Tag Archives: art academy of cincinnati

Art supplies first…

…then clothing and all that other stuff. I am off to Taos NM this friday morning to prepare for the arrival of 13 amazing students for the first (annual!) Keeping a Travel Sketch-Journal trip. While there I am sure to take a million pictures and finally have the time to spend making a few more thoughtful drawings, instead of the tell tale scribbles of a too busy artist-mama.

Recent weeks have seen us doing what my friend Jeni calls the Urban Iditarod, running from play practice to concert rehearsals, late to dance classes and our weekly Riley School classes, finally attending some of the best performances my kids have had to offer in their young lives.

The above program was to Jack’s concert at SCPA.  It simply defies description but leads me to believe that the various majors will be collaborating again soon.  Congratulations to all who participated!!

Then there was Walnut High School’s Jr. High performance of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I told Maddie that I completely forgot about the rest of the world for the couple of hours that we watched this show.  She says this is known as “the suspension of disbelief”.  I am now a believer in these amazingly talented young actors.

On the home front, I seem to have entered into a new realm with the combined effects of a new job and my children’s spring performance schedules.  I am on the go much more than I am at home, and much more than I’d like, to be quite honest.  That said, I know these years of busy-ness are simply the culmination of childhood.  I know that the day of my kids flying the nest draws near.  My own mama knows the wildness that is this era of life and got me a present.  Under the guise of wanting to pay me for some sewing I did for her and also as an early birthday gift, she got me a sparkly new i-phone.  Bear with me here as I explore all that the hipstamatic camera app. has to offer…. Yes, I am an i-phone newbie but I am warming to it’s conveniences.

If you follow this blog, you will notice that when I travel, I don’t blog much.  Something about lugging around a dang lap-top takes away from the sheer spontaneity that I like to take with me on the road.  So what you as a reader get is more of a synopsis upon my return from Great and Lofty Travels.  But what of the day to day during my travels?  Perhaps you would like to share a bit of this with me.  If you are one of those “status-update” types, or someone who “Tweets”, consider keeping track of my wanderings in the ether-worlds of Facebook or Twitter.  I will be updating these pages periodically with photos, links to where we will be visiting, and general impressions of everything I see and do on the road.  These electronic diary entries, combined with the rich tapestry of my sketchbook and camera will be what I mine for the blog trip-synopsis.

for Twitter:    https://twitter.com/#!/micromovements

for Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Bogard/120930640047

In the coming months I hope to update my blog and website a bit to have these things available and clickable and all that to keep things updated and current.  But this takes time.  And I have a trip to prepare for…

When I am set to leave for a climate that is potentially very different from my own, I spend the days prior to departure memorizing everything that is my juicy river valley home.  Here are some snaps…. with the hipstamatic app thingey of course.  Yes, I am a bit of a nerd.  It’s part of my charm…..

I’ll be missing those who look at me like that here at home, and they will more than likely be missing me as well.  But the road calls….

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”

~Jack Kerouac

I’ll see y’all in Taos.


 

spin

When it rains it pours, so the old saying goes, and it’s been pouring here.  I am in the midst of what I knew would be a busy, active time and I am just riding the waves as they come.  Last weekend was the Esme Kenney Memorial Benefit Concert.  It was, for lack of a more descriptive or colorful word, amazing.  Musicians Kim Taylor, Over-the-Rhine, Ric Hordinski, The Hiders, Jay Bolotin, and a few Riley School of Irish Music folks combined their talents to create an evening of fundraising, community, memorial and love, the likes of which I have never seen.  Artists from all genres donated items and gift certificates to outfit a spectacular silent auction.  Our committee, working so hard to make this incredible installation a reality, is now helping artist Jessie Henson get all of the pieces in place to get glass blown and steel fabricated to get the work built.  It’s a wild ride and it is giving all of us grieving for Esme a place to put our energies.  Something positive to hang onto and work for in the midst of the upcoming 1 year anniversary and impending criminal trial.  The night was full of magic and tears and special moments.  Jack not only played with Jeni and Simone from Riley School, but was invited by Kim to play a song with her.  I cried.

Meanwhile, the project I am proud to be a part of down at ArtWorks is now underway.  Below is a 3-d model that tina built to indicate all of the various pieces that will be incorporated into this huge relief mural (22 feet wide, 13 feet tall – ginormous!)  We have been handed what seems to be a dream team of teenagers who are our apprentice artists.  They are brilliant and are already working together to put their talents to work on Tina’s design.  Tina and I are working together to formulate further development of the overall design and to get the kids prepared for their in-process presentation to the folks at the Convention Center next week.  I think they will do a great job.

There are parts of this design that will involve painted portraits of historical figures from Cincinnati, while other parts will be made up of mixed media techniques to create more textural areas of interest.  Below are some “bricks” that will comprise a wall area in one part.

