Today, I woke up in the land of fairies, leprechauns and enchantment, surrounded by the emerald green of Ireland. I am here exploring this mystical island for the next few days, seeing castles and the wild rocky cliffs of the coastline, haunted manors and tale-as-old-as-time libraries full of ancient books. I am already in love with the verdant landscape, wild horses and patchwork of green farms that I saw on my way in.
I promise I will write more this week as my adventure unfolds, but for now I wanted to let you know that I will be creating five (5) artworks while I am here in Ireland this week. They will be small works, 6″ x 8″, using ink and watercolor, similar in style to my piece above (“The Brave Adventuress”, 2019). The subject matter will range from castles to mythical creatures to verdant, textured landscapes!
This week has been one of renewed inspiration and creativity! I’ve experienced the magic and wild beauty of Ireland, and my time here is not over yet. I’m excited to share with you a short video I made documenting the first three days of my trip, including the creation of one of my Irish Mystery Paintings and a windy, beautiful trip to the coast! Click here or on the image above to share in the experience.
As with the French Mystery Paintings before, those who purchase an Emerald Isle Mystery Painting will receive a private email a few days after my trip (the week of October 22nd) with pictures of the pieces I made. Then, collectors will have the chance to respond and claim which piece they would like, first come first serve.
I have two available works that will be on display in The New Pre-Raphaelites: Illumination, curated by Kerry Dunn through Era Contemporary Gallery. This is a huge group exhibition with over 40 artworks and 26 artists participating!
Era Contemporary Gallery is proud to announce a new partner in this year’s virtual exhibition of The New Pre-Raphaelites: Illumination! The Delaware Museum of Art, which is home to one of the largest collections of original Pre-Raphaelite art in America, is now involved!
The Delaware Museum of Art will be promoting the show as well as the director of the museum, Molly Giordano, spoke at the virtual opening where I have 2 of my artworks on display.
Now in its second year, “The New Pre-Raphaelites” is a group exhibition organized by Era Contemporary Gallery. This year, we add “Illumination” to inspire artists to interpret their contemporary vision of the original Pre-Raphaelites. This group exhibition includes the following artists:
Adina Yoon, Alayne Sahar, Aleksandra Katargina, Ariane Kamps, Ana Sanchez, Benjamin Shamback, Brenda Robson, Bryan Willette, Cecelia Cox, Colleen Smith, Cornelia Hernes, Courtney Scheingraber, Cristy Dunn, Danielle Rackowski, David Heshmatpour, Fred Wessel, Ilana Ellis, Jessica Libor, Jonathan MacGregor, Julianne Jonker, Kathleen Carr, Kerry Dunn, Leah Mitchell, Lisa Hendrickson, Lorenzo Narciso, Luis Alvarez Roure, Maria Christina Jimenez, Morgan Dummitt, Nancy Bea Miller, Sharon Pomales Tousey, Terra Chapman, Victoria Koursaros, and Zara Kand
Illumination has many meanings, but for this exhibition the artists interpret the word Illumination as it inspires their work. Illumination may refer to the awakening of one’s own personal insights, a spiritual transformation, or a historical reference to the illuminated manuscripts found in ancient holy texts during the Medieval Dark Ages, spanning 400-1400 BC. These ideas were also used as inspiration by the original pre-Raphaelites, a self-titled group of English artists during the mid 1800s to early 1900s that wanted to paint the natural world and heartfelt stories that included myth, legend, magic, and faith. This is the second iteration of The New Pre-Raphaelites exhibitions hosted by Era Contemporary Gallery.
Illumination in art history originally refers to the use of gold or silver leaf to embellish a page in a book, so that the words literally appear illuminated by changing light. The practice usually involved the painting in brilliant colors, elaborate designs and miniature illustrations. The work for this show may refer to the sudden burst of creativity and inspiration, a decision in life that leads to great insight, a transformative experience, and also the aesthetic choices that embrace gold leaf, and glowing, spiritual, or magical imagery.
About the curator:
The guest curator for this exhibition is Philadelphia artist Kerry Dunn. Kerry is part of a movement of new masters that has sought to reclaim the methodologies of the old masters, almost completely lost during the 20th century. This movement is in large part due to the atelier system, small studio schools each led by a master painter, that have been on the rise since the mid 90s around the world. Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, is one of these such schools; where Kerry studied between 2003–2008 with renowned portrait painter Nelson Shanks. Kerry now teaches at the school. Kerry’s work is firmly rooted in the academic traditions of painting from life as practiced by the old masters. Kerry feels most drawn to the art of portrait painting where characters are cast upon a stage and narrative is inevitable; and, the ever elusive challenge of creating a master work.
