Celebrating arts diversity – clay, glass, fiber

Vincent van Gogh wrote, “I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.”

Good artists keep refining and redefining their medium, pushing boundaries and asking questions of themselves and their fellow artists. The San Antonio arts community has this kind of commitment – deep roots and diversity that would make any city proud. And they share and collaborate.

This evening, the San Antonio Potters Guild and the San Antonio Glass Art Guild are joining together to meet at the San Antonio Art League, viewing and discussing the work of sculptor and painter James Hendricks. And later in the fall, the Fiber Artists of San Antonio will tour the Art League Museum. I love this city and its multi-talented artists!

Speaking of the Fiber Artists, I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of Friday’s opening of the 43rd Juried FASA Exhibit. The photos of the work are amazing.

Here’s a short video of some of the work you will see at Friday’s opening:

Fiber Artists of San Antonio: Preview of 43rd Juried Exhibition from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

And here’s the exhibit info – the juror, nationally know fiber artist Doshi, has done a remarkable job in her selective process:

  • FASA 43rd Annual Juried Fiber Art Exhibit
  • Opening Reception: Fri., Oct. 13, 2017, 6-8 p.m.
  • Exhibit on display: Fri., Oct. 13 – Fri. Nov. 17, 2017
  • Semmes Gallery, University of Incarnate Word, 4301 Broadway St.
    San Antonio, TX 78209

Doshi is not only a discerning juror and curator, but a fantastic fiber artist herself. While she is in San Antonio, you can meet her and see her own spectacular work. She creates exquisite hand dyed clothing in original designs that range from contemporary to traditional. Her technique uses knotting, pleating, rolling, pressing or sewing during the dyeing process. The resulting designs are the memories of the method used to resist the dye.

Want to see for yourself? You’re invited!

Art is everywhere in every form. Celebrate it and share it – and even wear it!

 

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In retrospect . . .

Delaware artist Rebecca Raubacher at her retrospective exhibit, Rehoboth Art League

What is a “retrospective”? In art-speak, it’s an exhibition showing the development of the work of a particular artist over a period of time. I met Rebecca Raubacher last Friday in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, at an event honoring her and her retrospective show at the Rehoboth Art League. Here’s one of her early drawings.

Debby, Rebecca Raubacher, 1976

Talking with her got me thinking about how our paths as artists change and build over the years. Rebecca has always been a consummate draftsman, and her current paintings have a lot of mixed media drawing techniques with oil sticks and metallic inks. Her themes of faces and figures has continued throughout her career.

Rebecca Raubacher, 2015, Watercolor, graphite, sepia ink, and metallic and opaque markers on paper 11 in x 14

So here’s the question for you – have you gone back recently and looked at your earlier work? (This is not a “have-you-gotten-better” question – who even knows what “better” is anyway.) And it doesn’t matter if you’ve been making art for one year or fifty. All of us choose what to keep and what to leave behind. That choosing and abandoning gives us our “style.”

Thanks to a house fire in ’83 (arg), I don’t have much of my earliest undergrad work back in the 60’s. I did take a photo of this piece called “Datachip” which I did in 1979. It’s hard to get a good photo of a drawing behind glass, but you get the idea.

Lyn Belisle, Datachip, graphite and PrismaColor, 24×30″, 1979

Shortly after that, I abandoned drawing for a while and started making a series of large-scale origami kimonos and other large collages which sold well in the ’80s and ’90s.

And like a lot of other artists, I was doing commercial art along the way, like these covers for the NEISD Community Education program – they were mostly collages, too:

And my love for clay has always followed me around – here’s a bowl I did in the 80’s – faces and clay!

So the things I’ve kept are clay, collage, images of faces, and earth colors. I’m still experimenting within those areas. And, overall, the idea of “shards” – constructing new things from small found objects, images and clues from the past, connects the dots for me.

Go back and look at your own work. What colors and themes and images predominate? I read a lot of those advice-for-artist blogs that say, “Get out of your comfort zone! If you like neutrals, go wild with color! If you like watercolor, try oils!” I don’t necessarily agree. Our style develops from our intuition about what we do best.

