Bill Bristow – artist, mentor, friend – visits the Art League

Art Professor Bill Bristow with his 1961 painting, Cherry Tree in Snow,

Former Trinity University Art Professor Bill Bristow with his 1961 painting, Cherry Tree in Snow, at the opening of the “Visions of Summer” exhibit on June 18th, 2017

The year was 1961, and a young professor, new to Trinity University, won the prestigious Onderdonk Purchase Prize at the San Antonio Art League and Museum. And this past Sunday, that remarkable fellow – Bill Bristow – came back to the Art League for an exhibit called “Visions of Summer,” which featured his painting. It was a thrill to see him there. He was my art professor at Trinity and influenced me more than any other teacher.

One of the advantages of getting to curate a show from the SAALM Permanent Collection is choosing paintings by my favorite artists! And many people who were at the opening we just as delighted to see him as I was.

I’m definitely not the only one who loves Bill Bristow – there are legions of successful artists and other creative Trinity grads who love this man. John Hartwell of Hartwell Studio Works in Atlanta who graduated in ’91 says:

“Bill Bristow, department of art, was a phenomenal mentor at Trinity – encouraging and generous with his time. Much of what I teach is based on Bill’s teaching talent. It’s how I learned to teach creative arts.”

Bristow and I have kept in touch since my undergrad days, and he came out of retirement a couple of years ago to teach several workshops at my old studio.

Bill’s paintings are included in the private collections of the late John Connally and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, as well as in the permanent collections of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Longview Art Museum. A veteran of sixteen major exhibits from Texas to New York, Bristow has been a prolific painter whose artistic observations appeal to a wide variety of viewers and collectors.

Can you tell I like this man? I’m sure you all have had a special teacher in your life, too.

I invite you to come to the San Antonio Art League and Museum between now and July 30th to see the entire exhibit, “Visions of Summer.” There are two upstairs galleries filled with images of trees, but Bill Bristow’s is the one dearest to my heart.

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Wax and trees and happy meetings

Opening night at ASmith Gallery in Johnson City, Texas

Opening night at ASmith Gallery in Johnson City, Texas

In an earlier post, I mentioned I was taking work to ASmith Gallery in Johnson City for an encaustic show. The show(s) opened this past Saturday, and the exhibited works are a wonderful combination of diverse photoencaustic and lyrical photographs of trees in every artful interpretation. And the gallery is gorgeous. Here’s a description:

Established in May, 2010, A Smith Gallery is located in Johnson City, Texas in the Nugent Avenue Arts District. The gallery exhibits the work of both amateur and professional photographers through juried and invitational exhibitions. Amanda Smith and Kevin Tully are the Gallery Directors.   Izzie, Be and WeeGee are the official gallery cats.

Amanda Smith is the director. She and co-director Kevin Tully also teach workshops in encaustic and photograpy. In addition, they provide printing, matting and framing services for photographers whose work is selected for juried show.

I love the layout of the exhibit space – there is a small “salon” area inside a larger gallery perimeter. Meeting Amanda was such a pleasure – I am adding her to my “steal-ideas-from” list!

Amanda Smith and me at the ASmith Gallery last Saturday

Amanda Smith and me at the ASmith Gallery last Saturday

I also met two artists whose work resonated strongly with me. Pat Brown is the first. I was looking at matted work in the bins and every piece I picked up seemed to be hers! Here are two and, oops, all of the photos I took at the show that were framed have reflective light spots on them, but you can get the picture :).

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The other artist whom I met (and whose work I loved) is Keith Kesler. Here is one of his photoencaustic pieces.

Keith Kesler

Keith Kesler

When he’s not wearing his artist/photographer hat, Dr. Keith Kesler is a Board-Certified Psychiatrist with an active psychotherapy and coaching practice in Austin, Texas. He and I talked about encaustic process. I got some great ideas about layers with tissue and wax from Keith. His work is very dreamlike and symbolic. Nice!

