Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Firsts And Lasts

On this gray rainy morn as I sit with my coffee I was thinking about the new beginning and final shows coming up in October. Doing the 30 - 30 keeps me very aware of how fast this month passed, by making art everyday. Still working on the framing but plan to have the 30 - 30 pieces at the Fine Arts in the Valley show. Well, those that have not sold, a couple are gone. Plus, have at least 3 that are in process that will be after the 30-30. Some will be framed, some I may just put in a portfolio, and yes they are for sale.

The Fine Arts in the Valley at Country Pleasures Farm and Orchard is a annual show that has taken on a couple different formats. At one point it became the Mountain Laurel Show but then I moved which ended that venue, so we brought back FAV. The FAV show was a tour going from one artists studio to another. Marilu and I shared a couple different barns, the first was at Mar-lu Ridge. Later we moved to Country Pleasures Farm and Orchard. Over the years as the event barn grew with more space and an upstairs loft area we invited the other artists to just join us there making one stop to see all the artists.

This will be the last year for the Fine Arts in the Valley show. We hope that many of you that have been in the past will come and say good-bye. For those of you that have been wanting to come this is your last chance to see us all together as a group. There will be lots of specials going on over the two weekends. Original art give away's - all that is needed is for you to come and make a purchase from any of the artists and your name will go in the drawing. Some of the drawing will take place during the final reception on Oct. 25th from 2-4 and the final drawings will take place at the close of the show. You do not need to be present to win.

On the opposite end our first, the NOMA gallery, will have it's Grand Opening this Saturday, October 3rd from 5-8. This is Historic Downtown Frederick, MD newest gallery. I am part of this new group of artists. While I am up for the FAV show I will be at the NOMA gallery on October 23rd from 4-8 doing a pastel demo. If you can't make it for the opening come on by and see me on the 23rd!

Here are the web sites to FAV & NOMA plus addresses and email if you want to reach out to me for more information.
http://fineartsinthevalley.wix.com/fav - 6219 Harley Road, Middletown, MD
http://www.nomagalleryfrederick.com - 437 N. Market St., Frederick, MD
Sunset at Fine Arts in the Valley at Country Pleasures Farm

View from the warp around deck at the event barn

What's a beltie - hint - Moooo 

Fine Arts in the Valley

                           NOMA gallery - 437 North Market Street, Frederick, Maryland

Saturday, September 26, 2015

What A Difference

Yesterday - Struggling with the tree drawing for the 30-30. I had started this plein aire piece on velour paper during the summer. As I have stated before, the 30-30 challenges help me finish some works that have been sitting there waiting to be put back on the easel. Since, I seem to be in the flow for these long narrow pieces I thought I should finish this one.

Working - I remember why it has been sitting. I really don't like velour paper. What a difference it makes in enjoying the work. I even had problems trying to get a good photo to post. I will take more photos of it with my SLR camera and see how that works.

The difference -  velour paper feels like it sounds, soft, it does not take pastel well in the way that I work, it is delicate, shows marks. On the plus side, it is often used for animals as it does have a soft stroke that lends itself to fur. You may ask, why do I use it? I had some left over from workshops.

Completion - Generally not hung up on needing to complete something if it isn't working. The little tree piece actually had a nice start, toned the background, sketch was in place, just needed to add the autumn colors. This is when it came back to me why I don't use the velour surface. I use medium to hard pastels and finish with touches of soft. Applying the pastel moving around the tree I would look back at a section and it seemed like the pastel was disappearing. With the velour paper the pastel seems to sink a bit in-between the textural surface, causing you to add another layer.

Today - Moving back to the watercolor paper and Rives BFK which is calling. I have a larger long format root piece that has been in progress this month. My hope is that I will have it finish for the 30th piece - we shall see.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

All Decked Out

When I am done with a painting it is not really complete until it is framed. The mat and a frame can add the finishing touches to a piece and just make it look all decked out.

