Category Archives: Artistic

More on Exhibits

Not all exhibits are created equal.  Some are essential and some are just down-right important.  The May Show at the North Canton Public Library Little Art Gallery and The Ohio Watercolor Society Watercolor Ohio are two that remain for this exhibit season.  Each of these falls into one of those categories.

The May Show is a feature that has been around for 75 years and I have been accepted and won awards there in the last 15 of those years. It is the unofficial kick off of the exhibit season in my little pond, Stark County.  It is where friends and artists meet to compete.  It is the field of rivalry among local fine artists.  The Ohio Watercolor Society (OWS) Watercolor Ohio holds a different importance.  OWS is a prestigious art society.  It too is a field of rivalry but the outreach is statewide and regional rather than local.  Competition is a collateral benefit but exhibiting helps forward the state of watercolor painting.  OWS has been around since since 1978 and I have been a part of it since 2001 and a signature member since 2006.

I was reluctant to report about these two exhibits any earlier than this.  The entry deadlines for both exhibits were very close together in early April.  I met the entry deadline and in both of  these cases and I submitted the same painting, 30 Rock III to both. Because I am competitive, I want to be sure to present my best work in order to be “juried-in”.   30 Rock III has a lot of promise.  It had been critiqued a couple of times with my art group and it won second prize when I entered it into the Akron Society of Artists member show last October.

Partial results are in.  The May Show turned around quickly.  The notification letter followed a couple of days following the entry date.  Notification is made via a self addressed stamped envelope.  My heart rate always rises when I get a notification letter just like when I was in college receiving an acceptance letter or grade report.  There is always that uncertainty.  I have been rejected in the past when I was certain of acceptance and accepted when I was sure that I didn’t have a chance.  Good news, I made the show!! But, I had to wait for the judges verdict.  I was hoping for the top prize, best of show.  The opening reception of the May Show was April 30 at the Little Art Gallery where the awards were announced.  More good news.   I won second prize in the watercolor category.  It is always a happy time to be recognized for my skill and creativity.  Dang, I wanted the top prize.  I’ll have to wait till next time.  I hope I “get in”.

The OWS jury process is different than the local May Show.  Digital images are submitted to the OWS website.  Artwork for the May Show is hand delivered to the gallery.  The OWS show draws a larger number of entries than the May Show.  I submitted my entry to OWS in early April at the same time as the May Show but the notification wasn’t scheduled until the May 3.  So, last week I got notification for Watercolor Ohio 2017 via email.  Again, my heart rate rose for the same reason as other such notices.  I don’t think it raised quite as high as it did for the May Show because the painting is such a strong watercolor piece being judged by a watercolor jurist.  Nevertheless, I made the OWS show.  Now the waiting begins all over.  Judging for awards follows hand delivery to the exhibit venue which is Columbus Ohio early in June.  Seems like there is a lot of entering and waiting.

Stay tuned for updates.


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.


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 



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.


Riding the Bike Lane II

Exhibit Season Part 1.1

I never fail to be surprised; sometimes disappointed with bad news but, generally happy about something positive and unexpected.  In this case, I was pleasantly surprised when I received notification that I had been accepted in the 2017 National Watercolor Society’s (NWS) member exhibit.  The honor is all mine along with all of the other artists that are part of the exhibit.   This just adds to the drama of the exhibition season that is now getting underway.

This honor is especially satisfying because of the painting (Golf Lessons) that was entered and accepted by the juror, Robert Burridge, a celebrated painter, teacher and publisher had not been accepted in two Stark County Ohio exhibits in 2016.  The NWS member exhibit is open to members from all over the world.  The list of artists accepted  in this exhibit are from the United States, many states, and world countries including Malaysia, Italy, China, Australia, Scotland, Taiwan, Hong Kong.  Judging competitions, near and far is a very subjective process.  A friend once commented, “I never agree with any judge unless I win best of show.”  Profound!

My accepted painting shown below is one that I had a lot of confidence in because of the subject matter, composition and loose execution.  Furthermore, the painting is a stand out example of my story telling approach that uses digital collage or in the illustration world, compositing.  Firestone Country Club is the setting where recognizable golfers are being interviewed by a young fan while a nondescript crowd looks on.  The golfers are from a 2005 tournament and the crowd is borrowed from one in 2011 .  I was please with the result and Robert Burridge seems to be so too.

Stay tuned for updates on the 2017 Exhibit Season.