Artists Gather – Part 1

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It is All Arts Week in Harford County, MD. Wednesday’s beautiful weather could not have been written more perfectly by prescription by Dr. Howard A Kelly for plein air painters who love Liriodendron, his historic home and grounds in Bel Air, MD. Throughout the day, approximately a dozen painters came with their easels, watercolors, oils or pastels and enjoyed translating what they saw before them on their canvases.

It was great fun to walk the grounds and talk with each artist about the composition of their paintings and why they picked the viewpoint they chose to paint. Some for the perspective of the shadows cast on the building, others for the architectural interest such as a shapely balustrade or arch and yet others for the positioning of an urn of beautiful flowers. One painter chose a particular tree, a chestnut, that he was fond of because of his memories of zipping by it on his sled in the winter. Jonathan West grew up next door to the home of Dr. Howard Atwood Kelly, one of the founding four physicians of Johns Hopkins Hospital. The nearly 100 acres of the mansion, built in 1898, was his playground.

A couple of artists came from out of state but they are often seen in Harford County painting because they have historic, ancestral homes or farm land here in the county.

All artists have given me permission to post pictures of their works in progress, and they look forward to exhibiting their completed paintings on Saturday at the Armory in Bel Air after the two-hour paint out which will have even more artists at various locales lining historic Main Street.

I finished my day with a special event for literary arts enthusiasts. More will be posted about the evening literary event in a few days time.

Diane Gibson – Past President of Baltimore Watercolor Society

Cultural Travels – Part 3

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As I mentioned in my last post I was not quite ready to leave Bucks County, PA without completing the last place on my list – the home of an author whom I have long admired.

The spring blooms, the sunny, warm day and a surprise arts and craft show set up under tents made for a wonderful visit. Photos will show the best overview that I could give you.

View through the pagoda to the welcome center and gift shop
Pearl S. Buck Welcome Center and Gift Shop
Pearl S Buck Sculpture with a Child
Pearl S Buck Conference/Cultural Center

The last stop of the day was at the request of my sister, Jan. The Aldie Mansion built in 1927, in Great Gatsby style of the roaring 20’s, is now under the auspices of the Heritage Conservancy. It is used primarily as a historic wedding venue. From the exterior, it is impressive and beautifully maintained as are the fabulous grounds and patios surrounding it.

Front of the Aldie Mansion
Backside of the Mansion
Aldie Mansion gardens and stone patios.

Aldie Mansion Teahouse

As we said our good byes to Bucks County, PA, both of us felt the same sentiment, “Oh, what we would have missed if we hadn’t fully satiated our hunger for these last two places of interest!”

Jan and Sue inside the Mercer Museum. Thank you to our excellent docent, Gloria for offering to take this picture. Greatly appreciated.

Cultural Travels – Part 2

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Cultural Travels without visiting at least one church in a town filled with notable history is like leaving an area unsatisfied or not completely fulfilled. We passed by this beauty, Salem United Church of Christ, on our way to Henry Chapman Mercer‘s home, Fonthill Castle and to the Moravian Pottery and Tileworks, a place on the National Historic Register where Chapman made a good deal of his bread and butter during the Arts and Crafts Movement. Inside the church is the tilework of the man of whom our focus is on.

The Bible in Mercer’s Tile “The Baptism of Jesus”

Quite unexpected was the Spanish Mission Revival architecture of Mercer’s Moravian Pottery and Tileworks which was built to “master the potter’s art and establish pottery under personal control.” The working history museum lies adjacent to Mercer’s home – another enormous castle named Fonthill.

Moravian Pottery and Tileworks, Doylestown PA
Vase – Moravian Pottery
Moravian Tiles of Henry Chapman Mercer from the Arts and Crafts Movement Era
Henry Chapman Mercer’s home

Our visits to Mercer Castle, Fonthill Castle and Mercer’s Moravian Pottery and Tilework led me to ponder the enormous amount of energy and brainpower it took Henry Chapman Mercer to conceive his vision for all three structures and bring them forth. Fortunate that he bequeathed it all for public enjoyment of future generations and for those who like to learn and have cultural experiences in their lifetimes.

My hunger for more cultural sites from Bucks County, PA had not quite been satisfied nor had my sister’s. We each had one more place we wanted to visit before leaving the area.

Come on back on May 3rd for the final post in this three part series. If you hunger for more art and culture from your armchair, we believe we’ll have something more you’ll enjoy from AllThingsFulfilling.com.

Cultural Travels

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Culturally Fulfilling Travels

The weekend after Easter my twin sister came to visit. As always, we had a fabulous time together. Just a stone’s throw away northward to Bucks County, PA our travels took us. Our forays together usually include elements of exploring art, architecture, books and gardens and seeing landmarks of interest located in Main Street Historic Towns. It’s what floats both of our boat loads of interests.

We discovered Doylestown, PA just two hours north of where I live. What a gem, especially in terms of what we set our sites on seeing when we go on a “Sister’s Travel” excursion. Our first stop was the Mercer Museum, which was built to house Henry Chapman Mercer’s collections. He was “a noted tile-maker, archaeologist, antiquarian, artist and writer, a leader in the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts Movement.”

His museum is a “six-story reinforced concrete castle” designed by the man himself completed in 1916. It was built by just eight men over four years. Inside you can see artifacts from 60 types of arts and crafts of the period. Here are a few pictures outside and inside the castle walls. So impressive it was that we hope our two brothers in the building trade will someday take time to go see it and the primitive tools used to build the colossal castle.

Exterior Mercer Castle
Inside the castle walls looking out at some of the roofline
One of six stories of castle staircases – Yes! There is an elevator!
Writers loft in a castle, anyone?
As tempting as it is – this author likes brighter environments to write more lighthearted stories!
A glimpse inside a room with sewing artifacts at the castle. All 50,000 artifacts of pre-industrial tools and implements of 60 types of crafts which are stored in the Mercer Museum are individually numbered.

Our next stop was conveniently located across the street, which we enjoyed seeing with a walkabout – The James A Michener Art Museum is filled with a permanent collection of Pennsylvania Impressionistic paintings as well as a great range of revolving artist exhibits and they offer art workshops for children.

Exterior of Michener Museum of Art
Labyrinth on Michener Museum’s grounds. Bordered by spring flowering trees getting ready to pop any day! Lovely.

In the next post on AllThingsFulfilling.com I will share more information including another castle with a fantastic art attraction all on one gorgeous not so very small land plot.

There is so much to share, one story at a time, with our readers on AllThingsFulfilling.com about our visit to Buck’s County cultural and art attractions. See you back here in a few days time!

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!