Category Archives: photography

Lighting The Way

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I managed to convince a dozen friends to meet me at the Chinese Lantern Festival last week.  It was my birthday, a week night, and it was sunny here for the first time in over a week.  Perfect conditions to enjoy this exquisite happening at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York.

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You enter at Gate 6 and follow the signs to the parking lot inside the fairgrounds.  The event is open every night (except Mondays) from 5:30 – 10:00 pm until June 24, 2017.  It is $15 per person but they have daily specials; there was a $2 discount last Thursday for “best friends day” in addition to it being my special day!  Check their Facebook posts here.  I think there is another deal coming up for Father’s Day this weekend.

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We arrived at around 7:00 pm.  There are a few food vendors and an ice cream truck, and a bunch of crafts to purchase from booths at the far end of the festival enclosure.  At 8:30 pm, performers take the stage – acrobat and rhythmic gymnastic style stuff with Asian melodies and lavish costumes.

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By 9:00 pm the sky becomes that beautiful Prussian blue before turning dark then the statues transition into glowing visions of beauty.  What an incredible light show and photo opportunity.  It is truly a magnificent experience!  Once you witness it, well…I think it is unforgettable.  So worth the admission price.  I am so grateful that my friends indulged this whim of mine.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I love you all sooooo muchy-much. ❤

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American Gothic-eee

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This lesson is inspired by Grant Wood’s American Gothic.

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Students had to conceive an idea for the composition.  I had planned to have them draw thumbnail sketches, as well as lists of what props they would need – but after showing my  accelerated Studio in Art kids the ones done by my students in 2012 and 2013 via my school web-site, they just knew what they were going to do.  It was the craziest thing and really phenomenal the way they all collaborated with one another.

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Each student planned the day for their picture – we had two weeks before Christmas break and it was a tight schedule for the twelve of them.  They all brought their costumes, props and their A games with them, lol!

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I just loved how they were able to count on each other and how responsible everyone was for their respective part in both their own work and that of their friend(s).  Models allowed the artist to direct them.  The poses replicated the ones in Wood’s painting with the person on the right looking straight into the camera and the other one gazing in the distance.  I placed the school’s green screen against a wall for the photo shoots, printed the pictures then cut and pasted them to foamboard.

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They created the backgrounds using a variety of mixed-media including tissue and decorative papers, toothpicks, beads, glitter and more.  The border was done in metallic paint to act as a frame.  A picture from the internet chosen to convey a theme was selected as reference and they attacked the canvas panels with vigor.  It was so exciting to see them work.  There was so much confidence amidst the chaos of all the materials.

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Once the background was finished and dry (everything attached with Mod-Podge and/or hot glue), we placed 3-D Os on the back of the foamboard and poppped the pics on top.  The result – twelve very different, very cool mixed-media pieces that are currently on display in a glass case in the atrium of Chittenango Middle School in Chittenango, New York.

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The Fair

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I went to the New York State Fair on Friday night.  It was one of those perfect evenings where everything just fell into place.  The traffic was reasonable – relatively light for the amount of people at the event.  My cousin Jackie and I found a great parking spot within minutes of driving down State Fair Blvd in Syracuse, New York.

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We were there for the Toto concert.  They played in Chevy Court at 8:00 pm.

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We had enough time to hit the bathroom before finding a seat.  I suggested my favorite one in the whole place, the lavatory on the second floor of the Art & Home Center.

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It isn’t a heavily trafficked area, hence super clean and no queue for a stall.  I’m actually not sure if there is an elevator to get up there – I mean, there must be, although it is one of the oldest buildings at the fairgrounds.  The Art & Home Center is home to Arts and Crafts competitions with Fine Art upstairs.

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Here are some pictures of the art on display.  Photography, drawing, painting, sculpture with different divisions based on age.  It is sort of a hodge-podge of work.  The giant ribbons indicate the winners, but you kind of need your readers to decipher the category and age brackets of said winners.

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They make the most of the display area with art hanging in close proximity covering all the walls and doors plus work on stands resting on several tables scattered around.

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For those of you who have attended The Fair and never knew this existed, you’re welcome.

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Competition is inspiring for the winners, especially for school-aged children, because it offers validation and perhaps a nudge in the direction of the arts career-wise.  For adults, it is a chance to add to one’s resume, another award/group exhibition, which could lead to more of the same, as well as future gallery representation.  Hey, you never know.

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Here is the link to the web-page where you can download entry forms for New York State Fair competitions.

