Monthly Archives: April 2017

Exhibit Season – Pitfalls

I’m happy to be included in a number of exhibits this season.  In fact, there are more this season than any other.  Believe me, I am not complaining.  I have a couple of new exhibits, one in California with the National Watercolor Society and one in Kent Ohio with Gallery Ten, an artist cooperative.  The remaining three venues are Canton Museum of Art, The Little Art Gallery of the North Canton Public Library and finally, Gallery + in the at 78th Street Studios in Cleveland, my semi permanent exhibit space.

So how can problems result from these exhibits?  Many of my paintings are part of my permanent collection and are displayed on my home gallery.  My home is my own Art Gallery.  During this season, I adjusted the pieces on display.  Several taken from storage and several others taken off the walls.  It is like a game of fill in the blanks, literally, filling in vacancies on the wall with pieces taken from storage.

The pitfall comes at the moment when a weekly visitor arrives and is shocked that “something” is wrong in your kitchen.  Something is different.  Truly, a vacant spot routinely filled with one of the 30 Rock paintings is glaringly white.  Empty, void of color and shape.  I calmed our visitor and thanked her for pointing out the difference.  It did seem odd to me too.  So off to continue the shuffle of paintings.  I checked storage, thinking of a piece that is suitable to fill the spot.  There aren’t many available just a large vertical piece of St Mark’s Square in Venice and a Detroit Shoreway pinball piece.  Neither seem appropriate.  Then a bicycle piece comes to mind.  “Starting Line” from the short series of the 5 Boro Bike tour.  But, the painting is not in storage.  Now the hunt and cross examination begins.  Is the painting on exhibit?  Is it in Emily’s room, the cat nursery, our bedroom?  Then, it dawns on me.  Problem solved.

My paintings are standard in size.  This makes mats and frames interchangeable.  So, I confirmed that I did not lose the painting.  I did not exhibit it somewhere and forget to pick it up.  I checked in the flat file and the painting was safely sequestered there with other unframed paintings.  The frame for “Starting Line” was loaned to another bicycle painting for exhibit at Gallery Ten in Kent Ohio.  The frame and mat suited the painting and both paintings are bicycle theme anyway.  But, the dilemma continues.  I have a vacancy in the kitchen.  A large white space.

I settled on another bicycle painting “First Light” presently on display in the living room.  That painting was first displayed on that wall when our new kitchen was first unveiled a few years ago.  So the kitchen vacancy was filled which created a vacancy in the living room.  An abstract piece was chosen to fill the living room vacancy and now the home gallery is back in harmony with nature.  And, there is no lack of color….anywhere.

        

Return to the course

April 18

I ventured back to the driving range today following a winter season, surgery, re-hab and self imposed confinement due to pain in the backyard.  Yes, winter came first.  It always does and that causes me to set the clubs and shoes aside waiting for spring.  However, this time I was not certain about when I would be able to bring out my gear.  Then there was the surgery.

The surgery was the repair to a torn rotator cuff suffered at the Trapeze School of New York (TSNY) in 2014.  Why wait?  Maybe there will be time to say why later on.  But the surgery was undertaken on January 12.  It was not only a repair of the rotator cuff where two anchors were drilled into my humerus and sutures were used to pull the torn tendon into place so it could heal back into its proper position.  The surgery was quite a bit more involved to my surprise.  The torn labrum was repaired and the biceps tendon was detached in order to access the labrum.  The biceps was re attached or scarred-in lower on the humerus.  A “Mumford” procedure was performed on the A/C joint.  That is where the scapula and the clavicle are separated at the cartilage (worn out) creating a gap of about 3/4 inch.  All in all I got a lot more than I bargained for and I had to wear a sling while i waited five weeks before starting physical therapy.

Physical therapy was no snap.  It was six weeks of three visits per week.  The physical therapy assistants were gentle and considerate of the healing process.  I wanted to go a lot faster than they were willing to allow me to do so.  They saved me from hurting myself.  Finally, at week five, I was allowed to use heavier weights (3 to 5 pound) and at six weeks after seeing my surgeon I was released to my own care to continue exercises at home.

