My Fall Art Calendar

Summer is wrapping up and fall days are filling with art events to share creative opportunities to enjoy life a little better. I hope to see you at any or all of these events.

Saturday, August 6, 2016, 9am to 1pm.

ridethewave-backtoschool-socialmediaRide the Wave Back to School. AMOCO Federal Credit Union and TopGolf invite you to come SEA me create a 3D art piece to celebrate the end of summer and the return to school. There will be DJ music by M.A.D. Productions and lots of fun. TopGolf, 21401 Gulf Freeway, Webster, Texas 77598. #PictureSavingatAMOCO


“Windows” Exhibition September 18-October 9.

WIVLA presents “Windows”, Artist-Writer Collaborative Partnership and Reading with an Anthology where I will be the writer and contributor in my partnership. The opening reception and readings will take place on September 17, 2016, from 5 to 8pm, at Brazosport Center for the Arts & Sciences, 400 College Blvd, Klute, Texas.

Chalk Festival in Kerrville, Texas, October 15-16, 2016.

Last year I participated in the first Chalk Festival in Kerrville. This year I am an invited artist for this fall’s event and I look forward to work alongside great artists from the region in beatiful and historic Kerrville. More.

“Chalk the Walls”, Cornels Gallery, Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, October 13-22, 2016

A show featuring the work of select Chalk Festival artists. Cornels Gallery is next door to Peterson Plaza—where the Chalk Festival will be taking place.


Artwalk in Alpine, Texas, November 18 & 19, 2016.

I am honored to be invited to return to Alpine to create a chalk art mural once again. I will lead a group of local artists and we will paint a fun and unique piece for the festival. All events are FREE.


Check back as more activities are finalized and added to the calendar this fall.

What Goes Around…

Last month I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend Layne Johnson. Well, now it was my turn to respond to his questions, questions that made me stop to think about what it is I do.

Q: Have you ever had an “Aha” moment whilst working on a piece of art and if so please describe it and how it changed you.

Lilibeth Andre, Twin Sisters Morning, oil, 12x16

Lilibeth Andre, Twin Sisters, oil, 12×16

If painting were easy I probably wouldn’t be doing it. I am always trying to achieve a better piece. The aha moments are those when the pursuit materializes for me. My very first aha moment was when I discovered how to make “skin color” in my first portrait class. I showed up having painted still lifes and landscapes and everyone just jumped right into painting their portrait while I just stood there realizing I had never mixed skin color before. Luckily my instructor began to demystify color mixing and I began to learn through observation and practice, and various instructors. As I’ve moved along developing my skills  I set personal goals of mastery for myself. I wanted to understand composition. Luckily, my technical training as an architectural designer helped with that. I then wanted to understand color and today I feel comfortable with the way I use color. One of my friends has said I am the lady that isn’t afraid of red.

A few years later I began to pursue a certain texture to my impressionism. Lo and behold one day I achieved texture I felt proud of while painting a floral in a class and the aha moment came when in hindsight I began to realize what it took to do that. Of course, mastery is a different thing than happenstance achievement so I continued to pursue my goal to make it a regular occurrence. I enjoy working on these self-imposed challenges. It keeps me limber and striving to hit more home runs as many times as possible. Aha moments give me confidence and that confidence allows me to express myself more freely. By mastering my work tools and technique, the movement becomes second  nature and I can more readily produce what I’ve created in my mind.

Q. What challenges do you currently pursue to make your paintings “a cut above”?

GB Heron

Lilibeth Andre, GB Heron, colored pencil, 9×12

I pursue the ongoing evolution and perfectionism of my own style. I see it as a continuous process of constant growth. Each new project is an opportunity to conquer new horizons. I believe I am not there yet as the challenge is constant and the reward is a growing amount of happy outcomes.  I also like to use classical and quality materials. My father always taught us that cheap is expensive. In other words, he taught us the appreciation of quality in material and craftsmanship. That is why I am of the belief that a quality item is a better item because it is well made and it will stand the test of time. I don’t paint to compete against anyone’s work. I paint to evolve and elevate my own efforts. In my artwork I strive to communicate and capture the essence of the subject. This includes the emotion I perceive in the subject itself. On occasion I have wondered what the purpose of my work really is. I ask myself how it is that my work serves humanity. Does it feed the hungry? Does it save anyone? The answer has come in my most personally awe-inspiring and proudest moments when the viewer perceives the particular essence or emotions that, unbeknownst to them, I wanted to capture in the piece. This is when my heart pitter patters and I feel rejoiceful. I appreciate that I am able to use a language that conveys this offering to another human being in the hope that I have enriched their spirit.

