Thursday, July 31, 2008

'A Quiet Corner'

'A Quiet Corner' - image size 9" x 12"

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Beginning to do some refining now that I am coming close to completion of this piece and before I tackle the final details of the animals.

Monday, July 28, 2008

An early start, so lots of texture added today. Now, it's time for an afternoon walk.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Today's work . . .

Friday, July 25, 2008

I've begun a new work, this one with a great deal of texture to it. Making textural differences is what it's all about in graphite, for me at any rate.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A recently completed small work, 'Curls'.

I realize it's been nearly a week since I last posted. I guess I have sort of been in the mid summer doldrums. I get this way sometimes when the heat and humidity kicks in, but I think it has hit me a bit stronger this time than usual. And then too, there has been the deceleration after the opening of my exhibition at the Woodson.

Putting together Unknown Bridges and all the work and thought and creative juices that it took not only to do the work, but the gathering of reference material, the continued adrenalin rush as each new piece came off the drawing board and the mad dash to 'put it all together' in the last weeks before all the work was shipped out, certainly took a toll. Preparation for such a large undertaking can not help but to stress one's limits and capacity to meet the challenge. I never felt for one minute, that I wouldn't meet that challenge nor enjoy the march to it, but it is certain now, that the underlying stress has finally hit.

The joy that I felt after framing the last of the 28 works that made up the hanging of the exhibition last month, could not have been greater or more gratifying. And experiencing the opening weekend in Wausau was the proverbial icing on the cake.

But now that time and space and intervening quiet days of reflection have come, the reality of it all has set in; the reality that I spent a major chunk of my creative life, over the last few years, putting all that work together. It was, don't get me wrong, a powerful experience for me as an artist . . . to devote so much time and thought to a very specific group of works based upon a very specific focus of subject matter, subject matter and compositional ideas which were out of the realm, shall we say, of my usual thrust in work and ideas.

Allowing myself to 'go with the flow' and seeing where all those ideas and emotions could take me as an artist, not only opened my eyes to new and exciting motivation, but made me, I hope, a better artist in the process. Sometimes we need those unexpected shoves to refresh and renew and reorganize. Stagnation in creative flow can only serve, I feel, to keep an artist from reaching what potentials might be laying dormant and waiting for that special spark that will bring them to the fore.

I will admit that it has been difficult these last couple of weeks, to regroup. This has happened many times over the years and I've always managed to find my way out of it and move forward and to feel like I have turned that corner which will lead me to new places as an artist. I have no doubt it shall be so this time around as well.

I think all artists hit these slow spots in their lives and careers, where we can take advantage of the 'lull' to sit back and look at where we are, where we have been and in what direction we might like to head next. The challenge becomes one of feeling confident enough though, to know that the lull will end and the creative flow will begin again and that the wait time is all part of the process of growth.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A little collage of okapi shots from the weekend.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Post Open House Post

After a fine and fun day on Saturday at our Open House, shared with many of our long time collectors and friends, Paula Waterman, sculptor friend Karryl and I hit the road early yesterday to visit the Maryland Zoo at Baltimore. They recently were delighted with the birth of little Samson, a baby African Elephant who is now about four months old and we wanted to take advantage of the sunny morning and get some reference material.

The crowds were there early and we spent a good couple of hours watching the little, fuzzy guy figuring out his way in the world. For me, it was a wonderful experience and I came away being quite enthused with the idea of once again, sinking my teeth into African subject matter for upcoming works.

We three also got some nice reference of the Okapi pair, giraffes and some very appealing (to me anyway!) vultures! I see several works materializing out of those fun hours at the zoo yesterday.

Before leaving, Karryl mentioned that the Pittsburgh Zoo also has a newly born baby African elephant who will be joined by another quite soon, so I think a trip north and west sometime in the fall will be in order to gather up some additional reference material.

If in the Baltimore or Pittsburgh area over these next few months, take advantage of these very special 'events' and look in on these cute little creatures. You will not be able to leave without a huge smile on your face!

Friday, July 11, 2008

As this week comes to a close, I am pleased to announce that I will have seven pieces represented in the upcoming North Light Books publication, Strokes of Genius 2: The Best of Drawing Light and Shadow. This book will not be published until late next year, but, having completed the paperwork this afternoon as well as refining the digital images of the works that were selected and getting the packet ready to mail off on Monday, I thought I would go ahead and post the seven pieces that will be in the book.

I noted in reading a post on my friend, Robert Caldwell's blog the other day, he too, received a positive letter from North Light and will have several of his drawings included in the book as well.

I have not yet heard from any other of my 'graphite buddies' if they might have been fortunate enough to have works selected, but I sure will pass along that information if I hear anything as time goes on.

In the meantime, I am quite thrilled and delighted that these seven works will share pages with many other fine examples of drawing with light and shadow as the main compositional elements.

