Sunday, July 22, 2012


     I've been spending some time sketching in cemeteries lately. Cemeteries have always been interesting to me. The monuments are like sculptures, which is really what they are, commemorating the lives of those who are buried. The older ones are the most interesting. Some of them have poetry and descriptions of what the person was like. They all seem to tell a story, and it’s interesting to imagine the life and the history these people saw.   
     I have had this idea for a while, and have not put it down to paper. But now that I am getting started I am excited. I often walk around with ideas for paintings, and it is somewhat surprising how they take form once I start to actually work on them.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Feedback and Art Melt 2012

      Last week I asked for feedback on the above image. Thank you to all who offered responses. I received some here, as well as responses on Facebook. Responses were varied form personal to technical, but all were good to read and gave me something to think about. Thank you.
      Viewer feedback is so important to me and my art making. I have never measured successful art by wheather or not it sells, and I am not really interested in the sale of my work. If somebody wants to buy it, that's great I'll sell it to them. But for me, getting my art out there and seen by as many people in as many places as possible is more important. I believe strongly in the communicative aspects of art (this is where my librarianship ties in nicely), and an open dialog between me/my art and the viewer is critical. I don't often get to travel with my art when it goes on display, so I miss that feedback component when people see it. Therefore, the more you respond to my work, either here, via e-mail, or through the guestbook on my Web Site (, the better. Please feel free to respond often! And don't hold back. If I make something hideous say so!

      The next item for discussion is Art Melt 2012. This is an annual event in downtown Baton Rouge sponsored by Forum 35, and is reported to be the largest emerging artist exhibition in the state of  Louisiana. There were certainly artists from all corners of this state, including New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport.  Art in all its forms, (visual, musical, multimedia) is celebrated at the Shaw Center for the Arts. The celebration spills into the street where two stages feature live bands. The result is a New Orleans-style party all about art.

      The art center was just as crowded as the street. Which made looking at the actual art a bit difficult.

     I did look at all the art, and I voted in the viewers choice. My two favorites were a mixed media piece by Baton Rouge artist Keith Douglas, and an intaglio print by St. Charles Artist Becky Trahan. I tried to get images of these pieces but it didn't work out. 
     I was actually invited to participate in this exhibition, but I had submitted works in Houston and North Dakota, and had other things going on at the time. As it happens, I knew one of the judges from my time at the Birmingham Museum of Art, so it could have gone well. Too bad. Maybe next year.   

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Opinions needed

      This is my latest image. A friend of mine gave me a bird-of-paradise cutting from her garden on my birthday. I told her I would most likely paint it. This is the result, but I am unsure about it. I don't care for the symmetrical quality to it ( I was unaware I did this until I stepped away from the painting), I don't know about the composition, and I'm not sure about the subject matter either. I have shown this work to a few people and they always tell me it is great. But I can't tell if they mean that, or if social convention says that they need to respond in the positive.

      Every time I create an image I keep in mind something that I learned in writing class from college. That is to make your audience care; make them see your point of view and understand where you are coming from  ( I could go on about the relationship between the written word and art, but that is perhaps an argument for a later post.). When begin an image I always ask myself "why shouls anyone care about what I have done?" For this image I don't have an answer. I'm not sure anyone should care. It's nor that great, it's not bad, but not that great either. I don't honestly see the value in this image. What do you think?

      When I was in art school I had a ready body of critics. This included my fellow artists/students, but also the art faculty. They were never short on words when it came to evaluating my work. Since I have gone away from this environment it has become increasingly difficult to determine how my work is being interpreted by viewers. When I set up this blog I had hoped it would be more interactive between you the readers and me the artist. This is an opportunity to develop that interactivity. What do you honestly think of this painting? Any feedback would be welcomed.     

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Journey

      This week is the 4th of July, which is my favorite holiday. People often look at me funny when I say that. But it's good fun. Most everyone has the day off, there's cookouts/barbecues, festivals, usually a live band or two, and then the whole thing is topped off with a dazzling fireworks display. What's not to like? There's no stress, no extraneous preparation, no commercial shopping that has to be done. It's just good old fashioned fun!
      One of the best Independence Day (as the official holiday is called) celebrations I attended was the one in our nations capitol on the steps of the Capitol Building. It was the annual "Capitol Fourth," and that particular year it was hosted by Elmo (note the picture above). And it was  through my art that I got to attend this event.
      Last week I had mentioned how my first solo exhibition had resulted from my participation in a local art fair. Well, that solo show was in Washington D.C. and it was a July First Friday event. That meant that my work had to be up on July 1st (Sat), and be ready for the opening later that Friday (July 7). The gallery was closed on the 4th, so after I had set up my work over the weekend, I took in the sights of "The District," and enjoyed one of the best 4th of July's ever!
      The point of this post is that you never know where your art will take you. When I had entered that local art fair I had no idea it would ultimately lead to a solo show, a great 4th of July, and the opportunity to see Elmo in person. If you are an art maker and enjoy your craft, keep at it. You never know what type of journey it may lead you on.

      An upcoming event is the Louisiana Art and Artist's Guilds River Road Show Exhibition. I am a member of LAAG, and I am taking this opportunity to spread the word. If you or anyone you know would like to participate, I encourage you to do so. Who knows where it will take you!