Friday, May 29, 2009

URI Visual Arts Sea Grant

Cynthia Emerlye:

Yesterday I mailed off my entry to the University of Rhode Island Visual Arts Sea Grant, a competition held each year by the URI art department for artwork which concerns oceanic, aquatic, or coastal matters. Since I grew up in Rhode Island, I decided to enter. Thanks to Carol Egbert for alerting me to the contest.The project I am proposing is a series of black and white drawings called "Aquatic Bouquets," which are stylized representations of real water plants in tangled groupings. I hope to do a set of 18 to 24 images. Here are some I've already completed, which I used for the competition:

Each one is done in three versions: a line drawing (which will become part of an adult coloring book,) an original white on black, and a digitally inversed black on white version. Prints of some of these can be found in my online shop at

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Past to Present

In my past, I've worked at lots of "arty" jobs, from painting faces on mannequins during my years in art school to doing calligraphy and creating computer graphics and architectural renderings as a free lance artist. Maybe my most challenging and rewarding job (and it was way more than just a job) was teaching art, K to 12, in public schools in Massachusetts and Virginia, most recently at Needham High School in Needham, Massachusetts.
When, after fifteen years in the classroom, I left teaching to return to the studio, my first series was watercolor still lifes of pears. The pears themselves and the ways I could arrange them reminded me of the students I missed and the relationships between and among them! So, in this painting called, "Gossip", the lovely, rounded, human-like pear shapes with "talking stems" captured a real sense of a difficult relationship.

These pear paintings amused me and kept me entertained. So, I continued on, depicting a variety of pears in a variety of situations. Different pears had different personalities--and organic pears were the most interesting. They had bumps and unusual shapes and just begged to be included.

"Hide" is the name of this second painting. I loved working with a limited palette and juxtaposing the softness of the fruit with the crispness of the folded paper. And, although in the present I've moved on to more abstract work, these realistic pear watercolors still have a special place in my heart....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

12 x 12 Show

This oil painting of an Aloe is one of two of my paintings that will be a part of the 12 x 12 show at Studio Place Arts Gallery in Barre, Vermont. The show will be up from June 16 to July 25.

Being an artist is not simply figuring out what to paint, what medium to use, and then painting until you're satisfied. An artist also has to finding venues to show and sell art.

I learned about Studio Place Arts from another artist and went to their web site to learn more. The mention of a 12 x 12 show in the Calls for Art section caught my eye. I submitted, via email, and about three weeks later an email arrived that started with the words, "We are pleased to invite you ..."

I am pleased to be invited!

For information about Studio Place Arts *click here*

To see my paintings at the Woodstock Folk Art Gallery *click here*

---- Carol Egbert

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ladybugs or Canvas

Every spring my studio seems to call out for a thorough cleaning. Time to sweep up the ladybug carcasses that litter the windowsills, mop up the dusty floor, throw away the dried up tubes of paint, and put everything into a reasonable order. I haven't done it yet, and each time I walk into the space I am a bit torn between wanting things to be tidy and really needing to paint.

This year I've had more distractions following my return from Sydney than usual and I really haven't struck the comfortable pace of working most every day. And I seem especially good at finding projects like planting a new perennial garden or digging up dandelions that keep me from working in the studio. But this is an old story, one that I believe many artists face from time to time. It can be really difficult to get back to work after a break, and can be guilt inducing and frustrating.

But I'm slowly making some inroads and that feels good. Happily I decided to pack a big box with 35 small canvases that I'd started working on in Sydney and to check them in on the plane with my duffel. It was worth the effort as these have become my transition pieces to bridge the gap between the two locations. My work table is now filled with canvases that require layer upon layer of paint, then scratching and sanding, to hopefully achieve surfaces rich in color and

texture. I'm not quite sure now this multi-panel piece will hang in the end, but I'm sure it will reveal itself when it is closer to completion. And although it's contributing to the mess in my studio I am very pleased to have a direction to follow.

So let the cobwebs continue to form and mud and grass clippings litter the floor. Maybe sometime this summer I'll find the right moment to clean.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Hemp - Cannabis Collection

Cynthia Emerlye:
I've finally pulled together a new Hemp-Cannabis collection of greeting cards, prints, and posters.
These are mostly designs I created for a small Vermont company called Benevolence Bound, which is dedicated to the promotion and use of industrial hemp in the US, the only industrialized country which does not recognize hemp as different from marijuana. The hemp plant is a renewable alternative to wood pulp and is an excellent fiber for clothing, paper, etc.

Here are a few of the hemp designs made into greeting cards. They are sold in my shop at 1000Markets here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hi All

It is a beautiful spring day here at our house on Vulture Mountain in Gaysville, Vermont.  We moved into our little log cabin full time last September after 25 years of traveling back and forth from Massachusetts and Virginia when our permanent homes were there.  What a gift!  No matter what the weather is, the view across the White River Valley toward the Delectable Mountains is always amazing.  Today it is every shade, tint and hue of green from the bright yellow green of new leaved maples and birches, to the dark rich green of the pine trees.
I’ve always loved landscape, so this is a wonderful place for me to land.  The newly plowed fields, the fast moving river, the rock formations, the hills and mountains and sky nourish me in a way that nothing else does.  And so my paintings reflect this interest—or maybe passion.   As abstracts, they reference the shape, movement and colors of land and sky. 
Most recently I have been working on a series of acrylics on gessoed paper that are based on nebulae as photographed by the Hubble Telescope.  The Eagle Nebula is a landscape in formation. Order out of chaos or chaos out of matter?  It is an amazing window into our past and future.
                            ---Kathy Fiske

Why my Avatar is a Group of Pears

Before inspiration arrived in the mail about seventeen years ago, I had worked with clay, designed jewelry, created quilts and needlework.  

