Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Interview with Chuck Danford, Juror

A big "Thank You" to Chuck Danford for jurying the current exhibit "Colorado's Best".  It's a great show.  Please stop in and see the exhibit.  There is also a guided tour of the exhibit on Saturday, March 3 from 2-3pm (led by Kathy Berls.)

Wilderness Chill
Chuck Danford

The following is an informative interview with Chuck:

1. What art principles do you try to employ when you jury an exhibit?

It's important to remember judging is subjective based on the juror’s background, recent accomplishments and struggles. There are many stories of paintings being rejected in one show and winning an award in another.

As a judge or juror for an exhibition I have a list of priorities that I use to evaluate artwork.

1. Concept: Mood or feeling - use of creativity, imagination or unusual idea

2. Design: Interesting composition - interesting shapes both positive and negative

3. Color: How color has been used to convey the subject or mood

4. Values: How lights & darks were used to show depth, dimension and patterns

5. Drawing: Proportions & perspective

6. Craftsmanship: Here I evaluate the technical skills of the medium

7. Presentation: I look for a clean crisp presentation that compliments the painting rather than detracts from it

2. We would love to have your thoughts as you were jurying the "Colorado's Best" Exhibit. If you have any words about the award winners that would be fabulous.

I was honored to jury the “Colorado’s Best” for LAC. It was a challenge to select only a few awards when many others were worthy. All artists should be congratulated for creating the beautiful work that was entered. Congratulations also to those that are relatively new to painting and entering shows. I am well aware of how it feels to not be accepted or to not win an award. Artists should remember this is not as much a reflection on you as an artist, as it is on the process of how shows work. Having the courage to enter the competition is commendable in itself, and I would encourage each artist to keep painting and continue entering shows. I have always liked this quote by Edgar Degas, “ Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do."

Award winners:

Best of Show, "Night Fall" by Gayle MacDougall, is an elegant painting that shows the artists skill with the medium, a sensitivity to color, composition and design. This is a painting I would own and never get tired of looking at it.

Second Place, "African Elephant" by Charlie Casper, is a beautiful photograph which illustrates the skill of the photographer to capture the image in remarkable detail. To capture light and shadow of the subject and then to take it to the next level using digital technology- to make it more than just a photography but truly a work of art, is the key.

The symmetrical composition and color selection is an example of how less can be more.

Third Place, "Iris" by Susan Gordon, is a striking example of creativity. It’s obvious this artist understands various painting techniques and is not afraid to try something different. Nicely designed, gorgeous use of color, strong composition and professionally executed are qualities of a Third Place winner.

Merit Awards (in no particular order)

  • Sometimes simplicity is the name of the game. A piece may, at first glance, look simple until you consider the thought process it takes to create it. Strong use of negative space and striking colors with an unusual subject makes this bird image a winner. ("Dancing Crane" by Judith McNickle)

  • Beautiful floral, excellent drawing, design and composition, very professional handling of the medium are qualities of this piece.  ("Nature's Bouquet" by Kathy Berls)

  • A traditional painting of an interesting subject in a painterly style would make this painting desirable to any western art collector. The artist has used rich colors, a good composition, and a skillful handling of the medium to create a masterful piece of art. ("Just Home" by Gene Smith)

  • The unusual subject matter of this painting is an exciting example of creative imagination. This artist has mastered the use color, values and watercolor techniques. ("Skimming" by Jackie McFarland) 

3. What does a day in the life of Chuck Danford look like?

I start my day by getting out of bed, I have a glass of orange juice and take my vitamins. Wait, that’s probably not what you want to know. Most often I start my day by turning on my computer and the TV. Because I’m a news junky I have CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose on while I check my mail. Most days I start and end my day watching Charlie Rose. He is also on at 11:00 PM. A major portion of my day is spent working for the Colorado Watercolor Society, reading and responding to emails, planning and preparing for meetings, working to stay on top of a variety of situations and projects. When I feel for a moment that I have things under control, I think about the next class I am teaching. I plan the lesson. If I’m doing a demo I have to determine the subject and prepare everything that will be needed. Today I may have to mat and frame some paintings, work at a gallery, or deliver a painting. Lately I have been busy painting several masks for The Mask Project to benefit The Denver Hospice. Art has always been a priority in my life, but family activities and grandkids play a significant roll as well. I also spend time at the rec center to keep in shape. This is good for the body as well as the mind.

