On the Easel ~ Jini James

This is a really big adventure painting for me.  I have decided to devote all my energies into figurative work for the time being as it has been a focus ever since I started my formal studies with an Illustrator when I was just 14.  I used to see figures as exacting portraits but now that I have been at it for a very long time and fell under the spell of studying the work in museums and national exhibits, I see the figure as landscape and abstraction.  When a painting becomes that, the artist, in this case me, becomes an exercise in composition, line, form, and color.  I am no longer copying the perfect photograph hoping that all the details are accurate.
So here’s what happens: I go to the beach, wait for people to assemble, move around, and then bring out my sketch book and iPhone camera.   The ideas are laid out, the color notes are described along with my feelings about the day.  Was it overcast?  Bright and sunny? Did my subjects seem to know each other?  (I love to make up stories about that one!)

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So then I head back the studio and think about what the theme might be.  Sometimes I get stuck on that until one morning, over a good cup of coffee, it all comes together.  I write it down as those moments can be fleeting.  Then the work starts.  I begin with line only then move to form and color.  I have been known to change this many times but I am showing you the points I have landed on this week. 

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More to come…….

James is a member artist of Fifth Avenue Art Gallery. More about Jini James

“Art is Where You Find It…Or It Finds You” by Heather Kelley

I am in the waiting area recently. I can’t take my eyes off the woman sitting across from me.  She is wearing a black and white striped dress, has a black and white purse and is holding a cell phone in a black and white striped case.
After the intrigue of the moment turns into a serious study, I get up my nerve to politely ask “Excuse me, would you mind if I took a photo of you?
 I am an artist, and I think your look would make an interesting painting.  I won’t show your face.”  She agrees, and I show her the photo, quipping that I’m surprised that she didn’t finish the look with black and white shoes. She says ( in all seriousness), “I’m having a pedicure today, so I couldn’t wear them.”
Sometimes your inspiration can be right in front of you!  Working on this painting now:

Heather Kelley is a member artist at Fifth Avenue Art Gallery. View her bio and a partial portfolio, HERE

Endorphins on Your Canvas by Ellen Pavlakos

Hello Artists and Art lovers!

While Gallery hopping the other day on Highland Avenue, our Arts district, I was amazed at the beautiful work in all the galleries. Paintings, sculpture, and beautiful pottery! A large “happy” painting made me stop to enjoy and think of a great article I read about the way you feel when you write influences your writing. Of course! The same way your mood goes, that’s the way your painting or sculpture will…So before you start your work, goof off! I bet you can think of a few things you would like to do, like exercise and all those endorphins will make you so happy…
Turn on the music! The one that lifts you and your legs start dancing before you know it, and even your brushes will feel it… You can close your windows or open them so the whole neighborhood celebrates with you. Sing your lungs out! Dr. Gundry says its good, not only for your mood, but your heart!

You just can’t wait to start your work!

Now if your plans were to work on a serious project, lets say, the emotional and physical suffering of refugees, you’ll be in trouble with your happy mood… You can fix it easily by turning on the news! It’s a guarantee! You’ll be just right for that agonizing work…

So you see even artist’s work is influenced by their moods. You can see it easily if you pay attention. The details will tell you all the “secrets”. You’ll be able to “read” them through their work. Did you ever try?

Rodin had said: Most people look at Art but they don’t Really see it…

Ellen Pavlakos
Fifth Avenue Art Gallery Member

“I am a figurative sculptor who likes to work in portraiture and the human form. Working in clay, plaster, stone or wax, the figure is my vehicle of expression. My goal is to utilize a creative language to express clearly my emotional response to the human condition. Approaching the human figure with great respect, I enjoy all stages of creation including the search, struggle, and discoveries. Some time I make a fast maquette to catch a fleeting thought, but most of the time when an idea has fermented in my mind, I get right to making the armature. All the excitement and passion is poured into the actual piece. Greek art is a strong influence. I grew up in Athens where sculpture was very visible in my every day life and had a profound effect in my awareness and love of art.”

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Ellen’s work

HOW TO BECOME AN ARTIST

Heather Kelley

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Step 1: Choose the right parents. 

Your mom takes art lessons from a prominent local artist.  You are a toddler who gets to scribble on scraps of paper during these lessons.  Mom never confesses to a suspected affair. You might have been a foil…

Step 2: Grow up in the 1950’s

Status and appearance are important.  The rising middle class (your parents) emulates the wealthy by filling their homes with encyclopedia sets, classical music, condensed literary classics (why waste time?), and art prints.  You are a visual learner and you:

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a. read Classic Illustrated comics, the first graphic novels based on the classics. This is of great value later on, when people think that you are a “well-read” adult!

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b. watch Winky Dink, the first interactive television program, where you purchase a plastic overlay for the tv screen and draw on it to save Winky Dink and his dog Woofer from potential hazards.(Good thing you drew that bridge just in time!)

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c. submit an entry to the “Draw Me!” ad in Readers Digest to try to win an art scholarship. This marketing scam gives you false hope of becoming a professional artist by buying a pricey correspondence art course.

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d. complete many paint by number masterpieces. You learn to stay in the lines.

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e. take private art lessons with schoolgirl besties on Saturday mornings with 2 of Orlando’s art legends, Ralph Bagley and William Orr. Learn the basic techniques and composition of art, and begin the dream of becoming an artist.

