Monday, July 14, 2008

Start Spreading the News, I'm Leaving... Tomorrow!

YES! I want to be a part of it--- NY, NY! And with the help of the wonderful Pinellas County Cultural Affairs Department, I am leaving tomorrow for a week of studying and creating art in New York City.

For those of you who did not already know, I was awarded an Individual Artist's Development Grant through the Cultural Affairs Department of Pinellas County, Florida for Cycle 2, 2008.

What this means to me is that for a whole week I will be able to fully devote myself to taking classes, attending life drawing sessions, making art in the city, and viewing and studying Public Art there- a big interest of mine.

I feel so fortunate to live in a county and state where the arts and artists are valued and supported.

Did you know that whenever one of the Florida- State of the Arts license tags are sold in Pinellas, $20.00 comes back to Pinellas County to help promote the Arts locally? Some of the funds are then allocated for grant monies to help artists further enhance or advance professional development here in Pinellas County. This is what is making it possible for me to take this trip. I know that I will reap many professional benefits for years to come by being able to have this week to enhance my skills as an artist, as well as learn more about how my own talents could be used to create public art in the future.

I have a jam-packed agenda for the week, visiting several different areas in Manhattan as well as the boroughs to view public art. I am also taking several days of painting sessions with artist, David Pena, life drawing sessions at Spring Studio in Soho and at the Society of Illustrators, keeping a sketchbook of my New York art week that I can use as a tool in the drawing classes I teach, and visiting museums and galleries, some where I will also sketch what I see.

If you e-mail me this week or comment on my blog, I won't be able to respond, but it is for very good reason. I am purposefully not bringing a computer to New York because I am wanting to soak up the experience and get the most possible from it. I don't want to distract myself with e-mailing, blog posts or uploading photos. Just know that I will have lots of great stuff to share when I return.

So until then-
Ciao for now!

The St. Pete Crawl

YAY! The St. Pete Crawl was a success, and a lot of fun for the folks that made it out for the evening. A big thanks goes out to both Chris Jenkins, St. Pete artist and resident whose blog is here, and the lovely Jo Ellen Schilke at the funkadelic Globe Coffee Lounge for making the arrangements and setting it all up for us to enjoy.

I headed down to downtown St. Pete with my 11-year-old daughter, Kayli, and we had a nice time catching up with the other folks who came out for the crawl, as well as -of course- drawing!

A good friend of mine, artist Brian Young-who co-created the Peace Be Still mural with me at Unity Church of Palm Harbor- came down with his daughter Kelly, who is an amazing talent, and Kayli and I had fun sketching in fairly close proximity to them all evening.

Kelly and Kayli persuaded us to try out the somewhat locally famous "red chairs" for size. Artist Douglas Kornfeld created these whimsical interactive sculptures which are located in the lawn of the St Petersburg Judicial center at 545 First Avenue North. The piece is titled Face the Jury. Here are some pics of Brian and the girls in the red chairs.... Kayli mentioned that she had always wanted to climb up on them, so I am glad we had some part in helping her achieve one of her stepping-stone goals in life. Just one more fun "to do" we could help her check off her quite-long list.

I seemed to be more into chatting with the other artists and dreaming about my upcoming trip to New York then drawing, but I managed to squeak these two spreads out during the crawl.

I know that I will drawing and painting my brains out for one glorious week beginning tomorrow, so I didn't worry that I lacked focus. More on my NY trip in the next post...

I tried to manage a few quick sketches while in the Globe, but I was distracted and my subjects were moving, of course. I just didn't feel up to the challenge of working too hard on them, so we moved on down the street after Kelly finished her coffee.

I settled in at the old Post Office, an open-air portico surrounding the post office building. This building has a lot of architectural detail- some tiling and ornate columns. I worked on capturing a bit of the detail, but again, being distracted by my thoughts, I didn't get into it too heartily.

We then moved on to the Mirror Lake area, where I settled down on the lawn in front of the Library. I worked a little on the building and also the statue that was out in front.

The sun was starting to go down and our stomachs were starting to grumble, so we got up and headed back to the Globe for a bite to eat. I had the Eggplant Parmesan wrap and Kayli had the Veggie Quiche- both good and affordable too. With our drinks, we spent only about $13 bucks total for dinner. Hooray for the Globe, still offering eats that don't break the bank.

With our sketchbooks in hand, we left the Globe to head back up to north Pinellas. The crawl was good, and we look forward to the next one! Y'all should think about coming on out for the next one we do. Keep posted, we'll announce something soon for September.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Grab Your Sketchbooks and C'mon!
St. Pete, Florida SketchCrawl Planned

Hope you'll be able to join us for our 2nd official Tampa Bay Area SketchCrawl on Saturday July 12th, 2008!

