Friday, April 28, 2017

get out! get art!

With the weather warming up and the sun shining this weekend, it might be a good idea to get out of the house and out of your head, and into some art. A couple excellent art exhibits currently on view include the 2017 Alchemical Vessel exhibit at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, in Washington, DC (above pic), as well as the "As You Like It " 8" x 8" show at the Tryst Gallery (below pic), in Leesburg, Virginia. I've got work in both shows, and my wife Kris has a nice space displaying her elegant, floral "paintbrush meditations" at Tryst. I can't even begin to explain just how good, and varied (and extremely affordable) the work at both exhibits is, by the way. So, what are you waiting for?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

spring break at dewey and rehoboth, delaware

When I think of "Spring Break", I think of taking a break - a rest and a departure from the usual hustle and bustle of daily life. Kris and I enjoy visiting the Dewey, and Rehoboth Beaches in the off season, either earlier during the spring or the fall, when the weather is cooler and there aren't so many people around. For this blog post, I'll keep the emphasis on the photos and not so much the words, and show things in reverse chronological order. Enjoy!

There's a reason why they call this place Sunset Park, which presented a scenic view of Rehoboth Bay, and was located a short walk across the road from our hotel. The photo above was taken around 7:30 pm, and seeing this was a nice way to cap off our stay in Dewey, Delaware. 

The weather was ideal during our visit, and despite being mid-April, it almost felt like summer at times. Lots of sun created lots of nice shadow play and textures along Dewey and Rehoboth Beaches.

After a good breakfast in Rehoboth, we drove around the area and stumbled upon a wonderful place called the Rehoboth Art League. All along the grounds grew a variety of trees, as interesting and as sculptural as the art on display. 

No visit to the area is complete without dropping by the Fractured Prune for some doughnuts. They happened to be closed when we rolled into town on Monday, but thankfully we only had to wait until Tuesday to get our sweet fix.

The only local vineyard, and one of our favorites from anywhere, Nassau Valley Vineyards, made for some good watercolor painting while sipping wine for Kris.

Nassau Valley Vineyards has been around for nearly a quarter of a century and has a fascinating history, not to mention a great indoor museum about the history of wine-making itself!

Kris and I enjoyed a glass of peach wine while relaxing and making art.

We had the good fortune of meeting young Tilley, the new resident pup at Nassau Valley Vineyards. 

On our first day in Dewey, we tried a couple flights from the fairly new Dewey Beer Company, just a few blocks down from our hotel. Talk about tasty!

For the first time, we stayed at the newly renovated Beach House Dewey. For the price, it was a great three-night stay, located right off Dewey Beach and within walking distance to all kinds of great local places and businesses. 

On the way to Delaware, we sometimes see a buffalo farm from the road. Luckily there wasn't a whole lot of traffic, so I was able to pull over and get a photo. These beasts always amaze me, in person. 

Beach bound!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

franklin park decorated egg 2017 fundraiser

Kris and I had a fun time attending the Decorated Egg art exhibit and auction at the Franklin Park Arts Center today - there were so many excellent contributions to the event, from so many wonderful people. A big thanks goes out to Penny Hauffe, who is now the keeper of my tiny Rhino (and who played the role of chicken all too well, haha!), and Jan Blacka for bidding on Kris' egg, whose own work in the show was extraordinary. Congrats to Brian Kirk, for getting the highest bid for his amazing piece, as well. We're already thinking of ideas for next year.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

april, 2017 update

Last night Kris and I attended the opening reception for the "As You Like It" show at Tryst Gallery, Leesburg, Virginia. It was an exciting evening because we both have work in the show, and many friends came out (some who also have art in the show) for the event! The exhibit featured 8" x 8" work from local artists, in a wide variety of formats, from relief sculpture to photography, and everything in between. With the great weather just around the corner, I recommend stopping by the gallery for a look at this extraordinary showcase of local art, which will be on display for a couple of months!