This is a rendering of Jennie Davis Porter, known for spearheading educational opportunities for african american children in the 1800’s.  As we explore Cincinnati’s history through this project, I’ll keep you posted and introduce you to our team of artists.  Busy as we will likely be, it’s already proving to be a tremendous amount of fun!

The ArtWorks project is not my only iron in the fire.  I am also continuing my work in the world of keeping a sketchbook.  Tonight is what we hope will be the final home-based pilot workshop for Drawing Down the Vision. We have polished our process enough to take it live to companies who are looking to inject some creativity into their work place.  Workshop participants will arrive to find their supplies wrapped up in cool little pods that I built.  They’ll get some fun pens, a small sketchbook to start collecting ideas in a new way, along with the “Atlas” which will guide them through the various exercises we have developed.  Adam and I are looking forward to a fun evening of drawing and looking at communication and productivity from a different perspective.

Next week I will be the visiting artist at UC’s Clermont campus in their Art Department.  I’ll be lecturing and then providing a workshop for a group of students in a drawing class.  This is such a tremendous opportunity and I am really looking forward to sharing my approach to the documentation of life and work via the sketchbook.  In a few weeks, I am back to where I essentially began to go public with all of this sketchy-ness in the first place, the Art Academy of Cincinnati.  Bookmaker Cody Calhoun and I will be co-teaching the “Make a Book/ Fill a Book” course which essentially combines my class with hers.  This will be new to both of us and we are really excited to get started!  The class is apparently full with a wait list so our students appear to be as excited as we are.

All of this is really extroverted and it’s good exercise for someone who generally likes to keep things fairly quiet.  But shy as I am, I do love people.  And I am currently working with some amazing people and getting the chance to present to lots of others who are interested in what I do.  It’s humbling and fabulous.  And I am grateful for it.

I’ll keep you posted in the weeks to come.

On such a winter’s day

It’s been a fairly cold stretch of days recently.  The sort of cold that puts your shoulders all up in to your ears and dries out your nose and lips.  When the weather gets this bitter, my studio is uninhabitable.  There is just no warming up an uninsulated room that is 3 sides windows… no matter how good the old fireplace!  This yearly hiatus of studio based work is not bad timing really.  I got the show for the Pleasant Perk finished and up before the weather got too unbearable to melt wax and there is something about winter that puts me in a pensive, planning sort of mood.  The way gardeners get when the seed catalogs start to arrive….

The Perk show has been a success thus far – I have sold 11 paintings!!  They are all relatively small paintings, which I figured would work well in that market (I was right!) There has been plenty of good feedback as to the quality of the work and that it seems to resonate with a lot of people.  With a good chunk of that work going to new homes at the end of the month, I naturally am wondering, what next ?

So, the dogs and I went walking a bit today, in spite of the cold, and did some thinking.  Luckily, some of the answers are already in place.  Making paintings is a rather solitude filled activity and I am looking forward to beginning the collaborative effort with fellow artist Tina Westerkamp and some ArtWorks students.  We will be creating a large scale indoor relief mural for the Cincinnati Convention Center. Starting later this month, this project will be on the proverbial front burner for a couple of months, allowing for the weather to warm up at home to eventually get back to the wax work later in the spring.

The other work I am excited to continue and nurture is that of my sketchbook.  The Art Academy class will be starting up again in February but this time will have a book making element to it.  I am excited to be team teaching with amazing artist/book maker Cody Calhoun and will certainly post more information about this new class as it approaches.  Also in February, I will be a visiting artist at UC Clermont to introduce my sketchbook process to a drawing class.  So many wonderful opportunities are coming together at what seems like all at once!  But I know it’s been years in the making – and I need to keep on making.  Beyond the current plans, what could lie beyond?  Not only what next, but what after that?  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to over plan my life.  But I believe in tossing things out there that could be possible and seeing what comes back around.  With that spirit in mind, I am looking into residencies here and there.  I could see spending an entire season (adventure loving family in tow) somewhere entirely different than Ohio.  Like Maine, or northern Michigan.  Who knows?

As I ponder the possibilities of going some place for the sheer point of exploration and art making, I will avoid my cold, cold studio and focus on some cozier fibery work like quilt making or embroidery.  Who knows what lies around the bend?!  This from a girl who idolized Jacques Cousteau back in the day.  I wonder if artists ever get to go on scientific oceanic explorations?  Hmmmm, now there is a thought.

Stay warm if you can….

Taos plans

I had a meeting with Troy Brown today, head of the Community Education program at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, about plans for a travel sketching class to Taos, NM.  Since my trip to Taos late last summer, I have dreamed of taking a group of students there to soak up the beautiful light, Pueblo architecture and art history that the little town has to offer.  I would be ready to launch the trip now and make it happen in the spring of 2010, but alas, to make this class a reality I need to take into account the time frame that the proper level of preparation and advertising will take.  And so, we are scheduling the trip for the end of May/ early June, 2011.

