Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Let It Snow, Let It Snow

A funny snow photo

It’s been a long, cold few weeks for a lot of us. Cold weather and ice can be a big pain or worse for sure. However, it can also be beautiful and fun. We always try to focus on the beautiful things in the world at Matboard and More (our excellent frames being one example), so I thought, at the end of this freezing week, we could take some time to appreciate the fun side of snow and winter by looking at some fun things to do with snow.

A great picture of a Disney villain

First up, a recognizable character- Davy Jones, from Pirates of the Caribbean! I hadn’t ever seen a snow sculpture of him before, and I am very impressed by the detail

A creepy photography of arth Vader from Stars Wars

Next up, another villain- none other than Darth Vader. This one may not be as technically impressive as Davy Jones’s tentacle beard, but Vader is just awesome, so it felt right to include him. It’s also interesting to see his iconic helmet in white for a change.

A funny snow photo

Next up, this creative piece. Getting a snowman to stand and balance is one of the hardest parts, so this sculptor decided to give their a very firm base- a mailbox! Hopefully their mail carrier got kick out of it on their busy day.

A photo of an Australia winter

A finally a picture from Australia. It would have been taken a different time of year, since they’re actually in the middle of a heatwave!

 

Try and keep warm everyone!

A Little Bit About Jacob Lawrence

A Little Bit About Jacob Lawrence

Lawrence's self portrait, with an excellent use of color

I had seen a few of Jacob Lawrence’s pieces from time to time, though I had never known his name. I was recently able to put a name to the pieces I had seen, and decided to read a little more about him and his style. It is a very distinct style. Many of his pieces having a moving, mesmerizing quality, but I will get to that later. I also want to take a quick moment to remind everyone about our Valentine’s mats, which you can still order in time for Valentine’s Day. Alright, back to Lawrence- seen above in a self-portrait.

A colorful but sad painting by Lawrence

Though Lawrence would go on to receive an extensive education in art, both from art school and noted artists of his day, his beginnings were humble. The art classes he took as a child were initially just supposed to keep him busy during the day. However, he really took to it, and would sometimes even practice by drawing the patterns of carpets. Later on, his work would draw from his upbringing in Harlem, as in the piece above, “Dreams No. 2.”

A great painting from Lawrence with some influence from Cubism

Lawrence also pointed to Cubism as one of his main influences. He mentioned Matisse specifically. Looking at the piece above, called “Pool Parlor,” I can see it. I can’t say exactly what it is, I think more the overall arrangement of colors more than anything. Yet this piece feels like it has a sense of movement to it. I can almost see the various figures each taking their shot and moving out of the way in unison, almost like a dance.

Another cubism type piece from Lawrence

And finally, this piece, “The Builders,” is another great example of his work. It reminds me a bit of the “Pool Parlor” with the large amount of subjects scattered around the painting. I also get the sense of movement from this one, but more the movement of a well-oiled machine, rather than that of a dance. This piece, and the others, show that the world around him were as much of an inspiration as any other painter. And if you’re feeling inspired, you can always order some custom mats to make your pieces really stand out.

Love is in the Air…

Love is in the Air...

A fun custom photo matboard for valentine's day

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. It can be tough to find a great present every year, but don’t worry- we’re here to help. We have some special Valentine’s Matboards that you can order hassle free, and have a memorable, touching gift for the special someone in your life.

A fun matboard for valetine's day

First, you can go with the wonderful “I Heart You” mats, with two openings for pictures. You have room for one photo of each of you, or for two of both of you. The example is in red, but we could certainly set up this mat in pink, or any other color you desire. And of course, all the Valentines Day Mat Designs are acid free conservation mats so that will last for the long haul, just like your love.

A fun custom photo matboard for valentine's day

Speaking of pink, here’s another fun design. With the simple message “Love” along the bottom and a perimeter of small hearts, this design is more flexible. If you need anniversary presents for your parents or other relatives, something like this would be lovely. Or, if you wanted something a little sillier, put a picture of yourself with your dog in the middle, a tiny doggy pictures in all the hearts!

