Sunday, August 25, 2019

August Offerings at Gallery Clarendon

"A Little Bit of Gold" by Rebecca Croft

At this point in the year we are in full August mode!  The typical Washington DC metro weather has set in, the shadows are JUST starting to get longer while families and college students are taking that last week of summer vacation before they all head back to school.  While it may be coming to an end there is one way to extend that summer of adventurous fun:  Art work that brings us back to those wonderful days of fun in the sun. 

"Venice Bridge" by Jessica Mickey
The first work of art that makes me remember past adventures is Jessica Mickeys "Venice Bridge."  It reminds me of the trip I took to Italy a few years ago.  I had traveled quite a bit in the US, but this was my first real trip to a far off place; Italy.  Seeing the painting by Jessica reminded me of my stay in Italy, and the amazement I felt seeing such a beautiful place as Venice in spring.  If you've been to Venice in this technological age you may have actually seen a gondolier taking a break and catching up with family and friends like we see in Linda Donaldsons, "Texting Gondoler." Also, since we live just outside of (and for some of us in) the nations capital check out "Jefferson Monument Spring" by Tony Neville.  To us not much of a novelty since we see it frequently, but to those "out of towner's" that make the pilgrimage to our capital city, quite astonishing! 

For me nothing represents summer more than being at the beach.  Several artists have represented
"Wild Coast" by Shelley Micali
that beach vibe well with their work. "Glancing Back" by Jane MacElvany Coonce, and "Wild Coast" by Shelley Micali are a few works that will bring back that warm breezy feeling, while "Summer Crabs" by Carol Waite will make you hungry for that coastal treat many mid-Atlantic residents have come to associate with the warmer months.  For those people who prefer the respite of a cool mountain lake you may find Jessica Mickey's "Sails in the Canal" quite refreshing.

Fused Glass Jewelry by Kristi Provasnik
Paintings and images are not the only art that may remind you of summer.  There are 3D works as well that do it for me.  Since orange, yellow, aqua greens and blues make me think of tropical warm locations I am drawn to the fused glass jewelry  by Kristy Provasnik.  For you folks that like to spend time camping out in the woods during the summer you may like James Bellows "Ambrosia Maple" bowl.

Now for the rest of us that aren't crazy about summer, and are looking forward to the cooler months ahead I am sure there is something currently on display that you would love as much as the works that remind of us of this wonderful time of year.  Regardless if you don't visit us in August you are missing on some fine art!

For a peak at what's available this month check out the August Flickr photo album at:

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Craft Fair or Gallery?

Frequently we artists are asked if we do, or have ever done craft fairs.  Many of us have, some still do, and some no longer participate in this endeavor.

Tony Klepic, 3D wood artisan says, "The craft fairs were fun to do as a rookie.  A craft fair requires quite a few items and if you have fairs close together you really have to crank out the projects.  I was having to make so many items it gave me the opportunity to fine tune my skills on turned and flat wood projects, but was not my best work due to the speed at which I was working."

Another good aspect of doing craft fairs for a burgeoning artists is confidence.  It is definitely a boost to ones moral when they put in tons of work on many items and then have a great day of sales at a craft fair.  "It made me realize I can make things that people that I don't know really want to buy for themselves or as gifts for other people," states Tony.

"I used to do craft fairs, and they were quite productive.  However, after a while you start to feel the amount of work that goes into a craft fair.  Not only do you have to make your craft, but you also have to carefully pack up your items, load a vehicle, get to the fair early in the morning, set up, staff your booth, and spend the entire day, or at some fairs the entire weekend," says Steena Fullmer-Anderson.  Then, of course there is the packing and loading after a long show.  You can see how this could start to be a strain.

Some artists will continue on the craft fair path, but after a while many start to look for a different avenue for getting their work out there for people to enjoy.  For Tony that's where art galleries came into play.   "I really liked the idea of working on bigger and more artistic pieces at a slower pace.  Typically when preparing for a fair I would work on items that could be more mass produced, but when stocking an art gallery you are usually limited on the number of items to display each month.  No need to crank out many items in one day,  I could take several days to do one item.  I like that pace much better."

Steena feels that another benefit of participating in an art gallery is pricing.  "At a craft fair you typically won't charge what you really want for your work."  Though at times you may be able to sell a piece at your desired price, "typically people shopping at craft fairs are looking for several items, and will be a little more frugal with their money."

