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October 16, 2014

Making a List

We keep a stack of sheets on a clipboard in the backroom. Three of them, actually, but the one we’re concerned with at the moment has “Receiving” at the top.

Each sheet has a ton of little boxes, blanks for things like basic info about a piece of art, and whether or not it’s been added to our database, uploaded to the web, had its pictures formatted, etc. It’s how we keep up with our inventory.

Yes, we still use paper. There hasn’t been a more efficient solution. Yet.

Right now, there are a lot of white boxes. A ton of new work has shown up the last two weeks and we’re playing catch-up. Just looking, there is new stuff from Merlin Cohen, Jody Lyle, Ann Hanson, John Knotts, Patrick Dean Hubbell, Natalie Featherston, Dr. Stephen Wood, Jane Osti, James Bud Smith, Mark Bettis, Whitney Forsyth, Rebecca Latham and Karen Latham. That’s almost two pages of blank white boxes. Lots of work to do. No, they’re not on the website yet.

That means you’re going to be eating a whole lot of eye candy very soon.

Most of our new art comes in via shipment. Unwrapping it is not unlike the holidays. Until we actually see the art in person, we don’t actually know what we’re getting. Even better is when the artist delivers the art in person.

That happened three or four times last week.

Merlin was the first visit. He showed up with 11 pieces and told us we are officially his only gallery, which is awesome. 

He toted them in from his car and set them on our counter one by one. There were a variety of shapes and sizes, a palette of different colored stones. Some of the carvings I hadn’t seen before, and I like them a lot.

Very cool stuff.

Deliveryday

Showings

Next year, we’re trying a couple new things. I’ve hinted about them, I think, on the book of faces and posted their dates on the newsletter, but we’re officially letting the cat out of the bag. In 2015, we’re hosting two invitational “concept” shows. The artists have already been invited and they are working on their submissions.

Next June (6/20/2015!), we’re hosting The Lollipop Guild, which is a miniatures show. That means each submission can be no smaller than 5” x 5”, no larger than 12” x 12”. We have more than 70 artists participating, some of whom we do not currently represent, so their work will be new to you.

You can imagine we’re pretty excited.

On October 24, 2015, we’ll open The Birds, which is loosely inspired by the classic film. We started off wanting to do a birds show, but I’d begun naming our events after movies. We threw those two ideas in the mental blender and the Hitchcockian theme emerged.

We’re not saying that each piece is going to have a bird in it, or that anything is going to be a scene from the film itself. It’s more of an “inspired by the film” situation, and how they’re inspired is up to the artists.

We have no idea what we’re going to get … except in one case.

Never let it be said Natalie Featherston is a procrastinator. We received her two pieces for The Birds this week, a year early, and they are awesome. I’m going to be using them to promote the show from here on out. I’ll give you a peek at one, but not both.

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We’re actually hoping to give these a forever home and get some more from her, because you can never have enough Natalie paintings. Amiright?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the show we have coming up in three weeks. I wouldn’t want you to forget about it. Here, again, is the pertinent info for The Wild Bunch:

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Show opens at 10am and all three artists will be creating and hanging out until 5pm. 

We’ll see you in the gallery. 

October 10, 2014

About to Get Wild

We are almost exactly one-month from the opening of The Wild Bunch, which stars K. Henderson, Robert Caldwell and Paul Rhymer. I mentioned it last week at the end of the blog, but you know how it is. Maybe you didn’t see last week’s blog.

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Here is the showlowdown:

Wildlife. Wild paintings. Wild sculpture. Wild art.

On November 8, 2014, 10am to 5pm, that’s what you can expect from Paul Rhymer, K. Henderson and Robert Caldwell. We’re calling them … The Wild Bunch, and they are the next exhibition from Lovetts Gallery.

Paul Rhymer spent 25 years at the Smithsonian as a taxidermist and uses that experience to create bronze sculptures that capture the living essence of the animals.

“Twenty five years doing taxidermy and model making really prepared me well as a wildlife sculptor,” says Rhymer. “Being exposed to an incredible diversity of specimens and curatorial knowledge gave me a wealth of experiences. I still do some taxidermy to keep up with anatomy and reference for my sculpture.”

He’ll be pouring molten bronze the day of the show, probably in nothing more protective than jeans and hiking boots. The first will be at 11am, the second at 2pm.

You want wild? K Henderson lives off the grid in Weed, New Mexico (population: 86). She spends her time soaking up the wilderness and creating paintings of whatever she feels like, from biscuits to antique toys to Native American portraits.

