How My Dance Series Started

Among most couples I believe one is a dance lover and the other, well, not so much a dance lover. I would bet the former is female. My husband, Luke, could have, with no intention to do bodily harm, broken every toe on my feet in an effort to make me happy on the dance floor. So I finally had him begrudgingly sign up with me for private ballroom dance lessons.
 
For three years we learned everything from the jitterbug to the tango.  We attended exhibitions and dance socials. We danced and danced.  We got to be pretty good before we moved on to learning tai chi and then yoga.

The movement of the dancers was of great interest to Gloria, the painter.  Here my dance series started.  Once I learned the correct posture, forms, and positions of the typical dancers, it was not much of a stretch to render them on paper and canvas. Gown colors were interchangeable as were the fore and backgrounds. Who knew that the waltz could be performed on the edges of cliffs that dropped off into raging Maine rocky coastlines. Or fluttered on hilltops in the spring.  Or shimmied in the shallow shorelines of the mid Atlantic. All in elegant flowing colors – especially a touch of red.

The painting style for my dance pieces ranged from fairly static in my early work to a much more abstract looseness as I got more comfortable. The evolution in style mirrored our growing comfort on the dance floor itself.  Funny how my paintings can be so similar to our real life.
 
When I began my dance series, I thought I would enjoy the movement and the color and maybe some folks would find them agreeable. I had no clue there were so many romantic art collectors out there! Trouble is they still want them, but I am no longer inspired!
 
Dance Studio 22.5x30 - My Dance Series Started

How My Music Series Started

Now that the novelty of staying at home has worn off, I can honestly say screw cleaning and organizing! Even the idea that I will actually do any of it, including cooking from scratch, is gone. So I may as well just sit in the sun, read, and blog.

Life in the time of Corona Virus comes close to what I imagined life in a retirement village without the socializing might be like.

I wake up late, have breakfast, read the newspaper, and amazingly it is almost lunch.

I don’t have to run errands. In fact I am told not to by authorities and family – although I have joined the masked brigade at Costco.

Maybe now is a great time to tell you how I started my music series.

Letting Loose Jazz After Midnight 36x48 from my Music Series

Letting Loose Jazz After Midnight 36×48

For years I dabbled in watercolor and my subjects were from my environment. I took a class while Luke was at Duke University. There I learned the variety of colors and tones I could make from French Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber to Payne’s Gray. I painted boats, barns, beaches, etc. That worked for a while. As did all my drawings for the Daily Press. A subject for another time.

Then I launched into acrylics because I was too impulsive to plan my moves to achieve my painting goals. Besides oils messed with my asthma. With acrylics, I enjoyed the freedom of being able to paint and repaint and scratch out and gesso over.

It was the 1980’s and I had campaigned for women’s issues. This led me to think about doing art related to women of accomplishment.

But who to paint.

I didn’t personally know anyone outside the newspaper industry. I finally decided on JoAnn Falletta, music director for the Virginia Symphony. I knew about her and how well-liked and well-respected she was (and still is today!).

So how difficult could it be to ask her if she would be my first subject. A lot. Well it was difficult to even get in touch with her. I left messages at her office that were never answered but I persisted.

Eventually one evening I got a call from Long Beach, California and it was JoAnn on the line. I tried to impress her with my art credentials and I guess I did not appear to be a total deviant. She invited me to take photos of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra onstage at the Chrysler while they rehearsed the Buckner Fourth. No flash of course. This predated the ease of the iPhone camera so I tried to be unobtrusive with my non-digital, old school film Nikon.

Not so easy when I really wanted to be a part of the orchestra. Even behind the violins, crouching on the floor,I just wanted to do nothing but be a voyeur. But I had a self-assigned job; To capture a diminutive conductor guiding a hundred instruments played by a hundred professional musicians.

And me with a film shutter speed of 400 using only available light so I could not freeze frame. When JoAnn waved her baton the camera captured the motion, the sweep of the baton through space.

When I finally developed the film I saw photo after photo of blurs and darkness. Very little detail and little to work with or so I thought. However the loss of the crutch of detail forced me to use whatever my imagination could generate to fill in the blanks.

