Thursday, March 29, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 Blue Springs Art Show: The Aftermath

This was a long, surreal weekend for me! 
It started it off on Friday, as I dropped off my paintings The Artist and Juan de Pareja in Blue Springs for the art show.  Then, since I was in the area, I went about my rainy day over to Burr Oak Nature Center for a nice long hike.  And I finally capped off my evening with a hilariously fun night with the youth group at my church. 

Of course, by the end of the night, I was a little bummed because I was hoping to get a phone call from the art show saying I won some award.  Last year, they called on Friday night to let me know that my painting Camel in Giza won 3rd place in its painting category.  Naturally, I assumed if I had won anything this year, I would have gotten the same courtesy call at the same time.. Friday night.  But it didn't happen.  But I just thought, "Oh well.." and went home with the hope that maybe next year I could paint something that would really WOW the art show judges enough to award me with something.

Then Saturday morning came.  And this is when my plans for the weekend suddenly changed.  All I wanted to do was go to the art show for maybe an hour at the most to check out what was there, and come home.  I wasn't even planning to go on Sunday except to pick up my paintings.  But at around 9:00 or so on Saturday morning, I got the courtesy call I didn't expect.  The lady said that The Artist won 2nd place Best of Show!  So I left a quick message on Facebook telling everyone to get to Blue Springs, and then I was right on my way over there! 

I stayed for most of the day, had lunch/dinner with mom and dad, and came back for the reception.  There was a private and public reception that attracted what seemed like at least 300 people.  Everyone at the receptions and everyone who came throughout the day received ballots to vote for the "People's Choice" for fine art and photography.  I at least knew that I had the votes of my family and friends that came during the day, but with the number of people present at the receptions, I pretty much figured my chances of winning the People's Choice were not so great, unless by some freak miracle I had enough strangers voting for my work... but honestly, who does that?  But at least I was going home with the 2nd Best of Show prize, and that made me happy enough!

So at 8:00, the awards ceremony began.  They started with the awards for the high school show, and then went through all the categories of the main show.  Then they handed out the Best of Show awards.  After all was said and done, they went right into the results of the People's Choice awards.  I was exhausted, but curious to see who won.  First they gave out the People's Choice for photography, and the lady who won was, of course, pleasantly surprised.  Then they announced the People's Choice for fine art.  "The award for 1st place People's Choice in fine art goes to..."  And I looked on with utter amazement as the lady struggled to sound out the words.. "Juan de Pareja."
Whaaaa??  I won 1st place People's Choice?!!? 

So Saturday morning started off with me simply hoping to enjoy a relaxing day.  Twelve hours later, I finally was relaxing after a very long yet amazing day of winning two awards for my work and meeting a LOT of other artists and art lovers who were kind enough to shake my hand, congratulate and compliment me on my work.  Some flat out told me how inspired they were by my paintings, and hoped to see a lot more from me in the future, and that is what I hope to give them.  I was presented with opportunities from other artists and art sponsors to get connected with other art leagues and exhibitions in the area as well. 

Sunday was a lot more relaxing.  It started with a nice morning at church, a quick lunch, and then I was headed back over to the show to say hi to a few more other friends that were coming out to see the art.  I didn't even have to take my paintings home with me.  Since they both won awards, they went straight from the art show to Blue Springs City Hall, where they are currently being exhibited until Friday, April 20th.

So, for those who missed the show and would like to see my newly award-winning paintings, I hope you will visit Blue Springs City Hall at 903 W. Main in Blue Springs, MO sometime between now and April 20th.  And for everyone who did come out to the show over the weekend, thank you all so much for your support and your congratulations.  It meant a lot!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Still Life with Tomatoes

Here is my latest still life... the second in a series of them that I'm doing.  I have two more in progress.  The underpaintings have been done, and I am still waiting for them to dry a little more before I work on them. 

Still Life with Tomatoes
oil on canvas
11x14 inches
On another note, the Blue Springs Art Show is this coming weekend, and I'm getting pretty excited for it.  I hope you all will come out if you are able!  And here you can see my version of Velazquez's awesome portrait of Juan de Pareja getting ready for his first public appearance:

Unfortunately, the lighting at this event won't be nearly as awesome as it is in the picture, but the painting itself is way better in person.

Youcef completed

Here is the finished portrait of Youcef.  For more about this portrait, see my previous post.

Brother Youcef Nadarkhani
oil on canvas
14x11 inches

Friday, March 16, 2012

Painting Youcef

As of right now I have two still life underpaintings drying, and an in-progress still life drying so I can begin glazing later.  So I figured, while I'm waiting for those to dry, why not start on a 4th project?

The other day I was thinking about a certain current event story that has really gripped me for the past several months.  An Iranian man by the name of Youcef Nadarkhani has been incarcerated in Iran since 2009, and is currently being threatened with execution simply because he has recanted Islam and accepted Christ into his life, and has served as an evangelical pastor.  With the dangerously radical Islamic theocracy that Iran is, anyone accused of abandoning Islam to preach the gospel of Christ is at a huge risk, as the penalty for apostasy is death.  So that has been Pastor Youcef's fate, except that it has somehow been dragged out since 2009, and there has been just enough international pressure on Iran to release him... which has delayed his execution.  Youcef has been pressured several times to recant his Christian faith and "return to Islam," but each time he was asked to do so, his response was, "I cannot."
So in short, Pastor Youcef has become a sort of hero for me, and certainly a champion of true faith.  I haven't been following the story for very long, but I've felt compelled to honor this courageous warrior for the faith by painting his portrait.  I wish more people knew his story, and hopefully God may use me to help make that happen.  The latest is that Youcef is still alive, and hopefully by a great miracle we'll see him reunited with his family some day.  But I suppose the fact that he is still alive after all this time is a miracle as well.

Underpainting for "Brother Youcef Nadarkhani"

Friday, March 9, 2012

Still Lifes and such

Yesterday I did a second effort at the figure in motion.. slightly more finished than the last.  There is something very mesmerizing about the drawing technique of Rob Liberace... it's a 3 hour long dvd, but I love watching it and seeing this fantastic drawing come to life from the first mark on the paper to the very last detail.  I am hoping to get a couple more of his dvds at some point, particularly The Alla Prima Portrait and The Figure Sketch in Oil.  After all, I am a painter, so I'd love to watch Liberace do a painting in the same manner as I love watching him do a full drawing.  Though, I'll have to wait until I either have some money ($85 per dvd), or I can find them on ebay and luck out with a winning bid at what would hopefully be a lower price than $85.

Figure in Motion II
graphite on toned paper
On another note, I received my official confirmation from Blue Springs, so I am definitely set to go for the art show on March 24-25.  I will be sure to let everyone know how that goes. 
In the meantime, I am working on a little series of still life paintings, and today I did a small and simple still life with pears.  I'll be doing several paintings like this, but of course I'll also be continuing to work on portraits and figures.

Still Life with Pears
oil on canvas
8x10 inches
For those interested in buying some work, I also have 7 new paintings just posted on Ebay this week (10 total as of now).  Please check those out... it is the cheapest you will ever get any of my work!!