Step 3. This step takes 50 years when you come of age in a sexist culture that coerces you to lower your expectations and forces you to completely lose track of your dream.

a. through k. you major in art at university (finally, real grades for real art), and the dream is reinterpreted for you because you are single and a mother. “Sorry,” says the dean of the art department, “even though you are a great painter, you must major in art education, not painting. There are no open spots in the painting track.” That is not true; it is because you are now a mother who “should” follow a traditional career path. You teach art but marry an ambitious entrepreneur and be his office manager for over 20 years to further his artistic success. Things change in marriage and business and you are back to teaching high school English. (You already have a vast knowledge of classic novels!) Additionally, you are fully responsible for caretaking your elderly mother who is in her late 90’s (Remember, she gave you your first art exposure in Step 1). She keeps your dream alive with encouragement for you and artful conversations. You keep her alive…for a while. You receive additional encouragement from daughters and friends. You begin painting seriously again at age 55 and join other artists in life drawing sessions. Inspiration returns!

Step 4. Blossom.
You are validated by being accepted into local art shows and winning some prizes. Your acceptance as a member in The Fifth Avenue Art Gallery comes almost simultaneously with your long awaited glorious retirement. You feel the lightness of being. You start new adventures. You meet the love of your life. Just like that! You are an artist.

Heather Kelley is a member-artist at Fifth Avenue Art Gallery. More about Heather

Talk of Sailing or Art ~ Jini James

If you’ve heard my story before, I’ll try to add more flair.   My Dad once told me about trading a new pair of roller-skates for a sailboat, I think he called it a Snipe, and he kept it hidden at a local pond.  Much later, while he was still living, I came home from work and told him I just bought a boat.  Imagine the look on his face. The Annapolis Sailing School experience gave me a great start but the decision came to me with Dad’s old story.

Time passed and I always found myself living near a body of water with a boat.  Colleges, a brief stint in art school, then graduate school, followed by art workshops and mentorships all influenced how I approached art making.   I love chemistry and discovery of the nature of things.   I have to understand it, everything about “it” before the subject or idea goes down on paper, canvas, sandpaper or whatever the supply stores sell.

We lived in Bucks County, PA with a circle of artist friends.  The exposure was breath-taking.  I got to see how they worked at art for a living and collected art for their pleasure.   It becomes my mission then to spread art-awareness to everyone I meet especially in communities that know little about the visual arts.   If you cross my path, there will be either talk of sailing or art.

My watercolor shown here is part of a local hospital collection and is referenced by our boatyard on the Eastern Shore of MD.  The photo is of me at the boatyard using my art skills to paint a Bermuda Longtail on the transom of our 42ft Grampian.  The paint job has held up for over 20 years.  I try my best to do it right the first time.

Judy Edwards… Inspired

I was born an artist but it didn’t exactly work out the way I intended. Be that as it may, that is not the story I am going to tell. I am going to fast forward to living outside of Boston, Ma where my husband and I raised our 2 daughters. A favorite pass time over the years was heading to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and going to the Contemporary Wing. I loved the imagery and color of Arthur Dove, a modernist who lived from 1880 to 1946. We even had this poster hanging in our family room.

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I resumed taking art classes after a one year program in Honolulu while we lived there before children. In New England, I connected with a group of artists on Monhegan Island, Maine. I was in over my head but over time, I persisted in learning how to be a realist painter. That led to a somewhat  impulsive one year painting trip around the world with my then 13 year old daughter.  I came back with 70 paintings and wrote a book about our adventures.

 

Florida was next on my journey and when I got here, I didn’t relate to the scenery and remembered the Arthur Dove painting that hung in my old house. My search to find how to paint with wax emulsion which is the medium he used, led me to taking a 3 day course at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota. The only problem was, it was not wax emulsion it was wax encaustic, which I never heard of. But I had paid for the course and had a place to stay….. and that was 10 years ago. I took the exact same course 3 times over the course of year 1.  After learning the ins and outs of encaustic, I was still stymied by how to make the transition from a realist to an abstract painter. My teacher in Maine, Don Stone, commented that any good abstract painter had to first be a good realist painter. So, I had that part under my belt.  I was just afraid to do it.

One night in a dream, Arthur Dove came to me and told me I had everything in me that I needed and fear was the only thing preventing me from doing it. All I needed to do was walk through the fear, which I did.

I enjoy encaustic collage, the brilliance of encaustic alone and encaustic monotypes.

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encaustic alone

 

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Encaustic monotype using the hotbox

I recently added encaustic pigment sticks to my mix and they are luscious and brilliant.

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Meet Kay Shannon

Hello, my name is Kaye Shannon and I am one of the artist members of the Fifth Avenue Art Gallery.  I am mostly a watercolorist but I love doing most anything to create something..  I paint at home and generally have a “supervisor” to watch (or sleep) over  me as I go about my “creating”. These have been my cats.  I have had several  supervisors throughout my many years of painting.  The first picture is of my first supervisor.  I would like to introduce you to  Booeenie.  Here is a picture of her supervising her portrait and I have included her portrait after it was finished. She seemed to have liked it very much.  She is now in cat heaven and I miss her very much.
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 I now have two new supervisors.  Baxter and Izzy.  I have a couple of baskets in my studio that they love to crawl in.  We listen to good music as I paint and they generally curl up and sleep. Occasionally they like to creep over to where I am working and do a toe test on my wet work.   Also another area they love to manage for me is the laundry.  I have included a picture of their work there.

See more of Kaye’s work here.