Unexpectedly, nine tubes of watercolor paints and a note from my mother saying, 'Give it a try’, changed my life.  

I bought watercolor paper, a few brushes and a number of books and began to paint.
Pears were good subjects - their form is recognizable even if not expertly rendered.  An apple might be mistaken for a tomato or pepper but pears are pears.  One pear led to another.  I enjoyed the challenge of painting a pear that transitioned from red to green with pink, orange and yellow in between.

Big, small, lumpy, round, elongated, red, green, maroon, for nearly a year I painted only pears.

Now I paint with both oil and watercolor and create all sorts of paintings, but if I'm stuck,
stumped by a blank piece of paper or an empty canvas, I return to my patient models - pears.

This is the painting for the first in my series of fruit note cards.

 Visit my online shop to purchase note cards and paintings by  *clicking here*.
                                                                                           ---- Carol Egbert

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Influences on my Art

What a privilege to live and work in Vermont! I’ve recently moved up here after being a part-timer for ten years and it feels so wonderful. I’m inspired by the beauty and by my artist friends who are a great source of energy, support and ideas.

As a mixed media painter and someone who loves to mess with found objects, I’m much influenced by my surroundings. One very fortunate part of being married to an Australian is that we live in Sydney for about four months every year. That landscape and environment is so different from Vermont …..I find it’s colors, textures, and traditions also making their way into my work. This textured piece incorporates the reds found in the Australian bush as well as some Aboriginal painting influences.

I look forward to posting musings about making art, artists that I love, and what makes art such an integral part of my life!

(To see more of my Australia paintings, click here.)
-Barbara Bartlett

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Upcoming Announcements & Events

Dear Readers: You will be able to read about the details of our announced events on this post. It will be updated periodically, so please return often. A brief list of what is happening will always be in the right column under "Announcements." You can link to this post from there.

June 16 to July 25 - Carol Egbert: I will have two paintings in the “12 X 12” show at Studio Place Arts (SPA) in Barre, Vt. The show runs from June 16 to July 25, 2009, with an opening reception scheduled for Friday, June 19, from 5:30-7:30 PM.

To read Carol's blog post about this event, click here.

June 9th to August 29th - Kathy Fiske will show "Recent Abxtracts"at the Perfect Pear Cafe, Main Street, Bradford, Vermont: It's located in a beautiful old mill building by the falls and has a yummy menu! Please visit anytime during restaurant hours--lunch is Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 am to 3 pm and dinner is Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 8:45 pm. Hope you can check it out and you're especially invited to the opening on June 20th from 4 to 5 pm.

Cynthia Emerlye - an Introduction

Hello everyone!
As one of the artists in this group, I would like to introduce myself and tell you a wee bit about the kind of art I make. Like the other wonderful women here, I live in the Upper Connecticut Valley of Vermont, in North Pomfret, a small rural town near Woodstock. I claimed two small rooms of the upstairs of my charming 220 year old farmhouse as a studio where I paint, draw, and sew wearable art. For several decades I did my creating informally, in the background of mothering six children. Now that they are grown, my art is out in front, a daily enterprise. Let me show you samples of what I do:

Black & Whites: These are ink drawings of botanicals. My style is ornate and stylized (semi-realistic. ) I am drawn to fantasy-realism, as you will see. Nearly all my work has certain repeating motifs, one of which is a tangle of ribbons or cords which gather disparate elements together. My black and whites usually take three forms: a line drawing, a white on black, and an inverse created on the computer. I have created a line of greeting cards, borders, prints, and company logos in this medium. (Click here to see more Black & Whites.)

Color Illustrations
: For a long time I worked in colored pencil. But that medium is very hard on the hands, so I work predominatly in watercolor and acrylic now, sometimes in a pastel-watercolor blend if I want a particularly dreamy look. I would love to move to oil but the longer time involved is not well suited to illustration. This medium has produced a line of greeting cards, book illustrations, and some private commissions as well as individual paintings for sale. (Click here to see more illustration.)

Kirigami Papercuts
: This folk art is something I've done with my family for decades on a seasonal basis. Every year we host a "Snowflake Party" open house where many people come to cut paper snowflakes. A few years ago, after so many asked me to make them papercuts, I began laminating or framing them and offering some for sale. This is a seasonal occupation, mostly done in the winter months. (Click here to see more of my kirigami.)

Art to Wear
: I have been a life-long sewer and, as in all things, like to make elaborate, one-of-a-kind creations. My hats and jackets have been shown in small craft shops, art galleries, and at the annual DeCordova Museum wearable art show. This craft is also something I do seasonally, so what I produce in a year is limited. (Click here for more of my wearable art.)

Thanks for your interest! I look forward to contributing more general musings about art in future weeks.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Musing on Color - Blues

Painting refines my eye and makes more visually aware. A word like 'blue' opens the door to infinite possibilities.

On sunny, cloudless days, at the horizon the sky is cerulean blue and directly overhead it is cobalt blue.

Prussian blue is important when painting blueberries and blackberries.

Chicory flowers range from cobalt, to periwinkle, to baby blue.

Blue eyes have flecks of silver or green.

Dark veins on leaves have touches of ultramarine.

Shadows painted with blues bring life to a painting.

Cerulean, cobalt, and ultramarine are always on my palette. I keep manganese, Prussian, and pthalo close at hand.

To see some of my paintings click here. -- Carol Egbert

Thursday, May 7, 2009

We Are Born!

We five art-wise women are happy to announce the opening of our new blog. Please follow along with us as we discuss our new work, art in general, what we are planning, and what is on our minds.