Once Upon a Canvas – Part 1

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Once Upon a Canvas there was white space. And three hours later, the canvas looked quite different. Here is Part 1 of what happened….

But first… let me set the scene.

Location: The Liriodendron Mansion, Harford County, Maryland. Summer home of Dr. and Mrs. Howard Atwood Kelly, one of five founding physicians of the venerable Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Built in the late 1800’s.

Weather: 8:30 am – 75 degrees. At the end of a three hour painting session, 92 degrees. Clear, sunny skies. A chorus of crickets loudly chirping in the background warning of summer’s end. The odors of the oil paint lingering, hanging heavier and heavier under the large portico and the ancient shade trees as the heat and humidity built.

Key Characters: Six artists, Pamela Wilde leading and her accomplices – Eliner Tryon-Elgin, Collin Cesna,

Richard Moure, Jr., Scott McClelland and Hal Long.

A very patient semi-professional model – Dani Kurta all costumed in more clothing than anyone would be comfortable wearing on any hot summer day.

Props for the Artists: Easels, Pocade Boxes, oil paints and brushes, pastels and miscellaneous art supplies.

Props for the Model: Period clothing, an antique parasol (can’t forget that accessory on a steamy, sunny summers day) and a lovely fan! Proper lighting. And a wardrobe assistant or stylist (Dani Kurta’s mom!).

Sideliners An onlooker who adores art in all it’s forms! Including writing about it, yours truly, Sue Batton Leonard

The story continues below the image. Don’t miss it—

Maryland Society of Portrait Painters Board Member and artist Pamela https://pamelawilde.comWilde at Liriodendron. Model Dani Kurta.

I arrived on the scene early, in time to see the artists spread their drop cloths, position their easels, get their supplies out. In the background the wardrobe assistant helped the model primp and preen and get ready for her three hour session. Decisions were made whether to use both the parasol and fan, how to position them for the best affect. Adjustments were made to the placement of the model’s chair and how the model would most comfortably hold the parasol so the entire weight would not be in her hand. After all, the antique parasol is weighty with a wooden handle and wooden spokes and the fabric is heavy, not like today’s umbrellas made of lightweight steel and nylon.

As the artists continued to set up, all I had to do is tune in and listen to their artists talk about the length of each session (20 minutes of painting then a 5 minute break for the model.) They also conversed about the supplies they were using, and many other matters of painting and exhibiting artwork. Then the lighting was turned on adjusted to a likeable warmth.

Please return to AllThingsFulfilling.com on September 6, 2021 for part two of Once Upon a Canvas brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard from The Liriodendron Mansion. Don’t miss it, there will be lots of colorful pictures!

Sharing Art with Children

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My love for books and art often leads me to visiting the local library and local fine art and craft galleries when I travel. It is fun for me. My ten year residency in Colorado kept me somewhat in tune with Western art. When I was in Montana this summer, it was fun to revisit the works of artists who are located in the western part of the country,

I witnessed how very young children can enjoy art, too! I walked into the Rialto Theatre in Bozeman, MT and abstracts of horses greeted me. “Neigh, neigh!” a dear little sixteen month old girl, my new grand daughter whom I have finally met, shouted out as she pointed to the equines in the pictures! Frankly, I was surprised she recognized what it was in the abstract. But even the littlest ones, they often don’t miss a thing!

Once finished with the exhibit at the Rialto, next stop was a fabulous fine art gallery on Main Street I had heard of but had never visited before -, Montana Trails Gallery. My daughter-in-law, Meghan, my granddaughter Charlotte, and I had a grand time looking at the exquisite collection and stayed as long as a toddler could tolerate being contained in a backpack.

Once again, my little granddaughter shouted out “neigh, neigh” when she saw the horse paintings and bronze sculptures, “Baa-baa,” she said to the sheep in the pictures, and “moo-moo” to the cows. Ok, in her sixteen-month old experience and opinion, the “doggies” were mislabeled as wolves and foxes. Ah well…perhaps next time we return the labels will be corrected, I think in jest, with a big smile on my face as I remember her sweet little voice calling out to all the “doggies,” and her hands pointing to them as we walked through the gallery.