Henderson is much lauded and collected. She has some renown in at least three completely different art circles. You’d compare her to a best-selling author who’s achieved success using three different pen names.

Henderson is from Tulsa, and always looks forward to her trips back to see her friends and family. (We think that includes us ... )

Robert Caldwell always loved the outdoors, exulting in his adventures as a Boy Scout. It was only natural he merged that passion with another – drawing.

Caldwell draws inspiration from North American and African wildlife. He’s made several trips to the Continent the past few years, and the artwork he’s produced as a result is among the best of his career.

In the past year, Robert published a book about drawing, Draw Realistic Animals: Wildlife, Pets and Morewhich is available from all the major online book retailers. He will have copies available during the show.

Quoth the Raven

We’ve got a raven theme going, for a lot of reasons. First, we like them. If you did a little bit of research on ravens, they would blow you mind. They use tools. They visit their parents. They remember things forever and they use language. Then there’s this: 

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I don’t know about you, but when I was in 8th grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Smith, made us memorize The Raven in its entirety. And then we had to recite it aloud in front of the class. In spite of that, I still love that poem.

Guy Hobbs, one of our new artists, painted this particular piece. It is not a poster. It is not a photo of a raven with some words photoshopped onto it. Guy painted the bird and applied the calligraphy by hand. And it is stunning.

Guy is a … well, he lives in Canada, but he’s British. He had always had a love for both art and wildlife, and when his wife suggested he combine these things to make his personal superpower …  I’ll just let him say it:

It amazes me that it took so long for me to marry my love for wildlife with my passion for art. Obviously it takes far smarter people than me to make such profound connections (in this case my wife), but once made it changed my world.

I have had an interest in both drawing and painting my whole life and when the suggestion was made to focus on wildlife I decided to go 'back to the drawing board' quite literally.

Since then I have been developing a technique that combines layers of acrylic paint, coloured  (editor’s note: see, British!) pencil and transparent acrylic inks, a process that really allows me to capture the subtleties and intricacies of nature.

My highest priority when portraying a subject is to capture its consciousness. My subjects are engaged with their world, watching things beyond the confines of a frame - often regarding the viewer directly - or something out of frame. This is important to me, birds and animals are seldom random or vague, they are focused on their world with real intensity. It is this intensity I want to capture. When you encounter a wild thing in its own habitat there is a moment where you regard it and it regards you and the rest of the world just becomes background. That is a very real and special connection and one I want to share through my art.

Let that serve as your introduction to Guy, Lovetts fans. His work is on display in the gallery. You know what to do.

Behind the Screens

We have a lot of original art by a lot of amazing artists, but you know that.

Most of that art is on our walls, but there’s not room for all of it. We rotate it all the time, but the truth is there’s art that, at any given time, is not hanging in the gallery.

The solution to that conundrum has always been our giant monitor on the front counter. From there, we can access all of any given artist’s work in our database and display it. As with all computer screens, you can’t replicate the experience of seeing a piece of art in person, but it was better than nothing.

We’ve been using the monitor a lot, like to the point where we view it is vital to the Lovetts Gallery experience. Keeping that in mind, this happened this week:

Jack: “Do you think we need a bigger monitor on the front counter?”

Me: (something like…) “It couldn’t hurt.”

Jack: “I wonder if we could find one with our points.”

Me: (Holy crap, businesses rack up the credit card points) “That would be cool.”

He dug into the points, and we had enough. Then we found the monitor.

Now when you come in and want to peruse our digital image gallery, you’ll be doing it on a bright 42” high-def television.  Made me super TV jealous. I bought a 42” hdtv seven years ago. It weighs more than twice as much, the picture isn’t as good and it cost four times as much as this one.

Anyway, the new monitor is awesome.

If you haven’t been in in awhile, we’ve made a lot of gallery improvements: The walls received a new interior paint job; we installed LED lights in the front windows that look awesome at night (and can change colors to suit our mood); we created new front-window covers that look better from the parking lot with the added bonuses of blocking out more light inside (which makes it easier to present the art) and displaying some of our artist’s work in larger-than-life sizes. Present are: Jeff Ham, Timothy Nimmo, Brett Lethbridge, Timur Akhriev, K. Henderson, Claudia Patrick, Natalie Featherston, Ben Cobb, Ann Hanson, David Shingler, Scott French and Chad Awalt.

Two More Things

Brett Lethbridge missed the show last month (because sometimes, travel plans do not work out), but he'll be here the afternoon before Halloween. If you'd like to come visit Brett and talk with him about his work, he'll be entertaining guests from 4-6pm, Oct. 30, 2014.

