Tag Archives: artist

The Pastel Portal

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Pastel ClassOnce again I am caught up in a whirlwind of projects and classes this semester, but I wanted to take a moment to share my latest work from my pastel class.  I am currently studying under Bonnie Roth, who is a fantastic artist and thought provoking instructor.  Take a browse thru her gallery if you have a few minutes: http://www.bonnierothanderson.com/portrait2.html.  She is broadening my perception of color every week, and I have been thoroughly enjoying the journey!

For this particular piece, we spent 3 sessions with our model, and I must say that I am really enjoying this medium.  I have always loved working in charcoal, so this seems to me a natural progression into the realm of pastels.  I am looking forward to re-working some of my picture book illustrations with some of these new concepts and techniques.  Thanks for stopping by my virtual studio! 😉

I’m Just Warming Up…

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Michelle Fitzurka's Art

One of my better daily practice sketches.

Continuing my organizational mission in my studio, I found some charcoal sketches from a portraiture class I had enrolled in 10 years ago at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts — WOW, has it really been that long?!  At the time, I wasn’t really sure if I would be any good at drawing faces, but I wanted to give it a try.  As it turned out, I really loved this subject, and I realized that pencil sketching each day would open me up to clearer observations of the details and sharpen my skills little by little.  So now that I am gearing up for my Drawing class that begins in the Fall, I thought I would post a few of my favorites.   I decided to add a few of the smaller sketches that were a part of my daily practice routine, as well.  This is a conscious reminder that I need to get that drawing pad out again for my down times… Did I really write that?  I am a mother of 4, there are no downtimes!!!  So in Momspeak, that is to say that I need to carve some time into my quiet hours ~ which equates to the time that the children are in bed sleeping, and when I probably should be doing the same.  But who has time for sleep when there are creative conquests on the horizon!  These are the moments when you recognize that you are doing what you were created to do.  You are recharged with a second wind of passion that drives you into the wee hours of invigorating process until you reluctantly surrender to your pillow.  With a breath of fresh morning light your workscape beckons to you… ahh yes, THIS is my Fitztopia…

A quick sketch of Gandalf emerging out of my fascination
with “Lord of the Rings” when the first movie was released.

Exploring various exposures of light in the studio with charcoal.

The Whispering Sands of Kseniya Simonova

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Click on the photograph to visit Kseniya Simonova’s official website.
Photo taken in Yevpatoria, Sept. 2009.  Stringer/Russia.

I am always on the lookout for artists who are reaching out in some compelling way.  It is a hope of mine to somehow channel my own talents in this way, so I am inspired by the efforts of those who are already making a difference.  In the case of Kseniya Simonova, I was first drawn to her mesmerizing sand art creations when I was introduced to her work by a classmate’s blog.

At the age of 24 and a young mother, she became the winner of the first “Ukraine’s Got Talent” televised competition in July 2009.  (Click on the link to watch the YouTube video of this remarkable 8 minute live performance.)  Since then, she has become an online and international sensation.  Upon further research, I was delighted to find that her passion extends to so many outreaches!  The depth of her compassion emanates through her works instilled with messages of hope.  There is a purity in her expression that is so refreshing and so filled with Truth.  As an artistic enthusiast, there is something innately captivating about watching an artist completely immersed in their creative process.  This is particularly true in the case of Simonova’s seamless choreography of gestures throughout her quintessentially poignant compositions which she delivers with both grace and conviction, leaving the audience enraptured.

The Elemental Style of Hiroshi Sugimoto

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“Lightning Fields 236” photographed by Hiroshi Sugimoto (2009)


Bright streaks of crackling light slicing through the night sky can be so captivating.  The sheer force and power behind each rumble is a reminder of how small we truly are as cohabitants on this planet.  Whether lightning propels small children into the arms of their parents in the midst of a storm or fertilizes corn fields with its releases of sulfur into the atmosphere, it has been the source of inspiration to numerous inventors and innovators alike. To Japanese artist, Hiroshi Sugimoto, this energy became a scientific study captured on photographic dry plates.  Using a Van de Graaf generator as his power source, he generated 400,000 volts of electricity through various electrical and aqueous discharge devices, transmitted these impulses through a metal table and onto film.  The result was a simulation of lightning so vividly executed in the darkroom and beautifully archived on film in his elemental photographic series, “Lightning Fields.”  More of these stunning works and additional selections from his portfolio can be found at his site, http://www.sugimotohiroshi.com/portfolio.html.