Our personal retrospective journey is just that, a journey. We take what we discover along the way and build on it. More likely than not, the work of other artists influences us but it doesn’t define us as we keep what resonates and forgo the rest.

So your homework is to find the oldest piece of personal artmaking that you have, and give it a good look. Post it on Facebook if you like! See what changes you’ve made. Think a bit about your personal retrospective. It’s fun and enlightening.

Georgia O’Keeffe, drawing of hand, age 14

 

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James Wyatt Hendricks update

Beloved SHARD readers,

I want to let you know ASAP that James and I decided to change the date of his 2017 Artist of the Year exhibit opening from the 3rd of September to the 10th of September after we realized that the Labor Day Weekend holiday might prevent some of his collectors and fans (like ME) from attending the opening.

The press releases haven’t been sent out yet, so only you will know that the date was changed. Again, if you want to be included on the opening invitation list, send me an email.

CLICK here for the new info!

 

 

Studio visit – James Wyatt Hendricks, SAAL&M 2017 Artist of the Year

James Wyatt Hendricks has been named the 2017 Artist of the Year for the San Antonio Art League & Museum. Lucky us!

And lucky me to get to visit his Alamo Street studio yesterday. Wow! I encourage you to mark your calendar right now for the opening of his exhibition at SAAL&M on Sunday, September 10th, 3-5 pm. It’s going to be a blockbuster!

James’s sculpture in progress for Laurel Ridge Hospital – huge sheet of metal balanced by incredibly detailed birds

James’s works ranges from mammoth steel sculptures to incredibly delicate Prisamacolor drawings. With 30 years of experience as an artist and craftsman his art is expansive and eclectic.

Frida lamp by James Wyatt Hendricks – I’m in line for the next one!

In a recent interview, James said,

“I work at my studio on a wide range of mediums that include oil painting, stone carving, forged steel, cast bronze, printmaking and traditional welding. I am considered a master craftsman, and I take my work very seriously.”

We talked about the fact that both of us share a background in commercial design – and that both of us worked as illustrators for the Express-News. James has an amazing ability to switch from teeny tine detail design on his Mac to welding huge sheets of steel.

It’s impressive to see him at work in his studio. Here’s a short video of some of the cool things I saw yesterday during our visit.

Studio Visit with James Wyatt Hendricks from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

James is so engaging and talks about his work with an insight and sensitivity that is totally authentic – you will enjoy meeting him. You can read more about his work in this article from the Express-News.

As I said, this is going to be a blockbuster exhibit at the San Antonio Art League & Museum on September 10th. Invitations will go out later in August. Email me if you’d like to be on the list.

And you are not to late to catch the last two weeks of “Visions of Summer”, the current exhibit  at the Art League – through July 30th!

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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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Trusting the process is HARD

My last post was about William Eiland, the juror for the upcoming exhibit at the San Antonio Art League. When I wrote it, I had no idea whether any of my three submitted pieces would be selected, but was delighted when I just learned by postcard that one, “Homage to Ellen,” was chosen.

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So here’s the story on the piece that was selected. It started out as a semi-figurative piece on a very dark background – I posted it on Facebook because I liked the way it was going.

Off to a pretty good start — but wait . . .

Then I started to fuss with it, playing with the faces, drawing little hands, and generally getting “precious” and looking at details and not the whole painting. I started getting frustrated and fiddley. Ever been there? The whole thing started collapsing. HELP!

So in desperation, I remembered what my friend Ellen Rolli, the Boston abstract expressionist, told me when we painted together at her studio – if you get too attached to it, paint it out. Trust the process. Argh!!

It was scary, but I started paining over parts of it. Then more, then more – it took on a new life, but with the black figures still underneath as part of the history.

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“Homage to Ellen,” almost completed

Can you believe it? It wanted to be an entirely different painting, and I can always go back to painting figures if I want to. But this was the one the juror chose. He saw something in it that he liked.

It’s titled “Homage to Ellen” because I listened to Ellen Rolli‘s advice and painted over a preliminary work I sorta loved for one that was more authentic and energetic, one that wanted to be selected. And you and I know what’s underneath those layers!

 Trust the process . . .Ain’t art fun??

