Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Yes and No

Yes I can and no I won’t. Is it just artists that get asked to do things in a certain way? “Can you draw my picture?” Yes I can.  “How much does it cost?”  At least $100 depending upon (interrupted)… “Can you do it for $10?” No I won’t.  “But that is all I want to pay.”  Take a selfie.

“Can you paint a picture of my dog?”  Yes I can. “Can you do it really big from this picture off my phone, I want to put it in my bedroom.” Yes, I can. “How much?”  At least $200 depending upon (interrupted)… “Can you do by tomorrow for $50, I want surprise my boyfriend.” No, I won’t.  “But I need it right now.” Take a picture.

Now this happens far more often than one would think. Standing at the checkout and the bagger knows you are an artist….”if I bring in a picture of my husband, can you draw him?  I only want to pay $10 though”. I hear it from people wandering in off the street who like the pretty pictures, (and no, that dress is not a lampshade). They like the artwork but only want me to make something from a picture pulled out of a pocket that was most likely printed off of a website that posts pictures of other people’s work. “Can you paint this?” Yes, I can.  “Can you do it for under $50 bucks?” No, I won’t. And not because of the money, but because of the ethical issues of copying somebody else’s work. “But I like this one and you can paint.” Yes, I can, I am glad you do, but no, that is not right to copy somebody else’s art, just buy if from that artist. “But they want too much money.”  (sigh)

 I like it when I am standing there in a paint covered apron, brushes in hand, and get asked if I am an artist.  Oh how I wish to say “no, I am the electrician just filling in while the artist goes to the bathroom”. I bet they would believe me. 

As I get older, my brain is working faster than my mouth. Good thing too. Probably because there is a clog someplace in the process of getting thoughts organized enough to make a coherent sentence, a circumstance which I will gladly embrace for my own personal safety.  For instance, while working in the yard, covered in sweat and such, going in and out of the garage… a person asks “do you live here?”  Mouth says “yes”, brain says “no, but do you know how much crap I can steal from this house by hiding it inside these rocks and looking like every other landscaper in my skorts and logo t-shirt?” (skorts are a combo skirt and shorts deal so those of us who hate shorts can still stoop down to place rocks without flashing the nosy passersby.)

Back to the art thing though. Apply the question to a different profession. For example…my husband is an ObGyn. “Can you find out if I have (insert a VD of your choice)?”  Yes, I can.  “How long does it take to find out?”  You need to make an (interrupted)…. “Can you tell me today because I have a date tonight?” No, I can’t.  “But what if I do?”  Take precautions.

What about the plumber. “Can you unclog stuff that has been backed up for a few days?” Yes, I can. “How much does it cost?”  About $200 to walk in the door and (interrupted)…  “Can you just stop by on your way home and do it after work?” No, I won’t.  “But it is filling up the tub and then I will have to call a real plumber.”  To which the professional and hardworking plumber just might reply….Go to hell.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

73rd Annual May Show at the Little Art Gallery

Fascinating Face #88 - Toronto, soft pastel image 17.5 x 23.5
Have to start with obligatory disclaimer that I have a drawing included in this year’s show, pastel portrait #88.

As with all juried shows, the overall vibe is the result of a one or two (sometimes three) people’s opinions chosen from available pieces entered. This particular show has a restriction that only one piece per category per artist may be accepted, which was introduced a few years ago. Artists are smart people and have found that entering the allowable two pieces stand a better chance of getting accepted if the pieces are categorized under two different media.  Just how much difference is getting to be a bit blurry.

Is this the best show in recent years….not in my opinion. I bet the “salon de refuse” that could be mounted would perhaps be a bit more interesting in the long run but the show on view is what we have to work with. The jurors are both heavily credentialed towards a museum background with history and curatorial experience. My impression (and I am familiar with neither of them) is one of being more cerebral than hands on creators of art. Definitely read the bios and the statements included in the program. By not explaining any further, you now have to go to the gallery and read it for yourself.

I counted 51 pieces by 47 artists which is an impressive number for the limited space although many were on the smaller side more so than in recent years. Personally, about 42 would have made a stronger presentation. There are some outstanding pieces to be seen and some wonderful examples of technique and imagery by those you may know and those who may be new to the scene.  Without a doubt however, the number of works representing a specific technique and style utilized by a dedicated following, dilute the overall quality of paintings in that genre. Not sure if I sensed “compromise” or preference on the part of the jurors but perhaps I just like more variety.

I also have a personal affinity for the “hand of the artist and their visual voice” to be present in pieces I would choose if ever asked to judge, which I won’t be. Nor should I ….anywhere north of Columbus. But if I could (and this is my forum so I get to do whatever I want within respectable and self-imposed reason) I would highlight the following pieces for your viewing pleasure…since you have to get a program anyway, you might as well look around.

Russ Hench’s The Shoodle #1 is outstanding! If that is a 1, I hope he plans on many more. This new direction is full of joy and spirit, a grand departure from his more labor intensive mixed media pieces. It practically jumps off the wall where it resides with a collection of various botanically oriented pieces. Actually that wall has several high notes. Shelia Scannelli’s Partaking of the Peony, is an almost satirical take on traditional botanicals with all those ants crawling around her well rendered colored pencil piece, also framed in such a way as to not overwhelm the work. The works of Diane Belfiglio and Jerry Zalinskas are best appreciated from a distance to see the power of light and shadow, both are artists that have mastered this fundamental compositional element.

Light of a different kind plays into the meaning of Gail Wetherell-Sack’s Beam Me Up, Scotty, tucked into the darker corner of the room so as to highlight its…ummm….light. The framing and work are as one. A good lesson for newer artists…. if the framing makes your work look better, then something is not as good as it should be inside the frame. Keep in mind that there is a difference between enhancing a piece, and elevating a piece. Consult with Christian at Cyrus if you aren’t sure, he knows his stuff and can guide you appropriately.