The theme of the photography portion of the exhibit was “trees.” When you visit the exhibit, take your time walking around the gallery walls – you will be delighted with the fascinating interpretations of trees through the eyes of master photographers. Here are just a few (please ignore the light reflections in the photos – these are taken with my iPhone)

Amanda has had a number of excellent photography exhibits at the ASmith Gallery – I had fun looking through her catalogs and at the archives on her website. Great inspiration! She also has a wonderful assortment of curiosities and small works that grace the walls and table tops.

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Here’s the best news of all – if you’d like to make a quick trip to Johnson City (which is just a little over an hour north of San Antonio) and visit ASmith Gallery and the Nugent Avenue Art District, there is a second reception for this show on January 28, 2017 from 4 to 8pm. I’ll be there – hope to see you!

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EARTHWORKS: September 9-10

She Cat – created by Linda Rael, owned and cherished by Lyn Belisle

I know of no other artist whose works resonate in my heart as much as those of dear friend Linda Rael. Everything she creates makes me think, “Dang, I wish I had done that.” She incorporates animal bones and porcupine quills and rust and earth and tattered linen and other stuff that myths and magic are made of. I purely love her art!

Linda Rael 2016

Linda Rael – Fiber, Rust, Found Objects –  2016

It’s been a dream of mine for several years to collaborate with Linda on a show, and recently, over a long lunch, we decided to go for it! We are calling this show “Earthworks” – it reflects a direction that we’ve both been exploring, going to ground, leaving behind bright color and adding elements one might find along a stream bed or sacred path.

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The works will be on exhibit at my Studio for just two days during the second weekend of September. 

Many of Linda’s new pieces are fiber-based and hand-rusted with the natural patterns adorned and enhanced with hand stitching. My own pieces will be mostly sculptural, much like my neo-santo series, but less refined, more weathered.

Want to see a few sneak preview photos? Please take a look, then mark your calendar now because the availability of these works is limited to September 9-10 only.  You won’t want to miss this event – it’s always fun to visit the Studio, and I am thrilled that Linda is joining me in this amazing two-day exhibit called Earthworks.

Linda Rael 2016

Linda Rael 2016

Linda Rael 2016

Linda Rael 2016

Linda Rael 2016

Linda Rael 2016

Lyn Belisle 2016

Lyn Belisle 2016

Lyn Belisle 2016

Lyn Belisle 2016

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Art openings this weekend – gotta love the San Antonio art scene!

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OK, all you local art lovers – we’ve got some gallery hopping to do this weekend. Friday night there are at least two don’t-miss openings.

The first one is at Blue Star (Studio Building B) , sponsored by the San Antonio Art Educators Association. Called “Artists Who Teach 2016,” this exhibit showcases the best art educators in the region. I got a sneak preview when I dropped off my work there.

It’s going to an excellent show – I particularly loved Deborah Keller-Rihn’s illuminated photographs. This is one of the pieces I submitted, a photoencaustic assemblage titled “Loving Virginia Woolf” which was constructed inside a vintage drawer. Opening hours for Artists Who Teach reception are 6-9 pm.

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Loving Virginia Wolff – encaustic and found objects – Lyn Belisle

 

Not far away at 1800 Fredericksburg Road, Centro Cultural Aztlan present an exhibit of new paintings by Andy A. Villarreal called Indigenous Jaguar Spirits from the Yucatan. Opening Reception is also Friday April 8, 2016 from 6-9. Andy’s work is powerful, colorful, and magical.

On Saturday, fiber art stars at the Fiber Artists of San Antonio Runway Show at Oak Hills Country Club. The luncheon has been sold our for weeks, but the vendors tables’ open at 10:00 and are always exciting. I know that Monika Astara will be there – if you miss her at the FASA event, she’ll be at my Studio on April 24th – more about that soon.

