3rd Annual Art Studio Show and Sale

2017 Art Studio Show and Sale

The holidays are only a few weeks away!  I can’t believe I’m already thinking about gifts for the family!  It’s been a busy summer of painting and working as the Artist in Residence at the Virginia Living Museum.   So …

Get ready for some amazing prices on my paintings for the 3rd Annual Art Studio Show and Sale!!!

When:  Friday, November 3, 2017

Time:  5:30 – 8:00 PM

Where:  Associates in Dermatology office,  17 Manhattan Square, Hampton, Virginia (map / directions)

Come by, browse, shop and bring a friend.  There will be many paintings offered in addition to those in the Aiderm offices.

See you at the 3rd Annual Art Show and Sale!

Artist Sketch Rambles

Artist Sketch RamblesI keep a folder of 8×10 and smaller incomplete sketches and carry it around with me. Many times they spark something and I will often paint over them. Over and over.

When I am feeling ambitious, I organize them according to category:  women, women and the beach, women at a wine bar, women on cave walls, women in cave walls playing musical instruments. You get the picture.

I also print out photos of my paintings in progress. Sometimes I realize (too late) the best work should have been left alone.

Rethinking and painting over a work is something I do when I am second guessing what others might think. This is always wrong.

Yet many times, even I, at late middle age (I am an optimist),  paint with someone looking over my shoulder  – metaphorically speaking.   Like my husband suggesting, “It needs more red.” Or perhaps a friend commenting, “What’s that curvy line all about?”  But I’m just considering what they may remark.

Then I look at art painted by others that works for me.  I know I could critique the heck out them, but my corrections would only make the spark disappear.

The answer is to paint until I feel that any more intellectual effort will deaden it and then stop.  Then check back a few days later and any real problems will shout at me. But if I still like the painting, I will leave it alone. Art (unless you were hired to do something specifically) is for you and not the world.

Once in a blue moon, I haul out some art books to try to understand color better.  You know.  Fill in the blanks of info I never learned. because I did not go to art school.

Primaries,

tertiary,

split tertiary,

squared infinity (just joking) and it all looks so mathematical.

I look at the paintings shown as examples and frankly most are so boring. Maybe I am just too critical, but it seems to me once you have painted for years, you should have some intuitive feeling about what clicks for you.

One story sticks with me…

The widow of a famous painter (whose colors were incredible) was asked what color theory he used. She responded that he did not have one.  He just kept painting until it felt right. Bingo!

So after several hours of painting color sketches using the books’ suggested pigment combinations I put it all away. They sucked.

No real lesson here.  Just a nudge to fellow artists who struggle with color to just persist.

(Love that -just persist- SHE PERSISTED – might make me a t-shirt)

Rambles Art Kids and Painted Antlers

Painted AntlersToday I hired my two neighbor kids , a brother and sister ages 8 and 10, to paint gesso on some canvases. They did a great job. They got the first coat on at least seven canvases.

I needed their help, but mostly I wanted to teach them about the act of doing art not just the painting techniques you learn in classes. I wanted to teach them about the preparation, the application, the reason for applying a base on a canvas (or on the deer antler they had given me) prior to painting, and of course the clean up.

They were surprised how much you can accomplish in an hour without racing and being sloppy. I set the timer for one hour and went through the whole process of setting up dropclothes on my deck, putting on old t-shirts and plastic gloves, getting out plastic containers,  brushes etc .

They were very attentive.

I told them the difference between being paid by the piece or by the hour, and how they would be assessed for their work. They worked quite hard and deserved their pay.

When they return from their vacation I will give them each one of the canvases,  I hope they will paint a memory of their trip out west as well as enjoy their painted antlers.  Hopefully they will continue to want to work for me!

Saying Goodbye to a Great Influence

This morning I learned that Fred Adair has died. Fred was my professor and mentor when I was at the College of William and Mary for my MEd in counseling and guidance. He was the one who supported me during those crucial days in 1972 when I was a feminist in a conservative area (I was removed from my internship at Warwick High School because of my progressive thoughts on women).  He helped me decide to pursue art instead and to accept the illustrator position at the Daily Press.

Fred was the essence of everything superlative one could say about another person. Kind, intelligent, funny, supportive … I could go on and on. We kept in touch throughout the years and I will miss him.

