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I mentioned yesterday that I’d be working at Newburyport Art Association today to help with the jurying.

And – YES!! I did get in. And I think I was really lucky. There was a lot more work submitted for this show than there was room. So there were some pretty wonderful pieces that did not make the cut.

So thank you to the universe and all my readers who had their fingers crossed for me.

The reception is Saturday, February 13th from 7 to 9pm. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go as I have another commitment that evening. I’ll have to pop in another day to check it out once it’s all properly hung.

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One of the local art associations that I belong to is Newburyport Art Association. We’re in the middle of the Winter Members Juried Shows. Part I, which included sculpture, watercolor, digital art, drawing, oil and printmaking, just finished up. Part II, which includes acrylic, fine crafts, mixed media, pastel, and photography, will be open to the public on Friday, February 12th.

I’m hoping that you will see two of my social media pieces in the exhibit. For this exhibit, the work is actually brought to the gallery and the juror will choose which pieces to include by looking at the actual artwork. Then the pieces not selected will be stored for a few days until the artists can pick them up.

Although this can be a cumbersome process, there are some distinct advantages over selecting from digital images. First of all, the juror sees the real work, in particular the real colors and textures, and can even compare pieces side by side. Secondly, it is easier to judge scale when you’re seeing the real thing. A third minor issue is the framing. And good or bad framing can really change the overall look of the artwork.

Tomorrow is jury day and I get to help. YAY!! One advantage of working on jury day is that you can see what is selected and what is declined. (Because my job is to store the declined pieces.) I get to see at least some of the pieces that don’t make it, but rarely know why they were declined. It’s still fun. And it’s great exercise. The storage area is on the second floor, so it’s a lot of up and down stairs.

It also means that I can pick up my pieces tomorrow if they don’t make it. Hopefully, they will get in. Keep your fingers crossed!

Here are the two pieces I submitted –

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First week of the month and it’s changeover time at a lot of galleries. New Hampshire Art Association is no exception. On Tuesday, I joined about 6 other artists to hang Prints of the Year and also repaint and rehang the Small Works Gallery. (OK. I didn’t help with the painting, but I helped with the rest.)

Because of the rather nasty winter weather, the reception has been postponed until next Friday. When you go to the gallery, you’ll find the main galleries filled with prints from some of the best print makers in the state. Parker Potter’s Prints of the Year includes all manner of the printmakers art – wood cuts, silk screens, monoprints, etchings, and various combinations. You’ll find work by Don Gorvett, William Scolere, Kate Higley, Victoria Ellbroch, Scott Schnepf, and many others.

The East Gallery is full of lovely black and white photos by the Seacoast Photo Group. And the South Gallery will have Carol Van Loon’s black and white photos of Barns.

The Small Works Gallery is now repainted and rehung with new work! So check it out.

You’ll find two small pieces of mine on the very far wall of the Small Works Gallery. (That is unless they moved them after I left on Tuesday.)

These are two pieces from my Shelter Series. This series started years ago with some very small paintings with a stylized house image. Some of these initial paintings turned into hand painted cards that were sold to benefit the York County Shelter Program. Hence the name – Shelter Series. Through an event that I ran for years at the Notre Dame Spiritual Center in Alfred, ME, I began a relationship with the shelter program and helped to raise money for their food pantry.

 

 

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The word “serendipity” came up in a couple of conversations today. Wikipedia explains it as “the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.” In my case, a couple of unrelated things added up to a new piece of art in my life.

When I started out today, I wasn’t intending to buy art. I did intend to go look at some art, but buying wasn’t part of my plan. The Van Ward Gallery in Ogunquit, ME announced the sale of 15 Ed Betts paintings, both acrylic & watercolor. The prices listed ranged from $3250 to $18000, well out of my price range.

Since I bought my first Ed Betts book – Master Class in Watermedia, years and years ago, I have been a fan. I only met him once and that was to take a one day workshop sponsored by the Ogunquit Art Association. I still consider him a teacher and mentor because of his books.

So, here is the strange string of events that brought a new piece of art into my home today. I’m a new member of Ogunquit Art Association, so I’m now on their email list. Through them, I got a notice of this sale going on. (Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have heard about it until it was too late.) I’ve just had a major sale of my work, so I’m feeling very positive about the future. I went up to check out the work this afternoon and found a small gallery FULL of lots of wonderful art, some by artists I already knew and some by artists I hadn’t seen before. I had no illusions of buying any of the Betts pieces. My favorite of those pieces is Sea Movement #7 in acrylic – $9500 (top right on the website)

As I looked around the gallery, I found there were lots of other pieces which I could afford. Thus sprang the idea that it was the perfect time for an art splurge. Why not spend some of my art money on more art? So I figured, I’d look through everything and then go back to look for the perfect piece. When I got to the section that had all of the Betts pieces, I did a lot of mental oohing and aahing. The acrylics were spectacular. According to the website, “High Rim” is 48″ x 60″. Now that sounds large, but when you look at that, it’s huge. That’s 4′ x 5′. Yikes. It certainly is spectacular. There were also some of his more traditional watercolors and oils in smaller sizes. I was kind of looking at everything and noticed a lithograph on the floor in a price that I could afford. I thought about it for probably all of 5 minutes.  So now we have a lovely Ed Betts lithograph hanging in our kitchen. YAY!