PS Congrats to my other friends whose work was also chosen for the show which will open on April 9th, and if yours wasn’t, neither were two of mine!

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Thoughts from SAAL&M Juror Bill Eiland

Did you enter the 87th San Antonio Art League Exhibition?  I did, and my fingers are crossed that I got in! We will know in a couple of days – however, I did get to meet the juror, William Eiland, at a dinner at our house last night.

Sorry, I have no inside track about who was accepted, but I did learn that the juror is absolutely delightful. I think you’ll agree when you see the video, below, in which the charming museum director from Georgia discusses everything from fried chicken to what makes a good submission to a juried art show.

 

Here are some photos from last night’s very informal, very enjoyable dinner.

Cappy and Suzy L:awton, SAAL&M's 2017 Art Patrons

Cappy and Suzy L:awton, SAAL&M’s 2017 Art Patrons

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Doris Walsh, Vikki Fields, Bill Eiland, and Richard Tietz

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SAAL&M President Helen Fey with Clarence Fey and David Johle

  I loved Bill Eiland’s advice to artists who enter juried shows:

  • Avoid sentimentality
  • Avoid cliches
  • Be true to your personal vision

Now, back to crossing my fingers that we all were accepted!!

On and off Fred

Dale Jenssen

Heads up! One of the best studio tours of the year is coming up this weekend, and six of the best artists I know will be at Dale Jenssen’s studio showing and selling their work. The tour is called On and Off Fredricksburg Road here’s the info.

Dale’s work is gorgeously edgy (you may remember her workshop at my studio), and her 5 guest artists –  Michelle Belto, Lesta Frank, Thelma Muriada, Linda Rael, and Alison Schockner –  represent the best in diverse mixed media.

Alison Schockner

Linda Rael

Dale’s studio at 1651 W. Woodlawn will be open Saturday the 18th, from 11-6, and Sunday from 12-5. Catalogs with directions to all of the studios will be available at the tour.

And be sure to take in the opening Autograph Party at Bihl Haus Arts on Friday night. 6-9 pm, 2803 Fredericksburg Road, across from Tip top Cafe. Music by Los Nahuatlatos, hors d’oeuvres & libations.

Hope to see you on and off Fred! Meanwhile, I’m headed back to the studio to finish a painting in time (hopefully) for the San Antonio Art League’s 87th Annual Artists’ Exhibition.

y painting in progress - 30x40" - who knows what this one will look like when it's finished!

My current painting in progress – 30×40″ acrylic on canvas – who knows what this one will look like when it’s finished!

Hey, and check out the San Antonio Art League’s new website if you have a chance – I designed it – and it’s another work in progress!

 


 

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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Hebe Garcia, and “The Mirror’s Entrance” at the Carver

Hebe Garcia, La Novica

Hebe Garcia, La Novica

I met Hebe (pronounced (A-bay) Garcia for the first time on Tuesday while we were bringing our work to the Carver Cultural Center for the  La Estrada del Espejo ( The Mirror’s Entrance) exhibit, which opened last night. It’s a stunning show.

Hebe’s painted ceramic work work was lying on a table, and it drew me like a magnet. I asked Sylvia Benitez, our curator, whose work it was, and she introduced me to Hebe. We immediately hit it off, and launched into a great conversation about ceramic glazes and underglazes and such. I am fascinated with the painterly way she enhances her surfaces.

Hebe was raised in Puerto Rico, and her work reminds me of the kind of magical realism that I find in Isabel Allende’s books. She’s now living and working in Abiquiu, New Mexico where renown artist Georgia O’Keeffe once painted her iconic desert landscapes. Here are some more pieces from Hebe’s website (which includes her acrylic work). Lucky me to get to meet her in person!

“Lilith” Hebe Garcia, “Lilith” Acrylic on cradled gessobord, 8″ x 8″ x 2″

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Hebe Garcia, Moonlight That Reaches from Within

The whole exhibit at the Carver resonates with this kind of magical realism. Here are some photos that Sylvia sent to our group of exhibiting artists after the show was hung. Thanks to everyone who came to last night’s opening! If you weren’t there, I do encourage you to go see it before it closes on January 13th..

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