Wednesday, June 20, 2018

June

My current project that is taking way to long.

       Greetings! The image above is what I am currently working on. I have become quite frustrated and angry with this image. While I like what is happening with the composition and overall picture, it is taking entirely too long to complete! I started this painting at the end of April with the idea of finishing sometime in May. I had ideas about posting the progress of this painting step-by-step as my May blog. But as time passed, and the end of may grew closer and closer it seemed like this goal would not be achieved. And indeed, I missed my May blog post!  Despite all that, this image is still not complete.

      As I continue to work on this painting I will also continue to document progress. So one day, hopefully quite soon, I can post the completed image along with the step-by-step photographs. I suppose that this has not been a project of total loss, as I have created some lovely sketches of crows for use in this image. 
A sample of the crow sketches.
However, I am anxious to return to painting faces. In my last post I commented that I wanted to take a break. Well, I think that break has lasted long enough and have already begun to do some sketches of faces for future paintings. The important thing is to keep at it, and keep painting. I know for many artists that this can sometime be a struggle. Especially when the timing of things does not work out.  

Some sketches I want to turn into paintings.






                                          
A sculpture, and the postcard from a recent show



      I have also been attending more art openings and receptions. It's good to get out and see some live art. It gets ideas flowing and allows for one to see how other artists are working and thinking. The above image was a ceramic piece featured at a show for local art teachers at the Firehouse Gallery in Baton Rouge. It was my favorite work at the show, and I am not surprised it was selected to represent the show on the postcard. It's not often that local art teachers are recognized, so this was an excellent opportunity for them. Keep watching this space for more info about exhibitions and artist interviews. 
                                                                

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April





      Happy April everyone! Hopefully it is spring where ever you happen to reside. It is very spring-like here is Louisiana. I was exited to be a part of the Every Woman art exhibition at Nunu's in Arnaudville, LA. The theme of the show was about, or by women artists. Most of the participating artists were women, but a few men, like myself were also invited to participate. The reception, as you can see from the poster was on April 7. But, the show itself runs through May.

Attendees of the Every Woman
show reception in Apr. 7
   
      The reception was well attended, for a rainy Saturday afternoon. After-all, what better way is there to spend a rainy day than to look at some art? 

      There were many interesting pieces. Including several items of wearable art created by Lori Henderson. And a unique sculpture by Shane Seneca


A hat created by Lori Henderson

Metalwork by Shane Seneca.

     My piece was hung next to a lovely painting by artist Janelle Hebert. I selected one of the paintings that hung in my recent solo show in Baton Rouge. This particular painting is based on an amalgamation of several librarians that I have come to know from library school on up through my career as an arts librarian. Of the images I had on hand, this one seemed the most appropriate for the theme of the show.

My painting "Let me think" at the
Every Woman show.

     It was a fun reception, and I think the show is a hit. Nunu's is a great art and cultural site, and I very pleased to be a part of it. I have more news from there just below. But first an update on my most recent painting.





      My most recent painting was finished at the beginning of the month.

The Beer Man 2018

       I think I included an image of this painting while it was in progress. But, this is the finished product. It it based primarily on my Grandfather, who passed away in early November. For the next painting, I am going to step away from faces for a while. Right now it is little more than sketches. As I get further along, I will post my progress here. 









      The final thing that I want to mention this month, is that I have sold my first painting at Nunu's. In addition to the exhibition space featured at the beginning of this blog, the collective also has a separate space where member artists work is for sale. I have four paintings in this space, and "Mr. Babbineaux" sold!

" Mr. Babbinueaux" 2016 Sold at Nunu's

      I don't really measure an artist by how many works are sold. To me, it's more important to get the work out and seen. The feedback and the response from viewers is what I am most interested in. However, there are those that do measure the success of an artist in this way, and I haven't sold anything since I moved to Louisiana. So it's good to have hit this benchmark again.  

Well, that's it for now. Come back next month to see whats new!


