Maryland Hall

Coffee & Conversations with Franz K and Robert M by Patrice Drago

I knew I wanted to do a very large abstract painting about coffee, since my caffeine intake has been increasing steadily.  I started with a 48" x 48" canvas, I took a few long sweeps with a very large brush.  I felt like Franz Kline had just shown up. (below left)

I added Titanium Buff to suggest cream.  Five years ago, I bought this amazing sheet of waxy paper with wire running through it, and never had a place to use it - until now.  I love that it is heavy duty, but you can still see the brown paint underneath. (above center)

I felt like it needed a blue shape - bold but soft.  I added it, and then felt Robert Motherwell had just joined Franz and me.  The idea of the painting emerged - If I could go back in time, I would love to have coffee with these two iconic American Abstract Expressionists.  So what would we talk about? (above right)

On a very large table, I set up my supplies and pulled out dozens of magazines, books, music sheets and catalogs, and completely immersed myself in finding images and text that would imply, symbolize and directly state topics that we would cover if we had unlimited coffee and time to chat. 

Because this canvas is so large, I had to get on a ladder to take pictures as I arranged and rearranged the collage items to find the right placement. I always take pictures of paintings in progress to give me a different and framed perspective on it; for this part of the process, I took over 100 pictures, having fun with the conversation in my head. 

At this point, I knew I needed to expand the blue for a more balanced composition, but I wasn't ready to paint it, because I wanted it to lay on top of the finished collage, and I wasn't there yet.  I took painter's tape and laid it down, moving it around until it was where I wanted the final paint stroke to be.

After fixing all of the collage items, I replaced the tape with blue paint. (above left)

To finish the painting, I added white paint with large amount of pure soap, shaken to create bubbles for the froth.  I then added interference violet in streaks through the cream to signify some exciting moments of conversation. (above right)

Now I can't wait to get in my time machine and invite more great people in history to have coffee and conversation.

 

For more information about Patrice, visit her Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence Patrice Drago takes you on a tour of her studio in Studio 305A.

When you first walk in to my studio, you are facing a partial wall with a banner welcoming you to my studio.  I chose the detail of “Elation”, a recent painting because the color combination of blue, yellow and white are inviting and exciting.  When I am working large, I use that wall as an easel, which is my favorite way to paint.  It’s very freeing not to use an easel.  


                
I love to be surrounded by color, texture and things that I love.  I arrange my studio much like I do a room in my house, so that it is inviting and beautiful.  I have lamps in the corners, and peppered throughout the space because I prefer incandescent light or the new warm LED light to fluorescent.  I do not use the overhead lights.  My studio gets plenty of indirect light due to the openness and the partial wall separating my studio from Merla’s.  My paintings hang on several of the walls.


 
Since I use decorative papers in my collage paintings, I have put dowels on c-hooks and hang the papers from the dowels so I can always see what I have available to me.  The papers are so beautiful, and the combinations of wildly different patterns and colors are inspirational, and just plain lovely to view.

Just like the papers, I need to have visual access to everything I use.  I carefully selected a shelving unit that allows me to organize the paints and still see everything at a glance.

I use the long table in my studio for multiple projects and for adding layers to paintings that are in various stages of development.  I bought these terrific casters at Home Depot that fit under the table legs so I can move the table around as needed, since I have to make the most of the small space that I have.   My painting cart is also on wheels.  

These are my favorite painting tools… When I do use brushes, my favorite are the really large ones.

I use acrylic markers all the time.  They are great for line, for filling in small areas, and for detail.  And tucked into this little shelving unit are some of the most fascinating and luscious mediums that make acrylic painting so much fun – glass beads, white flake, pumice gel, molding paste, clear tar gel… and I use them all!

 

For more information about Patrice, visit her Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

Interview conducted by Gallery Director, Sigrid Trumpy.

What’s your earliest memory of art?

Art was always a part of my academic life starting in the second grade with life-like paper mache animals and musical instruments. I still remember vividly the experience of creating them.  In our free time my sister and I would create paper mosaic pictures and paintings with glitter and collage.  By age nine, I won an award for an abstract painting.  

When I was 14, my friend’s mom tacked a sheet to her kitchen wall. With a bucket of black paint, and a bucket of white, she handed me house-painting brushes and said “Paint!”  I never felt freer in my life.  Though I didn’t know the Abstract Expressionists at the time, you might look at those huge paintings – rough as they were - and say that Franz Kline was whispering in one ear, and Robert Motherwell in the other. I continued with art in high school, college, and beyond, but didn’t think of it as a career until many years later.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I work on numerous projects simultaneously.  My inspirations come in such floods that if I don’t start something when I am feeling it, it will dissipate into the ethers.  Out of the 20 to 30 ideas that hit me on any given day, those that get my full focus and take hold are ones that promise to be visually exciting or meaningful in a positive way.  

