I was honored to receive a Rasmuson Foundation Fellowship, one of four residencies awarded annually to Alaska artists. During my two months at the Santa Fe Arts Institute, I set up a studio, painted oil paintings and made charcoal landscape studies. I built several oil painting panels at the Institute of American Indian Art. I was fascinated with the cloud formations during the northern New Mexico monsoon and took a series of black and white photographs. I was able to print these images at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. I also visited many state parks and historic sites, such as Georgia O'Keeffe's Ghost Ranch. stopping to sketch with pen and ink.
I'm pleased to announce that one of my photographs now showing the Rarified Photography Contest show, has been purchased by the Anchorage Museum of History and Art as part of the permanent collection. This photograph won an honorable mention and was the acquisition was funded by the Rasmuson Foundation.
A two week stay in the studios of Mayer of Munich, Architectural Glass Studio with the possibility of translating my work, painting and photography to glass and mosaic for future public art projects. Many thanks to the Alaska State Council on the Arts for travel funds to Munich and the warmth and hospitality of Mayer of Munich staff and artists.
November 2015 Cuba. I traveled to Cuba on an educational/cultural visa a few months before President Obama announced the USA would open diplomatic relations. US citizens were allowed to travel to Cuba under this visa and under a state guided tour.
Our group was asked about our specific interests before we travelled and one of the things I requested was to meet Cuban artists and to visit the Cuban National Art Museum. I was not disappointed! I wasn't allowed to take photographs in the museum, but I can tell you the Cuban art, from classical colonial, modern abstract-expressionism and contemporary was very impressive. I visited once with a guide and the second, alone in which I spent an entire afternoon absorbing the art. Cuban modern art is unique, as the artists spent time in Europe with their contemporaries, artists such as Picasso that were keenly interested in what was "primitive" from Africa.
Artists such as Picasso appropriated, almost copied the art of "primitives" without interest in origin and spirit of the work. Cubans, on the other hand were a rich mix of European, African and the original indigenous, pre-Colombian people, the Ciboneyes, the Guanahatabeyes and the Taínos. I could see the European modern art influence in the Cuban paintings, but their work is somehow more authentic, deeply moving and spiritual in a way Picasso's work is not.
I will have landscape oil painting classes starting up in September. These classes are designed for all levels of expertise; beginners to oil as well as experienced painters are welcome.
In my painting classes we explore landscapes through simple value studies using only a chromatic black and white.
Once we're familiar with value we add an additional color and paint a tonal study. This limited palette approach allows the student to become aware of the importance of value contrast and the subtle shifts in tonality. Students gain confidence in using the paint and mediums, as well as, paint mixing and application before tackling the challenges of a full color palette.
In my classes we'll spend time looking at reference photos of landscapes and discuss composition. Landscapes contain a lot of visual information and it is important to find the big shapes and the essential elements that are important and to eliminate the rest. Quick sketches with an ink pen are a good way to experiment with composition. I encourage students to create unique compositions instead of attempting to copy nature.
When it is time to delve into a full color palette, we will have good understanding of composition and tonal contrast as our base. We will spend a lot time experimenting with various palettes, discussing the use of color in landscapes to produce the illusion of distance and atmosphere.
I will have two sessions, twice a week, for three wks. $250 for six classes, supplies not included.
I will also have an Open Studio Sunday afternoons 4-7pm. This is for people interested in bringing a painting project they would like to work on and get my feedback. Non-structured, with no instruction, these sessions are designed to allow artists time to paint, receive my advice and to meet other students. I have lots of new resource material from my Denali residency!
Magpie Artworks 3601 Mt. View Drive. 99508
Infante Lyons Studio #103
Mon/Wed Sept.16-Oct 2 6-9pm Landscape Oil Painting $250
Tues/Thurs Oct 6-Oct 22 6-9pm Landscape Oil Painting $250
Sunday Sept 14-Oct 26 OPEN STUDIO 4-7pm $20 per session
Feel free to call or email questions or to sign up for classes.
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I was one of 7 lucky artists and writers chosen to spend 10 days in Denali Park as an artist in residence. My slot was August 4 through the 14th and I lived every second of the experience to the fullest. Artists are given the time and access to the park to bond with the landscape, be inspired, living in the cozy East Fork Cabin, the original cabin of Park founder, Adolph Murie. We are allowed to enter with our car and many, like myself, bring our mt bikes and use the park buses to explore the park. I also got off the road and hiked, sketched and took photographs.
