It has been quite a summer and my to-do list is still pouring off the edges of my desk.
Since my last post, I have created over 300 illustrations for 14 clients, taught over 250 hours of drawing and storytelling classes, traveled for two weeks in Europe and received my certifications in firefighting and hazmat operations. Here are a few peeks at what I have done so far this summer.
More to come very soon!
A 2nd MEET THE ARTIST, RECEPTION: MARCH 22nd!!!
Red Wing, Minnesota has always been one of my favorite small cities. In many ways, it seems as though modern times has left Red Wing untouched, preserving the town’s extensive history. There are many attractions in this little town to keep the average visitor busy and happy.
The Bluff is perfect for hikers and rock climbers of all skill levels. The Antique Mall and the Red Wing Shoe company both offer hours of casual wandering and fun shopping opportunities for the whole family. And my favorite aspect of Red Wing is the old downtown area. Brick buildings with well over 100 years of stories are decorated with age and “metal-smithed” stars designed to prevent the brick walls from crumbling to the sidewalks. (This is true.)
At the lowest point of the town, along the edge of the Mississippi River, stands a historic train depot, which is still in operation.To many, this little building is one of the key features of Red Wing. Built in 1905, this building now houses more than just a train station. Since 2003, this amazing building has been home to an art gallery, maintained by the Red Wing Arts Association.
Beginning March 1st and running to the end of the month, I am exhibiting a collection of my work within this gallery. I will share the space with a number of very talented school-age artists who will undoubtedly remind all of us how wonderful it was to be a child artist. It should be a wonderful exhibit and I am looking forward to sharing the gallery with this great group of kids.
So, if you are in the area of Red Wing, I’d love to see you stop and visit the gallery. The show begins on March 1st and will follow the normal business hours of the gallery. I look forward to seeing all of you there!
MEET THE ARTIST! MARCH 22ND!
Children bring an edge to art that is hard to duplicate. The free spirit they express when working with pencils or paint or molding clay is a clear expression of youth. Each work of art carries with it the intricacies of a well developed vision, but gives us the feeling it was laid down without a second of hesitation. Beginning February 8th and running through March 1st, Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in Fridley, Minnesota will have on display over 600 pieces of art…created by children!
At the Kids Do Art exhibit, curated by your’s truly, you will see artwork from children of all ages, from kindergarten through high school. Some have used traditional mediums, like watercolor, pastels and graphite and others have used more “new age” mediums like digital imagery and collage. There is also a wonderful collection of three-dimensional work.
On February 8th and February 15th, there are open-to-the-public receptions for the artists. During these receptions, visitors can meet the young artists and see them in action as they “Draw a Winter Story” on the wall of the main classroom at the art center. The receptions begin at 1:00pm and run until 3:30pm. The receptions (and the exhibits) are free.
So, if you and your family are looking for some free culture this month, look no further than Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in Fridley, Minnesota. The gallery walls are currently covered from floor to ceiling with hundreds of pieces of art from talented Minnesota children. It is a breath-taking exhibit to be enjoyed by the entire family.
Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts is located at 6666 East River Road, Fridley, MN 55432. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm.
Oh the weather outside is frightful…But it’s amazing how quickly that chill in your toes goes away when you are doing something that warms your heart. This holiday season, I’ve been donating a few hours of my time to the Salvation Army. Stationed in front of Lund’s, in our turn-out gear and our ringing bells, fellow firefighter, Mark Dreyer and I are doing all we can to remind our community what the holiday season is truly about. And last night’s experience was a great one!
Though the temperature was dropping at a good clip, we greeted dozens of smiling faces as they slipped their donations in to the red kettle. Things were going pretty well…
I was already proud to be representing the Long Lake Fire Department and collecting so many donations from our little community. And then, from the parking lot emerged four members of the Westonka High School Madd Jazz ensemble. They were smiling, laughing and all bundled up; ready to sing carols on a chilly winter’s night.
As Mark and I gave our bells a rest, the quartet of talented high-schoolers gathered around the red kettle and started singing. Their voices and the harmony from the group painted the night sky with a warm layer of happiness. An evening that only moments ago felt frigid and dark, quickly became a sparkling, crisp, smile-making moment.
They sang holiday songs for over an hour. Every song was amazing! I found myself wearing a permanent grin while the music filled the chilly air. As patrons walked in and out of the store, they moved just a bit slower; obviously buying themselves as many seconds of wonderful music as they could before they climbed in to their vehicles and headed home. Donations to the red kettle poured in at an even more impressive rate while the kids sang their songs. It was a wonderful experience to witness and be part of.
