Archive for June, 2010

While the StudioWorks artists were working on the glass exhibit…they were also anticipating entering the 2010 Kentucky State Fair.  Last year we were able to do a group entry which we won with everybody receiving a coveted blue ribbon.  The state fair is in August, but we will need to send our entry fees in this week.  This year our artists will need to submit individual entries for individual categories.  Because almost all our artists want to enter, I thought I would start posting some of the completed works as we move along.

Carol Thorp has been working on a nice, colorful acrylic painting of a cheetah resting in a bed of flowers.  Before applying brush to canvas, Carol did many studies of her composition on newsprint.  Her drawings for this painting vary in the slightest of ways.  An extra flower here or a shadow there can make a big difference.  Here is a collection of cheetah drawings photographed informally on the floor of our studio/gallery.

The finished painting is very bright and Carol has given it the title of “Chester the Cheetah”.  The complimentary colors of orange and blue help make this work vibrate.  The cheetah’s spots and the flowers add a nice note of patterning.  I like that Carol has attempted a bit of aerial perspective on the horizon line that suggests some space in what is a relatively flat format.  Like all of Carol’s art, there is a charm to her work that brings a smile to our faces.

Julie Baldyga is also looking forward to the fair and wants to enter one of her oil pastels.  We still need to mat and frame this work, but it’s a beauty!  I believe the title is “Elizabeth with the Engine in her Hair”.  With a title like that you know this is going to be a memorable piece!

Elizabeth is holding a piston and perhaps she is imagining the repair that needs to occur to fix the smoking engine?  Julie is gaining increased mastery over this medium and currently seems to prefer it to other two-dimensional media.  Oil pastels are a more physical way of drawing with layer over layer producing a nice surface.  I love the drawing of the engine in particular and here’s a detail of that part of the composition.

Natalie Lanier has been working hard and she has a nice acrylic painting on canvas to present.  Natalie also likes working with fantasy subjects and animals and this work combines both in the form of a unicorn.  Natalie has many great ideas for artworks and it can be a challenge to get her to focus on them to completion.  She is making good progress and is receptive to advice.

One last image for now and it’s by Eric Huggins.  The title of this acrylic painting is “The Ram Looks Over the Mountain”.  It looks good in its new frame.  Eric also likes to do preparatory drawings before beginning a new painting.    Eric has a strong sense for line that carries over into his painted compositions.  I think this has a great chance of winning a ribbon!  In our next post, I will show you other artworks for the Kentucky State Fair.


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While Ariana leads us through the knitting process, there are other, smaller ongoing projects that occupy the StudioWorks artists.  Each artist is encouraged to create their own original card series.  Pictured above is a newly created animal series by Natalie Lanier who used pastels for her work.

Here’s an example of one of Natalie’s cards with its bright colors.  The whole series was sold a day after it went on sale!  Congratulations Natalie!

A number of our artists also like to assemble jewelry items and have become very good at it.  Here Jeremy is working on a necklace using glass beads.  Jeremy in particular likes making items for personal adornment.

Lonnie Cundiff has other jobs he performs at Zoom Group, but likes to come to the studio once a week.  Lonnie has a very deliberate approach to drawing and especially likes to trace objects as a starting point.  In conversation with Lonnie, he mentioned how much he likes eating tacos.  After tracing a protractor, he noticed how the resulting shape looked like a taco shell!  Before long, he had a series of tacos with lettuce and ground beef only in the works.

The Kentucky State Fair is approaching and many of our artists have made pieces to enter this year’s exhibition.  I will show you those works in a future post.  This year, Dorcas wanted to try entering her photographs which are made using a Holga camera.  If you are unfamiliar with the Holga, it’s a plastic camera with a plastic lens and takes unpredictable images.  This is a good camera to use because it is so simple, but will allow you to make multiple exposures.  Dorcas has been photographing life on Louisville’s busy Fourth Street before the heat and humidity of summer makes that difficult to do.

Ceramic work is also ongoing and we are always working toward that next kiln load.  Here’s Natalie applying glaze to a ceramic bird planter she has made.  Natalie is very creative in the studio and wants to try most everything.  Part of our efforts with her are to try to get her to focus on projects to completion.  This is something that we work on with other StudioWorks artists as well.  There usually is no shortage of ideas flowing around here!

In closing, we love to celebrate birthdays and Julie had one this past week.  StudioWorks took Julie to lunch and afterwards had a cupcake party!  This portrait of Julie was taken on the big day and I like how she is connected to her artwork by the white blouse.  Both the artist and her subject matter seem to be also sharing the same “far away” expression on their faces.  I will post some of the state fair artworks in our next entry.  So long for now!

