Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Happy Holidays! 2009 is almost over! Hard to believe that another year has come and in another week will be gone. It’s the end of the aughts and into the double digits of the 21st century. I wrote about New Year’s Resolutions for the Examiner, Bring art into your life. It made me think about my own resolutions and the role art plays in my life. I suppose the end of the year naturally brings up introspective thoughts about what one has accomplished in the past year and what one hopes or plans for the upcoming year.

This past year has been an extraordinary one for me. Early last winter I spent a month in New Zealand and Australia. It was a trip of a lifetime. One I still haven’t quite digested. In a small art museum in the seacoast town of Napier, I discovered an artist named Felix Kelly. The Napier museum had a one-man show of his work, Felix Kelly: A Kiwi at Brideshead.

The New Zealand-born artist died in 1994 at age 80 in England where he lived most of his adult life. Though he was a middle class New Zealander, his paintings of courtly houses appealed to the royals who adopted him as their own. His house portraits and cartoons were delightful, and I treated myself to a small print of a mansion overlooking a beach, which is now hanging on my living room wall. I loved his work and wanted to write about him but haven’t until now.

The aboriginal art in Australia also had an impact on me. The Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney had a huge exhibit of Contemporary Traditional Aboriginal Art. Mostly done in reds, yellows, and browns, the paintings are extremely abstract, yet almost every one tells a story. I didn’t purchase anything, but I think subliminally they affected me because recently I have been thinking a lot about painting abstracts, something I never thought I would do.

And that thought brings me to my own resolutions for the New Year. I have not been enjoying painting for a couple of months. I am very self-disciplined so I have continued to paint in spite of my lack of enthusiasm. Unfortunately, those close to me have let me know that the paintings reflect my state of mind. So I have decided to quit painting until I am once again inspired. Hopefully that won’t take another twenty years as it did in the past. In the meantime, I have much writing to do, and I am thinking about working three dimensionally. I have visions of colorful dreamcatchers in my mind, and I want to get my crayons out to manifest the abstracts I’m envisioning.

For now, I am having the most fun creating bras for Bra-Vo an exhibition and auction of art bras to help support the fight against breast cancer which the Lighthouse Center for the Arts is hosting from January 7 to February 11, 2010. The photo above is “Pretty in Pink” made of yarn, ribbons, satin, and beads, which I am dedicating to my mom, Anne K. Schreiber.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On being an Artist

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. It's hard for me to believe that November is more than half over, and Christmas will be here before we know it. What a cliche! I mean that last sentence. Today, I'm feeling very judgmental towards myself. As I worked on my painting Kwan Yin at Sunset on Bandon Beach (above), I was worried that it looked amateurish or simply not well painted. And yet, I think I captured the mood of the place, the feeling I had when I was there.

For the past few months working for, I've been so busy looking at art and writing about it that I'm becoming more self-conscious about my own work. I'm not sure that's a good thing because I look at the work of other artists and feel defeated. What's the point, I ask myself. I'll never paint as well as Gary Erbe or John Baeder. But does that matter? The fact is I am compelled to paint, so painting I will continue to do. Buy why? What do I hope to accomplish?

Recently I met John Elliot. His wife, Sheila, volunteers her time to do publicity for the Everglades Chapter of the Audubon Society. My sister, Jan, who's the treasurer introduced us, and Sheila was kind enough to publicize my father and daughter show at Urs Art Studio Gallery. I ended up receiving a full-page article with my picture in the Boynton Beach Forum of the Sun Sentinel. Anyway, to thank Sheila who refused payment except in the form of a donation to the Audubon, Jan and I invited the Elliots to our house for happy hour.

It turns out that John Elliot is a master painter whose works are in a number of collections, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art in N.Y., the Smithsonian, and the Fogg Museum of Harvard University. His book Oil Pastel for the Serious Beginner: Basic Lessons in Becoming a Good Painter was published in 2002. He is a very humble man who admitted to being an artist when we met at the Urs gallery opening, but he never even alluded to his spectacular accomplishments. On our second meeting after I studied his web site, he did recount stories about his friendships with Norman Rockwell and Salvador Dali. I'm hoping to write an article about him for the Examiner. I have so much to learn from him.

So what does he have to do with my art and what I hope to accomplish by painting? I don't know. It's just a reminder to myself that no matter what, I'm enjoying this path that I'm taking. If not for my painting, I might not have met the Elliots.

