Tuesday, April 26, 2022

two hundred ninety-two

Every Colour In Me, Detail
 "That is VERY good art," said the wee one, grasping his mother's hand and standing barely taller than the artwork propped up against the market table leg.  From behind the table upon the low stool perch with akin vantage of the tyke's I remember his eyes better than his comment.  They just looked right through with such fierce honesty.  Like they hadn't ever been blinded by inappropriate incandescent bulbs burning into our experience all things illuminated as life happens.

 The piece he commented on is called "Every Colour In Me" and was one of several original paintings seeing their first light of public display.  True to its namesake the painting is a patchwork of life layers seen as impressionistic ag fields surrounding a weathered, sweatered, slightly bent gent who smiles tall.  The booth was colorful too.  Right smart with a backdrop blanket gifted from Guatemala; recycled ETHEREAL stars glowing in the tent dapple; and of course multiple moments of mirth curated to showcase all things Les III with the Metal Mavens as part of their inaugural FUSE Makers Market onsite at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem.

It was a full day.  Full of smiles in sunlight; curious folks asking to learn more about art they behold; and those familiar with the creative sayers and slayers who remain quiet.  Some stalkishly quiet.  People from my past; folks in my present; new fans making introductions and acquisitions.  It takes all kinds to make a successful market.  When the art is on display for public consideration it is the public that has their say.  The connections made are real -- folks asking about black walnut ink and folks who lean in to hear about the roadkill spirit animals on recycled bottles.  Others inspired, reach out.  They say hello and tell me what they see as do the students learning more about tools of the trade and self expression as a career.  Thank you caffeine gods.  Thank you Krispy-Kreme.  Thank you Metal Mavens.  Thank you SECCA.  Thank you life partner.  And thank you, Mark -- lending support as a husband of one of the organizers.  And he along with other support folks walk around this event helping with heavy loads; giving the makers needed breaks; and keeping the morale high -- he earned a star in my book.

Among the swirl and rush and dusting of pollen the moment arrives.  The youth sees my art and stops to perceive all the life colour.  After his comment, the next beat is my question "What do you see?"  The little fella replies, "he has hearts in his eyes."

"That's because all he sees is love."  


Friday, February 23, 2018

two hundred ninety-one

It is a truthful smell.  It has been a while since that scent
The stage is set
hit my olfactory nerves.  Just like peering into an old photo though, the recollection of memories come wafting in.  It's a bit overwhelming for those of us who keep ourselves open via links to our senses.  It's funny -- some folks observe when you are overwhelmed and they say things like "come on, wake up.  You'll miss something."  Ha.

The stairs to Aaron's West Asheville apartment are ascended and that soft punch of truth hits.  Smells like fresh herbs, fresh bodies, and fresh ideas all wrapped up in an old two storey building burrito of domiciles, a market, a bar, and several other shops on the ground.  But I instantly go up.  Way up.  It's been building -- Asheville was home for a decade and there are loaves of experiences.  Some fond.  Some foggy.  Some, just plain ole crusty lessons of life (but with lots of AVL flavor).

no looking back

This time.  It is good times.  We've got some creativity at play.  Aaron, a well known NC musician has invited me to accompany him during his CD release party performance (see blog entry 290).  Instruments are brought on the journey: a freshly recycled canvas, easel, and of course, paints.  Most importantly there is the tool of inspiration.  "Les will you work on stage during the piano performance and create a live painting?" asks Aaron.  Sure.  That hasn't been done yet.  It's an opportunity.  It's on my bucket list to make a painting from start to finish in front of a captive audience.  The magicians make it happen right in front of your eyes.  Let's see what kind of rabbits conjure up.

We arrive at the venue, The White Horse over in Black Mountain.  Lights are trained, the piano is mic'd and we dance a bit with the stage layout to establish the best way for all to see, hear, and experience the upcoming performance.  There is also time to focus a bit more on exactly what is to be painted live.  It's not nerves that are forming.  It's pressure.  A bit of pressure forces decisions and feeds the real possibility of staring at a blank canvas on stage in front of an audience.  Oh, and there is only an hour and a half to summon & paint the muse.  I got this.  I got a can of caffeine too.

Aaron and Shalene amid the audience
The intimate venue fills at approximately 75 patrons. The house goes dark.  The lights on the stage make purple shadows.  My back is facing many souls.  My face is full of a stark white 4ft x 5ft canvas.  Thanks to Sara and her daughter, Desi for providing the giclee printed canvas.  Yes, the freshly primed canvas used to be a giclee (that's a fancy facsimile of an original artwork, folks).  Ha.  Layers indeed - I'll take a massed produced digi printing and make it a one of a kind, an archival Les III original.  That's what artists do -- we take elements of what already exists and make them into new experiences for all.  Thank you for the assist, ladies.

Aaron Price & Les III
The album of instrumental piano hymns Aaron is releasing is aptly titled.  Bob, the White Horse emcee introduces Aaron as an artist who contributes creatively to many bands and organizations throughout the area.  (Check out a sweet article on Aaron here.)  "Tonite is his night" says Bob.  And with that Aaron walks out and begins to create music on a piano.  The blank canvas begins to capture brush strokes.  There are several guests that contribute to the musical experience throughout the evening.  An invocation.  Operatic vocals.  I feel the prayers from others there in spirit.  The stage lights lay hot on my neck.  There is a wall of black just behind me and it is composed of souls hungry for art.  They are well fed.  The senses once again ignite.  I am in love.  Sharing with others.  Like the title of the cd, this event is an "Offering".  There's one available for you to nab here.

Thank you White Horse, Aaron, and all the folks who were part of the enjoyable event.

Anybody feel a title for the painting?     

Friday, February 2, 2018

two hundred ninety

The first strokes
"Can you draw this image for me?"  It's a question often posed to those of us who are mark makers and paintbrush pushers.  Sometimes the question comes kinda like a grade school playground challenge -- "well can you draw an elephant on a unicycle jousting a badger in a tu tu?" (Not a bad idea.)  

A curious aspect of making commissioned art is that sometimes you are being asked to create something that doesn't exist -- and there's the thrill for me -- and then comes the commission parameters, "It needs to be this height; this color; only in sharpie; the image of the unicorn need to convey a feeling of day-trading."  

I love that art is visual communication.  If you could say it with words or dance or music, then do so.  And each form has it's limits and beautiful aspects.  A musical friend of mine, Aaron Price hollered at me last fall, "can you create an image of a church on a hill for an album cover of solo hymns on piano?"  He and I worked together before.  We're mutual admirers of each others' creativity and have been for nearly 20 years.  Heck yeah.  

ill spec spoof (dig the fake barcode)
The project begins.  He provides me rough mixes of several songs to absorb and be inspired by.  I send him initial sketches.  Having worked together on another album cover, we kinda know what to expect.  With a bit of the ole back and forth, a workable interpretation of "a church on a hill" that Aaron envisioned comes forth.  

The project gets finalized with further tweaks and design layout by Mr. Phil Cheney of Cheney Graphics, another solid creative mind up in Western, NC.  We are getting close to the final image.  

The next time I see Aaron, its right before the winter holidays.  We trade smiles and he shows me a big stack of the final product.  His vision for the jewel-case cover included it looking like a well-used leather hymnal cover that's embossed with my artwork.   It looks great.  And the music sounds even better.  Check out "Offering" via Soundcloud.  Thanks for the spirited music, Aaron!
The maestro and his music