Reflections of Olafur Eliasson

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As a child, I always marveled at the colors and designs that could be contrived by the simple rotation of a kaleidoscope.  Olafur Eliasson brings all that childhood wonderment of color spectra into the adult cognition through his works.  His studio has been in operation since 1995 in Berlin, Germany, however, his exhibits have traveled worldwide.  His manipulation of light through prisms, reflective and refractive surfaces is combined with elaborate geometric constructs creating visually scintillating effects.  Visitors are captivated by the play of light through his exhibits which seem to generate their own unique experience depending on the perception of each individual at any given moment or position.  One such exhibit that ran in 2008 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York can still be viewed online by clicking the museum link.

Beyond his innovative style of art, I am equally impressed by his attention to the needs of under privileged communities.  His efforts as a philanthropist have channeled his talent and resources to create a product called “Little Sun.” Five hours of natural sunlight charges this safe portable lantern to provide five hours of light that would otherwise be unavailable.  We so frequently take for granted our use of electricity until we are temporarily forced to endure without it during storms and other sources of power outages.  Heaven help our family when we lose power for one day… and you would think the apocalypse was nearing if BGE tarried beyond the 36 hour margin!  Yet this is a lifestyle to so many countries that we can easily forget about in our daily to’s-and-fro’s.  I remember once hearing about the conditions in a Haitian village where children were not able to get effective time in the classroom because the school did not have adequate light, even during the daytime hours.  Then in the evenings they were only able to access a limited and rationed supply of electricity in one centralized building.  Communities such as these would be so grateful to have something so simple yet so functional in their homes.  Learning about this project, brought new meaning to a quote I heard in an earlier interview by Eliasson when he stated,

“I would like to make sense of the world by sensing the world.”

“Your Spiral View” by Olafur Eliasson (2002)

A Festival Frolic in Annapolis

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Phew!  In desperate need of a break from Google Sketchup tutorials, I am sharing a fun find here in downtown Annapolis.  This weekend, my oldest daughter & I spent a special ‘Mommy & Me’ day at the “First Sunday Arts Festival.”  Even with the heat, it was a nice post derecho diversion.  Speaking of which, our prayers go out to those of you who are still dealing with the aftermath of power outages and damage!  With the intense and rather unseasonal temperatures in our region, it’s not a time that you want to be without A/C!  What a crazy & unexpected mess!!!

KeyLime Designs by Mollie Dennis
(click here to learn more about this artist)

So in spite of the recent tribulations, the crowd and the vendors seemed to be in good spirits, the music was lively and the breeze was just right…  I wanted to share a few pictures of some of our favorite vendors of the day.  Probably one I liked the most was a table of beautiful children’s artwork by KeyLime Designs.  Artist, Mollie Dennis has a degree in Art Education and has focused her talents on these charming and cheerfully colored collages.

Decorative pieces by Art Sea
(click here to find out more about her seaside decor)

Another table we enjoyed was covered with inventive creations by Art Sea… and who wouldn’t love the name! 🙂  Her specialty was a collection of lovely sailboats she crafted from driftwood and grommeted decorator fabrics.  What a great idea for repurposing natural materials into something, oh, so very Chesapeake Chic!

There were clothing vendors, jewelry, housewares, whimsical garden ornamentals, natural soaps… everything you can imagine, and some gorgeous fine art displays.  It was a textile paradise!

