Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Colored Pencil Society of America 2012 / 20th Annual International Exhibition -- from the back side

Goodness; how this month is flying by!  Though it seems like I just finished unpacking, it was over two weeks ago that I returned from the 20th Annual International Exhibition of the Colored Pencil Society of America. 

This year's exhibition will be on display at the Carnegie, Visual and Performing Arts Center through August 30, 2012.  Juror Jamie Markle, Publisher and Editorial Director Fine Art Community, F & W Media, Inc., put together an extremely strong show of about 120 pieces from hundreds of submissions.  My piece, "Dust and Thunder", received an Award for Excellence, and the CIPPY Award / Best of Show went to Liz Guzinski for her work, "September Hydrangeas".  All of the award winners can be seen here.

The week consisted of the Awards Banquet, Opening Reception, the National Membership Meeting and Silent Auction (during which I won the bidding in order to bring home Jeffrey Smart Baisden's lovely drawing, "Steinhatchee Backwater"), workshops by artists Eileen F. Sorg and John Ursillo, and seeing great friends as well as meeting new ones.  Given that this year's convention week was within a reasonable driving distance from my home, several good friends from Michigan and out-of-state joined me at my family's lake cottage prior to the convention -- where we embarked on two days of 'middle-aged-artists-gone-wild' prior to traveling to the convention.  No details about that, though: as Dianna Soisson so aptly stated, "What happens on the island, stays on the island!"  Lets just say that........ohhhhh, never mind.

Below are several photographs taken during the pre-convention at the lake, as well as the CPSA convention week.

Born to swim: our lake mascot, sweet Ellie

With Kendra Bidwell Ferreira of Rhode Island

First time on a jet ski for Elizabeth Patterson of California.  Though I think she is trying to hide it for the camera, I think the only person more frightened than her was ME -- when SHE was driving!  (Just KIDDING)

Puppy Love: Deborah Friedman of Massachusetts with Ellie

We clean up pretty well for the Awards Banquet.  From left to right: our adorable CPSA President Cindy Haase of Colorado, moi', Deborah Friedman, Elizabeth Patterson, and fellow Michigander Dianna Soisson (and Kendra looked lovely -- but she was taking the picture!)

Always a sweetheart, Gemma Gylling of California

Dianna Soisson with her piece, "The Path Less Traveled": it's inclusion in the exhibition garnered Dianna her CPSA Signature Status!

Deborah Friedman and her work, "Beach Stones in Lapis Light"

In the coming weeks I will be starting a new equine piece that is currently in the planning stages, and continuing to work on a large drawing that has been in progress.  In addition -- and a first for me -- I will be completing preparations for a 2-day workshop that I will be teaching in October for Michigan's chapter of the CPSA, which will focus on creating textures on sanded pastel paper.

Thanks for stopping in.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

CPSA International Exhibition, 2012 ARC Salon, and Strokes of Genius 5

In about two weeks I will be headed off to another convention week for the 20th Annual International Exhibition of the Colored Pencil Society of America.  This year's host city is Covington, Kentucky.  The exhibition can be seen at The Carnegie, Visual and Performing Arts Center through August 30, 2012, and the artists' reception is from 4 - 6 p.m., on Saturday, August 4.  My piece Dust and Thunder (shown above as one of two works used on the CPSA's promotional postcards) has been juried into this exhibit.

In addition, Dust and Thunder was chosen as a finalist in the Art Renewal Center's 2012 ARC Salon.  The Art Renewal Center is dedicated to the perpetuation of traditional art, as well as the knowledge and techniques of the artistic masters from the late-19th century.  The ARC Salon finalists and award winners can be viewed at .........and I highly recommend this website in general, as it is a 'good read'.  

Wyoming Grey

Finally, both Dust and Thunder and Wyoming Grey have been chosen for inclusion in the book, "Strokes of Genius 5: The Best of Drawing / Composition".  (I will admit, I have coveted a spot in one of these editions for some time.)  The volume will include the work of 93 artists, and will be published by North Light Books in 2013.  More to come as the release date approaches. 

I guess every once in awhile nice things happen in groups of nice things.    : )

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Small (and Wondrous) Encounters

Though I don't often take enough time to capture them with my camera, one of my favorite things about living in the country are the many encounters with the natural world, particularly in the spring and summer.  These little encounters, usually brief, are sometimes intriguing and wondrous, often beautiful, and occasionally poignant.  Below are several 'moments in time' that I recently captured, that caused me to take a pause in my busy day.