Message from W&M Provost

Artist Sharing About Life, Part 2

This continues my sharing from Part 1Go there first is if you haven’t already.

I drew everything that could not be photographed.

Rock concert and loss of hearing? No problem.  I used Edvard Munch’s “scream” running away from the musicians in the background.

Gay marriage in the 80’s?  No problem.  I asked two staffers to hold hands while I drew as fast as I could.

There were no iPhones and no time to process photos so I sketched very quickly- everything from religion and science, to politics and editorial cartoons.

I was allowed to go outside the building on location to sketch films like the George Washington mini-series and a film about crabbing.

I flashed my press pass and talked my way onto the Colonial Parkway in Williamsburg after it shut down for President Reagan’s visit. Me and hundreds of turkeys. 

I drew a revolutionary re-enactor in Yorktown while he told me about his messy divorce.

I talked my way to the top of the five tallest buildings in the area to sketch what I saw.

I learned to have someone evaluate my drawing for those stupid little mistakes, that in our haste, we sometimes forget we do; like making a common object resemble a genital organ.

I sketched in the jail, talked my way onto a Navy shuttle to the Canadian Tall ship, The Blue Nose, to sketch.  I figured I could talk my way anywhere!

I did courtroom art for the daily paper.

This is a specialty that no one trains for. You just do it. I did interview the dean of courtroom artists and she told me she gained expertise in art school by drawing the bodies in the morgue. Just like the stories you read about the old masters in Europe.

The courtroom is probably the most difficult of drawing situations. Utter and complete quiet. (They hated anyone who used Magic Markers because of the squeak)  I was fixed in the seat I chose or was able to squeeze into and drew from there – whether I could see anything or not. The one lesson I learned was that everyone who speaks to a crowd (lawyers, judges, etc.) always reverts to their familiar  poses. If they are fond of folding their arms they will eventually go back to that position so I would make numerous “starts” and go back to them to complete them when the person went back to the position.

Trial Art for Artist Sharing about life

I was only asked to draw the courtroom cases if they were brutal, gory, or important.

In one dismemberment case, a witness was asked how tall the victim was and he responded by using his hands to gauge the size of the suitcase the body parts were stuffed into.

In another murder case the forensic dentist was testifying how the bite marks on the victim’s thighs were from the teeth of the accused.

John Walker was on trial for spying for the Russians, but I drew the Arthur Walker spy trial. Arthur was his brother who appeared on the first day bedecked in a full toupee.  He shed it the second day and through the rest of the trial f0r a little loop in my drawing.

Never draw a judge with six fingers.

I learned many things about accuracy.  This is especially true when the drawing is on the front page of the daily newspaper above the fold. I got lots of critiques from the public. 

I studied photography with David Levinson. 

He was a photographer who led the professional world in NYC.  He pushed us into thinking and doing photography way past what we ever thought we would be able to do. Suffice to say he made people cry. But the work people did was incredible. 

I attended Thomas Nelson Community College to gain some expertise on photographing for reproduction. No one does that anymore since the computer does it all for you. But I did take photography classes.  I learned the old fashioned way with dark rooms and chemicals. I set up a lab at home and my poor kids were banished from the bathroom. 

I chose JoAnn Falletta

Downbeat - more artist sharing about lifeI decided I was going to do a series of women of accomplishment in traditionally male jobs,  I chose JoAnn Falletta, the conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, as my first subject.  She was also the music director for the Long Beach California Symphony Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. I cannot begin to describe her swath of accomplishments.

When I finally pursued my project long enough and hard enough, I was put through to her at last.  She allowed me and my 35mm camera onstage during the rehearsal of the Bruckner 4th.  I could not use a flash. 

The resulting photos showed a sweep of her baton.   The sound reverberating on the stage and through the floorboards where I sat in the violin section will always be a high point in my memories. This experience started me on the road to adding movement to my art and still continues to influence me today.

An Artist Sharing About Life, Part 1

Artist sharing about life at SWCCA few weekends ago,  I gave a talk at Southwest Virginia Community College just before taking down my art display. You think college, you think college students, but there were alas only two that Sunday afternoon. But who could blame them.  It was a gorgeous spring day in the Virginia mountains.

