Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Art of Networking

Artwork Network in Denver, Colorado

Once again I am reminded that networking in this industry is invaluable!

Recently I attended Artwork Network’s open house at their new location in the Sante Fe Art District in Denver. It’s more than a gallery. Sure they have a warehouse size gallery space, and they rent artists' studios and co-op space, but they’re most known for their art leasing and business art rotation.

While at Artwork Network I ran into local artist Russell Wilbar. I met him at the July art critique at RedLine and then ran into him on the street during the August First Friday Art Walk. Wilbar was kind enough to tell me about Call for Entry, or CAFÉ, this online “hub” for finding out about and applying to upcoming art shows. And now I’m telling you.

CAFÉ is a Colorado based website that lists shows and events in the Western part of the United States. It was developed by the Western States Art Federation and is a non-profit corporation. It’s free to create an account and the site allows you to enter into shows electronically. You submit your application and images online and the site keeps track of what images you’ve submitted to which shows so that there aren’t any conflicts if you’re accepted into multiple shows and their dates overlap.

To join CAFÉ go to

For more information about Artwork Network go to 878 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, Colorado 80204 or visit

Russell Wilbar’s website is still in development, but as a member of the Artwork Network you will be able to see his work there in the coming months.

For more information about RedLine go to

Friday, August 21, 2009

Canvas For A Cause - Art Farm

Photo courtesy of Eric Matelski, Art Farm 2008

Please join me on Saturday, September 12 for Art Farm 2009!

Art Farm is an outdoor community art show in the West Washington Park at 201 Grant St, Denver, Colorado 80203 and is weather permitting. All art is for sale and proceeds will benefit Denver Urban Gardens.

Featured artists include Eric Matelski, Laurie Maves, Chris Schranck, myself, members of the Art Student League of Denver, and many more!

As a nonprofit organization, Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) operates and assists with the creation and management of over 60 metro-Denver community gardens and small parks. Primarily serving low to moderate income populations in urban neighborhoods, DUG provides opportunities for participants to supplement their diet with produce grown in nearby public gardens. Through the gardens, participants assume responsibility to improve their community, initiate a sense of pride in their surroundings, and improve their nutritional status through healthy, fresh food.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Who Does She Think She Is? - Part II

"Artist on Hold" 2009

Speaking of balancing motherhood and art careers, I recently met 3 dynamic women who seem to be balancing both creative endeavors with ease and grace. I met Color and Light Gallery owner Terri Clauss and painter Kelly Heck Shaw at the 2nd Friday “Feel the Art” event at Color and Light Gallery. And I met painter Lisa Kowalski when I checked out her gallery in the Rino Art District.

I don’t know how Terri finds the time to be creative while owning and operating a gallery and being a mother, but she’s doing it; Kelly Heck Shaw just gave birth to her second child seven weeks ago and still found the time and energy to be the featured artist of the month at Color and Light Gallery; and Lisa Kowalski has had an illustrious art career while raising a now college age son.

These three women amaze and inspire me! Over the past few years I’ve downsized my day job and simplified my living arrangements to make more time to create, but it’s still a struggle. And I have a hard enough time just trying to keeping my plants alive so I don’t know how I could be responsible for another human being while still making time to express myself.

If you are a woman and an artist I already admire you. But if you’re balancing a day job, a romantic relationship, and motherhood, along with all of the responsibilities that come with those tittles, AND pursuing your art, I bow to you.

The Color and Light Gallery is located at 1422 E. 22nd Ave, Denver, Colorado 80205. Visit for hours and information on upcoming events.

To see the whimsical paintings of Kelly Heck Shaw, visit

Lisa Kowalski’s gallery and studio space is located in the Rino art district at 2762 Walnut St, Denver, Colorado 80205. Visit for hours.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Who Does She Think She Is? - Part I

"Who Does She Think She Is?" movie poster
courtesy of Artistic License Films

Anita Larson, fellow artist and “web muse” emailed me a link to the website of the documentary “Who Does She Think She Is?” It was directed and produced by Academy Award winning filmmaker Pamela Tanner Boll and edited and co-directed by Nancy C. Kennedy.

I’ve only seen the trailer, but if you are a woman and an artist this film is for us! It addresses the balancing act of mothering and creativity, partnering and independence, and economics and art. It also wrestles with the statistics that 80% of the students enrolled in art schools are females, but that 70-80% of the artists showing in galleries and museums are males, despite the fact that women make up 52% of the world’s population.

I’m anxious to see this film and was excited to learn that it’s going to be screened at the Manhattan School of Arts in Boulder, Colorado on Sunday, September 20. Admission is free, but registration is required. It’s a simple process – just call 720-561-3768.

To watch the trailer for “Who Does She Think She Is?” and for information on upcoming screenings in your area go to

For more information about Anita Larson and her website design business The Web Muse and & Co go to

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Who Am I To Judge?

Photo courtesy of RedLine in Denver, Colorado

I recently had the honor of serving as a judge on the Fine Arts Ministry jury for the next exhibition titled “All God’s Creatures” at Mile Hi Church in Lakewood, Colorado. As a juror, I was asked to judge the submissions on creativity and originality, composition and design, and presentation and skill.

I find it interesting that I can usually be so quick to judge other artists’ work when visiting museums, galleries, and websites; I can immediately formulate an opinion and decided whether or not I think a piece of work has artistic merit. But as a judge I felt like the fate of another artist’s career – or at least the next chapter – was in my hands.

