Monday, July 28, 2008

15h Annual "Renaissance in Pastel" National Juried Exhibition

The sun is shining today! I’ve just received word via the USPS, that my pastel entitled “Winter’s Glow (Lynn Woods)” has been juried into the 15th Annual “Renaissance in Pastel” National Exhibition sponsored by the Connecticut Pastel Society. As the number in the title would indicate, this is one of the longest running and I might add, most prestigious exhibitions for the pastel medium. It annually attracts the top artists working in pastel. I’ve been fortunate to participate in this show on several occasions and have also won numerous awards during my tenure, including the top of honor of “Best in Show” and I was one of two judges of awards for the 8th exhibition.

As it was last year, this year’s exhibition will be hosted by the West Hartford Art League, at 37 Buena Vista Road in West Hartford, Connecticut. This is a gem of a gallery set on lovely ground not far from downtown Hartford.

The exhibition opens on October 2, 2008 and runs through the 26th of that same month. An artists’ reception is scheduled for October 12th, from 2 – 4 PM. I hope that your travels will find you stopping in for a peek at what is sure to be top flight art exhibit.

Thanks for listening, and see you out “Painting the Soul of America”

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Occasionally a little rain does fall

When I decided to create this blog, it was done with the full intention of keeping you informed of my activities as they related to my artwork. I decided, that the information I would share would be both the successes and the failures, of course, hoping that the failures are few and far between. I don’t think you would want it any other way and I think that because you are signed onto this blog, you above all others will help to celebrate the good, and understand about the not so good.

If you live in the Gettysburg area or plan to visit that area soon, and you want to view, and of course purchase, some of my original pastel paintings, I would recommend that you make a point to stop in at Gallery 30, located on 30 York Street in Gettysburg, just off the town square.

Ok, with that now said, and now that I’ve perhaps added another stop for your itinerary while in that area, here comes the rain.

The reason I suggest that you get to Gallery 30 to take in some of my pastels is because it may be the last opportunity to see them in the Gettysburg area. I received word from the new gallery owners, new in that they have only owned the gallery less than a year, but they have recently sent me word that they would like me to come and remove my pastels from the gallery.

They currently still intend on carrying reproductions of my work, which have been selling really well and they would also like to show the few small oils that I’ve thus far created depicting the battlefield, so those are positives. Still, this is not written without a bit of sadness as anytime incidents such as this occur it is not without a bit of sadness, but upon reflection, they’ve occurred in the past, and I’m sure they’ll occur in the future. It’s the nature of the business. You use them make you stronger and become more determined.

I’ve been showing my pastels at Gallery 30 for approximately four to five years. During that time, I’ve found many new friends and supporters of my art, which of course, includes many of you who are reading this. For that I am grateful, and I look forward to continuing that friendship, and hopefully seeing all of you again at an artistic event in the near future.

Under the previous owners, I was consistently one of the top selling artists in their stable, especially during the annual History Meets the Arts weekend. The new owners unfortunately have not enjoyed that same success when it comes to selling the pastels. They’ve been much more successful with the prints but with the originals, not so good. The reasons for this could be anything, from the down economic times shadowing the country, a change in focus/philosophy at the gallery, a lack of education on all fronts as to what is and what is not a pastel.

Those familiar with the art world would know how the pastel medium has exploded over the past fifteen years, and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of that explosion with many sales including a recent sale to the Bank O f New Hampshire, an article in a major art magazine, several recent successful one man exhibitions, and my participation in a number of national juried exhibitions, resulting in many top honors and awards in those shows. However many galleries and/or their staffs have not kept pace with this explosion, and often those visiting galleries can’t get past the idea that a pastel is one of those craypas we all encountered in elementary school art class.

Though my pastels will no longer have a home in the Gettysburg area, I can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment, not just in the friendships I’ve developed with many of you, but because, in many ways, until I entered the fray, people interested in purchasing or owning a piece of artwork that offered a lasting impression of their visit to those pristine fields in South Central Pennsylvania, the peace and serenity, people who sought that reconnection, were out of luck. The majority of historical art, or art relating to Gettysburg is typically full of blood and anger and many people, though they may or may not know the history, don’t leave the battlefield with that memory. To that end, I think with my pastels, I offered something refreshing, something new, something soft and gentle of the battlefield. I think my approach to the battlefield has also helped to inspire other artists to pursue the same approach, as I’ve certainly seen, in my recent travels back to the battlefield, more and more artists painting the land for what it represents, a beautiful landscape, and second, lands upon which something traumatic occurred. Hopefully I continue in that vein with my oils.

My time at Gallery 30 is not over, just scaled back. I will not say that it isn’t disappointing though, for it is, however as already mentioned, it is not unusual in this business and I shall persevere. I will not cease to work in pastel either, and I hope that you won’t look on these latest events adversely. A little rain has fallen, which I shall merely gather, to drink when my throat is parched, or to feed a flower that might fall beneath my eye and upon my canvas. It is water in the stream as it gently strolls through the forest, or upon the rocks of New England’s shore. It is a rain that brings inspiration to grow in other and exciting ways. So off we go; exploring onward, around the next bend, through the open field, in our continuing quest for the colors and stories found in “Painting the Soul of America”

Friday, July 25, 2008

Just what is a pastel...?

