Technically Speaking

So, welcome to my 2nd anniversary as a blogger!

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And with that comes the answer to the question I have been asking myself – what happens when I exhaust all the art venues in my area and I have to start duplicating them – I mean, where’s the spin, the angle?  How do we make the old new again?

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I haven’t technically exhausted venues.  There are plenty around this town that I haven’t written about or ventured to yet!  But then, there are certain places that I seem connected to, as if they are the set decoration to my personal reality show and the Syracuse Tech Garden is, apparently, one of those spaces.

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Steve Nyland chose this time out to curate a seven-artist show, which to my delight, makes this show new and different.  I prefer this to juried shows or the free-for-all themed show (anyone want a bunch of abstract watercolors with baseball-themed titles? because I have fifty I can sell you today, lol).  You know what I’m talking about. 🙂

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April Showers: Technically Irrelevant is at the Syracuse Tech Garden until July 8, 2016, which offers you plenty of time to get down there.  It is on Harrison Street (235 Harrison, Syracuse, New York 13202) right across from the Hotel Syracuse, which is currently being renovated for a spectacular re-opening in June.

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The artists in the show include my work colleague Sherry Allen, plus Facebook and personal friends Penny Santy, Lauren Bristol, John Fitzsimmons and Ken Nichols along with Robert Kasprzycki and Stephanie Roeser.  Each offers a strong sense of character and style – all different, and so the show is very cohesive.

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According to the literature/curator statement, Steve chose the artists based on comraderie, friendship and inspiration.  There is definitely a positive vibe to the artwork here, a mutual admiration society of artists complimenting and encouraging each other to provide us all with a footprint of their souls, as seen in color, texture, brushstroke and commitment to their respective visions.

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I have showcased Penny’s work before, but in this space these bulls have enormous presence.  The large canvases give credence to her sweeping brushstrokes and color combinations.  Really breathtaking stuff.

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I know that John Fitzsimmons will paint your portrait if you head over to his studio at the Delavan Center on Fayette Street in Syracuse (and if you have several hours to spare!)  His portraits are done with straight painting – no drawing it first with pencil or charcoal, and yet they are so proficient with accurate placement of proportions and an uncanny ability to capture one’s essence.

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Here, he is showing ethereal landscapes with magnificent mastery of color choice.  They are simultaneously deliberate and spontaneous and seem to represent the sky’s fickle ability to change on a dime.  A dark cloud approaches on the horizon with hurricane force, and yet, with the smaller works, they are sized to the give the appearance of a landscape at rest – long and narrow horizontals.

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I absolutely love the texture in Sherry Allen’s work.  There is dimension as well, the idea that the painting jumps into space and becomes a part of your life.  Her work certainly does not sit back passively waiting for anyone to notice.

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She is retiring from her teaching job at Chittenango High School at the end of the school year.  I am really looking forward to the direction her artwork will take once she has more time to devote to it!

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I know Ken Nichols as a potter.  We keep running into each other at events.  His mugs are also being sold at Natur-Tyme in Dewitt, New York and at the Clayscapes gallery, even though he isn’t mentioned in either gallery’s literature.  It is because his work sells.  It’s in and out the door in a flash due to exceptionally perfect price points and of course, quality.

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Here, he introduces us to his paintings, which are so colorful.  It’s almost as if he is a kid in a candy store with the control he can get out of acrylic paint – very different than the you-get-what-you-get attitude that comes with glazing pottery.

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Hopefully, I can connect with him to share these paintings in my middle school library gallery next year.  They are delightful confections that remind me of zentangles.

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Lauren Bristol can crochet!  She creates the pattern on large point graph paper and I have never seen this before.  Loved it!  My grandmother tried to teach me to crochet, but that was a disaster, as she couldn’t slow it down enough for me to understand what she was counting out in her Vlashki language (una, dow, tre, patrou, cin-cee, sha-cee, shap-tee, optou, now, zhad-cee…)

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Lauren uses crochet as an art form.  She includes abstract paintings in her display as well to fill her space.  I cannot imagine where she finds the time to create all of this, as I know from watching my mom now and my grandmother years ago, how long it takes to string together that work.