I know what it’s like to pour my heart and soul into my creations – to go through a labor of sorts – and to give birth to something that started as a mere idea in my head and is now a living, breathing (okay, maybe not literally) piece of art work, and to send it out into the world with bated breath, only to be told that my creation – my baby – is ugly. And this knowing weighed heavily on my heart this afternoon as I scrutinized each painting, photograph, and drawing.

I struggled the most over the pieces that were strong creatively and had great composition, but were lacking in their presentation. Why would an artist invest so much time on a detailed pastel drawing, only to seemly throw it into a predictable, sometimes damaged, matte and frame? And then there were the submissions that perhaps weren’t very original, and the composition and design were just sort of average, but the attention to detail in the overall presentation made the piece speak to me. In the end I chose to judge the art work – and the way it was presented – as a cohesive unit, but I would be lying if I didn’t say I was grateful to have a pencil in my hand so that I could erase my scores again and again until I felt satisfied that I’d give each piece an adequate amount of my time and a fair judging.

The exhibition dates of “All God’s Creatures” are August 23 through October 29, 2009 at Mile Hi Church at 9077 W. Alameda Ave, Lakewood, Colorado 80226. The pieces selected for this juried art show will be on display in the sanctuary lobby and open to the public before, during, and after services. Service times on Sundays are at 8 am, 10 am, and 12 noon. Service times on Wednesdays are at 7 pm.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Abecedarian Gallery - A Hidden Gem

"Looking In, Looking Out" 2009
Abecedarian Gallery in Denver, Colorado

If you live in the Denver area I urge you to check out Abecedarian Gallery. Owned and curated by Alicia Bailey, it’s a hidden gem tucked away at 910 Sante Fe, # 101, Denver, CO 80204. Hours are Thursday, Friday and Saturday 1-5 pm and first and third Fridays from 1-8 pm.

“What does abecedarian mean?” you ask. According to Random House Dictionary abecedarian is a noun meaning 1. a person who is learning the letters of the alphabet, 2. a beginner in any field of learning.

After only a few short moments at Abecedarian you’ll understand the first meaning as the gallery is home to a collection of works that marry sculpture with words. But the second meaning rings equally true as Abecedarian Gallery, located on the north end of the Sante Fe art district, is always my first stop during First Friday Art Walks and where I begin to take the pulse of what’s new and happening in the Denver art scene each month.

The current exhibit is titled “Paper Narratives.” It’s an invitational exhibition featuring 2 and 3 dimensional works on or of paper by artists concerned with narrative as both a visual and conceptual element of their work. The exhibit runs through September 5, 2009.

For more information about Abecedarian Gallery and future exhibits visit

Do you have a favorite gallery that’s not on the radar? Post a comment and share the love.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Art Of Making Friends

"Let's Meet at the Pond" 2009

Someone recently asked what inspires me and it didn’t take long to answer that it’s other people. Whether they produce films, build furniture, or lay tile, I am inspired by people who find joy in creating and share their creations with others. I had the pleasure to meet three such people when camping last weekend and seeing Phish at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado.

Prior to going to Phish I created a “Phish Phriends” painting made up of four 12x12 inch canvases that together make one 24x24 inch painting titled “Let’s Meet at the Pond.” I didn’t know at the time what I was going to do with the 4-piece painting. Perhaps I would sell it, maybe use it to barter and trade, or give it away to people I met and connected with. Either way, like a friendship necklace that you break and give the other half to someone else, the individual pieces would be separated from one another. As the weekend unfolded I met many creative people that were generous in spirit, but I decided to give three of the paintings away to the people that made the weekend the most enjoyable to honor the experiences we shared.

The first recipient was independent film producer, entrepreneur and conduit Brett Magdovitz of Memphis, Tennessee. It was a blast hanging out with Brett all weekend and I was so moved by his passion for his latest indie film endeavor “Cigarette Girl” that I had to give him one of the paintings in return. To learn more about Brett’s latest project go to

The next recipients were Thomas Banaszek and his life and business partner Jeanne Sullivan. They not only let me and a dozen or so other Phish Heads camp on their property in Kittredge for 4 nights, they feed us, kept us entertained, and repeatedly inquired as to whether or not our needs were met so I had to give them a painting as a token of my appreciation. Thom and Jeanne were incredible hosts and are the proprietors of Knot New Wood. For more information about eco-sensible custom design wood future check out their website at

I also felt moved to give one of the paintings to Red and his lovely lady Rachel who safely drove us to Red Rocks and back each night in their RV so that we didn’t have to deal with traffic and parking. They didn’t have tickets to see the shows, but patiently waited hours for us in the parking lot. Our trips back to the camp site were almost as much fun as the concerts themselves as we laughed and talked about the evenings’ events. When Red isn’t playing chauffer, he lays tile for a living.

To remember the amazing people I met at Phish I kept one of the painting pieces for myself – the lower, left corner. I had the time of my life and I will never forget the “phriends” I met. The painting serves as a visual reminder of some of the best memories I’ve created since moving to Colorado.

What will become of the 4 individual painting pieces? Will they ever be reunited? What adventures will they see? I wrote my email address on the inside of each quarter, so with any hope, the recipients will email me about their adventures and the 4-part painting.

So tell me, what inspires you? And more importantly, what have you inspired lately in someone else?