Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Denver Episode with the American Impressionist Society

Traveling provides fresh opportunities for the landscape painter. This photo of the Colorado Rockies was taken at the ranch where the American Impressionist Society painted together in 2014. (Yes I have fresh memories on tap of this year's trip to Arizona, but the chronological part of me won't allow me to share that yet.)   

Opening Night! American Impressionist Society, National Juried Exhibition, Denver
The Abend Gallery hosted the festivities. At the mic - Debra Groesser, President. At her side - Becky Joy, Show Chair, and Cheryl St. John, VP. 

There's my "Restoration Time" among the boats and seascapes. On each artist's name tag was their painting. It was fun to recognize each other by our works. 

With Deb and Cheryl at the paint-out. A yummy barbecue lunch was provided by Southwest Art Magazine.

Clayton Beck was the judge of awards. Befriending the Judge! Ha!

Back to work! For my 2nd painting I climbed a bit higher to get a view of the snow capped peaks - difficult to see in this photo.

Enjoyed the Western American Art Collection at the Denver Art Museum with some fine artists - Julie Houck and Cindy Baron.

Wonderful lunch at the museum with "Charlie" Carolyn Bogusz of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine (center) and some fine artists from the Northwest - Za Vue and Anton Pavlenko. 

 Interesting to watch this portrait come to life. Clayton painted T. R. Dickinson - husband of Charlotte Dickinson, Original Founder of AIS.

Getting acceptance in this show was a double treat for me because my son and family live there. It felt like I had won or earned a visit with them. 

So much fun hiking around Mount Evans and Red Rocks with these little cuties. They got to break the big news: We're getting a new BABY!!! So yeah, I got to go back to Denver in May to welcome Jake, my son Noah's 1st son! Our 7th grand-baby! Exciting times! Since my plein air start is not show-worthy, I'll leave you with this museum piece - "A Snowy Mountain Range" by Thomas Moran. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Florida's Finest en plein air

As we embarked on the year 2015, I carried aboard three wishes, goals for myself as an artist. All three have been granted, including acceptance in the Florida's Finest en plein air Exhibition!

I am thankful that my "Restoration Time" (also chosen for the American Impressionist Society show of 2014) is now hanging with the Florida's Finest. The exhibit opened in Apalachicola Florida and is set to travel the state. 

Each of the paintings features Florida scenes, painted in Florida, by Florida artists. 

The Forgotten Coast en plein air Paint-Out celebrated their 10th year, and this special tribute to Florida's plein air talent was part of the festivities. 
Only ten of us were juried into the show to exhibit alongside accomplished artists - Morgan Samuel Price, Larry Moore, Hodges Soileau; and other artists that were deemed Plein Air Ambassadors by the Forgotten Coast event. Morgan Price selected the works for the Exhibit. It is an honor for me to be included in this group of 20. 

 So many of today's fine artists have a lifetime of experience, many in graphic arts or illustration before becoming painters. 


This month marks 10 years since I set up shop in my little studio and followed my heart's desire to become a painter. I love living in Florida, and painting the Florida landscape. As I entered this show, I joked - "I just want to be Miss FL this year. That's all".

 Feasting on the yummiest seafood ever at an art reception!
by Natalia Andreeva
At the close of the party, the keynote address was given by Joshua Rose, Editor of American Art Collector.

My other two wishes? - I wanted to show in Naples, FL with the National Art Encounter. And above all - I wanted to get in the American Impressionist Society 2015 Exhibition. Mission accomplished!!! And I am so excited to attend the AIS gathering in Scottsdale, AZ soon! Satisfying, yes... but nothing is more fun to say than "Florida's Finest". I just love the sound of that.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Your Brain On ART / Staying Young

Plein Air Painting on her 91st birthday!
Everyone at the table was teary-eyed as Vada explained how she is  feeling that it might be time for her to stop joining us on our weekly paint-outings.
My dear friend Vada Hammen setting up to paint azaleas, in the Spring of 2014 - at only 90! Though her energy level is waning, not so her intellect. Each week for the past 7 years she has driven across the bridge from Lillian, AL, into Florida- a few miles, to meet me and ride along to our designated painting site with the Plein-air Painters of Pensacola. Without missing a beat!  

At the Beach with the girls.
In this age of brain-training games, I believe the artist has a head-start, a real advantage because we're always observing, comparing, studying, problem solving as we create. Each artwork poses a multitude of decisions as we arrange shapes, fine-tune colors, and consider what is important to us about this live vignette. 

 The back-story of Vada becoming an artist: As a busy mother of 7, she liked to draw. Her eldest son, Denny, noticed his mom's talent and had her painting designs on his moter-bike. His life was cut short at 21, tragically from a motorcycle accident. It was months later that Vada found out from the local art instructor that Denny had paid for her to take painting lessons. It brings chills to know what she endured. Battles fought and won in a mind that is now so vibrant and healthy.
  This painting by Vada Hammen was gifted to me, and I love it.

