Monday, May 28, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
The current work on the board should be completed by tomorrow and I will post the finished 'product' then, but in the meantime, thought I would post this shot, one of about 100 taken earlier today in my backyard. Since moving, I have enjoyed watching the birds that flock to the feeders in the back yard most days. I know that many consider mourning doves to be 'junk birds' but I think they are just beautiful, colorful, very nice subjects and all around interesting to watch. I have no doubt that there will be plenty of mourning doves to show up in future works!
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
As the American Civil War was finally coming to an end, Erik Satie was born on this day in 1865. In a slight diversion today, let me comment briefly about one of my favorite composers and a man who embodied a lot of the quirkiness that many visual artists tend towards as well.
According to one web site, 'Satie lived as a true artist, for his music and his ideals. He had no respect for money and lived a poor life for many years'. He never feared the expression of his true opinions on things and people and if he found someone to be 'a perfect jerk', he did not hesitate to let them know, accepting whatever consequences would follow. Considered an outsider, a lone wolf if you will, he had many concerns and projects of his own. As a visual artist spending much of my time in the studio on work that may, ultimately, have meaning only to me, I can associate, strongly, with those feelings.
Surprisingly, Satie was a forerunner to minimalism and had great influence on Debussy, Poulenc and Ravel. Also, because his music has been thought of to be ahead of his time, it is regarded today as timeless and therefore has also had great influence on many contemporary, modern composers.
Mostly known for his piano works today, the serene Gymnopedies are probably his best known pieces along with his ballet, Parade.
Hats off to you, Erik . . . a creative soul after my own heart!
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
On this Mother's Day, 2007, I have been rereading an article that appeared in the Washington Post just about two years ago, regarding the interesting story of our DC area Black Squirrels.
In the article entitled An Exotic Evolution by David Fahrenthold, he talks about the squirrels having been 'imported' from Canada back during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. 18 of the little creatures were brought down from Ontario by the Smithsonian and released at the National Zoo. Reasons for this are not truly known, but it is speculated that they were brought to repopulate the area as most of the local residents had been decimated through hunting. In any event, in the ensuing century plus, the descendants of this little band of originals, 'probably because of a slight evolutionary advantage conveyed with a black coat', have spread out from their original DC home. They have even been spotted, since the early 1980s, in northern Virginia across the Potomac!
Fahrenthold goes on to say that 'scientists say it's a real-life example of natural selection at work. It shows the spread of a gene within a population'. Many scientists believe the reason that black squirrels are mulitplying is that in winter, their dark coats help them to retain heat from sunlight 'leaving them less desperate for warmth than their light-colored cousins'.
In any event, I have seen three different black squirrels in my new backyard since moving here to an area just outside the northeast border of the District! It is quite fun to watch them interacting with their 'light-colored cousins'. They occassionally get into scuffles with each other over dropped bird seed from the feeders, but in general, seem to be tolerated by the more common greys. This guy was caught resting in the yard just yesterday. I suppose he might show up in a drawing someday, but that is yet to be determined. In the meantime, I shall be content to observe and watch true evolution taking place at my back door!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Well, for those 'in the know', I received the BIG envelope in the mail yesterday from the Woodson! For those who are not in the know, what that means is that I have had a work, 'I Hear You Singing in the Wire', juried into this year's Birds in Art exhibition that will open in early September at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin.
Birds in Art is an annual juried exhibition originated at the Woodson some thirty plus years ago, and one that draws entries from all over the world, as hundreds and hundreds of artists compete for one of about 95 spots in the final exhibition and inclusion in the beautiful catalog of the event. This annual fall event not only is the 'flagship' event of the Woodson, but as Kathy Kelsey Foley, the museum's long time director has said, 'Birds in Art continues to delight and instruct, appealing to wide-ranging audiences on multiple levels. The exhibition offers something for the art lover, the bird fancier, the conservationist, and the ornithologist.' I have been honored to have had works included in all but one of the last 17 years of the exhibition and to have toured with the touring portion in all but three of those 16 years of being a part of such a well respected body of animal art.
As long time viewers of this blog will recall, I posted a number of photos from last year's exhibition in late September showing some of the works that were my favorites as well as a number of my artist friends, who were fortunate enough to have made it through the jury as well. This year's jury reviewed 1015 entries from 631 artists. Considering the fact that the exhibition usually comprises no more than 115 to 120 works each year, you can imagine that there is a lot of work that is kicked out during the jury process! For those of us who make it through the cut, it is a wonderful result, indeed, as it is quite apparent that any number of fine works of art just can not be included in the final total.
With the chance for only one work to be spotlighted for each included artist, those who submit to the jury each year take great pains to do a work that will not only represent their very best effort as a fine artist, but to be able to, in some way, capture the attention of the three member jury in such a way as to out shine those works that are seen just before and just after, as the images are flashed on the screen. This topic, just how to grab the jury and make them want to include your work, is a never ending discussion that continues year after year between myself and fellow artists, both those whose reputation is well established and young artists just starting out on long careers. I have often wondered just what a juror might be looking for when viewing a thousand images of art. In the end though, there never seems to be a good resolution to the question and all of us continue to try and do our very best each year and take our chances along with the hundreds of other artists who do the very same.
And so, it will be time soon, to make the reservations for the opening weekend in Wausau and to look forward to seeing just who made the cut, what works will be the ones that hit the top of my list of favorites and to catch up with friends who I might not see but once a year, if we are all lucky enough to have 'made the cut.'