A Saturday date with Charm

This past Saturday I took temporary leave of my senses and rode Charm in the first of Karin Bielefeld’s two annual spring dressage clinics at Willow Tree. These events are valuable because they give you practice riding with an audience (something you need in order to be successful at a show), they illustrate how difficult it is to transfer what you do easily any time it doesn’t count to the situation where it does count, and it gives your horse an opportunity to go ppppfftttt in your face (to repay you for all the hard work you’ve made her do).

Here, then, are 45 minutes condensed into about 1 minute 14 seconds. I have included music and subtitles to keep you entertained while you try to figure out exactly what it is we’re trying to accomplish. Don’t worry if you feel left behind, just look at my mare’s luxurious mane and tail and covet all that gorgeous red hair for yourself. She certainly has enough to share, although I doubt she will give any of it up easily.

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Lucky 13 on the Ides of March?

Background pour for Sky Pads #13, with lines drawn in for the pads.

I am so-o-o waiting for spring (or at least spring-“like”) weather so I can quit pouring turpentine-loaded paint in my basement and just let all the intoxicating fumes float to heaven outside. A lot of it found its way outside anyway because I left the sliding glass door open all day in 30°F weather. Which meant only my cat appreciated being in the basement since he could sit looking through the screen door.

Why not just take the canvas outside, you say? 1) It’s too cold for sissy me to work out there; and 2) the paint is poured on like water and I want it to stay where it landed. The canvas is too big to fit through the door without tilting, which would make the paint run again to places I don’t want it to be. So it sits inside until it’s dry enough to relocate safely. It doesn’t really matter if it’s in freezing temps later. I’ve never seen any damaging effects from letting it sit in bitter cold.

Maybe we should rename this the “freeze-dried” series?

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You win some, you lose some

Preliminary results are in from Harbor Shores–

Downstairs lobby with watercolors. The watercolor below the large oil was a study for the larger painting,

The watercolor below the large oil was a study for the larger painting, and it’s sold. The second one from the left is on hold, waiting for pickup.

News from Harbor Shores, a couple of sales and a nice artist’s reception! The crowd was really great, and I truly love talking to people who want to know about my art. I was in a busy “professor/demonstrator” mode for almost the entire time (had to sneak my wine in between guest chats). Only got this sort of goofy-looking photo of me to prove I was actually there–

I look kind of dorky, but the paintings are nice

I look kind of short and dorky, but the paintings are nice

The exhibit depicted fall and winter scenes, and even though there was still a February cold wind/nip in the air nobody seemed to complain. Maybe feeding them helped?

A hall of fall

A hall of fall

Enjoying wine and some pretty good little shish-ka-bob-y things (cheese, salami, tomatoes)

Enjoying wine and some pretty good little shish-ka-bob-y things (cheese, salami, tomatoes)

As for my trip to LowellArts, well, as Mr. Trump might say, “LOSER!!”. Both my entries were rejected. You just never know what the judges may be looking for. Probably not something quite as abstract as Sky Pads. However, I did get my wish, which was to have both accepted or both rejected–did not want to make two more 200-mile round trips!

Not to worry. Plenty of other opportunities out there!

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Suddenly salad…I mean…Sky Pads 12

Mixed salad? With a dollop of dressing?

Mixed salad? With a dollop of dressing?

Yes, all those carefully crafted lily pads are still underneath the top coats, but you do have to look for them. I’m just enjoying the color layers and the depth of this painting, so I hope you do too. It’s somewhat large, another 3′ x 4′ canvas, so it of course looks a bit more dramatic in real life.

There are probably about five layers over the last version you saw, but I didn’t take intermediate in-progress photos because I truly had no idea where I was headed and the in-between versions did not speak to me till almost the end. This one really demanded that I push through it to get somewhere I liked. So this is, as they used to say on TV, the final answer.

Artist’s reception for Retro♦Spect is tonight at Harbor Shores in St. Joseph, MI. More on that next time. I also hoofed it (well, drove, actually) about 100 miles north to deliver two Sky Pads (#6 & #11) to Lowell, MI, just outside Grand Rapids. The Lowell Art Center is hosting a regional competition for western Michigan artists, and are judging by my favorite method–the actual artwork. More on that when I hear back from them.

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Sky Pads continues

Background pour with pads almost done

Background pour with pads almost done

Working on Sky Pads 12. This photo shows the background pour, which I did late last year and then got sidetracked with holidays and a bunch of other excuses. The past couple of weeks I’ve been painting the leaves (the yellow-ish ones aren’t finished yet), much stronger in this image than in all of the previous paintings except its immediate predecessor, number 11. Don’t place your bets too soon, however. The leaves (I predict) will soon be sheltered under many thin overcoats of paint to come, just like the other members of the group yet somehow always a bit different.

