the choices you make that give voice to your art

Happy February.
Last month at the general meeting I referenced “If Everybody Did It”, a new book written by Marcia Losh and illustrated by Phyllis Arnold. Essentially, the book invites you to consider the consequence of choice and the influence, impact, and effect one person’s choice has on others – not only on their individual lives, but on their community and the earth as well.  It is a beautiful story written for children with a moral for all.  We know so well how one choice can change the path of many.

In light of current poitical and social climate I have been thinking about the choices we make and more specifically the choices we make as artists. As artists, we face a multitude of choices as we determine the course of our current project – from composition, materials, color, placement of color or texture, design, perspective and so on.  As artists the choices we make in and out of the studio are driven by our creativity, our curiousity, and our personal experiences or perspective.  Perhaps it is because we study perspective that we are able to view situations from several vantages points.  When not bogged down by our own ‘stuff’ obscuring our view, we are generally open to different points of view. Living outside the box we approach the world from a creative perch.

With choice comes voice. What is the voice of your art? For instance, if you are a landscape painter, are you creating pretty images of the natural world? Or do you remind people of the fragility or conversely the mighty power of that same world?  Or do you transport people from their world into the one you created in your paiting, stirring introspection and personal reflection?

As artists, living a creative life, we use our choices to determine the voice of our work.  What is your artistic voice?  If your focus is about mastery of a medium, technique, or skill – that’s ok. If its about having fun – that’s ok, too.  If you have not considered the meaning behind your work, consider this an invitation to do so.  I pose this question to myself in my work in and out of my studio and particularly in my leadership position as president of AAG.

We have a great month ahead. Be sure to read the newsletter and check the website for details.  Don’t miss the general meeting this month, Tessa Windt will be leading an interactive program on Feb 21 that is sure to be inspirational and thought provoking focusing on the arts and aging.  Roger LeBrash will open his blacksmithing studio to the sculptor’s group on February 6. Roger is a gifted artist and businessman, with his son Jason, they own and operate one of the largest blacksmithing shops in the state. You do not have to be a member of the sculptor’s group to attend.

As usual, my perverbial door is always open and I welcome your thoughts.
Have a creative and inspired month.


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Happy New Year!

I write this while in Mystic, Connecticut enjoying the holidays with my family. Sitting here this morning listening to the wind howl as it moves through the natural and constructed landscape outside my window, I think about my family of origin and my AAG family, and the impact of both on my life.  Reflecting on the year that is ending and contemplating the one about to begin, I find myself proud of what we have accomplished and excited by what lay ahead.

2016 was an expansive year. We opened the door to partnership with other arts organizations, strengthened our administrative and organizational structure, refined our website and increased our social media presence. Membership is on the rise – but more important, so is member involvement- more members are participating in guild events! That tells me we are on the right path and you like what we are doing.

Working with the Arizona Arts Commission we are expanding our outreach program. Karen Wintergartner, David Bradley, and I are participating in their Creative Aging/Generations Lab program. We recently met with the Commission to review our already impactful Outreach Programs and plan our expansion. Working closely with the Commission we are building partnerships to assist us in reaching our goals. We expect to have a working plan in place by May.  Stay tuned for more details!

Following Art Smith’s brilliant instruction on mandalas, I led an impromptu calligraphy session at the first StreetlightsUSA class. The girls left the class equally uplifted and ignited. True to form, we had more volunteers than students, speaking volumes to the heart of our community.

Our Veterans Program continues in its vibrancy under the helm of David Bradley, Art Smith, Lisa Wyman, and Mark Woehrle.  Entering its fourth year the Veterans have established a community within AAG that supports, nourishes, and inspires. Giving back to those who have generously given of themselves is rewarding and humbling.

With Karen Wintergartner, Art Smith launched a class for non-English-speaking refugees at an adult day center. This program is positively impacting the lives of adult immigrants who are often overlooked as they are no longer in the work force and are isolated from regular community building experiences.

Many AAG members exhibited in the Arizona State Fair, with several winning awards. What few people may know is that David Bradley worked closely with Fair Director, Chi Isiogu to improve the quality of the exhibit.  Among the work they did together was to rewrite the prospectus,  review the juror selection process, and create the veterans art exhibit.

The Fine Arts Fiesta in Spring and Fall were hugely successful not only in money raised, but also in attendance and increased fun! Expanding the event, the Artstravaganza as it has been renamed is on March 10, 2017.  Save the date!!

Speaking of fundraising, the Art Supply Exchange continues to thrive as one of AAG’s most successful fundraising program.  Alicia Plogman and Alice Pelchat work tirelessly to fill the shelves with materials to foster our creative experimentation.

With the closure of Gallery Glendale we are forging new relationships with other venues for next year’s Statewide Exhibition. In doing so we are increasing community awareness to a broader audience.

These are just some of the past and future highlights that come to me in this morning’s reverie. Please pardon if I overlooked anything.  As I look toward the upcoming year, I see it full of transformative and creative possibilities for all.

On a personal note, may the new year treat you kindly, inspire you wildly, and fill you with unexpected and welcomed experiences.


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