The two larger abstracts, Lin Reedy’s Hole and Tina Myers’ Bonsai could hold their own in the annual MassMu show, enjoyed them both, hope to see more. The connection of artist’s hand to designer’s eye can be seen in the works of Mike Uhren’s ink drawing It Hit Him Years Later and Bill Bogdan’s woodcut print The Leaf. Graphic simplicity of composition can be just as powerful as minute details….sort of a “less is more”.  Tom Migge has a well-crafted spalted maple and cherry wood vase in the smaller showcase.

Some red dots are already scattered throughout the room which is wonderful to see!  13 pieces are listed as NFS (not for sale) which seems a bit high.  Some of you fellow old timers will see familiar faces (meaning works by those you know) who continue to speak in the same tone and others who, so to speak, sing with new challenges and continued growth.  Overall, it is a good general representation of art and artists in our area. Not earth shattering or ground breaking, but it will appeal to the patrons of the library in a positive way who like to see work they can relate to. And I hope they do, so when Elizabeth decides to shift the comfort zone with some of her upcoming ideas, the audience will be ready to engage it.

Congrats to all the winners and entrants this year! Best in show to Lee Ann Novotny, and Categorical First Places to M.D. Mahoney, Dharitri Tripathy , Shelia Scannelli, John Alexander, Ted Lawson and pat Waltz.  It was a crowded opening afternoon so be sure to stop back as I did to appreciate up close and personal, the pieces that caught your eye the first time.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Splatter and Sails

Our question of the month, garnered 54 responses. Considering the number of people through our doors this past FF, that seems a bit low, but the cleverness and ingenuity of the answers were great so one cannot criticize! 

Many people came out to participate in “Rock the Pollock”, our Jackson Pollock inspired community participation project. A surprising number of people did not know who JP was, but once they saw a sample of his work….oh yeah, the lightbulbs were flashing. Everybody recognized his works of action painting. The process of action painting was our focus this month with some “rules” put in place to protect the surroundings. No flinging, flipping or throwing was allowed….translated to no golf swings, no baseball or softball pitches, no fly fishing…and so forth. Only one person actually got on any paint on themselves and it was a youth whom I allowed to participate on a fake id at age 10. He was taller than his older companion so I allowed him to have a try. Should have listened to my instincts, but all ended well with some fast soap and water work.

More than twice the number of planned canvases were filled by our 9:30 pm deadline. Will we do this project again? Ummmm…maybe? It is not the easiest to set up or clean up, but the amount of inspiration it generated was worth it. I heard people talk about doing this at a birthday party, a family reunion, church camp and even in their own schools….where I first did this project. A story that will live on forever. To save space, I won’t bore you with all the details, but a 25 foot “canvas” became an accidental slip and slid for an unsuspecting and unsupervised child in her new dress and shoes who should not have been where she was. End result, the school got a new carpet installed on the stage, the mother got a dressing down for not watching her kid (not by me, I was laughing too hard) and the big Pollock became performance art! I could probably have framed the dress and sold it in NY for lots of money.

Our canvas scrap pieces will be cut up and mounted into frames, onto stretchers and otherwise made available for sale in July at our Community Project Showcase. Pictures of the project in process can be found on my FB page. We have projects planned out through next June so be sure to stop by and bring friends. They are not as elaborate as this one (yet), but I have a lot of grass to cut this summer and my best ideas come from mindless activities…hmmmm, an odd association but it works.

Now for our Question of the Month, inspired by our winter trip to the warmer climates. So many boats, so many clever names so we decided to ask you "What would you name your ocean going luxury yacht?" Only two answers were borderline inappropriate for my audience and one was just not acceptable for publication here…but clever. I have included the two, left out the one. Don’t go screaming censorship, this is my forum and if I think it is not acceptable for publication, then get your behind down to the studio and read the original one for yourself on the chalkboard. For ease of reading, I am listing them in random order as written. I did toy with putting them in alphabetical order, but that would take more time than I have to give at the present moment. So enjoy and ships ahoy!

Jules Palace --- Glass all the Way Full --- Won from Wynn --- Joy ---  Royal Flush --- Rossi --- Nirvana --- Fantasy --- Sea More Hiney --- Haruna of Bluesteel --- Lucky Me --- Mini Titanic --- Luvaly --- Rainbow Fudge --- Sahlen Sails --- Anywhere --- Diva --- Aries Ahoy --- Gerber Baby --- Mine --- Far Sighted --- S.S> Minnow --- Robbin Zander --- Nicolaos --- Bliss --- True Love --- Widow Maker --- Para Siempre (2 listings) --- Jana Jetliner --- Costalot --- Santa Catalina --- Slice of Life --- Sunburned Forever --- Tink --- Poseidon’s Palace (corrected for spelling) --- E.T. --- Splatter of the Seas --- Yachtasaurus Rex --- Tranissa 1 --- U Yachta No --- Sink Me – Bentley Pup --- Cruzer --- the J-F-D-V Boat --- Dr. Pepper --- Sunset Maria --- Shag --- Pistrix Asinus ---Sunken Treasure --- Inspiration --- Walking on Water --- Sir Jeeves --- Vegas --- She Got Half (you win!) --- Monaco --- Deuces Wild --- Ajaia ---Takao of Bluesteel --- High Life --- Camelot --- Appollo Creed --- Evil Dr. P --- Inome --- Flying Wasp --- Le Femme Nikita --- Normy --- Joie de Vie --- Summer’s Day --- Diva Place --- Poetry in Motion