And then there was the food!  My feeling is that it’s just not a festival until you have a taste of the town.  Living in Maryland for around 12 years now, you get used to the usual crab claims of the locals and frankly, I was up for something a little different. As we turned the corner of West Street and found another row of tables down Calvert, we were drawn to a tent bearing the sign, “Mad Flava Catering.”  The grill was flaming, the aroma of Caribbean jerked chicken was wafting and my mouth was watering!  One taste, and we knew this was the real deal!  The chef, Andre Sherwood, is Jamaican born and bottles this amazing sauce.  I bought 3 jars, got home and cooked up a batch of chicken for my — and I don’t use this term lightly — highly flavor-critical family.  It was a unanimously HUGE hit, which, for our 4 kids is practically unattainable… many of you parents out there know my pain!  So 12 thumbs up here, Chef Andre!!!  We will be back for more soon, I’m sure!!!

Click here to visit his website & find out more about Chef Andre’s awesome food!


Mission Impossible III1/2: Design Protocol

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Mission Impossible III1/2: Design Protocol

Project #4 Objective: Create an interesting and/or provocative narrative or linear story using a photographed sequence whereby meaning is effectively conveyed.  The final sequence should include 12 – 15 original images that are visually interesting and relate formally to one another.

 

 

 

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This project was a little bit too much fun!  Once we got past the paparazzi while we were ‘on location’ at Great Falls National Park (McLean, VA), Cappuccino was able to get into character to give us the shots we needed.  I’m not sure, but this assignment may have inspired a family project for the summer!  There could be more adventures in his future…

The Narrative:

“Most would think it is a charmed life I lead.  Hugs, tea parties, wardrobe changes… They are all a part of a day in the life of your average bear.  But that’s just it.  I was an average bear living an ordinary life.  I knew I was made for more.  There was a world beyond these walls that beckoned to me.  I had seen it in the movies when the children buried their faces into my fur — the excitement, the intrigue, the danger!  It was all right there, waiting for me to explore.  The time was now… GERONIMO!!!”

Finding the blue sports car in the driveway made Cappuccino smile as he climbed behind the wheel.  “Barbie always has my back,” he thought.  The car puttered, warming up for the drive.  As he finally began to accelerate, he could hear Barbie’s voice from the garage, “Dream big, live large, Cap!!!”  With that, he hit the gas and headed toward adventure!

The journey was a long one, but there were so many new sounds and sights that Cappuccino could barely take it all in.  He needed some peace and quiet, a place to ponder where this path should lead.  Suddenly, the trees parted and gave way to the most spectacular rock formations he had ever seen in all his two stuffed years!  This was the place!  He jumped out of the car, changed into the clothes that Barbie had packed for him, and headed for the woods.  “Now THIS is the life!” he thought as the memory of his bedroom seemed like just a flicker in his past.  He felt like a new bear!  He was on top of the world!

While he reveled in the view of the waterfalls, he caught a glimpse of a small black capsule emerging from the ground.  He cautiously approached as it opened to reveal a pair of sunglasses. Placing them over his eyes immediately triggered the digital download through the lenses, and then the voice began to speak…

Good afternoon, Mr. Cappuccino.  Your mission should you choose to accept it, involves successful completion of the accelerated CAT 111-875 session.  Should you be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions.  And Mr. Cappuccino, welcome to the I.M. Force.  This message will self destruct in 5 seconds…

“A mission!!!”  This was fantastic!  He ran back to the car to find a map to his next destination… The Vault!

Cappuccino read all of this clues carefully and followed each instruction.  Once the key to the Syllabus and the Software were retrieved, he was ready to proceed.  Vector graphic illustrations flowed from his paws ~ it was like poetry!  Premiere Pro proved to be just as engaging… this was fascinating!  Who knew there was so much available to anyone who had the desire to learn!

A week later, the results of his mission were transmitted.  He beamed as he reviewed his grades.  This was truly life altering for such a small bear, and he just couldn’t stop there!…

* * * * * * * DELETED SCENES * * * * * * *

As in all great works, there must be edits.  We were allowed 12 – 15 photographs, so here were some of the shots that were cut from the final slideshow…