Friday, March 6, 2009

Ping, Pong

It is hard to imagine that during the 17th Century the Classical inspiration of the gardens-facing facade of the Chateau de Versailles sparked as much buzz about its inventiveness as the most advanced architectural creations of our time. What is modern at any point in time isn't so for very long. Modern means: of the latest most advanced kind. It relates to using ideas and techniques that have only recently been developed and may still be considered experimental. Two random architectural examples of that fleeting definition are portrayed here. On the left are pictures of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and on the right of the Chateau de Versailles. They were planned and constructed roughly 4 centuries apart. Both buildings represent a new, daring aesthetic at their time and were considered very modern. Both received a lot of attention, were praised and critisized as groundbreaking designs that strayed from traditional styles. Though the Walt Disney Concert Hall can still hold on to the definition of being modern, the Palais de Versailles has long lost it's new, innovative and trendsetting aura. It won't be long before the Walt Disney Concert Hall follows the same fate. Versailles became the undisputed leading example of a new worldwide movement in style. Only history will tell if the Walt Disney Hall and its variations will create the same effect. The big difference between these two examples is that one was a modern adaptation of solid Classical architecture, while the other - in sharp contrast -is entirely abstract in concept.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The King's Painter

Charles Le Brun (1619 -1690) was an important artist in his time. He was co-founder of the Academie des Peintres et Sculpteurs in 1648 and later became Louis XIV's favorite painter. The king ennobled Le Brun and gave him the title Premier Peintre du Roi. He was placed in charge of the royal collections and became director of the gobelin studios. He is responsible for the paintings and interior design of the Gallerie des Glaces and the Salons de la Guerre et de la Paix at Versailles. Le Brun's work is highly appreciated. Not only a respected painter, as architect he was also closely involved with the building projects of Louis XIV. Nevertheless he left little influence. This is because he subjected his style entirely to the glorification of absolutism. His effectively composed scenes are seen more as admirable documents of historic events than as the individual style of an artist.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up" - Pablo Picasso

Nude Standing by the Sea 1929 oil on canvas Pablo Picasso Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cars Can Be Artfully Too

The financial difficulties that the American automakers are experiencing today is by their own choice. For years they have been fooling the public into believing that there was no interest in hybrid or electric cars, while they continued promoting the giant gas guzzling monster cars that they put on the market. Nobody wants them. People bought them simply because there was no choice. Proof that it can be different are these models by Toyota, on display at their showroom on the Champs Elysees in Paris. The design of these cars is appealing. So much so that people were lining up for a chance to admire them up close.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


This small painting is minimalist in subject and color range, yet complex in texture and glazing. It is one of my current favorites.

Seaworld   oil on panel   8" X 10"   Chris De Dier
available from the artist. US$225.00 + $20.00 s/h

Friday, February 27, 2009

Art Auction

In preparation for the annual Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Gala and Silent Art Auction on May 1, 2009, I selected this painting for this year's participation. In 2008 I was able to donate a new painting for this fundraising auction. Lack of time has prevented me to do the same this year. This painting was made in 1997. It is an older work with the subject very appropriate for the occasion. The scenery in this painting is at Canyon Lake, in the Texas Hill Country. It has been part of my personal collection for all this time because this painting formed a milestone towards the development of my current style, where the sky dominates in importance over the landscape.
The Gala and Art Auction are a major fund raiser for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. This is the third year I made a donation to this important institution.

Sunrise - Canyon Lake oil on canvas 30" X 40" Chris De Dier

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Contemporary taste has lost affection for elaborate ornament. Especially ceilings are the most popular victim to minimalism. Perhaps rightfully so. To turn a ceiling ino a breathtaking work of art takes enormous talent, skill and financial budget. With lack of any of these, it is best left plain and simple. The ceilings pictured in this post are superb examples of a lost art.

Above: Ornate ceilings of different period styles in the Louvre, Paris, France.

Left: Beaux-Arts ceiling in the Louvre, Paris.
Below Center: Frescoed ceiling in the chapel of the Palais de Versailles, France.

Left and above Right: Ceilings in the Palais de Versailles, France.

