Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Taking Advice from Richard Diebenkorn and David Ohlerking

Current State of Commission after changes, 12/22/10
I'm currently working til the bitter deadline to finish a Christmas commission. Painting commissions first of all are challenging just in the fact that you are trying to please someone else. This one is also trying because it's all from photo reference and I'm trying to pull a lot of different ideas together into one piece.

My mission: to commemorate a client's culinary food tour in Italy, from photos supplied, and some key points mentioned by the client, and to work within the scale / dimensions agreed upon.

Page from my sketchbook featuring the selected sketch (top)

Ok, so the aspects gleaned from my conversation with the client were the factors of Mt. Vesuvius always being in view throughout their trip, the amazing pizza, and all the fresh produce and fish. So I went to work on the composition my client selected, but as I've been working in actual scale with paint and color, I'm not happy about how the lower portion is working out. The scale just wasn't working for me; all the produce appearing much smaller than the pizza itself just didn't seem right to me.

In Progress Painting, 12/21/10
So, after feeling a few moments of frustration, I looked at some of the work by TraillWorks' exhibiting artist, David Ohlerking, then went and read the notes on starting a painting by Richard Diebenkorn reminding me about the importance of moving past pretty, destroying things, and starting again. This brought me back to the point of the process of painting, making the painting work. I returned to my easel, scraped away most of the bottom portion and started again, changing scale, painting directly over the streaked remaining paint. Already I'm happier with the direction.The first image in the post is the current state, as of this evening. This must be done by Friday, my plan is to finish tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

David Ohlerking Exhibit - Newton's 2nd Saturday

Detail of Cheddar Alley, 24" x 48", Oil on Panel, ©2010 David Ohlerking

The long-anticipated exhibit, David Ohlerking Paints Newton, opens this Saturday evening at TraillWorks with a reception from 5 - 8pm.  Meet David and share some holiday treats, including my grandmother's sand tarts (a simple sugar cookie with egg, flour and sugar) which Joel helped my mom and me make for the first time, and wine and coffee.

I'm so excited to share David's work formally at the gallery. Not only is David an incredibly talented painter, but he's also very prolific, leaving me with many choices as far as hanging the show. He made a trip up to Newton yesterday to finish a few painting backings so that I would be able to hang more of his work.

I first met David early this summer when he was painting free portraits in front of Cheddar Alley. Dennis Becker, husband of Cheddar Alley's owner, Kristi, brought David up to paint. I introduced myself to him and was immediately taken by his fresh approach and his pure motivation! David's work has been in the gallery since that day; I invited him to stop by and he walked over with me right then and there with a wet painting in tow and asked if I would sell them. Sensing his talent and confidence, I said sure.

Quatrefoil (JC's Grillhouse), 24" x 24", Oil on Panel, ©2010 David Ohlerking

The works included in the show span only a year in the making, but indicate several clear shifts in his approach to painting. When I first met David he was painting directly on primed Masonite panels, and now he is painting on untouched dry-erase boards, from which he wipes out the paint using stacks of business cards. His recent pieces are immensely luminous because of the subtractive nature of his painting. Not only are there paintings of Newton, but also many other neighboring NJ and PA towns such as Stroudsburg, Easton, Washington, and Chester to name a few. His works started as streetscapes and now have branched out into landscape, and there is a fantastic painting of two sheep!

Two Sheep, 24" x 24", Oil on Panel, ©2010 David Ohlerking

Read more about the exhibit and download the complete press release here. Check out some of the paintings of David's on the TraillWorks' Facebook Page.

On top of David's opening Saturday, Newton is going to be hopping with holiday festivities. It's our 2nd Saturday and every December we hold a holiday stroll. During the afternoon, Santa will be strolling Spring Street and then stopping from 4 - 5pm for pictures at Mother Moon Baby Boutique. Then the street will be lit by luminaries during the evening as carolers from the Newton schools get shoppers in the holiday spirit. Cheddar Alley, Trimmings, Truffles, and Toast of the Town are having open houses from 5 -8pm with tastings, pairings, and too many other things to list.

