Sunday, July 29, 2012

From One Fan to Another- Artist as Collectors

Betsey Regan is this week's guest blogger for the Artist as Collector series.
John Kochansky was a Monmouth County (NJ) artist who passed away in the early 2000s.  
He painted for years and then suddenly turned to photography. His subject however, always remained the female form.  

Many saw him as a brash misogynist.  But I always thought he adored women and that's why he acted out both in his art and his personal relationships.  I maintain not to exploit but to revere.
He was a larger than life figure in stature, personality, and his use of materials. This caused him to be either loved or reviled within the venerable echelons of the Art Alliance in Red Bank, NJ of which he was a longtime member. That's how I acquired this piece, I believe we made a trade. I was one of his fans.   

New Jersey artist, Betsey Regan is a painter who recently had a solo exhibition at the Watchung Art Center , Watchung, NJ of her latest work, all completed during winter 2011-2012. She continues to work on her series concerning sheep, lambs, and other beasts of burden.
Betsey (middle) and friends at Watchung Art Center
photo by Stacy Smith

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Unfortunately..." the OTHER Letter

Chances are if you put yourself "out there" in the world, you most likely have gotten one of those letters that begin... Thank you for ..., unfortunately.... 
Fall Out, 2011
Acrylic, graphite, collage on paper
There it is, the bomb. Your heart sinks, you may try to brush it off, say it was a long shot, I didn't really want it, whatever. One such letter arrived in my mail box earlier this week. I applied for an award. I worked hard on it. Gave it my best shot. But I didn't make the cut for the next level. 

But I do know that whether you are entering shows, applying for a grant, going on auditions, applying for college, jobs, etc. - disappointment comes with the territory.  Frequently. (unless you are my niece Katie who got into every school- undergrad and grad to which she applied. You go girl!) And let's face it, -While it's not nearly as fun (or rewarding) as the other letter that begins- "Congratulations, or We are pleased/excited to inform you..." Showing up, putting yourself out there, takes courage, energy, and time.

So, while disappointed, I am really ok with it. (Well heck, what is the alternative?!) The truth, however, is that working on the application was an incredibly empowering experience. I dug deep, discovered some intrinsic truths about what I do and why I do it. Better than therapy, didn't cost me a thing... and as Arnold once said..."I'll be back...!"

What is your experience with the "Unfortunately..." letter?  How do you bounce back?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

It's in the Water... Artist as Collector

New York based artist Laurette Gnaegy Kovary is this week's guest blogger for our Artist as Collector series.
Acrylic and Resin on Coral Rock
 20" x 12" x 2"  

This piece is by my father, Chuck Gnaegy, whose love of the ocean has been transferred to me and then from me to my own children. 

I've had this piece hanging in my living room for almost 15 years since I persuaded my dad to gift it to me for a birthday present. It hangs near the front entrance of my home on a wall painted aqua blue. It is always a conversation starter.  People seem drawn to the organic shape of the coral and then leads to an investigation of the surface. The conversation almost always ends with a story about swimming and visit to the sea. I love that this work resonates with people in that way. It's another discovery of the thread that connects us to each other.  

But, what I love the most is that it reflects a huge part of what inspired me as an artist to draw and paint in the first place. I've always been drawn to the all encompassing expressive wildness, power, tranquility and unordered beauty of nature. 

I've thought of moving this work to another area of my house, but I think that I should leave it where it is- it serves so well as a welcoming symbol to my home.       

Laurette Gnaegy Kovary is a painter, designer, and installation artist whose vivid imagination and professional skills transform walls, canvas and objects. She also is the founder of Art House Studio and a Mermaid in her own right!
That's Laurette on left with daughter Noelle and friends.
Sea horses and costumes designed and created
by Laurette.
Nope, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! or the starfish doesn't fall far from...
well, you get the idea.

Friday, July 20, 2012

When Life Unravels

When Life Unravels - Let Go
Gesso, spraypaint, graphite aquarelle on paper
32" x 42"
Am in the midst of reading Comfortable with Uncertainty- 108 Teachigns on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion by Pema Chodron. Whether it is moving, making art, facing cancer, birth, marriage, divorce- you can fill in the blanks, life is about transition.  

"As long as we believe that there is something that will permanently satisfy our hunger for security, suffering is inevitable. The truth is that things are always in transition. 'Nothing to hold on to' is the root of happiness. If we allow ourselves to rest here, we find that is is a tender, nonaggressive, open- ended state of affairs.

This is where the path of fearlessness lifes."           Pema Chodron

Learning to let go... safety nets are only an illustion.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Young Artists at DCAD this week

Alterd Books Workshop
Kickoff Event for DCAD's
Young Artist Program for High School Students
ART Art and more Art - with cool trips and socializing mixed in.... that's what this week looks like for a large group of talented teens who are working their butts off at DCAD  (Delaware College of Art and Design)  Young Artist Program for High School Students.  The week began Sunday evening for an intro dinner and a kick off Altered Books workshop that I had the absolute fun time of teaching.

The students jumped right in with both feet and some cool kick
(originals by Avon Grove student) to alter, draw, paint, collage, transfer images and
 "own" their own journals that will be used throughout the week and beyond for - whatever.  

