In which “The Body Electric” opens, and I survive

The Body Electric, at Cooperative Gallery 213
The Body Electric, at Cooperative Gallery 213

Yes, I survived. The sleepless nights beforehand, the shaking hands, the matting, the framing, pulling my back at the mat cutter. The transport, the hanging and arranging and re-hanging. The oppressive humidity. The transport and arrangement of the tons of food (with my sweetie, who not only framed my paintings beforehand, but provided first-rate food — which we will be eating for weeks, if not months — for the Thursday night opening reception).

And yes — I survived the publicity, the newspaper profile, the exhibit announcements, the interview for local TV, the praise, the hugs, well-wishes, and compliments from old friends and from family, meeting new admirers, answering the questions, discussions of artistic techniques, the help and support of my co-exhibitor and my other Cooperative Gallery 213 colleagues, and all the other great and nerve-wracking stuff.

And we packed up the remaining food, and cleaned up the gallery, and came home, and I read a glowing write-up of my work in the Triple Cities Carousel, had a couple of glasses of wine with my sweetie, and slept soundly with a profound sense of relief. Tonight is First Friday — the crowds may easily be larger, the action more hectic, but I survived the opening. Thank you to all.

Click in any of the tiled photos below, to switch to a slide show of the painting series. To exit the slide show, click the small X in the upper left corner.

The Body Electric opens July 2 at Cooperative Gallery 213, with London & Beyond

At Last Only Here, oil on canvas, 24 x 36 in.
At Last Only Here, oil on canvas, 24 x 36 in. (© Glenda Blake 2015)

This July, Cooperative Gallery 213, 213 State St. in Binghamton, NY, opens a dual exhibit by Glenda Blake and Chuck Haupt, titled respectively, The Body Electric and London & Beyond. The exhibit runs July 2-25, beginning Thursday, July 2, 6-9 p.m. with a reception, open to the public, at the gallery. The show will also be on display for the First Friday Art Walk from 3- 9 pm. Both artists will talk about their work in a public presentation on Third Thursday, July 16, 7 pm at the gallery.

Glenda Blake is a painter in oils whose realist/impressionist work frequently incorporates dramatically lit dancing figures. The Body Electric, her new work, celebrates the beauty of the human body with a series of nude figures seen from the back and side in dark studio interiors, in ambiguous dance-like postures. The series has its inspiration in the 1855 Walt Whitman poem of the same name, and exhibits a 19th-century-like sensibility.

“I make art to make marks,” Blake says, “and to search those marks for meaning. I make art to reveal to both myself and others the often unnoticed piquancy of the world around us.” She has exhibited her work in juried shows throughout the Northeast and New England. In 2013 she was awarded a grant from the Community Foundation for South Central New York for her ground-breaking series of paintings, “Unlikely Dance.” Visit her website at www.glendablake.com.

Windsor Sentry, © Chuck Haupt
Windsor Sentry, Chuck Haupt

Chuck Haupt is a photographer whose work as a photojournalist graced the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin for 30 years. His black and white photography in London & Beyond leads the viewer on a profound visual journey. “Photography freezes moments in time, forever,” he says. “The camera alone does not make the picture; I make it, using my eyes, emotions, and heart.” His website is www.chuckhaupt.com.

Cooperative Gallery 213, a popular stop on the First Friday Art Walk, is located at 213 State Street in Binghamton, and is open on both First Fridays 3-9 p.m. and regularly Fridays 3-6 p.m. and Saturdays 12-4 p.m. Follow the gallery on Facebook at Cooperative Gallery 213; find out more and sign up for the weekly e-newsletter at www.cooperativegallery.com or our Facebook page Cooperative Gallery 213.

Paint with me this spring!