Motion became my signature.

Joann ConductsAction and emotion grew more important than defining my subject.

My work with VSO lasted several years. My series began and ended with Ms. Falletta. But it was my start. I carried the blurriness of motion into other subjects including other musical forms like jazz and bluegrass, and then sports, and people in the street. Even now when I find myself leaning towards harder-edged realism I look back at those early paintings and tell myself that just because one learns how to technically achieve painting realism, maybe it should not be one’s ultimate goal.

Musings about Oceanview Amusement Park

A while back I was working on a commission for someone who asked me to paint her parents circa 1941 at Oceanview Amusement Park in Virginia Beach. I did enjoy getting all my research together and doing preliminary sketches. I enjoyed the stories through photos of the sailors who were deployed from Norfolk during World War II. They spent free time at Oceanview Amusement Park. The colors and movement of amusement parks and fairs have always interested me as an artist. When I worked as an illustrator at the Daily Press, I had the sad opportunity to watch the tear down of the iconic wooden roller coaster. I believe it took three times for the explosives to finally work. It was an end to another chapter in local history.
 
For my personal work, I am still searching for a realistic, but looser style. I know folks think that I already paint in a loose fashion. But I want to do it in a more confident manner. I want the brushstrokes, colors ,and shapes to carry the painting rather than the reality it is based on. If that sounds confusing, it is because maybe I am. I think of Jackson Pollock and how he would throw house paint on his canvases flat on the ground.  I try to think of how much excitement there was in that approach, but then I think about how much my back would hurt if I painted that way.
 
Having said that I would like to paint larger canvases despite the fact that I have nowhere to put them and most people are downsizing. Corporate world do you hear me? Tired of your prints that look like wallpaper samples? (Is that too mean?) Let’s talk. Meanwhile I continue my search for a new fresh series. Maybe I need to take my camera and do some exploring. But I think I will wait till it warms up.
Oceanview Amusement Park

Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen Gallery Show

Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen Gallery Show Painting of Colonial Girl in the GardenNovember has been a busy month for art shows for me this year!  Thank you so much for your continued support and attendance.  I love getting to see you and share my latest paintings with you. 

For my friends around Richmond, Virginia, come join me in Glen Allen for my Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen Gallery Show.  The opening will be Thursday, November 21, 2019 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. 

I’ve been busy painting in between shows this month.  Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Glen Allen Joy of Life Show

Celebrating the 5th Annual Art Show and Sale

5th Annual Art Show and Sale

Enjoy special pricing on my paintings for the 5th Annual Art Studio Show and Sale!!!

When:  Friday, November 8, 2019

Time:  5:30 – 7:30 PM

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

Come by, browse, shop and bring a friend. 

Buy a holiday gift. 

Munch on some delicious hors d’oeuvres. 

Drink a bit of wine.

There will be many paintings offered not to mention those hanging throughout the Associates in Dermatology offices.

See you at the 5th Annual Art Show and Sale!

Town Center City Club Art Show and Sale

It’s summer time (or at least it feels like it outdoors!) so that means it’s time for wonderful art show and sale.  I’ve had paintings on display at the Town Center City Club for a while now.   It’s a lovely private club for business professionals in Virginia Beach.  It is one of the premier venues for business meetings, corporate vents, fundraisers, weddings, retirements and other special events. 

Come out and join me on Friday, June 28 at 6:00pm for champagne and desserts.  It’s a great opportunity to see the Town Center City Club and take in (or take home) some of my latest paintings.  Rumor has it, I’ll be doing some painting during our time there. 

Here’s the scoop:

Join us for Champagne and Desserts
Where: The Town Center City Club, 222 Central Park Avenue #230, Virginia Beach, VA
When:  Friday, June 28, 2019
Time: 6:00 pm until 8:30 pm
RSVP: Barbara Lewis (757) 490-8317 or Jan Digiovanni (757) 241-0666

Guatamalan Woman at Town Center City Club Art Show

2018 Art Show Success and More

Getting ready for the 2018 Art Show and SaleThanks to all who made my 4th Annual Art Show and Sale last night at Associates in Dermatology enjoyable and successful. I had an opportunity to meet and talk to everyone who came.  I am looking forward to next year’s party already!  

