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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.

Jack

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?

March 07, 2014

This is Key

So … It’s share day here at the gallery.

Almost 13 years ago, my wife and I decided we wanted a beach wedding, but we were basically too poor to leave the country. In lieu of a proper Caribbean beach, we went hunting. I say “we,” but it was really her. She scoured the 12-years-ago internet and landed on Key West.

The more we read about the place, the more we liked the idea. We liked comparisons to New Orleans. We liked the history. We liked that it was in the Keys. And it had another appeal to me: Hemingway is one of my favorite authors, and he was all over Key West.

So instead of Jamaica ... Key West.

We don’t regret it. We had a pretty fantastic time. The first night, we wandered up and down Duval St. We did sunset at Mallory Square. It got better from there.

We saw the sights, drank the drinks. We had beers at Sloppy Joes and visited The Hog’s Head. We visited the Hemingway house and the docent, since it was the last tour of the day, let me behind the big metal gate in Papa’s writing loft where I sat in “the chair” and got to touch the typewriter (yes, I’m sure they are not the originals, but the place is the same). I have a pic of it somewhere. We had breakfast at Blue Heaven, and rented bicycles and rode around like crazy kids with no responsibilities.

 Our friends showed up for the wedding, and we did it all again.

Then we got married on the beach at sunset, and that, too, was awesome. I can still see it all in my head. I would not change a moment of it. In fact, I’ve been kicking around the idea of seeing if the wife wants to go back sometime soon.

There’s a reason for all this Key West nostalgia.

Tuesday, Brian Slawson drove down from Kansas to deliver new work to us, and three of those paintings are of various spots in Key West (I "drove" around the island with Google Street Maps). There’s one of the Tropic, the island’s historic movie theatre. There’s a vignette from Duval Street. And then there’s an epic early evening scene of Sloppy Joe’s (which I’ve provided for your perusal).

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Here’s the thing. I’m not the only one who loves Key West. I know you’re out there. I know, like me, you’d see Duval Street and want to go book hotel reservations and plane tickets. Sigh. In any case, since we’re all here in Tulsa together, if you want to come in and check out the sunny Florida vistas with me, maybe we’ll make a margarita and hang out for a bit.

Also, Brian dropped off six paintings, not just the three from Key West. You can check those out, too.

But Wait!

Since you’re coming by anyway, there’s something else you should know. We are inundated with new art. There’s so much more than just Brian’s.

Last weekend was the annual NatureWorks show, and several of our artists (Paul Rhymer, Matthew Higginbotham and this new guy I’m about to introduce) participated. As a result, we received some new art from the fellows.

Paul dropped off another handful of his Arizona Alphabet bronzes, and Matthew delivered five new paintings. Here’s one of them:

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As for the new guy … Lovetts fans, please welcome Scot Storm. He’s a realistic wildlife painter and his attention to detail and ability to capture the … well, spirit of the animals he paints is impressive. Jack asked Scot about one of his paintings in particular, Doe.

“I’ve seen a lot of people paint whitetail deer before, but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone capture one as well as you have. What do you do differently?”

“I spend a lot of time in the field observing them,” Scot said.

Scot spends enough time watching his subjects that he can take the photo reference and imbue it with the living characteristics of the animals. As a result, they appear as though they could jump right out of the painting. It's uncanny ... and spectacular.

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The Return of the Tim

When we first introduced Timothy Nimmo to you, there was the promise of larger works. He brought us maquettes of his Ibex Bust and Blackbuck Bust and said that after the first of the year, we’d be receiving their big brothers.

Last weekend, he delivered.

Ibex gallery

Ibex Bust stands 78 ½” tall and 23” wide.

The stone base is “Giallo Reale” travertine, but can be ordered in different colors if you’re inclined to wait. Tim also has the ability to produce mirrored image sculptures if you’d like a matched set.

I know I sound like a broken record, but you really, really need to come in and see these works of art. A picture may be worth a 1,000 words, but it's no substitute for an experience.

I'll see you soon.

...

...

Oh yeah. Showtime! Two weeks!

Vernal Beauty.
March 22, 2014.
Erica Norelius, Brian Kock, James W. Johnson and Ed Natiya. 

