Sunday, August 30, 2015

north gate artists-in-residence

I received this message via e-mail from North Gate Vineyard the other day, and it made me smile. Looking forward to our art opening, at North Gate Vineyard, September 6th, from 2-5!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"love nature" art exhibit press release

Above is the official Press Release for the "love nature" art exhibit that will be happening at North Gate Vineyard very soon. Kris and I will be heading out to the vineyard mid-week next week to hang our work, and the opening will happen next Sunday, September 6th, from 2-5pm at the tasting room. Always a mix of a little nervousness and excitement for these kinds of things, but always optimistic that it'll work out just fine. Can't wait to see our work hanging together at North Gate! In the meantime, simply click on the image for a better look.

Monday, August 24, 2015

audio/visual delight: hang-ups - paintings by jonathan winters

It's been too long since my last (and first) Audio/Visual Delight feature post, and this time the focus again will be on the visual, namely a book released by Random House some time ago, featuring the art of the highly influential Jonathan Winters, who was known mostly for his comedy routines. Now, I'm no expert on Winters, and honestly, he was a little before my time. I actually found this book on sale at an antique store while visiting North Beach, Maryland. The artwork inside grabbed me immediately - strange, unique, and pretty darn amazing. Then I learned it was the artwork of THE Jonathan Winters, whose comedy, and life in general was also quite strange, unique and amazing. 

There is a definite Native American influence to both the visual aspect of his paintings, as well as some of the messages in his work, however, he tends to shrug off some obviously deeper meanings in his pieces, for somewhat light-hearted, almost trite verbal explanations. His art also could easily be lumped into the "visionary" and "outsider" categories, if it were not for the fact that he did attend art school for four years, mostly with a concentration on cartooning. Perhaps his stay at a couple of mental institutions around 1960, something which he refers to in some of his stand-up routines, could qualify his art as the work of an outsider or visionary, however. Whatever the case may be, it is far from fluff, and there is some true, genuine genius at hand throughout the pages of the book. 

The pages are well-sized for viewing and all in vivid, full color, thankfully. It is also, thankfully hard-bound and surprisingly, easily available for a reasonable price on Amazon. Definitely a must for any serious art book collector. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

love nature, an art exhibit featuring the work of kris and steve loya, at north gate vineyard, september 6th, 2015

It's hard to believe, but in two weeks, my wife Kris and I will have our first joint art exhibit, with our work to be featured at North Gate Vineyard in Purcellville, Virginia! The opening reception date will take place on Labor Day weekend, on Sunday, September 6th, 2015 from 2-5 pm. I'll have twenty new acrylic-based landscape paintings and five drawings on display, and Kris will have many of her recent abstracted watercolor florals hanging. If you can't make the opening, our work will be there at the vineyard for a few months, during the Autumn season. If you're in the area, hope you can stop by!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

north beach, maryland: a photo essay

It's amazing the places one can discover in their own back years if they give it a chance. Such is the case with North Beach, off the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.  Only an hour drive from DC, Kris and I made a day trip to this great little, peaceful place, with a surprisingly rich and interesting history. Not a bad way to end my summer break. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

pixo-hammer mail-art trade

Got some beautiful brush and ink drawings in the mail from Canadian-based artist Donald Lee, as part of a recent mail-art trade. I've been following Donald's work for years under his Pixo alias, who runs the 10,000 page Colouring Book blog. Check it out!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

sherry sanabria painting retrospective at gwu through august 31, 2015

Yesterday Kris and I visited the GWU Virginia Science and Technology campus to see a retrospective of paintings by the late Sherry Zvares Sanabria, set up by her husband. Her works in person are simply awe-inspiring, and I only wish she were still alive for me to tell her this. The exhibit is free and open to the public, and runs through August 31, 2015. Take a look at her artist webpage HERE.  ‪#‎art‬ ‪#‎artwork‬ ‪#‎painting‬ ‪#‎paintings‬ ‪#‎acrylics‬ ‪#‎SherryZvaresSanabria‬ ‪#‎GeorgeWashingtonUniversityScienceAndTechnologyCamp

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

williamsburg, virginia tree studies

In addition to exhibiting twenty landscape paintings, I mentioned selecting and framing five tree drawings for the upcoming vineyard show as well. These were drawn, based on photos I took when Kris and I visited Williamsburg, Virginia last year. They were made during a six-month period where I made a drawing per day in a sketchbook. Much like the five weeks I spent teaching myself how to paint landscapes, I felt that this drawing a day challenge was a good way of getting back to the basics and reintroducing myself to the important fundamentals of art and art-making, mainly, how to "see". Drawing, even more than painting, has been my biggest strength when making art, and I love these drawings in particular. It'll be tricky framing these five without damaging them, but I'll get it right. Looking forward to seeing these framed and hung, in the meantime!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

landscape paintings, week 5

At this point, I've completed my targeted twenty landscape paintings in five weeks. It's hard to believe that over a month of my summer break has passed - it literally has flown by, despite three of those weeks with me having a very persistent case of poison ivy, which is finally on it's way out. I could have chosen a relaxing summer over a productive one, but I don't feel as if spending X amount of hours each day working in my basement studio has been even remotely stressful. Challenging, and at times frustrating, difficult even, but not stressful. 

