Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Finding A Model - One Foot in Front of the Other

I spent part of yesterday looking for a model to pose outside during the Plein Air Painters Chjcago Saturday paint  out in Washington Square Park. With the generous help from the folks at the Palette and Chisel Emily will join us and Bill Schneider, a renown portrait artist and plein air painter will provide a demo focusing on how to paint people en plein air. Unfortunately, though this was my idea, and I love painting outside and I am learning to love painting someone inside without the extra challenge of wind and gnats, I wont be there. Though I’m disappointed, I found a nugget in all of this. One of the model’s “out of office” message was “I’m off the grid.”

And she called me anyway.

From the porch of an all you can eat buffet in Oregon, after refueling for another five, ten, twenty miles on the Pacific Northwest Trail today. She started walking in Canada, one foot in front of the other. Sounds easy enough. A friend joined her for a week and left the trail a couple days ago to get back to her life. For me, that might make the one foot in front of the other a bit lonelier. The model doesn’t sound lonely

She said there is a community of hikers. A lot go at the same pace, alone but together. She sees familiar faces sometimes on the trail, or in restaurants near the trail. She says they are all ages, a lot of retirees, all different body types. Hers is tall, lithe, and muscular. I asked if she posted her travels, she said no. She’s not on social media, a reason I didn’t want to use her name. She told me that she takes a photo of herself nude in the wild every day, to document her body changing, her hair growing, her city look melting into something else. She’s not posting them. She said it would probably be illegal anyway. They’re for now, for herself. 

The day before I set out trying to find a model, I talked with a friend about camping and painting, camping and painting all the way to Alaska. I’ve been talking about an RV for awhile. I’ve talked about walking the camino. Instead I hang with my cat and paint around town. I find her adventure an adventure. She courageous and probably doesn’t need PT for a knee that’s been bent in sitting too long. 

I can make calls for a model or I can adventure. Hmmm, one foot in front of the other. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

What Does My Solo Show Mean? Consciously Counting the Beats to My Next Cymbal Clang

If you've followed my posts, you've read about my path, development and process of becoming an artist. I refer to myself as that now, though it still feels a bit clumsy or maybe pretentious as it rolls out, but it's incorporated into my life in so many ways. It's how I spend my time, my vacations, my money; it's in my clothes, those with and without paint. It shows in the special but ugly light fixtures in my "studio"  and, the renovations that created better storage for equipment, supplies and paintings that haven't found a home. I bristle at the word "hobby", yet the IRS has a definition I can't deny, but I'm still an artist, even if leaning toward starving in the metaphoric sense.

Up until now, I've referred to myself as a beginner painter. I've been aware that I've moved through phases used in the training industry. I showed unconscious incompetence, when I asked an early teacher, "why?" when he told me I needed to learn to draw. I approached conscious incompetence as I struggled with making landscapes recede or shadows lengthen correctly,  to conscious competence where I seem to reside most now as I struggle with consistency in my painting processes and intentionality with each brushstroke, it's like the percussionist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra who moves his lips and counts the beats preparing for the next cymbal clang or drum bang.  And, sometimes, there are inklings of the next and last phase, unconscious competence, when I put down a stroke and it's right and I know it, and I leave it.

This show marks the end of the beginning. No doubt, I will continue to move through consciousness and competence as I continue to paint and improve my painting. This end allows me to forge a new path and direction, not letting go of what brought me here, but building on it.

My Art Dish, a video chat with Guest Artist Stephanie Weidner

My Art Dish, A Video Chat with Artist Lee Radtke

Invitation to The Buzz – Bees and Beekeepers An Exhibit of Paintings by Mary Longe

Invitation to The Buzz – Bees and Beekeepers 
An Exhibit of Paintings by Mary Longe
Artist Reception Saturday June 29, 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Evanston, IL: The public is cordially invited to an exhibit of paintings in honor of bees and the people who tend them. Meet Deerfield, IL artist Mary Longe and see her art, Saturday June 29, 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Chimera Loft, 2948 Central Street, Evanston, IL In keeping with the theme, Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery will provide tastings of mead, an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops. 

More than forty paintings are on display showing urban and rural settings with portraits of beekeepers actively tending hives, equipment, and bees. The paintings are done primarily en plein air (on site) with some painted from a photo source. Longe uses oils or watercolors.

The Buzz – Bees and Beekeepers Paintings by Mary Longe was conceived in counterpoint to the reports of the decline of bee populations and intensifying world hunger. “I like to eat, and I like to paint,” Longe Says. “Bringing awareness to the joy found in bees, what they provide, and the people who tend them is one way I use my art to inspire others to care too. I often paint outside. “En plein air” it’s called, like the French impressionists. Focusing on scenes of nature for hours helps me better understand and be grateful for gardens, flowers, trees and the energy in that moment. I realize that what looks green at a glance is so much more… like people, like life, like bees. Painting is creating a new perspective, conveying an atmosphere, telling a story and inviting the viewer to become its main character. I hope through The Buzz, viewers will find themselves appreciating the bees and their care takers and becoming part of the picture.“

Mary Longe is a visual artist working in oil and watercolor paints. Her works have been exhibited at the Palette and Chisel, Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago, as well as programs in Wilmette and Skokie, IL. For, 2018, two of Longe’s paintings hung as part of the Public Works of Art program in Deerfield, IL. Mary Longe manages the Plein Air Painters Chicago, and, produces a YouTube Chanel, My Art Dish, video chats with artists. 

Chimera Loft, LLCin Evanston, offers a performance space, art gallery, art exhibits, music and arts, spoken word, craft shows, and event space. Upcoming events can be found at their website.

For more than two decades, Wild Blossom Meadery & Wineryhas been a fixture in Chicago, creating wine and mead using locally produced ingredients.  The meads produced at Wild Blossom Meadery & Winery are among the most sustainably produced beverages in the world. With more than 30 years of winemaking experience, Wild Blossom Meadery & Winery is the first winery in Chicago and the only producer of mead on the Northern Illinois Wine Trail. Being a mead producer, at Wild Blossom Meadery & Winery raises its own bees and collect its own honey. Wild Blossom Meadery/ Bev Art is also a source of education about wine and beer making. More information can be found on their website,

Mary Longe
Deerfield, IL

Wild Blossom Meadery, Winery and Brewery 
9030 S Hermitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60620
Greg Fischer

Chimera Loft
Mel Winer