Right now I am focused on creating large abstract works free from the confines of a specific theme.  My current exhibit, “Balanced Distractions” is a collection of paintings that reflect a variety of moods, from dynamic movement to quiet reflection to multi-layered collage paintings with multiple interpretations. 

Another direction I am pursuing is a series called “Coffee and Conversations with…”, which started with “Coffee and Conversations with Franz K. and Robert M.”  This 48” x 48” painting is an abstract-collage suggesting coffee through the use of color and texture, and I’ve collaged in text and pictures the topics I would want to discuss if I were lucky enough to conversation over coffee with these two iconic American Abstract Expressionists.  I’m now having fun making a list of the people – past and present – with whom I’d love to have a conversation over coffee.

To balance out the large paintings, I work on small pieces such as abstract landscapes or animals.  I’ve retired my songbird series, and I will start a new animal series of African animals, starting with cheetahs.  

I am also working on the illustrations for my book “Shannon, the Magic Carpet Dog,” based on my own precious Chow/American Eskimo.

When you work, do you love the process or the result?

I don’t think I could paint if I didn’t enjoy the process.  I’m not saying I haven’t had moments of complete and utter frustration, and wanting to give up on a piece.  More than once I’ve had to gesso over or even discard a canvas during the development of a commissioned painting because the direction went south.  It goes awry because I get focused on the result.  Once I settle in and let the painting unfold organically, it becomes a rewarding experience, and I am ultimately happy with the result.  

How do you know when a work is finished?

A few paintings flow from start to finish with a definite conclusion.  With most works however, the only way I can be sure it is finished is to step away from it completely for at least three days.  Then when I see it again it’s like seeing it for the first time, and if something still needs resolution it pops out immediately, like there is a bright spotlight and an arrow pointing to it saying, “Fix me!”  Then I fix it – and that’s when I know I’m done.

Which artists do you most admire?  Why are they your role models?

The list of artists whose work inspires me is pages long.  I love the chiaroscuro of Caravaggio, the energy of Van Gogh, and the playfulness and fabulous colors of Wayne Thiebaud.  I am the most passionate about the American Abstract Expressionists, both in terms of their work and their courage to pave a path that helped the world see art differently.  Love it or hate it, the dialogue continues to this day.  

I am specifically drawn to the art of Sam Francis and Robert Motherwell– I think because I feel a kinship to the positive energy that underlies their work.   

Among artists I know, I have to single out my mentor, Tesia Blackburn.  A San Francisco abstract artist and Golden Paint Working Artist, she is an incredible role model.  Her work is pure and uplifting.  It comes from the soul, and she has true integrity in her art and in her generous spirit of teaching.

Is a creative dialogue important to you and if so, how do you find it and with whom?

Being an artist is a solitary endeavor. I am also a writer, which is another introverted activity.  As an almost extreme extrovert, it is critical for me to not only have the social interaction, but to have meaningful and informative discussions about all things art:  history, art events, trends, new artists, and what is going on in both the local and global art communities. 

To feed my soul and stay continuously refreshed, I maintain art connections in San Francisco, New York, Maine, and metro Washington, DC.  Social media, Art News Magazine and the NY Times Art Section online help me stay current.  I am involved as a volunteer with MFA that has a membership of more 425, and I stay in close touch with the art galleries in town.  I love curating exhibits, because pulling together other artists’ works in a collection is yet another way to view the art. The most exciting way for me to stay connected is meeting artists, experiencing their studios, and getting immersed in exhibits at galleries and museums.  There’s nothing like starting your day with one way of looking at the world, then experiencing someone else’s art and viewing the world through a new lens.  Fabulous.

What is your creative ambition?

My ambition stems from my reason for painting:  I paint to experience and create joy.  Much like my writing, the real goal is that I articulate the message clearly; that a painting truly reflects what I am feeling when I create it.  So what is my ambition?  My goal is to continue to explore new methods and techniques of creating art in the soulful endeavor of bringing pleasure to others.  My best days are when someone sees my work and says, “This is such joyful work!”

I envision some day having my own exhibition space with inspiring views and positive environment for art workshops.  It will probably not be traditional; the vision is still forming.  Bottom line?  To always be involved in the making of, and the writing about art, however it evolves.

What are the obstacles to this ambition?

I’ve learned through experience that the only real obstacle is a resistance to change.  All the other things we encounter are only challenges to be dealt with.  Where there is a will, there is a way.  I may have to take a detour, but I never give up on the destination.  And when I reach it, I’ll set another.