When most people hear the word pastel, they often think of it in the terms commonly used in cosmetics or the fashion industry. The name pastel, actually originates from the French word “pastiche” because pigment used to manufacture a pastel is ground into a paste, by adding a small amount of gum binder. Once in paste form, they are rolled or shaped, often by hand into sticks. As a result, there are an infinite number of colors in the Pastel palette, ranging from soft and subtle to bold and brilliant.

Pastel is often incorrectly called a chalk both by those unfamiliar with the medium, and sadly, some who should know better. Chalk is a limestone substance, while Pastel is pure pigment taken from the earth which is the same pigment used in the making all fine art paints. Because it is pure pigment, and because it has very little binder, a Pastel, when applied to an archival ground, and framed properly is the most permanent of all media. There is no oil which can cause darkening, yellowing, or cracking, and likewise, there is no other substance or medium added which can cause fading or blistering.

Pastels from the 16th Century, which is when the medium we know today was said to be invented by the German painter Johaim Thiele, those Pastel’s are as fresh and vibrant today as the day they were painted.

It is Rosalba Carriera, a Venetian woman artist, who is credited with making first consistent use of the medium. Chardin and LaTour soon followed her lead, and they in turn were followed by such famous artists as Copley, Millet, Manet, Renoir, Toulouse-Latrec, Whistler, Childe Hassam, William Merritt Chase, and Mary Cassett. All of these artists created finished masterpieces using Pastels. But perhaps the best known and true champion of the medium is Edgar Degas who created many of his more famous ballet paintings in Pastel. In 1983, two of Degas’ Pastels sold at auction for $3,000,000 each; both of these were created around 1880. Cassett, a protégé of Degas, is credited with introducing the medium to the United States while in Philadelphia and Washington.

Today, many of our most renowned living artists, including portrait artist Daniel Greene, and landscape artists Albert Handell, Alan Flattman, Frank Federico, and Massachusetts’s own Anne Heywood, amongst others, have distinguished themselves in Pastel, and enriched the art world with this beautiful medium. ( I hope that I can follow in their footsteps)

A Pastel is created by laying strokes of the dry pigment across an abrasive ground, thus embedding the color in the "tooth" of the paper, sandboard or canvas. When the ground is completely covered with Pastel, the work is considered a Pastel painting; leaving much of the ground exposed creates what is considered a Pastel sketch. (my work is considered painting)
Techniques on applying Pastel vary per each individual artist. Pastel can be blended or used with visible strokes. Many artists favor the medium because it allows a spontaneous approach. There is no drying time, and no allowances to be made because a color has changed while drying.
Care of Pastel PaintingsAs with any fine work of art, piece of fine furniture or collectible, it is advised not to place a Pastel painting in direct sunlight. When under glass, the heat of the sun can create humidity, which could cause moisture damage to develop. Also, when cleaning the glass of a Pastel, one never sprays cleaner directly on the glass, but rather, lightly spray onto a soft lint free cloth, and then wipe the glass, from top to bottom. Whenever transported or not in a hanging position, a Pastel painting should always be face up. (it should go without saying; the no heavy items should be placed on top of the glass)

Pastel is an exciting medium that has become more and more widespread, and has gained interest daily. Why, in just the past ten years, the number of pastel societies and exhibition spaces dedicated to Pastel has grown immensely and continues to prove the medium a favorite of artists and collectors alike.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little bit of background on the Pastel medium. As always, thanks for listening, and see you out “Painting the Soul of America!”

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Connecticut Pastel Society's Signature Members Juried Exhibition

Just a quick reminder for anybody who may live in or be visiting the Danbury, Connecticut area in late July through late August, or anybody who may live on the CT/NY line, or northwest CT/MA line, that the signature members juried exhibition of the Connecticut Pastel Society will be on display at the Gregory James Gallery in New Milford, Connecticut. Included in that exhibit will be two paintings by yours truly. An opening reception is scheduled for August 2nd from 5-7 PM. I hope to attend, providing my car is out of the auto body shop due to a lady forgetting that when the car in front of you is stopped at a stop light, you should stop too, and well before you hit the back of that stopped car. I was the stopped car. Anyway, hope you can take in the show!

Thanks for listening and see you out Painting the Soul of America.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Brief Cases / Short Spans

In Webster’s Dictionary, they define the word Treasure as “money/jewels/gold” I often find myself using the word “treasure” when describing the lands of our America and how they and the stories they often have to share with each of us inspires me in my work.