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I don’t know anything about Stephanie Roeser except to say that her artwork is whimsical.  Very youthful and alive.

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And Robert Kasprzycki’s giclee prints have the attitude of technically proficient.  Not at all irrelevant.

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The Syracuse Tech Garden is open to the public Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.  Contact the gallery at gallery.ttg@gmail.com for more information.

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Great Feats

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Last night I went to the opening reception for the Feats of Clay student art exhibit at the Ann Felton Multicultural Center at Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, New York.  It is located in Ferrante Hall beneath Storer Auditorium.

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I was invited by my friend Bobbi Rock Petrocci who teaches art at Christian Brothers Academy.   I guess I expected to see a lot of student grade work, but noooooooooo!  This ceramic artwork is exquisite!  The quality is really breathtaking, as you can see from all the pictures I took.  But you should really have a look for yourself.  Because there are nuances in the glazes that the camera cannot capture.  And of course, everything is dimensional.

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The work comes from many area high schools, and it is not like one school dominates over the rest.  So amazing!  So much to see – hand built works, pottery wheel creations, slab sensations, etc.

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I did six weeks of student teaching  with Robert von Hunke at Fayetteville-Manlius High School over twenty years ago.  He, along with fellow retire-ry Peter Valenti (formerly of East Syracuse-Minoa High School) created Feats of Clay twenty-nine years ago.  Much like an Olympics for ceramic students, they participate/compete in several events creating clay items, throwing clay – each school working as a team.   This year’s competition will take place Friday, May 6, 2016 from 9:45 am – 1:00 pm  at OCC.

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It has grown exponentially to include this art exhibition, which is currently on display until the same day.  Individual area ceramists as well as the IPA (Independent Potter’s Association) awarded students prizes for their work.

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These awards included the best in teapots, hand building, wheel thrown and wall pieces.  Clayscapes pottery offered an award too.  See the complete list of winners on their website – here.

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The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm or by appointment by calling (315) 498-7220.

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That Face

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Every year I do a pencil-only celebrity portrait lesson with my Studio in Art students, and each year I recognize less and less of the celebrities.  Oh, the drawings get better every year, I think.  I just cannot keep up with pop-culture, lol.

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Here are the celebrity drawings from the past couple years!  Can you guess who they are?

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Escape into Clay

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Clayscapes Pottery, Inc. is located at 1003 W. Fayette Sreet, Syracuse, New York (13204).  I buy clay for my classroom there – the Miller #10 is my favorite.  My colleague and I also buy kiln supplies – most recently new kiln shelves.

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In addition to merchandise, Clayscapes offers pottery classes and studio space.  They have recently begun a monthly Sip ‘N Turn party, which I have no doubt is a blast.  I would say that would be a lot more fun for me than to do one of those vino painting parties where everyone paints the same landscape.

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If you are interested in more information, go to their website here.  Or call them at (315) 424-6868.  You can tour the facilities at any time they are open:  Tuesday – Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and Saturdays 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.

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There is a gallery space as well.  I was there earlier tonight for the Independent Potters’ Association artist reception.  It is a group of eighteen extraordinary craftsmen and women.  The ceramics were displayed throughout the venue, but instead of remaining for the duration of the exhibition, they were being sold right off the shelves.  And selling like hotcakes.  The piece in the poster for the show was sold, as well as an exquisite vessel that left its podium in a blink of my eye.

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This makes me soooo happy.  Thank you, art patrons, for recognizing the talents of these terrific artists.

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It was a great party with free food and beer sponsored by Middle Ages Brewery.  Get it?  IPA for the IPAs (Independent Potter’s Association).  Members include Peter Valenti, Don Seymour, Wes Weiss, Jessica Pilowa, Tim See, Tina Parker, Jen Gandee, John Smolenski, Millie St. John, Bobbi Lamb, David MacDonald, Brenda Conley, Lindsey Scott, Matt Hill, Karen Smith, Rebecca Wind, Sarah VanderVoort, and Wendy Emborski.

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This show runs through April 30, 2016.

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Neutrality is a Cool Cat

I guess I feel most comfortable wearing neutral colors – black, white, gray, beige, navy blue….