Q. What is your worst experience whilst painting a piece of art?

Dawn by the pond

Lilibeth André, Dawn by the Pond, oil, 16×20

I paint places I’ve visited or imagined. I paint portraits from live sittings as practice for times when I may not have the sitter in front of me. I prefer to use my own reference photos and sketches. When designing a composition I begin to see the image in my mind and I do a preliminary sketch, many times directly on the canvas. Typically everything flows smoothly but there is a phase when I am not happy with the piece and finishing seems like an insurmountable feat. Under ideal conditions this doesn’t even occur, everything just flows right out from mind to hand and it all falls into place but on some occasions, I may feel I will never be able to save the piece no matter how much more time I put into it. In these cases I may just scrape it off and start over. This has been excellent advice I received from one of my instructors and I put it into practice when things are not flowing as I see them. A case in point was a figure painting I was working on. I started the piece with the model posing for me. I was going to try to capture as much as I could and hopefully reach a point where I could detail from a reference photo after the model left. Although not a portrait, I wanted to give the figure a good likeness to highlight the model’s features. After the model left I began to work the background to surround the figure I had been working on. The first sign of trouble was when I began to feel unhappy with the background perspective. I went back and forth working and correcting the background and detailing the model’s garments. Then I began to feel unhappy with the color. Finally, I was totally unhappy with the likeness of the model and no matter how much I worked on the painting it just seemed to go downhill from there. I struggled with it until I completed the piece but I never signed it because I consider it unfinished. I keep it as a lesson and as a reminder to scrape the piece and started over instead of building on a weak foundation.

Q: Where do you see artwork being sold with the most success in the future?

Farm Road 605

Lilibeth André, Farm Road 605, Oil

To me there are creators and producers. There are also craftsmen. Creators and producers would be those who invent something totally unique. From the composition to the method to the final product. Craftsmen are those who take an existing “something” and modify it in some way to make a new object. They may or may not be masters of their craft. This I see as the key to invention and innovation. When someone has the mindset to produce something that has not been engineered before, that is true mastery of innovation, new thoughts and their materialization.  I see innovation as being key to the future, not just in art but in our progress and sustainability as a human species. Our appreciation for art, design, and creative expression is key to developing our senses and sensibilities but these can only be enhanced through education. Why is development of our senses and sensibilities important? Because it triggers new and innovative thought. By building on the shoulders of giants through education, we can take the cumulative learning of generations and go beyond.

I see that we will continue to be interested in art because people will appreciate it, perhaps for various reasons, aesthetically, economically, and emotionally but art may be delivered in new and innovative ways. These methods of delivery will determine where we acquire our art. Currently, we buy original art or reproductions from physical venues (permanent or temporary) and online. This opening of the market has broadened access to many artists but I still see the majority of people buying from seeing the piece in person. This is especially true with high dollar items. Many times, it is what makes the sale. If 2D or 3D art can become portable then I see we may be considering new ways of delivering art to buyers and collectors.

For now, I believe people will become more comfortable with virtual purchases of art, particularly for collectors who are already familiar with the work of their favorite artists. I also hope that art continues to be found in more and more areas of our life because it will denote our appreciation for feeding human creativity and that is the key to our future.

 

Reminiscing About NOLA

The French Quarter collection includes these seven 16x12 oil paintings on canvas board, and the 8x6 balcony piece, all currently available at the artist's studio.

The French Quarter collection includes these seven 16×12 oil paintings on canvas board, and the 8×6 balcony piece, all currently available at the artist’s studio.

In the years after Katrina I was able to finally make it to New Orleans for the first time. I stayed in the French Quarter and it was delightful and at the same time it felt so familiar. I realized the familiarity came from the architecture. You see, the French Quarter was originally French but after the great fires of 1788 (damaging 78% of the buildings) and 1794, as well as the hurricanes and storms of the 1800’s, damage was replaced by architecture with more of a Spanish influence.

