Sunday, July 5, 2015

Artistic Grief

Hey Art fans,

I hope this finds all of you happy and healthy. I hope your summer days are filled with colors and light.

I am having a hard time creating at the moment and I am not sure what, if anything I can do about it, except live through it. Grief has a hold of me in a new way and I am struggling a bit.

June 28th is always, ALWAYS a hard day for me. It is the day my Pops passed. I miss his wisdom, his laughter, his winking eyes and his hugs. I miss his unconditional love and support and even his swift kicks to my backside when I needed it.

This year, my grief doubled.

My sweet friend of 19 years passed away at 11:59 pm on June 28th. It was not an unexpected death, but it has hit me really hard. I was able to say goodbye and hang out with some of her good friends as we held a living memorial to her gathered around her bed.

It has been a hard week. I am not sure when the lights inside me will be flipped back on so I can create again. I just seem to need some time and a little space to just be and not have expectations of myself. Grief is funny that way for me, it lingers around for a little while and then suddenly it loosens the grip from my heart and all the bottled up creations come pouring out.

The week before her passing, I was in Santa Barbara for a educational training and was able to spend time with the most lovely of people. There was no radio or TV to distract me, only long walks and conversation as I connected.

Maybe that is why I am being hit so hard right now, coming off an intense but really good week of deep connections to a loss and the world's static. I don't know.

Please just keep checking back in the next few weeks. I promise I will post something soon.

Peace, Love and well being until the next hello,

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Glassblowing Adventure!

Hey Art Fans!

Just landed back home from spending a few days in Newport, RI and wanted to share a great little place where you can have a fantastic experience, while you have an artistic adventure!

Thames Glass is one of those places you stumble upon and never want to leave. I could stay for hours watching the artists make amazing pieces of work out of molten glass.

Our family and a friend ventured over to give it a try during one of their "make your own" classes and the results left us happy! We were helped out by Shane, who is a talented artist and master instructor. He was able to help our soon to be 10 year old daughter make two stunning ornaments and she had a blast. She was so inspired and hooked on the process, she is asking for a glassblowing birthday party this year.

My wife also tried her hand at making an ornament and her results were pretty good also!

Finally, this one is mine. I am so thrilled with the way this turned out and want to explore the art form more and more. It is one of those things that is an easy addiction and the only limit is the depth of your pocket!

For me, I think the new thing when I travel will be finding a glass blowing shop to make and bring back a little something to remember the trip. For this one, we were close to the ocean, which is my favorite place to be, and this ornament will remind me of watching the waves break.

If you are in Newport, RI please stop by and tell them I sent you! I promise you will not be disappointed! They have items ready for purchase that will make you happy to bring home, if you don't have the desire to make your own!

Be well and happy, until next time!

Monday, June 1, 2015

21 Cents That Chain Us

Hey Arties,

I wanted to share a little more about this art piece and how it came to be. This past year, I offered an after school art class and had 12 students from the ages of 7- 12 sign up. The class was about finding your inner visionary and we discussed some of the artist featured at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. If you have not been you should check it out.

Anyway, I wanted the students to push themselves to create "something" out of trinkets and left over pieces of things others had abandoned. I wanted them to connect with the material and put something on the canvas that represented them as an artist.

This led me to lead by example. About the time the class was taking place, there was a great deal of media coverage about the Michael Brown shooting. I learned that young black males were 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than their white counterparts. This is not OK with me.

As I went in front of the students every week, I would bring this canvas with me so they could see it transform into the final piece of art. We talked about the two Statue of Liberties in the background and how we divide ourselves. We talked about the bubbles we all live in and how that keeps up from seeing other people and learning from them as we also teach them about ourselves.

We talked about the history in the country when it comes to racism and how we all must do better and that it all starts with each of them.

There was one young man, who upon seeing this final canvas looked at the other kids and said, "We have to change all of this! We have to make things better for everybody."

It made my eyes water and my heart full that this group of 12 kids could see the meaning behind the work and were unafraid to embrace the work that needs to be done to make a difference.

The art they presented back to me was unbelievable, complex, funny, deep and meaningful. I will carry the images of them presenting their work to their parents with me always and see their faces as they told their stories.

As for me, this piece is hanging on my wall and it has become one of those pieces I am finding hard to let go. I am sure the right person or organization will come along that fits into the message it conveys. If that happens, I will sell it or donate it and move onto the next piece in the hopes it speaks as deeply to the kids as this one.

This was constructed using a bunch of different things, but the outside edge of the canvas is framed with construction strapping. I liked the way it looks and will be using it again on other pieces.

I hope you like it.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

How Time Does Fly!

Hey Arties!

It has been an absolutely crazy and busy year for me, with a lot of things taking me away from my artful path. I am hoping I can get back into the swing of things now that I have actually started my business here in Annapolis, MD.

The quick update/highlights:

I taught my first after school program and had 12 students sign up in less than 24 hours.

I took on a few private students for a 4 week class.

I worked with a local school by assisting them with an anti-bullying program and implemented a "Peace fence" as a school wide art installation. The pickets are based on the 5 Human Values of Peace, Love, Truth, Non Violence and Right Actions. The youngest child was 18 months old and the oldest was 12 years old.

I worked with the school on their bi-annual auction. I designed and implemented 4 of the 7 projects from start to finish.

This project is a picnic table that converts to a bench. The children painted both sides of it, with the bench side having tulips, ladybugs and turtles and the picnic side have a similar theme with the addition of a checkers board and a tic-tac-toe board. They also painted garden rocks for the game pieces as turtles and ladybugs, with a crown on the opposite side for when they are "kinged."

It sold for $1675

Up next is the Slippery Fish table. It has part of the lyrics to a song the children sing. Each child painted a fish to represent the fish in the song. 

It sold for $750

The upper elementary students spent some time at the botanical gardens studying leaf patterns. They took those patterns and burnished them into copper and silver metal which was then attached to rounds cut from the plywood before being reinserted. The final result looks like hammered metal.

It sold for $750

Finally there is the Illuminated Letters from another elementary class. Each child used the first letter of their name and an animal starting with that letter to decorate their individual canvas pieces. The complete set of letters was then attached to a larger canvas and paper vines were added between the letters to continue the pattern from the custom from made from a chair rail. 

It sold for $2300

I was very pleased that in total these art projects raised $5,475 for the school. The community honored me by allowing me to work with their children and seemed very pleased with the quality of the pieces.

The school honored me with a sweet bracelet that states one of my favorite sayings.... "Not my circus. Not my monkeys."

Like I said, I have been busy and have even gotten in a few cigar boxes and altered books. But my best piece was "21 Cents that Chain Us" which was submitted to Smack Mellon as an artist response to the events in Ferguson. 

I think things have calmed down a bit and I am committed to limiting my time spent on other things and focusing on my art the rest of the year. I will try my best to have at least one post a week for the rest of the year. 

Until next time, keep creating!