Above to the left is my photo taken in the early morning on Bandon Beach in Oregon. Not the best photo. It was a drizzly, overcast day. We had been at this very same spot the night before at sunset, but I didn't have my camera with me. Jan, my cousin, Ed, and his partner, Alan, all saw Kwan Yin as we wandered the beach. The sky was pink and purple, and I felt like I was on another planet.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vacation in Oregon

Two weeks ago I returned from a fabulous trip to Oregon and northern California. I had no idea that the Oregon coast was so gorgeous. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited, and it was wonderful being on vacation there. No painting. No writing. Just being.

My days were spent hiking on cliffs overlooking a fierce ocean and rustic beaches with huge rocks, monoliths like the ones in Monument Valley - the kind of beaches where you would expect to see wild horses running. I didn’t see any horses, but we did see a deer one day on a hike in Manzanita, and on several occasions we were entertained by the barking of sea lions and seals. When we weren’t hiking by the ocean, we were walking trails in the redwoods, which were equally amazing, powerful, and beautiful. I felt so small in every sense.

But vacations end. Since my return home, life has been busy. I did a Q & A with Gary Erbe for the Examiner. He is an unbelievably talented and skilled artist, and also a lovely man. Both he and his wife were warm, down to earth, and very generous with their time and knowledge. Gary even shared with me his formula for the medium he created using linseed oil, stand oil, copal varnish and turpentine. If you haven’t been to his solo exhibit at the Boca Raton Museum of Art yet, you have until November 8 to see it. Or go to my Examiner page to read the article and see a slideshow of ten of his paintings.

The evening of October 9 was the opening reception of Women In The Visual Arts’ exhibit at the Armory Art Center. My painting, Cruising the Caribbean, is part of the large show which includes the work of 154 artists. The show ends on October 29.

Last weekend I enjoyed a Sunday afternoon at the Norton Museum. I went to see New York, New York: The 20th Century exhibition. I missed the Press Preview, which took place when I was away, and I was eager to see the show as well as revisit the George Segal: Street Scenes exhibit. Both shows are there until the end of December and both are worth seeing. On that Sunday afternoon, the Klezmer East Trio performed a concert in the auditorium adding to the pleasure of a museum visit.

Then this past Friday, October 23, was the opening reception at Urs Art Studio Gallery at 802 N. Federal Hwy. in Boynton Beach where five of my oil paintings and four of my dad’s pastels are on display until January 10. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will sell. In the meantime, I’ve started painting a landscape of an Oregon beach. It’s one way of keeping the vacation alive.

Photos above by M. Schreiber: On the left, a view on a hike in Yachats, Oregon. And on the right, a view from the house in Trinidad, California

Sunday, September 20, 2009

On being an Examiner

For the past couple of months, I have been the West Palm Beach Fine Arts Examiner for, “the to go place for what’s happening in America.” Writing three articles a week, albeit brief ones, is much more time consuming than I imagined when I took the job. As a result, I’m not doing my other writing – no novels or non-fiction books, not even query letters to agents or publishers. And though I continue to paint, time at the computer competes dramatically with time spent at the easel.

In spite of all that, I am thoroughly enjoying the endeavor and would recommend becoming an Examiner to any aspiring writers. Don’t do it for the money, because earnings for now are a joke. To quote a friend, “It’s slave labor.” So why is it so compelling and fulfilling?

For one thing, my work is being read. Though painting and writing are rewarding in themselves, like most “artists,” I crave an audience. For me, there’s nothing more frustrating than having my work remain unnoticed. Knowing that on a daily basis hundreds of people are seeing, and hopefully enjoying, the fruits of my labor is extremely satisfying.

But beyond that, I am also now in the position to do something positive for the people I care about and for the art world. I get to laud local artists, museums, and galleries. Praising the Norton Museum, a place which has given me a great deal of pleasure for many years, and the Vero Beach Museum, a wonderful new discovery for me, does my heart good. I can let the world know about the excellent art and art related activities coming out of southeast Florida, particularly Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.

And by posting my paintings and photographs in my articles, I get to blow my own horn. Accordingly, after writing an article about her, I was invited by Suzette Urs, a fantastic local artist and gallery owner, to show both my work and my dad’s in her gallery. Mark your calendars for the Opening Reception the evening of Friday, October 23 at the Urs Art Studio Gallery located at 802 N. Federal Highway in Boynton Beach.

