December 28, 2011
January 18, 2011
December 29, 2010
Happy Old Year! Yes, that's what I'm proclaiming this last week of 2010. Sure, there have been challenges: Big ones! Lousy ones! Expensive ones! Still, in the realm of What Really Matters, this has been a year of great success. Will you join me for a moment in celebrating a few accomplishments you helped make possible?
1. Giving. When the earthquake in Haiti occurred I didn't have much cash to send to help with relief efforts. Then the idea came to hold a benefit Open Studio. Generous patrons of my work on Vieques helped me raise $1000 for Partners in Health. The Vieques Humane Society also auctioned one of my paintings and so did the Navy League. Very cool! It's a good feeling to put my gifts in a position to gift others.
3. Teaching. I loved all the teaching opportunities I was offered in 2010. Private and small group lessons for eager students in Vieques gave me the opportunity to develop a sure-fire way to show beginning plein air oil painters how to get going. Then, the Crystal Lake Art Center in Frankfort, brought me another group of wonderful students. I gave one workshop and taught a 4-week plein air oil painting class. We traveled to nearby beaches and farmsteads to paint the Michigan landscape. Heaven!
4. Painting, painting and more painting. 2010 was a tremendous year for quality time behind the easel. 4 months in Vieques, followed by a long outdoor painting season in Michigan that lasted well into October. I painted in my new (as yet unfinished) studio as well -- larger, semi-abstract work -- that gave me the chance to really push design and colors. Lots of paintings -- see them now in the various galleries above and on my website.
5. Recognition! “The island works of talented landscape painter Ellie Harold … are some of the most evocative of their kind on Vieques.” John Marino, Frommer’s: Puerto Rico (2010). This mini-review was fun to find whilst Googling along one day. Also appreciated was the honor of curating and judging the 6-County Juried Show of the Crystal Lake Art Center.
6. Sales! Last and certainly not least, in 2010 I've sold upwards of 40 paintings in 2010! And this in an environment about which many people say, "No one is buying." Well, someone did -- you did -- and this is terrific! Success isn't always about making a sale; it means lot more to an artist than income when a painting sells. There's tremendous satisfaction in having work appeal to a viewer so much that they want to own it. I work hard to put my work in front of people who I believe will appreciate and buy it, as sales allow me to continue to develop myself as an artist and realize further the gifts I have yet to give. I've posted "Palm Presence" as my choice of Painting of the Year -- it could be yours! Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know your choice.
I'm looking forward to 2011 and will keep you posted about my artistic goals for the New Year. For now, however, I want to know I am deeply grateful for your interest, support and patronage in 2010. I love that you take the time to read these newsletters and give me your feedback. It helps me feel connected to you and gives me hope for what we each create day by day.
With great appreciation for you and all the gifts I've been given,
Ellie Harold Fine Art | P.O. Box 1087 | Frankfort, MI 49635 | USA
December 22, 2010
20" x 20" oil/canvas
It started snowing here in Frankfort on December 2. What a difference to the landscape the fluffy white stuff makes. I love it! I've not yet made it our for a plein air session -- too cold! -- so I've used photo references and the view out of my tiny studio window.
This winter wonderland makes the Solstice and Christmas seem all the more seasonal here. It's a dream come true for this Elfie-one. I hope you and yours are snug and warm, enjoying making meaning of this time of year for yourself.
PS I have a few 2011 calendars left: "Up North" and "Vieques." Go to www.EllieHarold.com to order using PayPal or other means.
August 2, 2010
A quick note to check in after my wonderful show at Les Sirenes in Frankfort: I received some great publicity in the local newspaper and enjoyed a very good turnout for the opening. So much goes on during the two-month summer season here, it means a lot when people choose to attend your event! I was very pleased to see a red dot on a painting when I walked through the gallery door. A pre-show sale is always welcome! Several other sales, including one of the large show piece, "Summer's Day," just before I returned from a trip to Atlanta, qualified the show for me as a successful effort.
While sales are one measure of success, they certainly aren't the only one. The first and, perhaps, most important one is my own satisfaction with the work. Given my (self-admitted) history as a co-dependent personality, that's saying a lot! But, seriously, I paint to receive the gift the painting comes to bring, much as I enjoy speaking to hear what comes out of my mouth.
