Today, I’m sprinkling your eyes with images, because writing time is limited. There’s framing to do, and promotions to distribute, and labels to make, and art festival preparations to assemble & load. I’ll be in two shows this weekend: Beverly Hills Art Show, and the opening of I Wish I Had Friends Like That! at Flower Pepper Gallery (see the details below). Are you showing your work anywhere this weekend? Please share location and times in the comments.
This is a larger (for me) landscape watercolor for the Beverly Hills Art Show. The first year I left my job to paint full time, I strolled through a paint-out at the San Juan Capistrano Mission. Artists were everywhere, painting in public, at ease, chatting and laying down gorgeous pigments like it was all so easy. I remember thinking “Someday, I’ll paint and chat and exhibit to strangers like this, and I won’t be knock-kneed-nervous about it either.” I snapped the reference photo for this watercolor that day. Painting this now, many years & lessons about the art world later, felt like an acknowledgement that if you want something bad enough, and you work towards it in manageable check-boxes, you can make it happen. 🙂
On Saturday night, after I close up my booth for the next day in Beverly Hills, I’ll be scooting to Pasadena for the opening of I Wish I Had Friends Like That! at Flower Pepper Gallery. Here are some excerpts from the press release:
- The Flower Pepper Gallery is pleased to present I Wish I Had Friends Like That!, an exhibition curated by Emmy award-nominated Pasadena artist Amy Van Gilder. A Peabody Award-winning veteran of The Muppet Show and Walt Disney Imagineering, Van Gilder has spent four decades creating and building iconic characters, including work for The Labyrinth, The Great Muppet Caper, Fraggle Rock and The Dark Crystal. (more below…)
- This unique exhibition brings together work by 25 artists Van Gilder has collaborated with throughout her career, from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design to The Jim Henson Company to The Walt Disney Company. “It is a grand grouping of work by artists I’ve known over a lifetime. Some are quite acknowledged, others not, but they all make great art,” says Van Gilder.
- The group includes Michael K. Frith, former creative director for Jim Henson Productions, friend and editor for Dr. Seuss, and founder of children’s education company Sirius, creator of award-winning PBS puppet show Between the Lions; John Stevenson, British animation filmmaker, puppeteer and director of Kung Fu Panda; virtuoso paper sculptor Leo Monahan whose work is held in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection; Mari Kaestle, an Emmy Award-winning designer who helped create Miss Piggy; Sibyl Rubottom, a California-based book artist and founder of the Bay Park Press in San Diego; calligrapher and type designer Louis Lemoine, a former Walt Disney Imagineer who created Mickey’s handwriting for Disneyland parks worldwide; celebrated Washington-based designer Leslie LePere, known for his illustrations of books by Tom Robbins; and renowned Salem, Massachusetts-based maritime watercolorist Racket Shreve. (more below….)
- The exhibition will include never-before exhibited sketches by Jim Henson for Muppet Show characters, alongside photographs of the puppets built by Van Gilder based on the sketches. The show will also feature whooping crane puppets newly built by Van Gilder and inspired by the puppetry work of Heather Henson, Jim Henson’s daughter, for the International Crane Foundation.
- A significant number of contributing artists have roots in the Los Angeles and Pasadena area. Bruce Vaughn, the former head of Walt Disney Imagineering, is a member of the executive board of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Shelley Short, a creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, and Pasadena-based multidisciplinary visual artist Luciano Martinez were both trained at the Art Center College of Design, as was Bartholomew Cooke, an up-and-coming young photographer whose work has appeared on the cover of Variety, The Atlantic, WIRED and TIME magazine.
So, if you’re local to Los Angeles, and you’re in the mood to look at art, talk about art, and meet some artists from a variety of disciplines, come to the Beverly Hills Art Show, and Flower Pepper Gallery. I’ll see you there, and there. 🙂
And I’ll see you in the next post –
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To paint is to love again, live again, see again. To get up at the crack of dawn in order to take a peek at the watercolors one did the day before, or even a few hours before, is like stealing a look at the beloved while she sleeps. The thrill is even greater if one has first to draw back the curtains. How they glow in the cold light of early dawn!