Here’s one of the pieces that I just sold.

Ethel Hills - The Edge of Reason - Mixed Media Collage on Panel - 30" x 30"  -   SOLD

Ethel Hills – The Edge of Reason – Mixed Media Collage on Panel – 30″ x 30″ – SOLD

I think Ed would have approved, both of the piece of art and that I used some of the funds to buy the lithograph.

Now what’s the story behind your latest art purchase??

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Ethel Hills - Morning Song - Mixed Media Collage on Paper - approx 15" x 11" - Framed to 20" x 16"

Ethel Hills – Morning Song – Mixed Media Collage on Paper – approx 15″ x 11″ – Framed to 20″ x 16″

This week I’m going to show you a couple of pieces which are not fresh off the easel. I’ve just hung my section of the new ALL Co-op Gallery in Lowell, MA and will share a couple of these paintings.

I like the combination of colors and textures as well as the very tranquil feel of the piece. As I was hanging it, I remembered how much I like this painting. It usually hangs in my studio.  I think it’s a reminder of the benefit of sticking with it.

It started out with a few basic pieces – the sky, the tree line, a horizon line and the textured middle ground in reds. Those were the basics. But to this I added multiple strips to enhance the horizon, lots more texture added to the middle ground, bits & pieces to build the foreground, and then a few vertical touches at the horizon line. It seems like I worked on it and worked on it, but maybe that’s not accurate. I certainly tried all kinds of combinations trying to come up with the perfect solution. Although I know there is never a “perfect” solution, there is often an aha moment when something clicks and the piece is noticeably better. Suddenly the parts of the painting coalesce into something more than the sum of the parts. The much smaller vertical red piece near the horizon was one of the last pieces I added. I like the way this small hit of red ties the piece together. There are just so many little touches in this piece that I really enjoy. I’m going to miss this. It usually hangs in my studio. Hopefully, it will find a better home than my studio and bring light into someone else’s life.

 

Ethel Hills - Mini Collage #25 - Mixed Media Collage - approximately 3" x 3", Matted to 6" x 6"

Ethel Hills – Mini Collage #25 – Mixed Media Collage – approximately 3″ x 3″, Matted to 6″ x 6″

This is a small matted piece. It’s approximately 3″ x 3″ in a 6″ x 6″ mat. I have a small basket with several of these small matted pieces and a selection of hand-painted cards.

In terms of process, this piece is the opposite of Morning Song. This piece just kind of fell together. I love the colors and textures, right down to the very thin yellow gold line. The suggestion of landscape without anything explicit makes it somehow more universal. It clearly isn’t a realistic depiction of a specific place. Perhaps it is a representation of a time of day or perhaps even a state of mine as well as a sense of landscape. What do you see?

Both of these pieces are for sale at the new ALL Co-op Gallery at 307 Market Street, Lowell, MA. Gallery phone 978-221-5018. Gallery Hours:  Wednesday – Saturday 12 to 6 and Sunday 12 -4. Our official opening will be Saturday the 11th. More details to come.

 

 

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I keep forgetting to mention this. I’ve recently signed up to be part of the new co-op gallery sponsored by the Arts League of Lowell. I believe the gallery will be opening in either March or April. I’ve been looking for a co-op gallery that might be a good fit for me, but I’ve had trouble finding one that felt right. I think this will be a fun adventure. I’m excited about getting a toehold in the Lowell art scene, as well as working with this great association. I just wish that Lowell were just a teensy bit closer.

I’ll post more information as it becomes available.

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Again, it’s almost the first Friday of the month, the day that Portsmouth galleries celebrate with the monthly Art ‘Round Town gallery walk from 5 to 8 pm. I have new work in the “Breaking All the Rules” exhibit at New Hampshire Art Association‘s gallery on State Street. Also at NHAA is a wonderful exhibit “Side by Side – Lawrence and Victoria Elbroch”. Don’t forget to check out the Small Works Gallery and a small selection from our Permanent Collection.

Another exhibit that I’m very excited about is the new exhibit at the Gallery at 100 Market Street. My friend Cori Caputo has a series of her tree paintings included in the current exhibit. After looking at the gallery’s Facebook page, I see that another friend, Regina Valluzzi has a tree painting in the exhibit. Maybe this is the theme?? Their exhibits are always well curated with lots of great art in a variety of styles by great local artists. I believe the reception is from 5:30 to 7 pm.

And, while you’re in town, don’t forget to check out the rest of the galleries. It’s a great opportunity to see what’s going on in the arts community. Have fun!

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