In the meantime, I've been on a brief hiatus with the Endangered Kingdom series, as it nearly comes to a close. Springtime can be a very busy time for an art teacher, and sometimes little time and energy is left for making one's own art. That's ok though, because I'm finally on spring break and can fire up the art-making engines once again, starting next week. I decided to have the series close at fifty pieces from both the Splotch Monster, as well as the portrait versions, giving me 100 works in the end - a good number to finish with. See you soon!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

2017 western loudoun artists studio tour

I'm happy to announce that Kris​​ and I will be on this year's Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour! For Kris, this will be her first time on the tour, and after taking a break last summer, this will be my second time. The tour happens on June 3rd and 4th, and features amazing artists from all over Loudoun County, VA. You'll find Kris and I at the Round Hill Arts Center. Hope to see you there! 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

the decorated egg at the franklin park arts center

Kris and I were invited to participate in this year's Decorated Egg art exhibit and auction at the Franklin Park Arts Center, again. I decided to merge my craft egg with an old Munny, to create a Jeff Koons-inspired rhino sculpture. Kris painted hers in her signature bold, loose style. The event takes place at the FPAC in Purcellville, VA on Sunday, April 9, from 1-3pm. Hope to see folks there!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

endangered kingdom series, 44: trinidad piping guan

Here's another one of those drawings that would fall into the serendipitous category, since the shape of the bird's profile seemed made for the piece of watercolored paper. As with all of these, I had made several painted papers, and chose this one before choosing the animal to draw. After choosing the bird, in this case the critically endangered Trinidad Piping Guan, I noticed the face, and particularly the beak, was waiting to be drawn onto the colorful paper in front of me, after looking at it from all four angles. I decided to carefully document the making of this one, and present it in backwards chronlogical order, starting with the completed piece (above) and ending with the painted on paper, made before any drawing was done. 

You can also see the Splotch Monster Island version HERE!

what's happening over at splotch monster island?

Yes, what exactly IS happening over at my other blog - the Isle of Splotch? Well, a whole lot of things, including the ongoing Endangered Kingdom Meets Splotch Monster Island project, which will soon come to an end. Recently, I worked a brief process post, which always helps folks gain a little more insight as to how I make these things I call Splotch Monsters. In fact, the picture above is a detail from the piece I posted about, which you can read more about right HERE!

Friday, March 17, 2017

2017 alchemical vessel exhibit, opening night at the joan hisaoka healing arts gallery, 3/2017, 7-9pm!

Tonight, the 2017 Alchemical Vessel art exhibit opening reception will take place at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, in Washington, DC from 7-9pm. I'm honored, once again to be a part of this amazing, annual event. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

an interview with kris loya, at swatch and repeat!

There's a great new interview with my wife Kris at the Swatch and Repeat site! Since Kris has decided to devote more of her time to her art, she's been doing wonderful things. In the meantime, read the interview HERE!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

hilma af klint atc

This morning I made a portrait of artist Hilma af Klint, for an ATC mail art exchange. It's baffling to think that Hilma's work, which pioneered Abstract art, even before Kandinsky, was nearly forgotten, and barely acknowledged up until recently. Even Hilma herself, who was an accomplished realist painter, said her visionary abstract work, some of it enormous in scale, shouldn't be shown to the public until decades after she dies, as she felt people simply were not ready for it. It's these people I tip my hat to - the unsung visionaries, whose art, music and brilliant ideas will always be one step beyond. #hilmaafklint #art #artist #atc #artisttradingcard #drawing #drawings #watercolor #abstractart #visionaryart #womenartists

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

tryst gallery interview

I had a great time answering interview questions from Lisa Strout, of Tryst Gallery, in Leesburg, Virginia. You can read the interview HERE!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

getting involved with the fundred dollar bill project

It was only last week that I heard of something called the Fundred Dollar Bill Project, conceived of and initiated by artist Mel Chin. Some friends who are fellow artists and teachers attended the official Fundred ribbon cutting ceremony last Thursday night, and posted pictures and info on their Instagram and Facebook feeds, making me curious as to what this was all about. Then, last Saturday we all got together and they talked about the Fundred Dollar Bill project some more, getting me excited about trying this with my art students at school as part of both our One To The World, and STEAM lessons. Seeing how it all tied in with art, science, and community, and seeing just how much fun this looked like, was a no brainer. 

