Friday, February 25, 2011

Back in the Studio

Mini Perker, Oil on Matt Board, 5.25" x 5.25" ©2011 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

I wax poetic to my students all the time about the importance of working outside of class, continuity of production, sketching, etc. But, do I always take my own advice? Unfortunately no. I'm no dummy. I know the importance of prioritizing my artwork, but running a business and being a mom make it challenging at best. Stuff comes up - people walk into the gallery, my son gets sick, I get sick, I'm busy teaching or marketing the business.

Each year since I've run a gallery I've produced somewhere around 25 pieces of original work. And, that's including commissions. Not complaining - commissions are great income and have historically been subjects that interest me or are very much related to my own area of focus: vintage appliances, aprons, and wedding cakes. But, it is truly hard to juggle work/life balance - sleeping, eating, getting my son to and from daycare, spending enough time at the studio. Something's always got to give, so unfortunately when I look at the finances, sometimes it's my artwork.

Ugggh. Enough! Starting this week, I've been in the studio for the first time since early January. I've had great enjoyment and growth in the past when I was disciplined to create a work a day, or at the very least set a clear goal for myself. Maybe by the sheer fact that I'm blogging about this, I will have someone other than myself to own up to. Here's mine for the rest of 2011 - create a minimum of two works a week (no restriction on size, medium, or time), giving me a total of 68 works (34 weeks left of 2011, x 2)! It's a lofty goal, but I think it is reasonable. I'm going to post a weekly blog post of each week's finished pieces. So check back at the end of next week and see what I've done - I need your support! In the interim, you can follow me daily on Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, February 18, 2011

TraillWorks Student Saturday

Graphite drawing by June Nezamis
It's time for another Student Saturday post! A lot of artwork is getting completed and framed at TraillWorks in preparation for the annual student show, opening on March 12th. From 4 - 7pm the gallery will be bustling with students, parents, grandparents, and friends to take a peak at the works of these growing artists in a very professional gallery setting. Quite an honor for these students - children, teens and adults. Here's a link to an album of pictures from the 1st Annual Student Show held in June of 2009 at my former location on Spring Street.

There will be about fifteen students exhibiting, with each student including at the least one work, with many contributing two or more, depending on what they've finished and how long they've been taking lessons. Each student has been asked to write a reflective statement for each piece they are showing which will be on display explaining each work.

All of the exhibiting artists are asked to bring an edible sweet or savory that they've made for the reception. As part of the event, students and guests will have an opportunity to vote for what they think is the most artistically presented sweet or savory. All of the exhibiting artists are asked to bring an edible appetizer or dessert that they've made for the reception. Four prizes will be given to the winners: first, second, third, and an honorable mention. The winners of the contest will receive a gift certificate with the option of choosing either a lesson credit equivalent to a group lesson for one person, a gift certificate to Dick Blick Art Store, a gift certificate to a Spring Street business of your choice, or a custom cookie package from A Cake Dream in Randolph that features your artwork.

Please join us for an artistic evening to celebrate the accomplishments of these talented students. A recognition ceremony will be held at 6pm that evening.

In the meantime, here are some pics of recent student work, some of which will be on display for the exhibit.

Recycled Collage by Maddie Chymiy

Self-Portrait, Graphite by Will Somma

Sea Turtle, Ceramic by Will Somma

Thursday, February 3, 2011

February Events at TraillWorks

Back when I was entering my last year of study at Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts, I took an advanced drawing class with then, visiting artist, Cara Tomlinson. Prior to that class I had been pretty entrenched in realism and traditional ways of seeing. It was in that class that Cara expanded my notions of process and outcome in drawing, and created some experimental pieces which I'm digging out for this show.

I can't recall all the details of the class, but what sticks out in my fuzzy memory of eleven years ago was a drawing assignment influenced by the I Ching and a daily drawing project. The I Ching, or Book of Changes, is an ancient Chinese text, which I recall Cara referencing quite frequently throughout the semester.  The balance of opposites, process of evolution of events, and acceptance of the certainty of change are at the core of the text's philosophical and cosmological systems. We had to develop a composition which was purely based on a system, and it was up to us to determine the system, but we had to stick to whatever structure we developed. I created a gridded charcoal drawing, broken down into two rows of rectangles, each rectangle assigned a number. It will be interesting to look at this piece again, because I can't recall exactly what I drew into each "cell". I have the notes from this course somewhere in my studio, and will try to find them for my gallery talk on the 12th.

The daily drawing project was literal. Our only criteria was that each day of the semester required some sort of drawing on a 9" x 12" piece of paper, Arches was recommended, and to this day I still love drawing on Arches hot press, 140lb. paper. And the drawing, dictated by our own definitions of the act, had to be on paper. So, a drawing a day for an entire semester; I should have about 80 drawings. Many of the works I did were preparatory or thinking drawings for larger paintings, others were pure abstractions exploring color and media, some attempts at drawing from memory, and then towards the end of the semester I started doodling on note-laden post it notes that were affixed to the Arches paper. Hmmm, certainly beyond my boundaries of the definition of drawing the time!

Please join me as I travel back in time, to where my ideas began to open up. You'll be seeing some of these works for the first time in a decade, as they've been boxed, rolled, and traveled all over NJ. RSVP your attendance through our event on Facebook.

The opening reception, more like an open house, will be held at TraillWorks on Saturday, February 12th from 1 - 8pm. At 4:30pm I'm going to give a gallery talk in the hopes of bringing clarity and possibly some background behind the drawings.

And, throughout the day on February, 12th, also a 2nd Saturday, Main Street Newton and many participating Spring Street merchants are hosting a Sweetheart Walk!  From 1 - 5pm, you can participate in a word jumble and enter to win one of two gift baskets filled with prizes and gift certificates from merchants. Stop in at TraillWorks to pick up a jumble form and get more information about the contest. Additionally, many shops are open late 'til 8pm, offering specials and events. Some of the highlights, An Open Book is hosting the Jumble, Mother Moon Baby Boutique is holding a Valentine Party from 2 - 3pm, and all three Spring Street-centric restaurants are offering special Valentine's Day dinners.

And, if you missed David Ohlerking's exhibit at TraillWorks, it's traveling . . . to Andre's! As of tomorrow, barring any major maladies, David's work will be hanging at Andre's Restaurant at 188 Spring Street through the middle of March.

Whew! I think that's just about all the events a teaching artist, gallery owner can handle. Well, maybe too much. I'll be getting into that studio soon, so keep an eye on a post soon about new artwork by yours truly. Until then, hopefully I'll see you on the 12th!