Behind the Muse: with Ben Fraits

Ben Fraits has participated in Art Lotto all three years. The first year he won the Out of the Box Award for his scrabble tile portrait of Annie Hogan Cline. The second year, he took home the Artists’ Choice trophy for his concrete, chiseled, crowd-wower, portrait of photographer Pat Jarrett. Coincidentally, he also handmade the trophies for the award ceremony out of found/discarded material and then received his own trophy back. Lucky for him, they looked awesome! Each year, Ben has managed to provide the audience with a pleasant surprise. A well executed original idea that shows his dedication to creativity, process and thinking big. This year, Ben is taking a less shocking approach to his portrait of Kyle Herr. Black, white, wood and metal…that pretty much sums up the portrait and the subject.

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Ben making his first marks on his portrait of Kyle Herr.

“I wanted to do something a bit different this year, something more traditional, but still put my own spin on things. For my canvas, I used the top of an old table that was collecting the weather outside. The metal and wood complimented Kyle’s background in carpentry. I decided to paint his portrait in black & white acrylic from a b&w photo I took when we met up at Cuban Burger. I’ve never painted anyone in black and white and thought it would be a good challenge. I partially wanted to paint a piece so I could put the easel  I won last year to good use.” -Ben

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A sneak preview of the finished portrait!
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Behind the Muse: with Lynda Bostrom

“I’ve been wanting to work more with portraiture; stretch my skills and try new methods with my favorite materials. I’ve also been wanting to work with male portraiture – as luck would have it, my artist is Derek Niver. I’m working on a small body of work for an upcoming show, (all portraits of men) and I’m using Derek’s portrait as the flagship piece.

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Photographer, Paul Somers, captures local filmmaker, Alex Kent. Images used during their shoot would serve as visual references for Lynda’s upcoming series.
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Up close and personal in this reference shot of Derek Niver.

With the help of Paul Somers and Alex Kent, I held a photo shoot day in March to gather some top notch reference images of the models I want to draw. I’ve never taken this much care into the preliminary planning of the work I make, and it’s making a huge difference.

Aside from the image of Derek’s face, I wanted to incorporate a design element that I could use as a common thread in all these new pieces – I’ve always enjoyed combining a person’s likeness with a surrealistic world surrounding them. After many many many many failed attempts and little success with botanical and flat painterly shapes, I decided to return to an old process of collaging I used frequently 5-7 years ago. Returning to this method feels good. I would compare it to seeing an old friend from when we were both 12 and very awkward. And in the reunion, I can still see their authenticity and the foundation of who they are, but it’s combined with more confidence and grace.” -Lynda

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A detailed sneak peek of Lynda’s portrait of Derek Niver.

We’re thrilled to have veteran Lotto artist, Lynda Bostrom, back for round three. Each year, Lynda has brought us uplifting colors and refined skill that hoists the bar furtherlotto-by-bostrom-lynda and further up. She truly contributes to the level of quality each Art Lotto show brings. Her first year, she took home two awards for her portrait of fellow artist (and Art Lotto Co-Founder) Denise Allen for Best Use of Medium and Kids Choice Award. Even though 1404920464305she does excellent work in portraiture, Art Lotto is just the tip of her iceberg…she’s a busy gal! She recently branded local soon-to-be-everyone’s-new-favorite restaurant in town: foodBARfood, she actively serves on the Board of Directors at Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and is co-chair of their Promotions Committee. Most recently, her committee successfully executed the Rocktown Rye boxed workspace tampa lynda bostromProject that culminated at the annual Valley Fourth, but they have lots of exciting community projects in store for us in the near future. On top of all that, she chips away at her freelance design gigs, gets mad-love on art sites (go here and vote for her!) and continues creating inspiring, unique works of art for sheer joy, the love of collaboration and for gallery show. She’s participating in a show called “BOXED” that’s happening this September at the Tampa-based gallery, Workspace. Her work will be displayed alongside the likes of Ed Templeton and Chris Pastras. She’s kind of awesome. And we’re glad she calls Harrisonburg home.