I continued exercises at home and started swinging a practice golf club in the backyard.  The exercises were tolerable but the practice swings were not.  I had pain when attempting to make a full swing.  I would try one day and lay off two or three.  I even tried hitting the racquetball around too but that along with the practice swings set me back.  Finally today, 13 1/2 weeks since surgery, I was able to make a full swing with the practice club without pain.  So, like the impatient person I am, I raced off to the driving range to see if I could hit a golf ball without pain just as I did with the practice club in the backyard.  Yes, I did.

I started with the lob wedge then the sand wedge then the 4 iron hybrid then the driver.   Then I chipped and putted a while.  No chance of swing induced pain chipping and putting but, I kept working at the game.   I’m happy to report that  so far, there is no pain.

I am happy with the swings, the chips and putts thanks to recovery time but, even more than that, the way I was able to stay down on the ball.  Deepak Chopra stayed with me.  Thank you and Leela.  I might say more about Leela later but for now she helps me play the game inside my mind.

Now, rest until racquetball at 6 AM.  Then see how it goes.  So far so good.

All Aboard

The train or I should say the plane is about to leave the station.  I am looking forward to days away in the sun, then surrounded by my second family of in-laws and finally the warmth of the Middle East.

We are returning to Siesta Key Florida in a couple of weeks.  This will be the ninth time to visit the Gulf coast of Florida.  Siesta Key is such a wonderful destination no matter what time of year, April, May, August or October.  We haven’t tried the other months but certainly enjoy the ones mentioned here.  Although the vacation is but a week, it is enough for me.  I love the beach only so  much but I have time to read and do some curriculum planning and even visit the Ringling Art Center to attend a life drawing session.  Life is good on vacation.

Summer will allow us to attend the wedding of a nephew in up state Vermont, Burlington. The last of five nephews will be married in July.  This should be fun because we will be able to visit with the West Coast crew along with the Colorado contingent coming from Boulder.  It is just a weekend trip but should be a great time in July.  Who knows, it might be hot there.  We attended a Spring graduation there a few years back and nearly froze.  You can never plan around the weather.

November is a “bucket list” trip.  The Holy Land excursion with National Geographic takes us through Israel to the great biblical sites with the aid of a Nat Geo guide.  We will visit all things religious and political and Israel has them in abundance.  We will visit with leaders of three great world religions, Judaism, Christianity, & Islam and hear both sides of the two state controversy, Israel and Palestine.  And since we will be in the region and considering this to be a once in a lifetime event, we will go to the ancient city of Petra, Jordan.

All of these travel experiences offer great opportunities for paintings.  I will be well armed with my camera equipment and sketching materials.  All trips, all events hold the promise of an opportunity for me to relieve a moment in time whether it is reviewing the photo reel or designing a painting from the reference materials or actually making the painting.  Then the icing on the cake is exhibiting the painting near or far.

Rush Hour V

The Rush Hour series happens to be a favorite theme for me and Rush Hour V is one of those paintings.  All of the paintings feature people in landmark locations on the move or about to be on the move, in a hurry to get to the next stop.  Rush Hour V clearly represents figures and vehicles waiting to go somewhere but all are stopped because of the traffic lights present in this underpass / overpass.

The scene that inspired the painting appealed to two of my favorite themes.  Night scenes which provide for the most exciting contrasts where the darks  show off the lights thereby allowing the colors to “pop”.  The second theme is the figure in a landmark location.  This scene and the resulting painting hits on both themes.  This scene is obviously in the night time.  The location may not be known by all but it is a landmark none the less.  This is a familiar to travelers heading to Manhattan from Laguardia airport in NYC via the combination bus/subway route.  The M 60 bus stop at 31st street near Ditmars Avenue in Queens is the transfer point.  Stairs lead to the upper platform for the R train into Manhattan.   In this case three figures are either heading to work or heading home after work or something in between.  I was heading to Brooklyn to see my daughter and son-in-law in Brooklyn.  There is always a story to be told or invented with each painting.

I always admire professional photographers because they are able to compose their work in the lens of the camera.   Twentieth century photographers such as Ansel Adams and Lois Conner have created significant images of natural beauty or that of architectural detail.  I am not so fortunate.  My images are the result of random bursts of scenes that I encounter.  The resulting image that is the backbone of my artwork is a study of countless images from such bursts of the camera (see the film clip below).  Sometimes, things are added or taken away.  If a figure is needed, I can add it using my process of digital collage.  Likewise, figures or objects can be taken away or re-positioned.  In other words, the paintings are designed, they are composed in order for me to tell the story about a moment in time.

