Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Nice Replenishing of my Art Soul

Since the end of last year, I have been feeling tapped out of my artistic inspirations because I feel my recent art are no longer feeding my passion. 

I am currently on vacation in Southern California visiting my folks for the annual joint birthday celebrations with my dear Mom. We have determined to alternate taking trips so this time was my turn. 

Yesterday, I opened a beautiful birthday gift that I believe refilled my urge to create more art.  My best friend Hillary Miller arranged a get together with a our mutual college friend Kamilia Hardy and our college art mentor Donald Lagerberg. I hadn't seen Kamilia for years and Don...possibly since shortly before I graduated. All four of us are drawn together by our love of art specifically figures. 

The venue was The Bowers Museum in the city of Santa Ana.  After gathering in the lobby we headed to the Tangata Restaurant where there were only a couple tables occupied. We selected a table in a shaded part of the patio in a more private corner.  Don commented that the scene looked like a Sargent painting  with softened overhead light from the sun illuminating us and the white stucco wall behind. Spirited and joyful exchange of art related stories erupted instantly after briskly getting settled.  Nothing about the food distracted the momentum as they were outstanding and eaten at a comfortable pace.   We tried to pause a few times in attempt to head out to the exhibits "Alright let's go see the exhibit about dead bodies!..." but another thought interjected that required discussing.   The restaurant was buzzing by the time we successfully left the table. 

The California art collection was nice but we had all seen it before and a section was in repair.  So we marched on to the wonderfully extensive Mummies exhibit. I think we were all pleasantly surprised by the size of the show!  It was very engaging and of course we are students of anatomy and figures so we very much enjoyed it. We tested our forensic skills theorizing cause of deaths based on CT scans provided and the the actual bodies. I think we did ok. We also learned how to shrink heads. :)   I appreciated the initial stop, a  2 minute video that mindfully requested guests to be respectful of the mummies we were about to see. 

We declined the narrating gadgets.  Our group slowly meandered through multiple rooms that seemed endless as we quietly indulged in a few short conversations. We took our time so that by the time we finally reached the end, the museum staff was courteously exuding their "hurry up already" energy by the exit doors. 

Today I decided to do some studies of one scene from the afternoon that I might turn into a painting. I remember the warm interior walls reflected from the red tile floors and the bright sunlight from a tall narrow window. Kamilia was seated on a bench under one of the California landscape paintings while Hillary sat on the tiled bench under the window. Don settled on the opposite corner of the bench where he shared a few more art stories. 

You know I get the nudging feeling when I see genre paintings by past artists. I hope I can satisfy that urge in 2016.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thankful for you...

Friday, November 20, 2015

Annual Plein Air art exhibit

This evening, Friday, November 20, a plein air group I belong to PAPO (Plein Air Painters of the Ozark) is having artist reception at the Visit Bentonville which is in Downtown Bentonville, Arkansas.

Please click to play video ~

"En plein air (French pronunciation) or plein air painting, is a phrase borrowed from the French equivalent meaning "open (in full) air". " ~ Wikipedia

They tend to be smaller paintings.... 4"x6" - to whatever size the artist chooses.  Common sizes are 4x6, 6x8, 8x10, etc.  The tradition is the artists paint as much as they can while at the location and call it good.  Some use the paintings as studies for a bigger paintings they plan to produce in their studio with the help perhaps of some photos they took.  I often paint on location, take photos, and finish the piece in my studio.  I also occasionally embellish my final results by adding people, etc. A local artist I highly respect made a statement I can't forget. Fred Betz declared that "Every landscape needs something that poops!"  Since that time it's been very difficult for me to leave a landscape painting without adding something two-legged or 4-legged!

Some of the paintings at the PAPO show 2015
Plein air pieces I tackle are fairly manageable sizes so I usually go ahead and frame them myself, mostly to save on expenses.  It's not because I take joy in handling a whole different set of tools from my paint brushes to hammer and electrical things at all, since I am extremely bad with measuring and numbers and I am always in danger of damaging the painting because I am mostly working with one arm!  Those wires in the back don't ever satisfy me at all because they're never as tight as I'd like them to be.  Still I'm definitely grateful that I can do it at all and as I said, to cut back on expenses and keep the prices more reasonable.

So I thought I'd go ahead and create short video of what it takes to prepare for this art show.  I'm sure fellow artists would say it's still a very limited depiction of what we had to do.  For instance, it took a couple hours designing the installation; moving the paintings all over with people climbing up and down the ladder.  This was all before the title cards were organized with great precision and exhibit statement was written up.  I must say the group did a mighty fine job to get us ready for the curtain call!