Behind the Muse: with Tahany Garrison

Tahany Garrison is getting amped up for her first year as an Art Lotto artist. At our Luck of the Draw event, she drew the name of fellow-first-timer Hannah Sions. The two met downtown Harrisonburg for a full evening of art shows on a recent First Friday:

“In the unintentional spirit of procrastination, I have just now started on a portrait of Hannah. I met with her a few weeks ago and, fittingly, strolled through a First Friday downtown. I snapped some pics, and was on my way to think about what I had done- because I felt like I had gotten myself into trouble by finally participating in Art Lotto. I hadn’t done a portrait in a year or two. I was a little terrified, to be honest. Then I remembered a mantra offered to me in the past, “Keep it simple, stupid!”“What a relief. As usual, I was over-complicating things. I already knew I wanted to use salvaged/recycled materials. I have a nice stash of paperboard I’ve been hoarding and a bunch of stuff that the city doesn’t accept in the recycle bin. That was the ‘me’ in it. Finally, I choose a photo of Hannah, which as it turns out, was one she took of herself. A gritty, webcam shot of her perfectly witty and goofy self- perfect!”

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Tahany3“Now it’s execution time. Alone time to work on this piece is hard to come by before 9pm with little people running around. So, to keep them busy- I asked them to tear up the card board while I laid out the portrait on my substrate. So, kind of out of convenience and improvisation, I choose to do do a mosaic style portrait. Originally, I wanted to use the subtle differences in shades of brown on the unprinted side of the cardboard to do a monochromatic image. But life is more fun with color, and I’m pretty sure Hannah would agree.” ~Tahany

 

This year, Tahany will be portrayed by former Lotto award winner, Rhoda Miller.

Behind the Muse: with Sherrie Good

Sherrie Good is a first year Art Lotto artist but this community-driven portrait show is not a new concept for her. I first met Sherrie at the Art Lotto First Friday event last year (2013). She was enjoying the faces on the wall while hanging out with her friend and Lotto artist, Lynn Lough. I remember talking with Sherrie at the opening. I learned that she had just closed on a house in Harrisonburg after deciding to move back to the area from Northern Virginia. That evening, Sherrie purchased a portrait of Rhoda Miller as the first piece of art to hang in her new home. We love our local Art Lotto supporters! This year, Sherrie is bumpin’ creative elbows with 41 other local artists as she participates in Art Lotto #3!
This year, Sherrie will be portraying Teale Davies; Jason Alexander will be portraying Sherrie.

Sherrie's cooking up some creative ingredients for her portrait of Teale.
Sherrie’s cooking up some creative ingredients for her portrait of Teale.

“Hi, I am Sherrie Good, a Harrisonburg native. I have been an artist all of my life. I remember drawing a turkey for Thanksgiving in kindergarten, and noticing how great it looked up on the wall with the other drawings. My career continued. When I was in elementary school I would watch a show about a modern day witch, Bewitched, and I was in awe of the witch’s mortal husband who was in advertising. I decided then and there that was what I was going to do. I left Harrisonburg 28 years ago, and pursued my career as a designer. After a very successful run as a designer in DC, I decided it was time to head back to the hills. 

I love living in Harrisonburg, it has finally got its’ groove back. I want to spend more time with my charcoals and pencils. To this end, my friend Lynn Lough roped me into the Art Lotto! I was lucky, I picked Teale. We met at the Dodger where I learned she loves drawing anatomy and Technicolor hurling skeletons. I am not making this up. She also likes gardening, but anatomy is her thing.

With this knowledge I have been baking bones. You heard me right baking Sculpey bones! They will go with my drawing of Teale. Though I have managed to miss every Art Lotto meeting, I look forward to the show and finally meeting some fellow artist.” ~Sherrie

 

Behind the Muse: with Denise Allen

Denise Allen is a local artist, art advocate, event planner, city school employee, spreader of joy and an all ’round good person. If you know Denise, you love her. And incase you didn’t know, Denise is not only a participating lotto artist but she just-so-happens to be the cofounder of Art Lotto, too! I couldn’t have dreamed up a better partner in event planning. Together we have planned three years of Art Lotto, soon-to-be two years of Wonderkitten, a Photographer Expo and some other things in the works that you’ll just have to wait for! Denise recently met with Chesapeake based artist Cameron Twiford, the artist she will be portraying in this year’s Art Lotto. At the same time, Cameron also met with the artist he will be portraying: Sharon Skates of Broadway, Virginia. This trio enjoyed lunch, conversation and photo taking at the Blue Nile in Downtown, Harrisonburg.Sharon Skates Denise Allen Cameron Twiford

Sharon, Denise & Cameron’s joint Art Lotto meeting at the Blue Nile in Harrisonburg, VA.