In the case of Rush Hour V the scene designed itself.  All I had to do was to select the best one from the photo burst and add a little creative license and get to work.  Of course you can tell which one I chose even though I did not use all of it.  These images were taken while I was walking and a lot of the foreground is unnecessary.  I prefer “zebra” crossings (striped crosswalks) but the ones at 31st street didn’t work as well as the ones where the figures were waiting to cross.  All in all the painting is successful in my eyes as a very strong critic of my work in process.  Furthermore, the critique group at the Akron Society of Artists seemed to find the work acceptable with no suggestions for improvement.

There is a recorded film strip of the work in process that is coming soon.  Stay tuned.

Rush Hour V

20 x 30 

Watercolor

 

Exhibit Season Part 2.0

Well, the fun continues.  This is the busiest exhibit season so far.  In addition to the excitement from last week with CMA and NWS, I made another entry, wait, two more entries.  One at Group Ten Gallery in Kent Ohio and another at Ohio Watercolor Society.

The entry at Group Ten Gallery is the first time of entering a juried show there.  Group Ten Gallery has been in existence in Kent Ohio for a few year, operating as a coop gallery of ten members or owners.  Group Ten interviews replacement members as vacancies arise.  I applied to fill a vacancy three years ago and did not meet the member / owner criteria as judged by the jury of peers.  At first, I was disappointed that I was not accepted into that role but realized that I had dodged a bullet.  A weekly commitment of sweat equity is part of the ownership.  The drive and the commitment of a day a week or part of a day per week would have been exhausting.  It would have given me not time for my other pursuits of painting, golf, volunteering, exhibiting in other locations and teaching private or group lessons.  So I had not looked back until the opportunity to compete for prizes in Group Ten’s Fourth Annual Regional Juried Exhibit.  This time, I was accepted with the two pieces that I entered.  But, I was reminded of the drive to get there.

I delivered my entry pieces on Friday afternoon.  It was a rainy, really rainy day and traffic was creating such a mist on the road that it was difficult to see.  Everyone was having a time making it thought the mist which made the trip seem longer than it actually is.  It is long on any given day.  I made it to Kent but, the gallery had moved since I was there last and I had a time locating it.  Two parking meters and three trips around the block allowed me to find the place.  The new gallery is very nice BTW.  Returning home was no snap either.  My navigation app took me the long way out of town until I found a familiar highway.  It didn’t even take me back the same way I came in.

The good news from all of this is that the two pieces I entered were both accepted.  The bad news is that the opening reception is Friday and I have to go back for the award ceremony.  There is always hope of winning a prize but, they will not announce the winners until the opening night.  I would not go if I knew that I would not have a prize to accept.  I may be way too optimistic because of one of the judges, Dottie Shinn of the Akron Beacon Journal had not been a fan of my work in another exhibit that she critiqued (did not judge).  Maybe she will have a change of heart judging with another juror.  Hope so.

My premonition was correct, sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  There was no change in the hearts of the judges in this contest.  I was a finalist, one of the forty some odd artist with pieces for the exhibit but, I was not chosen for one of the top prizes or even an honorable mention.   But, unlike Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront” where he said “I coulda been a contender, I coulda been somebody”.  I was a contender in this race.  I didn’t make the winners circle this time but there are more times to come.

The exhibit space is lovely, spacious and well lit.  There was plenty of food and other refreshments.  It was well attended.  Many of the artists are from the Akron area and I knew many of them although there were a lot more that I did not know.  I was lucky to see Heather Bulloch from Canton.  We were hung together.

Gallery Ten  is in a huge parking garage that seems to be a new structure or a recently renovated one.  The gallery is situated on the first floor with other boutique shops.  Parking is above several floors up.  An elevator and stairs make it easy to get to the gallery.  All in all, the exhibit was quite nice.  But, the trip to the exhibit was different than any time that I had been to Gallery Ten before AND, the trip home was different than any other one and it was different than the one we came in on for the exhibit.  Oh well, always a surprise.

Presented here are my two entry pieces.

BTW, I’ll let you know about the OWS entry in another post because it is a “two-fer” so to speak.  More about it later.

Daybreak

Riding the Bike Lane II