Give the gift of art!

Fiddler, Cutler Gardens
Fiddler, Cutler Gardens, 16×20 in., oil on canvas — one of my artworks for sale at the Members’ Holiday Show, Cooperative Gallery 213

Yes, it’s true — I do sell things from time to time. And what better time than the winter holidays?

Search results for earrings
Some samples of my vintage/new earrings, at both Old Barn Hollow and Cooperative Gallery 213

This year I have earrings and art cards for sale at Old Barn Hollow — my earrings are made from vintage jewelry I pick up at flea markets, antique/junque stores, and yard sales, along with some new parts, and exclusively new earwires in gold- or silver-coated nickel-free brass.  I love making these little sculptural pieces. Because many of the components I use are random vintage, I can’t guarantee what types of stone, metal, ceramic, resin, or glass they may be composed of. I make my best educated guess, and you may do the same.
My art cards are high-quality reproductions of both seasonal and non-seasonal artworks by me, on 5×7″ blank-inside cards. (For more selections and higher quantities, see my Etsy shop. )

And I have more earrings for sale — as well as artwork — at Cooperative Gallery 213. What a wonderland of unique arts and crafts this Members’ Holiday Show is!

Thurs., Dec 3 Gala Opening reception, 6-8 p.m.
Sat., Dec 12     Artist tour with MaryRose, 2 p.m.
Artists will be introduced & are invited to make a statement about their work
Sun., Dec. 13  Holiday Brunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 19   Musical Performance by Doug & Eamonn Hubert, 1 p.m.
Storytime with actress Janet Normile, 2 p.m.

After John Singer Sargent and Gustave Caillebotte… People’s Choice Award!

Unlikely Dance: Green Skirt - 30 x 48 in., oils on canvas
“The Rude and Bold Committee would like to congratulate People’s Choice Award Winner Glenda Blake, for her painting Green Skirt. Congratulations to a phenomenal Rude and Bold Woman!” Green Skirt – 30 x 48 in., oils on canvas

Wow — I won the People’s Choice Award at Binghamton’s Rude and Bold Women show last week! It was a strong and beautiful show, and I’m so honored. My artist-friend and sometime painting student Rae Doyle-Freeman was a runner-up with her powerful sculptural papier-mâché piece, “On Her Aching Bones, Did Empires Rise.”

Rae Doyle-Freeman: On Her Aching Bones Did Empires Rise
Rae Doyle-Freeman: On Her Aching Bones Did Empires Rise (photo: Carla Bruce)

The People’s Choice is the only award of the show, determined by votes cast by attendees.

The Tuesday before, I got up at ugly-o’clock in the morning to board a 6:10 a.m. Megabus to NYC with artist-friend Harriet and her friend Jo from farther upstate (also an artist), to see Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fabulous time — took the bus four hours to the Port Authority bus terminal, and then we took more than an hour to to get to the MMA on foot and by city bus, but what a stunner of a show.  I knew many of the works from books — had seen one or two in person before — but there is NOTHING like coming face to face with the actual piece.

The Pailleron Children (detail)
The Pailleron Children (detail), by John Singer Sargent: the piece I most wanted to see!

Gradually we took in and discussed, piece by piece, most of the show (gathering a small, attentive audience as we moved along!), took a lunch break when we were exhausted, then — like kids back to the pool — went back for more Sargent. Harriet and I lost Jo in the Post-Impressionist galleries, but I was glad to be forced through them in our search for her. I could live in the MMA. Another long trip back to another long bus-ride… so-o-o tired! But so worth it to experience great art, especially with friends who experience it in the same way.

In His Limbs and Joints, in its new home in Annapolis
In His Limbs and Joints, center, in its new home in Annapolis (photo: Michael Dufton)

The week before that, after seeing my painting, In His Limbs and Joints, installed in my cousin’s lovely home in Annapolis (such a thrill to see it hanging in their amazing art collection!) I got a look at the show, Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye, at the National Gallery of Art, while sweetie and I were in the DC area. Caillebotte wasn’t a name I was familiar with — he was contemporary with Degas, and although more conservative, was equally experimental in his less flamboyant way — but I did know some of the work. And it was sublime. I’m slowly working my way through the show catalog, which we bought on the way out. (I neglected to obtain the Sargent catalog — the photography was such a disappointment after seeing all of the actual pieces — but I hope to soon.)

Caillebotte - Paris Street, Rainy Day
Gustave Caillebotte, Paris Street, Rainy Day, 1877, oil on canvas, The Art Institute of Chicago, Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection

Come paint with me this fall

Exploring Oil Painting with Glenda Blake

Exploring Oil Painting, with Glenda Blake

Mondays, 1-4:00 p.m., October 19-November 16, 2015

$15 one-time fee for supplies, for five 3-hour sessions
Enrollment limited to 10 students.

Explore the fundamentals of oil painting in a casual yet 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 paint with others. If you have a portable standing floor easel you like, please bring it — shorter easels are provided by the instructor. Please wear a work apron, and/or older clothing to paint in.

Classes are on Mondays, October 19-November 16, 2015. Please plan to attend the first session, and all sessions thereafter if possible. Lessons are sequential; each builds on the previous. 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 second-floor class space is beautiful, but, due to the historic nature of the building, there is no elevator.

A fine first class in Exploring Oil Painting

Session 1 - Exploring Oil Painting, 7-20-15
Wish I’d photographed the underpaintings later — what a strong showing.

The conditions were not perfect — a scorching hot and humid day, so the blinds were closed, limiting natural light; the window-unit air-conditioner making that low humming noise that makes chat so difficult — but what a strong group I gathered for this rendition of Exploring Oil Painting at Your Home Public Library014 The underpaintings were wonderful, and everyone was so helpful in helping me clean up at the end. There were lots of questions, including a request towards the end for a full critique. I did my best in all of this, and in return got hugs, thanks, and promises to come back next week. I do love teaching this class. It’s so varied in enrollment, and filled with people who really want to learn. I do my best to oblige. Thank you, YHPL, for this teaching opportunity! And thanks to the students, who continue to challenge me, and grant me such rewards.

Paint with me this summer!

ExplOilPainting_graphic4flat

Exploring Oil Painting, with Glenda Blake

Mondays, 1-4:00 p.m., July 20, 27, August 3, 17, 24, 2015

$15 one-time fee for supplies, for five 3-hour sessions
Enrollment limited to 10 students.

IMG_7166 Explore the fundamentals of oil painting in a casual yet 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 paint with others. If you have a portable standing floor easel you like, please bring it — shorter easels are provided by the instructor. Please wear a work apron, and/or older clothing to paint in.

Classes are on Mondays, July 20, 27, August 3, 17, 24, 2015, 1-4:00 p.m. (No class August 10.) Please plan to attend the first session, and all sessions thereafter if possible. Lessons are sequential; each builds on the previous. 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 second-floor class space is beautiful, but, due to the historic nature of the building, there is no elevator.

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.

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?

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.