Monday, May 4, 2015

May Monthly Challenge

Untitled, 1926-1954
By Augustin Lesage
Oil on Canvas

About the Art
Lesage’s patterns are unmistakable.  After noting the symmetry of the first large canvas, he began organizing his compositions along a central axis, building complex geometric structures in horizontal layers from the center outward.  An article by Christian Delacampagne quoted on Lesage’s Wikipédia article states (translation):

The first large painting of Augustin Lesage is one of the most daring in modern art.  Although not, strictly speaking, non-figurative (figures both architectural and anthropomorphic abound), it explores almost all possibilities of abstraction—lyrical as well as geometric—at a time when the latter, among professional artists, was still in its infancy.  They are no less ornamental and decorative than the works of Kandinsky, Lesage’s spiritual contemporary.  Indeed, is the distance so great between the the Theosophy dear to the Russian artist and the Spiritualism embraced by the French?  The former hearkens to Rudolf Steiner, the latter to Léon Denis.

About the Artist
Lesage was born in Saint-Pierre-lez-Auchel in northern France, and spent his early life as a laborer in the coal mines.  Then one evening in 1911, when he was thirty-five years old, he heard a voice underground that told him “One day, you will be a painter.”
A year later, partly through his involvement in Spiritualist circles, Lesage began communicating via automatic writing with “spirits,” including one he believed to be his sister Mary who had died in childhood.  The spirits told him,
  "The voices you heard were real.  You will be a painter.  Fear not, and heed our advice.  You will         find it ridiculous in the beginning, but we are the ones tracing through your hand. Do not try to           understand."
The voices proceeded to tell him which colors and brushes to buy, and where to order a canvas.  Lesage ordered a small canvas, but when it arrived, it measured three meters square.  He wanted to cut it into smaller pieces, but the voices stopped him.
For the next two years, he came home from the mines every night and went to work, letting the spirits guide his hand.  He began in the upper right corner and gradually filled the entire canvas (which is now in Jean Dubuffet’s Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne).  The composition was built by filling in small areas at a time.  The spirits did not let him evaluate the work in its entirety:  part of the canvas remained rolled as they guided his hand.  “It was like working without working,” the artist recalled.
In July of 1913, Lesage interrupted his work in the mines to do some faith healing; a move that got him in hot water with French authorities who charged him with illegally practicing medicine.  The testimony of his dozens of successful clients helped acquit him in 1914 and later that year he was deployed for WWI, where he continued to make drawings on postcards.
In the years following the war, Augustin Lesage was visited by Jean Meyer, director of the Spiritualist journal La Revue Spirite.  Meyer became his patron, and in 1923 Lesage was able to quit working in the mines and devote himself to painting.
Like the paintings themselves, Lesage’s position within art history is peculiar.  Though held in high esteem by the Surrealists, Lesage’s legacy is strong but obscure: of the 800 canvases he left behind, most have seldom been exhibited abroad.  English-speaking audiences are hard pressed to find any information on the artist.  (I just ordered a French exhibition catalogue from a 1988 retrospective.)
Augustin Lesage’s “classical period” is the period between 1916 and 1927, when he painted his most representative works.  A growing fascination with Egypt, natural forms, and the ornamental traditions of various cultures gave Lesage a newfound source of conscious influence, diluting the purity of his earlier compositions and creating images that appear more self-conscious and perhaps less directly inspired.  Lesage continued painting until failing eyesight and health forced him to resign in 1952, less than two years before his death.

Our Sponsors
Our Sponsors this month are B'Sue BoutiqueGardanne Beads and Gaea Handmade.
Please visit us tomorrow to see the prizes!

How to enter the Monthly Challenge:
1. You need to have a Pinterest account. Go get one ASAP if you don't have one already. It's easy, fun and inspiring.

2. Email us at to get added to the monthly challenge board.

Subject: Monthly Challenge Board Request

You will be emailed an invite to the board within 48 hours. Accept the invite and you are ready to pin your entries.

3. Two ways to pin your entry to the board.

Pin your photo from the internet (on your blog, Etsy shop, etc.)

Add your photo directly from your computer

Create something using an art bead that fits within our monthly theme. We post the art to be used as your inspiration to create. This challenge is open to jewelry-makers, fiber artists, collage artist, etc. The art bead can be created by you or someone else. The challenge is to inspire those who use art beads and to see all the different ways art beads can be incorporated into your handiwork.

An Art Bead must be used in your piece to qualify for the monthly challenge.

***Beads strung on a chain, by themselves and beads simply added to wire or cord will not be accepted.***

Please add the tag or title APR ABS to your photos. Include a short description, who created the art beads and a link to your blog, if you have one.

Deadline is May 31st. 
You may upload 2 entries per month.

• Beads Makers Pinterest Board-Art beads must be created by you and fit the Art Bead Scene's monthly challenge theme. They can be made for the challenge or ones you have made before. 2 entries per month are allowed. 
One entry will be picked by the editors on the 30th of each month for a free month of advertising on the Art Bead Scene. Bead entries have to be pinned by the 29th of the month.
Beads only - do not post jewelry on this board. If a post doesn't fit the challenge it will be deleted.

Monthly Challenge Recap
• Please post at least one single shot of your creation on the Pinterest Board. This will be used to make a collage for the Monthly Challenge Gallery. Every creation will be added to the collage, regardless of a blog post. So everyone gets included!

Your entry must be on Pinterest 2 days BEFORE the recap to be included.

• Be sure to share with us the name of the art bead artist in the description of your photo so that if you are selected for the weekly Perfect Pairings on Wednesdays, both you as the designer and the art bead artist can get the credit you both deserve!

• An InLinkz button will be added to the bottom of the Monthly Challenge Recap post. Here you will be able to link up your blog post if you have one. It is no longer necessary to add your blog post URL to the description unless you want to. Be sure to hop around and see all the great inspiration and leave some comment love!

• The Monthly Challenge Recap with Blog Tour will be posted on May 30th.

Monthly Challenge Winners
• One prize winner will be selected at random from all pictures posted on the Pinterest board.

• One prize winner will be selected at random from all blog posts added to the hop for the Monthly Challenge Recap post. So if you want to be in the pool for the second prize, be sure to use the InLinkz code at the bottom of the post to share your process and inspirations!

• Winners will be randomly chosen from all the qualifying entries on May 1st.

Perfect Pairings :: Designer + Art Bead Artist
• Formerly the Featured Designer of the Week, our new Perfect Pairings will focus on both the jewelry designer and the art bead artist. 

• Be sure to point out all the art bead artists in your work in the description of the photo on the Pinterest Board. Links to their website or shop are appreciated. That way we can all find new art beads to love!

• From all the entries during the month, an editor will pick their favorite design to be featured every Wednesday here on ABS, so get those entries in soon.

What is an Art Bead?
An art bead is a bead, charm, button or finding made by an independent artist. Art beads are the vision and handiwork of an individual artist. You can read more about art beads here.

***A bead that is handmade is not necessarily an art bead. Hill Tribe Silver, Kazuri ceramic beads or lampwork beads made in factories are examples of handmade beads that are not considered art beads.

Beaded beads, stamped metal pendants or wire-wrapped components are not considered art beads for our challenge.***

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