Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wake up call!

It's the last few days of the year and I have to say it's quite a change from last year and the dismal holidays I had after the break up with my loved one. The wounds seem to be healing and yes I can smile and laugh at life most of the time these days. A big part of the healing process was just getting busy with a new job this year. It gave me some positive hope in my life and the sense I could work through most of my problems. Being around some good people, finding new friendships and widening my social circle helped a great deal as well.

The point I'd like to make is that I feel blessed to be exactly where I am today! I've had a few wake-up calls these past few days with a fender bender on Hwy 400 and then today I helped get a friends dad to the emergency room with a heart attack. He will be alright once he has his double bypass sometime in the next few days. This event has set my mind in motion and brought up some fears I personally have. The parallels between myself and the heart attach victim are just too similar to miss. I haven't digested the experience properly yet so haven't come up with any concrete ways to express my feeling about it. I can feel things churning inside though and know this will lead me down a path to express myself about the condition I choose to live with.

As a rough passage of paint, I'd say what I'm feeling is some fear around being in the same boat.
I live alone as a middle aged male with a limited number of close friends who I don't stay in touch with on a daily basis. I suppose I would be missed at work or if I didn't check in after 3 or 4 days. I also have some deeper scars around whether I'd blow off my symptoms until it was too late. I have a way of rationalizing my pains and odd sensations as well as a healthy dose of skepticism about the medical profession.

I'll pick this conversation up later as my visual ideas emerge. Till then, I want you to think over your plan B and what you might do in the face of a medical emergency!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Where has the year gone?

OK, I've had that song by Rod Stewart running in my head all evening, Maggie May! It's way past late September, in fact creeping up to mid November already and I'm already in school almost everyday. The great thing is that I'm the teacher and get to choose how I'm going to spend time teaching people the art of making a mess in mud or paint! I love my job!

This lovely little piece was done at Shane McDonalds Group. I've been painting with that group for the past 15 years. This was a particularly lovely pose and the addition of the mask added a sense of mystery.

So where have I been the past month plus. Well to catch you up I've traveled a few times to paint, bought a new car, went on a couple of dates, saw the Da Vinci show at the High Museum and installed a scar crow my class at the Benson Center made at the Atlanta Botanical Garden to just mention a few things. I've also pushed a little paint around myself and would like to share some of the images with you now. Please take some time to look over what I've made lately and feel free to leave a comment, encouragement or just go ahead and throw money at me. I'll need it for the new car payment "yikes"!

Finally finishing this portrait study I started several months ago.

This is Ellaine who sat for the first week of my painting from life class. This Demo shows that you can move paint around quickly and still get a good likeness.

This lovely little piece was done at Shane McDonalds Group. It still feels incomplete to me but I have little interes in bringing it to a finsh.

This lovely woman stepped in to take a models place after she missed her appointment. What a wonderful surprise.

Driving up to Highland I finally ran out of patience and had to pull over to paint this misty scene. I and everything I was wearing or using got soaked but it was worth the effort.

A month ago I stopped just outside the gate of Fort McPherson on Lee Street in Atlanta to paint this scene at sunset.
the brilliance of the light was fantastic and as the light shifted to the reds and pinks at sunset and the whole scene came alive.

I call this piece "Out of the mist". It is by far my favorite I accomplished on our trip to Highlands. The layers of trees and the subtle changes of muted colors made this a particularly challenging painting. One which I feel is completly successful.

This was the view from the cabin I stayed at in Highland NC. It was a rainy cold foggy day and a few of us decided to stay at the cabin and paint off the covered porch. Happily I got two paintings done and both were pretty strong representations of the atmospheric conditions we encountered on our trip.

This old barn sits on the road to Sky Land GA. from Hwy 106 between Dillard and Highland NC. I couldn't pass up the early morning light on the roof and the autumn colors of the trees.

I've looked at this barn for years just off Wiggly Road on the back side of Sweat Mtn. in Cobb County. I painted this Saturday morning along the roadside.

This is a quick little painting done along Abernathy Road in Sandy Springs GA. I stopped one Friday afternoon after work to capture the light on the trees last week.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Work from some of my students and some new pottery from me!

