Cooperative Gallery 213 … and me!

Planning our show at Cooperative Gallery 213
Planning our show at Cooperative Gallery 213 (artwork © Kit Ashman)

I’m working my way slowly and happily into the role of exhibiting member in Cooperative Gallery 213 in Binghamton, NY — though I suppose that volunteering to pull together a compilation of identity standards for the gallery is not exactly slow; it’s quite a process. I’m afraid I’ve already accidentally stepped on some toes with that one, but hope to do a little less crashing about in the future. A cooperative comprises many different voices and opinions. SO looking forward to the beautiful new gallery website, soon to be made public by webmaster/figure painter Ken Weir.

Yesterday I did my first gallery sitting, with experienced member Barbara Bernstein, for the First Friday opening of a wonderful shared show by Karen Fedczuk and Alexandra Davis. Barbara is fine company as well as a fine artist, and she patiently answered all my newbie questions about how to open and close the gallery (banner, lights, food for First Fridays, etc.) and conduct sales. There was a block party outside, as well the normal First Friday jollity, so the joint was jumpin’ already when I left after my 3-6 p.m. sitting shift.

I’ve also already designed an ad for the gallery at the request of the PR committee, and am planning to take in some of my art cards for the Members’ Gallery section.
But most important, for now, are ongoing plans for our dual July show, The Body Electric / London & Beyond, with photographer Chuck Haupt (seen above, during our recent planning meeting)! I’ll be showing my new Les Poseurs series of nudes in oils, as well as some worked-into figure studies in colored pencil. Exciting!

I do love a deadline. How about you?

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.

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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.

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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.

Now showing at the Lost Dog Cafe

Three Musicians -- oils on canvas, 16 x 20 in.
Three Musicians — oils on canvas, 16 x 20 in.

It’s been a couple of years since I last showed at the Lost Dog Cafe in Binghamton, NY. Although it’s awkward for people to look at the art when there are diners at the tables (and there are always diners at the tables in the Lost Dog!), it’s a lovely space, with three distinct exhibit areas, each with a nice hanging system. So this morning I parked my car full of art in front of their door, hauled my goods in, and set to work. This is the last time I’ll exhibit my Unlikely Dance series for a while, I think. But it looks wonderful in the Lost Dog space, as I knew it would, along with a couple of studies for the series and two new dance-themed pieces — The Grove and Three Musicians.

This First Friday night I’ll be in the Lost Dog Lounge holding forth at Meet the Artist (or so I imagine; this will be my very first Meet experience). And this month I’ll have a good excuse to have lunch and perhaps a dinner at the Dog — yummy!

I also have a few pieces in a November group show with the Fine Arts Society of the Southern Tier, at the Krembs Gallery, UHS/Binghamton General Hospital, not shown here.

 

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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 work and words, featured in my favorite art supply catalog!

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Well, hot-diggety — my artwork and my endorsement are featured in the new 2014-2015 annual Blick Studio catalog! One of my other pieces was shown, without endorsement, in the Spring 2014 catalog supplement — not too shabby either — but this one’s quite a thrill. Featured is Unlikely Dance: Golden Clouds (30 x 48 in., oil on canvas), and yes, it WAS painted with Blick Oil Colors. I’ve always loved Blick — have dealt with them both personally and professionally for nearly forty years — but now more than ever! Looking forward to receiving it in the mail. (You can request one for yourself, here.)

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My painting Morris Dance: Half-Gyp (20 x 16 in., oil on canvas) was shown, without endorsement, in the framing and matting section of the Spring 2014 Blick Studio catalog supplement — not too shabby either!

Saga of an artist’s eyes

Drawing of the bubble in my eye, three days after surgery
Drawing of the bubble in my eye

It all started with my left eye, which for most of my life tracked upwards and to the left, relative to my right eye, and is also my dominant eye. Recently the misalignment became no longer manageable with prisms in my glasses lenses, and my optometrist feared that I was in danger of losing sight in my right eye as my brain ignored it in favor of the errant and dominant left. My husband knew someone to whom this had happened. Hence, the referral to a strabismus surgeon and subsequent muscle surgery on the left eye, and then the cataract surgery / lens implant in my right eye (by another specialist) to clear up the right eye’s vision.

But my right-eye vision didn’t appreciably clear up, and the eye began showing misalignment patterns it hadn’t before, while continuing to lose visual clarity. The surgeon who had done the strabismus surgery (call him Dr. S, for Strabismus) noticed this first, and said I had to get an MRI right away. I’m claustrophobic, and flew into a panic, so he changed it to a CT scan. Those results caused him great concern, and he insisted I see a neurologist. In turn, I insisted that I see the cataract surgeon (call him Dr. C, for Cataract) first, since he’d done the surgery on that eye. Dr. S’s office set up an appointment with a neurologist to follow my appointment with Dr. C.