And lastly during my visit, my son and I took in the art scene at the Bozeman Art Museum. Unfortunately, with my faulty calendar reading we missed the plein air “paint out” two days prior. But on Monday,we did catch up and saw all the works of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters hanging, still wet with paint, at Bozeman Art Museum. I was familiar with a few artists such as Dave Santillanes, from working at the world-class Wild Horse Gallery in Steamboat Springs a few years ago. And the work of Chuck Marshall was familiar as well as Kathy Anderson, who is now represented by West Wind Fine Art, LLC, another superb fine art gallery where I worked when it was in Vermont. If you’d like to see the results of the canvases from the two hour “paint out,” I invite you to visit this link I have posted. Some of the paintings are still available for purchase.

Now, I’m back to East Coast art, which I enjoy immensely too! With the diverse landscape and culture in the United States of America, opportunities abound to share all kinds of art with the next generations. Sydney Gurewitz Clemens once said, “Art has a role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else.” I wholeheartedly agree!

Bringing Art to Life

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Over the past six weeks, I’ve enjoyed three living history presentations given by Colleen Webster. These events were sponsored by the Harford Artist Association and were well attended. Ms. Webster makes an art out of telling stories about creatives of long ago who left their mark on this world. Thanks to the ephemera they left behind and the protection of copyright laws, their bodies of work live on in public domains such as in art museums, on shelves in libraries and bookstores, and in oral history stories.

The first living history presentation featured artist Rita Kahlo. Learning about her personality and traumatic occurrences throughout her life helped me to understand her art. There is little doubt both became artistically rendered through her craft.  Her painting sustained her through difficulty and tragedy. There is more about this performance on this blog post called Interpreting Art and Life.

The 2nd in the series was about the life of painter artist Georgia O’Keefe who is most frequently associated with her images of stunning poppies and her studio and residence in New Mexico. Here is an article I wrote some years ago on allthingsfulfilling.com  after visiting the O’Keefe museum in Santa Fe. O’Keefe’s life was long, she lived to nearly 100, so there was plenty I wasn’t aware of which was brought out in Colleen Webster’s oral portrayal of the artist.

The subject of the third living history performance by Colleen Webster was about author and poet Dorothy Parker. Like Kahlo and O’Keefe she too was born before her time. It took enormous vulnerability on the part of all three to pursue their art and live so independently and so differently than others of their gender in their day and age. The women all lived lifestyles that many would describe as gutsy, rash, reckless and irresponsible. Yet, it was their love for their art that kept propelling them forward. O’Keefe freely admitted “she was scared every day of her life,” but pursued her passion anyway.  How’s that for unstoppable and driven?

I’d like to thank the Harford Artist Association for bringing these very memorable performances to our community. For more information on other living history presentations by Colleen Webster and her schedule of events, please visit her website.

According to an article about intentional creativity, art is derived from our communications with ourselves. From these oral presentations, the audience could better understand each artists life and how the fulfillment of it was translated into their art. The “Red Thread Chronicles” articulates stories of the power of art on women’s lives globally. Check it out. 

“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”  ― Georgia O’Keeffe

Bringing Culture to Rural Areas

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I recently revisited the 1861 Greek Revival building in Stowe, Vermont which is shared by the Stowe Free Library and the Helen Day Art Center, a non-profit arts education organization “deeply committed to eliminating socioeconomic barriers by bringing a comprehensive education program into the Gallery and out into community. “

The establishment of this multi-use space in 1981 has done much to bring art appreciation to a town which, at one time, was primarily visited for it’s ski culture.

“The Helen Day” is one of 45 Vermont Museums and Galleries which make up the Vermont Curators Group.

The black and white photographic  exhibit I visited displayed the works of Dona Anne McAdams.

I couldnt help but notice how the pictures of avante-garde individuals, social justice and poignant every day life were so similar to the kinds of images photojournalist Cherel Ito chose back in the 1960s. In my eyes, if Ito was still alive she and McAdams would be kindred spirits. Ito’s photographs now live on at the National Women in the Arts Museum in Washington D.C.

Here is a very small sampling of McAdams photos which I enjoyed because the viewer can find the story in each of them.

 

 

 

2020 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist

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We are pleased to announce a biography about Richard Galusha called “An Artist’s Journey,” written by Sue Batton Leonard is a 2020 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist. The narrative tells the story of the unique influences that drove  Galusha’s passion for the arts from childhood to amateur artist to arts educator to professional artist to gallery owner.

Featuring a Newly Published Artist

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Today’s blog post is written in honor of artist Richard Galusha, a Colorado Artist who I am so very excited for. Galusha Studios has a new publication hot off the press. Although giclee prints of Galusha’s vast collection of original artwork have been published, there has never been a book about the artist’s life and his work. Here is more about “An Artist’s Journey: Richard Galusha.”