It will be held in downtown St. Petersburg and will be an early evening crawl this time.

Artists of any and all levels are invited to join in and c'mon down for the crawl, which will begin at 4:00 PM at the cool and funky Globe Coffee Lounge, owned by JoEllen Schilke, host of the long-running radio show, WMNF 88.5 FM's Art in Your Ear.

We will meet at The Globe, 532 1st Ave. North, where we will get maps for those who would like them, and then begin our crawl. Here are directions to The Globe Coffee Lounge. From The Globe, either walk to the nearby points of interest for your sketching opportunities (linked below), or drive to other interesting spots nearby, like Beach Drive or the Pier.

Either way, you will want to be sure to come back to The Globe at 8:00 PM to share sketches with the other artists that were on the crawl. When we did the Dunedin crawl, everyone really enjoyed the part afterward where we got to know each other better and could see each others' work.

At the Globe, not only is there great coffee of all types, but there is great food as well. If you're hungry after the crawl, there are some yummy offerings on the Globe's menu to try. JoEllen will be offering SketchCrawlers free coffee with any $5.00 purchase of food or dessert, which we appreciate.

Here is a birds-eye view shot from Google Earth of the area near our meeting place. Below, I'll highlight some of the places that you might want to check out to draw on the crawl:

Some points of interest within walking distance of The Globe, most of which are historical buildings on the National Historic Register:

The State Theater

The Green-Richman Arcade

The Alexander Hotel

US Open Air Post Office, 400 1st Ave. North (shown below)
Also nearby is the historic S&H Kress and Co. Building at 475 Central avenue and the Snell Arcade/Rutland Building.

A short walk to the NW of the Globe Coffee Lounge, takes you to the pretty Mirror Lake area, with it's banyon trees, the historic Library Building, and the cool but crumbling 1920's St. Pete Lawn Bowling area- lots to sketch in that area.

If you rather go to Baywalk to sketch people bustling about, or the Pier or the Museum of Fine Arts/Beach Drive area or several others, you may prefer to drive, depending on how much of your time you want to walk.

If you need any other information, please contact Chris Jenkins, who generously set this all up for us, or you may contact me as well. If you want to get in touch, just leave a comment on the blog with your e-mail, or check back on the blog for my reply.

Or just show up- that's what I'm gonna do! See you there!

Barbados Painting Trip Announcement

My good friend, artist Valri Ary, is organizing a trip to Barbados for a great week of painting in a fabulously beautiful place.

The pictures shown here are ones that she has taken on past trips there. She knows the area very well, having visited on many different occasions. Valri's sister, who will also be on the trip, lived in Barbados for four years, so your guides will have the inside track on what to do and where to go for the best of everything on the trip.

Here are the details:

Barbados Painting Tour September 20th -
28th 2008

$650.00 per person - $300.00 deposit up front

Included in Tour:
9 days/8 nights
8 breakfast, 2 dinners
3 days of touring and painting the island
1 day city tour
1 day Bathsheba tour
4 - 2 hour morning painting instruction

Not included in Tour:
airfare to and from Barbados
taxi to or from Barbados airport
meals other than those listed above
alcoholic beverages
tips and gratuities

Packing lists, recommended food to pack as well as an art supply list are available upon request.

Accommodation Amenities:
shared apartment hotel with 2 full bathrooms
living area, full kitchen and deck
high speed internet - bring your own lap top
maid service every other day
swim up bar
full restaurant
located in St Lawrence Gap
close to shops, bars and restaurants
1 block from beach

Contact Valri Ary @ 321-507-3688
or visit for more info

Monday, June 30, 2008

Solo SketchCrawl at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Srings, Florida

Yesterday afternoon, I headed up to Tarpon Springs' St. Petersburg College Campus, and I visited the Leepa Rattner Museum for a solo SketchCrawl. After three hours, I came away with one spread and three additional drawings, so it felt like a good day.

The first drawing was an abstract compilation I did from impressions I got while spending some time in their Challenge of Modern Art Interactive Gallery. I sketched and painted while my daughter made art out of words and images on their giant magnet wall in there.

Two of the other sketches I did were of works by Abraham Rattner, located in the large gallery in the back of the museum. I am fascinated with the design of the building. In this gallery, there is a window that is ankle-high and runs the length of the room, which gives you a peek of the water outside- very cool.

I sat in the comfortable chairs in that gallery and sketched Abraham Rattner's bronze sculpture, titled Torso, which he completed in 1966. I also sketched an impression of one of his paintings, titled Fairmount Temple (Anshe chesed), 1956.