The down side is I do the framing. I cut the mats, order the frames. Long ago I would assemble the frames too but just not enough hours in the day so now I get them assemble. I use local stores for glass, not a fan of cutting glass. I order mat board by the case, cut the mats and tend to order the frames on line using American Companies. 

I have been trying to do a little framing in-between doing the art or vise-versa. Yesterday was more framing then art. No matter how hard you try to keep the framing area clean there is always at least one spot on the glass as you put your artwork in the frame. I always check to make sure before putting the backing on the frame. It is those little tiny things that will just push you over the edge. 

I must say it is looking good for shows and galleries this fall. Lots of new work and more to come.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Day I Got To Pet A Rhino

Today is World Rhino Day - bringing awareness to the Rhinoceros, encouraging conservation and protection. There are many places all over the world doing something special today and throughout the weekend. If you are so incline check them out.

As I was thinking about the rhinos it reminded me of Out of Africa. Rick arranged a back of the house tour of this rescue - conservation center in AZ. They take in animals from zoos, circuses, shows, and even from people that think having a wild animal as a pet is a good idea. One of the animals they house is Jericho (Rhinocerotidae) Southern White Rhinoceros. We had a up close and personal with him. Like all of us he likes to be touched and surprisingly he has a softer hide then you would think.

My heart goes out to gentle giants, to all animals, on four, two feet, more or none. Everything, everyone is connected and to keep balance we all need some love and protection. Here are a few photos of the rhinos I have painted, a photo of Jericho and one from Africa were they truly should roam free and without fear of poachers.

South Africa

Jericho in AZ

Zambia, Zambezi River 

Monday, September 21, 2015


Lately my schedule has been early morning doing computer work. Getting press releases out for the new gallery NOMA in Frederick, MD and for the final Fine Arts in the Valley show both coming up in October. While I was organizing files this morning I got distracted - no surprise there. I was thinking for snow images to create a holiday card and ended up looking at photos I had taken of the Salt River Wild Horses. Also, found a few interesting trees to go along with all the trees I have been drawing.

I tried printing a few pictures off just to double check on my printer which is not working well...and still is not. So, got some guide lines for inspiration and motivation to go buy a new printer. I don't mind using the computer to draw from but would rather have a picture that I can post next to the painting or drawing I am working on as a reference.

Inspiration comes when it comes, I have so many things I want to paint, right now they are lined up just waiting to be finished. Another reason I put myself through the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge, just need a deadline to get things done.

Need to wrap up computer work so I can get back to the drawing board - really the actual drawing board.

Here are a few photos of things that might become painting before next year, maybe...

Salt River Wild Horse
300 year old eucalyptus tree 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What a Hoot....

I've been completely enamored with owls lately.  Had a great opportunity to spend a few hours with two rescue owls from the state park....a Barn Owl and a Barred Owl.  It's a wildlife artists dream to be up close and personal with a subject.  And these two guys were most cooperative, posing quietly - well most of the time - looking around at the sky and trees, slowly shifting positions on their perch.  I made lots of gesture sketches and - thanks to digital photography - snapped off a couple hundred pictures. 

Back in the studio I've been able to combine my resource materials and get to work on new scratchboards.   Three of them will be on display during "Poetry in Nature" at GiftsInnBoonsboro.  They are among the works from myself and my daughter, Tracy Tousignaut-Reed.  Her haunting photographic landscapes and seascapes evoke an emotion of things past and things not to be missed. 

The artists reception is Saturday, September 19, noon to 2 pm.  Work will be on display for at least the remained of this month. 
GiftsInnBoonsboro, 4 West Main Street, Boonsboro, Maryland. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Value Of ART

The question often comes up regarding the value of art. Not just the price, but the impact that this work may carry. I am a lover of words. They like numbers have never been easy for me but I work hard to move past the roadblocks towards understanding.