A custom wedding matboard

Of course, if these designs don’t speak to you, you can always order your own custom mat. The couple in the picture above had their own ideas about what they wanted. So, they got in touch with us and worked up a design that is the perfect way for them to remember their special day.

A great photo of a berry heart

Or, if that’s not your style, you can always find a fun or interesting bit of artwork to go in a more standard mat and frame. This piece from one of our customers make me smile and are the sort of thing I wouldn’t mind getting. Hopefully with a card that says “I Love You Berry Much.” So, whatever you’re looking or, we can help!

We’re on a Boat

We're on a Boat

Renoir's amazing painting about a boat party

I will admit, most of what I knew about Renoir came from the movie Amelie. It’s a great movie that I would recommend to anyone, certainly, but not the best place to turn if you want to learn more about Renoir. However, I hope to at least show you a little more of his work, if you’re like me and aren’t too familiar. And of course, you could always display this excellent piece in a custom frame if you want to bring any of these piece into your own home.

I do want to take a moment to admire the first Renoir I saw. “Luncheon of the Boating Party” isn’t a dramatic piece, but it does have a lot going on. Though relaxing, each of the figures is doing something- drinking, chatting or, in the case of one woman, playing with a dog. Yet the setting is also detailed, from the chairs and tables, to the river just beyond.

A lovely work of art b Renoir

Picking these elements apart, we can see that Renoir has shown both skills in some of his other works. This one here caught my eye. It is called simply “By the Water.” Though a more intimate piece with only two figures, to me it evokes a similar feel. The two figures seem to be both at ease and engaged. The landscape has a more central place, and it is just lovely. Somewhere I’d like to visit for sure.

A great painting of a great painter with great colors

And finally, another lovely piece that shows a breathtaking landscape and an interesting figure. Indeed, you can see that even the figure in the painting can’t resist trying to paint the garden himself! But no wonder, this piece is called “Claude Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil,” for a reason, after all. The garden is much more the central in this piece, with lots of attention paid to the little details.

Renoir painted for a long time, these are only a small sampling of his work. And of course, whenever you produce your own works of staggering brilliance and beauty, you can help get them out into the world with our show kits.

A Little Light on the Nighthawks

A Little Light on the Nighthawks

I have liked Hopper’s “Nighthawks” since I first saw it. It’s one of the more famous pieces of American art, so I thought I would take a close look at it this week. If you’d like to do the same from the comfort of your own home, you can always order a custom mat to really make it pop. This painting has had an undeniable influence on pop culture, with homages showing up in everything from Terrence Malick’s movies to Tom Waits’ Music.

Nighthawks is a dark piece in more ways than one. While not grim in the ways of some other pieces, it does show a group of lonely people. Setting the painting at night, with lots of shadow, furthers this idea of isolation. The fact that it is also a rather mundane scene- just people sitting around- make the scene more melalcholy than tragic. You don’t get the feeling that anything bad happened to these people, they’re just unhappy. To offer a bit of contrast, look at contemporary Norman Rockwell’s painting “Freedom from Want,” which shows a much happier scene.

A color piece of art by Norman Rockwell

Hopper apparently did not like any comparisons to Rockwell so I won’t linger on it. I merely want to show that the two men, painting at the same time, captured two very different side of America that both feel authentic, even if they are at odds.

A geeky parody of the classic painting

Of course, like American Gothic, the best way to know if you’ve made it is the number of parodies available. By this standard, Nighthawks has made it. In addition to the more serious homages like the ones mentioned above, many people have had a little fun with the painting as well. Silly as it is, though the dark painting doesn’t feel entirely out of place in the rough universe of Star Wars.

A hilarious Nighthawks homage

And finally, just because I like this, parody that shows an anteater throwing a chair at the famous diner. This one has always made me laugh, though I couldn’t tell you what exactly I find so funny about it. If you really want to make your living room pop, you could order a multi opening mat with all three of these!