Though walking upon these lands, absorbing my surroundings, breathing in the life about me instills in my heart the creative spirit, I have also often found inspiration in the written word. Many times, it will be the written word, something I have read in a book, a magazine, in an online article, that speaks to me and compels me to create a piece of artwork. One source of writing I find myself turning to for inspiration is the writings of a local author named Tom Sheehan. Tom is a true treasure in his own right. He is a master storyteller who creates yarns of interest and substance that are full of wonderful characters. Much of his work focuses on his family, friends, buddies with whom he served in Korea or on the playing fields of the hometown we share, Saugus, Massachusetts.

In addition to both being graduates of Saugus High School and members of the Saugus Athletic Hall of Fame, Tom and I also share a creative spirit. And, while inspiration from Tom’s written words can often be found in the strokes of color in my paintings, I have also found myself tied to Tom’s work in other ways; including having been a character in one of his stories, and having one of my paintings grace the cover of his book “Epic Cures” published by Press 53.

In October 2008 I will be fortunate once again to be a part of Tom’s work when my painting “Burnside’s Bridge” will find itself on the cover of his new collection of short stories “Brief Cases Short Spans” also published by Press 53. I’ve included for you here, an advance copy of that cover. I hope that this brief introduction of Tom and the image of my painting will inspire you to pick up a copy for yourself, for family or friends and discover this author who is a treasure. Perhaps with a little prodding you can get the author and artist to sign your copy.

Thanks for listening. Until next, see you out “Painting the Soul of America!”

Monday, July 14, 2008

2008 Paint the Parks - Top 200

With nearly 1000 total entries, and trust me, that’s a lot of entries for an art exhibition, yours truly has learned that my submission, "Acadia Overlook II "(sorry, blogger won't allow me to upload the picture, but you can get to it by clicking the title ) has been selected and honored as part of the top 200 paintings for the 2008 Paint the Parks. Considering this is my first time entering the competition, it’s not a bad showing at all. To think, if it weren’t for my friend and fellow artist Lisa Harman mentioning the event, I would not have entered at all. I had heard about it in the past, but had pretty much forgotten about it until Lisa sent me an email and encouraged me to enter – Thanks Lisa! Of course, now I’ll have to really get cracking in an attempt to crack the Top 100 next year!!!

Thanks for listening and see you out “Painting the Soul of America!”

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The fraternity

There is a short video some might even call it a commercial, which often airs between programs on the local PBS channel. In the video, the music from “Dances with Wolves” plays as a camera pans across the landscapes and landmarks of America. Text begins to fade in and out over each new image that simply states “This is Yours!”

The message implied is not easily lost, that each of us has a stake in this country. That we as a people own this land, that it was left to our charge, to protect it for our children and for those that Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain might call “the generations that we know not of” so that they might walk upon the fields, along the banks of rivers and the shores of lakes and oceans to ponder and to dream.

Something about that video always stirs and inspires in me my creative juices. Perhaps because much of my work echoes the same sentiments I try to instill into my paintings; it always makes me want to get out my paints, pastels, camera or easel and capture those feelings of pride in our country, the spirit of place, of belonging to the earth and to the country that we all share and own.

With creative implements in tow, and as I step across the sun drenched fields, or enjoy the serenade of the waves upon the rocks along the Northeast coast, I am truly humbled as I attempt to capture in strokes of color, the sights, sounds, aromas, and sense of place; a fraternity of feelings and emotions to which I am eternally pledge in hopes that by my creating it and then sharing it with each you, it will leave you equally as breathless and inspired as I, in the beauty that resides outside our doors.

Thanks for listening, and see you at the easel “Painting the Soul of America”

Monday, July 7, 2008

Artist Jeff Fioravanti enters the blogosphere

A friend of mine recently reminded me to write what you know as I prepared to develop this blog. I don’t know much, at least I never felt like a fountain of knowledge but a lack of knowledge hasn’t stopped me in the past, so why start now! So, here it goes my foray into the cyber realm that is blogging.

I will start this by stating, that your guess is as good as mine as to where this might lead. Frankly, I don’t know what to expect by blogging!?

In my conversations with people, as an artist and about being an artist, I have often gotten the sense that people’s expectations of artists is that they possess some profound wisdom; anyone who has met me knows that not to be true. Personal experience also tells me that artists or creative people who tend to take that ivory tower mentality thus propagating the idea that we artistic folks do reside on some ethereal plain aren’t what they pretend to be, and so, neither should you that them as such.

Conversely, I shall pretend to be nothing more than somebody who wishes to share his gift for seeing, light, shadow, tone, space, etc., with each of you. I shall share with you, the inspirations and meditations, the insights and feelings that prompted me to paint a specific scene, or moment. I state here and now, it is not always profound, but rather, just an instinct that it feels right.

Well, blogs are supposed to be short, and I can get rather long winded, and who wants to be putting people to sleep on the opening day? So, if you’re ready, so am I. Let us journey together, along rocky shores, through pristine fields, up the sides of mountains, and along cool running streams. Let us discover the world that is outside our doors, the stories that can be found in such treasures, and let us venture forth on a journey that will find us “Painting the Soul of America”