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Banana Republic turtleneck sweater, BCBG Max Azria leggings, Ralph Lauren boots

People keep making comments to me about my wardrobe – that it seems unlimited, that my closet must be colossal, et cetera.

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Lord & Taylor cashmere cardigan, Banana Republic leather top, Trina Turk leather skirt BCBG Generation booties

It is an illusion, I think, because I have repeated a lot of separates, although I try to mix things up enough in order to create new looks.  And I have to admit, this is a lot easier when you stick with neutrals.

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Coach headband, BlackBrown1826 cashmere sweater, Bailey 44 top (underneath), BCBG Max Azria pants, Nine West booties

One of my friends wants me to be her stylist and while I love fashion, I cannot see myself as someone else’s personal shopper.  Fashion reflects one’s personality, of course, but as well as I know her, I can’t be limited by a budget.  If I desire something, I don’t stop until I get it.  I know that other people, my friend included, do not generally live by that creed.

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Bailey 44 top, BCBG Max Azria skirt, Nine West boots

Case in point – I just bought two evening dresses – a gown and a cocktail dress – for upcoming events (a BCBG Max Azria and  a Jill Jill Stuart!).

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They were in the $300 price point range.  So…I will be driving to work on fumes for three more days.  I have also lost three pounds, lol, no food in the house.  No biggie.  Everything always ends up working out for the best.

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The Limited silk scarf, Banana Republic dress, Steve Madden boots
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Karen Tashkovski, Key, 30″ x 30″, 2000, oil, latex & collage, $825

Hey – if I sell every “cat” painting I brought to the Summit Medical Group art exhibit (in the Lawrence Pavilion Lower Lobby Gallery) in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, I will make $11,800 less a 10% donation to that local animal care charity.

WING, 30X30, 2000 (298x300)
Karen Tashkovski, Wing, 30″ x 30″, 2000, oil, latex & collage, $825
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BCBG Max Azria cardigan and T-shirt, Banana Republic pants, Nine West booties

That’s enough to buy at least a few more clothes.  That show starts April 25, 2016.  It is open to the public – my favorite type of art show – a captive audience, people who may not seek out art venues but are at the offices for other reasons.  It’s my bread and butter (ha ha – figuratively.  You know I don’t eat bread or dairy).

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The opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, May 5th, 2016 from 5:00-8:00 pm.  Summit Medical Group is located at 1 Diamond Hill Road, Lawrence Pavilion, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey 07922.  Call (908) 277-8806 for more information.

#ootd on Time

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Trina Turk dress, Michelle DaRin bracelet, Nine West booties

Here are the outfits I wore to work from the past couple of weeks.  I donned my orange Trina Turk dress on Friday in support of Syracuse University sports (my alma mater).  The men’s and women’s basketball teams did well this year.  They both made it to the Final Four!  There was so much excitement in this town.  I watched the last three games at different venues and it has been a blast.  Last night, the crowd was disappointed with the outcome, but that energy turned into an amazing night of dancing to the live band that took the stage at Shifty’s once the game ended.

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Of course, Mother Nature took the loss a bit harder and decided to give us back our snow!

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How crazy is this?  It is the view from my back porch taken a minute ago.  Yes, just this morning!  Funny, because yesterday I was contemplating whether or not I would mow the lawn today….

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Honora necklace, JCrew cardigan, BCBG Max Azria top, T-shirt and pants, Nine West booties

My 5th graders finally finished their wood sculptures.  They are currently on display in the school library.  Next we will tackle a slab/hand built clay sculpture.  I haven’t done the lesson in ten years, which was the last time I taught 5th grade art, so that should be fun!

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Lord & Taylor cashmere beanie, Berkley Cashmere cardigan, Lucky Brand top, Bailey 44 skirt, Nine West booties
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Ann Taylor denim jacket, Bailey 44 top, Trina Turk pants, Nine West booties

My Studio in Art class is working on a mixed-media still life drawing and the rest of my 8th graders are painting their clay projects.  They have a choice of metallic paint or fluorescents.  The glow-in-the-dark element is soooo fun!  One of my students donated his black light to the classroom.  We can now check the projects in progress to see if the paint is covering well.  Thanks, Joe S.!