So, I looked up the word "value" according to Merriam-Webster: Value - "a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged." "the monetary worth of something market price." I took it a little further, related words, verb - hold in high regards - adore - admire - respect - judge - appraise and estimate. Related words, noun - amount - body - matter. Additional synonyms - profit - cost, antonyms - detriment and disadvantage.

I thought these words worked  well to understand how an artist has to approach pricing and selling their art. Selling art in galleries or shows the artist immediate takes a 50% loss in profit. Most shows have entree fees and take commission. Plus, to get into a show the work is judged, the gallery owner estimates it value, the monetary worth of your work to them. This is the disadvantage part of being a shy artist. It is not easy to have your work looked at purely from its appraised price.

How does an artist price their work, gently. Looking at what is currently selling in galleries. Works that are in the same body of works as our own. Estimating the fair return on goods, the cost of materials, the space the work is created, documenting works, submitting portfolios. Just like any small business we have to consider the bottom line. Yet there is more than money.

Art is an emotional connection.. Value is making art, making someone happy that each  day they wake up see and adore the goods they have exchanged for money.. I love knowing the home my art goes to live in, it allows me to take that value to a personal level, valuing myself and my work. Not a monetary value, one of respect.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Traveling Woman

It is traveling time again, Rick and I often joked that our theme song is "On The Road Again". This trip will be an artsy trip.

I will be delivering work to the Burwell-Morgan Historic Mill, 15 Tannery Lane, Millwood, VA. The show runs from October 3 - 18th. Hours: Monday - Thursday 12 - 5, Friday - Saturday 10 - 5, and Sunday 12 - 5. This is the 25th year for the Art at the Mill show. If you have never been this might be the year for you to go check it out. It is a beautiful drive through rolling pastures, horse country, filled with history and  wonderful art. Here is the web site for additional information: http://www.clarkehistory.org/art-at-the-mill

Next stop will be to drop off a painting for the October Grand Opening of the NOMA gallery in Frederick, MD. I will be at the gallery Friday, about 4, located at 437 N. Market Street. The gallery hours are Friday 4 - 8 and Saturday 12 - 8 all others by appointment. Here is the web site: http://www.nomagalleryfrederick.wordpress.com The Grand Opening will be October 3rd.

While I am in the Frederick area I will have a few artsy meetings. Need to finalize plans for the Fine Arts in the Valley show. This will be our last year as a group putting this show together. There are many changes happening at the event barn where we have held this show for many years. There will still be a creative spirit going on there but more in the form of craft cider and wine. Art will adorned the walls of the new Willow Oaks Craft Cider and Winery tasting room. Come on out help us celebrate our last big show at 6219 Harley Road, Middletown, MD October 17-18-24-25th and see the future of a new product at the oldest organic farm in Maryland. http://www.fineartsinthevalley.wix.com/fav

Okay I am getting tired just thinking about all that is going on in October and it is still only September. Here are a few of the pieces that were juried into the Mill show.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Labors Of Love

Getting closer to autumn and opening of art shows. This weekend being Labor Day I spent some of the time laboring over things I love. Art, getting things in order. Frames unpacked, checked glass inventory and matched up art with frames. Next assemble those pieces that go out first of course they are the biggest pieces. 

Next continue working on large root pastel that should be finished for Fine Arts in the valley show. Which means I need to order a frame for it before long. 

In-between working on the roots I have several pieces in the works for the 30-30 challenge. The printmaker in me comes out when I work on backgrounds creating monotype one of a kind pieces. These works then get matched up with more realistic images, photos I have taken of trees, roots or animals. Then I draw or paint in the details. Labor of love, rarely do I finish a single piece in one day. 

The 30-30 helps me stay focused completing works that may have been started, sketched out or just a note in a journal. As the weather changes I try to reflect some of that freshness in my current works.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Art and Music

Last night Rick and I went to the Center For The Arts At Virginia Tech. Darcy James Argue's Secret Society were preforming "Brooklyn Babylon". As the 18 piece band played contemporary jazz visual artist Danijel Zezelj painted the story line. No words were spoken or sung but the visual sensory experience was, even now, unbelievable.