I wanted to post some of the work being done by my students in the art classes I teach both at the Benson Center in Sandy Springs as well as the Woodstock Community Center. I had 3 students enter work in "Art of the Golden Age". This was a juried show for people over 50 and is being shown at the Cobb/Marietta Art Museum. Go by and check it out!

Juana Giles
Juana has been painting with me for the past 5 years and does pieces along the line of this painting of places and people. Most of her subject matter is about other cultures or the blending of foreign with American culture.

Joy Potter
Joy has always been interested in painting portraits and slice of life scenes like this one. She has become a very solid painter and taken on some commission work.

Cate Dodd

Cate got two pieces accepted to the show, each of which are wonderful on their own. Her work has also gotten some very favorable responses from all of you on Facebook. I'll make sure to pass on your comments to her.

The following portrait sculptures are from my class at the Benson Center in Sandy Springs. I had a small class of 7 to start with and each student produced an almost life size bust of someone close to them. Each bust took quite a bit of time and I feel each of these students were successful in capturing their subject. Not bad work for the first piece of sculpture any of them had made!

Doris Brassfield. Bust of her niece.

Rosemary Dashiell, "Wilson" her nephew.

Mugsy Cole "Penny" her husband!

I've been having fun teaching the classes at the Benson Center but I've also had the opportunity to work in clay for the first time in over 30 years. I've always loved and collected pottery as well as sculpting but haven't kept it up due to space limitations as well as time. Finally I get to play in the mud again! The following are pieces I've made in the past month or so.

This group of pottery are pieces I've produced as samples for my hand-building class. My skills need a bit of work still but it's coming back to me slowly. The pieces to the right were made using the coil method and the ones on the left were made using the slab method. I teach techniques like creating stamps and textures for surface decoration as well as combining glaze methods to create interesting and organic forms and surfaces.

Sculpting has always be of keen interest to me and in particular figurative and portrait sculptures. This is a small demo sample to show students how to model a bust and finish the surface. The look is rather classical so I added a dark bronze finish to the surface of this clay sculpture to reinforce that idea.

On the far less traditional side is this fellow! I teach students in the Adult Day Care Program at the Benson Center. I was asked to head the project of creating a scarecrow to be shown at the Atlanta Botanical Garden this October. The participants suffer from a wide range of cognitive and physical limitations but by working together were able to complete this very involved and extensive project. I created the face out of clay by draping a slab into a bowl till it set up and was rigid enough to be worked on. I added the features of the face by building clay up on the surface and where needed cutting openings in the clay shell. I then drew in the lines to show were the color breaks would be. The participants painted the face and even added glitter. Glitter always makes everything better, right!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Creative Projects at work!

Today I'd like to share some of the projects I've been working on at the Dorothy C. Benson Center . It's been a bit busy the past few months and I've had a great time teaching art classes there. For example the collage piece which was done as a sample demonstrating several techniques in my Mixed Media Class or the vase which I made in my Hand-Building Class.


Hand-built Vase

I've been teaching oil painting, drawing, clay hand-building and mixed media classes which have given me the opportunity to explore and work in areas I haven't for some time now. Teaching gives me the chance to get outside my normal realm of painting and stretch myself into areas not often traveled. I've just completed my second session of classes at the center and people are finally coming around after seeing some of the work being produced in my classes. The students are great to work with and recently the center had sign-ups for the next session, where I filled all of the 6 classes I'm teaching. I'll be teaching 2 painting classes, one in oils from life and the other in acrylics. I'll also continue my mixed media class as well as drawing. Two new classes I'll be teaching are sculpting in clay which will cover both representational as well as contemporary abstract sculpture techniques and an open studio class on Fridays where I can help students on a more personal level with their class projects. I'm looking forward to the start of the new session which begins on October 5th.

The following photos are of a scarecrow in progress being entered into a competition at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. I uploaded the drawing yesterday so wanted to add the following shots so you could see the real thing. It was delivered to the Atlanta Botanical Garden on Friday of the week.