In closing, I’ll just leave this here, and we’ll see you next week:

YoungGunsBlog

October 02, 2014

Art Gallery Madness!!!

There has been a lot going on around here. We’ve had a show. We’ve added a bunch of new artists. We’ve moved walls and added crazy LED lights to the front windows. It’s been art gallery madness!!!

I never use exclamation points. I don’t like them. I think they’re lazy writing. You should be able to tell if I’m excited about something by the words, not the punctuation.

But that’s getting off track.

We have added a lot of really amazing artists and artwork in the past couple of months. Pamela Wilson, Jane Radstrom, Kirsten Le, Guy Hobbs, Patrick & Patty Elliott, Josh George, Lindsey Kustusch. We’ve gotten fantastic new work from Timothy Nimmo, Julie Bender (an old acquaintance back in the gallery again), Anthony GonzalezAnthony Adcock, Terry Cooke Hall, and Timur Akhriev. That’s not even including the new work from Virtuosity, which featured Brett Lethbridge, Juan Medina, Terry Donahue and Ron Gerton.

When I write it out like that, it seems like a lot. And it is, which is good. There is a lot to see and talk about. We’re not going to cover all of it this week. Gotta dole it out slowly, so we’ll start with a couple of introductions …

Pamela Wilson

Pamela is one of Jack’s favorite painters. Ever. We’ve finally gotten the opportunity to bring some of her work into the gallery, and it all began with an invitation to participate in one of our shows next year, The Lollipop Guild (more details to come!).

When you view one of her works, you’ll most likely be struck by two thoughts: a) holy cow, that is amazing and b) holy cow, that is … odd.

Pamela endeavors to paint the world of dreams. They can be whimsical and foreboding at the same time. They can seem strange. They are provocative. They are a little sexy and a little scary. But your take on it is what you get. Don’t ask her to explain to you why the woman with the pink hair is wearing a scuba mask. Pamela thinks telling you is cheating. Art is up to interpretation. Interpret, already.

 Okay, sometimes she tells.

Her painting, From Stillborn Shadows, features a woman with a stuffed Canadian goose belted to her head. That one came out of two things. First, Pamela wanted to visually create a link to flying dreams. Second, the day of the reference photo shoot, the model walked around with the goose stuffed under her arm and seemed at any moment like she might fall on the uneven ground. Pamela suggested she belt the goose to her head.

Viola.

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We just this week received The Lyric of Chimerical Solace. It is an amazing piece of art. I’m not going to put the pic in here for you to see because, well, the pic is so tiny by comparison. The Lyric of Chimerical Solace is impressive in real life. And you can’t digitally replicate the experience of seeing it in person.

She’s working on a new series involving children, and then there’s this thing with cake.

Photo

Stay tuned.

Lindsey Kustusch

I have not been following Lindsey’s work for a long time, but it’s definitely a love at first sight kind of situation. I mean, look at this painting:

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I’ve always been drawn to ravens, for whatever reason. And this … this blows my mind. I love the texture, colors, subject, composition. Pretty much a perfect painting for me.

Lindsey paints a variety of subject matter – urban scenes, animals, and wide open spaces. Actually, painting might not be the right term for what she does. Yes, she uses paint. But she rarely uses brushes, opting for palette knives and implements of her own creation. She builds her works layer by layer, often beginning with an abstract composition before adding in elements of the real.

She’s, and stop me if you’ve heard this before, like nothing we have in the gallery.

Her work isn’t here yet, but it’s on the way. You’ll have to come in to see the other one, and then there’s more to follow.

No Mas

Annnnd okay, we’ll stop there. Need to save some for next week and there’s some housekeeping to do.

First, we have a show coming up in five weeks: 

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Paul, Robert and K are three of our most popular artists, and they have a lot of surprises in store for you. The day of the show, you’ll be able to see Robert draw, K paint, and Paul play with molten metal in the parking lot in his tennis shoes.

That goes down November 8, 2014. Make plans now and we’ll see you here.

Before we go, one last thing. We have several students (and instructors) from the Ani Art Academy Waichulis participating in The Lollipop Guild (June 20, 2015) and The Birds (Oct. 24, 2015). You should check out their site. There's a lot of spectacular art on display.

On a completely unrelated note, I’m planning on another Gallery-themed Halloween story this year. If you missed last year’s, here ‘tis.

See you next week.