We'll see you there.

February 27, 2014

Spring, Sprang, Sprung

Hey, kids. What’s happenin’?

I wrote part of this last week when the weather was good. Didn't bother to check the forecast to see that, in fact, things were going back to frigid this week. I mean, sure, small talk about the weather is lame, but I was trying to make it funny. And I had this awesome spring pic to go with it.

You know what? Heck with it. I'm going to give you the pic anyway because it is awesome and will make you smile. We're all about the smiles around here. Yours, anyway. 

So, the pic:

Sprung

Moving on.

Since greenery and warmth are just around the corner (allegedly), perhaps it’s time to talk about our upcoming spring show, Vernal Beauty, which features Erica Norelius, Brian Koch, James W. Johnson and Ed Natiya. I’m thinking I should’ve called it Vernal Appetites or something more provocative. But Beauty is the more dignified, respectable moniker.

Rather than hit you with a blast of information about the show a couple weeks prior, I’m going to start sprinkling it in now. I reached out to Erica, Brian, James and Ed to see if they could provide some insight into the work they're prepping. Erica and James gave me a wealth of info, so they're up first.

I’ve already started rolling out teaser images. Erica’s Red Street makes up the background of the lovettsgallery.com front page, and James’ In the Woods is our cover image on Facebook. We’ve received a lot of positive comments about both of those pieces already. I’ll repeat what I said on the Book of Faces … they will be here in March. Make plans to watch them work.

The information spigot opens with commentary from Erica. She’s been working on an advanced degree in art, honing her craft and her mind.

I love Erica’s work. I’m drawn to her urban scenes; they seem like places I’d like to step into and soak up the sounds and smells and life. And I love her depiction of light. It’s always just … right. I would wallpaper my office with her paintings if I could afford them. As it stands, I’d be in hock to Jack for a decade or longer.

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I asked Erica what she had in store for Vernal Beauty. She said:

My artistic training taught me how to paint what I see, but every year I paint, I am looking for ways to re-create what I see – to make it mine, to heighten a certain effect, push the color etc. In other words, to not look like the photograph, but to still look real.  

This current body of work I have been particularly sensitive in regard to color. Each painting has become an exploration into a color palette, in order to heighten the overall effect of the colors. Each painting seems to have an overriding color − red, or green or gray etc.  

My inspiration seems to be coming from the movies − I've been becoming more and more sensitive to how scenes in movies are being lighted and the various colors they're using. One day when I don't have any homework or painting to do for a show, I want to just sit down and paint stills from movies. (To which I say, Why wait? If that’s what you want to paint, paint them. – ed.)

One of the new paintings (it still needs to be finished) is green painting. I'm using two complementary colors plus white to create an overall green painting. Why green − well, I was trying to capture the coolness of the day turning into night that happens in the city. Why two colors? Because it becomes more about the value gradations − or the drawing.  

One of the paintings, which is very gray, was inspired by an Anders Zorn exhibit that came to San Francisco. Zorn has been noted for using an extremely limited palette − white, black, yellow ochre and red. He added some colors from time to time, but that was his base. One watercolor in particular struck me, Impressions of London. When I came home, I felt my painting was too complicated, I was trying to be too realistic and putting in the colors as I saw them from the photograph. I started painting over what I had painting. I didn't look at the reference at all, just recreated the scene to enhance the atmosphere − to make it my Impressions of San Francisco. Still have some more work on it though …

Another theme that seems to be cropping up again and again are my night paintings.  In daylight, things are either being lit by the sun, or they aren't – there’s one major light source.  The night scenes are compelling because there are a number of different light sources from street lights, cars, store fronts, etc. The pattern of lights in the dark can become pretty abstract and I'm trying to loosen up my painting some, however, it's much easier to do this on a small painting than a large one!  

School has been inspiring. My skills are being refined and polished, but it's also a reminder that there is always room for improvement. Watching the other teachers paint, reminds me that painting is a slow and steady discipline − one careful brushstroke after another.

Now, obviously, I can’t show you all the paintings she discussed. We have to save some surprises for the show, right? But I have seen them (most of them), and they are awesome. Thanks to Erica for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions.

March 22, 10am-5pm. Vernal Beauty. Make a plan.

