Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Portrait Unveiling

One of my recent portraits, of businessman R. John Chapel, was unveiled at Drexel University's LeBow School of Business. Mr. Chapel and his wife Jinny have been generous donors to the business school, giving scholarships to deserving students through a foundation they have established. I especially love the multi-generational photo of the Chapel family standing in front of the portrait. I enjoy unveiling parties because I get a chance to share in the joy of the occasion, and contribute to it, but stay on the sidelines and watch someone being honored in a special way.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More Thoughts on WPW

Since returning from that wonderful week in Charleston and Sullivan's Island, SC, I've been feeling strangely pensive, not my usual energetic self. I've been musing over all my experiences and observations and interactions, and I realized that the wide age span of the 12 artists in our group--24 to 66--allowed the opportunity to see a microcosm of a life in art.

One thing that struck me is how trendy the culture of selling art is. The gallery scene in Charleston is lively and varied, yet it was not obvious to me where my work would fit into it. Some of the best galleries claimed to only show work of artists who were formally trained, and although I am so glad the younger artists I know have had the advantage of formal training, I know from experience that one can learn without it if one is determined to learn. So formal training has become not just a viable opportunity, but a selling point for gallery owners! How different I feel now, more sure of my own work, yet less sure of where I "fit in" to the gallery scene. Maybe the whole point is that I don't need or want to fit in, I just want to keep doing my own thing, and that is the driving force. I'm still processing my Charleston experience, but it sure has been interesting so far.

If you are interested in reading about the experiences of some of the other artists in our painting expedition, here are links to their blogs:

Sadie Valeri
Diane Feissel
Mia Bergeron
Terry Strickland
Linda Tracey Brandon
Alia El Bermani

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Women Painting Women

My plein air painting in the park, Woman Painting Women Painting Woman! Our model was artist Stanka Kordic, who volunteered to fill in for the model who cancelled and stoically posed in the cold, blustery weather.

This past week in Charleston, SC was amazing one, staying with 11 other artists (Alia El Bermani, Diane Feissel, Sadie Valeri, Catherine Prescott, Mia Bergeron, Linda Brandon, Stefani Tewes, Cindy Procious, Kate Stone, Rachel Constantine, and Terry Strickland) in a large beachfront house on Sullivan's Island. We were there to paint, get to know each other, be inspired by each other. . . and to attend the opening reception of the Women Painting Women show at the Robert Lange Studios in Charleston.

This show had its origins as a blog started by artist Sadie Valeri. Sadie had noticed that many major exhibitions, gallery shows and events featuring women as subject matter were painted overwhelmingly by men, so she began collecting images of women painted by women. High quality submissions began pouring in from all over the world, and the blog grew so rapidly that Sadie enlisted the help of fellow artists Alia El-Bermani and Diane Feissel to handle the postings. Some of the artists featured were represented by Robert Lange Studios, and it wasn't long before gallery owners Megan and Robert Lange had the idea of curating a show based on this theme.

Even though we knew the show had generated a lot of great press coverage, we were thrilled at the reaction of the people who were walking around the art district on the evening of the opening. I was with Linda Tracey Brandon when a woman told us, "Oh, you MUST see the Women Painting Women show--it brought tears to my eyes!" That was pretty much the general reaction, and it was like a huge groundswell of energy.

To read more about our adventure, check out Sadie Valeri's description. She says it a lot better than I possibly could.

Opening night at Robert Lange Studios: Alia El Bermani in front of her beautiful painting Space Between.
From left: Me (Alex), artist Mario Robinson who shows at Ann Long Fine Art, and Linda Brandon.
From left: artists Kate Stone, Diane Feissel, and Rachel Constantine.
Stefani Tewes, Cathy Prescott and Alia El Bermani painting the model in Magnolia Plantation.

Cindy Procious at work in a Charleston cemetery.
Oyster roast at the home of artist Shannon Runquist--an evening of wonderful hospitality and southern cuisine.
At our house on Sulivan's Island, painting from the model.