 1: Donald Judd

Donald Judd. Artista | ARTEINFORMADO

I’ll start by saying that I am not a fan, not even close. I do come close to saying that I don’t think his work is fine art, it is beautiful, but I would place it within the realm of design…

Judd is considered a minimalist, supposedly he was searching for the autonomy and the clarity of the object. And although he called his work as effervescent, he is still called a minimalist. His sculptures had as much to do with their intrinsic parts as the space they create while being there. He sought a democratic presentation…

Although he is considered the mayor theoretician of minimalism, having written his treatise “Specific Objects” in 1964, he went on to voice his unorthodox views on minimalist theory in Arts Yearbook 8. He did not consider that he had created a movement with his three dimensional works.


I try to bring forth artists that are important not only because I love their work, but because they are highly recognised and form part of Art History. In this case, I am featuring the art of Donald Judd because he fits the category, although for me he is uninteresting. I don’t like to spend too much time reading about the theories and the praxis of a painting or a style/school of art. I want the work to tell me that and I want to understand it through my eyes and my emotions, not through my intellect. I want the work to talk to me and I don’t want to ever be bored with it. If I can look at a painting every day of my life and every time I look at it I gain something from it, I see something new, something I had not realised before, then I can say that it is art. It has fulfilled, for me, the requirements I consider valid.

This is not the case with the art of Donald Judd. I can admire the fact that he is technically sound, that he knows well his medium and that he produces an impeccable finished product, but I cannot say that I would spend too much time looking at it. Judd bought a building on Spring Street (Manhattan) and refurbished it completely. It had five stories and it was built in 1870. He reformed the building with his works and with the works of other artists as well that he had commissioned specifically for the project. There was where he lived and worked. In 1968, he bought the building for less than 70 thousand US Dollars. Now it must be worth millions! And those things I do find very artistic and creative…

Like I said, the more I look at the work of Donald Judd, I think more of furniture design, interior decoration and aspects of furniture building that result in some very nice pieces. And these things…architectural in the general sense…he also did, and he did them very well, being that he was an extremely talented artist.

Just so you know, Donald Judd was born in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. He was an Army engineer, serving from 1946 to 1947. In 1948 he started studying at the College of William and Mary, and finished a Bachelor Degree at Columbia University in Philosophy. During his time in university he took courses at the Art Students League of New York.

I invite you to the companion piece, a photo montage video of some of his works, with an original musical background.

Thank you!

Saturdays Artists Series Part 2: Antonio López

Antonio López García - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

Antonio López hails from Castilla-La Mancha, having been born in the municipality of Tomelloso, in the province of Ciudad Real. Presently the Centre Cultural Bancaixa of Valencia is hosting an expo of his works. He was educated at the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando de Madrid. There, together with other young artists, like Enrique Gran, Amalia Avia y Lucio Muñoz, he formed the “Escuela madrileña”. In 1955 the Ministry of Education sent him, with a scholarship, to Italy, where he was introduced to the masters of the Renaissance. Not being well pleased with actually seeing the paintings he had venerated in photographs, he returned to Madrid seeking to re-evaluate Spanish classical painting, which he studied at Museo del Prado, especially the work of Diego Velázquez.

He is a member of many of the Royal art academies of Spain and highly recognised. He has, and is, exhibited in some the most famous museums of the world. His painting Madrid desde Torres Blancas sold at auction (2008, Christie’s of London) for close to two million Pounds Sterling.

Antonio is also known as the painter who photographed the Royal Family and then took twenty years to paint the portrait. His painting titled La familia de Juan Carlos I was unveiled in 2014.

My opinion is not very favourable reference this artist. Although I recognise his abilities, his training and technical expertise, I see no passion, no lasting emotive quality that could make me ever look twice at any of his works. His still life, or sort of still life-hyper-realism paintings are flat, dry and emotion-less. Why create something that can be reproduced exactly with a camera? His sculptures are simplistic and rather vague. In truth, they speak little or nothing at all. I don’t see much effort placed into the work, therefore I cannot say anything nice about the work of this painter. All I can say is that he is well liked in my country and well respected by many and I am not willing to go against the tide of public opinion though I do not hitch my wagon to their star.