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

March




   Following  the success of my show last month, I am attempting to join the NUNU Art Collective in Arnaudville, LA. From the Nunu website: "The NUNU Collective is an educational nonprofit that works to encourage the devlopment of artistic talents, skills, knowledge and business savvy by connecting artists with other artisits, businesses, organizations and programs. It serves as a stage/platform, gallery for creative living by facilitating community, economic, and artistic/cultural development."

The NUNU logo.
   

      I have visited the NUNU a few times. I have seen some of their galleries, and it is a nice space with a lot of positive energy. The variety of art is exceptional. They have everything from quilts and jewelry, to traditional paintings and photography.



A view of one of the interior gallery spaces.
 

       They have a show coming up, and I was invited to participate in that as well. I dropped off a few paintings over the weekend. Now all I have to do is wait and see if I am jurried in. More information about the NUNU can be found here: http://nunuaccollective.homesteadcloud.com/







      I n addition to all of that news, Artsfest is happening at the college where I work. Artsfest is an annual event that is free and open to students and to the public . It is an opportunity to experience visual, performing, and creative arts of all kinds. Over the years I have seen some amazing events,and some incredible work.

      As part of this event, the organizers have been decorating the library display area for the past few years. This year they have outdone themselves. Ceramics students were asked to create vessels, or decorative pots for plants. I'm not sure if they were required to actually put plants in the pots once they were finished, but it looks like all of them did so.

The library display area featuring pottery and plants. 

      One of my favorite pieces is displayed prominently on the end. The pot is primarily blue. I seem to be attracted to blue, and is a color that I use frequently in my own work. There's also something about the color blue that appeals to the masses. When I took pottery classes the common idea if one wanted to sell their work was to just glaze it blue.


My favorite pot, pictured to the right. 

    It feels good to be part of a community and an organization that values the arts. There are some in my corner of Louisiana that think Baton Rouge is devoid of culture and creativity, and it is nice to see evidence where this idea is challenged. 






     T o wrap things up, I thought I would show the progress on my latest painting. I am back to faces, and this investigation is likely to continue for some time. This image is of the beer man, and is based on my grandfather who spent many years working for Coors in Coloroado

.

Progress on my latest painting.



Friday, February 23, 2018

February




  February has been crazy busy. Most of this activity has been driven by my art show at the Firehouse Gallery of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. I completely missed posting in January because I was framing, organizing images, and of course finishing up some pieces to display. Overall, the effort was worth it. The closing reception was last week, and it was very well attended. I got lots of great feedback, and some good energy going forward.





The cake featured at my closing reception.
The gallery employees said I "won" the food advantage.



          It was a lot of work putting this show together. I have not done a solo show since 2006. I began making preparations in July of last year. I had a goal of framing at least two pieces per month leading up to my show. It was a good strategy, and helped spread the cost of having to frame 15+ pieces of art. Going in to the setup, the gallery manger, Kelsey, mentioned that nobody has ever hung their show in one day.

My car loaded up with art.

  

     My careful planning not only meant that my show was hung in one day, but I was done in about three hours. Kelsey was impressed and said I was the fastest show installer in the west.


   
A sample of images from the gallery during my show.


     The work I chose to exhibit included a number of figurative images primarily focusing on faces. But, I also included a selection of railroad related images. The two ideas are different, and the comments I got on the two were surprising.

One of the figurative images I displayed
 
One of the railroad images I displayed.


     Most viewers responded more to the railroad images than the figurative pictures. This was somewhat surprising to me, as I think of my railroad images more as sketches than finished pieces. I chose to include them though, because the theme and title of the show was "Recent Works," which can encompass everything I have been working on, including sketches. I found myself having a few conversations with those who somehow have a connection to the railroad either through train travel, or relatives having worked on the railroad. I've always believed that trains held a special place in the American imagination, and these comments seem to back that idea up.  


     Before long it was time to take my show down. Taking it down was even faster than installing it. Probably the slowest part was patching the walls and painting over the patches.