April 18, 2014

Dear Diary

BriankIt has been a month (more or less), since we last spoke figuratively. It’s not that I’ve meant to neglect you, dear reader. It’s just that there have been things to do. A great many things.

But I’ve been keeping a diary with the intent of sharing it. Some of it is actually fit for public consumption. For instance …

Day 3:

The show was days ago, and we’ve still yet to recover. Jack is stumbling around with a glassy-eyed stare, mumbling about where to hang this or that. We had to move so many pieces of art because of the show, we’re now trying to mingle it all back in with what’s left of James, Brian, Ed and Erica’s work.

EdWe will find a place for all of it, even if the walls become a little more crowded than we like. You can’t sell the art if it’s not on the wall, after all.

[non-diary note: If you didn’t get to the show, you missed out. All four artists were very friendly and down-to-earth. Easy to talk to, fun to hang out with. And the work they did was amazing (both what they brought to the show and what they painted and sculpted while they were here). ]

It was funny listening to Erica talk about how much space we have here, and how little traffic. I know some Tulsans who have to commute to and from Broken Arrow would debate her on that, but it’s all about perspective. An Oklahoma traffic jam is farm-league compared to one in Cali.

Also, we likely couldn’t afford our same homes were they in California, so we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

Day 12:

106617Knotts dropped by this week, in and out like a blustery storm. In his wake, he left stories about art shows and a Dixie Chick, and he dropped off some new jewelry. Two of the necklaces are made with mid-1700s crosses from the Ukraine. John found the supplier on the internet, ordered the crosses and hoped for the best.

“I asked the guy where he found them and he was cagey. Kind of like those old fishing guys who don’t want to let you know where their spot is. ‘Hey, where’d you hook those fish?’ ‘In the mouth.’

“He has some Viking stuff as well, but I haven’t figured out what to do with it yet.”

And like that, poof, he was gone.

Sometimes, I think he’s some sort of Native American spirit. The rabbit, Jistu, perhaps. One of the tricksters in any case. I haven’t been back to the Native American myths since I was a kid. Of course, when I was a kid, I couldn’t get enough of them.

John Knotts. Trickster. Perhaps. I’ll have to read up, see if that fits.

Day 17:

106583One of Geoffrey Gorman’s new pieces arrived today. It’s a sculpture of the head of a hippo called Vezari Meditates. I made the mistake of placing my hand on its steel-whiskered muzzle. The whiskers are made of headless nails, long staples, or maybe clipped wire, rusty and sharp. Sort of the bed-of-nails effect, only not safe. Nothing you’d want to be grabbing with your bare hands in any case (though I did, to my dismay).

A collector came in and saw it sitting on the counter. She said, “Ewww,” which made Jack and me laugh. Vezari was sold before he arrived, which just goes to illustrate the importance of having a variety of styles of art. You never know who is going to react to what. The guy in the cargo shorts and Hawaiian shirt may have a great fondness for hyper-realistic paintings. The woman with the straw cowboy hat might like Chad Awalt’s finely sculpted wood nudes.

You JUST NEVER KNOW.

Vezari Meditates. Is that even possible? Can a hippo meditate? I can see making an illustrated children’s book out of that idea, this hippo wandering around the watering hole all day, trying to get its meditation on and being interrupted by lions and people and birds.

If you write it before I do, send me some money. Or thank me in the credits. Whichever.

Day 21:

That rabbit was looking at me again. You know the one, with its big, googly eye. It’s hiding something. I. Can. Tell.

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Day 25:

I am buried in a mountain of new work. We have five new pieces from Matthew Higginbotham. A dozen from Paul Rhymer. Six more from Timur Akhriev. I don’t know how many from Gene Pearson.  No time for typing. People need to see this.

[Edit: You can see all these new pieces on our website!]

Day 29:

I’m sitting at my desk, a freshly opened, but empty, coffee bean bag held up to my nose like a brown paper sack for someone hyperventilating. I’m breathing deeply. The earthy smell fills my head and lungs, and has an instant calming effect. For a good minute, I sit there. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Jack is fighting off a sinus headache. He is impervious to all forms of antihistamines, and therefore at the mercy of the elements.

Phil finally seems to be returning to normal after a week at sea. He no longer has the odd back-and-forth sway to his walk, and his eyes no longer seem to be turning inward, no doubt reliving maritime vistas and fruity rum drinks. I think he’s probably getting over the scurvy.

As for me, I’m typing. Again. Finally.