Antonio López is a recognised artist and thus must be studied and definitely included in the history of art but from a realistic perspective he might just be occupying the place that many more worthy artists…that are and have always been ignored…deserve. Just one more thing, I don’t believe anyone can take twenty years to finish a painting, no matter the size. I can’t think that he was painting it for twenty years, for then the coats of paint would be a metre thick! So I just think that he pulled a fast one on the Royal family and made it look like he was so diligent and precise. And then, in the end, twenty years later, no one looked like the portraits in the painting at all…

If you like, there is much written about Antonio López everywhere and like I said, if you are in Valencia, the expo is on at the Bancaixa Cultural Centre. Or you can just go to Wikipedia…

To see some of the works of Antonio that I have selected, I invite you to the companion piece which features a photo montage video with original music by AJA (Abstract Jazz Arrangement, visit us at


Saturdays Artists Series Part 1: Peter Max


The artist of the rock era, the late sixties, the seventies, a true icon of the times. The paintings of Peter Max were all over Miami when I lived there in those years. Everyone made doodles (in my High School) trying to imitate the works of Peter Max. Forget Banksy, Haring, Hirst, Basquiat and all the other “anti-establishment artists” that pop up (and then become millionaires), Peter Max was the top, a real crack and the original one, with talent, with imagination and creativity, as opposed to most of those others.

His works are psychedelic, surrealist and overflowing with colour. These were…and are…the real icons of pop art (I’ve no stomach for Warhol, his work bore me to oblivion). Peter Max created a movement in art, developed something different and made an impact that still persists, although many artists that work similar canvases might not even be aware that they are actually reflecting the work of this great German artist.

Peter Max.jpg
(By Kingkongphoto & from Laurel Maryland, USA – PETER MAX © 2010, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Born in Berlin in 1937, lived in China for the first ten years of his life, then his family relocated to Israel. From Haifa, Israel to Paris, where Max gained a tremendous admiration for art and then, finally to Brooklyn, Bensonhurst in particular, a place that I know and recall fondly…

Peter Max Finklestein…the name he was born with, he is a German Jew…in 1962, started a studio of art in Manhattan with his friend, the American landscape painter Tom Daly, called the “The Daly and Max Studio”, (I guess they didn’t really have to work too hard on the name…)

One major even for Peter Max, which to me, as a football fan is very importatn…among many, you can Google them…was being the official artist for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, which was played in the United States. (Brasil won by beating Italy 3-2 in Pasadena, California, just for those who may not have remembered). He also had a romantic relationship with Tina Louise (Ginger in Gilligan’s Island). He supports animal rights, Human Rights and is a vegan…if any of that is important…and he also plead guilty of income tax fraud. But he was a great artist…

I will leave it here. There is much more in Wikipedia and in magazines, books and other blogs, I would imagine. After all Peter Max has been around for a long time. He now lives in New York and suffers from Alzheimer’s dementia.

To me, I didn’t care a bit about his life, about his somewhat shady business dealings or the supposed fraud committed by his enterprise in New York ever since he stopped painting due to advanced dementia, I simply was and am a fan of his work, which to me is valuable, creative, well crafted and innovative. Others may think differently. I think everyone knows by now what I think of the “so-called modern art”, where a banana on the wall is sold for more than $100.000,00 (one hundred thousand U.S. Dollars), therefore you must understand, after seeing the works of Peter Max, why I like them.

I have a companion photo montage video of his work that I hope you watch and like and maybe even subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Saturdays Artists Series Part 1: Peter Max, a photo montage video…

Here is the accompanying post so that you can enjoy some of the works of this, one of my favourite artists, along with the music of AJA (Abstract Jazz Arrangement, and If you like what you see and hear, I most certainly would appreciate a like and if you would, a subscription to our YouTube channel, that would be most helpful to help us grow within that platform. Thank you!