After flying into the front window with a rather alarming "thud", I found this little Pine Siskin lying stunned on the ground.  I held it until it 'came to' and was ready to be on it's way again.

This Promethea Moth spent two days attached to the screen of the back porch -- then disappeared as quickly as she had arrived.

Though this little guy (or gal) seemed quite content to sit in the barn cat's food dish and munch away, I didn't think that was the best place for him -- so I relocated him to a nearby hay field.

Possibly this Common Gray Tree Frog is the same one that sings to me every evening when I am watering gardens.  He has found a good spot: damp and cool atop a slightly leaky old faucet.

Thanks for stopping by.    : )

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Profile: Courtney Fisher

Over the years I've become increasingly aware that there seems to be an affinity for the arts in my family, particularly on my mother's side.  Whether referring to my grandfather's desire to be a cartoonist (a dream he did not realize in his lifetime as he became an electrician to support his family), my uncle's lovely paintings and pen-and-ink drawings, one cousin's encaustic paintings and the amazing singing voice of another, or my son's gift for guitar............yes, there definitely seems to be something in the gene pool.

This list would not be complete without mention of my niece, Courtney Fisher.  Residing in Michigan's upper peninsula, Courtney is the oldest of my brother's three children and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Finlandia University.  She produces engaging fantasy art, as well as designs and makes her own line of jewelry.

Particularly fond of making earrings, Courtney seeks to design jewelry through which the wearer can express who they are.  Her artwork is inspired by fairy tales, especially the original fairy tales of Grimm, as well as Irish folklore.  "I've always liked the other-worldly creatures; fairies, elves, angels, and the magic and mystery that comes with them".  Other inspirations include artists Amy Brown, Nene Thomas, and Jessica Galbreth, her late grandfather Louis Salani, and Brian and Wendy Froud.

Courtney's jewelry is available online at .  Below are several more examples of her work.  Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Continued Adventures of Life with Ellie, or.......How to Lose a Day, or.......

The past few days have been somewhat unproductive, not just in relation to art -- but nearly anything really -- so you must bear with me as I divert (again).  Does it make my periodic whining more acceptable if I acknowledge that I realize I can be a whiner sometimes?  (Insert amused chuckle here.)  Sometimes I just can't help myself:  life and it's participants are simply too interesting, funny, tragic, endearing, etc., etc.  It is usually quite tongue-in-cheek anyway.  Really.  It is.

On Saturday afternoon I was drawing away on a mostly-completed horse piece, quite focused actually, and came to the last inch of my Faber Castell Polychromos Warm Grey #6 in it's pencil extender.  No problem:  I went to the drawer of greys to get another, only to find there wasn't one there.  What?  When it was all said and done, I think I searched through fourteen pencil drawers and ten pencil cups, as well as across two somewhat cluttered table tops.  No Polychromos Warm Grey #6 to be found.  I was dumbfounded, and if you could see the number of grey pencils I have, or pencils in general , you would marvel at this too.  (Some of you obsessives know what I am talking about.)  I considered substituting another color or combination of colors, but felt I had already used too much of the elusive #6 in the drawing -- and still needed to use a great deal more.  I mean really: how could one have approximately 400 different colors across four brands, and probably well over 1500 pencils in total, and not a single Warm Grey #6??  Amazing.  Time to do a pencil order.


But let me not belabor this point any further:  I moved on.  Sunday morning I drove Ellie (my golden retriever, in case you have forgotten from my previous post about her foibles -- I'll get to her soon) out to the lake and took her for a very brisk, 50-minute walk.  After all, a tired pup is a good pup.  When she and I returned I decided to utilize an idea shared by artist Cynthia Haase and make a "black box", in an effort to set up a western-inspired still life with classical lighting and a broad range of values.  By late Sunday my box had been painted and was dry, and potential articles for the still life had been sifted through.  I planned to put the arrangement and lighting together on Monday as well as complete my photography and editing.

