Laura Thompson is a mother, a wife, an artist andshe 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.
“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
Procrastination Destination is happening Monday, February 24 from 4-6:30. Upstairs at the Blue Nile. Come see us! We’ll have registration forms ready to go and a friendly smile. If you’re on Facebook, here’s an event link. Feel free to share!
As we gear up for Art Lotto 2014, we can’t help but say “haaay” to Art Lotto 2013. What a great show with so.much.talent! Below is the centerfold of last year’s yearbooklet. Each portrait is numbered so you can identify the artist that created the pieces pictures.Call for artist coming SOON!
Art Lotto held it’s public art opening on First Friday at the Artful Dodger in downtown Harrisonburg, VA. With Thursday being a private celebration for artists, sponsors and judges, Friday was geared towards a fun-filled evening for families and children. In front of the Dodger we had a circus of activities including face painting, sidewalk chalk, a mini-manicure station and a coloring table with each of our top-level sponsors drawn up in coloring-book-form! Art Lotto portraits will be up on the Dodger walls through the month of August. Head on down and check it out!
So many thanks to our volunteers that made this fun evening possible!
Face painters: April Sedeen, Sarah Murphy & Esther King
Mini-manicure-ers: Danielle Campbell & Brook Burner
Coloring Experts: Emily Casey, Carl Yoder & Jenny Jones
Thank you Rachel Herr (see pg 30 on link!) for capturing these candid moments last evening at Art Lotto’s artists/judges/sponsors Private Party. What a fun evening of looking and admiring and chatting and fun. It was a great sight to see all eyes glued to the walls of the Artful Dodger in admiration of the diverse talent that surrounds us. Portraits will be up through the month of August.
This evening, local artist Ben Fraits delivered the Art Lotto trophies to me! They work great alongside our other lotto designs with their bright colors and use of paper planes. In this case, they’re aluminum planes made from discarded beverage cans. In fact, all the supplies used in making the trophies is recycled material found right here in Harrisonburg! Here’s a sneak at one of the three awards that will be handed out on Thursday evening at our Private Party. Be sure to join us for the First Friday Public Openingthis Friday from 5-7 at The Artful Dodger! There will be lots of kid-friendly activities happening out front including face painting, sidewalk art, a mini-manicure station and a coloring table! Woo art!
John Bell has a pin in my timeline. He was my first (ever) art teacher. After skimming through high school without taking a single art class, I showed up to his Blue Ridge Community College Intro to Drawing course with a 6B in my shaky hand. That class paired with his Art History course was a potent mixture that would seep into my soul for years to come. I really can’t accurately measure the impact he’s had on my skill, style, and love for art. He is the kind of teacher that had me seeing this world around me. I started looking up at building structure, noticing placement in paintings like The Swing and proportion in pieces like the Pietá, placing importance on seemingly mundane details in artwork like eyesight, value changes, and directional lines. He had me wondering things like “Why is she giving him a carnation?” and “What’s so controversial about Caravaggio anyway?” I began to question and therefore understand history through art. He did this for me and it’s truly an honor to have him participating in this art show that Denise and I have created. This year John is portraying Nashville artist Renee Somers and Jess Herr will be portraying John.