Artwork from left to right on banner image: Left, by Luis Alvarez Roure, center, by Danielle Rackowski, and right, by Adina Yoon. All pieces in the exhibition are for sale including these three. Please email email@example.com for inquiries.
My piece “Transformation” will be exhibited in the November 4th through December 31st 5th Annual National Juried Exhibition selected by Juror Peter Trippi, Editor in Chief at Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art. I am beyond honored and thrilled to be exhibiting in this beautiful space with some amazing artists! “Transformation” is an original oil on canvas, 72″ x 36″ inch gallery wrapped painting that is available. If you are interested in acquiring the original, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can connect you to the museum.
Thank you so much for coming along this journey with me! It is a very exciting year as I begin to show in museums and I am excited to take you along with me!
As my collectors, this means for you that every time I show in museums, the value of my art grows as my work gains more publicity and notoriety. Every time I exhibit in museums, your investment that you have made in my career continues to grow. Thank you to every one of you!
I’m so thrilled to share with you that two of my works, “Wild Things” and “The White Deer,” have been included in the 2021 Iridescence exhibition curated by Bradley Sumrall at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum. About Iridescence, from the museum:
“Iridescence is found throughout the natural world, on butterfly wings, fish scales, bird features, and also in man-made materials such as paint, fabric, and plastic. A captivating sight, iridescence is still being studied by scientists today who seek to further understand the interaction between light, movement, and microscopic structures that is responsible for iridescence. Similarly, artists are exploring iridescence to discover new ways to incorporate the rainbow-like phenomenon into their work. “
The shimmering colors and use of gold and silver leaf in my pieces above show an iridescent fantasia.
This is a gorgeous exhibition and you can see the rest of the show online here!
One of my biggest desires this year and going forward is to be in more museum shows, so this was amazing to hear!
These two pieces in the museum show are available for collecting. Please email me at email@example.com if you would be interested in either piece!
I’m honored that my work has been featured recently in the March 11 issue of the Times Herald! I also wanted to encourage you that if you are an artist, YOU TOO can start to get press for your artwork. To start to get press, I like to guide artists to:
1. Proactively seek out press by cultivating relationships with publications and writers 2. Determine what you would like to get press for– an event, an exhibit, or a topic 3. Gather together into a press release for your news worthy topic, including pictures of your pieces, you, and your angle on the topic. 4. Address your press release to individual writers at the news outlets you’d like to be featured in! 5. Follow up twice.
In the comprehensive course I am creating for contemporary realist feminine artist, the Luminary Artist Academy, we go deep into this and the details of each step. To sign up for the waitlist, click here.
And now, the article from the Times Herald! Since it’s a little hard to read the scans, here is the article:
Artists found creative outlets and frustration during pandemic
By M. English
For MediaNews Group
PLYMOUTH >> As they look back from the one-year mark, local artists say COVID- 19 has affected their work in a variety of ways.
Plymouth Meeting painter Susannah Hart Thomer says art has allowed her to focus on “something positive and wonderful during this terrible time.”
“For me…it fills the time with the happiness and luxury of creating, developing and spending hours of time sitting on the floor doing my watercolor paintings…,” Thomer says. “Even if I…don’t quite like the way the painting’s developing, it doesn’t matter. I just start over. It’s a delight to go into my studio in the morning and be surrounded by art (and) discuss my paintings with friends by emailing my work to get their knowledgeable views and opinions of it.”
Ambler’s Lynn Hoffmann has found “more time to reflect” and experiment with new techniques and materials in her Hand and Wheel Pottery studio. For example, “materials other than clay to make larger outdoor sculptures that don’t require clay or a kiln.”
“It really has been kind of nice to think and dream way out of my normal box but sad to not see others as much in the beginning,” Hoffmann says. “After I experiment with new things, I bring them to my students, who love seeing new things. (It) feels really good to be so open to new ideas and let possibilities enter into existence. For me, nothing is worse than repeating the same things over and over. I love to experiment and learn.”
Despite her cheerful outlook, Thomer acknowledged “the seeming foreverness” of the pandemic, and others shared parallel sentiments.
Conshohocken Ar t League’s Eileen McDonnell recalls a quick visit to CAL’s studio at Mary Wood Park House last November as “truly surreal…something out of a dystopian novel.”
“The children’s paintings were still splayed on the tables… some chairs askew, some paint containers scattered near each student’s work,” McDonnell says. “Reference books for that project were still opened. Everything was covered in a light dust, some cobwebs here and there, some new water damage cracking the ceiling, insanely quiet. It was as if some bomb had dropped and left everything in suspended animation.”