On some level this feels really far into the future but actually, it’s not.  This time next year, the Art Academy Winter/ Spring catalog will go out with the trip to Taos offered as part of a package that includes preparatory sketchbook classes to discuss supplies, techniques and general plans for the trip.  If we get any takers from afar, I will work with those students independently online or via telephone.  In the meantime the next two catalogs, Summer and then Fall 2010 will give the Art Academy plenty of time and opportunity to make the class known and available to a wide range of potential students.  Perhaps I will even have the opportunity to head back to Taos between now and spring 2011 and seek out even more spectacular little places to sketch.

It is said that patience is a virtue, that good things come in their own time.  I am trusting that this is true.  My work cup is tremendously full right now with Drawing Down the Vision pilots happening this week and next.  I also received word late last week that I am to be the teaching artist on an ArtWorks project to be created for and installed in the Duke Energy Convention Center here in Cincinnati.  I’ll be working with project leader (and dear art buddy and friend) Tina Westerkamp as well as with local high school students who will be hired specifically to work on this project during January and February.  I will post photos from this new art adventure each step of the way here on the blog.  I am tremendously excited to be a part of an ArtWorks project, as usually their work happens in the summer time when I am feeding my gypsy soul.  There is much to keep me busy and engaged artistically between now and Spring 2011.  For this I am filled with gratitude.

A month of hard work

It’s been about a month since my last post as there has been a lot happening around here, not allowing too many blocks of time to sit down and update.  So I’ll catch things up here now, as best I can.  Early in November, my son Jack was in the pit orchestra for the School for Creative and Performing Arts’ performance of the musical Fame. (pardon the pixelated photo).  In this production there is a wonderful song, done in a series of rounds that talks about what “hard work” the arts are, each discipline convinced that theirs is the “hardest profession in the world”.  Our lives have been a lot like this song recently with music, dance and in our case, the visual arts, occupying much of our time and energy.  It’s been wonderful!  Jack’s weeks leading up to Fame meant long hours after school and tons of make up work for the days missed at school for tech-week.  But being part of the major musical at school has been something he’s wanted to do since he began school there.  I think it was worth the wait for him.

Another big event that came to fruition this month is the Mid-America Irish Dance Championships, the Oireachtas, (pron. or-rock-tus).  My daughter Maddie and her teammates at McGing Irish Dancers have worked for months to get to this and they were met with success.  One of her ceili teams (somewhat like Irish square dancing yet judged on precision of the steps of the team) placed third in the Midwest out of over 30 teams!  The girls were overjoyed at how months of hard work and time and effort paid off.  As a parent it was heartwarming to witness.

The kids’ activities have had us running around town quite a bit and it’s important to take a step back now and then and steal away for some quietude just the two of us.  So on Tony’s birthday, we did just that and played hookie for the day to head out for a paddle up the Licking River, one of the Ohio River tributaries.  It was a pretty cold day but once we were bundled into our boats it wasn’t bad.  Luckily we did not get wet, though we were prepared if necessary of course.  It was a wonderful day…

On Thanksgiving, on top of a house full for dinner, my 7 year old nephew decided that it would be fun to make a movie.  And he had it all worked out in his head as to how he wanted it to go.  And so, Indianapolis Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Turkey was born via the group artistic effort of most everyone available.  This might look like goofy non-sense to most folks, but when we showed the movie over pie that evening, we all laughed so hard we cried.  Even Tony tapped into his inner actor and played the evil “Mobile Commander” who was attempting to steal the crystal turkey (foam, packing tape, and rhinestones from the craft box).  I think it’s pretty cool that we can make a movie in a day nowadays.

These are just a few of the things keeping me in “busy” mode.  Often when I get in that mode, artfulness is more fleeting and I let the “busy-ness” take over.  But lately, that is not so much the case.  In spite of a hectic month, work is getting done (ok, so I didn’t blog for a month…but…).  Drawing Down the Vision, the visual communication class I have co-developed with my former student Adam will be unveiled at a home based pilot here on December 17.  We have asked a few friends of Adam’s and Tony’s from the corporate set, and my friend, fellow artist, writer and workshop facilitator Diane Debevec to join us so we can get used to presenting what we have gathered and in turn get some critical feedback before we attempt to offer this workshop in the real world.  It is tremendously exciting to be at this point.  Nerve-racking, but exciting.