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JCrew blazer, BCBG Max Azria dress, Steve Madden boots
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Honora necklace, Free People cardigan, Warner Bros. Harry Potter Gryffindor T-shirt, Calvin Klein jeans and belt, BCBG Generation sandals

The end of the marking period is fast approaching, leaving only ten weeks of school for the year!  Wow.  It was about this time last year that I got my first cell phone.  Yeah, I know!  I was living under a rock for the first fifteen years of the new millennium.

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Coach headband, Free People cardigan, BCBG Max Azria T-shirt, Trina Turk dress, Nine West booties

Stephanie G., one of my Studio in Art students from last year, was the one who told me about #ootd (outfit of the day).  I guess you can blame her for turning me into a fashion monster, lol.

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Michelle DaRin jewelry, Banana Republic jacket and pants, BCBG Max Azria top, BCBG Generation sandals

But, of course, I was already coo-coo ca-ca for fashion.  It seems as though time has flown by this school year but at the same time… it seems to be standing still.  I don’t feel as though I am aging.  I actually really love the way I have finally caught up to myself.  To my dreams for myself, I mean.  Because suddenly, I’m achieving everything the real me has ever wanted.

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Free People cardigan, Bailey 44 top, BCBG Max Azria leggings, BCBG Generation booties

And in the process, I have found my life’s purpose.  Giving visual voice to local artists. Assisting them in any way I can to help them achieve their goals and dreams.  Offering positive energy to students – not to persuade them to have art careers necessarily, but to help them fall in love with art, with the arts.  And to believe in themselves in the way that they know they can achieve anything they want.  That they should not stop working towards a goal until either they achieve it or stop desiring it.

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Viola top, INC pants, BCBG Generation booties

It’s taken me a while to learn this stuff, but time hasn’t actually mattered, if that makes any sense.  This journey has been the true gift.

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Michelle DaRin choker, Banana Republic dress, Ralph Lauren boots
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BCBG Max Azria cardigan, Bailey 44 top, INC pants, Nine West booties

Okay, time to throw on the giant parka and venture out into the April sprinter (winter in spring?) wonderland on my way to a brunch date with one of my besties.  But first I need to decide what to wear….

Waterbear

 

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Davana Robedee just starts drawing.  She is inspired by natural forms – strands of hair, the motion of ocean waves….  The drawings take on a life of their own.  They become otherworldly, as though they are life-forms that can withstand space and time, much like the water bear, a microscopic species that can do just that!

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I went to the opening reception for The Millennia of the Waterbear last night at Apostrophe’s Art Gallery, 1100 Oak Street, Syracuse, New York.  Proprietors Holly Wilson and Allison Kirsch opened the venue to establish exhibition opportunities for college students and emerging artists.  They have currently booked art exhibits through this summer.

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The gallery is open Wednesdays 2:00-4:00 pm, Thursdays noon-2:00 pm, and by appointment – call (614) 209-7503 to schedule your visit!  This show ends on April 10, 2016.

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Davana is a recent graduate of Syracuse University.  She was my Encaustic professor at SU when I took the course in 2012.  Her work with the medium is superb.  At the gallery, she is displaying several functional lamps made of wire and wax.  LED light does not heat up and so the union is a successful one!  These lights looked more impressive as the sun went down.  They are soooo beautiful.  More so in person.  You must experience them!

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In addition, she has created a giant sculpture using plastic sheeting, as well as large panels of wax on plastic.  These pieces contain the same lyrical line quality as her drawings but with the addition of the textural surface.  Everything begs to be touched.  I found myself reaching out even though I know how fragile wax is (it needs, like, a thousand years to gain strength, unless there is enough damar resin in the mix). The whole show has a brilliant cohesiveness.

Davana is the real deal.  I love listening to her speak about her work.  There is a clear vision to her visual thoughts.  She really illuminates  just like her sculptures – she reveals an extraordinary depth of character.  The narrative provides understanding in a way that transcends the simple materials and abstraction.  I am really in awe of what she has accomplished here.

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Davana has another show scheduled for October 2016 in Old Forge, New York.  She starts creating new pieces soon including some wax items that will melt before our eyes.  Can’t wait to see where her mind takes us.  Wherever it is – I am loving the journey!

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