All artists seem to agree on one main point:  Less work in doing the selling.  Both Gallery Underground and Clarendon are staffed with

knowledgeable artists who do the selling for all of the artists.  So instead of all the work that goes along with the logistical aspect of craft fairs the artists have more time creating their work.  Although all galleries get a commission for each piece sold to many artists it is worth not having to put in the work to do craft fairs.

Tony has not completely stopped doing craft fairs.  "After a while I will end up with a surplus of stock that I want to move.  Once I get to that point, which works out to be every couple of years, I will do one of the local holiday fairs to clear out stock."  So to Tony there is still a good reason to participate in craft fairs.  "Oh, and having a boot at a craft fair gives me an opportunity to find unique holiday gifts as well!"

In the end the choice between doing craft fairs and participating in a local art gallery is like, well, art; subject to taste!  Kudos to all artists and artisans who are creative and bold enough to put themselves out there in either endeavor. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Step outside the Galleries for a little art, science, and history!

You’re driving through Rosslyn, trying to find your way to Arlington Boulevard, and you glance over and see several large concrete spheres and poles.  They are huge.  “What is that?” you ask yourself, as you zip right past the on-ramp.  You would not be the first person to have had this experience. 

What IS that?

It’s Dark Star Park.  And it’s fascinating.  It’s art.  It’s science. It’s history.  It’s a social event.

Created in 1984 by artist Nancy Holt, Dark Star Parkhas fascinated Arlingtonians every summer, when on August 1st, at 9:32am, the shadows cast from the poles and spheres align with their solid forms.  This bit of artistry performed by the sun marks the moment of Rosslyn’s founding.  

This year will be the 35thanniversary of its creation, and several events have been planned to celebrate.   

After you’ve experienced the alignment (every Arlingtonian should see it at least once in their lives!), hop on the metro and cool off at Gallery Clarendon or Gallery Underground! We open at 11 and would love to see you!

In Conversation: Time in Public Sculpture
Wednesday, July 31, 6:30 p.m. | Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn Museum (Independence Ave and 7th St, Washington, DC 20560)Free, tickets available starting Thursday, July 11, 12 p.m. EST

Janel and Anthony Performance

Thursday, August 1, assemble 9:00 a.m. | Dark Star Park (1655 Fort Myer Dr, Arlington, VA 22209)
Free and open to the public

The Alignment at Dark Star Park
Thursday, August 1, 9:32 a.m. | Dark Star Park (1655 Fort Myer Dr, Arlington, VA 22209)
Free and open to the public

Nancy Holt Film Screenings with an introduction by Lisa Le Feuvre
Thursday, August 1, 12:30 p.m., & Saturday, August 3, 2:00 p.m. | Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn (Independence Ave and 7th St, Washington, DC 20560)
Free, first-come, first-served seating

Holt/Smithson Foundation’s Executive Director Lisa Le Feuvre will lead a panel discussion exploring the ever-evolving nature of sculpture in the public realm with Arlington Public Art Founding Director Angela Anderson Adams, Hirshhorn Associate Curator Anne Reeve, and the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum Director Brett Littman.

The world premiere of an original site-specific composition by Cuneiform recording artists Janel and Anthony. The live performance (which will begin at approx. 9:20 a.m.) will coordinate with the 9:32 a.m. shadow alignment.

The community is invited to watch as the sculpture aligns with the sun and celebrate with light refreshments provided by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District.

Screening of Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels (1978, 26 min.) and Nancy Holt, Art in the Public Eye: The Making of Dark Star Park (1988, 33 min.).  The films reveal the making of visionary land artist Nancy Holt’s earthworks, serving both as documentation of her best-known land art sculptures and as artworks in themselves.

(Many thanks to the Arlington County Website for details of the events and the image of Dark Star Park!)

Monday, July 15, 2019

What truly makes this blog special- Mistakes! (Guest Post by Ian Vance, Part 4/4)

What Truly Makes This Blog Special - Mistakes!
Part 4 of 4
Author: Ian Vance, Intern with Arlington Artists Academy at Gallery Clarendon.