Zoom picked up some of the slack, but the format wasn’t a universal remedy for CAL’s usual in-person classes, especially live model sessions when “the lighting and three dimensional quality of working from life was distorted by the lens and arbitrary camera angle of the instructor,” the local painter says.
One positive, McDonnell notes, “the pockets of adult artist groups who now meet each week online to share their personal projects…no pressure, just sharing inspiration, contacts, techniques, material sources (and) art news.”
Initially, the pandemic stopped Whitemarsh Art Center’s Charlotte Lindley Martin in her tracks.
“March 13, 2020 – Lockdown – I stopped making art,” Martin remembers.
She returned to “the studio energized and engaged” in May when she and fellow WAC staffer Matt Courtney began making ceramic hand-building videos for online tutorials.
“We were educating from afar, and the result was our students were creating art,” Martin says. “Inspired by my granddaughter, I made videos for children. Next came live Zoom classes. Planning a weekly lesson making templates, trying out forms, finding inspiration for them, putting them on Pinterest and testing underglazes using mason stains.”
All of which increased her “knowledge base” and allowed Martin to learn “alongside my students.” As part of that: “I am gratefully using the new-found knowledge garnered by teaching and experimenting… making small sculptures, taking risks and embracing the changes. In my isolation, I am making art that is for me.”
Fellow WAC ar tist Jeanine Pennell also learned to adjust after her “entire calendar of art fairs and shows was wiped clean.”
“I had nothing to look forward to, but I knew I needed to continue to create,” Pennell says. “I decided to focus on creating a single body of work that had its own theme, sort of my own thesis… (and) set out to create a minimum of seven pieces that at some future time would be shown together. I missed travel the most, so I aimed my focus in that direction and began a series I entitled ‘Absurd Travel.’ Long stretches in the studio have afforded me the freedom to try new techniques and create larger pieces.”
Pondering the pandemic’s “impact on millions of quarantined individuals” as well as the concept of “the selfie as a self-portrait” during physical isolation inspired Greater Norristown Art League painter Jessica Libor’s stylized portraits of women.
“I was particularly inspired to do this series because of the impact on millions of quarantined individuals,” Libor says. “With nowhere to go socially, how do we as individuals still express our creative personalities through our styling? Does it still matter to get dressed up if no one will see you? How does creating a selfie with your cell phone mimic the process of creating a work of art? Many things are the same: Choosing the elements, composition, lighting, colors and subject matter.”
In the end, “in many ways, the selfie and the self-portrait are the same thing: The artist’s version of themselves that they want to reveal to the world. Through blending fantasy and reality, they can be perceived as who they aspire to be. How does creating an idealized fantasy world surrounding you create relief psychologically? Is it escapism or creativity?”
At first, GNAL’s Betz Green viewed quarantine as “an unexpected treat to be able to spend endless hours in the studio.”
“Well, that sense of euphoria lasted a couple of weeks,” Green says. “Then, reality set in. I was working in a vacuum with no museums, no art shows, no art classes, no friends. Production fell off drastically for a few months until the world slowly began to once again open up, presenting opportunities and other people. The pandemic itself does not influence my work. I do not allow it to enter my studio space or my head space when in the studio.”
I’m honored to be a part of this thoughtful article about artists during the pandemic. This week, I am simply continuing to work on my new art for WILDLOVE, the upcoming exhibit in May! To register for that, click here.
Lastly, I am hosting a virtual Wine and Watercolor social instructed paint along this Sunday, and I’d love it if you joined me! Click here or the image below to register!
In a few weeks, I will be opening a new course that will be my most comprehensive course yet, especially for feminine, contemporary realist artists who are ready to make the next three months a flowering and growth like never before of their artistic practice and career. This course is open to both men and women but is written for people who create in an emotional, feminine, way in their art.
I have experienced first hand the unique challenges that feminine, empathetic people face in the art world. Some of these setbacks are self imposed, and others are external. Tell me, have you ever felt like this?
1. You find yourself struggling to share your work because it is so close to your heart and emotional to you. You fear being hurt if you expose yourself.
2. You are drawn to representing pretty things, love painting fashion, romance, motherhood and other “soft” subjects, that you fear the art world will never take seriously, but that touch your heart and bring you joy.