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Exploring Oil Painting, with Glenda Blake

Saturdays, 1-4:00 p.m., March 21 through April 18, 2015

$15 for supplies: five 3-hour sessions

003 Explore the fundamentals of oil painting in a casual and informative setting with artist/instructor Glenda Blake. Together we’ll paint from a still life in the classroom, learning as we go about composition, under-painting, light, shadow, and color mixing. If you’ve always wanted to paint in oils, now is the time! If you have painting experience already, come to learn new techniques and gain confidence – there’s always something more to learn! If you have a portable standing floor easel you like, please bring it — shorter easels are available on loan from the instructor. Please wear a work apron, and/or older clothing to paint in.

Classes are on Saturdays, March 21 through April 18, 2015, 1-4:00 p.m. There is a limit of 10 students per class.  A one-time $15 fee is required to cover the provided supplies. To sign up, stop by the circulation desk at Your Home Public Library, 107 Main Street, Johnson City, NY.

Call YHPL at 607 797-4816 for sign-up information, or contact me with questions or for information about class content.

The class space is beautiful, but, due to the historic nature of the building, unfortunately not handicapped accessible.

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A fun group show opening, a gallery membership, and a new look

Unfinished underpainting for the first painting in an as-yet untitled series of nudes
Above: Unfinished underpainting for the first painting in an as-yet untitled series of nudes: oil on canvas, 24 x 36 in.

What a breath of fresh air — for me, anyway, and I hope for you: a new design for my website! It’s still not fully functional with all the capabilities of the new template, but it’s at least as functional as the last. All things in good time.

Cooperative Gallery 213, 213 State St., Binghamton NY
Cooperative Gallery 213, 213 State St., Binghamton NY

This week I got some good news, following my application and interview for exhibiting (full) membership at Cooperative Gallery 213 in Binghamton: I was accepted! I am SO looking forward to working with this group of serious and highly skilled artists to show our work in the heart of the Binghamton Arts District. Also eager to get involved in some of the public arts projects connected to the gallery, with friends old and new who are already members.

BeethovenOaks_Melusina_TheGrove
My pieces in Members Only: clockwise from left, Unlikely Dance: Beethoven Oaks, Melusina. and The Grove
Still life by Linda Ciallelo
This wonderful still life by Linda Ciallelo is in the Windsor Whip Works members’ show. © 2015, Linda Ciallelo. Used with permission.

Last night, Sweetie and I went to the opening reception of the Members Only group show at Windsor Whip Works Art Center. It’s an unjuried show, so the quality varies widely, but there’s some stunning work there. (The show runs through March 1.) And it was a fun party — a full house, shoulder-to-shoulder, a really nice refreshment spread, and a really fun bunch of people, several of whom are my new colleagues at Cooperative 213.

So while a forecast major snow storm envelopes us over the next couple of days, I’ll be getting further into the first of a new series of paintings — top of this page — so far untitled. Looks like this will be a satisfyingly productive year for me; hope it is for you as well!

Solstice and the holidays coming ’round again

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We’re into the dark and dismal days of winter — particularly grey in my area of New York State — and I’m pining for the light.

Every year I go into conniptions about our Yuletide card — what medium? What subject? — and my sweetie has to remind me that it’s not of earth-shaking importance. This year I really wanted to do a nice holiday still life in oils, but managed to agonize about it for too long (with four separate compositions, none of which was QUITE perfect) and ended up doing this perfectly fine colored pencil piece of our front door.

In the meantime, my cards and earrings are once again for sale at Old Barn Hollow Market, but through missed communications I didn’t make it into Cooperative Gallery 213‘s holiday members’ show. Disappointing, for sure.

OldBarnHollow_cards
GreenBoat Studio holiday cards, available at Old Barn Hollow Market.

However, I have just sent in my application materials for full exhibiting membership at Cooperative 213. Fingers crossed — I know there are some very fine artists out there who’d also like to join, and memberships are limited in number.