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For the past two weeks StudioWorks has enjoyed getting to know our new intern and her name is Ariana Parenti.  She is a soon to be senior art student from Yale University and is one of thirty-two students participating in the 2010  Bulldogs in the Bluegrass internship program at various employers in Metro Louisville and the surrounding counties.  The success of this program in Louisville has been responsible for launching this laudable effort throughout the country.  Zoom Group is proud to be one of the earliest and most frequent contributors.  This is the second year in a row that StudioWorks has been the beneficiary of an intern.  Ariana has fit in very well and has the patience for our line of work and our artists really do like working with her too!

We let Ariana get her feet wet by assisting the artists with some of the artworks they are preparing for the Kentucky State Fair.  Her arrival also coincides with the glass exhibition “Shine” that we are participating in at the Weber Gallery.  But we have also challenged Ariana to teach us something about what she knows.  Ariana has an enthusiasm for knitting and she is teaching us how to do this person by person.  First she began with Vickey so there is another person able to assist our artists.

With needles flashing…Ariana has taught us this handy rhyme to remember the proper sequence of joining the yarn.  It goes like this…In through the front door…Once around the back…Peeks through the window…and off jumps Jack.  This has proven to be effective and a number of our artists are picking up this skill.  I think it helps that several of the StudioWorks artists enjoy fiber arts and have experience with basket making.  Here are more images of the artists working with Ariana and helping each other.

The idea is to make something simple first like a coaster and go from there.  So far, most all of our artists are receptive to giving it a try.  The studio purchased several needles and colorful yarn.  One person who is picking this up quickly is David Mahoney.

After a few pointers from Ariana, David is ready to go.  He is fond of counting and frequently uses math to construct his drawings and paintings.  It’s great seeing David give another medium a try.  Frequently, with our community…people are reluctant to sometimes try something new.  I think because Ariana is so easy-going and nice, folks are encouraged by her presence.  We will follow this project and see where it eventually goes.  Thanks Ariana for joining our group and introducing knitting to us!

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The Glass Art Society’s conference was this past weekend and Louisville had many exhibitions, lectures, and workshops scheduled.  Our own offering is entitled “Shine” and it’s on display at the Council for Developmental Disabilities’ Weber Gallery.  In our last post, we concentrated on showing you more of our self-portraits and vases, however, the StudioWorks artists also created many compelling glass plates.  The designs run the gamut from the geometric and abstract to the representational.  Sally Hardman’s ice cream cone inspired piece has been a favorite work of many visitors.  I will just go through the images…I’m sure you will find a favorite of your own.  All these plates were created at Glassworks and are about 8 inches square.

Here’s an image of Jeremy making his butterfly plate.  In places the glass was stacked high, but fused together in the end.  A nice touch in the exhibit was Carol Mueller’s  slide show documenting our glass making experiences.

Because some of these plates are transparent, it was difficult to photograph all the nuances.  Take this plate for example…when it’s held up to the light, this is what it looks like and it’s quite a difference!

In closing, here’s a similar view using one of Brad’s plates.  This one has three people traveling through a landscape on their all terrain vehicle!  I like the effect the light plays in shining through all the green glass.  We will visit the “Shine” exhibit again before its run ends in late July.  Thanks!!!

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Last Friday, the reception for the glass exhibition that StudioWorks is participating in had its reception at Louisville’s Weber Gallery.  It was a warm and pleasant evening and our exhibition was among the first of many glass shows to open in town as a result of our participation in the celebration of Ingenious Possibilities, the 2010 Glass Art Society’s Conference in Louisville.  Our exhibit is entitled “Shine” and the show dates are June 1 – July 23, 2010.  The Weber Gallery is on 1151 South Fourth Street in wonderful old Louisville and so if you are in the area for the conference…please do stop by and check out the art.  I think our StudioWorks artists are indeed shining brightly here!

The exhibit is in two galleries.  The smaller front gallery is where you can find the display of our glass self-portraits and Carol Mueller from the Weber Gallery was nice enough to include short biographies to accompany our images.  Here are some close-ups of the self-portraits along with a couple of our artists that were able to attend on a very busy night of social events.  It was First Fridays Trolley Hop night and galleries and museums on Main and Market Streets were open late to the public.

This is Eric Huggins’ work which is delightful and engaging.  Eric enjoyed his experiences with the new medium which is helping to stimulate his creativity in his other studio produced art.

Sally Hardman is standing in front of her work which was one of several portraits that were purchased during the reception.  Way to go Sally!

Everybody loved this portrait that Terry Bishop made.  It is so very Terry in being low-key and simple in a good way!  This piece was so popular that it could have sold multiple times!  StudioWorks will certainly make more glass pieces in the near future.  This was so much fun to do!

Brad Bohannon is posed next to his self-portrait which was also purchased.  The new owner works in a dental office and liked Brad’s piece because of the teeth!  Brad had a really successful night with his work.

Nancy Anderson’s self-portrait is colorful and charming.  Her earrings and necklace add just the right touches to set her portrait off.  The earrings especially are like cherries hanging from her ears!