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The Fair continues through Labor Day, Monday, September 5, 2016.  For more information, visit their website here.  Last year, I actually went to it twice after a decades long hiatus.  I have plans to go at least twice more this year!

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As for the concert, Jackie and I scored 5th row center seats about one minute before the concert began.  It was the craziest thing!  Later, we walked around with friends who’d messaged me after seeing my face on the giant screens then established a rendezvous point at the wine pavilion, lol.  (“Was that you?” “OMG, yes!”) Perfect night.  So fun!

 

Gallery Hopping

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Yes – Joyce, Penny and I were gallery hopping Friday night.  Here we are at the Edgewood Gallery for the Mixed Media show! (216 Tecumseh Road, Syracuse, NY 13224)

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This show is comprised of Clare Willson’s whimsical mixed-media pieces combining metal found objects with a painted under-structure, Arlene Abend’s metal sculptures and copper jewelry, Talking Trickster Studio’s pottery by Amy Komar and Sheila Roock and Terry McMaster’s abstract art.

Clare sold four small pieces before she even arrived for the opening, which is so great and worth the wait.  Cheryl Chappell, gallery owner, curator and framer extraordinaire, books her artists well in advance, sometimes as much as five years in advance!

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It is really very impressive how each exhibition is so different from one another, and each pairing of artists works so well together.  That, combined with the punch Cheryl packs in terms of breadth of works fitting so nicely in the space, the great spread of wine, grapes, hummus, crackers and Brie, and the always amazing conversations with all my cool artsy friends, made for a great time!

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Clare’s boyfriend bought her one of Arlene’s fabulous necklaces.  Arlene Abend always surprises me with something new.  Although she prefers to work in steel (“I hate copper – it doesn’t fight back” was what she said with a smile on her face), the copper jewelry appears simultaneously delicate and strong (or feisty more-like, lol).  Arlene is such a spit-fire.  I just love her to death.  I am always telling my students the story of how she was in art school, took a metal-smithing course on a whim and fell in love with it.  You never know where art will take you is the point of that story, and a result of Arlene’s journey are these wonderful reasonably-priced pendants and pins.

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Amy Komar is another one of my Facebook friends who until last night, I hadn’t actually met.  As with social media though, we seemed to know a lot about each other and ended our conversation by hugging it out.  I loved her positive energy!  She glazes the collection of pottery while her Talking Trickster Studio partner Sheila Roock is the wheel-throwing expert.  Many of the pieces are created in porcelain with a fun-loving cat-(dog? no whiskers so…)man and other whimsical imagery decorating the surface.  I believe these pieces may be cash and carry while the wall art will remain on display until the take-down date of September 23, 2016.

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I met Terry McMaster for the first time Friday night. Lol, I didn’t get a selfie with him – oh well, next time! He is known for his photography – I purchased a print from a basket of cards he was also selling.  These new paintings are somewhat of a departure for him.  He agreed to a future exhibition in the library gallery at Chittenango Middle School.  I am looking forward to working with him in the future!  Exciting.

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Call Cheryl Chappell at (315) 445-8111 for more information including the contemporary art and frame shop’s hours.  Check out the web-site too!

 

Art & Music!

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Yesterday was one of those perfect days where I accomplished everything I said I would do.  I did pilates, as well as some light housekeeping then went to my hair appointment (love you, Amanda!), hiked at Green Lakes State Park, and ended up downtown for some great art and music!

For real, lol.  I took these pictures and everything (for those of you who maybe thought I was still off my rocker chasing Pokemon).

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The AmeriCU Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival is in full swing.  I caught the tail end of it last night – the vendors will be there all day today and tomorrow until 6:00pm in Columbus Circle in downtown Syracuse, New York.  A lot of my friends/Facebook friends are there:  Michelle DaRin, Barbara Conte-Gaugel, Peter Valenti, Tim See, and Michael Heagerty, as well as dozens of artisans from around here and out of the area.

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There is so much to see.  There’s clothing, jewelry and accessories, paintings, ceramics, furniture, soaps….  It is really an incredible experience.  And since working the Lavender Fest for Michelle that time, I can appreciate the dedication it takes to spend all day in a small tent in ninety-degree heat with few bathroom breaks in order to interact with customers face-to-face.

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I think that is the best part of making a purchase from one of the vendors – that you get to know them and you walk away with an experience rather than just some trinket.  You experience the artist’s passion for what they do and you take with you a part of them, the part that contains a vast amount of love.

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That is truly special.  I love that.

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Last night’s music event in Clinton and Hanover Squares was the Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival.  More music tonight with the band Atlas taking the stage around 8:00 pm!  Hope to see you there!