Bryce Milligan constructs hand-sewn chapbooks

Saturday evening is a must-see event – Bryce Milligan’s World of Words and Design opens April 9, 6-9 pm, at Bihl Haus Arts. Bryce (above) is a  Renaissance Man – poet, publisher, artist, designer, musician and all-around iconic fellow. The show opens with a reception, which is free and open to the public, on Saturday, April 9, from 6 to 9 pm. The evening includes poolside jazz by George & Aaron Prado, libations and light hors d’oeuvres. More on the exhibit and related special events here.

The San Antonio Art League and Museum

Last but definitely not least, The San Antonio Art League and Museum’s Annual Juried Exhibit opens on Sunday.  This venerable exhibit is highly competitive and was juried this year by Peter Trippi, Editor of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine. The opening reception is this Sunday, April 10th, 2016 from 3 to 5pm. The SAALM is located at 130 King William Street.

I was thrilled to learn that two Belisle Studio alums (Gloria Hill, Mary Beth Swofford) were not only accepted but had won awards for their work – congrats, you guys!

Here’s a sneak preview piece from this exhibit by one of my favorite artists, Billy Keene, who is the SAALM’s 2016 Artist of the Year. Don’t miss this exhibit and one of the city’s prettiest gallery locations!

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It’s almost showtime . . .

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William Henke’s Uptown Henke Meat Market, now a contemporary art gallery

Michelle Belto and I went to Fredericksburg, Texas yesterday to check out the space for our upcoming duo exhibit at  Dan Pfeiffer’s gallery. The space is an architectural wonder, a 120-year-old meat market which Dan converted into a stunning art gallery.

Dan’s architectural background gave him a reverence for the original structure, and you can see lots of the original trappings of the market, such as the huge meat grinder, which looks kind of like a contemporary metal art object. Dan’s own work is fantastic – carved wood sculptures and furniture that are an amazing blend of artistic form and practical function.

_DSC3746_300ppiOur show is called “Coeur Samples,” and I thought of the name when Michelle first showed me her new sculptural pieces. They resemble blocks of iridescent material that could have come from the heart of a mysterious planet –  and they fit well with my PhotoEncaustic work which samples a moment in time through vintage photographs. “Coeur” is French for “heart” – so, voila – the show became Coeur Samples: Encaustic Explorations. Although Michelle and I have taught together many times, we have never exhibited together, so I hope you can get yourself to Fredericksburg to see our first-time duo show next month. Here are a few photos from yesterday’s visit with Dan at the gallery – we’re excited, and grateful to Dan for hosting our work in this amazing space.

 

Tina Karagulian at Intermezzo Gallery in Boerne

 Tina Karagulian is a storyteller, writer, poet, artist and friend. I was lucky enough to see her recent work at Intermezzo Gallery and Studios on Saturday afternoon in Boerne, Texas. Intermezzo is an amazing art-filled space. Owner Cathy Galloway‘s mission isto bring together people and creativity, color and sounds, textures and poetry, ideas and hope, surprises and beauty.”

All of these were in evidence as Tina read her poetry and discussed her work while jazz guitarist John Lind played interpretive music to the audience’s suggested descriptive words for each of the paintings. Here’s a short video of Tina’s paintings and poetry, John’s music, and the Intermezzo Gallery.

It was, alas, the closing day of her Inner and Outer Space exhibit, but you can learn more about Tina and her work on her website. And do go visit Intermezzo Gallery and Studios when you’re in Boerne. It’s a serene and sacred space. Thank you, Tina, for your gifts and for sharing them with all of us!

 

Sunday at the Art League

I am one lucky artist – yesterday’s opening at the SA Art League was exciting. Miguel Cortinas, fellow painter in the exhibit, did a beautiful job of hanging the show, and the pottery pieces by Eloise Stoker and Nancy Pawel complimented the paintings and mixed media works. The whole occasion made me feel like a real grown-up painter! Thanks to everyone who came out – and here’s a video of me trying to explain some of the work. There seem to be a lot more questions than answers. I guess that’s how the old art game works sometimes.

PS – Congrats to Dinah Robinson, winner of the Friendship Bridge Friday Freebie!

