Archive for August, 2008

15
Aug
08

Bluesfest 2008

    It is amazing where one piece of your artwork takes you. Bluesman, the piece shown above, was part of my exhibition with ceramist Herb Weaver this past spring. The exhibition, called Found and Faux, was held at the Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling, WV. Bruce Wheeler and his wife, Phyllis Sigal, attended the exhibition. Bruce and Phyllis put on the Heritage Blues Festival at Wheeling’s Heritage Port each August. Bruce asked what inspired Bluesman, as well as another piece in the exhibition, Bluesgirl (now owned by artist Cece Rose). I expained that I listen to music in the studio while I work, and a big portion of what I listen to is Blues. A few months later Phyllis contacted me to discuss using the piece for this years Bluesfest t-shirt. I was honored…. and pumped!

    Now my wife Chris and I have never attended Bluesfest. Each year we join her family for a week on Lake Erie at the same time Bluesfest is held. This year, however, we decided we would head back to Wheeling a few days early to attend Bluesfest. (As fate would have it, my father-in-law had some health issues a few days before we were to leave for Lake Erie, and our trip was cancelled.) We attended all three days of Bluesfest and had a great time! My son Jeremy joined us on Friday evening, while my son Shawn and his girlfriend Renai came on Saturday. The music, the people, the weather…. it was all good! The crowd was upbeat, yet well behaved and into the music. A real positive experience! Bruce and Phyllis have done a fantastic job to create a wonderful music event! Here are a just a few photos:



    And now I am inspired to get back into the studio and create some new blues-based artwork based on my experiences at Bluesfest. I just realized that I don’t have an image of the t-shirt! Got to take care of that!

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12
Aug
08

Summer in the Studio

    Back on May 27, when I started this blog, I stated that my goal was to write at least four entries a week. Ha! Here it is nearly mid-August and I have not written an entry since July 16. Perhaps I need a more realistic goal such as one entry per week. Hmmmm…. I will try that!

    My summer hiatus is almost at an  end. It is back to the college in two weeks. I just realized that “hiatus” is kind of a cool sounding word. Just for heck of it I decided to look it up and see if I have been using it correctly all these years. Hiatus:A break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc. Yep, that works. Summer is my time to break from teaching and work in the studio. On average, I put ten hours a day in the studio (some days longer), six days a week from mid-May to mid-August. Intermixed with that schedule are some mini-getaways that my wife and I try to plan during the summer months.

    I find it is a little tough getting back into teaching mode, and it is not easy to walk away from long days in the sanctuary of the studio. There is some anticipation about a new school year and wondering what this new crop of freshman will hold. I look forward to some great new work coming out of these young people in the next year.

    Recently, my wife and I noticed a billboard near our home that we both agreed was an “accidental artwork”. The billboard, located on National Road here in Wheeling, was exposing multiple layers that had been uncovered by by some recent winds and rain. I felt it was worthy of a photo, and about 10 hours after taking this picture we say a brand new shiny advertisement had been pasted over. The new ad does not have the character or the energy of its’ weathered predecessor.

    My piece Laughing Man with Green Hat is in the current Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Exhibition at the Andy Warhol Museum. Chris and I attended the opening on July 31, and were met there by friends Paul and Janice, along with members of their family. The opening night crowd was quite thick, and while we were excited to see the strong response to the opening, we found it nearly impossible to view the exhibition. We decided to go to dinner instead, and return within the next few weeks when viewing the exhibition should be much easier. I was pleased that my piece sold, and will now be in the collection of the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

    For the past five years, Chris and I have made the drive to the Ohio State Fair in Columbus. This huge event is full of animals, amusements, butter sculptures, carnival barkers, cotton candy, cheese-on-a-stick, and art. Yes,ART! The annual Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition is held in the Cox Fine Arts Building on the fairgrounds. This year 300 works were selected from over 800 submitted. Some of my favorites for 2008 are: Route 33, Summer Morning by Andrea Stern, an art quilt whose subject is a water tower; Untitled, by Jaime Bennati, appears to be a large piece of coral, yet it is constructed of rolled newspapers and glue; all three of the wonderful totem-like towers created by artist Josh Foy; Serenading the Rooster, oil enamel on masonite, by Lynda McClanahan; the series of three works in acrylics by painter Mary Ann Crago; and there is so much more! Unfortunately, photography of the artwork is not permitted, or I would have shared some of this great work with you using more than words. Hats off to the Ohio State Fair Fine Arts committee for another excellent, inspiring exhibition! 

    Now it’s back to the studio…. and including a little prep time for the new semester!