Lest you imagine me a total narcissist (instead of a partial one), this is how I experience Something More -- God, the higher self -- or whatever you choose to call a power greater than the everyday, ordinary self. Some people pray and meditate, I paint and speak. When I "get" the sweet delight of what's been given through the artwork, I'm nourished from the inside out. Then, when someone else appreciates what I do, it's simply delicious icing on the cake. (And, when they make a purchase or otherwise claim the value in what I do, that's good too.)
There's no resting on laurels for me, however; it seems I'm always getting to make fresh starts. Just back from a two-week ordeal of moving house in the incredible heat of a Georgia summer, I was eager to see what I'd paint after "Fresh Light." Well -- surprise -- it turned out to be more fresh light! One of the attractions of where I now live is the Lake Michigan shore that's four blocks away. There's a spot where I can stand in the shade and see dunes and deciduous trees and water, three favorite landscape elements. People walk by and add their two cents. I love it!
Last Friday's result was "Michigan Morning." It has an almost photographic quality even though it's painted loosely and without much detail. I was pleased with it, and I hope through it you'll enjoy a bit of Michigan summer too. Let me know what you think!
June 12, 2010
I prepped for the workshop by taking spending a session on the beach here in Frankfort, MI the morning before. The last of a heavy fog was drifting out over the lake; the morning light kissed the trees and small dunes. Shown above, this painting conveys a sense of the soft light and serenity of this spot and so many like it along the shore of Lake Michigan.
Live demonstrations form an important part of a painting workshop. It’s not always what you can say about the painting process so much as what you can show your students that helps them learn. It’s a great opportunity for me, an easy talker, to doing some “walking” with my brush in hand. For this workshop, I made a painting based on the piece above. Then the students made their own demos based on this or another of my plein air paintings I had on display.
I love teaching the eager students you often find in painting circles. Like sponges soaking up information, they’re grateful for and appreciative of clues I can offer that help them express their artistic desires. (They did some really nice work too.) I come away from such workshops feeling valued for what I am able to share of my experience and gifts. What a win-win!
With warmest regards,
PS I’ll be opening a show of my recent work at Les Sirenes Galerie D’Art at 338 Main Street in Frankfort on July 8. I met the owner, Terri Haugen, last summer as I was embarking on my Artist In Residence adventure at Sleeping Bear Dunes. (Her nationally acclaimed batik work is really amazing.) The reception is from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The exhibit will continue through July 21. I hope to see you there and, please, bring a friend.
May 4, 2010
Michigan -- A New Home
I arrived in Frankfort about a week and a half ago. I'd flown from Vieques to Atlanta, then Roo flew down and we drove back here together. We're living in an apartment on Main Street, across the street from the house we're renovating. It's great to be here. For one thing, it's cool; for another, there are no mosquitoes or roosters. Plenty of friendly folks, however, and miles of beautiful landscape
Where to paint first? Always a tough decision for me. But first I had to dig out of storage my equipment from last October when we left for the winter. Whew! I found a blue, a red and a yellow and a small tube of white. Enough to get started. Off to Treat Farm at Sleeping Bear Dunes. I'd heard the woods were full of trillium, I had to see them. Sure enough, the white flowers on either side of the trail from Tweddle Farm blanketed the wooded dunes. I headed on to the meadow beyond, though. I wanted to paint the farmhouse.
Sheltering in the shade of a small pine tree, I set up my easel and squeezed out my paint. Except the cap on the tube of yellow I'd brought along wouldn't budge. And it was very chilly. As my winter duds had been stolen in the burglary back in Georgia, I'd layered up as best I could, but it wasn't enough to protect me from a stiff breeze off Lake Michigan. Undaunted, I scraped as much yellow as I could from under a dried pile from last year. Tough going painting that brilliant sunlit forsythia in front of the house. Like many first drafts, this plein sketch was sent to the bottom of the pile.
On the way back to my car, I spied the friendly pair in the painting above. Next time I was free to paint, I made sure all the caps would unscrew. The yellow leapt from my brush onto that bush. "Welcome Spring" -- I'll count this as my first keeper of the season, the painting that welcomes me back to Michigan to my new home.