Cleanup:Last part of a successful show.


      It was a great show, and I have made some new contacts. Going forward I have a plan to get involved more, not only with the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, but also with an artist collective located not too far from here. Keep reading this blog for future updates!

 
The gallery walls as I left.

Monday, December 18, 2017

December

Highland Coo. The last painting of 2017


So, I have wrapped up the last painting I will do this year. It seems semi appropriate to be ending the year on an image inspired by my travels through Scotland. That period of time in my life continues to be an inspiration point for me and my work. I have created many paintings and drawings based on what I experienced in Scotland, and before completing this image, I had more or less thought I was done exploring these ideas. However, it doesn't take much to jog your brain and return to an idea that you had, perhaps years ago, and begin exploring where you left off.

This painting:

Another painting of inspiration that
reminds me of Scotland.
  also reminds me of my time in Scotland and is going to act as the starting point for my next image. One of the places I visited was the Orkney Islands. Upon arriving for the first time I was greeted by a leafless tree covered in crows all cackling and crowing. It was a rather ominous welcome, but it has stuck with me all these years. This image reminds me of that, and it is from this point that I will begin my next painting.





      I am also preparing for my show, which runs February 12-16. That's only a few short weeks to go! I've got three more paintings to frame, and other last minute details to complete. After the holidays, I will meet with the gallery for a walk-through and to finalize the last details. It's exciting, but there's much work to do as well.  I'm planning on speaking with another artist soon to post another interview here. If you missed the first one look here.

Monday, November 20, 2017

November

am continuing to work on the Highlan' Coo painting I posted about last month. It is just about finished, and would be finished now, except for the fact that October was  an unusual month and I had some unexpected travel.  The work I have completed thus far can be seen in the following image.

Highlan' Coo's

      Those that know me well, know that I have spent some time in Scotland. This travel left a huge impression on me, and it is my desire to travel back there one day. The Scottish influence can be seen in several pieces I have created in the past, and I have been reflecting on those images and my time in Scotland recently. This image continues the current trajectory of my work examining faces, and the character of those faces. I think it's interesting that animal faces can have as much characterization as human faces, and this particular image reflects that idea. One familiar with highland cattle can see this work and immediately respond to it. But, for those who have not seen these uniquely shaggy beasts this image could be seen as a curiosity, and that is one aspect that one feels when looking into faces. I should have it finished in a day or two.   







      This month I also want to highlight some of the fantastic work being produced by the students at the college in which I teach. This past week featured an annual event entitled "International Festival," which highlights different cultures and the ties Baton Rouge has to those cultures and the world at large. The art I'm sharing here was part of a display put on in the main gallery on campus.

Ceramic pieces on display for "International Festival"  



      Most of the pieces are tied to a specific culture, or country. Here, I am featuring ceramics works, but there were also prints and other images as well. Incidentally, as part of the festival, the ceramics department featured an event called bowl-a-rama. Participants were invited to throw or decorate bowls to be given out as soup bowls for the needy. It's a great way to get students more involved with their community. I assisted with this, and had time to throw a bowl. It felt great to be working with clay again. I haven't had the opportunity in quite a while. I was invited to open studio on Friday afternoons, and I definitely plan on going back. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

October

almost forgot to post for October! It has been very hectic lately. I am still preparing for my show in February, and I have been busy framing and selecting works to show. But I have also been working on new paintings. This is what I currently have on my easel:

Highland Coos


  I could write about how I have been reflecting on my time in Scotland. I could write about how I have carried this image of highland coos in my head for quite a  while. I could even write about how this image, seen in a coffee shop earlier this year:

Seen in a coffee shop recently
 reminded me that I should go ahead and paint that image of the highland coos that's been rolling around in my head. But honestly I'm tired. I don't want to write about those things. I'm just going to leave this post as is.

As an aside, did you see the interview last month? I thought that was pretty fun. I would like to interview more artists about their work. Wanna be featured? Drop me a line, we'll set something up.