A Blog about Finding Inspiration

"We have a wonderful world to be inspired by and each new day is like an adventure into the unknown, where things that require a second glance can be captured in time on a canvas for anyone to enjoy forever." (Louise Corke)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Making a Statement with Art 2 '11

Not the legacy I wish to leave

I just learned that the next meeting of one of my local art guilds will feature a critique session conducted by a well known local artist, 'whose claim to fame' is being socially controversial.   I had the misfortune of seeing this person critique  artists at another guild earlier this year. It seems he made his reputation looking for controversial social topics for his paintings.

In his opinion, if the art work wasn't  'edgy', and  shocking,  it wasn't worth viewing.

 I understand the reasoning from a marketing point of view. If my latest work is tagged on the internet with a controversial subject. label,  I am certain to get more hits from people interested in that topic.  Most of those viewer have little or no interest in my art, but the stat counters doesn't show that.  It only reports the number of people who have clicked on my web page.  The more clicks, the more popular and successful I appear to those who do not know better... but I do.  If I am truly  committed to a cause, then I am all for using my art as an instrument of change.  However painting controversial subjects just to make a buck is  not only boring . it is a waste of my talent and my viewers time..

Recently,  I ran across a blog post  from artist, Roger Bansemer ,who expressed my sentiments exactly.  He said:  "I have tired of looking at art that has been made convey social statements or to shock. There is altogether too much of it in the 24 hour a day news to entice me to spend much time looking at one more opinion. For myself, I need to look at something that takes me away from the upset and offer instead sense of permanency the world has existed in for so long without needing change. A mountain is as beautiful as it has always been. It doesn't need to update itself. I think we all need a rest from the shock. That's what I try and do with the paintings. I navigate to paintings without a message to offend, surprise, upset, or alarm. Paintings that give a respite from that is what I need."  Roger Bansemer 7/09/06

Thank you, Roger, for providing a moment of sanity.   More chaos thrust in our faces is not what what a shock weary world needs right now. A  reminder of the importance of beauty and serenity is.  You are truly a kindred spirit.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Brookgreen Waterlilies I

Spring is near and I am dreaming of flowers and warm days.
Original oil painting : " Brookgreens Waterlilies I"
I took a stroll  through Brookgreen Gardens last week.  Not much is in bloom yet, but the walk did inspire me to go back and review some of the photos I took there last Spring and summer.  The photos  I captured of  the waterlilies in the Alligator Fountain  brought back sweet memories of warm sunny days.  I  used the photo below as the basis for the painting above.

My  original reference photo of the waterlilies in Brookgreen's Alligator Fountain

Georgetown Lighthouse 2 '11

I  recently took a boat tour of South Carolina's Winyah Bay.  The tour included a visit to North Island and its  Georgetown Lighthouse.  I was so impressed with the history of the place that I decided to paint a picture of the lighthouse for my local landmark series. 
Georgetown Lighthouse 12"x9" oil
Her's my rendition of  the Georgetown Lighthouse.

and here's a photo  from the University of North Carolina of the  the lighthouse.

 By way of background....Georgetown Harbor, located in Wynyah Bay  between North and South Islands, is the second largest seaport in South Carolina.  Safe passage into the harbor is now, and as it always has been,  critical to the local economy.  In 1789, Revolutionary War Patriot Paul Trapier donated a tract of land on North Island for the establishment of the Georgetown Lighthouse.  (aka North Island Lighthouse.)  The seventy-two-foot, pyramidal tower, constructed of Cypress wood, was finished in the early part of 1801 Besides the tower, a two-story keeper’s dwelling was built along with a tank for holding the whale oil that fueled the lighthouse’s lamp. The wooden tower’s life was cut short by a violent storm in 1806.
Several years passed before a replacement structure was built. A marble plaque positioned above the door records the names of those who undertook the work on the tower and records the year of its erection as 1811. This time the seventy-two-foot tower was constructed of brick, greatly reducing the chance that those big, bad gales which plague the area (aka hurricanes) would blow the lighthouse down. The staircase that spirals upwards inside the stout brick tower is made of stone. In 1857, the tower was modified to display a fourth-order Fresnel lens. 

When the Civil War broke out, the Confederates used the Georgetown Lighthouse as a lookout station, until Union forces captured it in May of 1862. The lighthouse was heavily damaged during the North-South conflict, and as part of the post-war repair work, the tower was heightened to eighty-seven feet.  The Georgetown Lighthouse was manned until 1986, when the Coast Guard automated the light.

