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.

Private P-art-y!

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.IMG_2077web IMG_2084web IMG_2037webIMG_2035web IMG_2028bwweb IMG_2030bwwebIMG_2044bwweb IMG_2031web IMG_2049web IMG_2042webIMG_2050web IMG_2056web IMG_2052web IMG_2054web IMG_2060webIMG_2051web IMG_2055web IMG_2058bwweb IMG_2061bwwebIMG_2065web IMG_2067webIMG_2066webIMG_2074bwweb IMG_2062bwweb IMG_2073bwwebIMG_2082web IMG_2085web IMG_2088web IMG_2086web IMG_2081webIMG_2092web IMG_2098web IMG_2090web IMG_2093web IMG_2089bwwebIMG_2099web IMG_2100web IMG_2107web IMG_2103web IMG_2108bwweb IMG_2110web

Trophies?!!

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 Opening this 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!

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Behind the Muse: with John Bell

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.

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“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

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Photos courtesy of Paul Somers