Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Artisan & Authors Fair

Despite the heavy downpour of rain, we had a huge turnout of authors, artists and visitors at the Artisan and Authors Fair held at
the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
What a great experience! Szag and I found the deadline for a full on arts festival great motivation.  I finished three encaustic pieces, a few drawings and did a lot of framing. And Szag created ten new pieces of artwork in a series he's doing of iconic figures.  It was fun to rise to the challenge to create new work, fun to display it and talk about it with visitors and great fun to meet a talented group of artisans and authors all together in one room.
I was able to hang out with  friends like Vicki, Julia, Bonnie (Who made the marvelous mirror in my bathroom) and Erik, meet people I knew of Author and artist Amy alley and author, Michelle Corey Brown (who headed up the event) and was able to make new friends.

I was fortunate to sit beside James Alexander Fowler, who by wonderful synchronicity for me, has written a beautiful book, Wild Orchids of South Carolina.. I had to get it, once I saw the incredible photos, but also for the great research and facts to Orchidelerium.  John traveled through many bogs, meadows and woods to find these specimens, took up close photos of every variety, but also captured them in as singles or in their groupings in their natural environment that future orchid seekers could recognize them easier.

The only nerve wracking part was when I had to do a reading form my novel, Shaman Circus. While I've done poetry readings and book signings, I never read from a novel before.  But my audience was gracious, had great questions and were very supportive after I read the first chapter, so I feel I can read again if need be.

There were many positive observations to take away form a day like today. Even though the heavy rain was daunting when I first started the day when I'm in more pain than usual and tend to stay in bed, I discovered that once unpacked and set up, the camaraderie in the room from so many diverse artists and authors was invigorating.  This may have been we'd all been spread outdoors, but it was fun to see how it
seemed like a European market - visitors discussing the merits of natural healing balm, organic spices and elderberry syrup or examine the intricate workmanship of a handmade ukalelee. Discussions on styles of art and questions about why some places prefer to exclude nudes, despite the fact that the largest museums in our country celebrate nudes over the centuries.  Conversations geared around spirituality, self discovery, LGBT issues and world situations were carried on as visitors flipped through prints or read the back covers of the many books on display.
I only wish I'd spent more time talking to each and every entrant, was able to attend more readings and brought home more goodies.  My mouth is watering for that elderberry syrup.   


Some Like it Hot

Some Like it Hot - that was the name of an art show held by the Metropolitan Arts Council in March.  Encaustic is the oldest style of painting in the world,                                                             The artist utilizes
beeswax mixed with pigment to create the art.  The form has developed over the years and has recently taken off as a challenging but fun medium to work in.  Now artists use beeswax, white or natural mixed with Damar resin.
After seeing the works of Paul and Greg flint, Michael Ziemer, Tricia Earle and others, I went back to my extreme4m scaprbooking materials.  I've been using beeswax on mat board, in my art for about two or three years now - mostly in making steampunk and Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite style collage works which were featured in a show at Milagro Studios in 2010.  At the time, I didn't now about the resin or that special backing boards were made just for this type of art.  After Some Like it Hot, I was so fired up (forgive the bad pun) that I started a couple of pieces on canvas.  It was only after I spoke with current encaustic artists, that I learned, canvas was a poor choice because the wax would crack as the canvas swelled and shrank with the a temperature.  At the suggestion of Tricia and Michael, I headed to Suburban Paint Co where the highly knowledgeable Brad educated me on the materials, brushes and mediums available for working with encaustics.  And I've
been having a blast ever since.
I heated the wax on my canvas projects and peeled off all the photos which I'd transferred to canvas and sealed them in wax on some board art I'd found at Goodwill. I'm doing of two fun series of encaustics: one on the downtown area using photos my granddaughter and I took downtown, and a number of panels on the The Art Village at the Far West End and Pendleton Street.  These are not art, but more like a kind of Where's Waldo game utilizing photos of the buildings and people I've come to love and know ever since I lived in the area in my studio in 20078 and 2008.  I wanted to capture all the people, studios and galleries which welcomed me into the art scen4e here and acted as inspiration and support. Being an artists can sometimes be lonely and tough - emotionally and financially - especially when one puts a lot of soul out into the world through their work.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Arts and the Village at the West end

This past March has been a hectic, busy month, now that Szag Randahl and I are now showing our art in the
same gallery, Les Beaux Arts.  I spent weeks getting ready, framing, getting the professional materials together, new business cards, wall decal for my section, etc, never dreaming that the hardest thing to find would be a nice wall-mounted business card holder.
It's been a while since I've blogged but all for good reason. My doctors have now found a good combination of meds to treat my fibromyalgia and I'm feeling closer to normal than I have in a long time.  I still have to go slow, pain attention to the pain and signs of exhaustion, but I seem to be managing it a bit better - not where I want to be, especially due to all the work I wanted to do on my current paintings but also the quest for helping Szag find an art studio where he could also live full time.
We finally did at the old Poe Mill business office, a turn of the century building of studios and apartments, less than five minutes from Les Beaux Arts on Pendleton Street. His new place has huge mill windows, crumbling brick walls, and all the smells and ambiance of a historic building - including some of the difficulties such as heat.  But he has it all figured out, if not unpacked and we've had a number of great art and philosophical discussions on all sorts of topics from the art scene in Greenville to the quantum theories.After all, while his masters is in entertainment business and art, his minor is in philosophy.

I've visited the galleries and shops in the Pendleton Street Arts District, now known as the Village at the Far West End and have met more artists, while I'm working on an encaustic project, a series of panels on the Village, past and present. So far I have two large panels in progress, with two or three more to create.  I'm trying to capture the changing nature of the area surrounding Brandon Mill, incorporating facades of the old buildings from the time when I lived in The Village Studios to now.  Many of the artists have changed galleries since that time, but there are those who are fully committed - The Art Bomb, Jim Gorman, Joseph Bradley, Dabney Mahanes, Julie Hughes-Shakbie, those who've moved in since I moved out of the Village Studios, which  include Lily's Pottery, Crave, 'Becca's, Janina Turkarski, Grey Thompson, Artisan Traders, The Barbers' Gallery and then newcomers like the Asaid food truck, Crystal's, The Zen House.
At Les Beaux Arts, we'll have over 30 artists showing their works, once the gallery is filled. We had our soft opening on March 30th, will have a grand opening sometime in May or June and are open on Tuesdays through Saturdays 11-9 and of course, on first Fridays for the gallery crawl.
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