Thursday, November 24, 2016

arting around in north carolina!

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. 

After a few days in North Carolina, Kris and I headed home. We had the pleasure of staying at Hickory's Holiday Inn Express, which made our stay all the more enjoyable. In the meantime, if you love art and are in the NC area, don't hesitate to visit the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Hickory Museum of art - two very different and remarkable museums with something for everyone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

art lab, this thursday at the nc museum of art!

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!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

wvaea conference & more

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

autumn abstracts

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.