My hometown of Cuernavaca in Mexico was first part of the Aztec empire but then it housed Hernan Cortes, Spanish conquistador, and Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico so the urban design and architecture is clearly a mix of Spanish and French influence. This influence is what I recognized while strolling down the streets of the French Quarter. I may not have been the first Mexican to notice the resemblance. Perhaps Benito Juarez, one of Mexico’s former presidents also saw the similarities while living in New Orleans.

Each 16x12 original oil painting is framed in 2.5 (approx) inch solid wood frames with silver finish.

Each 16×12 original oil painting is framed in 2.5 (approx) inch solid wood frames with silver finish.

During my visits I enjoyed walking down the cobblestone streets and sidewalks of St. Peter Street, Decatur, Royal Street, and into the store front shops built into the old homes. Homes with interior courtyards and many rooms. Balconies decorated with wrought iron works and blooming plants adding color to a colorful quarter of the city. What stories can be found waiting to be discovered!

The lush Jackson Square on the wide banks of the Mississippi River, frames the St. Louis Cathedral, one of the oldest cathedrals in the country. The triple steeple building is glazed by the sun’s warm tones reflecting light on its walls.

There is also the pirate lore that of Jean Lafitte left behind. One can almost hear the echos of footsteps and brawny laughter while walking down the cobblestones of Pirates Alley.

So inspired by the vibrancy of the historic square, I set out on several mornings, with easel and paint box in tow, to capture the quiet streets of the French Quarter. Propping my easel as close as I could to the buildings on Royal Street, between the palm reader, the antique shop, and the old heavy wooden gate that saw many carriages ride through it, I started to paint. The same for other soon to become familiar streets. Each one an opportunity to capture the colors of of the French Quarter. I enjoyed the still hours of the day with only a few passers-by on their way to work, by foot or by bike, showing vague signs of life in the still dormant village. And in the heat of the day, I would find a quiet bench in a shady courtyard to rest and enjoy the sights and sounds of NOLA.

The French Quarter collection is also available in authorized reproductions of wall art, home decor, lifestyle pieces, phone cases and greeting cards. For information on the original oil paintings, please contact me.

Interview with Artist Layne Johnson

I recently had the opportunity to attend a private showing of Layne Johnson’s paintings. It was a happy reunion and I was so excited with his work that I wanted to share it with you, from the creator’s perspective, so Layne granted me an interview.

Q: In the time I have known you, how many years, 15, more? You have been a successful and sought out illustrator for children’s literature. Over the last few years however, you have transitioned into fine art. Tell me about this metamorphosis.

Artists Lilibeth Andre and Layne Johnson with samples of Layne's portraits.

Artists Lilibeth Andre and Layne Johnson with samples of Layne’s portraits.

A: Yes, I believe I’ve known you Lilibeth for at least 15 years. Wow. Regarding the transition back to fine art, it’s been interesting in many ways. It was slow going at first. Part of some of the delay was moving and building a new home. Plus I worked on other projects I always wanted to do but never had the time or space to do them. Building ponds, a large raised bed garden and now raising chickens has been fun, but a lot of work. However, back to the transition . . . after moving and settling into my dream studio, I had to decide what direction to go artistically. I believed I could handle many subjects – figurative, portraits, landscape, etc. But I needed to focus. One big challenge was just getting back into the “groove.” I hadn’t painted in 9 months! Another was building up a new body of work. The portfolio of children’s art, while beautiful, was not the direction I would be going. Exaggerated colors and distorted compositions would not work for the representational art I wanted to pursue now. The truth was that I had a few paintings that were “ready” but I actually had some that I had started years ago, that when looking at them with fresh eyes, saw they needed my attention. One positive was that after doing so many paintings for children’s books, my sensibilities and skills had surged forward making me a much better artist. So I grabbed some of the old work and repainted them. With great success I think. But as of now I’m creating totally new work that I’m excited about. Right now, I focusing on landscapes, and working in a series. But portraits will always be in the mix for me. I do enjoy capturing a person’s image in paint, in effect their “essence.”

There are now new and different opportunities to explore via the internet, so we’ll be delving into that to see what works and what doesn’t. One last thing I’m enjoying is the liberty to paint what I want and not being tied to a book project for months on end. The average book took about six months to complete, but some of the last ones took far longer. I have fond memories of that career, but don’t miss it. I loved what I was doing and achieved honors and success. It’s just after doing it for so long and seeing thousands of kids in school visits, I was ready for a change. Ready to explore my old love – ready to paint art that moves and inspires me. And hopefully others, too!