Saturdays Artists Series Part 3: Shilpa Gupta, India

Why is Jacqueline Fernandez perfect face for 'Joya' - news

A brilliant artist. Her determination to bring out the injustices committed against artists of the past, for example, poets (near and dear to my heart as I consider myself not an artist but a poet), is something that I greatly admire.

Her installation at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale titled For, in Your Tongue, I Can Not Hide, features the work of one hundred poets, dead poets imprisoned for their poetry and or politics. Shilpa’s oeuvre attempts to re-secure the voice of 100 poets who, in different times and in different centuries have been imprisoned for their writings and/or their political positions. The installation is made filling a room with printed sheets of the prisoners’ poems impaled on metal rods. They are accompanied by recorded recitations of the poems. This work is a bona fide effort to try to bring forth to the light of the present day how vulnerable our right to free speech may actually be. In today’s world there are many countries, like communist Cuba, communist China, and communist North Korea, among others, where there is no freedom of expression whatsoever.

The voices of the imprisoned poets are in many languages, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, English et cetera and they come out you all together from the microphones, which do not let you speak but beckon you to listen. Many people have told me it reminds them of the voices of those like Mandela. However, when mentioning the countries where poets, writers and journalists are still imprisoned they mention countries like Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cameroon but not countries like Cuba, Russia, North Korea. I’ve heard many lament the plight of those killed or jailed by autocratic or totalitarian right wing regimes but few speak of those suffering persecution in communist or left leaning countries. I find that dichotomy hipocritical to the extreme.

I have not heard the voices, nor do I know who the 100 poets are in Shilpa’s installation but I sincerely hope she has included there the voices of Cuban writers and poets silenced forever by the communist regime, writers like Lizama Lima who was imprisoned in his home and decreed persona non grata.

Shilpa was born in Bombay in 1976. She works different mediums to include objets trouvés, installations, to videos and to computer based installation and performance. Although I am not a fan of these types of conceptual art, I have to admire the fact that this artist has chosen to speak up for those who have been formally and officially shut down. That makes a difference to me.

Reference her work, she states, “I am interested in perception and therefore, with how definitions get stretched or trespassed, be it gender, beliefs, or the notion of a state.”

Her work has been shown in many places and she has participated in these biennials (some very prestigious, some created for propaganda purposes, like the Havana Biennial):

Venice Biennale (2019); Kochi Muziris Biennale (2018, 2019);GöteborgBiennial (2017, 2015); Havana Biennial (2015, 2006); 8th Berlin Biennale (2014); Sharjah Biennale ’13 (2013); New Museum Triennial (2009); Biennale de Lyon (2009); Gwangju Biennale (2008); Yokohama Triennale (2008); the Liverpool Biennial (2006) and biennales at Auckland, Seville, Seoul, Sydney and Shanghai.

Shilpa Gupta: the artist bringing silenced poets back to life | Art and  design | The Guardian

Shilpa is a very highly recognised conceptual artist. She has been leading that genre for more than twenty years and has influenced many young artists who aim towards that direction of art. Her work is in the Guggenheim collection as well as the Caixa Forum here in Spain.

I am a poet who writes, paints and creates music here in my city of Valencia, Spain. Besides this blog I also post my artwork (paintings) as well as digital art (photography) to my INSTAGRAM which I invite you to visit: @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera . My YouTube channel contains short photo montages of my work and the works of many of the artists that I feature here in my blog. My background music is always one of my original compositions, many times performed by myself and others with my group the Abstract Jazz Arrangement (AJA), some of our earlier material you can listen to here: . I leave you with a short video clip of some of my pen/graphite on paper illustrations. Through this link you can access my YouTube channel.

(Please do not forget to like and to subscribe to our YouTube channel, thank you!)