Thanks, North Light!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I received a disc, today, of images taken during the opening weekend at the Woodson two weeks ago by some of the staff members. Here are a few images of me 'doing my thing' over the course of the three days . . . working with the group who signed up for the drawing workshop, both outside and indoors at the museum . . . and some shots taken on Sunday during the lecture and afterward, during the gallery tour as I talked about individual works included in the exhibition. My thanks to Erin, Andy and everyone else who contributed to these shots and who made my weekend there, very enjoyable.

(I do seem to wave my arms around, don't I?)

Monday, July 07, 2008

This Year's Artists' Open House

Breaking slightly with tradition, next Saturday will be the date for this year's Artists' Open House, shared with fellow artists, Paula Waterman and sculptor, Karryl.

Rather than do our usual early December event, we have opted to try a warm weather showing this year. We have gathered up new works and shall be greeting visitors from noon through 6 on the 12th, as indicated above. Should you wish to join us and have not received a mailed out invitation, please feel free to drop me an email and I will send along directions to the location for our Christmas in July Open House, here in Maryland.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Was it Just a Week Ago?

One week ago, at just about this time of late morning, I was along the Wisconsin River in downtown Wausau, Wisconsin, watching some storm clouds move toward the city from the west. Toward the end of the morning session of the drawing workshop that I was hosting, we decided to break down the tents and move everything back to the museum for the afternoon session. Good thing we did, as at just about the moment when everything had been loaded into the van, raindrops began to fall. Our timing could not have been better.

In any event, thanks to Maryland friends, Brenda and Don, who flew up to Wausau to enjoy the weekend events and who also lent works back to the exhibition, here are some shots they took over the course of the day, last Saturday.

As I mentioned in an earlier posting about last weekend, I enjoyed working with the thirty people who had signed on for the workshop and hope some of what I tried to impart a week ago, has stuck! It was difficult to get around to everyone at some point, to give encouragement and to make suggestions about refining their sketches, but I think, in the end, I was able to speak with each individual at least once or twice and discovered quite a few talented participants who ranged in age from teen years through ... well let's just say more mature years!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Surprisingly, over this past weekend, even with all the events on my schedule there still was time for some travel out into the countryside surrounding Wausau. My good artist friend, Paula Waterman (who owns one of the works included in the exhibition and tagged along for the fun of the weekend) and I drove out into the farm lands around town on several of the days when we had some 'down time' and found cows and barns and other sights of interest. We also stumbled upon the Dells of the Eau Claire State Park a short drive to the east and north of Wausau on Sunday morning and had an enjoyable half hour clambering across the rocks and finding unique things to make note of.

So, here follows an assortment of images taken over the weekend . . .

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

'Unknown Bridges' Opens

This past weekend, my solo exhibition, Unknown Bridges, opened at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. It was a whirlwind of events, conversations, questions answered, memorable moments and the culmination of about four years worth of work on the 'project'.

Arriving home late last night, I had a chance to dwell upon four days of excitement in central Wisconsin as my flight, earlier in the evening from Minneapolis, brought me ever closer to home and ever more distant from all that had just taken place in the upper Midwest.

First, I am grateful to the Woodson Museum for spotlighting this body of my work and especially for the kindness, graciousness and true sincerity of appreciation the staff at that wonderful venue have shown me not only this past weekend, but throughout the many years that I have been fortunate enough to have been a part of the events surrounding the opening of the annual Birds in Art exhibition as well. There is a very certain truth in what has been said, time and time again, about the genuine affection and friendliness that is demonstrated by Midwesterners in this country. I can not wait to return to Wausau in early September for this year's opening of Birds in Art!

Secondly, I want to say thank you to all who attended the several events where I spoke or the drawing workshop that I hosted on Saturday. It was a real joy for me to talk about my work, how I do it, why I do it and what makes me tick as an artist. I appreciated speaking with all who took the time to come up to me individually to say how much they had enjoyed my discussions.

And thirdly, I want to just say how honored I was to have seen my work hanging almost side by side with that of O. Winston Link, a man whose marvelous black and white photography has inspired me, delighted me and offered me many hours of deep reflection over the years that I have owned his several books.

As those of you who have been following my blog for the last few years will know, this project of working on these bridge themed works over the last four, almost five years, has been an interesting exploration for me as an artist; sometimes taking me to places with my work that I would have never assumed I would have headed. To see most of that body of work hanging together was a revelatory experience for me this past weekend. That little bit of time separation from when the work was packed up and shipped out a little over a month ago, gave me the much needed space to have been able to view the works in a different light on Friday when I first walked into the galleries.

And so, this particular 'journey' as an artist will pause now, but not end. I have no doubt that I will revisit this inspiration sometime again in the future and continue the exploration of what motivated me in the first place, to focus on this interesting subject matter. But for now, it is time to move on to other aspects of inspiration and see where that might lead me.