 

For more information about Patrice, visit her Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

Maryland Hall is pleased to announce several new corporate sponsors who will provide valuable operating support for Maryland Hall’s mission-based artistic programs.

New sponsors include the following:

Charles Schwab (Annapolis Branch) and DoubleTree by Hilton Annapolis Hotel will provide general support for Maryland Hall’s performing arts, education and visual arts programming.

RPH Architecture in Annapolis will be the signature sponsor of Maryland Hall’s Summer Outdoor Concert Series which will include four performances from June through August on Maryland Hall’s labyrinth. 

Wells Fargo: Private Bank; Towne Transport and Morgan Stanley are major sponsors of Maryland Hall’s 10th annual All That Art auction fundraiser which will take place on May 1. 

“Sponsors provide valuable revenue to support our mission as a community arts center,” says Linnell Bowen, President of Maryland Hall.  “We are grateful for all our sponsors for investing in Maryland Hall so we can provide art for all in our community.”

Founded in 1979, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, is the region’s leading arts center, providing opportunities for all ages to explore and enjoy arts education and the performing and visual arts.   

Companies interested in sponsorship should contact Maryland Hall’s Development Office at 410-263-5544, ext. 22 or go to www.marylandhall.org.

Explore all that Maryland Hall has to offer at our annual Open House on Sunday, March 22 from 1-4 pm! From performances to art demonstrations, hands-on projects to gallery events, this FREE event will be an exciting afternoon full of fun and creativity for children and adults. Below is a schedule of activities happening by floor. All activities are from 1 - 4 pm unless otherwise noted. 

ArtFest 2015 Schedule

Main Stage Performances

1 – 2 pm: Maple School of Irish Dance
2 – 3 pm: Annapolis Musical Theater
3 – 4 pm: Peabody Harp Ensemble

First Floor

Annapolis Musical Theatre Rehearsal (1 – 2 pm), Room 101
Peabody: Guitar Performance & “Petting Zoo” (2 – 3 pm), Room 101A
Hawaiian Dance (1 – 2 pm), Room 102
Ballroom Dancing (2 – 4 pm), Room 102
Face Painting (1 – 3 pm), Alcove Gallery
Annapolis Ice Cream, Room 110
Pottery Demonstration, Room 112
Pottery ‘Seconds Sale’, Room 114
Woodturning Demonstration, Room 119
Glass Demonstration, Room 117A
Felt & Bead Hands-on Activity, Room 117B
Etching Demonstration, Room 117C

Second Floor

Peabody: Early Childhood Music Class (1 – 2 pm), Room 201
Peabody: Voice Performance (2 – 3 pm), Room 201
Peabody: Guitar Performance & “Petting Zoo” (3 – 4 pm), Room 201
Children’s Hands-on Crafts, Room 205
HERE. a pop-up shop (10 am – 6 pm), Room 211
Paper Mache and Printmaking Demonstration, Room 212
Gouache Demonstration (1 – 3 pm), Room 212
Pastel Still Life Demonstrations (1 – 3:15 pm), Room 213
Drawing & Painting Dog Portraits Demonstration, Room 214
Clock Maker Demonstration, Chaney Gallery
Celtic Jam (1 – 2 pm), Martino Gallery

Third Floor

Face Painting (1 – 3 pm), Room 300
Belly Dancing (2:30 – 4 pm), Room 301
Popcorn, Room 303 
Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Room 306
Annapolis Film Festival, Room 308
Artist-in-Residence Open Studios, Room 305, 310, 312, 314

In the Galleries

Nature/Nurture: The Paintings of Father and Daughter by Peter Egeli and Lisa Egeli, Chaney Gallery
Balanced Distraction by Patrice Drago, Martino Gallery
Inside + Outside, Art by Ruth Connell, Balcony Gallery

 

Part of the city-wide celebration of Maryland Day.
Thanks to Severn Town Club and Annapolis Ice Cream for their support.

Father/daughter duo Peter and Lisa Egeli held a gallery talk on March 11 for their exhibition "Nature/Nurture: The Paintings of Father and Daughter" on display in the Chaney Gallery. The gallery talk was well attended and a number of their paintings have already sold. If you have the opportunity to, stop by and check out their exhibition along with Patrice Drago's and Ruth Connell's also on display at Maryland Hall through April 11.  Ruth Connell will be hosting a gallery talk on Wednesday, April 8 at 5:30 pm.