 We skipped out of the group one day last summer. Never got our paints out, but enjoyed a visit on my back porch while studying Richard Schmid's big awesome book "The Landscapes".

Not only does she stay active in our plein air group but she leads a portrait session on Thursdays. On this day, I was the model for her group. Behind me is her wall of work. She doesn't limit herself to one genre or medium, she is fluent in portraiture as well as still-life and landscape. She regularly participates in another life-drawing group that meets in Pensacola.  

 New pacemaker seems to be working good! She was ready to get back out there and paint camellias this winter. Picasso said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." Conversely, as we age, the artist in us keeps our minds active, youthful, and open to explore the possibilities of a blank canvas and full palette.
A landscape of Vada's
At the reception for an exhibit of my work.

 Learning to use her iPhone camera!
Admittedly, this is an unscientific study of but one. If you like facts and figures, check out this article with data from a Mayo Clinic study on how creative activities benefit your brain. I like this- "Long ago, 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away'. Perhaps today, the expression should expand to include painting an apple, going to the store with a friend to buy an apple, and using an Apple product." NYU neurology professor Dr. James Galvin. 

Leaders in our ART community: Vada, Kay and Rhoda- cornerstones who've kept the group organized through the years. So many lanes our group has explored together. So much canvas covered... And we are not letting her stop now. See ya Friday!

Making a case for sketching rather than just snapping pictures which we are so in the habit of these days, John Ruskin poetically describes the appreciation for visual beauty that artists share. 
‘Let two persons go out for a walk; the one a good sketcher, the other having no taste of the kind. Let them go down a green lane. There will be a great difference in the scene as perceived by the two individuals. The one will see a lane and trees; he will perceive the trees to be green, though he will think nothing about it; he will see that the sun shines, and that it has a cheerful effect; and that’s all! But what will the sketcher see? His eye is accustomed to search into the cause of beauty, and penetrate the minutest parts of loveliness. He looks up, and observes how the showery and subdivided sunshine comes sprinkled down among the gleaming leaves overhead, till the air is filled with the emerald light. He will see here and there a bough emerging from the veil of leaves, he will see the jewel brightness of the emerald moss and the variegated and fantastic lichens, white and blue, purple and red, all mellowed and mingled into a single garment of beauty. Then come the cavernous trunks and the twisted roots that grasp with their snake-like coils at the steep bank, whose turfy slope is inlaid with flowers of a thousand dyes. Is not this worth seeing? Yet if you are not a sketcher you will pass along the green lane, and when you come home again, have nothing to say or to think about it, but that you went down such and such a lane.’

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Inspiration at Florida's Forgotten Coast

Sailing Vessel at Day's End, 12x16, Oil. 
 As I arrived at Florida's Forgotten Coast Paint-Out, this beauty-of-a-boat and her reflections greeted me warmly and I knew I would return the next evening to paint her. 
 My painting site was across from our group's base-camp. I was asked to participate in a pilot program for a Plein Air Academy. The course will focus on career development, the mentor/leader was Don Demers a popular marine painter. After three days of painting, it was fun to sit and watch him paint a boat.

 There was lots of independent painting time. In fact the sailboat painting that I am featuring was my third painting of the day. My mid-day painting was in the shade across the street from the lighthouse where soon painters gathered for refreshments and camaraderie. The event hosts public meet-and-greets for the artists. I thought I spied an artist working at his easel up in the top of the lighthouse, so I was interested to see the displayed work from this painting session. Yes, he had captured the view from the top.
 I enjoyed my stay at the Bryant House Bed and Breakfast in Appilachicola. Bridgette was so kind to pack food for me when our early schedule kept me from a relaxed breakfast. I love my porch time in Summer. So peaceful there!  The perfect place to gather your thoughts and do your homework: we were to write down our thoughts on which way we want to go as artists, so we could plot our course.

 After cleaning my brushes one afternoon, I wandered down to explore the old cemetery. At first, it was the visual appeal that drew me in, the great variety of stone crosses, ornate monuments and simple gravestones.

 So many short stories were revealed as I read the inscriptions. How can you sum up a life's existence in so few words? 

A little sprout decorates the heartbreaking memorial which courageously states, "Our Baby DIED Feb. 18, 1895. Aged 14 days. The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away." Among the shipwreck victims and soldiers who had to face Gettysburg, was someone who will simply be remembered as a friend, with this quote: "Parted friends again may meet, From the toils of nature free, Crowned with mercy, O how sweet, Will eternal friendship be." Another carved stone says: "A Life so Well Spent on this Earth cannot Fail to Reap a Bountiful Harvest in the One to Come."

Somewhere between the graveyard, private soul searching, and the time spent painting and with other artists - I had gained a renewed appreciation for life. Like I'd been to a revival. Our Art Spirit needs the motivation of friends from time to time.