Being an artist can be very isolating. After all, both painting and writing are very introverted undertakings, and I spend hours alone at the computer or with a canvas. But as The Fine Arts Examiner I’ve been forced to get out into the world much more than I would have to review the local art events taking place each week. Consequently, I’ve discovered some new and wonderful galleries like the Clay-Glass-Metal-Stone Cooperative Gallery in Lake Worth, the Craft Gallery in West Palm Beach, and the Village Art Studios in Tequesta. Plus being considered a journalist and getting invited to the Press Preview for the George Segal exhibit at the Norton was a blast.

So if you are an aspiring writer and open to a venue that pays very little but offers you the opportunity to build a brand name for yourself, you could do worse than And if you decide to apply to the Examiner, when you fill out your application, please write that Maxine Schreiber referred you. Examiners earn $50. for each referral who becomes an examiner. If you don’t want to write for the Examiner but have ideas about fine art articles you would like to read, please let me know by commenting below. And when you have a chance, please read my articles, or even better subscribe to my page. It won’t cost you anything, and you will receive the most current art info.

Above Photos:

Maxine and Mag at the Wellington Art Society opening, photo by David Frye.

Maxine, Susan, and Jan at the Craft Gallery opening, photo by George Louis Wells.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Art In Florida: Summing up the summer

Though summer is not “the season” in Florida, and the art scene doesn’t usually gear up until late fall or early winter when the snowbirds return, this summer has been a potpourri of wonderful art experiences for me.  It began in June with the Norton Museum’s exhibit Disney: The Music Behind the Magic 1928 – Today which I wrote about in my June blog.  The exhibit runs until  September 6, so if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure to get there before it closes.  In fact the Off the Wall: Human Form in Sculpture exhibit is also still on until Sept. 6.  So you could see two wonderful exhibits with one visit.

Talking about museum exhibits, this summer I discovered the Vero Beach Museum of Art.  Although Vero is not that far from West Palm Beach, I don’t get up there very often, and when I do I’m usually too busy visiting with friends to take time for museums.  On my recent trip up, however, my friend Kim thought I would really enjoy the current exhibit, so in the heat of the afternoon we took refuge in the air conditioned building. 

Those of you who live in Indian River County are probably already aware of the cultural gem in your midst.  But for some who are not, the museum which is situated on the east bank of the Indian River lagoon, was expanded and renovated in 1988-89 and now features five galleries, a sculpture garden, sculpture park, and an educational wing with seven studio classrooms as well as an elegant auditorium and a museum store.  The current exhibit Rooted In Tradition: Art Quilts from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum continues through October 25, and it is not to be missed.  The fabulous exhibit of 64 quilts is a feast for the eyes.

This summer I also discovered a new gallery in downtown Lake Worth. From cloisonnĂ© jewelry to clay sculptures, The Clay-Glass-Metal-Stone Cooperative Gallery is filled with art of the finest quality.  Flamingo Clay Studio, a non-profit arts organization whose mission is to provide affordable studio and gallery space for three-dimensional artists, is sponsoring the gallery of 25 artists who are collectively exhibiting their work.  Opening receptions featuring three of the artists are held on the first and third Fridays of each month.  This summer I attended two of the openings and enjoyed wine and refreshments while I viewed the marvelous art.

In addition to the Norton, in West Palm Beach, The Whitney a condominium and business complex offered a summer stroll of their first floor lofts, an evening of fine food and libation which I wrote about in my last blog.  Since the event, my sister, Jan, and I have been thinking about opening up our very own gallery, a fantasy we’ve had for nearly a decade.  Though we can’t afford the rent alone, we’re hoping an artists’ cooperative similar to the one in Lake Worth may be a happening thing in West Palm in the future.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Taste of the Suite Life

One evening this week The Whitney, a recently completed condominium and commercial complex located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach on the corner of Quadrille and Evernia Streets, hosted a "Summer Stroll" of their first story businesses.  The opening reception, which took place from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m., invited attendees to move from suite to suite while enjoying food and libation.  The first area offered champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, and every other suite provided either wine and beer tasting by Distinctive Wines, Bicardi Mojitos, or Martinis as well as delicious hors d"oeuvres and desserts by Ann Z Gourmet Catering.  The event showed off the new tenants and achieved that in an elegant fashion. Wandering from suite to suite, a champagne glass in hand, I particularly enjoyed meeting the gracious owner of Metro Home.  Her store sells moderately priced and very attractive modern furniture, home decorations, and accessories.