Photos courtesy of Patrick O'Brien - www.PatrickOBrienStudio.com

I have found painting plein air with artist friends is what I enjoy most. I am sad that I will no longer be able to paint with Bonnie Roth Anderson. We last painted a year ago in Bristol Rhode Island.   Diane Carey Thomson, Marion LeMoal, Bonnie and I stayed at the summer home of artist Janice Antinucci. Here is a painting and sketch in the area where we painted together.  At the end of the day Bonnie would critique our paintings.  She was a great teacher and we all  learned so much from her.  I also took her portrait class and hope to paint my grandchildren with the skills she taught me.  Such a loss for the art community.

Marshes (above) was an earlier Cape Cod painting that Bonnie purchased... the highest compliment is when another artist buys your painting.

Above are pictures of memorable places painted en plein air (L-R): Georgia O'Keeffe home in Abiquiu, Giverny, France and trees in Taos, New Mexico.

 

For more information about Merla, visit her Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

I have chosen my Christmas Amaryllis to show the progress of creating a painting.  I have it set up in my studio and I have taped a large piece of paper and use blue tape to crop where I am going to paint.

 

I put out fresh paint on plates that serve as my palette, and lots of water that I replace often to keep colors clean and fresh. Next: I do a quick sketch of my subject to define some colors and composition.

 

I usually start painting on the paper with colors and do not start with a detailed pencil sketch. On the right is after two hours of painting. The painting is finished and I will show you how I keep adding to the flower.

 

As I continue I keep defining and adding detail to he painting.  

 

I have finished the painting or I should say I have stopped.  That is the key to water color, knowing when to stop.   I added a light background to surround the flower.  I look at my sketch and loose design with pen & ink. It  is more  the feeling I want to convey of this flower. I can add ink or strong pencil line that can be washed to create more of the a linear feeling.

Many artists are not satisfied with the progress of a piece of art.

My Amaryllis is gone,the petals have dropped.   I can start it again on a new piece of paper,  I will not use photos, but reference the painting and the sketch I have.  

I hear my muse speaking to my art soul "it is just a piece of paper".

 

For more information about Merla, visit her Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every Monday for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

 

Maryland Hall presents the world famous Comedy Pet Theater on Friday, March 20 at 7:30 pm. This family-oriented theatrical circus is a blend of unique physical comedy, starring Gregory Popovich and the extraordinary talents of his rescued performing pets. Tickets are $26 for Non-Members; $21 for Maryland Hall members and $17 for children. Click here to purchase tickets.

Internationally-acclaimed award winner, Gregory Popovich, is the producer and star of the show along with his entourage of 30 rescued furry four-legged performers. Popovich has won numerous juggling awards and is known as one of the top three best jugglers of the world. Currently, he holds the world record in a balancing/juggling feat in which he stands atop a nine-foot free standing ladder and juggles nine rings.

During the show, audiences will witness acts such as the Dog Classroom, the Amazing House-Cats, the Animal Train Station and so much more. Surprise appearances by more animal performers, including trained doves, parrots, goats and even a miniature horse named Diamond, along with acrobats, mimes, contortionists and jaw dropping juggling by Popovich.

Popovich is a lifelong advocate of animal rights. All pets that perform in Comedy Pet Theater are rescues from shelters — and serve as furry ambassadors for animals seeking homes. “When people see these amazing, healthy animals on stage and decide to adopt an animal from a shelter themselves, my main message has reached the audience,” says Popovich. Popovich is a master animal trainer who employs positive-reinforcement techniques in his training — coaching individual animals to perform tasks based on their natural habits. He has shared his expertise for raising, training and living harmoniously with pets in two books: “You CAN Train Your Cat: Secrets of a Master Cat Trainer,” and “Doggy Gone Good: A Master’s Guide to Teaching Manners, Tricks and Healthy Habits.”

Click the video below to see a preview of Gregory Popovich and his pets in action. 

Maryland Hall invites all 2D abstract artists to apply for the ALL ABSTRACT exhibition that will be on display from May 13 - July 11. Artworks limited only by your imagination. Explore color, movement, form and other intangibles that are not dependent on a recognizable subject.

Works up to 44” are eligible for this exhibit where one artwork will be displayed by each artist and can be a painting, drawing, print or collage. No sculpture or photography. Works on paper must be framed and ready for hanging. All works must have hanging wires. No saw tooth hangers will be allowed. Delivery of artworks is Monday, May 11 from 10-5. Works will be exhibited from May 13 – July 11 on Maryland Hall's 2nd floor hallway panels. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, May 14 from 5:30 - 7 pm. Please note, this is not a juried exhibit. 

Submit one image with the following information to strumpy@mdhallarts.org. Please include name, address, email, phone number, title of artwork, size, medium or technique, price or NFS.  The last day to apply is April 15. 

Image: Cassandra Kabler, Summer News, 2010, 31 x 22.5, watercolor. 

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