I was going to lead with a brief … what can a wrinkled old artist from Newport News teach you about the art you will be creating in the future …  then taking back the word “wrinkled” in lieu of texture which is much more artistically valued. Everyone in my audience was wrinkled.  Instead I was forced to finesse that opening a bit. 

I almost broke out in a sweat.

I was thinking back to a  time when I was doing my art without an iPhone camera for photos and no scanners for the art to be published.  It was a time you were required to actually draw.  There was no social media and Google to expand your files of ideas and reference material.   I am not sure any current college-age student would even begin to appreciate the difficulties in reproducing art (which is what I did for 12 years as a newspaper illustrator). Wait.  I am getting ahead of myself.

I was a commuter to college. 

Campus was two buses each way. Since my immigrant parents did not think continuing education was a good thing for a girl who should get a job, bring home her paycheck and live at home, I managed to pay for college through scholarships.  In my scholarship application, I wrote about being a first generation American and my life.  Guess I pulled enough sympathy from those who did the selecting that I got my education taken care of.  I  also worked after classes to have pin money.

I majored in Psychology. 

I was naive.  I loved the course selection, but did not realize you can do nothing without obtaining a graduate degree.  I got a job at Electric Boat in New London, Connecticut.  I spent my time there organizing the library for the Human Factors section.  It was books and papers.

About the jumper off the sixth floor?

I met a submarine doctor.  We got married, and moved to Houston.  There I worked at a charity hospital as a psychiatric social worker.  Once again, I had no experience.   I screened patients who had mental issues. 

Lock your door there’s a guy with knife.
Did you hear about the jumper from the 6th floor?
Good news is he did not land on the folks waiting for the bus.
Very interesting place.

I also schlepped patients from the ER to the mental institution. 

How do I know he is mentally ill?
Talk to him for 5 minutes. 
He’s probably just an alcoholic (think not really dangerous).

Me, a 28 year old mom, with complete strangers in the backseat of our Chevy Malibu.  Me, signing my name, affirming they needed to be committed. I almost breakout just thinking about it.

Then we moved to Duke and then to Virginia. 

By now I’ve had 2 babies.

Everyone at that time was a stay at home mom, but I enrolled in William and Mary College for a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling.  It took 4 years.

The Feminist movement just beginning. I was active. I got fired from an internship at a local high school for encouraging girls to ask for a shop class. The girls came to me. But the principal and the department heads were very threatened.

All in all, my hard-earned degree did not matter since I took a part-time job as an illustrator for daily paper.  Actually, it was more like the morning and evening paper with full-time work for part-time pay.  But I loved it.  Every story for the newsroom was a challenge. 

Stay tuned for more in Part 2 next week.

Don’t Miss Gloria Coker’s Upcoming Art Shows this Spring!

bicycles-flying at spring Art Shows

It’s been a busy spring already. I’m happy to be painting and doing some traveling. I wanted to share some art shows if you’d like to see some great art this spring.

I was asked to participate in the Southwest Virginia Community College Festival of the Arts.  The show began on April 2 and wraps up on Sunday, April 30th.  I’m looking forward to some fresh mountain air (it’s got to be cooler there than in Newport News!!) and sharing about art with the students there. 

Also this weekend begins the Field Day Art Gallery at Norfolk Academy.  Can you believe they’ve been producing this art show and school fundraiser for 33 years?  I will be featured among 100 other artists.  The show will only run through May 10th.  If you’re in the area, stop by and enjoy a broad collection of art.

Twenty of my bicycle paintings are being included in a unique show at the Williamsburg Library.  The Bicycle Art and Culture Show begins with a Gala (and bike ride) on May 1st.  You can enjoy the bicycle paintings through June 15th.

 

 

Post Holiday Letter 2016

The holidays have come and gone- almost- and the survivors go back to their version of normal.  With the prevalence of family photo Christmas cards I now see how wonderfully (as Garrison Kellor says) above average your family members are.  And there must not have been any disasters this year. They look too happy.  I am now aware of  many wonderful places there are in this world that you have  visited (though after you factor out the insecurities of actual traveling there and the adventure of global travel in the age of terrorism I am less in awe).