Not to be........and here is the "I-can't-believe-my-dog-did-this......albeit accidentally" part.  On Monday morning that damn dog.......I mean, my 9-month-old, 60-pound Ellie came happily bounding into the bedroom at about 5:30 a.m. to wake me, as she always does.  My face was lying quite close to the edge -- though I can only guess, as I was peacefully asleep -- and she exuberantly planted her front paws on the edge of the bed.  And of them went firmly into my left eye.

Well.  I'm sure I don't need to tell you -- this was quite a rude awakening!  Though there were those few moments characteristic of waking up during which I didn't quite realize what had just happened, I soon was lucid enough to know that something was not right with my eye.  (Of course as goldens tend to do, Ellie's entire body was wagging obliviously at the side of the bed -- she just wanted me upright and moving.)  Eventually I stumbled to the kitchen holding my face, and even Ellie seemed to perceive at some point, "Okay; my human is not feeling the love right now".

Mind you, I really tried to put on my big-girl-pants and get on with the rest of my day.  That is how my Dad raised me:  buck-up and get on with it, you know?  But, I don't think "agony" is too strong of a word here.  Blinking or keeping my left eye open, the stabbing pains, the blinding headache behind the eye, and the sensation that the entire area was quite bruised -- all were agony.  So after several hours of finding myself seemingly incapable of staying off the couch (also during which time, just for icing on the cake, Ellie vomited up her entire breakfast on the living room floor), I went to see my doctor.  In short, she diagnosed a cut on the inside of the upper eyelid, an abrasion above the cornea, and "quite a gouge" on the cornea -- which would account for my slightly blurry vision -- followed by, "you are in a lot of pain".  Just her validation of my, yes.....agony.... made me feel a bit better.  (It was quite fascinating really: she placed dye in my eye, turned off the lights, then shined a fluorescent blue light in my eyes -- much like when the crime dramas are searching for blood spatter.)  I left her office sporting a very large, white eye patch, and the admonition, "Be careful driving: with only one eye you have no depth perception".  And need I say?.......the evening was agony.

Ellie, this morning -- in her blissful puppy world, clearly not experiencing any remorse    : )

Okay; so fast-forward a bit and beyond how my beloved dog stuck her paw in my eye, made me lose an entire day, etc.  Since I awakened this morning the pain in my eye has been significantly less than yesterday, so I may be able to proceed with my still life plans sometime soon.  The entire time I have been writing this Ellie has been lying at my bare feet with her head resting on them, her tail thumping happily on the floor whenever I move.  The last time I engaged in a lengthy 'Ellie-vent', in mid-December if memory serves me, I bemoaned the fact that for three months she had not stopped causing trouble long enough for me to accomplish any work.  Just for the record though, she now will lie on the floor at the base of my drafting table and nap for extended periods..........And in the past several weeks she has shredded (and I'm sure ingested bits of) only two throw rugs, three crate pads, the green felt off of four tennis balls, 1/2 roll of paper towels, countless stuffed toys (she doesn't get those anymore), half a plastic frisbee..............

So, we are getting thereAs is true for all of us, Ellie is a work in progress.  (Insert knowing smile here).

I love my dog.  Thanks for listening.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Michigan Fine Arts Competition

The Michigan Fine Arts Competition, a juried all-media exhibition for Michigan artists, will be on display at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center from March 30 - May 4, 2012.  The opening reception and awards presentation will take place from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., on Friday, March 30, 2012.  My drawing, "Dust and Thunder", has been juried into the exhibition along with over a hundred other works by Michigan artists.

This year's juror, Mi-Kyoung Lee, will be presenting a lecture as well as a Material Expressions workshop on Saturday, March 31, 2012.

For further information, please visit the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center website.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Equine Work-in-Progress: Muzzle Detail

Above is the detail on the muzzle that I have laid in over the value drawing, minus the final whiskers.  One of the most challenging aspects of drawing for me, is the need to constantly and consciously fight the urge to execute every tiny, little detail.  Over time I have learned a bit --just a bit -- about the importance of suggesting detail, rather than drawing every excruciating grain of sand, piece of hair, or thread in the fabric.  Upon stepping back and assessing this horse's muzzle, I was (am) unsure as to whether I have successfully limited the level of detail.  As I carry on and build details in the other areas of the image, I will be better able to evaluate this.  Given that it is drawn on Uart sanded pastel paper, softening and blending the level of detail can easily be done.

So, back with my nose to the grindstone -- or in this case, the sandpaper.