Hello again, readers! I’m back for the fourth and final installment of the blog that we have going on here. It’s been challenging, but I had a lot more fun than I expected learning to draw. Of course, maybe it was improved slightly by writing about it with a mix of enthusiasm and a little self-deprecating humor, but hey, we made it this far. I’ll be getting into my final thoughts on the book in a moment, but first, let’s dive into the thrilling(-ish) conclusion of my experience, starting with the face drawing that I began last time. 
Following the rough outline that I displayed in the previous entry, I got to work on finishing the three-quarter perspective, and I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out. Sure, it still somewhat resembles E.T’s dream date, but if we’re comparing it to my first face drawing, it’s definitely an improvement. It goes to show that proportion and drawing things just as you see them can go a good ways towards improving drawing ability. 

Additionally, in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, I read about learning to shade objects, and the method that was brought up was cross-hatching, or drawing more lines crossing over each other to darken the shadowed areas. Surely, such a simple method could be easy to apply. 
First attempt at cross hatching. Yikes!
Second attempt at cross hatching. Yikes!

Okay, so very clearly, it’s gonna need some practice. It’s worth mentioning that these are first and second attempts, so of course they’ll look rough. Frankly, however, I think that simply resembling shading is a good start, as shown by the other steps forward that Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain takes you towards. 

And that’s just about all the basic ideas that the book runs through. Once again, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that these are only glances into the exercises that the book takes you through, and the type of improvement that you’ll want to see when reading through it. I haven’t even covered some of the more major topics that it goes over, such as properly drawing a side view of a head or using negative space in shading with an ink brush (the latter of which was somewhat difficult to do given my lack of proper ink on hand at the time. That’s more my fault). What I have covered only involves the basics of what this book goes into, and yet the improvement in just those basics is evident. I would highly recommend picking this up. 

Moving aside from the book alone, working on this blog has really gotten me back into both drawing and art in general. I mainly stayed away due to a preconceived lack of talent in the area, but sharing my progress has taught me that quite literally anyone can draw. It doesn’t have to look incredibly realistic to look good, and it doesn’t have to be deeply thought-out to portray what you have on your mind. Granted, there is a correlation, but I had a lot of fun just learning to do what I stopped doing in elementary school. 

As I say goodbye to my readers and my old classmates that are heading off to colleges across the country (and sometimes out of it, too), I leave this bit of advice: Don’t sell yourself short, telling yourself that something just isn’t your thing. Sure, it might not be, but you could be surprised at what you’re capable of. No matter how many mistakes you may see in the work that you do, there are probably just as many improvements that you made just by trying it. Nobody is perfect at what they do, but allowing yourself to try your hand may just show you that you could be. 

This has been Ian, part-time artist, reporting from Gallery Clarendon, and I do hope that this blog has encouraged you all to try giving drawing a shot (or any new thing, really). Thank you for watching my progress with me, and take care.

Friday, June 21, 2019

New Vs. Old: A True Face-Off! (Guest Post by Ian Vance, Part 3/4)

New Vs. Old: A True Face-Off!
Part 3 of 4
Author: Ian Vance, Intern with Arlington Artists Academy at Gallery Clarendon. 

Hello again, it’s the planet’s most talented illustrator here again for another update on my experience learning how to draw. During my previous posts, I focused on reading through Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’s first half, learning proper contours and proportions, focusing more on relative size and distance rather than the actual objects I’m drawing and what the whole picture should look like. This time, though, I was more focused on learning to apply that to drawing faces. 

If you’d recall the first exercise I did, I was to attempt to draw a picture of a face to compare later on. It definitely had a fairly ok facial resemblance, but lacked proper anatomy or… good drawing to improve it in a practical manner. 

For all the criticism I gave this drawing, though, I’m starting to like it more, and not just because it has a comically blank stare. It actually looks somewhat proportionally sound, if not a little cartoony. 

  These are some of the reference drawings that I copied down for facial and head anatomy. The front-facing subject had a lot of focus put on the position of parts in relation to each other, while the side-facing subject had focused more on their position in relation to the part of the head. That’s why the front facing-shot is more focused on the parts of the face rather than the oddly-shaped head, as is true of the inverse for the side-facing shot. 

These two were drawn to help me get better acquainted with proper facial anatomy and how to draw a head less than badly, but as I have learned over the course of these blogs, the best way to improve is through practice. The first practice exercise invoked drawing a side-facing model. 