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When you are a prolific painter like Richard Galusha, at some time in one’s long career, an artist’s collectors are interested in seeing a Retrospective Show. This means gathering a lifetime of the artist’s work for the public to view.

In the year 2020, two separate exhibitions will hang in art galleries in the United States giving collectors the opportunity to see nearly every canvas of Colorado artist Richard Galusha. The Steamboat Art Museum, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado is currently playing host to Galusha’s Retrospective Show until April 11, 2020.

On May 11, 2020 a second exhibition, will open in Abiline, Texas at the Center for Contemporary Arts. Paintings from the Wachter and Bradley collections comprise most of Galusha’s art being showcased for the month of May. Paintings include western art as well a varied mix of landscapes from mountains to oceans and faces of people from all over the world. The oils are representative of the wide range of the artist’s talent.

Many art aficionados and collectors are eager to know about the background of an artist whose work they are viewing and purchasing. Thus, Galusha Studios offers a newly released book which compliments the two Retrospective shows and allows the art enthusiast to have a more meaningful experience. “Through the very personal biography included in “An Artist’s Journey” and the art in the book, one feels he or she knows the artist more intimately,” says the author of the publication, Sue Batton Leonard.

The hardcover 12” X 12” coffee table sized book has two-hundred-twenty-eight pages of paintings in full color. Art educator, painter and Colorado art gallery owner Galusha’s retrospective exhibition catalog also incorporates photographic images of unique lifetime experiences he’s had that many people only dream about.  For instance, says Sue Batton Leonard, “a fortuitous meet-up with a football legend presented the artist with the opportunity to paint the athlete. What a thrill for Galusha who as a young man on the high school football field held the quarterback in great regard and wanted to be like him some day. The artist has had a storied career well worth writing about.”

Richard Galusha: An Artists Journey, allows the reader to walk through the door into the life of the painter from the time he was a child and spend time with his family. The biography covers his life until present day. The author states “If you have ever wondered why an artist becomes an artist, this biography is for you.” Galusha’s narrative is as entertaining as it is informative. The West Texas boy was raised in a large colorful family and as the story unfolds one begins to connect his heritage and his familial environment with how it has influenced him to live life “the artists way.”

For twenty years as a teacher this artist passed on his knowledge to his high school students and gave them an understanding of what it really takes to be an artist. His impressive design of a well-outfitted art department and classroom is a great example of how Galusha puts his professional best into everything he has ever done. What better example could his young students have had in seeing how one develops an admirable art career?

From reading the biography one will understand why Galusha connects with the subjects he paints, whether it is a landscape, a portrait, or wildlife. He has traveled the world, often far off the beaten path. His biographer says, “Once he is smitten with what he is seeing and experiencing, he prefers to capture it immediately on canvas “en plein air” rather than in his studio.”

Those with an appreciation for art and the creative life who are unable to travel to the Retrospective shows will enjoy looking at the treasure of images between the covers of the publication and reading about “Richard Galusha: An Artists Journey.” Ahhh…the beauty of a colorful art exhibition catalog that can be ordered by calling 970-819-2850 or (970) 870-1755.

That’s all for today from AllThingsFulfilling.com! See you back here soon as we go roaring into 20’s!

Overdue Recognition

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’Twant me, ’twas the Lord. I always told him, “I trust to you. I don’t know where to go or what to do, but I expect you to lead me,” and he always did. ~ Harriet Tubman

Happy New Year from AllThingsFulfilling.com. Let’s start 2020 with a topic that warms my heart because it magnifies the humanitarian efforts and the importance of a freedom fighter of the past, Harriet Tubman. I am so happy the recent release of the movie “Harriet” has been so well received because her bravery and contribution for the betterment of her people through the Underground Railroad is important to our country’s history.

Over my Christmas hiatus from blogging, I came across a book that further puts the spot light on Harriet Tubman. The Good Ol’ Ship of Zion (Christmas Escape, Part 1) is just one chapter among others in the book Tubman Travels: 32 Underground Railroad Journeys on Delmarva  that helps educate, inform and inspire the public about a woman whose recognition is long overdue.