As stipulated in the will of former Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, South Island and all of North Island, save the lighthouse acreage, was bequeathed to the South Carolina Heritage Trust, creating the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Preserve.  In 2001, the lighthouse property was added to the preserve.  This is a rare early federal lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and with it now under state control, the tower will hopefully be restored and one day open to the public.  The 1-story brick keeper's house, brick oilhouse (1890), and boathouse (1894) are also preserved

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day, Everybody!

Bruce gave me this cute little stuffed teddy bear for V-Day a few years ago. This year, I decided to add an oil painting of him to my holiday series. " It's called "Take my Heart".

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Studio Modifications 2'11

I've been painting up a storm  this past month and have completed 14 oil paintings in various sizes...It's a really good start on feeding the gallery  fresh material and having plenty of additional new painting for the upcoming shows.  Trouble is ---the paintings  can't be touched  or touch anything else until they are  dry.    I have had oil paintings stacked everywhere... atop of my books in the bookcase, on top of other dry paintings ( separated by a clean rag), on my desk, on my still life platform.... And the more I painted, the greater the risk one painting would  fall over or get knocked into another.  I tried making some cardboard canvas carriers, but my cat thought it was a new place to play hide n seek.  Pulling cat hair out of wet paint is no fun at all.

Two shelves up one more to go....he even kept the plaster from falling on the canvases below.

That's when my wonderful husband came to my rescue.  He  put up a high shelf the full length of the studio.  It's too high for the cat to jump up onto, wide and long  enough to support most of my standard canvas sizes, and because it is up so high,  the canvases are not in danger of being accidentally bumped or knocked over.   This should give me plenty of drying space and free up a lot of work area.  Life just got a whole lot simpler.

 Finished. Thank you, darling! 

"You're Welcome", he says.

Lots and Lots of new Spring Paintings

My wall at Island Art Gallery

I will post some close ups when they are dry enough to handle.
Most of the paintings I have at Island were painted in  autumn  or winter with seasonal color to match.    Actually most of my paintings  are painted in very warm  tones  or very cool grays, as I prefer those ends of the palette.  But who wants to purchase a painting of fall or winter foliage, when all around them out of doors azaleas and camellias and dogwood are exploding into glorious shades of pinks and purples?    This past month  I  decided it is time to drag out my photos of Brookgreen Gardens  taken last Spring and start some new paintings. 

Tulips,iceland poppies,  ranunculus, wisteria, azalea have all been blooming on my canvases.  Guess I can paint in Spring colors if I put my mind to it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lakes of Ltchfield Art Reception 2 '11

The Sea Coast Artist Guild has been holding an art show at the Lakes of Litchfield Hall  during the month of February.  About thirty five artists participated

About half of the artists were painters and the other half were photographers
Over 150 people attended the very fancy reception.
Both the door prizes and the refreshments were outstanding. It was lots of fun.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Visiting Summerville's Galleries2 '11

Last Friday, I made a trip to Summerville, SC.  I'd heard that the area had a growing fine arts community and I wanted to   to check out their gallery scene.  Summerville is a pleasant little Southern town.  It's proximity to the major employers  of North Charleston  has kept it from suffering the decline that one sees in less affluent areas.   The tree lined streets are lined with interesting shops and lot of quaint cafes that are full of customers.  AND   I am pleased to report that there is indeed a strong art presence in the area. There are lots of small galleries and fine art craft stores, and most of the local businesses exhibit the work of local artists on their walls.
First stop on the trip was Art Central Art Gallery. This gallery owned and operated by thirteen local artists The gallery offers a unique selection of paintings, photographs, hand-made jewelry, pottery and prints by local artists and artisans.  I was especially impressed with the mixed media of artist Helen K. Beacham.
Next stop was People Places and Quilts.  It has been rated as the number one quilt shop in the country.  'Why is a landscape  painter visiting a quilt shop?', you ask.  I used to teach Fiber Arts, and still love looking at non-traditional uses of fiber.  The moment I stepped through the door of this place I fell in love with the  place.   The building used to be an old hardware store. The shop is arranged in a series of rooms... each with its own character and purpose...  one for social gatherings and training, one for traditional quilts, one for children filled with bright colorful cloth, and one with contemporary batiks and subtly patterned fabrics. There is color  and creative ideas on display everywhere.  The shop not only sells fabric but has a fine display of both traditional and art quilts. A visit here will really get your creative juices flowing.
I also visited several other places in the area including the Finishing Touch, which offers  a nice array of original artwork and prints,  and fine handcrafted gifts.
The community offers an art walk on the Third Thursdays (5 - 8 pm) from March through September where artists set up out of door exhibits along Central Ave.  There will also be an Open Studio Tour in April.The art walk,  galleries, and the many fine dining establishments are just a few of the many reasons to pay a visit to Summerville, SC.