This is only a sampling of some of the great stuff these kids did on Sunday.  To see more check out the DCAD album on my FB Page.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Freedom, Need, Change in Greek

New York based artist, Triada Samaras is the guest blogger this week for our Artist as Collector Series.
Theodorakis’ Mayoral Campaign Poster.  Athens, Greece.  1978.
36" h x 24" w
The following selection is an excerpt from Triada Samaras’ work,  At Home in Activist 
Art: Transgressing Political and Geographical Boundaries,  a 300 page art/text portfolio 
project completed for her Goddard College MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts Degree, 
January 2012.   

When I lie in bed at night, sleepless in Brooklyn, I gaze upon a poster I removed from a telephone pole in Greece over 30 years ago.  It is a remarkable poster and I dare say, a collectible now. I recently spent the money to have it professionally framed 
because it is one of my prized possessions.  The poster shows a man looking leftward, out over a village of small houses with a gleam in his eye.  His face is peaceful and knowing.  The artist created this image in wood cut.  There is black ink on faded beige, now 
yellowing paper.  Below the man are three words in Greek:  ΕΝΟΤΗΤΑ; ΑΝΑΓΕΝΝΗΣΗ; ΑΛΛΑΓΗ.  Translated they mean:  FREEDOM, NEED, CHANGE. On the top of the image are three more words:  ΑΘΙΝΑ: ΜΙΚΙΣ ΘΕΟΘΟΡΑΚΙΣ.  In 
English this means: ATHENS:  MIKIS THEODORAKIS.  I have repeated these words to myself all my life like a mantra.  The poster inspired me to think and dream.  In the background, I could hear music playing, passionate voices singing these ideas with 
unmistakable zeal. 

Triada Samaras is a Greek/American interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, 
where her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and venues.  Her art practice investigates:   
house/home, identity, geography and place. Her recent projects include:  Free 
Public Place, an eco/art/activist project in Brooklyn, NY, and the Indignant Citizens of Greece, an 
art/activist project in Athens, Greece. 

Presently Triada is in Greece, traveling and working on a community based art project.

What is your life mantra that has guided you and your work?


Friday, July 13, 2012

Making Time for Art

Every artist mom knows the challenges of making studio time happen with kids home for the summer.
Page from Altered Book
Wait. make that- every artist knows the challenges of making studio time happen. period.

A million reasons, a million excuses, a million tugs in every direction from the phone to a job,  to the endless tasks and errands.  But we do it, one way or another. or-  we go nuts.

Lisa MacMain, program director of YoungMoms gets that.  Afterall, before she received her MSS (Masters of Social Services)  from Bryn Mawr College Grad School of Social Work , she was and is, a mom and an artist.  She is also den mother extraordinaire to 50 or 60 young women who are moms with limited resources and support, including time for themselves, without babies- to be creative.  Lisa, with her vision of hope and promise for all that is possible for these young women, invited me to put together a series of Altered Books Workshops for the moms after our highly successful printmaking workshops last year at the Garage in Kennett Square, PA.
the Garage community + youth center West Grove, PA

This week was the first 2 of 6 sessions being held at the Garage in West Grove.  The babies were off at childcare nearby, coordinated by a wonderful volunteer, Terri Weidenmuller and the moms had 3 hours to create journals, transfer images, stamp, collage, alter books, eat and hangout together.

Making art, making a mess... and loving every minute of it!
with snacks generously donated by local
company Herr's- shamelessly promoted here.

Altering books and altering trajectories... heavy with possibilities. wow.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Artist as Collector with much Aloha

Pegge Hopper is this week's featured Artist as Collector. Her home on the island of Oahu is a work of art in and of itself.  Pegge's eye, touch and design sensibility is present throughout.
Pegge's lanai

Studio shot- great light, open space
(be still my heart)
She also is incredibly supportive of other artists and their work-exhibiting their work in her gallery as well as in her home. When I was up at her house the other day while in Honolulu I asked her to pick a piece for my Artist as Collector series. She immediately selected this small encaustic painting by Alan Leitner another artist living and professor at Leeward Community College in Hawaii. She told me that she bought this piece from a show that he had at The Pegge Hopper Gallery because "I just loved it!"
Peace Sign
Encaustic on board

This larger encaustic painting by
Hawaii artist Nadine Ferraro
is another favorite of Pegge's hanging
in her Oahu home.

I had to take a shot of these shoes on display in Pegge's home.
She said that she bought them at Savers Thrift Store in Honolulu
and added the ribbon

One of Pegge's cloudscapes hanging in her stairwell

Esther Shimazu ceramic figure on Pegge's fireplace.

Collection of old bottles in her kitchen.
They were found in the earth below the site of the old
Chinese Herb Shop that Pegge bought, renovated and is now
The Pegge Hopper Gallery

And Pegge's collection of heart milagros next to
Returned early yesterday from a wonderful Hawaiian vacation. Having spent time in the water, surfing, kayaking, snorkeling and swimming, as well as time with dear friends,  Pegge among them, brings me back to the HOT weather of PA with gratitude and inspiration.

Mahalo Nui Loa....