At last he came together, time for a well deserved beer at the Botanical Gardens! This is Judy who helped sew the hair pieces together and myself

He stands about 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Not a small undertaking! The project took about two months to complete with the participants working on him about 6 hours a week. In total about 30 people added there hearts and hands into the making of this fellow.


This photo shows the participants and staff who contributed to the project. I'm the rather large fellow dressed in black with the hat on to the right side of the photo.

This is a composite of several photos showing parts of the project.

The happy fellow above is a concept for a scarecrow I'm helping to create with my students at the Adult Day Care facility. One of the students came up with the concept which the group then took and developed further. We are calling this a psychodelic scarecrow but the theme is really more about the 60's and the peace and love movements which were so much a part of that time. The scarecrow will be part of a display at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens starting next week. I look forward to seeing him there and would encourage you to go and check out the gardens before the weather cools off.

Above is a wall graphic I developed for the Benson Centers 10th Anniversary. It provides a map of the facility and an outline of the responsibilities of the three entities who share the complex. I designed, photographed and produced the piece using Adobe software on my mac laptop. This was pretty run of the mill stuff in my past advertising life but seems well appreciated with the people I'm working with currently.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day at the Atlanta Zoo

As part of a benefit to raise money for Zoo Atlanta and the Panda's I and several other artists spent the day drawing and painting plein air. I thought I might share some of the many incredible sights I and others saw that day. If you get a chance go check out the animals!
Special thanks go to the Cobb Marietta Museum for helping organize this event.

Eating ...

Eating ...

Eating ...

Are you beginning to see a pattern develop here!

This guy was incredible and sort of made my day at the zoo. What a beautiful animal. He is an Asian Lepoard and very rare and endangered. Amazing to watch!

Wow, what can you say after that!

Here Kitty Kitty Kitty. . .

OK, the Bengal Tiger rocks! He was very playful and needed to cool his heels after a good 15 minute bought of being active and checking out the crowds of people watching him.

Here are some of the more usual but no less stellar stars of the show! Enjoy!

South American Monkey


Black Rhino, very endangered and really cute in a rugged sort of way!

African Elephant, She is a real sweet heart and very photogenic!

Zebra, common on the African Plains but wonderful to watch.

Hope you enjoy the photos and it inspires you to take a trip to the Zoo!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day weekend, New Art!

"Farther down the track"
Happy Labor Day, I'm toiling away at pushing some paint around this 3 day weekend. This first little offering was painted plein air yesterday from 5:30 to 8pm. It's just across the street from my loft and since moving in I've wanted to paint it. Something about those strong vanishing points as well as the many layers of greens. Personally I think it was a success.

" Three Bad Apples"
In spite the fact that this appears to be a still life, it in fact is a narrative piece with personal meaning to me. It is in fact a portrait of my relationship with two friends, each of which are going through a personal crisis. I myself have a few of those beautiful blemishes that life provides us and have the scars to prove it. In this present time I see more of my friends struggling not only financially but with relationship and health issues, lack of work and in general low self esteem. This too will pass though as all things do. I'm an optimist, OK!

"Metropolitan Nude Study"
I've found a hidden treasure in my neighborhood! There has been a group of artists meeting for the past 8 years for figure drawing on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9:30 at Metropolitan College.
The group is organized by James Taylor and is small, but talented. We meet in room 343 in building 500 and the cost is $10.00 USD. We meed in the colleges art studio so there are easels and tables available to use. Painting and drawing is OK and the group does one long pose for most of the night after a few gesture poses to warm up. I like it because the long pose gives me an opportunity to paint something nearly to the complete stage. Come join us!

"Terry and Sue Powers House"
I was invited to paint at a friends house with several of my painting buddies. What a wonderful day, sitting out painting the best that summer has to offer before the fall comes and most of the flowers go away. Terry is a big gardener and this year everything really took off. It's almost jungle like getting to his front door but the color and smells are well worth the trip. Terry doesn't drink coffee so bring your own!

"Ellijay Creek"

I started this little acrylic piece two years ago and since have walked by it every day with it talking to me. So since I had the paint out I added just those final touches to finish it. Ahhh,
all better now!

Hope you had a happy and productive Labor Day, now get back to the paint brushes!