10 Oct 2016
in Art, fun art project, Illustration, inspiration, Mayans, pre Columbians
Tags: art, collage, Corn God, James River Art League, legend, Maya, mixed media, Montpelier Art Center, myth, sacrifice, underworld
I’m excited because this collage I did a few years ago got a lot of attention yesterday at the art opening of the James River Art League, at the Montpelier Art Center!
It was inspired by the Maya legend and I tried to copy their style of illustration. I have a good book about the Maya titled “The Maya” by Michael D. Coe. One thing I remember from this book is that it wasn’t too difficult for the Spanish who invaded Central America to convert the Maya to Christianity because there are similarities between the two religions, a resurrection being one important story.
This is how the story goes, if I remember correctly. The Corn God was in the Underworld. That’s him, with the green sprout coming out of his head, in my collage. The two guys paddling the canoe are gods who were sent to rescue him. It’s a dangerous trip, and they could all get killed in some violent bloody way. If the Corn God doesn’t make it back to the Maya city, the crop will fail and the people will starve.
The two girls in the canoe are virgins sent to wait on the Corn God. They’re offering him food and water. Later, at their ceremony, the virgins will be sacrificed and the Corn God will be drenched in their blood. Yes, they really did sacrifice virgins. They were a bloody tough tribe that didn’t fear pain or death.
The Maya, never boring, always an inspiration.
06 Oct 2016
in Art, Drawing, inspiration, pennsylvania, plein air, Route 15, RT 15
Tags: art, artists, bed and breakfast, collage, drama, PA., painting, partnership, pennsylvania, performing arts, pottery, restaurants, RT 15, sculpture, textile art, visual arts
Does your heart beat a little faster when you hear the words: Mixed media, painting, pottery, sculpture, photography, jewelry? What if we added tasty local wines, deliciously inventive meals, and cozy, relaxing lodgings to the mix?
And what if I told you these features and more are here for you to explore and experience when you journey through the heart of Pennsylvania by following the Route 15 Artisan Trail?
Looking for a special gift? Why not interact with the artist as they create? Searching for a charming location to rest, relax, and rejuvenate? It’s here for you on Route 15.
I admit I am biased. I live along the Route and have explored many of the destinations. For this reason I am so excited to share this with you. Even if you can’t journey with us physically, I hope you will take the time to experience what our area has to offer. The website is a showcase of galleries, theaters, festivals, artists and more.
Creativity thrives along Route 15. Hope you’ll come along for the journey!
25 Aug 2016
in Art, Drawing, flowers, fun art project, Illustration, inspiration, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, opening night, Pastel, plein air
Tags: art, Black Eyed Susans, collaborative, collage, illustration, pastel, Petersburg Art League, Sarah Hill, writers
I worked on my sketch in the shade at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden for a while, then came home and worked on it again. It’s for a collage I’m doing for a show titled “Entangled”, happening at the Petersburg Art League, Fri. Oct. 14.
The theme Entangled is a collaborative show with visual artists doing an illustration for an author, and the author writing a poem for a painting. It’s always good for artists and writers to get together and exchange ideas. Artists find a lot of inspiration in in the other art forms.
I’m entered with my daughter, Sarah Hill, a writer. She wrote a book for teenage girls. The story is about a girl who’s mother is like Wonder Woman from another planet, and her dad is a normal human. The daughter has some super powers too, and the scene I’m illustrating is the chapter where the mother teaches the girl to fly. It’s a real fun subject to illustrate. And Sarah is writing a poem for one of my paintings. The poems and the paintings will be hung together.
I need to cut this sketch up into clumps of flowers for my collage, and arrange them in among the trees in their back yard. Then I can work again on my 2 figures floating slowly down to Earth. Doing the figures is kind of like making paper dolls for this collage. Fun stuff!!
If you’re in the area, you should make it to this opening. It will be great. People will be reading poetry and there will also be Latin Jazz and Salsa music.