Make 2020 the year when you take your family on a good ole road trip to Dorchester County, Maryland and expose them to a very important part of our nation’s history at the new  National Park dedicated solely to Harriet Tubman! And while you’re there, stop by Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge! By the by – there is a bench along the Tubman Trail on the Blackwater Refuge lands where you can take a respite from your travels. Seek out the bench that says “We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”

Self-Fulfilling Action

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We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than through our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we accomplish goals.” ~ Stephen Covey

 

It’s the season of Thanksgiving. Ten years ago I had limited knowledge about independent publishing and I had never written anything. But I had a strong interest!  If it hadn’t been for the fruits of my labors over a span of the last decade, there is no way a project that will soon come to fruition would have landed in my lap!  A year ago I became entrusted to write someone else’s story. I am honored and thankful! The publication is going to be outstanding.

Truly, it takes just as much action as it does words when it comes to becoming a writer and independent publisher. Nixing fear and doubt and replacing it with unwavering faith and the words “I AM WRITING AND PUBLISHING A BOOK” (rather than I am trying to) makes a big difference in ones determination and motivation to get the job done, project after project.

The opportunity came on the heels of taking a break from any serious writing time because for a season in my life I became full-time caretaker to two terminally ill parents and it reinforced my belief in the power of writing to heal from loss and bring personal fulfillment.

The narrative was so much fun to write! I know the artist is looking forward to revealing his new publication and it will soon be hot off the press!  Keep your eye out on this website, soon more information will be posted.

Artful Titles

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“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines who you will be when you can’t help it.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Last night, many artists whom I’ve directly or indirectly made connection with in the art community were in my thoughts when I attended Bruce E Mowday’s book signing for his publication Stealing Wyeth. The book signing was held at the Harford County Public Library in Bel Air.

The veteran reporter, investigative journalist and public speaker knows how to tantalize an audience! Bruce E. Mowday gave us just enough information about the theft of fifteen Wyeth paintings for us to want to learn more and read on! All you art enthusiasts and crime book fans will want to know more about the characters, the art thieves and the author behind the story. Go to the author’s website. He has published about twenty books in various genres and he says his range of subjects can be contributed to his avid interest in people, both from the past and in today’s world.

Soon, more revelations will be made about more books artists world-wide will be interested in.  Keep your eye on this website.

 

Hallowed Halls of Johns Hopkins

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The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. ~ M. Scott Peck, author of Gifts of the Journey, In Search of Stones and The Road Less Traveled

Happy Halloween, everyone. On October 3rd, my cousin Meg Heisse and I witnessed a little hocus-pocus when we attended An Evening of Victorian Magic at Evergreen Mansion and Library, which is a Johns Hopkins University Museum. Since my cousin is a member, we attended a pre-performance reception held in the Asian red room among Chinese and Japanese collectibles. The bartenders stirred up Victorian libations and we saw up close magic tricks by David London. Mind reader indeed, out of a 52 card deck, the magician asked me to select one card and show it to others.  No slight of hand involved, through telepathic transmission he correctly identified the card I had picked. But that was just the start of the delightful evening. The magician had many more magic tricks up his sleeve once the show started and he came to the stage.

There was no need to build a stage for the evening because there is already a Victorian era theatre in the Evergreen Museum. And although there were no upper level seats for celestials to sit as in many Victorian theatres, we were told apparitions are in or about the rooms of the mansion. The theatre, painted by Russian Artist Leon Bakst, was used regularly to entertain the three Garrett boys, who at one time lived there.

The Evergreen Museum and Library was built in 1850 and became home to railroad magnate, John Garrett and his family. He was President of Baltimore and Ohio “B & O” Railroad. A little over one hundred years later, in 1952, the Italianate home from the Guilded Era was donated to Johns Hopkins University and it is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Also in the mansion is a 30,000  volume library with much of which is English Renaissance literature. Paintings by Picasso, DegasModigliani and stained glass by Tiffany, a 23 karat gold plated bathroom all are housed in the structure. In the Asian red room I spied several pieces of Chinoiserie furniture and as I snooped around in the museum gift shop at Evergreen, I saw several beautiful publications about stained glass.

Today, my Halloween treat to our readers is a recipe for soul cakes which traditionally was the offering to others on All Hallows Eve. And here are a few pictures of our evening at Evergreen Museum and Library, too. Look carefully you might see things that fool the eye!

Some time soon I do look forward to returning to the historic Evergreen Museum to take the full tour. This wonderful landmark is only one of the institutions of the Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins. Check out the others on their website.

Thank you Meg for inviting me to accompany you for the evening.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard.