5 photos from Rebirthing the Classics opening night at Art6

debriefing follows

debriefing follows

This shot shows the hall looking towards the front door on Broad St. with my work on both sides. The camera shots on the wall show the original masterpieces from the VMFA and Hollywood Cemetery that are the inspiration for each piece. Last Sat. was the day to take our entries to Art6. I loaded up my car in the morning and got there at noon. As I was unloading my work in the gallery Helene talked about putting my smaller pieces in the hall. That meant a bigger showing for me so I drove home and loaded my car again. I also brought 4 landscapes and some things I made up from my imagination. They don’t all fit the theme but it’s ok because they show continuity.


You’re Invited ! Art 6 Opening ! July 5th

Rebirth%20FlierWhen I saw the theme was “Rebirthing the Classics” I decided to enter my figure drawings. I have a lot of work from the 2 years I spent drawing the sad stone angels in Hollywood Cemetery. And I have a lot of figure drawings from sculptures at the VMFA. When I started to get the hang of figure drawing I used the figures in scenes from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.  I’m all over town drawing and painting in plein air ! 😉

A lot of artists will be represented in the show so I’m looking forward to seeing their interpretations of classical subject matter too!

I’ll fill up the 2nd small gallery with my favorite drawings.

Thanks to Art 6 and Helene Ruiz for the great opportunity to show my progress on that path !

Varina Davis’ Angel

This is one of my favorites from Hollywood Cemetery.

This is one of my favorites from Hollywood Cemetery.

I drew her about 10 times in ’07 and ’08. It was difficult because her face is always shaded and her eyes are “empty sockets”. I hope you can see from my camera shot the eyes aren’t rounded out. In the center of the eyeball the circle is cut back. It makes the figure look sadder.

The first few times I tried to draw her head it didn’t work. I went to other angels and filled up a sketch book  with head studies. When I had a few that looked ok I went back to this angel and tried again with better results.

Varina was Jefferson Davis’ daughter. The story is that she was in love with a Yankee boy she knew from before the Civil War. Her Dad refused to let her marry the Yankee and she died of a broken heart.

this is Lewis Ginter

my hero

question : Who’s buried in Lewis Ginter’s tomb ?

answer : nobody

Like Grant, his body is above ground.

When I was drawing in Hollywood Cemetery, I wondered why Lewis Ginter is alone on the biggest plot in the cemetery. ( with Tiffany stained glass windows , yet ) So I bought this book by Brian Burns, and his life is a great story !

He came to Richmond from New York before the Civil War. He was the greatest business man , and loved Richmond. He made a fortune and lost it twice, but still died the richest man in VA. He gave so much to the city and the people, and was modest about it. Sadly for the ladies, he was gay. In the Civil War, he was Quartermaster for the Confederate army. When the general got killed, he lead the troops in battle and was fearless ! I’m not a history expert, but you can get this book if you want to know the whole story.

His niece started the botanical gardens, where I like to draw, in his memory.

Lewis Ginter is such an inspiration.

Pyrmid / Confederate memorial / Hollywood Cemetery

Hollywood Cemetery is so special, I can’t get it all on the blog. I lived in Richmond for 30 years and always knew it was there. I knew it’s full of history and beautiful sad stone angels, but I didn’t go there. Then when I went in to look at the great view of Richmond and the James River in 06, suddenly inspiration hit me in the head like a fake faith healer, who  struck me in the cemetery too one time . But that’s a story for another time.

First  the cemetery was my inspiration, then it was my refuge. And through it, the cemetery made a better artist out of me. Some people  wondered why I spent so much time drawing there, but I knew I was on the right path.

Some times people talked to me, and I learned a lot. I think out of the cemetery’s history, which is over 150 years, I got more out of it than any other artist.

The gravediggers call me ” the angel lady “.   🙂

Can you see where I stuck a rose in the stones as high as I could reach ?

Thanks to all in our armed forces and our vets.

The Muse and Me by Chris Ludke

When I’m drawing in plein air, I’m at the same place at the same time of day for a couple hours so I can get the same light. And I work slowly. I erase a lot. People watch my progress. They can’t tell if I made a mistake. Some people talk to me, and I like talking to anyone who’s interested. I need to look away from the picture anyway.

Sometimes they ask me a question that I don’t  understand. “Why are you doing this ?” So I say it’s figure drawing practice, or I tell them about the picture I’m planning. Then they ask ” Are you taking a class ? Is this for yourself ? Is this for sale ? ” I tell them I work alone, and I sell my work.

But still, sometimes I have to say ” This is what the voice in my head told me to do.” Then they understand  why I’m doing this.

That’s what we call the muse.

Some artists can’t find inspiration.  I’ve had plenty of inspiration for years. I can’t find the energy to keep up with it. The difference is probably that I’ve simplified my life so I can concentrate on art. If I had a lot of obligations or distractions, I couldn’t do this. I take my time, and do my roughs. And I refuse to rush. Everything I do is a challenge, and if I get stuck, I put it away for a while and do something else.

If you want to hear the muse talk to you, it’s that little voice in your head that says ” Isn’t that a beautiful thing ? Isn’t this a beautiful place ? doesn’t that music grab you ?”

If you are looking for inspiration, try to quiet your mind from the daily stress, and go to a place where muses live. The museum, Hollywood Cemetery, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, the James River or your favorite local place.

Drawing in plein air never gets boring. Making art is a discipline more than a God given thing. If you work with your hands or play video games you have enough dexterity to draw. It’s a challenge. there’s always something new to learn and always room for improvement. What makes you a good artist is how much time do you put into it, because the more you practice the better you get.

And when the muse starts talking to you, she never shuts up.