02 Aug 2016
in Art, Drawing, inspiration, Japan, landscape, VMFA, woodblock prints
Tags: art, Benten Shrine, Edo River, Heian Shrine, inspiration, Ishinomaki, Japanese, Kannon Temple, Kawase Hasui, Kiyosumi Garden, Matushima, Miyajima, Mt. Fuji, Nikko, Sacred Bridge, snow, Tagonoura Beach, VMFA, winter, woodblock prints, Yoshida, Zojo Temple
Snow at Heian Shrine, Kyoto
It’s nice to see these cool scenes in this hot muggy summer. They’re at the VMFA.
Kawase Hasui was Japanese. 1883 – 1957.
Snow at Benten Shrine, Shinobazu
Snow at Godaido Temple, Matushima
Clear Sky After Snow at Mt. Fuji, Tagonoura Beach
Snow at Kiyosumi Garden
Ishinomaki in Snow
Sacred Bridge, Nikko
This one of the sacred Bridge is my favorite because you can see the wind is blowing the snow! Amazing!
Snow at Miyajima
Snow at Zojo Temple
Clear Sky After Snow, Asakusa Kannon Temple
Evening Snow, Edo River
Clear Sky After Snow, Yoshida
I posted the whole show so you can pick your own favorites.
16 Apr 2016
in Art, creative energy, history, inspiration, muse, Poe, poet, poetry, Richmond VA.
Tags: inspiration, James River Writers, Joanna Lee, Patrick Henry Pub, Poe Museum, poem, Richmond VA., salon, visual artists, writers
This is the Patrick Henry Pub, where the Salon took place.
This poem was written by Joanna Lee.
On Hearing the History of the Poe Gardens at the Literary Salon in the Patrick Henry Pub
(based on the painting by Chris Ludke)
Nestled in a backdrop of chatter and raven windowpanes,
of sweating whiskey and melted rocks, light
plays on water and the pale of crepe,
of periwinkle. A sun plastically brightly cuts
the hard edge of a shadow that could stand
on it’s own, lonesome and unnatural.
And I remind myself this is about connection, that we,
rose-less, are a hundred variations of the same thorn.
Joanna hears her muse! You can look her up at
This is the Poe Museum.
I thought the Salon was great! The 1st person to speak told the history of the Poe garden. It’s been through a lot of changes. It was interesting to hear where the different elements of the garden came from. Then Joanna read “Ode to a Grecian Urn” by Keats. and passed around a photo so you can see the little scenes, similar to the ones Keats described in flowery language, painted on the urn. A lot of writers get inspiration from visual art, and visual artists get inspiration from authors.
The writers took a break to talk to their friends, or write a poem based on the theme of the Poe gardens. Then some of them read their poems. It was good to hear the poems, and to hear them talk about truth and beauty, and art, and what I can gather about the craft of writing.
My friends at the Poe tell me they’re planning on more artist / writer salons, and other types of art events. They’re “Calling All Creatives”. The Salon is a great old idea I hope to take part in again.
20 Jan 2016
in #2016ARTJOURNEY, actress, Alphonse Mucha, Art, Art Nouveau, artist trading card, artist trading card, Artist Trading Cards, ATC, atc, Collage, Dance, Design Team, design team. Lunagirl Moonbeams, Digital, Digital Collage, dream, inspiration, Lunagirl Moonbeam, mystery, postcard, Stars, UNIVERSE, victorian
Tags: #2016ARTJOURNEY, actress, art nouveau, design team, digital collage, dream, Lunagirl Moonbeam, moon, stars, UNIVERSE
When was the last time you let your nocturnal imagination drift, allowing it to go anywhere it pleased? As a child, the night and the Moon enchanted me. Looking out of my bedroom window in Brooklyn, the sounds of the day segued into a hushed, almost reverent, atmosphere conducive to thinking, to dreaming.