Is there a direct opposite to the word ‘yikes’? 

Okay, so the hair shape did not turn out well, no doubt, but this is still a pretty significant improvement from before! Rather than making what appeared to be a strange-looking character in an Adult Swim cartoon, I managed to finally get at least a decent amount of realism into my drawings. Bear in mind that while it may sound odd that I’m this happy about a sub-par drawing, with the art skills that I had prior to writing this blog, I probably wouldn’t have been able to make a remotely realistic drawing. Granted, this is still far from good realism, but it’s undeniably a step forward. 

Lastly, I would like to mention a method that helps a decent deal with drawing the shape of the head: negative space. Seen below is an example of the start of a practice exercise (which will be finished by the next/final blog update). 

Yes, I’m aware that the neck is too long. Yes, I agree that this looks like a strange alien with that error here. Yes, I also think that it’s funny. Strange neck aside, the reason that the head is shaped like an earbud with eyes is that the model is in three-quarters view with a ponytail and long hair. The shape would have been rather troubling to add on to a standard head shape, so the more suitable method (in my opinion, at least) is to draw the negative space around the head, making the shape more clear and just adding the hair in later once the face is complete. 

That will be all for today. Next time, I’ll be finishing up drawing faces and learning proper shading, alongside it being my final entry. Thank you all, and take care!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Edges, Chairs, and Shaky Hands- Oh My! (Guest Post by Ian Vance, Part 2/4)

Edges, Chairs, and Shaky Hands- Oh My!
Part 2 of 4
Author: Ian Vance, Intern with Arlington Artists Academy at Gallery Clarendon. 

Hello again, readers! I’m here to share the experience of someone with little natural drawing talent learning to do just that. I always somewhat knew that there would be some improvement with learning a new and more effective method of drawing, but what I find most interesting is how somebody who could be considered a ‘bad artist’ has the ability to make some pretty sweet illustrations, so long as they just get into the right mindset. 

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again:
Although I got the basic idea when doing the work shared in the last update, it became noticeably more apparent when I was working on some of the later exercises in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. One such method was drawing contours, or edges as they are perceived by the viewer. The book detailed two types of contour drawing: Pure and Modified. Pure contour drawing is what I would consider the more difficult method of the two. Basically, you slowly draw every contour you see on an object without actually looking at what you’re drawing, matching the slow movements of your eyes across the edges with the movements of your pencil. To practice this, I tried doing this with my hand. Of course, this was likely going to only barely resemble a hand, but the point is that the contours themselves actually look fairly detailed, despite some of the skin folds not being on the hand.

Next up, there was the practice of modified contour drawing. This is basically the same as pure contour drawing, but this time, you are allowed to glance at what you’re drawing from time to time. Once again, I did a drawing of my hand. 

Once again, while it is not perfect (or particularly good), it’s a good deal more detailed from what I can usually put on paper. It also nicely displays the benefits of drawing simply from observing the lines and spaces, rather than labeling each part mentally. Had I done this in a more ‘left-brain’ fashion, it would have likely looked much worse. 

Another thing that came up was the process of working with negative space. To put it very simply, negative space is basically the shape that the empty areas around the subject being drawn. The book details the method of viewing the negative space as individual shapes and drawing them instead. 

In order to do this, I needed to see the objects I was drawing as if they were on a page. The book addressed this by instructing me to create a makeshift viewfinder to see the object through. 

This then left me with the task of viewing an object through it, and beginning to see the spaces around the object in relation to the edges of the hole. I then drew the object, to which I designated a folding chair, and added the details later. However, I soon noticed a problem with this method when I took into account who was holding up the viewfinder. 

Let this be a lesson: 
Never give a man with shaky 
hand the task of holding something 
completely still.

Otherwise, however, after a bit more practice, I thankfully found this method to be very helpful in drawing more realistically. 

Before I sign off, I should point out that these exercises that I have shown are not enough alone to accomplish the book’s goal. These are only the ‘highlights,’ if you will. Still, it’s evident that the book has been very helpful in learning to draw. So far, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wishes to tap into that inner creative energy. 

Thank you, and take care.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Time to Learn How To Draw! (Guest Post by Ian Vance, Part 1/4)

Time to Learn how to Draw!
Part 1 of 4
Author: Ian Vance, Intern with Arlington Artists Academy at Gallery Clarendon.

Hello there, fellow potential art enthusiasts! My name is Ian, reporting directly from the Arlington Artists Alliance gallery in Clarendon, Virginia. I am an aspiring music major that is currently working as an intern with Arlington Artists Academy at Gallery Clarendon, about to graduate from Washington-Lee High School and soon to be attending George Mason University in the fall. Despite this, apart from music, I have what I would politely refer to as less-than-desirable artistic skill, least of all drawing. The best that I could do up until joining was just making tiny doodles when I’m bored or to accompany presentations at school. 

However, come my first day here working with Mary Jennings, Director of the Artists Academy at Gallery Clarendon, I am given an offer: to begin learning how to draw and blog about my progress each week. I was a little skeptical at first, given my amazing skill with a pencil, but I was handed a book titled Drawing with the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. From what I was told, it was a very effective tool in developing drawing skills, so I decided to give it a go. I will be reporting on my progress weekly, in four parts, during my internship. 

The book set forth a number of drawing exercises to work through. In the interest in everyone’s time (and to avoid basically spoiling a drawing guide), I will only be referring to a few of the exercises. The first one that I was given was to attempt to draw a face from memory, be it my own (which I chose), or somebody else’s.

Needless to say, I had my work cut out for me, although this was just a means to have something to compare the final results to. Despite that, I sort of just took a step back and chuckled at the… interesting take on a face that my brain seemed to have. 

The book went on to talk about the differences between the left and right side of the brain, where the left was naturally focused on verbal and numeric functions, or, in other words, the boring stuff, while the right was based on spatial and creative functions. Apparently, it’s possible to shift focus to the right side by simply not paying attention to the functions of the left, with which the reverse is also true. 
To me, though, the most effective way of learning this mentality came in the form of an exercise in which one copies an illustration upside down. 

 I was quite impressed with the results, and from what I read, so were many other students who did this exact exercise. The primary explanation for how someone with even the least amount of drawing skill can perform much better under these circumstances is that one doesn’t know what they’re drawing. They can’t really assign names or labels to what they see, forcing the right side of the brain (the creative one) to take over. 

Already, I can tell that learning to draw within the next few weeks will at least yield noticeable improvement. I look forward to writing about it. With that being said, I will be sure to keep you all posted. 

Thank you, and take care!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Turning is Better Than Therapy - Tony Klepic

“What I love the most about wood turning is that there are no constraints on size, dimensions, shape or form.  Measurements do not have to be exact as they do in other aspects of woodworking such as cabinet or box making.  In my opinion there are enough constraints on our typical daily lives.  This is what makes woodturning such a freeing, artistic experience for me,” says Tony Klepic who has been turning on a wood lathe for about 7 years now. 

Tony, a Northern Virginia native and 27-year employee of a local school system, has been a woodworker for over 20 years.  “It started out really just trying to be handy making improvements on my home.  From there I used the tools I had acquired for DIY improvement projects to make furniture for the home.  Beds, desks, shelves and cabinets for the kid’s rooms, and for the living areas.  I found that though it was satisfying to see the finished project I grappled with some aspects that were not as fun.”  Tony references the fact that in furniture making measurements have to be very near exact or corners don’t match, table tops are not level, and the project can be a wash.  Though in the end he says they were all good looking pieces he found the work could be tedious, and frustrating at times.

That all changed for Tony when his wife bought him a mini lathe for his birthday one year.  “I used the cutoff pieces of past projects to turn pens, bottle stoppers, and handles for kitchen utensils.  From the moment I put the first piece of wood on the lathe and started turning I was hooked!  There is just something therapeutic about turning that made me realize I had found my true passion.  I didn’t have to worry about exact measurements, or sticking to the original design.  I could just let the creative juices flow and see where things ended up.  It felt like art from the moment I started” 

Tony has moved on to turning lidded boxes, bowls (especially natural edge) and over the past year has found a new interest in segmented turning.  He has also started putting more artistic flair into his bowls using textures and coloring.  “Incorporating other woodworking techniques, such as wood carving, staining, stippling and dying has really given my work an artistic edge that I have really enjoyed.”

Come by both Gallery Underground and Gallery Clarendon to watch this awesome woodturner mature in his artistic form.  I am sure in the years to come he will continue to wow visitors with his beautiful work.