Category: artists

Capricorn Self-Portraits: Solid Intense
Lawrence Alma-Tadema (8 Jan) painted this self-portrait when he was 16. During his lifetime, he was one of the richest, most sought-after painters of his day, creating vast fantasies of Roman decadence and fairyland luxury. His charm lay in the way his people looked so real – and yet there [...]
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Sagittarian Self Portraits: Half Human Half Beast
Lucien Freud, Dec 8, 1922. Not someone you’d want to take to tea with grandma. There’s a darkness to Sagittarius. Often it’s hidden behind a bold front – a big belly, a tornado of talk or just loudness. Sagittarius is the first sign of the zodiac to be represented by a [...]
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Scorpio Self Portraits: The Agony And The Absence
Francis Bacon, Oct 28 Don’t expect to find this an easy bunch of pictures to look at. We are in the land of Scorpio this month – and this sign like to deal with deeper truth. Not for Scorp the polished surface of a Gemini or the gorgeous patterns of Libra. No, Scorpio prefers to [...]
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Hmmm… Just A Touch Of Scorpio?
Artist Georgia O’Keeffe born 15 Nov 1887 – Sun, Moon, Mercury, Jupiter in Scorpio opposite  Neptune (illusion, glamour)-Pluto (death again). Scorpio – death, archeology, digging deep, the bare bones – and sex. Scorpio rules the genitals, of course.
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Libra Self-Portraits: Blending into the Picture
Suzanne Valadon (23 Sept 1865) Theoretically, there’s nothing more revealing of character than a self-portrait, yet this month’s artists don’t do that straightforwardly. Their own faces blend into the backgrounds of the pictures, becoming simply part of the motif. Compare [...]
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Mark Rothko: Painting God
Unspecified Mark Rothko (September 25,1903)  Sun, Mercury and North Node in Libra.  Is one expression of Libra the erasure of ego? A reflection of the viewer Moon in Scorpio  Profound emotion Jupiter in Pisces  Encountering endless compassion Venus in Virgo  Artistic [...]
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Virgo Self-Portraits: Perfect Wits
David (30 August 1738) It will come as no surprise to see that the work of artists born under Virgo is consistently detailed, crafted, technically excellent and polished to a wonderful degree. Nor will it surprise you that all these painters could draw beautifully. Ingres (29 August 1780) [...]
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Cancer Self-portraits
“I don’t draw like nobody. You speak one way, but I come on and say it different. You can draw a mule, dog, cat, or a human person, I’m going to draw it different. Because you always see things different.” — Nellie Mae Rowe, Cancerian artist Rubens June 28, 1577 [...]
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Damien Hirst and Charles Saatchi: Market-makers
The establishment’s darling Damien Hirst The king of contemporary art in Britain is Damien Hirst, who morphed from enfant terrible to the richest artist who has ever lived in a matter of a decade or so. Despite his repeated efforts to shock the bourgeoisie, Hirst has been clasped [...]
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Gemini Self-Portraits: If Pictures Spoke…
Yes – three of the artists do look as if they are just about to speak to us down the centuries. That is what you’d expect from a Gemini Sun. But I’m not sure any of them are going to say anything too complimentary. More along the lines of – well – I’ll leave [...]
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Taurus Self-portraits
Leonardo’s newly discovered self-portrait. His Sun is at 3° Taurus adjustedfrom the gregorian calendar. Many years ago, I used to work with a lot of graphic designers. Of course, all sun signs were represented in this group, but the one that cropped up most often was Taurus. Taurus is [...]
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Brotherhood of Romantics: Neptune in Pisces Redux
Daydreaming by DG Rossetti London 1848: capital of the largest empire the world has ever seen, a city where the rich live in lace and cream and fripperies, children work as chimney sweeps and bootblacks, where the streets run with sewage, and where everyone is – more or less – for sale. Just [...]
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Pisces Self Portraits
Piet Mondrian, March 7 1872. It’s Pisces, so the eyes have it. Those born under the sign of the fishes are supposed to be blessed with a beautiful liquid gaze. I have to say that the two people I’ve known with truly extraordinarily beautiful eyes – one woman with eyes as [...]
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Art and Astrology: Aquarian Self-portraits
Aquarius is the sign of the avant-garde – and who could be more emblematic of the avant garde than Edouard Manet. Some of his paintings are still kind of shocking when you think about it. Dejeuner sur L’Herbe scandalised Paris when it was exhibited in 1863. You can see why. What’s [...]
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Astrology and Art: Capricorn Self-Portraits
There are two main ways I like to use astrology when I’m thinking about art. 1. Knowing an artist’s birth chart or simply natal Sun can give you real insight into how planets might work out in real life. Works of art are a non-verbal expression of character that often speaks more [...]
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Howard Hodgkin – soul spa
Home, Home on the Range, 2001 – 2007 © Howard Hodgkin, courtesy of Gagosian Gallery   I went to see an exhibition of recent work by Howard Hodgkin at Modern Art Oxford. Wow, so great. Beautiful. Powerful. Moving. It’s painting that you drink in with your eyes as you feel it in [...]
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Let your Sun shine
So on the subject of artists, I did a little exercise recently on Sun signs for my workshop at the Jam Factory. This was based on two ideas. First of all, our Sun sign is our creative centre – and secondly, all signs are creative in a distinctive way. I found a top-notch artist of […]
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