4. Do you set artist goals? If so, what are yours for the next 3-5 years?

I am a firm believer in setting goals both short and long term goals. Most of my adult life I have set goals. Some I have written down and others I carry around in my head. The older I get the less I feel a need to set career goals. Now my goals tend to be personal- travel, golf, health and family. At this stage I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone as I was back in the days of starting my own business. Now I would rather spend my time enjoying life by sharing and giving back whenever I can.

5. What advice would you give to young artists or those returning to their art in later life?

My advice to any young artist is put your general education first and pursue your art along the way. If I had it to do over I would have studied business first rather than going straight to art school. If you have a passion for art, pursue it! Anyone that works hard, and is talented, will be successful.

For those returning to art in their retirement years, I'd say have fun, try a lot of different things. Do what you enjoy, paint as much or as little as you want. If you want your art to be a second career, remember art is a lifetime pursuit. It is very difficult even for the best artists to make it. That’s not to say it shouldn’t be done, just be realistic in your expectations.

6 .What or whom do you credit for your success as an artist thus far?

I was lucky to have a formal education and a long career in graphic design and advertising when I started painting. Even though fine art is completely different in many ways, I was determined to study and teach myself to paint.

I spent a lot of time learning how other artists used various materials. I watched demos, took notes, tried many different painting techniques, practiced, entered shows and got rejected just like everyone else. I was inspired buy artists like John Mendoza, Bill Condit, Nita Engle, Roland Roycraft, Hugh Greer and George James. After I had been painting a while I studied with Tom Lynch, Tony Couch, Steven Quiller, Michael Atkinson, Lian Zhen, Morton Solberg and Mark Mahaffey.

In fact, I‘m still learning - that is never ending. That's why I continue to do it!  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Colorado's Best Juried Exhibit

Thanks to Chuck Danford, juror, for the new exhibit hanging in the Loft Gallery at LAC.  It's a beautiful show with some stunning pieces.  Congratulations to those who are exhibiting and please try again for those who had pieces not accepted.  This appeared to be a very competitive show which is a "good thing".  It raises the bar for all of us.

A big, hearty congratulations to the award winners:

"Night Fall" Watercolor by
Gayle MacDougall

"African Elephant" Digital
by Charlie Casper

"Iris" Silk
by Susan Gordon

"Nature's Bouquet" Oil
by Kathy Berls

"Skimming" Watercolor
by Jackie McFarland

"Dancing Crane" Digital
by Judith McNickle

"Just Home" Pastel
by Gene Smith

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lemon, Pear and Apple Challenge - My Picks

Watercolor by Cheryl Annett
Click on Cheryl's name to see more of her work

Watercolor by Kathy Cranmer
Click on Kathy's name to see more of her work

After a very frustrating morning in my own studio, I decided to pop in at the LAC Art Center and Gallery to see how the Lemon, Pear, and Apple Challenge turned out.

I was so pleasantly surprised how diverse a few simple objects (fruit, no less) can be.  Two paintings caught my eye immediately.  Here's why, they were:

-  Colorful and Bright
-  Big
-  Appropriately Framed
- Appealing shapes (pun intended!)
- Some complexity that was well done (stripes and reflections...oh my!)
- And the more I looked at the paintings the more there was to see

Lemons can be difficult to paint.  The color on the shadow side of lemons can become muddy really fast, and the transluscency of cut lemon showing through on the shadow side causes me fits when I attempt it.  I paint lemons in pastel, oil and colored pencil...painting them in watercolor, seems to me, would be unforgiving.  Get it right or start over.

Wonderfully conceived and executed paintings Cheryl and Kathy! Brava! 

All of the paintings in this exhibit have their own charm about them.

Respectfully Submitted, Cindy Haase, Board Member-LAC

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Link to Great Article

"There is a difference between merely rendering a subject and feeling something about a subject and then expressing that emotional connection. Don’t get me wrong. Rendering is important. It isn’t about rendering vs. expressing. It is about rendering and expressing. It is both observing and feeling."

Please check out this link to read the rest of Keith Bond's article on "How to Understand What You Really Want to Say".  Great reading for any artist!

"Teacup and Lemon Wedges" 6 x 8 Pastel on Paper
Artist - Cynthia Haase