Hai-Ou from Chesapeake Fine Arts Studio give the demo this past Saturday at the Maryland Pastel Society general meeting. It was interesting to hear her talk about her working philosophy and her quick, intuitive painting style. She gave a short critique on each piece of work that the members brought, what worked and what could make it better. I've never seen another artist do this when they have come to do a demo for us. Just the fact that she would suggest it herself was impressive. Through it all, she stressed that this was her opinion and style, encouraging everyone to make themselves happy while they worked. She's not a pastelist but she knew what she was talking about when it came to the artwork! I liked her attitude and work. I admit I need more calligraphy type marks and detail then she uses to make me happy, though. Hai-Ou was energetic and knowledgeable. It was a good demo!
O.K., saw another demo at the MPS meeting. Ray Ewing started out talking to us like we were absolute beginners. I wondered if he had looked around the room at the artwork members brought to the meeting. Viewing from a distance his demo looked pretty good. I have to admit when I got up close for a good look, I was shocked. He hadn't worn his glasses . . . but maybe he should have!
My cat series is coming along. Mixed media is working for me. I'll put up a few pictures sooner or later.
I attended a meeting of the Maryland Pastel Society that advertised a demonstration by pastel artist Alain Pecard. I had seen an article in an old issue of The Pastel Journal that included pictures of some of his dog portraits and a landscape with a horse. Definitely interested in this artist's working method, I was looking forward to the demo. He painted a portrait of a young black lady that day. I am not a people portrait painter but I have to say it was the oddest portrait demo I ever saw. He fiddled and fooled around with everything but the woman's face, leaving a flat, mid-toned brown oval with no definition surrounded by colorful, completed passages. He seemed very apprehensive about painting the face. Finally, he tentatively layed in the eyes, nose, mouth, etc. Guess what? It didn't look like the model! I was disappointed.
I recently took a Reiki class hoping to improve my health, connect with my animals better and, generally, be in harmony with the Universe. Lofty goals for a simple soul but as I didn't feel like I was making any progress toward better health, I thought what the heck! During the class it occurred to me that I just might improve my artwork, too. Our teacher, Janet Shettle, was very good and very patient. Her connection with the spiritual energy is amazing. Anyway, I was reading about the Reiki and how it was recommended to keep a journal of our experiences. I happened to read an article in International Artist Magazine and they recommended the same thing for artists. So I'm going to try it. Don't know if I will log in every day or month or irregularly but if it helps I'm all for giving it a try. Hope somebody out there will be interested enough to read my ramblings but it's OK if I'm on my own
Look for my tent at the Art Fest again this year.
I'll try to be in the same spot, near the food and music!
We had a great time last year. The atmosphere and mood were like a neighborhood block party; lots of fun! I know the weather will be good and there will be lots of artwork and crafts to see. Games for the kids, too.
I know you will enjoy yourself.
See you there!
I had surgery on my right hand in January. The diagnosis was severe arthritis in the thumb joint. I practiced a little bit before the surgery with my left hand. You can see the result. I think the drawing looks great compared to the printing! 'Ol Lefty was up to the challenge and has been working hard these past months. I'm proud of her! My right hand is coming along, practicing stretching and gripping Play Doh. The surprise was how stiff my wrist was and I continue doing the exercises to loosen that joint. The strength is gradually coming back. It's taking a while! I will be out there painting in late Spring and Summer. Hope to see everyone
Here's a letter on The Painter's Keys site from Robert Genn. It as sparked me to go out and paint "en plein aire". I've been receiving Robert's newsletter for sometime and there are always good suggestions and encouragement, not only for my own art but also for the kids who come to the studio to draw and paint.
Make a list
October 30, 2012
Stepping into an environment with an open mind and no plan is possible. Such a serendipitous attitude can surprise with joy and unforeseen opportunities. But you can also be caught unprepared and blind to both potential and problems. Just as walking right by a particular owl in a certain kind of forest is possible, you need to know how to find what you're looking for. Go out with a list.
A list from a recent mountain sortie suggests looking for:
+ Foreground design that echoes background design.
+ Large patterns of complexity and arbitrary abstraction.
+ Contrast of light and weather for potential drama.
+ Opportunities for neutralized and gradated grays.
+ Opportunities for high colour in counterpoint.
+ Authentic form, inside knowledge and specific detail.
Some artists may not find it necessary to write this sort of thing down and keep referring to the items while shifting the easel. Beginning artists, particularly, should write them down. For advanced and focused artists, list items can be more automatic and burned into the creative psyche. For all of us, self-briefing before going out or starting a project sharpens artistic wit.
A good example of this sort of understanding is the British photographer Martin Parr--best known for his candid shots of people. Working backwards from Parr's brilliantly defined, colourful photos, we get a glimpse of what must be his list--the sort of things he consciously or unconsciously looks for when he steps out with his camera: Posers posing. Open-mouth eating. Extreme frumpiness. Gross flesh. Tight close-ups. Artificial environments. People selling. Evidence of vanity. People echoing one another's actions. Children being childlike. People decaying. Technological threat. Human separateness. Media, print, and signage as comment. The contrast of beauty and ugliness. Animals as humans. Humans as animals. Shopping mayhem. The vacant life. Extreme people. Mid action. Top of action. Doppelganger. Incongruity. Banality. The list goes on.
If you catch my drift, a list is the unseen backbone of passion. A list gives work the appearance of effortless creativity. Make a list.
PS: "Work harder, get closer, be passionate." (Martin Parr)
Esoterica: A list of your own making is the most powerful list of all. As well as the nuances of materials and equipment, personal lists can include work processes, both indoors and in the field. The good stuff can be "love at first sight"--in need of study, courting and claiming. And like a love note, it's nice to have things in writing. Incidentally, I've just hung up from talking to my daughter, Sara, in New York. We were going over her list: Battery radio. Flashlight. Spare batteries. Water. Granola. Sardines. Canson papers, Pastels. It's good to have a list.
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I will have a booth at the Northern Baltimore County Wine Fest on Saturday, September 22nd. The Festival is being held at St John the Evangelist Church (13305 Long Green Pike, Hydes, Maryland) from 1pm to 10pm. I will be there from 1pm to around 5pm.
Also, Jacksonville is having a community Fair Day on October 6th. Lovely Manors Garden Center, Long and Foster and several other businesses are sponsoring the event. I'll be there demonstrating a pastel portrait.
On June 2nd, 2012 I participated in the Gunpowder River Art Fest held at Boordy Vineyards. I rarely do these kinds of shows and mostly work out of my studio or sell work at Riverview Gallery in Havre de Grace, Maryland. But my niece, Laura Myers, and I decided to each have a booth at the Art Fest. Laura does great things with ribbons and material. Check her out at www.girlytwirlsandcurls.com.
The weather was great that day after a big storm the day before. There were over 70 artists booths, two local bands playing all day and three food vendors to keep everyone full and happy. It was more like a block party then an arts/crafts show. I made a few sales and really enjoyed talking to folks about their pets and the Art Fest in general. If you missed the event this year, try to keep an eye out for it next year. It was
Saw a demonstration by Stan Sperlak on Saturday, March 24th, at the Maryland Pastel Society General Membership Meeting. (By the way, these meetings are open to the public. The next one is April 21st).
Stan started out with a slide show then worked on a night landscape in pastel. Very interesting! He talked about having confidence in your art and really thinking about why you paint and why you chose the subjects you do. I know why I do, I love those animals!
SallyAnn Mickel Spotted Springs Studio