The next week I saw Dr. C, who said that he’d received neither CT results nor communication from Dr. S. When C’s office finally got the results faxxed from S’s office, C said I didn’t need a neurologist — I needed a retina specialist. His office set up an appointment with a retina surgeon (call him Dr. R, for Retina), and I cancelled the neurologist appointment. Next I saw Dr. S again; he was upset that I hadn’t seen a neurologist, and said that Dr. C didn’t understand the issue — “you two have to TALK to each other,” I said — but he agreed that I did need Dr. R as well (“a wonderful surgeon.”). He dismissed my own theory that my brain was simply trying to recreate the former pattern of misalignment. Meanwhile, he pointed out, my right-eye vision was still in decline. S’s office made me an appointment with the first neurologist they could get me in to.

…who, as I soon found out, had really unfavorable reviews online. At wits’ end, I heeded my husband’s advice and contacted my GP (Dr. G, for General practitioner), asking for opinions and guidance. Everyone was supposed to be sending him exam and test results but of course they hadn’t. His office assistant immediately swung into action — got all of the test results for him to review, and set up an appointment for me with a neurologist to whom they refer. Dr. G didn’t see anything abnormal in the CT scan, but felt I should go ahead, see the neurologist and get an MRI, just to tie up the loose ends. I felt so relieved with a knowledgeable but neutral physician involved, someone who’s known me for years.

So I saw the neurologist (Dr. N, for Neurologist). His practice’s office seemed to be in a state of chaos. In contrast, the doctor himself was calm, authoritative, and informative. My husband and I were impressed with him, if not with the practice. After an extensive interview, health history, reflex checking, pin-pricks, and eye-tracking, he said that as far as he was concerned, there was nothing wrong with my brain — that it was just trying to replicate the former misalignment pattern. (Yes!) But he wanted an MRI just to be sure, and agreed that I was in danger of losing sight in the right eye. He issued orders for an open MRI machine, due to my claustrophobia.

Except that, when I got to the hospital radiology department a week later, Dr. N’s office hadn’t sent the order. After calling N’s office for more than an hour and leaving messages, the hospital got a verbal approval from one of the other neurologists in the practice… but not for the open MRI. I took a long and anxious look at the closed machine, discussed it with the radiologist, and made an appointment for the next weekday in the open MRI… by which time N’s office STILL hadn’t faxxed over the order. But the test was finally done in the open machine, and with a dose of Xanax it wasn’t too awful. Sort of like I’d imagine a Philip Glass concert, actually, but with loud percussion.

I haven’t heard from Dr. N’s office since that first consultation — neither the promised test results nor an appointment for a follow-up. Instead I got the “nothing wrong” results from Dr. S when I saw him next. His office had to call N’s office to get the results, of course. By then I’d seen Dr. R and was scheduled for surgery in Syracuse, 60 miles up the road.

So. After a two-week delay on Dr. R’s part, and rescheduling, one morning Sweetie and I headed up the highway at the crack of dawn.

The Syracuse hospital was wonderful, and the surgery went well. The car was parked for us at minimal cost. All the staff we encountered were cheerful, friendly, polite, helpful, and seemed very involved in their jobs. Everything was explained, all questions patiently answered. I was 15 minutes late into surgery, but was visited separately by Dr. R, by the anesthetist, and by the surgical nurse, before going to the OR. I suffered no pain or discomfort and they dealt cheerfully with my anxiety. (I babbled, I think.) It was “twilight” anesthesia, but I was given enough drugs to make it interesting rather than grisly, and throughout the hour-long surgery, someone held my hand. Gluten-free breakfast back in the hospital room followed my stint in Recovery. We left for home that afternoon, then returned to Syracuse the next day for an all’s-well post-op. My right-eye field of vision was was mostly filled by a large air bubble inside the eye, part of the post-operative healing process.

Each day since surgery the bubble has been smaller (if more annoying!), and my vision has become clearer. Today, ten days after surgery, the bubble is finally gone. Vision in that eye is still blurry and slightly distorted, but although Dr. R says it’ll be “months yet” before healing is complete and vision stabilized (and I can get a new, correct lens prescription!) it’s evident that my brain is once again using both eyes. I’m ready to drive again, I think, and most important, ready to paint again — and hoping for no more eye surgery!

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Many, many thanks to my loving and supportive husband, and parents, and to all the friends and family members who’ve followed my saga piece-by-piece on Facebook.

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!