So backing up.   Holiday stress  all started before Halloween, way back in October.  And then adding in another stresser called President election campaigning 2016 which had started almost 2 years before.  As if the usual end of year holidays weren’t stressful enough.  Then we jump into the Christmas season.

I won’t get into the commercialization of Christmas (I say Christmas but you all know what I mean- the whole shebang. Everyone gets caught up in it ). In my family we also have November and December and January birthdays and anniversaries which only add to the excitement.

It is now written into our DNA that we have to buy presents (darn Magi, why didn’t they  just stay home) .  When did buying  more and more stuff before the old stuff was used up or broken become necessary to life in this country?  For the hard- to- buy -for we have thousands  of gift cards available. Encouraging us to buy more stuff we don’t need.  Is there a land of lost gift cards?

Anyway enough rant. Time for a new tradition- my post holiday letter.  I have in the past enjoyed writing my family’s Christmas letter. Tried to make them funny and surprising.  Do you remember Luke discovering the painless cure for male pattern baldness?

Celebration is not the word I would use to discuss my recent birthday unless  surviving is cause for celebration. All those infirmities we heard our aged folks talk about are now our main points of discussion. 

Oh well, my role models continue to be the 86 year old nun who still runs Ironman races and the 78 year old woman who is a weight lifting champion. No, I do not do those things, but they are still my role models.

You all want to know if I am still painting. Yes, I am not infirm and can still hold a brush. Don’t want to rest on my laurels. So prepare for something new. Sadly I never was asked to be in the Miami Basel Art Fair. I guess my non-socially significant dancers and musicians and figures are not edgy enough. Always wondered about the word edgy. Makes me feel insecure. But yes, I paint therefore I am. Descartes? And the best is still yet to come.

When you have few minutes during your online surfing, every once in a while, check out my website and Facebook. If I am a future Georgia O”Keefe you don’t want to miss out.

This year might be good for art sales – who knows how many people who are tired of hanging onto their money might be realizing insecurity is the new normal and thus buying something that makes you happy  is a good thing. I will be glad to oblige. I will even be offering the opportunity to purchase art that has been scanned and can be printed as giclees. Yes, a French word for high -end printing.  The finished product is amazing.  Stay tuned for more details on their availability

So long for now.  Have a happy, merry, joyful new year.

Lion Fish III

Thoughts from an Artist

Thought I’d share some of my thought process as I get creative …

I am incubating.

Not really a fun time for me. Why can’t I be inspired by a new subject? Or should I play with different ways / techniques of handling the themes I have maybe become too comfortable with- dancers, musicians, people in activities. As much as I try to break away from realism I know myself well enough to accept that I will always have something recognizable in my work.

So I have to push my own envelope.

Every gallery and show …

Every gallery and show I see seems overwhelmingly filled with super realistic art. Are we living in such chaotic times that more structure makes us feel secure? But then there is the in your face cutting edge art in the magazines that I just don’t get. Looking for the middle ground- art that evokes emotion. Now that is where I want to be. I will keep plugging away.

Painting Black and White

Last week I painted some flying herons at the Virginia Living Museum where I paint once a week. But I used only black and white acrylic. It was fun and I will do more. They are little 8×10 and will be in the Hampton Art Center Miniatures and Small Works by Tidewater Artists opening on December 10, 2016. I have always loved black and white and keep several at home so I will not be tempted to sell them. There’s something about sloshing paint around without worrying about color.

Developing concepts and painting them is a process.  Mine is constantly evolving as my life continues to ebb and flow and change and grow.  Looking forward to what is to come.

 

Countdown to Annual Holiday Art Show and Sale

I’ve been busy gathering my paintings from recent shows and far flung galleries in time to share them with you at Annual Holiday Art Show and Sale.  You’ll find art of all sizes from 8 x 10 to large wall-sized paintings.  You’ll also find a broad selection of different themes from sports and dancing, to people and landscapes.  Don’t miss my animal paintings created during my time at the Virginia Living Museum.

Get ready for some great pricing for your holiday gift giving!

Come by, browse, shop and bring a friend.  Here’s the scoop . . .

When:  Friday, November 4, 2016

Time:  5:30 – 8:00 PM

Where:  Associates in Dermatology office,  17 Manhattan Square, Hampton, Virginia (map / directions)

Looking forward to seeing you on Friday evening!

Holiday Show and Sale