Category Archives: art

The Art of Fluidity

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Penny, Janine and I attended the Pop-up Video Installation and Performing Art exhibition at Apostrophe’s this evening.  (1100 Oak Street, Syracuse, New York)  It was a three-hour event.  Artist Yilu Yang from Shanghai, China is currently a graduate student in the Department of Transmedia at Syracuse University.

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Her show was titled Subconsciously Flowing Water.  Yilu’s interest in nature stems from a yearning to seek its innate tranquility, a sanctuary from the contemporary man-made life-in-the-fast-lane that has been her experience growing up in a big city.  Her films are self-portraits, depicting herself creating narratives that represent an intimacy with water, sand and the landscape of Earth while also acknowledging the customs, poetry and history of her heritage.

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Her colleagues, fellow students and friends gathered for a critique led by Laura Heyman, Associate Professor in the Department of Transmedia and D.J. Hellerman, Curator of Art & Programs at the Everson Museum of Art.  The Everson has one of the largest collections of Video Art in the nation (who knew?) and so, the museum works closely with the university to promote and guide students in their respective artistic journeys.

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Heyman asked what direction she felt her art was going, other than to be viewed in this gallery space?  Yilu Yang remained poised as she answered.  Her audience ventured closer to hear her soft spoken response.  She was clear in her vision, that her work is both personal and universal in that it allows the viewer to ponder the peaceful inner being while questioning their place in society.  It may become more political or not, depending on where it takes her – back to China or on an extended path around the world.

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I see it as the beauty in escape – that we can all benefit from unplugging from society and focusing on creating our own imaged histories, rewriting our realities and then revisiting ourselves in the physical.  In this way, we seek and find our true happiness.

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I see a lot of wonderful things in Yilu’s future.  She found a fit with Syracuse and with the United States – mainly, the freedom to express her vision with determined fluidity. ❤

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Secret Chamber

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I have always been drawn to the exquisite beauty of all that is Ancient Egypt.  I took an Egyptology course at University College while teaching at Bryant & Stratton back in the ’80s to answer a student who questioned why and how Egyptian fashion was selected as the first chapter in the costume history textbook.

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The answer lies in art, because all of our history to do with ancient cultures comes not from the written word, but from pictures – in this case hieroglyphics, tomb murals and, of course jewelry, as well as the remnants of clothing made of linen fiber.

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I learned that Napoleon’s French army invaded Egypt in 1798.  They rediscovered the antiquities and were the first archeologists to investigate the area.  It wasn’t the painstaking attention to delicate detail that it is today or even remotely a respectful handling of human remains.

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Many mummies were burned as fuel for steam engines, which is just so tragic.  Later on, in the following century, Egypt became an exotic vacation spot for wealthy Americans who enjoyed purchasing the baubles, scarab beetle decor, and mummies!

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They held mummy unveiling dinner parties back in the States, stuff like that.

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Howard Carter uncovered King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.  This significant find catapulted Egyptian archeology in terms of the level of importance, the regard for history and the sheer magic in attaining this priceless treasure.

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Somewhere in the middle, during the Victorian age, Cazenovia Public Library benefactor Robert James Hubbard and his son accumulated a collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts including an intricately wrapped-in-linen mummy for the purpose of creating a museum.

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And so, yes, there is a mummy in this library.

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Yesterday, Janine and I visited Cazenovia, New York; first stop, Cazenovia Artisans, second, Common Grounds and next, to the library to see this exhibit.  We ended up at Empire Farm Brewery for lunch.  Janine had never been to any of these spots nor had she an idea this breathtaking collection even existed.  So, my thought is that not many of you know about it.  You’re welcome!

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When I taught elementary art at Bridgeport Elementary School in our district, I decided to add a few lessons on Ancient Egypt culture to the third grade curriculum, because I had this knowledge I wanted to share.  I created a cat mummy sculpture lesson.  Naturally, no pets were harmed.  Students’ sculptures were made of an armature of plastic bottles and styrofoam balls.  They were void of remains, unlike the actual cat mummy at this museum.

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At Chittenango, it is the sixth graders who study the ancient civilizations in Social Studies.  They do take a field trip to Cazenovia Library, as the village is adjacent to our school district via Route 13.  I highly recommend a visit.  It is free and really quite extraordinary.

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The library is located at 100 Albany Street, Cazenovia, New York 13035.  It is open Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 – 5:00 pm.  They are closed on Sundays.  Call (315) 655-9322 for more information.