Q: Clearly you enjoy what you do. What is your medium and your favorite tools of the trade?

A: My medium is oils! Though I’ve worked in just about everything else. For many years I painted in acrylics. I’ve also used watercolor, gouache, ink, dyes, and even egg tempera. I dabbled in intaglio, silkscreen and lithography as well. But the freedom that oils gives me plus the fond memory association I have with the smell of linseed oil makes oil painting my favorite medium. With that said, I use the usual assortment of brushes, though some old damaged ones are favorites for certain textures and effects. I often use Liquin as a mixing medium that aids in drying time.

Q:  When did you realize you were an artist?  Who was your first supporter and/or mentor?

Artist Layne Johnson talks about his art at a recent private reception.

Artist Layne Johnson talks about his art at a recent private reception.

A: As for as realizing I’m an artist, it was probably around 13 when I started to really paint. I had great feedback from family and friends, but when I started selling art I realized that THAT is what I wanted to do. I’ve had several mentors but my first was Mrs. Clara Skinner. She taught painting classes and I eagerly attended and learned a great deal from her. I have fond memories of her and probably without her I would not have become an artist. My son either, as he followed my path and now has a Master’s degree in art. He works digitally.

Tomorrow I will attend a memorial for Mrs. Skinner. She was a patient, kind, and an encouraging friend and will be sorely missed by many. (6/15/16)

Q: This is a combined question: Where would you like to be with your art in 5 years? How would you like people to remember your work?

A: In 5 years I’d like to be continuing in the direction I’m going, including having my art in galleries, and also selling prints. I’d also like to travel more and plein air paint. Commissioned portraits would also be in the mix. I’ve had several inquiries recently about teaching classes or retreats. I’m not sure how good of a teacher I’d be, but my wife says I’d be great.

I want people to connect with my work emotionally. I want a painting to move people in a way no photograph can. I want people to identify my work with a sense of place – and embrace the light as I do!

Ultimately, I want collectors, not just clients.

Q: How can people find your work and follow your art career?

A: At the moment the easiest way to follow me is through social media.

I’m on Instagram and Facebook: @LayneJohnsonStudio. I’m finishing up my new website and am eager to connect with people there. I’ve many things to say on my blog and need to get busy on that. So in a few months, I’d say following my blog and joining my list will be the best ways to connect with me.

 

Mobbing the Hawk

The other day I went out to play with our dog in the back yard. We were playing ball while birds chirped and chirped. Between ball chasing I suddenly realized there was more than chirping going on. I looked up to see a flock of blue jays squawking and circling the sky in a fast and aggressive raucous. They descended into the neighbor’s yard behind me and the chirping and squawking only got louder and bellicose. At that very moment I saw what looked like a red-tailed hawk flying out of the neighbor’s yard and the blue jays followed him. They continued to circle him and showed him the way out of the neighborhood.

I’ve had the opportunity to see blue jays mobbing the Hawk before but I’d only caught glimpses of them as they flew off. Typically, it has been while I’ve been out walking in the neighborhood. I hear the chirping and squawking and I see the birds fluttering through the trees and just catch the tail of the predatory bird giving up on the easy prey, or so it thought.

It is quite remarkable to see how these individual and competitive birds can come together for the protection of their blue jay community. The hawk was clearly bigger, perhaps 4 times or more, than any blue jay but together, they were a force to be reckoned with, and the hawk lost.

Maybe the moral of the story is to teach us that working together we can overpower a threat and by calling our neighbors and mobbing the hawk, we can generate a force bigger than each one of us to save our whole community.

Art For Everyone

Jacqueline enjoys learning about Zentagle from Judith Shamp among my original art. That's a nice feeling.

Jacqueline enjoys learning about Zentagle from Judith Shamp among my original art. That’s a nice feeling.

An afternoon of live music, fresh original art, and Zentangle.

After a long week of rain in Houston we were graced with a beautiful day of sunshine and enjoyable weather.

It was the day of art sharing at various levels. For the afternoon and straight through the evening, we celebrated art and friends at the Guiton St. Artists’ 2016 Spring Open Studios & Art Sale. The spring event was a great chance to enjoy the company of art friends and lovers.