Summer rocks!

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The Cuban Phenomenon

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John Dowling’s inaugural art exhibition at the Dowling Art Center is nothing short of phenomenal.  I attended the opening reception on Thursday, June 23, 2016 – the show will be up all summer (if you didn’t get a chance to make it there yet).  The new gallery is located at 1632 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse, New York (13206).  It is home to John’s photography studio where he creates his own art, as well as providing archival inkjet printing and fine art reproduction services, and is home to this impressive gallery space, which he plans to both house art shows he curates and rent the space to artists for shows, workshops and meetings.

The theme for this exhibition is Cuba.

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David Creedon is from Ireland.  He and a Spanish-speaking assistant travelled to Cuba to photograph the people.  John Dowling purchased rights to the photographs and reproduced and framed them for the art show.  Although none of the artwork in this show were yet labelled for sale, John said these are available for $300 each.

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Here I am speaking with the artist – he told me that the Cuban people were really friendly, happy people.  They welcomed him into their homes and allowed him to snap whatever he pleased.  The one of the car in the living room is particularly stunning, isn’t it?  Viewing the photographs makes me desire a trip there – as Tina Fey says, “I want to go to there.”

David said the food is delicious and the atmosphere is sort of a throw back, almost like a 1950s meets modern-day.  The people don’t make a lot of money but there are a lot of free services, like PhD level education, health care, and food and other items are not expensive so it is all relative.

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See more work by David Creedon at www.davidcreedon.com.

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Abisay Puentes, like John, is one of my Facebook and Linkedin friends.  Unlike John though, I had never actually met him until this show.  His artwork has a surreal flavor and is hauntingly beautiful!

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Here I am with Penny Santy.  We are listening to Abisay’s original instrumental music, which accompanies his work.  In this way, he creates a sort of phenomenological encounter, engaging all senses.  He has videos on youtube that you must check out!

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The other artists in this show are a combination of locals who are from Cuba – most of them live in the Eastwood section of Syracuse near the gallery, or the work has been shipped in directly from Cuba!  It really is a must see!

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Contact John Dowling for more information about the gallery space and this show specifically, including hours of operation – (315) 466-8189 or jdphoto@twcny.rr.com.

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Porches

Yesterday I walked around Ruskin Avenue in the Strathmore area of Syracuse, New York.  Art on Porches is an annual event with artisans displaying their wares on the porches of these beautiful homes – as well as under small tents on front lawns and by the sidewalk.

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There was music, food and my new favorite thing in the world – iced coffee, provided by Recess Coffee!

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Dorothy Wilcox creates these exquisite dream catchers.  She gathers vines and allows them to speak to her – to sort of tell her how they want to be woven.  I felt like her booth was definitely the most soothing of all the displays due to the breadth of her collection.

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It was set up in her front yard!  Her company is called Yonder Hill Specialties and you can reach her at (315) 440-2012.

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I bought a small print from Jamie Ashlaw.  He is an art teacher in the Westhill district.  Jamie creates these paintings of local signs that have a vintage flavor.  I loved his work!  I asked him if he would be interested in exhibiting at the Chittenango Middle School library for next school year and he said yes!!!!

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For information on acquiring his work, contact him at his Delavan Center studio at (315) 529-4501 or email him at jamieashlaw@hotmail.com

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Ray Kowalski is a professor at Syracuse University.  His glazes are spectacular. He said he learned how to layer them by working with his good friend Margie Hughto.

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Contact Ray at (315) 420-3113 or rgkowalskipottery@gmail.com.  He has a website too.  It is www.raykowalski.com.

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This is Tim See with his work.  I blogged about him once before and he became a Facebook friend!  He is part of the IPA- Independent Potter’s Association and sells his work at Clayscapes, the Gandee Gallery and other local venues.

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Bicycle chain and tire art is the specialty of Rob Niederhoff.  He has an Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/UpCycling4ACause).  Fifty percent of his sales go to support orphan hosting through New Horizons for Children!

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Barbara Floch had a magnificent little set up using vintage luggage as risers.  She creates jewelry in her studio at the Delavan Center (501 W. Fayette St., Syracuse, NY 13201).  Her company is called Gypsy Girl Designs.  Contact her at (315) 263-3407 or gypsygirl62@yahoo.com.

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It was such a beautiful day for this event.  Loved, loved, loved meeting all the artists.  I bought several other things including another Michelle DaRin bracelet – I have decided I want my arms to look like her display racks.  I absolutely love her style!  She totally rocks!  www.michelledarinjewelry.com.

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