If you haven't made a trip to Newton, NJ yet, now's a great time. A new customer to the gallery today told me she was planning on driving to PA to shop and when she drove through Newton, after seeing all it has to offer, decided she would shop here instead. It's a charming little town, with lots of shopping, eating, and art possibilities on a little street.

I'll leave you with one final hook and reminder of my newsletter contest, if you sign up for my email newsletter by Friday, there are some private offers inside that will be sure to please you. And, you'll be entered to win a 2011 TraillWorks calendar.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Contest Time at TraillWorks!

2011 Calendar Covers
It's contest time at TraillWorks! Subscribe to the TraillWorks' Newsletter for a chance to win a Free 2011 TraillWorks Calendar. We've been putting together a very informative monthly newsletter that fills a lot of the gaps of my web site. It includes many private offers, event notifications, previews to shows, and updates on works in progress. If you haven't seen it, here's the most recent complete newsletter. I've heard from subscribers that they like to open it numerous times to really read it. I'm always worried that it's too long, but everyone I talk to says, no!

May 2011, sample page layout from 2011 Calendar

tax & shipping additional

Calendars have arrived to TraillWorks and a limited number are available. Purchase your edition today. 

CALENDAR FEATURES:28 glossy pages featuring original works painted this year by TraillWorks' owner, Jennie Traill Schaeffer. Calendars are shrink-wrapped with a cardboard insert for easier gift giving and shipping. They're always a hit as small gifts to hair dressers, teachers, and other service professionals, as well as a great stocking stuffer.

All you need to do to enter the contest is subscribe to the newsletter using the TraillWorks' newsletter form, powered by AWeber, at the right between now and December 10th. Only one winner will be selected. Winner will be notified via email. Applicable to new subscribers only. Contest runs now through December 10th at midnight. After subscribing to the newsletter, you will receive an email from asking you to verify your subscription. You must open this email and verify it or you will not be subscribed.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Recap: Apron Sharing Event

Martha and me wearing our matching vintage aprons.

On Saturday, November 20th, I hosted an Apron Sharing event at the gallery, along with guest artist, Martha C. Hall. We decided to host this as a way to end our exhibit, Two Sides to Every Story. It was a tremendous success! We invited the public to attend, bringing the aprons of their lives.

The idea came about after I gave a lecture on the history of aprons that sparked a flurry of conversation and story-telling. Martha and I realized that people really wanted to talk about their aprons and the people who wore them.

Martha sported both her artist's apron and her woman's work apron, and gave the honor of wearing her dad's dead duck, turkey carving apron to her son, Alex, who attended. I had my husband, Lee's, grandma Fran's aprons on hand, which have been featured in my paintings, plus a stunning pink and grey taffeta vintage apron encrusted with rhinestones given to me by Martha. The aprons spanned the decades, from the Depression and contemporary aprons from Haiti.  

Artist, Martha C. Hall, sharing her dad's turkey carving apron
Martha wrote a blog post last week recalling some of the details of the attendees' aprons. Here are some of her thoughts:

This apron belonged to my dad and was the one he wore at Thanksgiving and  Christmas to carve the turkey. My siblings and I all have such vivid and fond memories of Dad in the "dead duck" apron, so when it arrived in my mailbox via my brother, well, I was extraordinarily excited! I'm happy to have pictures of it on my son and happy to know it's still in the family.

Martha and her son, Alex, a really good sport
There were aprons that belonged to grandmothers, aprons made by a grandfather who was a tailor and did all the family sewing, small aprons meant for children and made by children. Now that I'm fascinated by aprons it's amazing to see how many styles and purposes there are out there. Most aprons are obviously made for work, but there are many more that are so fancy one would never do the cooking in them. They are for dress-up, like serving cocktails to company. It's amazing how the stories about our aprons connect us to our family - and collective - memories. I don't think my fascination is going to end anytime soon. Read the rest of her blog here.

Visitor, Claudia, sharing her apron.

Sara Megletti's mother talking about some not-so-fond memories of her Depression-era apron.

