Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fur and Feathers in Colored Pencil

 The beautiful colored pencil illustrations by Heidi Snyder and Dorothy DePaulo have amazed me since I first encountered them.  So intricate and detailed, many of them look photo-realistic.  Hanging on the fabric wall in the Members' Gallery through the end of May is a nice selection of their botanical and wildlife pieces.

Heidi and Dorothy offer workshops at the Lakewood Arts Council Gallery on occasion, the most recent being Feathers and Fur in colored Pencil.  For materials, I did buy the suggested 24 pack of Prismacolor Pencils, but I also was glad I'd saved all those student packs of colored pencils my kids demanded at the beginning of each school year.  The secret ingredient in these artists' recipe for a striking work is drafting film.  This semi-opaque substrate allows for luminosity and subtle effects, and is very forgiving.  Not only did we draw on the front of this double sided drafting film, but we also used some different techniques on the back.  And to learn these secrets, you'll just have to sign up for their next class!

 During the first session, we all worked on a photo of a fluffy squirrel, some of us slower than others.  But the amount of talent in that classroom was impressive! As I walked around to peek at everyone's progress, I found the students were all enjoying the process -- starting with the face to give the little guy some personality.

Dorothy says to start with the eye, so they can watch you as you work. During the second session, we finished up our squirrels, talked about backgrounds and mounting, then started the second project, a cute little bird.

I'm so thrilled to learn this new technique and look forward to drawing some of my own photos.  The only problem is when do I find time for my watercolors, or pastel, or collage or...  So many mediums, so little time!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Artists Choice Reception Memorable

Kathy Berls' glowing sunflower painting, untitled, was presented by her husband, Dick, and son, Scott, to the City of Lakewood in a moving memorial and reception for the Artists Choice Exhibit at the Lakewood Cultural Center Thursday evening.  Kathy Hodgson, City Manager of Lakewood, also spoke of Kathy and her enormous contribution to the arts community, calling her the "mother" of art, being responsible for the purchase and placement of much of the sculptural installations in the city, being an advocate for youth, and a founding member of the Inspire Arts Week in Lakewood.

Many attended the evening reception and enjoyed dessert and punch, and applauded the award winners.

  Juror Mark Silvers, although not present at the festivities, said the quality of the show was incredible and would have given at least 25 awards instead of the 9 maximum. His comments on the award winners are as follows:

1.     Kathy Berls Award – Oil Design                                                                                
     “Pampered” oil, Barbara Benik                                                                                 
      A true artist sees art in everyday life as Barbara has done in this well designed painting of her canine couch potato catching some rays on the couch. She has edited out all of the distracting visual elements in the scene to create a composition of shapes, values and colors in which she expertly answers the question, “what is light doing?”  The powerful arrangement of a few shapes, the subtle variations of warm and cool colors and the attention to detail  in Barbara’s painting showcase her excellence as a painter. She leads the eye into  the painting on the bottom right along the shadow of the couch cushion to the dog's face where we pause for a few enjoyable moments in the play of light and shadow on the dog. Then Barbara leads you out of the painting with the dark edge of the top of the couch.
2.     1st Place Award                                                                                                                    
    “Along Duck Creek”, pastel, Donna Sorensen                                               
     This pastel landscape by Donna Sorensen is about as good as it gets Her painterly realism and attention to detail create an artistic illusion of a scene along Duck Creek inviting you to stop and savor the play of light in the grasses and on the surface of the water. Along with a great composition we are treated to a great variety of shapes and a strong visual structure of light and dark values. The icing on the cake is the amazing attention to detail and interaction of hard and soft edges. Donna’s landscape is a feast for the eyes and an inspiration to all of us fellow artists.

3.     2nd Place Award  “Their  Labor”, charcoal , Lyn Dam  
     The foundation of this excellent drawing by Lyn Dam is a strong design. Hidden within the drawing is a story that we think we know part of but we wonder about the details. The subject of this drawing grips us emotionally while the draftsmanship holds our attention with the expert use of a wide range of values and orchestration of hard and soft edges to direct the eye to the center of interest; the workers young focused face.
4.     3rd Place Award ” Visitors”, watercolor, Carla Stoltzfus  
     Carla’s painting is a wonderful modern still life. She designed the shapes well with a good interesting use of the negative spaces.
5.     Merit Award 1, “Chaos in the Forest”, watercolor, Andrew Dubois    
     Andrew’s painting is an exciting and vibrant expression of the basic visual notes of a landscape. If this were a musical piece it might be a very lively and interesting movement of modern jazz. There is a great sense of movement and rhythm throughout with the powerful use of lights and darks, warm and cool colors and bright and dull hues. The expressionistic use of brushstrokes creates a composition on the verge of chaos and yet beautifully balanced.
6.     Merit Award 2, “Three Koi”, oil, Vina Dam                                                        
      A simple subject handled with artistic excellence. The key principles of design here are movement and rhythm. The dark negative shapes are designed well with the rhythmic swirling shapes of the fish. The use of white leads the eye through the composition well. The realism is accurate and yet painterly in a beautiful way.
7.     Merit Award 3. “Peregrine Falcon”, color photograph, Paul Gesso                 
     This is an incredible photograph with a delicately balanced composition. The light hitting the golden colored weeds balances the dark area on the left to bounce the viewer’s eye back to the falcon. The falcon is captured and presented in such a way as to beautifully focus on the individual animal.
8.     Merit Award 4, “Afternoon at Sedona", acrylic, Sandra Danley            
     Sandra’s painting of a waterfall and pool captures the play of light upon the water beautifully. She creates interest with a good variety in the arrangement and shapes of the rocks. The balance of light and dark values and warm and cool colors leads the eye through the painting well.
9.     Merit Award 5, “Iris”, acrylic, Katy Haas                                                                
     This painting of an iris has an attention to detail that is amazing. Katy designed the dark negative shapes with good variety and also created a beautiful play of light with the dark shadows on the flower. The use of warm and cool colors on the flower gives good depth, and the shadow shapes lead the eye throughout the composition.

Congratulations to all the happy award winners!  The Artists Choice exhibit runs through June 14 upstairs at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Pkwy in Lakewood.  Hours are 8-5 M-F, 10-2 Sat.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

LAC Gallery invaded by Cats, Dogs and Birds!

Cats, dogs and birds invaded the Lakewood Arts Council Loft Gallery today.

 The Third Annual Tails of the Painted Cats debuts at the LAC starting Monday, with a reception Thursday, May 9 from 6:30 -8 pm.  Jane Dorsey, director of the program, helped set up the cats in the loft space today.  In came a cat painted like an adorable puffin, a mosaic cat glowed in shades of blues and greens, a cheshire cat with scenes from Alice in Wonderland grinned mischievously, patchwork cats showed off their colors vividly and patriotic cats were dressed in red, white and blue.  Twenty-one cats in all will be available for viewing and bidding on -- with proceeds going to a good cause, to help the shelter cats at Cat Care Society. 

On the walls hang 2D artwork from local artists, depicting cats, dogs and birds.  From soft pastel kittens to bright acrylic birds on a wire, to graphite fluffy dogs, you'll fall in love with these beautiful portraits of our companion animals.  And check out Jane Dorsey's papier mache violin-playing lion when you walk in the door -- so cute!  Love the rhinestone studded violin!

And downstairs in the LAC Members' Gallery, even more critters have found a home.  Animals of all shapes and sizes are hung on the walls.  Come on into the gallery to see the exhibits, and be sure to attend the open reception this Thursday.  This is your purrfect chance to find a piece of art you can't live without!