My latest painting course at Your Home Public Library ended on December 1, and the next one is scheduled to begin on Saturday, March 21. I know there are some who will be happy it’s moved to Saturdays, rather than Mondays, and I’m looking forward to it myself. This last group of students was just terrific — some very strong work came out of it — though I did feel bad for the student who felt she was in over her head, and dropped out. I hope she’ll try again — I’m rewriting my class plan again! (To get a place on the waiting list, contact YHPL.)

I still have my shopping to do (I know, I know) and a gift painting to finish. Oh, and after hosting 18 people for Thanksgiving, sweetie and I will be hosting 12 or so on Christmas day. If only Lydia the kitty doesn’t pull down the tree by then!

Wishing you the best of holidays, and a happy new year.

Another chance to paint with me…!

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Exploring Oil Painting

Mondays, November 3 through December 1

1-4:00 p.m.

Explore the fundamentals of oil painting in a fun and casual setting with artist/instructor Glenda Blake. Together we’ll paint from a still life in the classroom, learning as we go about composition, underpainting, light, shadow, and color. If you’ve always wanted to paint in oils, now is the time! If you have painting experience already, come to learn new techniques and gain confidence – there’s always something more to learn! Please bring a portable floor easel if you have one (available on loan from the instructor, if you don’t) and a work apron, and/or wear older clothing to paint in.  Classes will be held 5 Mondays, 1-4:00 p.m., November 3 through December 1.  There is a limit of 10 students per class.  A one-time $15 fee is required to cover supplies.  To sign up, stop by the circulation desk at Your Home Public Library, 107 Main Street, Johnson City, NY.

I love teaching this class — please join us if you can!

My painting class: I’m loving it!

Some of my students in Introduction to Oil Painting, at Your Home Public Library
Some of my students in Introduction to Oil Painting, at Your Home Public Library

What a wonderful time I’ve been having, teaching Introduction to Oil Painting at Your Home Public Library in Johnson City, NY. Originally a class of ten students, one failed to show from the first day, and another dropped out after the first day, citing time conflicts. The remaining eight have been enthusiastic and eager to learn — even the more experienced artists among them — and so positive about my teaching. For my part, I’m feeling like I really do have a lot to give when it comes to painting, and that I’m balancing the talk/demo/work factors pretty well.

What I’d like to do better, if we run this course again (and with a waiting list of five more, for this course, I certainly hope we do!) is the still life set-up. I placed the light badly, and made the still life too complicated — a visually busy drape, no backdrop, a difficult glass jug, and rather uninspiring artificial fruit and flowers are not best for beginners, I think. The trick is to build the still life in such a way that it can be put away for a week and then brought out again, since the room is used for other functions in addition to my class. I think also, if I can enlarge my collection of student easels to ten (I borrowed some table easels for this go-’round), I’ll set up the easels on the floor with legs extended, rather than on tables. They’re not tall enough for standing work, but table easels are awkward to reach and interfere with sight lines to the still life.

A student's-eye view
A student’s-eye view
The still life set-up
The still life set-up

Nevertheless I’m really impressed by some of the work coming out of this class, and just delighted that I’ve had some influence in these productions — and I do love sharing what I’ve learned.

After a period of frustration, I’m also coming along well with the commissioned dance painting — I’ll show that in stages after it’s finished, or you can Like my Facebook page (see the lefthand column of this page) to follow along!

Study oil painting with me at Your Home Library

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a notice that an artist and teacher I know was offering an introductory drawing course at Your Home Library, my hometown library here in Johnson City. Soon after, I stopped in at the library to inquire as to whether they’d like to offer a course in painting: it seemed that they would!

Your Home Library, Johnson City, NY
Your Home Library, Johnson City, NY

Andrea Tillinghast, the new library director is full of new ideas, and was excited about adding a painting class to the library’s growing list of course offerings. She graciously showed me around the building. It’s beautiful, a historic building from the late 19th century with additions from the early 20th, and what a lovely second-floor classroom space it features. Originally built as a dining room, with a large original kitchen attached, it features a wealth of windows. (Unfortunately, the building has no elevator, so the classes are will not be handicapped accessible.) Now the questions are scheduling, and whether the space is viable for a late-spring/early-summer class. The one window-mounted air-conditioning unit in the room needs to be adequately wired before we can find out.