Sculpted

Following up on the teases from Facebook, we’ve new work in from Gene Pearson,  Paul Rhymer and Brent Cooke, and here are some pics (in that particular order). If you want to see more, you’ll have to either visit us at the Gallery, or wait until Monday when I unleash the month’s new releases. 

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And there you have it. We'll see you next week. Probably.

February 07, 2014

Wear Black Shirts


So Wednesday, before I even showed up for work, I received a text from Jack: “Hey, wear a black shirt if you can.”

I knew what that meant. Picture day.

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Gratuitous photo of a woman in a black shirt. That's not what ours look like. Or what we look like.

And sure enough, soon as I walked in, he laid it out. It involved pageant sashes (like Miss America), Cupid wings and all three of us shirtless. True story.

I said, “No.”

“But it could go viral!”

“Hell no.”

He had a back-up plan.

“Okay, well, I have these masks …” And then he dug in this brown paper sack and pulled out a bunch of creepy little kid masks. A horse. An elephant. A lamb. A pig. A tiger. And each mask had a pun to go with it. You can see some of them on the front page of the Lovetts Gallery website. Go ahead and look. I’ll wait.

Good? Did you smile? We sure hope so. Happy Valentine’s Month!

It’s always been important to us to respectfully and seriously showcase the art and artists we represent, but … we also want everyone who comes into the Gallery to feel comfortable. We want our visitors to want to come back, and to feel it’s okay to be here and to like what they like. We choose art and artists we like, and hope there’s something in the gallery that speaks to every person who walks through our door.

But there’s this other part. What is the point of working in an art gallery if you can’t have a good time? And so we do. It’s easy to impart that to the people who visit, but it’s a little more difficult on the website. I mean, sure, you and I have a good time with the blog, but …

So Jack’s other scheme was to rotate our homepage background out every month with something fun and topical. Next month, I imagine we’ll look like drunken leprechauns (and I mostly have no problem with that). I need to go to Party City and pick out one of those green hats …

Be on the lookout.

Book of Faces

Not all of you are into social media, or, Facebook. I know this because our email list has almost 3,000 people on it, and we only have 670-something Likes on our Facebook page. I’m hoping to change that by having a little more of a presence on there. Do a bit more teasing of new arrivals and a little more insights into the day-to-day here at the gallery.

Wednesday, I posted about seven new pieces of jewelry from Jody Lyle. A lot of them are very Valentine’s Day-themed, so you could say it’s salient information. Let’s say at this point, I’ve done my due diligence and you’ve been informed. Cool pendants and earrings.

Other New Hotness

We have, if you can believe this, regulars. You know, people who come in all the time to see what’s new and what’s happening with us. One of them came in the other day, and she was standing in the gallery, deliberately facing away from the wall of pottery.

I asked her how she was doing. She said, “I don’t like that grasshopper thing.”

I said, “What grasshopper thing?” (I knew what she was talking about; the new sculpture from mad scientist Geoffrey Gorman.)

106423She looked at me and then pointed up at Gorman’s praying mantis, which he calls Seripista. I’ve included a photo of the larger-than-life steampunk bug for your approval. Personally, I kind of dig it. And I love the fact that he used an old metal library card catalog drawer for the pedestal. Ingenious!

“You have to get rid of it!”

It should be noted at this point that she’s also creeped out by K. Henderson’s And Your Little Dog, Too!, so her credibility on these things is … suspect.

What she did like were the new sculptures from Gene Pearson. Gene’s been in the gallery for a long time, but we haven’t seen anything new lately. We finally made contact with his people, and they were kind enough to replenish our stock. We have two new bronzes, and we had a raku sculpture, but it has already been spoken for. That said, you can still see it on the floor. It’ll be the one with the red dot.

In Conclusion

Jack wants to go viral by taking his shirt off and wearing Cupid wings. Our home page photo is going to be remixed monthly. We have some awesome Valentine’s appropriate jewelry from Jody , and awesome new pieces from Geoffrey, Wayne Muskett, Natalie Featherston, Allison Cantrell and Gene, and you can see them all here. Also, while most of the time our collectors are awed by art, sometimes art gives them the willies. To each their own.

See you soon.