Juried art shows – and how to make a crane (the bird kind)

Good news yesterday – one of my pieces was accepted for the International Encaustic Artists “Poetry Bleeds Rust” exhibit in at the NAWA Gallery in New York. Boy, am I surprised, first of all, because encaustic is a stretch for me, and secondly, the piece that was selected was not the one I expected to be, if any were. Here are the three pieces – which one do you think juror Jenn Dierdorf choose?

She chose the third piece, Rune and Relic – that’s the one I had to re-do because the first version didn’t fit the size retirement. I liked the one called Campfire Poems better, but there ya have it. If you decide enter a juried show, remember these things (I try to):

1. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally – put yourself in the juror’s place – it’s a tough job and opinions about art are extremely subjective and subject to one’s own taste. After all, you don’t like every piece you see in a gallery or museum, maybe not *any* of them.

2. If you are accepted, be grateful! But don’t start making every piece of art you do from then on just like the accepted piece – be true to yourself and continue on your own intuitive path, even if it veers off in another direction. Don’t let acceptance of one piece by a juror determine your limits.

3. Keep entering shows even if you don’t get in – it gives you a free critique, a new perspective, and a sense of professionalism. Both of my entries in this year’s San Antonio Art League show were rejected, but I figure they didn’t resonate with the juror. I liked them though, and I’ll keep working and submitting. So there! Neener neener 🙂

And now, for your weekend folding pleasure, here’s one from the vault, a video tutorial I did for a friend two years ago before I had the big Studio. It’s a five-minute origami crane – can you do it in five minutes? Ready – GO! And have a great weekend.

First Friday, Boston-style


Boston has a thriving arts district on Harrison Avenue
, south of Washington (SoWa). I got to check out their First Friday, and came back with a huge stash of new ideas. There was *lots* of exciting encaustic work. We were particularly impressed with Robin Luciano Beaty‘s work with wax, mixed media and found objects:

Refuge No. 24-29 Encaustic, m/m and found objects 42 x 24″

 Even more exciting was getting to meet Ellen Rolli, a Boston abstract painter whose work I love – and I’m going to have a private painting session with her on Sunday! I had contacted her by email, and the timing worked out – will send a report. Here’s a sample of her work – it’s energetic and mysterious and totally engaging:

Glimpses acrylic and mixed media 36″x 36

There were lots and lots of photographic mixed media works – here’s one I liked a lot by artist Melody Postma:

Slightly shifting the subject to using photographs in your own art work, here’s *sort* of a Friday FreebieCloth Paper Scissors magazine just send me a link to a free eBook with four tutorials on digital artmaking. They have a lot of good free tutorials, but this is one of the best if you’re wanting to know more about digital processes and aren’t an expert (who is??). Here’s the link:

http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/Digital-Art-Tutorials/

You can download it and even print it out.You do have to sign up for an account if you don’t have one, but there are no strings attached and you can access a lot more of their good information if you do.

That’s it for now – gotta rest up for the Red Sox/Yankees game today at Fenway!  More soon from your roving arts and sports reporter in Boston . . . . have a great weekend.

Kim Bernard and the Boston Sculptors Gallery

It has been a gorgeous afternoon in Boston, and I took a break from preparations for tomorrow’s Beacon Hill Art Walk to head over to the Boston Sculptors Gallery. Before I left San Antonio, I had gotten a email about an opening there and  knew it would coincide with my Boston visit. It sounded intriguing even before I found out that Kim Bernard, one of the artists, is a friend of Michelle Belto‘s, my good pal and workshop collaborator. The sculpture gallery space is wonderful – very large and light. It was dominated by Kim’s installation of 100 lead balls suspended in a 25′ line from a very high ceiling. Kim handed me The Special Glove and let me start the ball rolling, as it were, and the whole sinuous line of little spheres danced along a curving path. Pretty cool! Click here to read more about Kim and her work – and also look at the work of her exhibition partner, Donna Dodson, whose female hippo sculptures are both powerful and endearing. It is such an adventure to seek out new art in new places – –  and now, back to work for tomorrow’s show. I’ll send a report afterwards!