Art and photography were part of the fare, and most impressive were the works of Ruth Petzold.  The award winning photographer's underwater dolphin photographs sponsored the Wild Dolphin Project Corporate Giving Program.  The project is a scientific research organization based in Jupiter that studies and reports on the natural history of the Atlantic spotted dolphins. Ms. Petzold's photographs were spectacular.  Though the exhibition included only her underwater photography, she also depicts the wildlife of Antartica, the Artic, and Africa.  Her love of nature has taken her to remote areas in seven continents to photograph the creatures of the world.  One can see her glorious work on

The best part of the event for me was visiting Bruce Helander's new studio.  The renowned collage artist is a treasure in West Palm Beach.  For nine years his studio was located upstairs in a building in City Place.  He recently moved to the larger ground floor space in The Whitney, and though he doesn't need the foot traffic, it certainly makes it easier for his art appreciators to see his work.  His spacious studio has windows from floor to ceiling in the front, and a walk up loft at the back provides him with private workspace.  The two-story wall on one side is covered with his collages and prints.

I was delighted by one of his latest pieces, which was inspired by the Bernie Madoff scandal.  In a dart board motif, a smiling Bernie Madoff is behind bars in the center of a bull's eye.  On the bottom at the left is a large "Go To Jail" Monopoly card, and the rest of the work is covered with other interesting and provocative images.  The original collage was sold, but he made prints.  An individual "Jail Bird" print sells for $900, but once twenty-five are sold, the price will go up to $1,800 for the next fifty prints and $2,800 for the last twenty-five.  A "generous" portion of the sales will be donated to Autism Speaks.  To see Bruce's fabulous work go to

Years ago, I took a Master Class with Bruce at the Armory Art Center.  I have been producing collage style paintings ever since.  At the top is my oil on canvas, "Homage to Bruce."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Magic In West Palm Beach

Last April after a trip to Disney World, I wrote a column for entitled My Hero. To me, Walt Disney was an artist though many would argue that he was a cartoonist and even more importantly, an entrepreneur. Apparently I am not alone in my opinion, however, since the Norton, most definitely an art museum, has come through once again. The Music Behind the Magic: Disney 1928 - Today, a wonderful exhibition, opened recently and runs through September 6th. It explores the role music has played in Disney animation, TV shows, in film, and on Broadway.

Mostly interactive, the exhibit captures the magical feeling one has in Disneyland as it invites the viewer to enter the world of animation and the Disney vision. One can look at cartoons through scopes or on screens while listening to artists and historians explain how the music enhances the visual drama. I was delighted to put on headphones while I watched excerpts of Bambi, Dumbo, and Lady and the Tramp. Learning about Disney’s sense of humor while watching the hippos and alligators perform ballet in my old favorite, Fantasia, made it even more pleasurable.

A Disney exhibit would not be complete without some drawings. This one includes The Enchanted Tiki Room acrylic by Colin Campbell and two watercolors, the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, by Marc Davis. The show also contains memorabilia from the ‘50s, ‘70s, and ‘90s mouseketeer shows as well as the spectacular costumes designed by Julie Taymor for the Lion King.

Typical of a Disney experience, the show brought out the child in me, and I imagine it does in most visitors. I believe Walt would say, it’s for children of all ages. Though kids seemed to be getting a kick out of the sound effects room, I found their noise distracting at first. I had no idea how much fun they were having until later when my friend, Jane, and I decided to enter the area. We made at least as much noise when we attempted to record our own sound effects for a Mickey cartoon. I say attempted because unlike the kids, we never were able to figure out how to do the recording. That didn’t diminish our enjoyment.

A visit to the Norton Museum is a great excuse for making a trip to downtown West Palm Beach. If you don’t eat a gourmet lunch in CafĂ© 1451 at the museum, you can take a short ride to City Place where there are choices of excellent restaurants in the outdoor shopping and cultural center. There you can also enjoy looking at the beautiful fountains and the European style architecture. Or better yet take a free trolley to Clematis Street to see the elegant architecture in the recently completed City Center. The civic complex includes the brand new four-story public library, City Hall, and the Palm Beach Photographic Centre, a non-profit cultural and educational institute.

Above are my photos of City Center and of the sculpture Reading Together created by Judith Peck, which sits in front of the library in the plaza courtyard.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sculpture at the Norton

The sculpture filled courtyard at the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach is a place that I always enjoy visiting. A member of the Norton since I moved to Florida twenty-six years ago, I have attended innumerable membership previews where cookies and punch or hors d’oeuvres and wine were served outside in the courtyard. There one can admire the sculpture and the lush flora while sipping drinks and socializing. On other visits, I have gone out to the courtyard to relax, meditate, and rest my feet after wandering around the galleries. I love the classical sculptures particularly the sensuous ones of Pan.