Sara Megletti, owner of PB&J, talks about her Depression-era apron with Karen Balzano and me.
I look forward to more explorations of the apron artistically, thinking about its meaning and various ways to depict it and doing more with aprons at the gallery in the future. If anyone out there is designing and making aprons I would love to consider selling them at TraillWorks. You can get in touch with me via email.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Student Saturday - TraillWorks Holiday Windows and Logo Designs

Detail of my windows (TraillWorks and the Springboard Shoppes)
My students never fail to impress me! When given a challenge, they generally rise to the occasion and create more than I imagine possible. For the past couple of months, my younger students and teen students have been working on two community-based projects: designing Candy Land-inspired store logos for Spring Street merchants participating in a post-holiday parade scavenger hunt, and designing my holiday windows which the entire community will see.

This is the first official unveiling of my holiday windows! It's tough to see all of the detail because of window glare. Forgive my photography; I'm a painter. Thank you Alyse Delaney, Emily Haag, Helen Walter-Cardinal, and Jake Scordato for your initiative, creativity, and enthusiasm. Alyse, Emily and Jake did all of the brainstorming, designing, and construction; Helen joined the three in the midst of production and helped out tremendously. 

After learning about the basic tenets of window dressing and touring Spring Street looking at the good and the bad, I gave my students the theme of "Newton Renaissance" and they took off. What transpired was a collaborative design, based around David Ohlerking's work, since that will be featured in my windows. They chose to select a variety of Newton buildings on and near Spring Street to line the bottom of the windows. These were all sketched out, then drawn to scale, and cut out with X-Acto knives. We discussed back lighting the buildings with spots so they would show up at night. 

To draw our eye down, we used a lavender tulle donated by Alyse's mom, used icicle lights to mimic the stars and hung silver ornaments. I came up with the canvas panels to display the jewelry in the center window, but Alyse and Helen helped select the jewelry to be showcased. 

What is so impressive, is not only the quality of the work these kids did, but the extra hours after school and on weekends that they elected to put in to meet our installation deadline on Wednesday. Many, many thanks to them and their parents for their cooperation and support. You will have to come and see them in person, particularly at night for their full effect.

Center Window with Jewelry Display (Maxwell & Molly's Closet, Charm, Mother Moon, Courthouse)

Right window (Cheddar Alley, Springboard Shoppes, TraillWorks)

Left window (Pennies Building, English Building, Statue on the Green, Fire Museum)

Alyse Delaney, Me, Jake Scordato working on the windows in the studio

The other project my students completed this month were logo designs for sixteen merchants who participated in a Candy Land themed scavenger hunt after today's holiday parade. I taught my students (age 6 - 14) some of the basics of logo and brand design, they researched the shop they selected and then designed a logo that would be suitable with the theme. 

Here's the map that was passed out to around 300 people in Newton today. They are all terrific! I'm so excited that their work has been shared with so many.

Logos designed by (from top left) Julia Young, Jessie Sparling, Niki Manning, Cailey Pokrzywa, Miles Shaw, Hannah Manning, Maddie Chymiy, Katelyn O'Connor, Will Somma, Noa Shaw, Natalya de Waal, Rachel Young, Ava Levin, Samantha Givone, Phoebe Nezamis, and Larson de Waal

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Share the Warmth of an Apron, and a Coat

Aprons have such strong memories attached to them and they have been the focus of my artwork, and Martha C. Hall's work that has been hanging in the gallery for the past month or so. Our joint exhibit, Two Sides to Every Story, comes down in two weeks, but before that happens, we planned an event for this Saturday that you don't want to miss . . . .

Tied and Released #3, Oil on Panel, 24" x 12", ©2010 Jennie Traill Schaeffer
The Daily Round, Collaged Quilt, 20.5" x 20.5", ©2010 Martha C. Hall

From 5- 8pm on Saturday, November 20th, we're inviting the public to join us for an evening of storytelling and apron sharing. We want to hear about your memories tied to your aprons! When our exhibit first opened back in October, I gave a lecture, which unfortunately is too long to share on YouTube and I know nothing about editing, but it focused on an overview of the history of the apron, and how it has affected woman's lives. It was so provocative to people that the audience lingered for quite some time sharing stories and interesting memories that had been lodged for years in their subconscious.

