See the Splotch Monster Island version HERE.
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Friday, December 30, 2016
Here's another fun pet-themed Splotch Monster/animal mashup (not part of the Endangered Kingdom series), this time for our friend Jen Crawford, who runs the very excellent JellyVision Show podcast, along with Tim Trueheart. Kris and I met Jen way back when she ran the Soundry, a great creative studio space, art gallery and coffee house that used to be located in Vienna, Virginia. Jen has moved on in a new direction, this time focusing on helping artists and creative entrepeneurs be successful at what they do. She also has a hedgehog, by the way! In the meantime, check out the podcast - there's obviously a lot of love put into it, as it's very inspiring, informative and funny (and has adult content) and you'll be sure to learn something new and interesting!
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Last week, while laying in bed reading, getting ready to fall asleep, I suddenly heard a gleeful squeal from my wife Kris, who happened to be looking at her i-phone with eyes wide open. Barely able to get the words out of her mouth, she managed to inform me that I was nominated in the "best artist" category for the current 2017 Best of Loudoun poll. At first I thought she was being funny, but to my pleasant surprise, there was my name, among about fourteen others. In the past, Kris and I would fill in these polls, and I'd always give Kris my "write-in" vote, as she would also do with me, but this time I found myself on the actual list. I'm not sure what it means to be "best artist", as there is a plethora of great artists in this very large county known as Loudoun, however I am very grateful to whoever it was who nominated me, and found my work worthy enough to be in this poll. If you also find my artwork worthy, and if you've followed my artistic endeavors and adventures for a while, or if you've just found out about it and like what you see, then why not vote for me? A win is definitely a long shot, but it's always so nice to see there are folks who appreciate what you do, somewhere out there. By the way, the pic below is just a screen shot. HERE's the link to vote. It's simple and you can vote from anywhere. Thanks a ton, in the meantime!
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Last week the North Carolina Museum of Art, in Raleigh, NC hosted their annual Art Lab event for local educators. My friends Sam Peck, David Modler and I were invited to host the art journaling portion of the event. In addition to the three of us, there were quite a few other artists on board to accommodate the area teachers, with the intent to engage folks in a fun and creative learning setting. Hundreds of people showed up that evening, and it was great getting to hang out and work with local, North Carolina educators in visual journals provided by the museum. I think Dave, Sam and I got a lot of perspective and learned a lot by listening to people talk about their teaching, and life experiences, and hopefully visitors were able to take something away as well, after stopping by!
Being so busy that night, I really didn't get much of an opportunity to view the North Carolina Museum of Art's world class collection. So, Kris and I came back the following morning, after a visit to Jerry's Artarama, to have a look around. Luckily, the weather was perfect for walking along the museum's sculpture garden pathway, which turned out to be my favorite part of the visit. The wide array of sculptures, along with the natural surroundings, complimented the museum's beautiful, modernist architecture. I couldn't help taking lots of photographs that morning, and included just a fraction of what I saw, here in this post. The NCMA is definitely one of the coolest and most unique art museums that we've ever been to - definitely a must see.
After our visit to the NCMA, Kris and I headed out to Hickory, NC to attend the preview opening reception event for one of our favorite artists, Paul Lancaster, at the Hickory Museum of Art. Only a couple of weeks earlier, we got a postcard in the mail from Paul's longtime friend and art dealer, Grey Carter, who runs Grey Carter Objects of Art, inviting us to the opening event. It just so happened that this event was happening the day after the Art Lab event in Raleigh. Of course, this was a no-brainer, attending the opening, so Kris and I made the three-hour drive out to Hickory, from Raleigh, in time for the show. Unfortunately, due to poor health, Paul couldn't be there, however, Mr. Carter did a wonderful job representing the man and his amazing body of work. The exhibit itself is so beautifully arranged, highlighting the spectacular legacy and work of one of the world's most extraordinary self-taught, visionary artists. It was truly a magical night, and I'm so glad Kris and I were able to be there!
The exhibit, called "Innocent and Ethereal - The Visionary Work of Paul Lancaster" will continue to be on display through spring, 2017.
Later that evening, following Paul's opening, Kris and I talked to folk art collectors and curators Allen and Barry Huffman. Much of their own personal collection was on display in the museum's entire third floor, and the time that Allen and Barry took to show us around and personally share their wealth of knowledge and love for the artists and their work, was nothing short of a treat.
Since the museum, now a converted former high school, had so much to see and do, Kris and I went back the following day, which also happened to be their annual open house and arts and crafts fair event. Even though we had spent a good deal of time there, I still feel like we didn't see it all. If only we lived closer to this beautiful place. One of the highlights was an exhibit featuring the paintings of artist Pat Viles, whose work was so prolific and alive with color and energy. I love finding out about artists who I've never heard of before, and hopefully more people will learn about Pat's art in the near future.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
My friends Sam Peck, David Modler and I will be hosting an Art Lab this Thursday evening at the North Carolina Museum of Art's east building, from 4:30 - 7:30pm. We will have visual journals and art materials available for educators to come in, use, create and explore with. Looking forward to working with and meeting fellow educators! For more information, click HERE!
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Saturday, November 5, 2016
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Last week I attended the 2016 West Virginia Art Education Conference with my friends David Modler and Sam Peck. It was the first time in years that I attended any kind of art education conference, however Dave invited me to come along and check it out. When I saw that it would be held at the Resort at Glade Springs, in Daniels, WV, it was a no-brainer. Yes, it was a bit of a drive, but I was in the company of friends who I don't get much of a chance to hang out with, so why not? I met up with Dave the day before the conference, and was invited to join his education students at Shepherd University, for a lino-cut print-making session. It was the first lino-cut I had made in some time, and proved to be slightly difficult but fun. It actually made me want to get back into printing with linoleum more often (above image). The great thing is, my print, along with those made by his students, will be included as part of a much bigger, nationwide art project!