And times like this I wondered where my life would take me. I knew the path I wanted to follow…but would it happen? My parents encouraged me to always listen to my heart and to find the best in any situation. Their New York values of tolerance, generosity, and having an open mind always willing to learn, set me on the right course.
The Lunagirl Moonbeam challenge for January is to design using images from her lovely collection of Babies & Children. Although I’m not especially maternal, I drew from the memories of my childhood for the challenge.
The final image is a digital collage. It was easy for me to pick a photo to work with. I loved the way the two girls looked, as if they were sharing a secret. I added images of famous actresses to their skirts and a Verdi libretto to the bodice. What young girl doesn’t want to be an actress when she grows up? I couldn’t resist adding a benevolent face smiling down at the girls from the Moon.
Childhood can be a magical time of wonder. But it doesn’t have to end there. Each day is another chance to capture the effervescence of discovery. What will you be when you grow up?
11 Jan 2016
in academic artist, Art, charcoal, Drawing, horse anatomy, horses, inspiration, oil painting technique, practice, roughs, studies, York Academy of Arts
Tags: Alvi's Maroger Medium, art, charcoal, Cracker and Barrel, drawing, drawing technique, filly, horses, mare, oil painting, style, Ted Fitzkee
Got it on the 2nd try.
Drawing horses is a challenge for me. I have to use the 1st piece of paper to get them blocked in the right proportions. Then I transfer that to another paper and try to make corrections on the weak places. For me drawing is constantly correcting. I draw a line. I look at it and it’s not in the right place. So I have to draw another line and erase the 1st line. In the 1st stage, I block in areas and look at my areas and think, that’s not right. so I trim down by erasing, Then move it up or down on the paper and fill in and then erase more.
That’s one reason vine charcoal is the best medium to draw with. It kind of floats on top of the paper, if you can imagine it like that. You can push vine charcoal around so easily with a kneeded eraser. Then on my 2nd try, when I’ve corrected it to the point where nothing about it bothers me anymore, I go back in and add darker shadows with my charcoal pencil, which is slightly harder charcoal than the vine charcoal. And last, add highlights with white chalk.
If I work on my drawing for a few hours, that’s enough. I lose my concentration and don’t need to finish the drawing in one day. I look at it later and decide what needs to be worked on next to make it better. It’s not unusual for me to take days on my drawing, because the stronger the drawing is, the stronger the painting will be.
This is my underpainting. Only a beginning.
I tinted the canvas violet. Normally, I tint my canvases dark gray, but since I’m not looking at nature in plein air, because the weather is too cold or too dreary lately, I decided to use violet as an experiment. I’d like to make my horses Palominos, but my model horses are plastic with a bronze patina, so I’m not sure about mixing colors for this. This is a good opportunity to fool around with color theory. No need to try to match natural colors, because I’m not outside in natural light. So if the violet shows through, lets see how it affects the painting. And if the violet under my other colors does make a difference, it might make my horses pop off more when I go over them a couple times with shades of gold. since yellow and violet are opposites on the color wheel.
I have one layer of glazes on the sky showing here. I’ll go over it again.
This is the 1st canvas I’ve taken the time to prime with Gesso and sand before painting. I saw another artist priming his canvas, and it reminded me, I should be doing that. This classical “style”, if you want to call it Realism, or whatever, (I’m not really up on all the art isms) goes with a slick finished look. When it’s finished you should varnish it if you want to be true to “style”. It seems to me, there’s way too much emphasis placed on “style” by those in the Ivory Tower, but whatthehell, If I’m going to paint in an unpopular” style”, I might as well go the whole 9 yards and prime my canvases.
And WOW! is this slick! hahahahah Our dear departed teacher at York academy of Art, Ted Fitzkee would love it! I need very little turp. The paint slides like my car on ice. You should try it! It’s fun! When I get into the glazing with my Alvi’s Maroger Medium, I’ll be like freaking Rembrandt! Stay tuned.