So, Martha and I decided to have this event to honor the women in our lives, give other's a voice, and learn more about the past and the present. We'll have a very loose format, since we've never done this before, as well as refreshments and wine.

In addition, we'll explain to attendees what National Tie One on Day is and how to participate. And, in the season of giving, TraillWorks will be collecting coats, hats, and mittens Saturday and through the 17th of December for the Gift of Warmth drive sponsored by the United Way and NJ Herald. For each person who donates, I'll extend them 10% off their next purchase at TraillWorks.

As Martha and I wrap up the end of our exhibit together, we'd love to share our work, learn more about your histories through your apron strings, and help others in need.

So, go ahead and "tie one on!"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Aprons at TraillWorks

Guests at the Opening of Two Sides to Every Story, 10/9/10
After months of discussion and hard work, Two Sides to Every Story, has finally come together as a big success. When I moved to 214 Spring Street earlier this year and realized that I had some pretty big walls to fill, my first thought was to talk to my friend and artist, Martha C. Hall. I met Martha several years ago at a Business of Art meeting (an organization I used to run). She captivated everyone with her amazing fabric work. She was very shy, but was quite impressive to me about her seriousness and dedication to her work.

Last winter, Martha was at my old studio and we got to talking about ideas for our work and found we both had similar interests in aprons. I suggested that we regroup in 2010 and see where we were. We met soon after my move, brainstormed a variety of ideas, and came up with the name Two Sides to Every Story. We set a date for and October show and started working. 

Neither of us were overly aware of what the other was working on. And when Martha dropped by to hang the show, we were both amazed at how well everything worked together and at the differences in our vision of the apron. 

Martha on the day of the hanging.
Me, in front of our work.

The show opened officially with a reception on October 9th, which also happened to be Newton Heritage Day. During the day, I gave a lecture on the history of aprons, their symbolism and their roles in womens' lives, all connected to our exhibit. In the evening, Martha and I greeted guests and talked about the work.  As part of the ongoing exhibit, Martha taught a one-day workshop titled No Sew Fabric. Both the opening and the workshop were well-attended and enjoyed by all. I have a photo album posted on Facebook to see more of what we made. 

No Sew Fiber Workshop Participants with Instructor, Martha C. Hall, 10/24/10
It's been an extraordinary experience working with Martha, as a friend and artist. Exhibiting with Martha encouraged me to prioritize my own artwork production and explore new ideas. I love seeing her work every day, and I would be remiss if I didn't say that she has helped bring new people into the gallery through her workshop and our exhibit. The success of our show together has already encouraged a potential collaborative exhibition with another local artist next year, Karin Lowney-Seed
Martha and Me Talking to Guests.
Martha Talking to Guests.

Martha and her Friend.

Lee Goldberg (my husband), Me, Don and Adele Sirota (Lee's aunt and uncle)
Ibbie Boehnke (my aunt), Me, Martha Traill Schaeffer (my mom and successful jewelry artist).

Stay tuned for another post in the next few days about an apron sharing event she and I are hosting on November 20th at the gallery.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Student Saturday - Visual

Students at TraillWorks have been busy since my last Student Saturday post back in July - I'm so sorry! Time goes when you're creating and teaching. So I'm going to give you a lot to look at and a brief summary of the work. In my next Student Saturday post, I'll be writing about some exciting upcoming, community-based holiday projects most of my students are working on. 

Turtle, Ceramic with Rub n' Buff, by Jesse Sparling
Elephant, Ceramic with Rub n' Buff, Niki Manning

Platypus, Ceramic with Rub n' Buff, Hannah Manning

Examples of carved animals created through subtractive sculpting (students begin with a brick of clay and then carve away to allow the form to emerge). Subtractive sculpting was the method used by Michelangelo to carve the David, among other works. These sculptures were loosely inspired by stylized Zuni carvings, but then finished with metallic Rub n' Buff paints. 

