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.

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

Day at the Museum

Today at the Virginia Living Museum, I was sketching the red wolves.  A group of school children stopped by and about five of the 4th graders were so interested in my discussing how I sketched and other things about the wolves, they never turned around to actually watch the wolves play.  But I think there may be a budding artist in the group. That was reward for me.

The most memorable event was when I sat down on  a bench in front of the fish/turtle aquarium to watch the children as they watched the turtles. A group of boys were absolutely entranced with how close they could get to the turtles.  The turtles would swim up to the surface and then just stare back at the boys. When it was time to leave, the boys slowly walked away. One boy turned and stepped back to the tank, bent down over the water surface, looked down on the turtle and whispered “I love you.”

Just made my day.

Fish Tank at VLM

LIVE at the Museum

Artist-in-Residence at Virginia Living MuseumTomorrow will be my first day painting in front of 180 school children at the Virginia Living Museum.  As a new artist-in-residence, I’m a bit apprehensive to see how it all works out.

I’m no stranger to creating a painting in front of a live audience.  I started “live” paintings during my time as a court artist.  But being surrounded by curious school-aged children will be new for me.

I’m looking forward to sharing and reaching so many open-minded children with art.  Who knows?  Maybe I can influence the next Matisse or Picasso.  At the very least, these delightful children will have a chance to see an artist at work.

Artistic Shower Insight

You step into the shower having removed your glasses or contacts and proceed to wash your hair, but OMG which bottle has the shampoo (because you can’t see a thing and they ALL LOOK ALIKE).  The nerds who design the tubes and jars and bottles either bathe with their glasses on or don’t at all. And we are left to choose from products which announce the brand name in large type and everything else in teeny type or French!  Or yellow on white or clear jars. To which I say what the hay!!!!!

So I resort to my trusty sidekick the magic marker. BW for body wash, a giant S for, you guessed it, shampoo etc etc.

Don’t get me started on the samples – plastic unreusable litter.

You Know It is Hot . . .

I wrote this last August – you probably remember our hot spell. I am  back home today.   It was wonderfully cool and beautiful in Maine.

Anyway I will try to come up with some bon mots to rival the Jeff Foxworthy’s You Know You’re a Redneck when——

You know it’s hot when the greeters at Costco backup to halfway into the building.
You know it’s hot when you need gloves to drive your car.
You know it’s hot when your glasses fog up so much they drip.
You know it’s hot when your dog starts peeing inside- in your plants
You know it’s hot when your garden tomatoes burn the mouths of the squirrels
You know it’s hot when the glass beads in your necklace burn a hole in your blouse.
You know it’s hot when your flipflops stick to the parking lot.
You know its hot when Fedex warns of exploding bubblewrap.
You know it’s hot when you don’t need propane to cook on your grill

What would you add on . . .?

Hot Summer Night at the Fair

Hot Summer Night PaintingDespite the fact that we have been going to Busch Gardens since it opened it never occurred to me to see the park as a subject for my art.

Then through my daughter I became friends with the family that runs the fair that comes to Hampton every year. The  carnival at night was more like the ones we went to as children-rides on a smaller scale, hot dog stands, popcorn, lots of kiddie rides all on a footprint the size of a parking lot. And me snapping away till I had a file full of reference material.

Chinatown Memories in Art

ChinatownChinatown started as something else which is par for the course in my painting life. It started as another New Orleans street scene but I guess I must have added a sign with red in it that spoke more of memories of chinatowns in various cities. So if you will forgive my unedited use of  squiggles to represent signage and think more of an impression than the real life street you will have an idea of what I am trying to convey- which is a joyous nighttime street scene.

Chinatown started as something else which is par for the course in my painting life. It started as another New Orleans street scene but I guess I must have added a sign with red in it that spoke more of memories of chinatowns in various cities. So if you will forgive my unedited use of  squiggles to represent signage and think more of an impression than the real life street you will have an idea of what I am trying to convey- which is a joyous nighttime street scene.

An Inspirational Trip

Dancing the Bourbon Street TangoBourbon Street Tango is a work that resulted from a trip to New Orleans in February.   I was walking in the French Quarter and happened upon a group of musicians and a dancing couple.  I joined the crowd to watch them perform for the next hour and bought their CD.   I play their CD when I want to paint something that has movement such as these dancers.  I actually dance while I am painting which leads to quite a few water bucket spills and paint splashes on myself my surroundings.

This piece hangs in the  Norfolk Academy until May 8th.  Come enjoy their art show and sale.

I will be adding new art

Notice all the color and movement

Now that I am getting more familiar with the act of blogging I hope be be a frequent blogger (do I get miles??

Pin It on Pinterest