Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Colored Pencil Society International Exhibition News.......and a much-needed facelift

This year the 18th Annual International Exhibition of the Colored Pencil Society of America will take place from July 22 to August 20, 2010, at the Art Museum of Los Gatos, in Los Gatos, California.  I'm pleased that my piece depicting a pair of wild horses, "The Hand of Man", has been juried into the exhibition.  This year's juror is Janet Bishop, the curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  Further information as well as the list of accepted artists can be viewed at .  My congratulations to all the artists who's work was accepted into the exhibition.

Closer to home, I'm happy to report that after about two years of calculated procrastination I have finally painted my drawing room.  As those of you who rely on the reflection of light are aware, working in a poorly lit area, or an area with walls of a wrong or dark color, can be challenging.  After completing the swan drawing last week I decided I simply could not draw one more line in that oak-toned room!  So I moved everything out, and I painted...........and painted.............and painted..........and about eight coats into my project someone cheerfully said to me, "You should have used Kilz."  (I do not think of these kinds of things........Did I ever claim to be a house-painter?)

Finally though, the room is completed and the resident artist is happy.  I will spend some time tomorrow continuing to organize its contents, and then its............


Thanks for reading.     

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Trumpeter Swan Completed

14" x 12"
Derwent Graphic pencils on Strathmore 400 Bristol

Yet untitled, this young trumpeter swan that I began at an artist's retreat a number of weeks ago is finally completed.  As I previously indicated I nearly abandoned it altogether, but decided to return to it in part at the encouragement of others -- who clearly could see more potential in it than I could.  Now in retrospect, I'm grateful for their vision and my (not always the case) willingness to listen.  This drawing as well as the graphite barn swallow, "On the Fence", will hang in a show featuring sixteen artists at the Hudson Gallery through the end of May.

The completion of this piece is a tremendous relief, as it is the last of several works that I have finished just under the wire of their perspective deadlines.  For the first time in about six months, I do not know what I will be working on tomorrow.  I like not knowing -- and relish the thought of taking the time to shuffle through hundreds of photo references and scan hastily-written ideas on dozens of bits of paper that are haphazardly stuck to one of my drawing room walls.  As with many artists (I presume), I have more ideas than time to execute them!

Also, it is likely that I will be spending less time on my art over the next few weeks.  My son is approaching the end of his senior year in high school, so graduation and its related functions and festivities are looming.  In addition he and I are knee-deep in the onslaught of tasks related to his beginning college in the fall.  Is this possible????  There are moments, and people, and experiences from his infancy that are so vivid, it seems they happened last week.  How is it possible that eighteen years has passed?

Oh, and the barn swallows have returned.  All is right with the world.  Tick-tock.   

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wild Horses: Completed Drawing

"The Hand of Man"
20" x 25"
Color Pencil on Uart 500

You may recall that the recently completed wild horses drawing has been in flat-file-exile, while my loss of objectivity adjusts itself.  Today I removed it from the "flat file drawer of shame" (to quote a very funny comment by Australian artist Peter Brown).  As I suspected, the drawing and myself simply needed some time and distance from one another.  I'm feeling much better about it than when I placed it there two weeks ago..........and alright-okay-yes-you-caught-me: I changed the title.  While talking with a good friend about the drawing several weeks ago, she used the phrase "the hand of man" when discussing the fate of many wild horses.  It stuck with me, and better captured what I wished to convey than did "Broken Spirit".

To recount some of what I shared several months ago when I laid out the initial drawing, the two wild horses portrayed here were in a holding area owned and operated by the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Wyoming.  They had been captured during a wild horse round-up organized by the BLM.  Though difficult to see in this photograph, their recent struggle is evidenced by the small wounds, spots of dried blood, and grass stain on the pale horse's coat.  I was drawn to and sought to capture the emotion displayed by these two horses: the fatigued sadness of the pale horse, the rather haunting gaze of the dark horse, and the obvious bond between the two.

It bears repeating that there are an estimated 38,000 wild horses roaming free on U.S. range lands, and more than 30,000 in captivity in holding areas and corrals managed by the BLM.  Sadly, this icon of the American West is caught in a controversy involving wild horse proponents, cattle ranchers and land owners, and the U.S. government.  Round-ups are periodically orchestrated in several western states in an effort to manage wild horse numbers, and are sometimes performed in ways (including the use of helicoptors) that cause injury, death, and the separation of mothers from foals who cannot sustain themselves. 

My drawing is not intended so much as a political statement, as it is a venue through which some may be compelled to learn more.  As I indicated in a previous post, my own knowledge of the issue is too limited for me to develop strong opinions regarding how this issue should be handled.  However it is my hope that our government will implement strategies that eliminate the harm caused, and will allow as many wild horses as possible to remain on open rangelands. 

For further information on both sides of the controversy, visit the official site of the United States Bureau of Land Management and the Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Current / Upcoming Exhibitions

Close-up from
"This Above All"

Some of you are well aware that yesterday was the big deadline for the annual international juried exhibition of the Colored Pencil Society of America, to be held near San Francisco, California this year.  Now for the big wait, as the list of accepted entries will be released toward the end of April.  In the meantime, I am priviledged to have work in three shows.

Michigan Colored Pencil 2010 is sponsored by the CPSA Detroit District Chapter 104, and is on display at the Lotus Gallery in Plymouth, Michigan.  The show runs from April 1 - 30, 2010, and the opening reception takes place from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 10.

The Michigan Fine Arts Competition is an annual, all-media juried exhibition/competition, to be held at the Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Center in Birmingham, Michigan.  This year's juror is New York state artist and teacher, Sondra Freckleton.  The exhibition takes place from April 2 - May 7, 2010, and  the artist reception is on Friday, April 2,  from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Finally, a show titled  "...Birds" will take place at the Hudson Gallery in Sylvania, Ohio, from April 24 through the end of May, 2010.  This is an all media exhibit which will focus on........well.......birds.  The artist reception is from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 6, 2010.

Though very different from each other, all three of these shows have some great art and alot to offer.  If you are in their neighborhoods, stop in!