3. You are overwhelmed with the business side of art. When it comes to taxes, keeping inventory, marketing and advertising, you would rather just go back to the studio, put on some beautiful music and get lost in your painting again. You feel like you’re not good at that stuff. ( Or is it that you have just been socialized to believe that? )
4. You struggle with pricing your work over a certain price point because it then crosses the threshold into making serious money. ( Is my art worth that? What if I make more than my partner and am no longer the feminine one? What if someone tells me it’s not worth that much? What if I intimidate people? Will people laugh at me? I will no longer be a cute, approachable artist if I ask people to pay this much! )
5. You struggle with feeling like you have to choose between a traditional family or a soaring career.
6. You feel like you never have enough time to expand your career because you are taking care of other people and things, and have given so much of yourself in other areas.
(Above) Portrait of Fanny Eaton, be Simeon Solomon
7. Sometimes you feel like your desire to have a great, successful career is selfish.
8. You often damper down your femininity in life and in your art because you do not want to appear silly, especially in a male-dominated art world.
9. Sometimes you struggle to take yourself and your ambitions seriously because you have been brought up to believe that art is not a serious profession.
10. You feel things very deeply, whether that be your cycle each month, the fluctuations within your family or romantic relationship, and world events, all of which impact and sometimes immobilize your creativity.
If you recognize yourself in any of these things, just know that you are not alone. I have spoken to many feminine people who have felt these unique challenges.
But, we ALSO have unique strengths in the art world that are invaluable, which I will be covering in my next letter!
In the meantime, if this course sounds like it is of interest to you, please join the waiting list to be kept abreast of all developments (you can join the waitlist HERE, with no commitment of any kind).
I would also love to hear from you. What unique struggles have you faced as a feminine artist? Do these challenges resonate with you? What have I left out?
In this episode, I chat with Philadelphia artist and educator Nancy Bea Miller about using challenges like the Strada Challenge to increase productivity, skill and efficiency within your art practice! Having completed such challenges several times Nancy gives us tips to help complete each challenge you set while using it to further your art practice. Enjoy this fun and relaxing conversation between friends.
Listen to more episodes of the Inspired Painter here.
When I get overwhelmed by the amount of masterpieces in the world, from the vast repository of master works made through the centuries, to the incredible dedication and talent of people working today in the arts, it can be tempting to say “What can I do?” and “How can I ever compare?”
When I feel this way, it helps to remember two points.
First of all, the impact of art is not measured by technical perfection alone. As a realist artist, it can be tempting to say “If I just get better with my technique, learn more about color theory, or master light…then my art will be truly impactful”. And while it will certainly IMPROVE the quality of my art to learn new things, art is not about how perfectly you can copy reality.
It is also about the human impulse, the recording of your feelings and sentient thought, the capturing of the energy and imagination of the artist. This can be done sometimes by just a few lines (Think of Matisse’s ink drawings!) So sometimes it’s not about the technical brilliance–it’s about tapping into your heart and your emotions and letting that come out onto your art.
Second, I like to remind myself that art is a journey and each artist goes through different stages of development. We learn and we grow through each phase of life. And no artist was born knowing how to create a masterpiece. They all studied, practiced, failed, tried again, and again, and by doing more and more and refining their process, eventually they were able to gain the skills and confidence to produce the beautiful works we love today, like the Sistine Chapel. Do you think Michaelangelo could have executed that at 5 years old? No–he had to learn the skills to do this.
So, when you are feeling down on yourself, just remember art is a skill just like anything else that takes practice. It’s up to you to decide how much time, energy and learning you would like to put into it. I promise you the more energy you put in, the more amazing results you’ll get!
How will you further your studies this week?
For those interested, I have a course you can take here!
“Everything about Florence seems to be colored with a mild violet, like diluted wine.” —Henry James, 1869 • I was fortunate enough to spend a summer in Florence a few years ago, studying painting with the @florenceacademyofart . It was the first time I experienced a step by step process of building a painting, and was amazed at the results that could be achieved—paintings that looked like old master works—by following the same steps they used carefully. I was instantly hooked in this ultimate fantasyland of classical painting. That summer seems golden and beautiful, in part because of the overwhelming art that filled the city. This photo is from Florence, Italy, at the Villa Medicea de Lillian… I couldn’t find the photographer, but it is representative of the beautiful structures and paintings that are around every corner in the beautiful city. What is a city that has influenced your art?
Into the coppery halls; of beech and intricate oak; to be close to the trees; as they whisper together; let fall their leaves!
—Whim Wood, by Katherine Towers ✨. The first frost has come and winter is almost upon us. Each season brings its own aesthetic I enjoy for its own reasons. The end of autumn feels very mysterious and elusive to me.