Friday, March 23, 2012

LeQuire begins Sunday Studio for Illustrators and Painters

As an artist whose primary focus is in comics drawing and in illustrating, my focus is on storytelling. To me, cramming emotion and information into a tiny panel is an exciting challenge. And as an art teacher I'm the first to reassure the kids not to worry about what the thing looks like just yet -- you're only just starting to learn how!! I also tell 'em we need to draw every day to get good. As we focus and continue to draw, we simply get better and better at it. Artists don't ever stop learning or developing our work.

So as I love to teach, I also love to learn ... I think they go hand-in-hand ... Lately I've been teaching myself and my students art history (wow!!) I also really enjoy taking classes (Plaza Artists Materials hosts some really nice ones) that can help me further sharpen my focus so I can better get what's in my brain out onto the paper or canvas in front of me.

I'm also a huge fan of Atelier sessions -- that's where a bunch of artists gather together to draw from a live model. Took some great Anatomy classes at the Art Students League with Peter Cox back when I lived in NY. Those really helped me get how the figure connected. And I think the practice just makes me a better artist. And I feel like I am part of the larger tradition of classical artists. So I just LOVE. Atelier. Sessions.

So, I've got some great news for the Figurative Illustrators and Painters hiding out in Nashville! ('Cause I know we're out here!! Somewhere!)

For years, sculptor Alan LeQuire has hosted an Atelier studio on weeknights at the Charlotte Avenue LeQuire Gallery location. It's terrific, and for a modest fee you can sculpt in clay, which is provided, and have a live model to look at and use as your subject. These sessions are currently held on Tuesday nights. I've attended a couple of times over the years, and the models he hires are just WONDERFUL. When I attended I was one of the few "drawers" in the room of sculptors (& yes, I'm working up the nerve to try the 3-D thing!) but it was just great. And now the lovely folks at LeQuire are providing Illustrators and Painters the same luxury of a live model on Sunday afternoons.

So, if you're a painter or illustrator with an interest in working from a live model, LeQuire Gallery has started up a Sunday afternoon classic Atelier Group. (And by "classic" I do mean nude model, just so there's no confusion.) It currently meets from 1 to 4pm on Sunday afternoons. We start with short poses (1 minute), then increase to 5 and 10-minute poses, go to 30 and an hour-long pose ... If you're interested in attending, I suggest you contact the gallery by phone or email so they can put you in touch with the Atelier coordinator. I attended the first session and the model was simply amazing. I heartily recommend it!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Struggling to make art ... and Praying For Strangers by River Jordan

It has been a very trying period of time ...

Just when I hoped I could get better and finer focus on creating my comics and artwork, I get slammed with OTHER. VERY. VERY. IMPORTANT. THINGS. THAT. MUST. GET. DONE.

More frustrating: I'd rejoined the Tennessee Art League and had even bought several canvases to start painting again ... I'd bought them at a great sale at Jerry's Artarama last fall and had even followed up on my prep by taking two terrific acrylic and oil paint classes (on how do these mediums work, what can you do with them, how to mix them, etc.,) at Plaza ... [btw, there's another canvas and easel sale at Jerry's Artarama -- 30% off -- this weekend January 27-28-29 at their Nashville location should you need that sort of thing!!] I was wanting to continue drawing the comics, (especially since I'm still working on the Graffiti graphic novel) but also start painting again. I used to paint more when I was younger but then I discovered comics, and they were just more fun to create. Plus I didn't have to justify my work by additionally making silly, high-falutin' artistic statements of Why I Make What I Do ...!)


There are bills to be paid and other books to be made first. Long story as to all the reasons why the drawing and painting are temporarily sidelined, but the main one is because my hubby, Chris, is starting podcasts of his stories and books next month, and we gotta get his books back online in a digital format for more readers to enjoy.

There is huge prep work involved ... and covers to be re-designed and etc., thus making my personal artwork output slow down to less than a crawl. That's the weird advantage to having both left- and right-brain skills/access. I am a fiend for scheduling and administration besides drawing and painting. Although I find lately I become VERY CRANKY and am unable to sleep well when I'm unable to draw/paint daily like I had been doing ... (Seriously. I totally had a meltdown yesterday.) So my administration days will give way to supervision of administration and full-time making artwork very soon, God Willing.

MEANWHILE, in the midst of this frenzy of work, I'm also reading LOVELY books and watching both wonderful and hilarious things (which I will blog about in separate posts today, because I simply must!)

For Christmas one of my sisters gave me a copy of River Jordan's Praying for Strangers. Ms. Jordan lives in town and I'd actually met her several years ago at a book signing for one of our friends, writer Eric Wilson. At the time I was introduced I had no idea what Ms. Jordan wrote about. I just knew she was friendly, really pretty and seemed really nice and wrote books, and was at our friend's signing to show her support, so I thought that was really cool of her. About a year later, it turned out our new next door neighbor was a HUGE fan of hers, and told us often how much she enjoyed Ms. Jordan's Gothic southern-set novels, and would go to all of her book-signings in town ... so her name kept coming up.

Fast forward to this past fall: I caught John Seigenthaler's A Word on Words on a Sunday morning when we didn't get to church. I caught the October episode where River Jordan was a guest, talking about Praying For Strangers. Literally. It was her New Year's resolution to pray for a stranger daily -- and here's the wonderfully crazy part -- she would also TELL the stranger that she would be praying for them that day. The reactions they had to her were amazing, and inspiring ...

The podcast on the episode is still online at the WNPT site -- it's episode 4o12. I was so amazed and touched by River's (I have to use the familiar for a moment -- what a great name! ) resolution that I told my sister about it, and she went and bought me the book. It is lovely. If praying for others is something you're ever thought about doing (& yeah, okay, maybe you're not ready yet to actually TELL the person you see needs it that you're praying for them!) I recommend you listen to the podcast and check out the book.