Castle of Sisterhood, Mixed Media, Taige Kellenberger

The Sisters' Fantasy Tree, Mixed Media, Baily Kellenberger

The two drawings above began as an architecture project. The students looked at architectural flash cards featuring Greek / Roman conventions. They then used individual forms to create their own unique, modern architectural design. Use of space was important to consider, both girls above created spaces that they might play in with their sisters. The drawings were started in pencil, colored in India ink pens and watercolor washes, and then the backgrounds painted in gold tempera. 

Untitled, Acrylic and Collage on Illustration Board, Julia Young, Age 9
Cow Collage, Acrylic Collage, Rachel Young, Age 7

The Young sisters worked on the above paintings over the course of several months, started when I was still at 135 Spring Street. They took some time off and then re-enrolled after my relocation and finished these pieces over the summer. These were the girls' first experiences painting in acrylic. Rather than paint the backgrounds, they both chose to collage using silk-screened and rice papers.

Lamp Post, Pen on Paper, Will Somma, Age 10

This drawing was the first piece that Will did with me since his return to TraillWorks this summer. I've been teaching Will off and on since he was five years old when I was teaching in my home studio. For this piece, Will worked on several sequential timed sketches, starting with a few two-minute drawings, and then working up to 5 and 10-minutes. After he drew the final full-length drawing, I suggested that he take elements of the lamppost and extend it out into the paper, creating an interesting stylization and abstraction. The piece is finished with India ink pens and colored pencils. He's come a long way since we first started together!

Gumby, Acrylic on Board, 15" x 20", June Nezamis, Adult

Trolls, Acrylic on Illustration Board, 15" x 15", Phoebe Nezamis, Age 15

All Interlocked, Acrylic on Board, 15" x 20", Phillip Nezamis, Age 12

The Nezamis family finished these design paintings a few months ago. Working with a single subject matter, they had to create a unified design incorporating overlapping, scale, repetition, variety, emphasis, movement, pretty much using all of the elements and principles of design. Once they came up with a design, color was chosen by picking a specific color scheme. This was their first exposure to color mixing. We worked with Liquitex Matt Basics acrylics, which act similarly to gouache, but are much easier to work with.

Stone Castle Cake, Watercolor and Colored Pencil, Noa Shaw, Age 9

You know of my interest in cakes. So many of my students have created 2-D watercolor concept drawings for cake designs. This was a birthday cake designed by Noa with the theme of castles. After looking at many cake designs by famed cake bakers, he researched castle pictures, and focused on their texture and architectural features to achieve this interesting design. The finished drawing features watercolor washes, ink pens, and graphite.  

Untitled, Pastel and Marker, Ava Grace Levin, Age 6

Here's a new twist on Harry the duck by new student Ava Levin. If you look close you should be able to find some Harrys in there. Ava decided to finish the drawing by using farm buildings and machinery. A nice ode to Sussex County!

The Lion and the Unicorn, Mixed Media Relief, Miles Shaw, Age 7

After reading a Mother Goose nursery rhyme book, Miles chose one about a lion and a unicorn battling over a town. He illustrated the nursery rhyme by creating a relief sculpture from foam core, Styrofoam, packing peanuts, and white cording. He had to utilize the principles and elements of design to visually convey his illustration and build up enough of a relief to create contrast so the forms are visible in all white. 

Percolator, Charcoal on Ingres, Hannah Manning, Age 10

Glass Pitcher, Charcoal on Ingres, Jesse Sparling, Age 13

Glass Pitcher, Charcoal on Ingres, Niki Manning, Age 12
Lastly, more work by Jesse Sparling, and the Manning sisters. The girls chose an object in the studio from which to draw. Using vine charcoal, compressed charcoal and charcoal pencils, they drew from observation and focused on shading values, pulling out highlights with a kneaded eraser. 

Bravo everyone! I'm always so excited by what is achieved and created by my students at TraillWorks. So much interesting stuff is going on now. So check in soon for another Student Saturday to find out what's going on in the lesson studio.