Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, May 18, 2015

Evening of the Dragonfly Art Show is on View in Richmond Virginia

The paintings created for Farrah Ferand, heroine of Evening of the Dragonfly, are up at Crossroads Art Center in Richmond VA. The space can accommodate only 14 of the 19 watercolor and acrylic paintings, all made during April, but I am very happy with the way the show looks. In fact, "Far Fields", the large acrylic painting I've had hanging at the top of my gallery for several weeks, is enhanced by the colors of the new exhibit.

The show will be on view at Crossroads Art Center until July, possibly longer. Crossroads, 2016 Staples Mill Rd., is open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday hours are: Noon to 4 p.m.

Coming Events Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, May 22 - Book Signing, Evening of the Dragonfly, at West Point Pharmacy, West Point
Saturday, May 23, 1 - 4 p.m. - "Paris Picnic" - Prince George Art and Frame, Jamestown Rd., Williamsburg VA
                Gallery artists will paint in their own styles from a still-life setup
Sunday, May 24, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., Book Signing, Evening of the Dragonfly, at the William and Mary Barnes and Noble, Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg VA

Monday, May 11, 2015

Can Making Art Protect You from Memory Problems in Later Life?

An article by Tom Post in Pacific Standard recently caught my attention because it detailed a Mayo Clinic study about the positive affects of decades of making art that could mean "fewer cognitive problems in old age." Since I've painted, sculpted, and drawn pictures all of my life, I was intrigued. Making art and being creative are good for our mental well-being. It makes a lot of sense.

The article also mentions the positive impact using a computer can have for older people, especially if they picked up the habit of surfing the Web in their middle years. This is great news for writers. After all, where do we spend much of our time?

Socializing with others is also important when it comes to remembering and thinking. As with working in the arts and getting on the computer, it's important to start in mid-life and continue through the later years.

I really loved this quote from the Tom Post article:

“Long ago, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ was a common expression,” Dr. James Galvin writes in a comment accompanying the study, which is published in the journal Neurology. “Perhaps today, the expression should expand to include painting an apple, going to the store with a friend to buy an apple, and using an Apple product.”

Arts Alive Mixed Media artist workshop ©Mary Montague Sikes
Bloggers should delight  in this small but interesting Mayo Clinic study. Let's keep writing, using the computer, and never give up painting! Go were you find the joy.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A to Z Challenge Paintings

Paintings Awaiting Finishing Touches
The A to Z Challenge for April is over, and I now have 19 new paintings stacked or hanging in my studio, awaiting finishing touches. It was exciting to compete with myself to get a painting (or portions of several larger pieces) completed each day. Although I managed to paint around the sides of some of the works (all on canvas), I still have many with sides that need to be painted. Those are mostly the watercolors and the mixed water media pieces.

All of the work requires one or more coats of polymer finish. Of course, each piece also will need screw eyes and picture wired attached for hanging.

The show will be unveiled for the first time next Saturday when I have an exhibit for Farrah Ferand (my heroine) and a book signing for Evening of the Dragonfly. The event will be at Gloucester Arts on Main, Gloucester from 1 to 4 p.m.

I gained a few more followers during the Challenge, and I found some interesting people to follow. I also enjoyed the posts of bloggers I already followed. Having a new art show is a major reward.

Thanks to co-hosts: Alex Cavanaugh, Jeremy Hawkins, Nicole Ayers, Stephen Tremp, Heather M. Gardner, AJ, Pam, Matthew MacNish, Zalka Csenge VirĂ¡g, S. L. Hennessy, C. Lee McKenzie, Joy Campbell, Susan Gourley, Lisa Buie-Collard, and John Holton. Also thanks to Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out who started the Challenge in 2010.

Art Speaks on the Bay Juried Show

"So Many Shells on the Beach", my watercolor painting, is part of the Art Speaks on the Bay Juried Show on view now at Mathews Bay School. The volunteers had a lovely reception last Saturday for the large turnout of visitors.

Art Speaks on the Bay opening reception

"So Many Shells on the Beach" (Top Painting)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

"Z" is for Zenith - A to Z Challenge

"Stormy Skies" ©Mary Montague Sikes
Today is the last day of the A to Z Blog Challenge 2015, so I feel a little sad. It's been fun and productive for the heroine of my new book, Evening of the Dragonfly, to create an art show to go along with book signings. For Farrah Ferand, this exhibition will be the zenith of her young art career. She hopes there will be many more zeniths yet to come.

"Stormy Skies" is the last of 19 new paintings produced for Farrah's show, "The Awakening". It is a vibrant painting, full of life and new hope beneath a stormy sky, a symbol of her life in the past.

I hope the paintings created during the Challenge have inspired interest in Farrah Ferand and her story, Evening of the Dragonfly. During this month, I've learned a lot about Farrah that I didn't already know. I hope you've enjoyed following her art journey, but please note that the art on the book cover is mine, not Farrah's.

Today's painting, "Stormy Skies", is acrylic on stretched canvas, 36" x 18". It might be hung as part of a diptych.
Sedona diptych ©Mary Montague Sikes



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"Y" is for Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow - A to Z Challenge

We are nearing the end of the A to Z Challenge which has brought new energy and more paintings to my studio. The art exhibition works for Farrah Ferand, the heroine of Evening of the Dragonfly, are almost completed. Farrah's Show, planned to accompany some of my book signings, should be interesting. I need a title for it. Perhaps it should be "Farrah's Evening of the Dragonfly" or something less obvious. In the book, her show is called, "The Awakening".

For today's work, Farrah had a troublesome time.Yesterday, a painting that included the Chapel of the Holy Cross was planned and started. It simply did not work, so this morning, time was spent in paint overs and new beginnings. The resulting canvas is now a painting in progress that will be finished for the final posting tomorrow. Hopefully, it will work as a diptych with the first Sedona painting.

Although 19 paintings have been created, there is much more work to be done to have them all ready for a show. That's why "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" is so appropriate for the "Y" post. Once a painting is completed, the sides (if it's gallery-wrapped) must be painted or finished in some way. The watercolors need to be sprayed with workable fixative, then one or more coatings of a polymer finish will be applied. The acrylics must have a UV coating. Then, screws and wires need to be attached to the back. As you can see, to complete the project, several "tomorrows" will be involved.

What are your suggestions for a title for Farrah's exhibition? I would love to have ideas.

"Sedona 2" (detail) ©Mary Montague Sikes

This is not all of the canvas for today's painting, and the rocks will not be this orange in the finished piece. The total stretched, gallery-wrapped canvas is 36" x 18".