To the Right: Contemporary ceiling at a restaurant in New York City. This is as much visual interest as todays' low plasterboard ceilings can bear.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Living Statue

... or statue for a living? It certainly can be enjoyable to admire, like this girl near the Notre Dame in Paris. Her costume is beautiful in a cleverly stylized interpretation of 18th Century fashion. Creativity with dress and make-up is as old as Civilization, and at no time more popular and folksy than during the period of Carnival.

Why are our eyes so attracted to people in outrageous dress? And how did fashion, or costume, become such an important medium of expressing ourselves?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thanks For The Memories

Here is an old picture of the Main Square in Ninove, Belgium. It appears to be taken in the early 20th century - perhaps between 1910 and 1920. I was born in the neo-Renaissance style house with the two tones of brick, that faces the viewer at the far end of the Square. It forms the corner between the Square and the Beverstraat. My parents rented that house after they married. On the ground floor was the store. My mother sold textiles; aprons, tablecloths, ties and underwear. Behind the store were a living room, a small kitchen and a tiny courtyard. Upstairs on the second floor, behind that window that you see there, was my parent's bedroom. That is were it happened. Right there.
My brother was born in that room also, two and a half years later. I still remember that night. It was in the early hours of New Year's Day 1961. The sounds of commotion and moaning woke me up. I crawled out of bed and went to look for my parents. When I opened the door to their bedoom, a half story below where mine was, I saw my mother in bed, covered to her neck by a white sheet that rose up in the air towards her feet. At the footend of the bed was the doctor, seated, and reaching into that white tent. In the corner of the room, the midwife, clad in crisp starched white coat and nurse hat, was busy in a cloud of steam, filling bowls with hot water and arranging clean towels. Both turned and looked up for a moment in my direction, smiled and made a joke. My father held me by the door, allowed me to stay a few minutes before escorting me back to bed. That's all I remember.

At the end of the Beverstraat, beyond view in the picture, was my school where I went for a year before my parents were forced to move. The city had bought the property. The house was soon to be demolished to make room for a new avenue. That was in 1963. I remember walking home from school, hand in hand with my teacher. A big truck was parked in front of our house. It was the mover's. My mother, my little brother and I climbed into the front seat of the truck. I sat beside the driver who drove us to our new home, Nieuwstraat 54 in Aalst, a bigger city 25 km away.

O My!

Yesterday unexpected honorable mentions were bestowed on me for being the first Follower of MyTempO! now. I am grateful and encourage everyone to go check it out. It's a great party. Join me!

Fish In Murky Water

Small paintings can be fun sometimes because they allow easier experimentation. They are more practical to handle horizontally than larger formats and there is less pressure that the efforts should be successful. Controlling water based paints on oil paint is challenging but in the case of these three new paintings, it created more or less the desired result.

Koi I mixed media on paper 8" X 8" Chris De Dier

Koi II mixed media on paper 8" X 8" Chris De Dier

Koi III mixed media on paper 8" X 8" Chris De Dier

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Made Of Real Wood

Last summer I designed a drop-leaf side table and a bench to be added to the ARRIS STUDIO collection. Both are made of solid Chechen, a beautiful tropical hardwood with a very dense grain.

The wood is selectively harvested in government protected forests in Southern Mexico. The use of solid wood originating from sustained forests is by far superior to the supposedly "green" particle boards, plywoods or veneers that are held together by toxic glues. Furthermore, any scratches or dents that are inevitable from use over time add character to furniture that is made of solid wood. When taken well care of, quality-made pieces of furniture become sought after antiques in the future.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

There Is A Difference

I was asked to paint a copy of an existing painting. The reason for this is a strange topic in itself that can be discussed at a later date. The best way to manage this commission was to paint similar without trying to imitate. The general idea, topograhy and light color range of the original painting were followed; beyond that, there was no point in even trying to come close to a copy.
Although both paintings below have strong similarities, they are quite different. I hope that one day, they will come together and be hung beside each other in the same space.
The top painting is the latest.

White II oil on canvas 48" X 60" Chris De Dier

White oil on canvas 48" X 60" Chris De Dier