Though the holiday season is currently closer to the new year than it is to Thanksgiving, I am happy to say I am still finding more reasons to be thankful. On this day, I am thankful for the community I live in, the friends I have found within the fire department and most of all…I am thankful for the music four high school kids created on a chilly night in Navarre.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when December 1st arrives? Snow? Winter? The holidays?
This is the time of year where I begin spending some of my daily effort on developing new ideas for stories and illustrations. Some times I use trigger words, grabbing them from Websites like IllustrationFriday.com or CreativeWritingPrompts.com . Other times, I just sit back in my chair and search my mind for something that inspires an idea. From there, I start sketching or typing and I follow it wherever it takes me.
One morning, a trigger word led me to this…
I love comic strips! So, I often find myself (when doing my daily warm-up drawing) creating a story, creating characters, grabbing one small idea from that story and turning it in to my daily warm-up. In fact, as I type this, I am sitting on another idea for a comic strip.
Whether I’m just warming up or I’m working on a full-fledged concept, I find that trigger words (and the Websites that provide them) are very valuable. They help me avoid ruts and they keep my mind loose and prepared for anything that might come my way.
I hope all of you enjoy the holidays
and avoid the ruts too! :)
As the boat sits in storage and the frosty days of winter thrust a chill in to a rapidly graying sky, I sit in my cozy studio and take a few minutes between jobs to be thankful for the Minnesota art community. I am very proud to be part of a population that embraces art the way Minnesota does. I am also very honored to receive awards for the work I am doing as an artist.
In early November, I was awarded “Best Digital Illustration” by the Banfill Locke Center for the Arts, in Fridley, Minnesota. The image, “The Magnificent Seven” is my “comic-style” take on the story of seven shelties which make a “career” as herding dogs. The owner of these amazing dogs is Jean Beuning. Jean is also the owner of the Top Dog Country Club; a dog “resort” in New Germany, Minnesota. I created the illustration as a commission for her. With a color comic-strip type flair, I built off of the real personalities of each of the dogs and placed them in to a story. I’m thrilled to hear so many people have considered this illustration a success.
Later in the month of November, I visited the Maple Grove Art Center (Maple Grove, MN) where I would be teaching a cartooning class to a group of Girl Scouts and Brownies. As I entered the art center, I saw my illustration, “The First Time I Met Swampfoot” hanging on the gallery wall. Affixed to the corner of the 18” x 24” image was a ribbon that read “Award of Excellence”. I had entered this piece in the 2013 Monster Show at the art center and almost forgotten about it. So, I must admit I was a bit surprised to see it. More so, I was honored when I saw the award.
It means so much to me to know that people in and out of the art community appreciate my art. I pour hours of energy, miles of passion and years of life experience in to every illustration I create. And it always feels great when somebody takes time to say “Hey, nice job!” I want to take a second to thank Banfill Locke Center for the Arts and Maple Grove Art Center for including me in their exhibits. And if you live in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, I recommend you visit each of these art centers from time to time. Both do a great job reaching out to the public, offering classes to children and adults and providing their respective towns with a wonderful flavor (and variety) of art.
HAVE A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING!!!
It was a wonderful summer in west-central Minnesota! Between comic books, comic strips, clips of animation and two picture books, I somehow found time to float on the lake, make it to some ballgames and hike through San Diego, CA, Red Wing, MN and Denver. CO. What very well might go down as the greatest summer of my life was so jam packed with work and fun, I almost forgot to change my socks. It’s a good thing I rarely wear them. ;)
So, here’s to a great summer and what looks to be an even more amazing fall! I recently finished a book cover for a book called “Babes in Gangland”, written by Bix Skahill. I also put the finishing touches on two new posters for Horrorizons: Iconic Art. They are available beginning to day at Crypticon, Minneapolis and at the Horrorizons Website. Finally, my teaching schedule has become very busy too. I am currently giving Beginning Illustration classes in Bloomington, Minnesota which will last through the winter and I am teaching the basics of art to a great group of kids at Fridley High School.
As the leaves turn colors and the grass goes to sleep for a few months, my stylus will also float across the unfinished pages of another picture book, a comic strip series and the on-going process for my graphic novel. I hope everybody has a great fall! Though I love fall, I will miss baseball just a bit. :)