November-December 2016 Newsletter
The Fluvanna Art Association News is published bi-monthly and is written and edited by Page H. Gifford.
The People Have Spoken
The public spoke at the recent People’s Choice Award Show at the Fluvanna County Library on Saturday, November 19. They chose among 54 entries and many talented artists. It was interesting that also this year, we not only added a fourth category, Smalls, but most of the winners were outside the traditional purist mediums. Among the winners were a sculpture in wood, and dry mediums, mostly pastel, colored pencil, charcoal and pen & ink. Lorraine Momper broke with her own tradition and tried her hand at linoleum woodcuts.
It will be a cover story in the Fluvanna Review’s next issue. For those who missed the reception and voting, you can still view the work until December 19. Congratulations to the following winners:
- 1st. Wistful Snow Leopard Cub- Susan Walker-pastel & pastel pencils
- 2nd. Summer’s Day – Linda Mullin acrylic
- 3rd. African Village in Kenya – Cheryl Kasper- pencil, pastel & charcoal
Smalls (New Category this year)
- 1st. Did You See It? –Deborah Nixon –acrylic
- 2nd. I’m Worried They Forgot Me –Nancy Lovallo – pastel
- 3rd. Sky –Susan Walker – pastel
- 1st. Zen Fashion – Page Gifford pen& ink and colored pencil
- 2nd. The Rivanna Food Chain – Tom Ellis – wood sculpture
- 3rd. Beautiful Fall in Virginia Countryside – Loan Nguyen- oil
- 1st. Masons All Dressed up- Linda Bethke- watercolor
- 2nd. Delicate Balance- William Snow-watercolor
- 3rd. Millie The Cow – Maria Festa Carter – acrylic
Where to Find Ideas and Become More Creative
I am learning with art as I have with writing that it is a series of progressive steps to strengthen ones own techniques and discover style. At first I would make comparisons that resulted in feeling inadequate and achieving certain goals was beyond my capabilities. But then I realized I wasn’t listening to my artist’s voice but what I thought people wanted to see in my art not what I felt was the right style or medium for me.
All of us were trained differently and had different mentors and teachers. Some inspired, others criticized. Mine were the latter, which led me to giving up art for many years; years I could have studied on my own and strengthened my abilities but I didn’t know that until now.
There are many styles I admire but I will never be able to simulate those styles in my work because it is unique to the individual artist. Some will balk at me saying this because they like to believe that anything is possible. It can be, with drive and hard work. But there comes a time, when one has to look at their own work, what are the pieces we enjoy doing? What are the pieces that have won ribbons? Or sold? Think about it and the answer is revealing.
I realized that of the few pieces I have won ribbons for over the years or even sold, I had to look at the common elements. The judged works were the most telling and I had to make a choice. Though I admired my peers work and their ability to create incredible perfection and beauty with simple sweeping brushstrokes or intense color, my strength was creating with pattern. Everyone is a master at something and once we realize what is the best fit for us as far as medium and style, it is a freeing moment to then go and create.
There are many books on the subject of creativity, in art as well as writing. I am looking at three at the moment; one I had never read called Pencil Dancing by Mari Messer that intrigued me and Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way I had read many years ago but had not read her The Vein of Gold. These books are usually useful in opening our eyes to our unconscious, things we may be doing to sabotage ourselves without realizing it. These authors are artists and writers and intertwine language and symbolism in their teachings and through a journey of discovery.
If you are one who is not into the zen of the artistic soul, at least leafing through these books makes you think. It’s not scary but enlightening to explore ourselves and finally embrace our inner artist. The bottom line is to rid ourselves of comparisons; the teacher in our heads always telling us we don’t measure up because we are unconventional, individualism is a no-no, or the self-fulfilling prophecy that we are not creative. In that moment of catharsis when we free our creative selves, we as artists, start to live.
That’s when the fun begins. Look at other professional artists online or at galleries. I think I’ve said this before but note the style; is it similar to yours? How do they incorporate it into their compositions?
Then begin to sketch some or jot down some ideas, anything that gets your brain moving in that direction. You’ll find that this journey of self discovery is a lot of fun.
Two artists are highlighted in this end of the year newsletter, Susan Lang and Linda Hollett-Bazouzi. I had a wonderful interview with Susan recently and you can read it in the November 24, issue of the Fluvanna Review (also online at www.fluvannareview.com). A two page spread featuring Susan’s lovely work and her approach to her art.
Susan had already supplied her wisdom about art but she also shared her detailed approach to creating her paintings with a reminder that composition is the key and is the strength and the focus of any work. Without it, the work is weak.
As president of the FAA, we have seen her nurturing style and honesty with artists and her drive to make ideas a reality. She is truly an inspiration.
En Plein Air artist Linda Hollett-Bazouzi joined the FAA members for some outdoor painting, demonstrating her method of Plein Air back in October at the Thistle Gate Vineyard.
She believes that painting a landscape in real time captures the essence and the mood of that moment. This was the theory of the old masters who recorded what they saw for posterity. We no longer need to do that but can enjoy painting outdoors and translate what our eyes see onto canvas in the immediate rather than relying on a camera to do if for us.
Bazouzi discussed the advantages and disadvantages to painting outdoors but for her, En Plein Air inspired her and it became the centerpiece of her landscape painting.
She rarely uses paint brushes; all her work is done with palette knives. When one views her work, it is amazing to think that such detail was done with a palette knife. Her style is a blend of realism and impressionism and her sense of color is what guides her and is evident in her work.
Her advice to landscape artists, stay loose and avoid tightening up. To see more of her work and read about Linda Hollett-Bazouzi, visit her website.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our annual members meeting and Christmas potluck on December 9, at 9:30 a.m. We are hoping to have our handbooks and renewal of yearly membership is also due.
Many thanks to Martha Rossi for her years of service to the association as Treasurer. Maria Carter will be taking over as Treasurer. We wish both of them luck in their new endeavors.
In the new year, there will be changes to our regular schedule. They will be noted in the handbooks. Instead of meeting the second Friday of every month, we will be meeting the third Friday of every month. So, be sure to mark your calendars accordingly.
Also, in the coming year, our show schedule has changed. Our judged show will be in March and the People’s Choice will be in September. So, you better get cracking on those paintings.
We also have an exciting lineup of guest speakers and workshops in the new year, including oil painters Jason Abbott and Tom Tartaglino, sculptor James Nemer, who created the first female Petty Officer statue for the Navy and other fabulous works for public display. Linda Bethke will talk to us about her watercolor techniques and William Snow will be back to discuss atmosphere in watercolor. Troy will return with three great workshops, including one on trees and skies and how to take better reference photos for paintings. Amy Shawley will be returning to talk about creative ways to use acrylic mediums and I’ll be talking about my favorites…watercolor pencils and watercolor pastels and crayons. We will have fun!!!
For those who are interested in taking classes with local artists, I have begun compiling a list of area artists who teach. Some, like Jason Abbott, will come to you. Some require at least 3-5 people in each class with five being the limit. Linda Bethke is currently teaching but her classes fill up fast and she has a waiting list. Following are a few local artists you can contact about art lessons.
- Jason Abbott- oils, http://www.jasonabbott.com/ phone:(757) 630-6339
- Troy Weidenheimer -acrylics, Rakun@rakun.com phone 270-5775
- Windy Payne – watercolor and acrylic, Classes meet twice a year at the Beaver Dam Baptist Church. phone: 296-5243
Know of anyone who teaches, I would be glad to add them to the list.
From all of us at the FAA, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!