As I watched the images of previous painting in the background and snippets of the artists painting on stage my mind was painting along with him. He painted with rollers, small to wall painting size. The palette was limited mostly red, black on a white background but he did introduce some white as highlights.

No pictures were allowed during the show. I did go to the web site and pulled a couple of pictures from there and here is the link if you want to find out more about the music and the art. If you get an opportunity to go see them perform don't miss it, very moving.

Artist Danijel Zezelj image from Brookly Babylon

Image from Brookly Babylon

Friday, September 4, 2015

Here - Now - Today

NOMA gallery opens today just in time for First Saturday Art Walk September 5th. Jeanean Songco Martin, had an idea and when she puts her heart into a project it will happen. Bringing 22 artists together into this new venture. The grand opening will be October 3rd coordinating with First Saturday in Frederick, MD.

Located at the corner of 5th and Market, 437 N. Market Street, Frederick, MD. The current hours are Friday 4:00 - 8:00 and Saturday 12:00 - 8:00 additional hours are by appointment. You can find us on Facebook NOMA Art Gallery. You can check out our web site to see more information on the individual artists at the gallery. https://nomagalleryfrederick.wordpress.com/ Or better yet come on by, see the gallery, meet the artists and enjoy the art they create.

437 N. Market Street, Frederick, MD

Some of the artwork you  can see at NOMA

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


September, thoughts of autumn, lots of things happening at this time of year. Beginning of football season, schools back in session and rise in arts shows. There are many shows happening this year. The Historic Mill show will be opening soon, always a great show to go see. There is a new gallery in Frederick, MD, NOMA, which is on the corner of 5th and Market St., I have join this new venture and the pre-opening show is coming up this weekend, First Saturday, September 5th. Here is a link to the web site http://www.nomatemp.wordpress.com/ The Grand Opening will be first Saturday in October. The Fine Arts in the Valley show opens October 17th, at 11:00 goes till 5:00. This will be our final year doing the FAV show, be sure to come see us Oct. 17 - 18 - 24 - 25th at 6219 Harley Road, Middletown, MD. http://fineartsinthevalley.wix.com/fav

Lots going, big expectations for great art! Just to add a little exciting pressure on myself I signed up for the September 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. I am going to approach it like I did in January. I do not paint that fast, I will have some sketches that will be paintings during the 30 days, in-between will be paintings that I am currently working on and hope to have finished for the FAV show and maybe the new gallery.

Here is Day 1 "Near Autumn" soft pastel on Rives BFK paper image 15x22 inches. I have been working on this off and on for some time, finished it just in time for September 1st start. If you are interested in purchasing this piece please send me an email at: lhp5536@aol.com

After My Own HeART

For the love of trees, that will be the theme for September. Living part year in Virginia during the changing of the seasons I get to experience the glory of the tree. This past weekend Rick & I went to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home on top of a Virginia mountain. One of his passions was trees, which becomes very evident as you walk the trails around the house and gardens.

There are 160 species of trees some of which were his "pet trees". Jefferson, "the father of American Forestry" as some referred to him distributed seeds of choice, N. American trees while acting Minister in France.

While we walked around, others where taking pictures of the buildings, which I did too but my focus was on the trees. We stayed in a place in the woods with a deck that over looked the James River and was surrounded by trees. I brought with me a tree pastel I had been working on but used the inspiration from the trees in plein air to help me almost complete this piece. More on that tomorrow.

"I wish I was a despot that I might save the noble, beautiful trees that are daily falling sacrifice to the cupidity of their owners, or the necessity of the poor...The unnecessary feeling of a tree, perhaps the growth of centuries, seems to me a crime little short of murder." Thomas Jefferson

Willow Oak (Quercus phellos)

Jefferson's Monticello

Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera)

moon lite trees at our cabin

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