We certainly appreciated the support from the Zoom Group staff.  Leave it to Dollie for being too animated to stand still for a photograph!  Thanks Deb, Barb, and Judy for coming to “Shine”.  Our StudioWorks staff members, Kevin, Vickey, and our ace volunteer Susie did a great job coordinating all the workshops with our artists.

Also on display are the vases that the StudioWorks artists made during the workshops.  We have many nice examples and some of these have sold.  To produce a vase, first a base sheet of glass is “fused” with other pieces of glass attached to the base sheet in a super hot kiln.  This glass melts together.  After cooling, the resulting fused sheet of glass is then “slumped” over a mold and refired in the kiln.  The intense heat melts the glass and relaxes it over the form.  Here are a couple other nice vases.  These are like glass flower blossoms.

I would like to thank our partners in this endeavor for all their work and support.  We certainly appreciate the Council on Developmental Disabilities and their Weber Gallery for the invitation to participate.  Thanks also go out to Louisville’s Glassworks which provided the facility and equipment to produce these works.  We created over fifty pieces there!  I would also like to thank Bullseye Glass in Portland, Oregon for helping us with the materials.  All the fused glass we used was manufactured by them.  Of course all the encouragement that Zoom Group provided as well as the ongoing support of families and care givers is vital to our ongoing efforts.  A few more images before closing for the moment.

Special thanks go to Jonathan Swanz for leading our workshop at Glassworks.  Jonathan was a big supporter of this project and is a talented glass artist in his own right.  In addition to the “Shine” exhibit, Jonathan is participating in several other gallery shows during the GAS conference in Louisville.  Most of big exhibits will be opening next week and another Trolley Hop is scheduled to coincide with the Speed Museums showing of the Leight Collection.  The Weber Gallery is expecting another round of visitors on that evening which will be June 10.  The StudioWorks artists also produced some fine plates and I will show you those in our next post.  To end, here is one of the Sun Catchers we produced during our first forays with this new medium.  This one is by David Mahoney and is a stylized face complete with moustache!

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Although it’s true we have been concentrating on the medium of glass last month…we also have been working on other pieces back at StudioWorks.  We have had some new ceramic creations emerge from the kiln and a few of these works have already flown out of our gallery.  Julie Baldyga had a nice grouping of birds she made.  Some are even perched upon electrical fuses!  Julie watches the sparrows that visit the sidewalk in front of our space.  I think she does a great job of capturing the gesture in bird poses.  Carol Thorp accepted and completed a recent commission for a ceramic squirrel.  We do have in progress pictures of that and several other smaller sculptures that were fun to watch being made.  Here is the squirrel newly formed from moist terracotta clay. 

This work was commissioned by Ed (the Taxi Driver) Price who is assembling an enviable collection of StudioWorks pieces.  When the Antiques Roadshow of the Future comes to town…they may remember that once upon a time there was a community of artists in Louisville called StudioWorks that made outstanding and very collectible art!  But why wait for the future when the opportunity exists now?  Carol’s squirrel is slowly drying before it can move to the bisque phase in our kiln.  Here’s another image of clay drying.  Carol also did the cat and Nancy Anderson made the dog.  The bug (I forget who made that?) is along for the ride.

After the work is bisqued, then glazes are applied that will turn glassy in the kiln’s heat.  Care must be taken to keep these glazes clean and pure.  Fortunately, our artists have Vickey to advise and help them on the many technical aspects of working with hand-built ceramic sculpture.

The squirrel on the right has just been glazed and awaits firing.  The smaller piece was made as a preliminary study.  The larger squirrel is about seven or eight inches high.

Here are the finished pieces!  The little dog with the button eyes is by Nancy and the cat and squirrel are Carol’s work.  The bigger squirrel was eventually given the name of “Nutty” because it’s holding an acorn.  Ed was pleased with the final result and there was one other compliment!

“Good work Carol!”, said a squirrel from the peanut gallery!  I threw that in for Carol because I know she loves animals.  Nancy Anderson has been hitting a good stride with a series of geometric drawings and paintings.  Here she is working on an acrylic painting featuring a repeated diamond pattern and very nice coloring.  Kevin introduced this color theory book to Nancy and it has helped in the variety and selection of colors she used.

And here’s a look at the final painting.  Nancy decided that the painting made more sense to her as a vertical and so we will hang it this way.  I believe it still needs a title to be truly finished, but we love the bold colors.  This painting will look great in a contemporary space.

Our glass projects will be on display at the Council on Developmental Disabilities’ Weber Gallery and the reception is this Friday.  I will show you images from the opening.  We are all proud of our efforts with this new medium!  There are also several other paintings in progress and we will be introducing our new intern to you.  Her name is Ariana and she comes to us via Yale University’s Bulldogs in the Bluegrass program.  Ariana is an art major and will be spending the next ten weeks working with us.  To end, here’s a picture of Lonnie.  He celebrated a birthday this past month and Zoom Group’s Director of Support Employment, Dollie Johnson was nice enough to treat our crew to lunch.  Thanks again Dollie!

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