I don’t know that you know this about me, but I’m a bit of a wanna-be gadget nerd. Last month, I ditched my Windows Phone and got a Galaxy S4, and yesterday, I received a deeply discounted Samsung Gear (which is that “smart” watch that pairs with Samsung’s Galaxy phones). I think I’m glad I got it on the cheapish, but it does do some pretty cool things. It’ll let me read text messages without picking up my phone, answer phone calls by talking into my wrist like Dick Tracy and even check the weather.

But the fun part for “work” purposes is that it has a camera. Prepare yourself for behind-the-scenes zaniness at the Gallery! (Like this one of Jack doing … something boring at his computer!)

Newness

First, we’d like to welcome Carol Amos to the Lovetts family. Carol grew up in a family of artists, and has been painting almost her whole life. Her specialty is stunning, realistic oil paintings of plants and flowers (yes, I know flowers are plants, but what do you want? Are cacti technically flowers? I mean, how specific do I need to be people?).

Her work is as vibrant as her subject matter, and we’re excited for you to see it. She sent us two as appetizers and is working on more. I’ll leave you with one of them, and we’ll do a proper intro when we get the additional work.

Second, tomorrow, Friday, April 18, 2014, we expect the newest work from Joseph Crone to arrive. Jack and I love his work. He is a virtuoso with pencil, and it’s something you need to see in person to believe. It was going to be here last week, but UPS thought it needed a trip from Oklahoma City to Washington to help it cure or something. Thanks, UPS, for being so concerned about Joseph’s drawings.

And with that, I must leave you. Thanks for coming, and we’ll see you soon.

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March 20, 2014

Show Week!

Monday was festive. I wore a green polo shirt. Phil wore one of Jack’s ties with some green in it (over his t-shirt; no, he did not remember the holiday). Jack wore a green plastic leprechaun hat that had “Luck o’ the Irish” on a band.

Someone had some Bailey’s in their coffee, but it wasn’t one of the three of us. We might have enabled them. Perhaps. Libations are liberating. Whoever figured out that St. Paddy’s day should be a drinking holiday was a marketing genius.

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But we’re not here to talk green, we’re here to talk show. Erica, Brian, James and Ed are all going to be here this weekend, and they are excited to meet you. They are excited to show you their newest creations.

So in keeping with the get-you-guys-excited-for-the-show theme, I talked with the artists about how they went about preparing for Vernal Beauty. If you revisit an earlier blog post, you’ll find my interview with Erica (most of her works are here already, btw, and they are spectacular; What I mean by spectacular is that they make me really happy when I look at them. They make me want one).

This week, I received insight from James and Brian.

“I'm not a big believer in an artist translating his/her visual art into words,” says James. “It's kinda like (except worse) using plain language to explain a poem, which in itself is a perfect arrangement of words. But I'll give it a shot...

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“In general, my art is about making visual, emotive objects. Sometimes that is the only point and at other times, the paintings refer to my observations of and experiences in life. When I paint abstractions, such as my ‘Paint’ series, and some others, they are simply about the beauty of paint, color, and occasionally, forms. When recognizable elements and forms are introduced, I blend this esthetic with an observation of something I perceive in life. In most of this recent body of work, I am trying to blur the lines between ‘art for art's sake’ and presenting my own beliefs on what I find beautiful in life.

“The older I get, the more difficult it is for me to separate my life and my art. Making art is a way of life and I can only see life as a work of art. I have gotten to a point where it seems silly to try and separate the two.”

James has more than 15 works ready for the show, and unfortunately we’re only going to be able to hang nine of them. That said, all will be on the website, which we’ll have pulled up on the big monitor on the counter, so just ask if there’s something you want to see.

 Brian really likes the name of the show, seeing as how he grew up in Vernal, Utah.

“I thought it was an intriguing coincidence that the show was titled, Vernal Beauty,” says Brian.  “I knew it couldn't have been primarily for me, but it made me wonder, having grown up in a town called Vernal. Either way, I thought I would go with it. Much of the work I will be showing is strictly centered on my Vernal roots, and some specifically from my dear sweet sister's farm in Vernal. The majority of the framing on my work is taken from an old farmer's barn in Vernal. I solicited the wood working skill of a local artist friend to help me make the frames. Although the show is titled around the Vernal equinox, it has a deeper and double meaning for me.”

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I wish I could say that’s why I named the show Vernal Beauty, but … I was looking for a springtime connection. It’s just a fortunate coincidence. Then again, there are plenty who believe there are no coincidences.

And that is that, folks. Short and sweet. We’ll see you all on Saturday, right?