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Harbor Shores, Part 2

Sky Pads floats away

Sky Pads floats away

In one extremely efficient afternoon ten large Sky Pads and three Echo Park paintings were taken down and somehow squished into the bed of my truck. I didn’t remember how I had loaded them up in the first place (it had seemed rather simple) but I had a lot of trouble recreating the successful first configuration. I didn’t want to take the tonneau cover off the truck bed because it was cold and spitting sleet into the loading area. It’s really hard to get all those snaps on the cover fastened back onto the truck when it’s under about 60 degrees (cold makes the vinyl shrink). But I eventually realized that I had loaded everything up for delivery on a warm day three months earlier and had indeed removed the cover. If I ever have to replace it, velcro is going to be the top priority!

Anyhow, back to this efficient afternoon. The Sky Pads and Echo Park were replaced with fifteen oil paintings and seven watercolors for an unprecedented second-in-a-row show at The Gallery at the Inn at Harbor Shores!

The curator liked the first show so well that she invited me to do a second one. So I gathered up the best of my autumn/winter landscape collection for a new show which I titled “Retro♦Spect”. Here’s a snippet of the publicity statement for the show.  (“RETRO♦SPECT” is a pair of syllables from Latin (retrōspicere) which literally means “looking back”)–

The fall season is so short that we feel a sense of urgency to stop and take notice lest we fail to experience it. Most of the fall paintings in this exhibit are scenes from the fabled New England landscape—in this case, the Berkshires in Massachusetts. In general these scenes are not depicted in their full blazing glory, but rather a suggestion of it, leading the viewer to perhaps long for the brilliance once experienced or imagined. An encouragement to look back rather than forward…

And here’s a peek at the autumn to winter transition now on the walls–

Downstairs lobby with watercolors. The watercolor below the large oil was a study for the larger painting,

Downstairs lobby with watercolors. The watercolor below the large oil was a study for the larger painting.

Sample of autumn into winter

Sample of autumn into winter

Livelier photos to come after the reception, which will be on February 23. Hopefully without a lot of cold, blowing sleet…

Posted in art, exhibit opportunity, gallery show, landscape, oil paintings, Sky Pads, watercolor | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Lot (and lots!) to see at the Carnegie reception

I’m going to try your patience here just a little bit, because I think some short videos will convey the spirit of the huge crowd at the Carnegie Center for the Arts reception better than my thousand words could. The first one is the newer building with its nice combination of natural light and focused lights. My painting is in this gallery, but since someone is standing in front of it I will post a photo after the video. Also, pay attention to three clay vases in a glass case which appear about 10 seconds into the video. More on that in a minute!


So here’s my painting, in case this is the first of my blogs you are reading…


“Michigan Orange Frost”, oil on canvas, part of my “Orange” series


Now for the interesting part about the three vases. As soon as I saw them, I was pretty sure they were fired using horse hair as a decorative element. Here’s a closeup of them–



Now take a look at my Christmas gift from a couple of Christmases back–with my horse’s hair used in a similar way!


Opening my Christmas present…

So sure enough, when I got close enough to read the description, it clearly stated that it was horse hair! I always appreciated my vase as a work of art, but never expected it to appear in an art show in the same room as one of my paintings.

Anyhow, moving right along–here are three of the other four galleries at the Carnegie Center. The last one wasn’t ideal for me to get video because 1) it was so crowded you could hardly move, and 2) I’m really short.

Here are a couple of photos detailing the atrium and the stained glass. The old section of the original Carnegie Library can’t be beat for turn-of-the-last century decoration.


Looking down from the second floor to what was originally the main desk of the library.


Looking up from the first floor through to the stained glass in the ceiling of the second floor.


Looking into the first floor gallery, the one I couldn’t get a good photo of. It was also where the food was, making it even more crowded. I think the early 20th century was quite into faux marble columns.


Greg, my faithful gallery-hopping companion, accompanied me to this show as usual. We compared notes and discussed our favorites, then awaited the awards presentation which took place in the area of the photo above. We had decided pretty much upon first sight that this large pastel painting titled “Jayce’s Mood” deserved to be near the top of the list.


“Jayce’s Mood”, a way-bigger-than-life-size pastel painting that was awarded “Best in Show”. Greg and I were pleased to see that, for once, the jurors agreed with us! Artist is Al Harris, Jr.


The other artwork that both of us thought was great wasn’t “in the ribbons” as we like to say at horse shows, but both of us again agreed that it should have been. This is one that begs for individual interpretation by each viewer, so I won’t play art critic here except to say that it addresses its subject matter on many different levels. It’s called “Strike A Pose” and is basically a photographic medium although it looks like a painting. The substrate looks like Naugahyde, which is a texture I have never seen used in an art piece but seems to work especially well in this one.


“Strike A Pose”, artist is Lynne A. Kasey

And so, what happened with my painting, you were wondering? Well, the usual. I didn’t win anything. But for me, it isn’t about winning. It is all about getting my work seen. And I’ve decided that this is the year I’m going to mount a concerted effort to make it happen. I have plans…

Posted in art, exhibit opportunity, gallery show, landscape, oil paintings | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments