The LightSpaceTime Online Gallery ran a Vacation Special Art Competition (no theme) this June, asking artists to submit five images of their best abstract or representational art to be considered for exhibition. The gallery received 1558 entries from 39 different countries around the world, 43 states and the District of Columbia. There were only five overall winners, drawn from Painting and Other Media, 3 Dimensional Art and Photography and Digital Media, so I was especially honored to find that Rising Again has won a Special Merit Award in Painting and Other Media. Take a look at www.lightspacetime.art to see the 84 artists in this category with me, since I can only show you a small sample here.
The Marblehead Festival of the Arts is celebrated every Fourth of July weekend with exhibits and activities throughout the town. I have submitted paintings to the Painting Exhibit and Senior Art for as long as I have been eligible but have never won an award. Imagine my surprise when I got a phone call yesterday morning to tell me that my painting, Rising, in the Senior Art exhibit of the Festival, won the People’s Choice Award this year! People attending the exhibits have an opportunity to vote for their favorite work, and Rising got the most votes in Senior Art! I am beyond thrilled and happy to have this encouragement from the people who attended the festival in the last five days and saw fit to choose my painting. I am very honored, and I can’t seem to stop smiling!
I like to name my paintings…to give them titles that convey at least some of what I’m feeling and thinking about them as they come together from drawing to finished piece. This beast of a 40” X 40” canvas took a couple of weeks to paint, giving me more than enough time to think of a name for it. The dancer is so powerful, so focused, so aspirational in this moment frozen in time that I chose to call it Reach. I see him on the prow of a ship, on top of a mountain, on a stage in a theater, on top of the world, calling to mind Robert Browning’s poem, Andrea del Sarto, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” In what I now call my first life, I was a high school English teacher and taught creative writing; now I’m a painter, who continues to write and just quoted a poet who used a painter for his subject…now that’s the circle of life.
Thanks again to Whitney Browne, a most painterly photographer who allows me to use her images for inspiration. See what she does, especially Dance for the Photographic Eye, at http://www.whitneybrowne.com.
No matter how many people tell you your work is good or how good you think you are, it’s always a thrill and a privilege to have a submission accepted into a juried exhibition. I entered the Salem Arts Festival for the first time this year and was honored to see Dancing With the Stars hanging in the Old Town Hall in Salem this weekend.
In case you haven’t noticed, I love painting two people together. Kissing, whispering, dancing the tango…I relish the interaction and the intimacy. I also like to vary my painting experiences by taking a break from one subject to the next, by working in color after black and white, by painting a small canvas after a couple of large ones. I think it allows me to approach every new painting with a fresh eye. And so At Last is a small canvas, filled with color and a sensuous image of two people who I imagine have finally managed to fulfill a mutual fantasy.
The grisaille project that I started earlier this year continues with Rising Again, the painting of Whitney Browne’s breathtaking dancer in her collection of Dance for the Photographic Eye. While I usually paint my grisailles in tones that are akin to the colors I envision for my finished painting, as in Looking for Love, this time I saw this magnificent black woman coming to life in black and white. Because I am not a robot (#captcha), the grisaille and the painting are not identical, but rather two exceedingly similar views of the same subject, much like a photographer might find just one or two shots out of dozens snapped in a portrait shoot that are worthy of publication.
Looking for Love
I continue to enter juried art exhibitions, whenever I think my paintings are a good fit for a particular competition, since there’s no better way to be taken seriously as an artist than by getting a third party endorsement of your work. Family and friends may offer praise out of love, but the judgment of someone who doesn’t know you and does know art carries a lot more weight.
Since figurative is where I live, this one was a no brainer. I entered five paintings in the Figurative 2018 Art Exhibition, and, of those, Looking for Love was awarded Special Merit and Rising received Special Recognition and can be viewed on the Light Space & Time Gallery website. If you have the interest and/or patience to view the YouTube video of the Special Merit winners, you can see what good company I’m in.