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The museum space is also home to a gallery for rotating local artist/art organization exhibitions, as well as a wonderful exhibit of birds and plumage in fashion.  They also have many interesting activities for children including puzzle clubs and such.  Yesterday they had a hot chocolate and cookie station available.  Set in a Victorian mansion, this is truly a quaint and lovely experience that really packs a secret chamber punch.  So special!  ❤

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Best Intentions

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Janine and I took a trip to Cazenovia, New York today.  We visited Cazenovia Artisans, an artist’s co-op.  It is located at 39 Albany Street in the heart of the village.  Linda Bigness just joined, so I thought it would be fun to visit and see the new work. (For a full list of artists in the cooperative, visit their website).

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Bob Ripley was manning the register.  He is a former Advertising Design man turned full time watercolorist.  His work is AMAZING!

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It was such an honor to meet him and speak with him about his art.  Bob uses Windsor & Newton watercolors and Arches 300 pound paper, which he staples into foam board while working on the individual pieces.

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Bob shared his technique – here he is working on a commission.  He added the figure of the man into the landscape and strategically placed the fishing line to add rhythm to the composition.

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He uses frisket to assist in the layering process of glazing.  It stops the paint from bleeding into areas and also helps to save the white of the paper, which is a watercolor technique used instead of painting with the more opaque Chinese white paint.  In addition, he shared a method he’d perfected through trial and error – placing clear transparent tape on an area then going back in and shaving the edge with an Exacto blade to match it with the landscape, all to insure that the paint stays where it belongs.

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Watercolor is tricky that way.  It is about sheer layers blending together.  Bob was very clear about never using black.  Instead, he combines Hooker’s Green and Alizarin Crimson or if he wants a cooler looking dark, he mixes the Alizarin with Ultramarine Blue.

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This work is really incredible.  Each piece takes about seventy or eighty hours to complete.  Bob draws the basic lines of the landscape then adds more detail with pencil as needed.

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There are original watercolor paintings on the wall for sale, as well as high quality Giclee prints, which look almost identical to the originals in quality and color.  Each piece is infused with Bob Ripley’s vivacious spirit.  He is so talented!

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Thank you, Bob Ripley!!!  And thank you, Janine Hudun, for joining me.  We also popped over to the Cazenovia Public Library to visit their museum and gallery (blog to follow) then had lunch at Empire Farm Brewery.

I privately set an intention this morning – I wanted to see a cardinal, believe it or not.  People always say that when a cardinal crosses your path, it is a sign that someone who has passed away is nearby.  I was sifting through Bob’s prints thinking I might see one (I can’t explain why I thought he would even have one). Then I turned and found a cardinal print in his section on the greeting card fixture!

Later that day, I saw an actual cardinal while hiking around Green Lakes.  It literally called out to me then it frantically fluttered about while I flustered getting my cell phone from my pocket.  I was laughing and crying at the same time while trying to get the shot, so this is not a great picture, lol, but it doesn’t matter.  Thanks, Dad. ❤

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Cazenovia Artisans is open Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.  For more information call (315) 655-2225.

In the Flesh and Flora

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It was only my second time at LeMoyne College.  I remembered which street to turn into to get to the parking lot that leads to the Noreen Reale Falcone Library on the campus in DeWitt, New York, but once inside, the Wilson Art Gallery was not where it used to be.  I guess they renovated since I was last there, lol.  It was sort of strange, coupled with the fact that I got the time wrong and missed the entire two hour party by fifteen minutes.  The art is currently gracing the walls directly opposite the front door, which allows it to greet all visitors in the captive-audience style.  It also appears as a larger space than the previous venue, which, I admit,  is a win-win.

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The new show is titled Spring is on the Way.  It offers lovely floral incarnations by Judith Hand.  She is a retired art teacher who has worked at Westhill, as well as schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Massachusetts.  She is also a member of the Cazenovia Watercolor Society and a signature member of the Central New York Watercolor Society.

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I found out about this show via Facebook.  Judy is a FB friend I hadn’t actually met until this day.  I told her I was a blogger and she said she knew; she’d just read about my student’s Google doodles that morning!

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I shared that my Studio in Art students are working on landscapes in watercolor, so we talked shop for a bit.  And took a selfie, of course.  The art reception was yesterday (she’s sold five pieces!).  I  love the positive flavor of these pieces, the richness of color and, you know, the subject matter.  Who doesn’t love flowers?