“After exchanging e-mails for several months, my Art Lotto “pardner” Renee Somers and I got together today for a rewarding session of conversation, coffee, drawing, painting, and a few photos. (I did a charcoal study – Renee, who lives in Nashville, decided to start a portrait of me in oils). When I chose her name, I knew it had a familiar ring to it. I soon found out it was Paul’s mother. I’ve known Paul since he was a student of mine about 12 years ago. The other connection Renee and I have is that we are both art educators. After seeing the Art Lotto 2012 show, I knew that I just had to be a part of it this year. It was easily one of the best group shows I’ve ever seen in The Burg. Since I haven’t done many portraits in recent years, this will be a challenge for me – but, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to do it … for me, art is very much about The Challenge. It also seemed like a unique opportunity to get to know fellow artists (Jess Herr is doing my portrait … another art teacher!). Thanks to Brandy and all the others that are working to make Art Lotto happen!” ~John
I’ve known Renee Somers for nearly 15 years. She is an artist in every sense of the word. She lives it, preaches it, breathes it, studies it, does it, loves it and just can’t get away from it. It bleeds from her. It is her. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee but is no stranger to the Valley. Renee’s son, Paul, is a go-to for artful adventures in Harrisonburg, carrying on her passions and giving her ample reasons to visit: film festivals, poetry readings, art shows and…oh yeah, her amazingly sweet grandchildren. This is Renee’s second Art Lotto go-round. Last year she took home the prize for Best Hair with her painting of Matt Sedeen. This year, she’ll be all tangled up in the locks of Matt Hall. Fellow art educator/artist John Bell will be portraying Renee. After meeting with Matt for the first time, Renee sent me the following quick-sketch and thoughts:
“I wondered who was the artist I would paint for Art Lotto. I came, I looked, I wondered. I was plopped down on a stool at the Artful Dodger thinking each person I saw might be him. I asked first one and then another. I looked for someone looking for someone. Then about the time I settled in and just decided to relax, I ordered a coffee and told the bartender I was “just waiting for Matt Hall” and he said, “Why he’s right there,” and called him over. He resembled the images I had seen painted through the centuries of the Christ. I was thrilled at the fun hair I would get to paint and my immediate response was to do a Christ look-alike. But who knows where the spirit will take me as I handle this young artists face with my paintbrush and follow the contours of a well-chiseled firm face and curly feathery hair.
You know, when it comes to Art Lotto, it is about surprise, anticipation, and visual resurrections of our perceptions coupled with the images of the artists we have selected to portray. I took some pictures of Matt and my son, Paul, took some pictures for me. If you want to find out the outcome of this fabulous opportunity, meet me at the Art Lotto opening at the Artful Dodger. Last year and to-date, it was the best art show I had seen in years. The diversity, the talent, and the ambiance of the whole concept, of artists painting artists, was just inspiring. Top that off with the Super Gr8 Film Festival and you have music, passion and art all wrapped up in a artful heartful community.” ~Renee
“I drew Angus Carter at the Luck of the Draw event, and it’s kind of a funny story. Angus and I have been good friends since High School. We joked about the what ifs of drawing each other’s names, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I actually saw his name roll out from under that cup.”
“My process starts from a board, or canvas that I’ll cover with a thick coat of black paint. For me, it eliminates all other elements, and possibilities, allowing me to get at only what needs to be there. Usually it’s in the form of old memories that are pulled from somewhere in the backlogs of my brain. It takes a lot of concentration, but something always comes screaming through. Afterward, it’s just a mad rush to bring it out of the black before it’s forgotten, or I have to start all over. It’s actually a really exciting process for me, and usually accompanied by some fun music. I guess it’s kind of a Zen approach to art, but I really don’t label myself as such.
Whenever I do portraits, they tend to deviate from my normal method in some way that bends more toward their character. Angus’ portrait is no different. So far it’s turned into something slightly more complex, and chaotic, which actually suits him pretty well.” ~Kyle
I ran into Kyle and Angus recently at an art opening at Larkin Arts. When I cornered them for a photo, I asked Kyle if they had any older photos together. Much to my surprise, Kyle sent me this gem. Check out Kyle and Angus in high school!
“We were all going to a pro wrestling show, if I recall, and it was canceled. We all pretended to be really super bummed for the photo. I was a bit of a chunkier kid in High School, making really bad choices in hair-styles, and Angus was a skinny little vegan/straight edge dude (hard to believe, I know). We’re on the bottom right of the photo.” ~Kyle
Look for Kyle’s portrait of Angus at the August Art Lotto opening as well as the portrait of Kyle which is being created by Parvina Mamatova.