Andrea has verbally approved my proposed course budget and, I have to admit, I’m eager to get this project in gear, to start teaching. I’m delighted that, as the local community college offers fewer and fewer non-credit art courses in favor of job-skill and professional certification training, local libraries are beginning to pick them up. As the forms of literacy change from hard-copy to electronic, what a wonderful form of human face-to-face knowledge-sharing classes like these are for libraries.

To learn when my course will run, please click the “Follow” button in the right-hand column, and I’ll let my followers know as soon as Introduction to Oil Painting at Your Home Public Library is scheduled. Or “Like” my artist page on Facebook (left-hand column), and I’ll publicize it there too.

In the meantime, I’m going to be visiting the library more often. I hope you will too — and ask about my painting course while you’re there!

An emerging new process, and The Joy of Dancing

KwanYin and Chrysanthemums, 20x16 in., oils on canvas
KwanYin and Chrysanthemums, 20×16 in., oils on canvas

Two weeks and two days ago I had eye-muscle surgery. Nothing scarier for an artist than eye surgery, except maybe encroaching blindness. I’ve had this wonky left eye, which tracked upward and to the left of my right eye, since I was a kid. All along there were murmurings about the possibility of corrective surgery, but as time went on either the opthamologist was discouraging it or I was avoiding it. Prism arrangements in my glasses lenses brought the disparate images together, until recently. My optometrist encouraged me to see a specialist about the surgery — for real — because the maxxed-out prisms were no longer adequate to the task and he was concerned that my right eye would lose sight to the dominant and errant left. I’d already lost some depth perception, and had a growing cataract in the right eye. So I did it. Quite a do, and I’m still recovering. My eye is still not tracking quite properly all the time, but the surgeon said it would take six weeks to heal so I’m still hoping it’ll all straighten out. Meanwhile the cataract in the right eye has grown significantly in density, so that’s scheduled for surgery in May.

Hasn’t stopped me from painting, however — in fact, I’ve been quite productive. In my last post I talked about a paint-together still life session with Mary Robertson and Jan Wood (just before my surgery), and I’ve finished the painting I started that day, Kwan Yin and Chrysanthemums. Using a process new to me, I painted in semi-transparent glazes (mixed colors thinned with oil/resin medium) over my initial underpainting, saving the lightest lights and darkest darks for last. I love the result. So I started another — Henry and Rebecca — and have worked on a couple of earlier underpainted pieces, Demeter and Rebecca.

Demeter 04 -- almost finished!
Demeter 04 — almost finished!

 

Rebecca 03 -- progress!
Rebecca 03 — progress!

 

Henry and Rebecca 02 -- first color glazes
Henry and Rebecca 02 — first color glazes

These last two had given me problems due to my use of Turpenoid Natural for thinning the paint in the underpainting, but they did finally dry and I’m quite pleased with their progress. I’m close to finishing Demeter, thanks to a lovely paint-together session at Mary’s studio today.

This painting in transparent layers over a show-through underpainting has intrigued me for some time, and although I’d tried it before, to a limited extent, I’m finding it really freeing as an overall technique, That, plus saving the lightest lights and darkest darks for last — a lesson from John Singer Sargent — and I’m in a whole different ballfield than before: one I like a lot.

Meanwhile, my first long drive alone since surgery was the hundred-mile trip to Ithaca and back, to help take down the Joy of Dancing exhibit at the Tompkins County Public Library, where my Unlikely Dance series was the cornerstone. What a wonderful space, and wonderful show. My thanks once again to Sally Grubb, Scottish Country and contra dancer, exhibit coordinator at TCPL, and curator of this show. I got some photos before we disassembled it. A wonderful review of the show is here.