I know I said, as of last week, that twenty-five paintings for the show would be my target, but perhaps I was being overly ambitious. I also decided to feature five drawings of trees I made last year, that I'll frame for the show, that I feel will tie in well with the nature theme. Still, even though I technically have a week off next week, I have a three-day professional development class to attend from Monday through Wednesday. This week I have to tie up some lose ends and run some errands and relax a little. So, the painting will be on hiatus, at least for a couple of weeks until I get myself situated with being back at school. Once the dust has settled,  I'll get back to the easel, hoping to produce at least one or two paintings per week, most likely landscapes again. 

Last week I tried a couple of things that were different for me, including working on two beach scenes based on recent photos I took from a trip to both Rehoboth and Bethany Beach in Delaware. Both days were very different, weather-wise, but both quite beautiful in their own way. I also painted my largest painting on canvas so far - based from another one of many photos I took from a hike to Crescent Rock, off the Appalachian Trail. Working that large wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be, as I've had more issues with much smaller canvases. Style-wise, it was probably the closest I've come to being under the "influence" of David Hockney's work, not that I tried, or even came close to what Hockney does. It's just the most abstracted of the bunch, as I've tried to avoid shooting for realism at all costs. 

Again, I need to get these twenty pieces properly photographed, as well as add wire for hanging, and signed and labeled - a whole other beast. Thankfully, I still have a few weeks for that, however I'd prefer to get it done before I get back to school. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

"a bird in the hand" public sculpture, by patrick dougherty

Recently my wife and I made a visit to Reston Towne Center, in Reston, Virginia. Perhaps the highlight of the visit was the curious, giant bird nest-like structure we had stumbled upon, sitting in the middle of the park. Upon closer examination, we noticed that you could walk through it, as kids and adults were doing. It turned out to be a large-scale public sculpture by American artist Patrick Dougherty, called "A Bird in the Hand".  Kris and I had way too much fun walking through and around the structure, and it made for some great photo ops. I had later posted some photos of it on Facebook, and quickly a few folks asked exactly where it was and expressed interest in visiting it. This made me think of one art lesson in particular, that I have my third-grade students work on, revolving around public sculpture. I ask my students, what is the value of public art, sculpture in particular, both on a practical and non-practical level. I'm also reminded of a great documentary "The Gates", featuring the work of that very name, by artist duo Christo and Jeanne Claude. For over twenty years, they had envisioned and diligently fought for this huge project to happen in Central Park in NYC, and were rejected, by both the authorities and by much of the public. In the end, the duo was victorious, and the results were magical. Naysayers became believers, and while the project did indeed cost some money to build, it created great revenue for the city, as art lovers and sight-seerers the world over flocked to Central Park to see, and more importantly experience Jeanne Claude and Christo's vision, which was now a reality. It is important to note that Christo and Jeanne Claude fully funded their sculpture projects through sales of their equally incredible pre-sketches, drawings and paintings, which easily went for tens of thousands of dollars.

Last week, I spied yet another Patrick Dougherty sculpture in another local public park where there was a lot of new commerce and businesses happening, and again, people were enjoying its presence. Public sculpture, like that of Dougherty's, or Jeanne Claude's and Christo's, or that of Claes Oldenburg's (who I focus on during my lesson with third grade students), brings visual interest and a new level of culture to an area. It also takes people away from the typical and the ordinary, if not for a little while. And, from a practical standpoint, it can generate revenue by attracting visitors to an area. If you're in the Reston, VA area, see if you can find Patrick's new piece, featured here at this post, and see how many more public sculptures you can locate and identify.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

my kurdles book, signed by robert goodin

Yesterday I got my Kurdles book returned to me by cartoon artist, author and illustrator Robert Goodin. I'm so glad I found out about Goodin's work, and The Kurdles, and it's obvious this guy has been at it a while now - it's simply amazing, for lack of a better word. Asif the spectacular Kurdles drawing he did inside the book wasn't enough (a slick homage to an old Bat Man issue), he also sent me a gorgeous signed illustration he made for Walt Disney's Comics and Stories! If you haven't bought yourself a copy of The Kurdles, I suggest you do so immediately, that is, if you're a fan of impeccably good hand-drawn, hand-painted comic book art and illustration, and highly original, humorous and uniquely engaging storytelling. It's one of my all-time favorite books of any genre now, period. One can only hope another is in the making. You can find it HERE at Amazon or instead, at Fantagraphics HERE!