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Archive for the ‘Fine Art’ Category

Yes, this blog was meant to be shared with my mother (A Shared Blog … Well, Sort of!), but, sadly, she passed away on Friday, March 12th, 2010 from a brain hemorrhage. When I am able, I will write more, however, there is one thing that I would like to share with you today … it’s a poem that a dear friend composed for me and it’s titled Eternal Bloom.

Eternal Bloom

Among the flowers of the field
So many blossoms thrive
Which share their essence, unconcealed,
To keep our spirits live.

One bloom may shed a golden glow
Another, crimson hue
And after rains and zephyr blow,
A petal sparkles dew.

Yet now one flower made a shift
To live in fields above,
Elysian beauty whose dear gift:
The bloom of mother’s love.

Jean Hodgin, Professor Emerita and Poet Laureate
North Shore Community College, Danvers, MA

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Just yesterday, I was reminded (via an e-newsletter) about an art festival that I had attended far too many years ago yet the memory of that event stays with me as though I had attended just yesterday!

It is held each November (the 14th through the 16th of this year) in Easton, MD and this year’s event marks the 38th. It’s “official” title is, simply, the Waterfowl Festival, however, most folks refer to it as the Easton Waterfowl Festival. The whole community gets involved, closing off the colonial center to automobile traffic and using its many fine shops and galleries as venues to display wildlife art, prints, decoys, crafts, etc.

When I attended the event, the Tidewater Inn was the “centerpiece” so to speak. One room called the “Gold Room” was used to display the original works and many of the artists were there, too, to talk to visitors, sign autographs, and so on.

Folks lining up to enter the Gold Room in the Tidewater Inn, Easton, MD.

Folks lining up to enter the Gold Room in the Tidewater Inn, Easton, MD.

Hot refreshments are provided to visitors by street vendors.

Hot refreshments are provided to visitors by street vendors.

At least in past years, and probably so even today, a World Class waterfowl carver is invited to create a special piece that is then displayed in the lobby of the Tidewater Inn. During the year that I was there, the carving was that of our nation’s symbol, the Bald Eagle.

Bald Eagle displayed in the lobby of the Tidewater Inn, Easton, MD.

Bald Eagle carving by Jett Brunet displayed in the lobby of the Tidewater Inn, Easton, MD.

I know, I know! This is just a tiny sampling of what you would see there and, I really can’t show you any art. There are those artists who are opposed to having their works photographed by the general public. But, really, if you love art, especially wildlife art, then you MUST attend this event at least once in your lifetime. It is, after all, an art festival extraordinaire!

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This past May, with much sadness and disappointment, one of my all time favorite magazines titled Wildlife Art, ceased publication. Perhaps what makes this an even sadder event for me, at least, is the fact that it was this magazine that was the first to publish a nature photograph of mine with a byline as well as a few Field Notes and even a Letter to the Editor.

Nature's Perfection Magnified appeared in the September/October 1998 issue of Wildlife Art magazine.

Nature's Perfection Magnified by Janet P. Wilkins appeared in the September/October 1998 issue of Wildlife Art magazine.

But, what makes Wildlife Art‘s disappearance even worse is that for wildlife or nature art enthusiasts like myself, Wildlife Art magazine was an invaluable source of information; everything from listings of new original art or prints, gallery and exhibit announcements, artist accomplishments, upcoming competitions, etc. No doubt, other art magazines and art websites will take up at least some of the slack; in fact, some have already begun to do so. But Wildlife Art magazine was so much more; it was a beautiful print publication, one whose issues became “collectables” in their own right! To put it another way, Wildlife Art magazine had, at one time, been all things to all lovers of the wildlife and nature art genres.

So, what part can I play now? Well, while I certainly can’t do all that Wildlife Art magazine managed, I can, like those aforementioned other art magazines and websites, contribute to taking up at least some of the slack too. Thus, to begin, I have already created a new page for this blog where I will post contact information, due dates and websites (when one is available) to those conservation stamp art competitions that are open to all. Later, I will create other new pages for some of the wildlife and nature art exhibits and calls for entries as the information is made available or, to be more accurate, as I find the information. Actually, to some extent, I’ve been doing this all along for a few competitions and exhibits; they are listed in my blogroll. I feel that this is a good start! And, as time goes on, I’m sure that I will find many more ways in which I can contribute too.

Finally, to those of you planning on entering a few of these competitions, may I wish you all the best of luck!

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For quite some time now, I’ve been trying to get my mother (Gertrude) to share this blog with me. She is, after all, a nature lover just as I am. But, she is also an artist and illustrator with accomplishments that far exceed my own. She has been my art teacher and she is my most trusted artistic adviser as much as I would hope she considers me to be her most trusted artistic adviser. Most important, however, is that she has been and will always be my best friend and life confidante.

But, while we share much in the way of art, we also have many, many differences. Choice of foods comes to mind; my mother loves sweets and feels that I want everything with tomatoes. Choice of reading matter is another difference; she likes mysteries and crime novels, I prefer biographies and autobiographies. Which brings me to one of our biggest differences, that is, I also enjoy writing and she does not.

Okay then, in the eyes of some this may seem to be an insurmountable obstacle! Well, not so for my mother and myself. You see, we have always worked well together, using each other’s strengths to work as a team. Thus, here’s the deal we’ve made … from time to time, I will be posting some of her art with a little bit about the piece such as her motivation, the challenges in achieving the look she wanted, and so on. In other words, she will provide the images (her art) and I will do the writing. This is how we will “sort of” share this blog! 😀

An Introductory Piece

Oil is, perhaps, Gertrude’s favorite medium. So, what better way to introduce her artwork here than with this 24″ by 24″ oil on linen canvas titled Patriots!

Gertrude does pet portraits on commission, but, after seeing a photograph of this pair of golden retrievers in a local newspaper, she decided that this would be a project that she’d like to do just for fun. The dogs belong to a couple that used to live near the beginning of our street and they took the photo while hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Gertrude contacted them to ask for permission to paint their dog’s portrait and to ask if a color image was available. The dog’s owners were thrilled and gladly mailed a copy of the original color photograph.

At first, Gertrude had planned to simply paint the dog’s portraits just as they appeared in that photograph, however, trying to create a feeling of “depth” (from the mountains in the background) proved troublesome. No matter what she tried, the background just seemed to interfere, taking attention away from the dogs. Putting the painting away for a while helped and finally, Gertrude came up with the idea of creating a kind of “portrait photographer’s backdrop” approach. In this way, the background does not interfere, the dogs become the focus of attention and the viewer is able to concentrate on the dog’s expressions.

Well, there you have it, my mother’s first entry to our blog! So, … what do you think?

I know that I’m impressed with my mother’s artistic abilities, but, just as important, I can’t say enough just how thrilled I am to FINALLY be sharing this blog with her, even if it is just “sort of!”

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