My daughter and I then headed out to the lobby area of the building, and I had just enough time to draw one of the wooden sculptures by Esther Gentle, titled Painted Figures, before the guard threw us out at closing time.

I have viewed some Modern Art collections that seemed somehow cold or un-relatable, but I find this collection is very approachable and easy to enjoy.

I didn't have enough time to thoroughly look at the fiber exhibit that was going on, because there was a gallery talk going on in there, and I really wanted to draw rather than listen. I will have to go back and check out the rest of the exhibits on another day before it is time to change them.

If you are in the Tampa Bay area and get a chance to go, the Leepa-Rattner is definitely worth a visit!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sisters, Friends and a new art job!

These are just some of the benefits to the last SketchCrawl. I think other benefits will still be coming in. It was so much fun, and I can't wait to plan another one!

I REALLY enjoyed the time I was able to spend with both of my sisters. One sister lives right around the corner from me. but having our other sister come down from Charleston for the crawl made the whole weekend fun. We talked, drew, ate, drew, drank drew, shared plants, drew.... well you get the idea.

My friend, Valri, who drove over from the east coast of Florida was also a lot of fun to hang out with. We met for the first time this weekend, but both felt like we had known each other forever from all of our correspondence as well as a few long phone calls over the past several years.

Valri just sent me copies of her pictures from the Dunedin SketchCrawl yesterday, and I thought you'd enjoy seeing them. Hers were all taken inside Casa Tina, and I was glad that she took them, because I couldn't get the interior settings right on my camera.

As I alluded to in the title, I also picked up some work because of the publicity from the Crawl. Tina, the owner of Casa Tina, liked the style of my sketches that were shown in the newspaper article, and she wants me to draw some of the artwork she has on display in Casa Tina from Mexico with a "key" that explains some information about each of the objects d'art.

One of the areas that I know she wants me to draw is the wall of crosses shown above and some of the Day of the Dead skeletons. Valri sent a good picture of that area, so I can show you what that looks like here.

The drawing I am posting is one I just worked on yesterday, while I was chatting and drawing with my sisters. It is graphite in my Moleskine Sketchbook.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It Rained, It Poured, But We Drew Anyway!!

Today was our inaugural SketchCrawl event for the area, and I was very happy with how it all went, ESPECIALLY since the weather was not at all cooperative.

Still, even as it rained- (poured actually), we attracted a head count of about 23 very enthusiastic participants, many who asked when we were going to have another one when it was time to go!

Most stayed through lunch until about 2:00, sketching all of the cool memorabilia from Mexico all over Casa Tina Restaurant. Tina was nice enough to give us a 10% discount on all of our food and allow us to come in and sketch even before the restaurant was officially
open. I was very grateful to have a comfortable, interesting place to be while all the rain happened, and with great food to keep us all happy....Who could ask for more?! (Thanks, Tina!)

The photo shown at the top of this post is of part of the group who sketched along the Pinellas Trail near the Historical Society building (which was the old train station back when the Pinellas Trail was railroad track that ran between Clearwater up to Tarpon Springs through Dunedin).

Other participants in the Dunedin SketchCrawl chose to sketch areas near the fountain closer to the Marina park, from the porch of the old Paper Players shop, and several other locations in and around downtown before the downpour started, about an hour and a half into the crawl.

I loved meeting all of the other artists who came for the event. Everyone was so nice, and were genuinely happy, I think, that we could get together and do something like this in the area. Several came over from Tampa, one came from New Port Richey, one even from Homosassa Springs, all after reading about it in the newspaper.

The participants who came the farthest for the event were my sister, Sandy, who came down from Charleston for the weekend and my online friend, Valri, who came over from Melbourne (east coast of Florida) and stayed with me the night before Sketch Crawl. I was so happy to finally meet her, after talking online and on the phone for the past three years.

On the Thursday before the crawl, I was fortunate enough to have a really terrific article run on page 2B of the The St. Petersburg Times. I had sent press releases out to all of the local papers, and got quite a few listings in the event calendars, so that helped stir up interest. For our very first SketchCrawl, I was impressed with the turnout we had, especially on a very ugly day outside. I know that the newspaper coverage was instrumental in helping us muster up the great attendance.

Here are the sketches that I did on the crawl. I know that I wrote that we had 18-20 participants in my sketchbook, but after I tallied up the latecomers and those who didn't make it to lunch, I realized I had left some people out of the total so it was really 23.

It was a really fun day, and I probably could have finished a few more sketches if I wasn't chit-chatting so much, but it was great to talk with everyone and look through their sketchbooks. And of course we had to take some time to enjoy lunch at Casa Tina.

I feel sure that we will be doing more like this again.

Thanks to everyone who came out. I thoroughly enjoyed myself!