 “It’s been fun getting involved in the arts in Harrisonburg! I’ve been living here for almost 10 years and I’ve had over 50 art shows. I’ve gotten to collaborate with several artists and continue to do so with Artery and Art Lotto. In Art Lotto 2012, I partnered with Teal Davies, Teal Davies partnered with Lynda Bostrom, and Lynda Bostrom had me!  (Side Note: This year, Derek Niver gets to portray me, and Lynda Bostrom is going to portray Derek! How cool is that!?!?) 

This year, we had another art-tri-fecta on Thursday, May 8! I sped out the door at lunch time to meet my Art Lotto pARTner, Cameron Twiford, and HIS pARTner, Sharon Skates, at Blue Nile downtown. As I ate my lunch in front of Sharon and Cameron, we swapped stories and got to know each other a little bit. I learned that Cameron is a firefighter and traveling to Las Vegas for a training with ‘five other knuckleheads’ this week. He grew up in Chesapeake with Paul Somers and visits Harrisonburg often to hang out and go skateboarding and see events like Skatan Worshippers. For his art making, he usually does pen drawings, his favorite color is green, and he’s stepping outside of his comfort zone to make Sharon’s portrait! And OF COURSE Sharon ‘uses both sides of her brain on a daily basis’, she changes her hair color often, and she’s a cancer survivor. She shared with us that Harrisonburg Relay for Life is #19 in the nation and #1 in Virginia! Her weekend would be spent making 7,200 cupcakes for a fundraiser for a 5th grader with Leukemia! WOW! Sharon says she’s going to try and paint her pARTner, Laura Thompson, on a cake, and then make a 2nd fondant cake—and I’m secretly hoping she lets us eat one!” ~Denise

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Cameron Twiford & Sharon Skates showing off their creative guns.

 

Behind the Muse: with Ruthie Hogan

Ruthie Hogan signed up for Art Lotto last year and at the Luck of the Draw event, she randomly selected the name of local wood artist Bruce Rosenwasser. She challenged herself to make Bruce into a muppet…and she succeeded. Muppet Bruce was a hit at the Lotto openings. Artists took him off the wall, passed him around, disguised their hands as ball-capped-flannel-wearing-Bruce and entertained each other. Ruthie brought lots of smiles with her muppet creation. This year, Ruthie selected the name of photographer Misti Yoder. Misti has local roots but currently resides in Indiana. The distance could easily be a challenge but Misti and Ruthie made it work last week when they met up for coffee.

Misti and Ruthie at The Artful Dodger
Misti and Ruthie at The Artful Dodger

“I met Misti and her daughter at the Artful Dodger on Monday. This year’s process is pretty different from last year for me because I knew what I was going to do last year (whether or not I was sure I could do it was another story). This year, I wanted to do something different and had a couple of ideas running around my head. Meeting Misti and getting to know a little but about her was really inspiring; it finalized in my mind what I want to do. I went out and bought my materials immediately after our meeting. Hopefully it works.” ~Ruthie

Behind the Muse: with Laura Thompson

Laura Thompson is a mother, a wife, an artist and she teaches art at Thomas Harrison Middle School. For those of you familiar with the middle school species, that translates to: Laura has the patience of a saint. I recently visited an art exhibit of student work that Laura organized at the Blue Nile in downtown Harrisonburg. The show consisted of hand-sewn monsters that represented the student’s secrets, inner demons and fears. The artwork was impressive enough on it’s own, but to read the words of a middle schooler explaining that part of themselves was downright powerful. The world needs more teachers like this woman. We’re thrilled that she is dedicating a chunk of her precious time to participate in Art Lotto again this year. Laura will be creating a portrait of Greg Sultan. Laura’s portrait will be created by Sharon Skates.

Laura works on a sketch of her Art Lotto partner, Greg Sultan.
Laura works on a sketch of her Art Lotto partner, Greg Sultan.

“I love that the Art Lotto process can be so organic. Like last year, I came to the meeting with no plan, no expectations, and an open mind. When I met Greg Sultan at the Baja Bean in Staunton, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had talked to him briefly at the Luck of the Draw, and had looked at his website, but had no idea what form his portrait would ultimately take. I am an art teacher, so I know a wide range of media. At first I thought maybe glass, then maybe wood block printing, then maybe watercolor. I still haven’t landed on one for sure. 
But I know what it will be called: He told me that he is heading far away from here — uprooting, transplanting, reestablishing — and with that comes much change and adjustment. With change comes potential — to do, to be, to create, to build. These things are choices we can make, and even though we might sometimes feel like our chance has passed, “There’s Still Time.” ~Laura