Our open studios events give me the opportunity to share my art and the process of creating it. It is also an opportunity to visit with my artists neighbor and see what they’ve been up to as well. We all keep different schedules so we normally don’t coincide. That’s the beauty of being an artist, we create at our own rhythm and pace.

Live music by Jim Dannemiller (aka Jimmy Dan), at Guiton St. Artists Studios for our group open studios and art sale.

Live music by Jim Dannemiller (aka Jimmy Dan), at Guiton St. Artists Studios for our group open studios and art sale.

The evening began with the music of Jim Dannemiller (aka Jimmy Dan) playing live for the resident artists and guests. Special music speaking of Van Gogh and Mexico was part of Jim’s select repertoire for the event. His soft music filled the building and was enjoyed in the studios by friends admiring fresh new art. This was Jim’s second visit to Guition Street and we hope he will join us again in the future.

Besides Jim’s original music I also had a guest artist demonstrating Zentangle. There was so much interest and curiosity that we are planning an upcoming workshop. My friend Judith Shamp did the demonstration to introduce this method of meditative art expression she has been practicing for a good while.

During open studios I also have the opportunity to catch up with friends and collectors. I introduce new acquaintances to my work and bring everyone up to speed on my current challenges and objectives. It is an opportunity to open up and talk about my creative process.

My studio is a venue where you can find samples of my creative work. Paintings, illustrations, reproductions and copies of my books fill the space. This year I wanted to present more of my process as an artist. I featured samples of my portrait lab work at The Markos Group, a group I’ve been painting with for over 15 years; samples of my French Quarter paintings created on the streets of the vieux carre were on display to remember and recognize the 10th anniversary of Katrina; I included samples of my Big Bend landscapes first introduced last fall to show available works; and wet paint on canvases recently completed from my trip to Guatemala this last February where I did plein air sketches on the streets of Antigua and other villages.

It is always exciting to receive new visitors who enjoy the evening and vow to return for the next celebration.

It is always exciting to receive new visitors who enjoy the evening and vow to return for the next celebration.

Overall, Open Studios is a fun time to host many people at the studio in a six hour stretch of time. Visitors can meet the resident artists opening up their doors and hear their story and learn about their art in their creative space. By the end of the day, some of us head on to dinner to begin to wind down for the evening and prepare for the next round of creative work at the easel, canvases and paper that will find their way to galleries, exhibits, and new homes.

Until the next studio visit!

 

Compassion in Houston

What does compassion look like? In Houston, it will look like many things.

Houston kicks off Compassion Week today. Activities will take place to give you an opportunity to join a group and give of your time, to learn or to help.

Art by Lilibeth Andre, Meyerland Sunset, oil, 18x24

Art by Lilibeth Andre, Meyerland Sunset, oil, 18×24

But what does compassion look like? In a nut shell? It looks like we are able to wear the other person’s shoes, that we are able to empathize and understand them and their condition. It looks like accceptance. If we can act on this loving kindness we materialize compassion.

Why compassion? Compassion brings out the human side of ourselves. It promotes true community and family. It removes us from separatism and arrogance. By reconnecting with people we bring a whole new perspective to everything that we do. It helps us understand the concept of interconnectedness. When we understand the interrelatedness of life we can better see how lending a hand to someone in need can create the “pay-it-forward” mindset that will be there to support us when we turn around and find that a hand is reaching out to us when we need it too.

Lilibeth Andre, Denzel, 10x8, watercolor

Lilibeth Andre, Denzel, 10×8, watercolor

On the spiritual level, compassion brings us closer to oneness. It opens the door to mindfulness and when we are present in love for our fellow man we are growing in self-love. When we raise our level of compassion, we raise everyone along with us. It is truly a chain reaction effect.

If we can sustain our level of understanding for compassion, if we can sustain our ability to act compassionately, if we can remain in compassion for a day or for a week, then we will be capable of reaching for more.

What does compassion look like on the individual level?

You tell me. What does it mean for you? How will you try on compassion this week?

 

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    © Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this text, images or content without express and written permission Lilibeth André is strictly prohibited. For permission to license, exhibit or purchase any of the artwork, email info@lilibethandre.com. Links to this site may be made with full and clear accreditation to Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André.
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