Originally I wanted to try this project out with my students a little later on in the year, but when I learned that Mel Chin was an artist-in-residence at the Corcoran in DC, and the fact that I had to drive out to DC to drop off some art work yesterday, made me wonder if I could get at least a few classes worth of Fundreds completed by my students, so I could personally stop by and drop them off to The Fundred Reserve, currently held at The Corcoran. That, however, all depended on the proximity of the Reserve to the gallery I had to drop work off to, since Washington, DC is a big city that can take over an hour to get through, or more. Fortunately, it wasn't even a two-mile drive from one stop to the next, so I put the plans in motion. After spending my free time on Monday printing out the templates for both the front and back of a Fundred, I spent more of my free time at the copy machine making double sided copies of Fundreds for my students to work on. The first Fundreds I had folks make happened to be made by a couple of students I tutor in art, on Mondays after school. One student is a third-grader, and the other is in fifth grade. Both of them were very receptive to the idea of making Fundreds, and both did a really good job, so it gave me some confidence in trying this with my students on Tuesday. 

I managed to have the majority of students in all three of my morning classes complete a Fundred. Third-graders did well, though quite a few were anxious to jump in without reading or attempting to follow some of the instructions. Some worked somewhat quickly, as well. Still, it was an overall success, and of course the kids had a ball making their own imaginary money. Fourth-graders seemed to have the most success at this, as they were mature enough to slow down a little, read through the instructions and work carefully, yet they didn't get too picky and caught up in the details. Fifth-graders did some fantastic work, but at times seemed to get a little too methodical in trying to render things a certain way, causing some kids to need another day to complete their work. In the end, I think it was very satisfying for my students to get involved in a project that raises real awareness about lead poisoning, while making some super fun art in the process. 

While I regret not knowing about this project earlier, and missing the ceremony last Thursday night, it worked out for the better that I could drop in to personally drop off over sixty Fundred Dollar Bills, including a rhino-themed one that I worked on for over two hours on Tuesday night. Upon arriving at the Corcoran building, I was amazed at the cool sign above the building's entrance, as well as the big vault door entrance in the building's interior space. The fact that they made this all look so very official showed how much care and love was put into this project. I later learned that Mel Chin actually designed and cut the sign in foam, himself!

In the back of my mind, while planning my visit, I thought about how great it would be to be able to present this first batch of Fundred Dollar Bills to Mel Chin himself, though I also imagined it was most likely a pipe dream, and I'd simply hand the stack to one of the museum workers and be on my merry way home. To my pleasant surprise, Mel had returned from a lunch break and had a small gap of time to speak with me before having a meeting to attend. I couldn't believe it when he came over to introduce himself and shake my hand. He was so kind and nice to talk to - you can tell how passionate he was about getting the word out about lead poisoning in children, and helping children, as well as adults have a voice through art. Him taking some time out to talk with me, made my day.

The other thing I had in the back of my mind was how cool it would be to know that mine and my students' work would get hung up for display, right there at the official Fundred Reserve, at the Corcoran building. Sure enough, the Fundred workers, in their spiffy, official-looking uniforms were there hanging our work! There's no doubt my students will be excited to learn of this news.

Part of the sense of urgency that I had about getting my students' work to the Funded Reserve asap was knowing that Mel Chin's residency at the Corcoran in DC was ending very soon. The good news is, there are still some things that folks can participate in at the Corcoran, regarding the project, all of which can be found HERE. In the meantime, I highly recommend getting involved and making and sending in your own Fundred!