The landforms and geology of Denali are unique and surprising in their variety. Unexpected colors...almost desert like, pinks, oranges and ochres and well as lavender hills covered in too many shades of green to name. Some landforms seemed otherworldly and I imagined my sketches could be titled field sketches from Mars. Denali is wild, and the Park caretakers do their best to maintain this nature.
Bears abound...I lost count...over 14. Big golden healthy beasts, wild and unhabituated to human contact. I saw a fox and a wolf...wolves are a rare sight as there are only 50 or so in the Park. A trapping and hunting zone exists just outside the park, wolves exit the park, often the vital alpha members, following the caribou and are killed.
My time in Denali was at the end of a whirlwind schedule of exhibits, workshops, AK. village residencies and a trip to Europe. It couldn't have been planned any better and was just what I needed: quiet time to reconnect to the source of my work. Denali didn't disappoint and I will carry with me an expanded consciousness of open space, silence..quietude.... as well as, a primal sense of awe and wonder of this beautiful and sublime wilderness. I will be creating a painting for Denali Park, part of the residency program. This piece will be part of the artist in residence collection displayed at the Park.
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It's been a busy year, especially from April to August with two artist in schools residencies, one in the village of Wales on the Bering Sea, and the other in the village of Kobuk, then off to Juneau to conduct a spring break kids art camp at the Canvas Community Arts Center then returning in July to teach an adult landscape painting workshop.
It was a busy year for exhibits as well, with one solo show and three invitational exhibits. I opened a solo show of paintings at the Alaska Native Arts Foundation and participated in a drawing invitational, 'Close at Hand" at the Alaska Pacific University, an invitational at the Cordova Museum featuring birds, and the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive's invitational exhibit commemorating the 50 year anniversary of the 1964 earthquake.
Most exciting this year were two artist residencies, one in Munich, Germany, Franz Mayer Architectural Glass Studio and a ten day artist residency in the Denali National Park and Preserve. I was invited to Munich to explore the possibility of translating my paintings and photography to glass and mosaic. We produced glass and mosaic samples for future public project proposals. My residency in Denali National Park was awesome, staying in a remote cabin 45 miles into the park, surrounded by wilderness and inspiring landscapes.
Thanks to the Alaska State Council on the Arts for funding my attendance to the Creative Capital Professional Workshop here in Anchorage and for partially funding my travel to Munich.
I recently submitted photographs to the annual AK juried photography show, Rarified Light. Two of my photographs were selected for the show and one image received an honorable mention. This makes me extremely happy as I am absolutely addicted to photography and my favorite past time is taking my camera out and hunting for images. There is much for me to learn regarding techniques and technology, but in the meantime I'll be out looking for "the shot." The Rarified Light exhibit will open at the Anchorage Museum, First Friday of November.
This year has been a banner year as there were two major museum acquisitions of my work, paintings for the Alutiiq Museum and Archeological Repository in Kodiak, AK and the Alaska State Museum, in Juneau, AK. I am very moved to have a piece in Kodiak, birthplace of my mother, my dear grandmother and her family. My exhibit at the Alaska Native Arts Foundation was inspired by imagery of Kodiak and was dedicated to my grandmother, Mary Reft. The Alaska State Museum purchase is very meaningful as I visited Juneau twice this year in March and July, touching down in our beautiful capital city for the first time and absorbing the coastal landscapes that have haunted my dreams and occupied my paintings for years. The painting purchased, "Low Tide' is a 4' x 5' oil painting of just this scene....inner coastal islands and tidal zones and a quietly erupting volcano in the background. I am pleased this painting has found a permanent home in Juneau, AK.
It seems like a lot of activities in 5 months, but when you are doing what you love, the work is a pleasure and each trip an adventure. My last big trip was to Denali Park, my "down time".....alone time to quiet my mind and reconnect to the creative source.
I'll have time now in the studio to set up painting classes for adults and to create new work. I have a public and private commission to work on as well as a piece that will be donated to the Denali National Park as part of the Artist in Residence Program. It feels good to stop and take a breath, but I am eager to start painting again and look forward to my next adventure, a research trip to Cuba in November. I can hardly contain my excitement over having the chance to visit this island which has been so closed off to most of the world. More on that later....
This is my first blog entry and I have some catching up to do. I'll be taking some time to post images of this year's activities as well as information on upcoming workshops and other events at my studio.
Always feel free to contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org and if you live in Anchorage you can call and set up a studio visit. 907-351-4478.
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