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There is plenty of time to view this show.  Judith Hand’s paintings will be on exhibit through March 2019.

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Doodle for Google 2019

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I just mailed these Chittenango Middle School entries to the Doodle for Google 2019 contest.  This year’s theme is “When I Grow Up, I Hope….”

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These are some of my Art-8 and 8th grade accelerated Studio in Art student entries.  My 5th graders also took part in the contest.  The deadline is March 16th so there is still time to mail in the stragglers’ art after winter break, thank goodness.

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Among the recurring themes – ending world hunger, space exploration, and fun with animals.  Other ideas included fashion, graduating from high school/college and cheating death.

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One of my favorites was this one above – solving mysteries with the Scooby Doo gang.  Who doesn’t dream about this from time-to-time?  Really, I know you do!

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The prize is $30,000 for the individual student, $50,000 in technology for their school and their google doodle will be on a T-shirt.  It will also grace the web-site for twenty-four hours (and proclaim the winner the title of Chief Doodler for the day).  So cool.

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What a huge and most amazing thing it would be if one of my students wins the whole shebang?!  It will be the greatest thing that would and could ever happen in my career, lol, except…this was the assignment I gave as lesson plans for the substitute when I was absent on family leave the week of my father’s passing.  So, technically, I guess … no – oh, come on now, this is crazy talk…I will still take pride in a win.  Making art that helps a student visualize their dreams? – now that is a win-win! ❤

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Dozens

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I thought it would be fun to create trompe l’oeil donuts.  We made them from an armature of aluminum foil, paper towels and masking tape.

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Students then applied Mod Podge with a brush to paper towel bits, adhering them to the armature.  They really looked like glazed donuts – so cool!

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Cell-u-clay was next.  It is a paper pulp that is applied wet in a sort of oatmeal consistency.  This was the frosting.

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Each student (in two of my 8th grade art classes) created a dozen donuts.  Because I didn’t think six was enough, lol.  They painted the Cell-u-clay with acrylics and added decorative details.

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Some students glued their finished pieces to foamboard and others placed them in boxes provided by the local Dunkin’ Donuts.  The projects are currently on display in the library at Chittenango Middle School, Chittenango, New York.

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I just loved this project.  I think everyone loved it!  Students in the 9th period B day class even came in during their study hall to become “donut fairies” – they helped the A day group!  Everyone helped each other and it was truly magical.  So fun! ❤

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Au Naturel

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Today in Syracuse, New York, the weather took a nosedive into frigid dead-of-winter temps, but inside the Edgewood Gallery, ( 216 Tecumseh Road, Syracuse, New York, 13224) the landscape is vibrant, warm and creatively cozy.

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Proprietor Cheryl Chappell has curated “Nature of Things”, a delightful show of oil paintings, ceramics and jewelry, which will be on exhibit and for sale now through February 22, 2019.  The art reception was tonight with two of the four artists in attendance.

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Rob Glisson‘s landscapes in oils are the stars of this show – several of them sported red sold stickers within the first hour of the opening.  He starts the work as plein-air pieces then takes them into the studio to re-envision them as fantasy worlds contemplating shadows while paying attention to color, volume and depth.  He concentrates on creating worlds that tell a story inviting the viewer to lose themselves within the frames.  I am a huge fan of his work and it is such a pleasure to see so many pieces hanging salon style alongside the lovely cow-dominated oil paintings of fellow artist Adriana Meiss.

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Jan Navales pinch-hit for Dana Stenson tonight, offering visitors information and guidance in selecting for purchase some of the silversmith’s latest creations.

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Karen Jean Smith‘s ceramics have the look of carved wooden objects.  These tromp l’oeil pieces are thrown then hand carved.  She adds the knots and other textures using an intuitive style.  Her work evolved into these thrice-fired amazing creations via an interest in representing nature, specifically water chestnuts, which led her to focus on representing wood.  Some of the pieces are kiln-fired and others are wood-fired.  They are painstakingly glazed using a watercolor technique.  They are really so, so cool.  I just love this series!  She also sold a few pieces at this opening. 🙂

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These artworks are surprisingly affordable.  A lot of them smaller pieces, to add to your art collection or to start one, which is a great New Year’s resolution – I will start my art collection this year!  I will support local artists! Oh, yes.  That has a nice ring to it. Seems like the natural thing to do. ❤

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