My fall semester at the Art Academy of Cincinnati has come to an end.  I taught my six week sketchjournaling course to 10 students.  Among them were non-artists, artists and art teachers.  As usual, I learned so much from them and am already looking forward to next time.  Next semester will be a bit different.  I will be co-teaching with a book-maker named Cody Calhoun.  Together we’ll be offering a class where students will make a blank journal, and then learn how to fill it.  Details about our Make The Book/ Fill the Book class are available in the new Community Education 2010 course catalog which you can download via the link above.  You might recognize the featured faculty member on the cover as well as inside.  My sketchjournaling process is featured in this issue!

Work at the wax table has seen some growth spurts in the month of November, with new layers and processes developing.  I plan to spend the month of December preparing more work for a show at Pleasant Perk in January.  One exciting aspect of the upcoming show is that 20% of the sale proceeds will be donated to the Esme Kenney Sculpture Project.  This is an exciting project that I am involved in and it deserves it’s own post with photos and details to come soon, but I wanted to mention it here and give folks a chance to check it out. I will certainly keep you posted, most likely later this week…. but for now, a sneak peak at some new work.


Navigating

There has been a lot on the proverbial plate here lately which is mildly stressful.  But mostly, excitement reigns as I navigate an increasingly busy schedule.  Our kids are back in school now and we have settled into something of a schedule with new bus routes and school hours.  Having them take the bus to and from school most days has opened up some more time for me in the studio and I have been taking full advantage.  The wax table has seen some activity and I am enjoying creating new works involving stones and pebbles.

For years (as long as I can remember actually) I have collected small stones from everywhere I go as minute physical reminders of a place.  Once at home, these pebbles are usually to be found lying around here and there as decoration and inspiration.  Sometimes I just like to carry one in my pocket.  I like to think I am borrowing them for a time until someday when I am done with them and they will go back outside.  I know other artists who use pebbles as not only inspiration, but as material.  Jennifer Neilsen of Solstice Designs creates beautiful jewelry out of stones she finds on the Maine coast and I am a proud owner of one of her pieces.

In recent encaustic work, as well as in the sketchbook, I have been meditating on how lovely each and every stone is and how no one is like any other.  They are a good bit like people.  I don’t use actual pebbles in these paintings but rather create simulacra of stones and pebbles that look as much like the real thing as possible.  I like the effect and the pebbles are convincing, even in person.  But why re-create pebbles?  I don’t really know the answer to that at this point.  I just know that I enjoy making them, which for me is half the battle in the studio.  If I am not engaged with my subject, I get easily sidetracked.  So for now, I am sculpting little stones and considering the notion of landscape from a top-down perspective.  Years of beach combing are finally paying off perhaps.  Here are some samples of what’s cookin’ at the wax table…

Kayaking continues to be my new love as I learn more about being comfortable in my boat.  We have had numerous opportunities to be out on the water recently which allows me to gather stones, take photographs and draw.

One of the unexpected things about kayaking that I find particularly enjoyable is the solitude and quiet to be found when out on the water, at least in mild weather and calm waters.  I get time and quiet to think about things, which is something I don’t allow enough of in my daily life.  Even when paddling with a group of people, there is enough space and time to do my own thing here and there and I love that.  Here’s a sketch I did the other day while out on the Ohio River at Manchester Islands.  Instead of swimming, I sat and drew.

Drawing is the other thing that has me busy in the studio right now.  Funny thing is, it’s not so much the act of drawing, but rather research and writing about drawing and its inherent value as a quintessential right brained activity.  For the past few months, a former student, now friend, Adam Siemiginowski and I have been developing a new course in drawing and visual communication in general which we intend to pilot locally to large scale businesses.  We call this project Drawing Down the Vision.  It all started when Adam, a systems analyst, data sort a guy from P&G took my class at the Art Academy.  He was looking for a way to synthesize disparate ideas into one concise place as a way to monitor trends in his own thinking and idea gathering.  By the end of the course, it was clear to both of us that my relatively simple process of keeping a visual diary (i.e. sketchbook) could potentially be a powerful tool in knowledge management in the corporate sphere.

So we began working together.  I have a fairly steep learning curve when it comes to business lingo and navigating the corporate way of doing things.  But I am learning.  The more we research what boils down to a discussion of creativity in the work place, the more there is to discover.  Everyday there is more and more evidence that the old models of generating creative solutions to problems (be they business-esque “bottom line” solutions, or an outside of the box new medical breakthrough) are outdated.  Dan Pink’s recent TED talk speaks to the power of this changing landscape of problem solving.  He is one of many who believe that inspiring creativity in the work place may involve a new approach involving mixing the boundaries between professions such as business, art and science.

All of this is tremendously exciting, and scary, and I write about it here because writing helps me organize my thoughts in a way that simply thinking or list-making can’t.  In the end that is why I blog.  I sometimes discover a way of viewing my own work or thought process that I hadn’t considered.  So I’ll certainly be writing more about DDtV and its progress, as well as keeping you posted on the more day to day simple things that keep me not only occupied but in awe.  Thanks for reading.