Last Friday a wonderful exhibit opened which will be on display until the end of September. The show, Off The Wall: The Human Form in Sculpture represents American and European figurative work from the late 1700s to the present. Now one can enjoy beautiful sculptures both in and outside the museum. Beginning with small figures and busts, the show includes works by Degas, Brancusi, and Picasso and everything from classical to abstract pieces. I was amused to see Max Ernst’s surrealistic Head (1960), a large translucent blown glass head with three glass circular disks to suggest facial features. Though definitely not one of my favorites in the show, it did make me smile.

I was pleased that several female artists were represented. Among them was a local black sculptress named Augusta Savage (1892 – 1962), who achieved recognition in West Palm Beach before she made her home in New York City. Her small bust of a young black male, Gamin (1929) was one of my favorites.

The thirty works include several full figures and a couple of massive pieces. I particularly enjoyed seeing Duane Hanson’s unbelievably realistic Young Worker (1976) from the permanent collection, the gorgeous bronze sculpture of The Goddess Avabkitesvara (1930) by Allan Clark, and Zur with Dog (1989) by the Israeli artist Boaz Vardia.

If you haven’t already heard, it’s worth mentioning again that the Norton Museum received a National award last year. The Norton Museum was 1 of 5 museums out of 17,500 museums nationwide that won the 2008 National Medal for Museum Services. The award, the nation’s highest honor, is given to institutions that make a difference in their communities, and in addition to the medal each museum receives $10,000. Kudos to the Norton!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Visiting The Four Arts

Every winter I look forward to the exhibitions at The Society of The Four Arts in Palm Beach. Years ago when my dad was still alive, the gallery had an Annual National Exhibition of Contemporary American Paintings. My dad's work was accepted into the 55th and 56th Annual shows. I would have loved to submit one of my paintings for consideration, but by the time I began exhibiting in 2002 or 2003, the Annual Exhibition was no longer taking place. Regardless of that, whenever I visit the Society I have a warm feeling and a sense of my dad's presence there. In recent years, I have enjoyed visiting the gardens across the street from the gallery, and last week I discovered the King Library.

My sister, Jan, who is the treasurer of the Audubon Society of the Everglades (our local chapter), invited me to join her for a lecture given by Claudine Laabs, an Audubon chum. Claudine is a fabulous nature photographer who specializes in avian photography. Her beautiful work has been published in a variety of publications including World Wildlife Fund books and Audubon calendars. Her lecture and slide presentation begins in the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge near Vero Beach, travels across the state to Sanibel, east to Palm Beach County and down to the Everglades and the Keys showing the magnificent birds who share our environment. Claudine's engaging style, attractive appearance, and knowledge about wildlife add to the power of her photographs. Remember her name because she lectures often in local libraries.

The day of her lecture we were given handouts about upcoming lectures in the King Library. This week Jan and I attended Human Expressionism, The Human Figure and the Jewish Experience given by Dr. Eliane Strosberg whose book with the same name was published last year. Dr. Strosberg, an M.D. and Ph.D., is the mother of Serge Strosberg, a Belgium born emerging internationally known artist. His compelling representations of human figures are currently on display at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach. Dr. Strosberg previously published Art & Science, but her son's work inspired her recent book on Human Expressionism. She presented figure paintings and sculptures done by Jewish artists as early as 237 B.C. and offered an analysis of artists through the centuries including the works of Pissarro, Soutine, and Modigliani.

That afternoon we also visited the main gallery where I was delighted by a small William Merritt Chase painting done on the back of a cigar box lid. He was one of the many artists represented in the show American Impressionism Paintings From The Phillips Collection which ends April 15th. Besides Chase, I enjoyed five shimmering landscapes done by J. Alden Weir as well as several paintings by Ernest Lawson, Maurice Prendergast, and Robert Spencer.

The Society of the Four Arts, a nonprofit organization, was founded by a group of Palm Beach residents to meet the cultural needs of the community. The four arts which constitute the Society's mission are music, drama, literature, and art. Every season from November through April, The Four Arts presents lectures, concerts, films, art exhibitions, and educational programs. It's always a pleasure to visit, so I'm sorry that this season is coming to an end. At least the gardens are open during the summer, and there is always next season.