On the first day of the conference, I packed my day with workshops, all of which were held by Dave and Sam. They focused on the Tet(R)ad project that they started together a few years back, as well as the Journal Fodder Junkies project, started by Dave and Eric Scott several years ago. It was great seeing them present, as they did an excellent job relaying the concepts and stories that support the utilization of the visual journal in life, in the classroom and in personal artistic practice. Much of the inspiration can be attributed to the late Dan Eldon, who was a pioneer of sorts, in the use of visual journals as a daily practice. I feel like I got a lot out of the workshops, as did the folks who attended them, however, by the end of that day, we were all pretty exhausted.
I decided to keep the most of the second day of the conference open to explore and do whatever I wanted to. I felt extremely fortunate to have experienced such gorgeous weather over the duration of our stay, despite some heavy rainfall on the trip to and from. A highlight from my last full day at Glade Springs was taking full advantage of the beautiful Autumn weather and going for a hike along the trails of the resort. I'm a firm believer in balancing work with equal amounts of rest and leisure, and allowing some time to recharge and let the mind wander. Still, however, Dave and I ended up going out later that evening to an art exhibit at the Beckley Art Center, in neighboring Beckley, WV to check out a teacher and student show, as well as an exhibit called "Appalachian Gothic", featuring the work of artists from the area. For me, a couple standouts adhering to the theme were by artist Jamie Powers. His paintings "Veggie Man" and "Tortured Should of McDowell County" were my personal favorites, which I found quite fitting for Halloween, which was right around the corner (above and below pics).
On Sunday, Dave and I hit the road and headed home, while Sam had to leave us a day early for other obligations. We ended up stopping in the charming historic town of Lexington, Virginia, where we met up with Eric at a little boutique shop called Gladiola Girls. While there, Dave took down some art he had on display, then Eric replaced the emptied walls with his own work, now currently hanging in the shop. I love it when small and independent businesses are willing to work with the local community and support the work of artists and makers within their general vicinity. While the shop is already a cool place to visit, the art adds yet another layer of visual interest (above and below pics).
After hanging some art, we all stopped by The Palms for a bite to eat. There's something for everyone in this unique, historic restaurant, and the food was nothing short of tasty. They also serve some excellent craft beers. Highly recommended.
After attending the WVAEA Conference, I felt surprisingly refreshed upon returning to the art classroom, and a boost in enthusiasm for teaching, which can tend to lag around this time of year.
One highlight this week was the return of acclaimed Nigerian artist and musician, Tunde Odunlade, to my school. Hearing Tunde speak and engage the students with his words and his work is always a treat, and the kids adore him. Having Tunde come by also make me excited about creating more art more often. The good news is that Tunde will be at the Reston Town Center this Sunday, from 2-5pm at the Living Threads Company, where he'll be playing some music and selling some of his artwork!
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Like I've done in the past, here are some more abstract watercolor surfaces I've made to draw on. I'll be drawing my Endangered Kingdom series on these this month, however, they can be downloaded and used for any creative purpose you wish, as long as it's non-commercial. Up until this point, I've been using only watered-down acrylic washes for the series. This time, I thought it would be a good change to go with some light-fast watercolor washes, which I'll most-likely use for the remainder of the series.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Last weekend Kris and I drove out to Virginia Beach to celebrate my birthday, a couple of days in advance. The main reason we went there was to see the latest art exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibit, called "Turn the Page, the First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose" was even more incredible than I could have imagined. I never really was a fan of the magazine at first, but in hindsight, they did an amazing job covering some of the most important artists of our time. Seeing the work of longtime favorites Josh Keyes, Mars 1, Tim Biskup and more, in person, simply blew my mind. VAMOCA also did a spectacular job curating and setting up the exhibit, which runs through December. DO. NOT. MISS. THIS!
Sometimes to get the creative juices flowing, a little collaboration with a like-minded friend is in order. Such was the case with myself and local Vinyl Vagabond, Eric Gordon, who brought his talent to the table at Space Bar in Falls Church recently. The guy's portrait-sketching skills are crazy good, and just keep getting better. I definitely need more evenings like this.
DC's premier comics-art newspaper Magic Bullet is now at issue number thirteen, and in time for Halloween, I've got my full-page monster mash spread on page 41(above pic) . You can color it, try to count how many monsters there are in the image, or hang it on your wall. Issue 13, edited by the incredible Andrew Cohen, is chock full of awesome talent from cover to cover, from the greater DC area. Get a free copy at local comics, record, and coffee shops (to name a few) while they last. I got my copies at the CD Cellar and Space Bar, both in Falls Church, Virginia last week.
Finally, a couple of Fridays ago I hosted a great little art-making and creativity workshop for adults at the Round Hill Arts Center (above). That evening we made Splotch Monsters, continuous line-drawings and painted paper surfaces. It was a fun and relaxing way to unwind and get in touch with that inner-child inside of everyone of us. In the meantime, I’ll be visiting Books and Other Found Things in Leesburg, Virginia again on Saturday, October 15, to do another Splotch Monster-making demo and mini-workshop with visitors to the store from 11am to 3pm. If you’re in the area, hope you can drop by!