In the meanwhile, excepting the small pieces that were exhibited in the reception room on display panels, the remaining art will continue to hang for the holiday season or until they are needed elsewhere. If you were unable to attend the showing last night, contact me for an appointment.  We can schedule a time for you to see the paintings after regular business hours or on the weekend.

Thanks again to all who came out!

 

ARTS on Main Show in Gloucester, Virginia

ARTS on Main ShowYou may have noticed many of my recent shows have been closer to home, but there are so many amazing venues to view great art in coastal Virginia!   I am honored to be exhibiting at the ARTS on Main from October 5 – 27, 2018.  If you hail from the Northern Neck or Gloucester area, this a great opportunity to check out this wonderful facility for the arts right in your backyard.

Here’s the scoop:

ARTS on Main
Poetry, Music & Motion
October 5 – 27
6580 B Main Street
Gloucester, VA 23061
804-824-9464

I’ll be there for the Opening Reception on Friday, October 5 from 6PM – 8PM.    Hope you’re able to stop by and visit!

Meet Up with your Favorite Artist

East Beach Plein Air Art Escape

We’re all ready for a bit spring and some warmer days!  This coming weekend, I’ll be painting at the East Beach Plein Air Art Escape along with twenty of the top Plein Air artists on the East Coast.  We’ll be offering the paintings we do during the event for auction on Sunday.  Proceeds go to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.

I’ll be posting where I am on my Facebook page.  Come by and say hello.  We can sit and chat as I paint.

WHEN:  Friday, April 13 – Sunday, April 15

WHERE:  East Beach Bayfront Club, 4550 East Beach Dr, ​Norfolk, VA 23518

ART SHOW & LIVE AUCTION:  Sunday, April 15 | 4:00 – 5:30pm

More info

Painting at the East Beach Plein Air Painting Escape

An Afternoon with Gloria Coker

Did you know I have many of my paintings displayed at Associates in Dermatology?  If you’re interested in a personal viewing of the paintings with me, come join me on Wednesday, May 9th.  I may even be painting in the Waiting Room while I’m there.

WHEN:  Wednesday, May 9th

TIME:  12:30pm – 2:00pm

WHERE:  17 Manhattan Square, Hampton, VA 23666 (Directions)

 

Starting 2018 – Desire for Change

Summer Thoughts Sketch and Desire for Change

I think there may be a general misconception by the public. They see artists like me, who tend to get involved in what we loosely call creative pursuits, simply plodding along.  We go from one brilliant idea with a beginning, middle, and end.  We pause.  And then proceed to the next brilliant idea. Well, obviously most ideas are not brilliant.  However when we are in the inspiration phase, sometimes we feel that it could be the best work we’ve ever done.

Surprisingly to some, there are a lot more lengthy pauses where we feel, not just uninspired, but scared to death there will be no more brilliant ideas.  That the best we can hope for is to regurgitate the things we’ve done before, the tried-and-true, the successful (monetarily speaking).   I say we and I probably should not. Because this is just the way I feel.

So that was a lengthy lead in to the feelings I am having right now. I can always go back to painting the themes that people seem to recognize from me. But that is playing it safe. And you don’t learn and you don’t excel by playing it safe.  I’ve got a desire for change.

Then a painter like myself sits back and says, “All right so how do I not play it safe? 
What do I do differently?
Do I change my theme, my subject?
Do I change my technique?
Do I get more rigid or more exuberant?
Do I paint larger or smaller?
Do I tell a story or paint a feeling?
Do I paint more abstractly or with more representation?

Is the best really yet to come? I don’t know those answers right now, but I have to believe that the best is yet to come.

Fear not! I will continue to paint, because I can’t not paint. And you will be the first to know if I succeed in becoming inspired again. And it may be in the realm of technique and approach rather than subject.

I know where I play it safe. I know when I am painting for the public. But I also know that I am not getting any younger and I do not want to be merely spin my wheels.

If I want meaningful I have to give myself permission – to experiment, to waste paint, to fail.

Wish me luck!

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