Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 Critical Mass Top 50

The very influential folks over at Photolucida and their blog have put out the 2008 Critical Mass Top 50. Coming from me by know you must realize this is about photography and the I guess those of you reading this are asking what is the Critical Mass Top 50. Well I think they best describe themselves.

"The aim of Critical Mass, and all Photolucida programming, is to provide participants with career-building opportunities and to promote the best emerging and mid-career artists working today.

Critical Mass is a program about exposure and community."
While I have not considered myself at this level yet and so alas you will not find my name amongst the ranks the photographers that are part of the list, the ones that are on the list really are the embodiment of the current state of the Photographic Art. I can't say that I am personally moved by all of the works but there are many that I think will at the least be thought provoking. Rather than me submitting yet another list of things for you to look at as my choices, I encourage you to check out the photographers. Even if you are a painter or work in another medium I think you might learn something and while I am in a personal struggle with Post Modernism in Photography you just never know what might come of your own pursuit.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Some Holiday Reading

Happy Holidays Everyone. As many of you know I read a lot of blogs and web sites on photography, creativity and art. I thought I should share with you some of my latest interesting links.

I ran across an excellent post on A Photo Editor (Very interesting blog I check regularly) on Ira Glass and the process of creating a great story. For those of you not familiar with Ira Glass, he is an award winning radio host/journalist whose work is available as pod casts covering a wide variety of topics all of which are highly thought provoking.

Another blog I read almost daily is Burns Auto Parts , funny name but more good things to think about primarily focused on photography but many of the articles have a more general interest. The topic I want to share with you is on What to do over the holidays or when you have slow times. It is a top ten list on ways to stimulate your creativity, skills, and marketing.

Lastly I want to share a new site I found by Molly Gordon who is a professional coach to creative people. Of the many topics she coaches on artist promotion is the one I find most useful to me. The link I would like to share with you is on How to Write an Artist Statement. If you have not written an artist statement yet, it should become a priority. Beyond the simple fact that many galleries, and contests want an artist statement it is a good thing to help you capture what is unique about your work. In itself that can help refine your creative process.



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

RRAA January Membership Meeting

The Rio Rancho Art Association will have its first meeting of the year on January 5, 2009 at 6:30pm. We will meet at the Destiny Center located at 4401 Northern Blvd. NE in Rio Rancho.
Our new President, Annette Kornbrekke, will introduce the new committees, programs and venues for 2009. Information on the upcoming Studio Tour will also be discussed. Following will be a social hour hosted by the RRAA board. The public is welcome.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cats and Dogs and a Chicken at Esther Bone

(article written by Rob Nankin)

The Esther Bone Memorial Library has a new art exhibit on display. “Pet Portraits” is the title of this month’s show offered by the Rio Rancho Art Association in cooperation with the library. The exhibit was hung on December 4th and will be in place through the holidays until January 8th.
According to Paula Scott, coordinator of the art exhibits at Esther Bone and member of the art association, this display is meant to be light hearted and fun. “For many the upcoming holidays can be very stressful. The Pet Portraits exhibit is intended to lift the spirits and lighten the hearts of all who come to see it.”

(mixed media work done by Paula Scott)

The mediums used for the paintings include oil, pastel, charcoal, acrylic, watercolor, colored pencil and mixed media. There is also photography and all works of art are framed and hung on the Esther Bone Library’s red art wall and on the yellow wall in the Friends of the Library bookstore.

(oil paintings pictured here are by Annette Kornbrekke)

One of the portraits is a nearly life sized painting of a Great Dane and was created by Rio Rancho City Councilor Delma Petrullo. The Great Dane portrait is the centerpiece on the red art wall and entertains the library patrons as he looks out at them while they are reading in the quiet study area.

(nearly life sized oil painting done by Delma Petrullo)

Most of the art work is paintings of the artist’s pets and there are many cats and dogs on display. One of the portraits however is of a pet chicken! Russell Sabin, a very talented 86 year old artist, created the chicken. Many library patrons feel that that the chicken is keeping the dogs and cats in line.

(pet chicken portrait done in oil by Russell Sabin)

Many of the artists on display at Esther Bone do commission work and their contact information is attached to each exhibited piece. The library does not handle any sale of the art work as each artist would need to be contacted directly.
Library staff would like to encourage people to visit Esther Bone often to see the beautiful paintings and photography on display. While visiting patrons may want to look for books from the library’s vast selection in the art and artists subject area.
If you cannot make it to the library to see the exhibit please visit the Rio Rancho Art Association's blog at or visit the association's website at The library is located at 950 Pinetree Rd. SE. For more information you may also call 891-5012.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Art Critique by Bud Edmondson

At the November Membership Association meeting for RRAA, the program that followed the business meeting portion was a critique of your artwork done by Bud Edmondson. Each member was asked to bring in a piece of their work for critiquing. Each painting or artwork was given a good 2 minutes in review.
Even though I did not bring anything in, I learned a lot about how I approached my art compositions and why some were more successful than others.
When Bud critiques, he looks for five things. He doesn't have to have any partiality towards a particular style of art in order to critique successfully. Here's my notes (I hope they're not too cryptic) from that night:

Five things assessed in each piece of work: 1) drawing 2) composition and design 3) values 4) color 5) edges

In respect to edges, sometimes they are too hard and sometimes they are too soft in the subject matter.
The center of interest in the composition should have the strongest value and contrast.
Do not put the horizon line and focal point of the composition dead center in the picture plane.
Atmospheric perspective is achieved by changes in value and have subordinate values and color.
Never (repeat never) use green right out of the tube for trees.
Avoid making the foreground subject matter overpowering. You need to provide a way within the image for the viewer to look past the foreground.
Remember that values can change and shift from side to side in the picture plane (and should in most cases).
Avoid having the same values throughout the painting. Values can be used to bring focus to the subject matter. The sky is always the lightest value.
A color can appear to be darker than what it is by making the subject next to it a lighter value.
Your darkest darks should be in the foreground.
A composition can get problematic and 'stiff' if the subject matter has equal space around it. Decide to make the subject higher or lower in the picture plane.
Shadows are a darker value of whatever it is cast upon. For example, a shadow cast on concrete should be of a darker value of that concrete.
I already have a few books on color theory. In light of this art critique session, I decided to seek out something more relevant. "Color in Contemprary Painting-Integrating Practice and Theory" by Charles LeClair is perhaps the most relevant book I've seen in regards to this topic. I highly recommend it. Since I work in multiple mediums, I also sought out a book specific to photography and composition. "The Photographer's Eye" by Michael Freeman is spot-on and I highly recommend it. More detailed descriptions of these books can be found at

Santa Raffle

These are hand carved Santa's donated by artist Marilyn Meuret. Raffle tickets were sold at the Rio Rancho Arts and Crafts Fair on November 22nd at the Sabana Grande Recreation Center.

Marilyn's hand carved work is intricate, full of life and character and well executed. I dont' know if you've ever tried your hand at carving something from wood with hand tools. It is not an easy task in coaxing life out of a block of wood and translating it into something warm and humorous as Marilyn does. And, she does it well!

So, YOU can be the proud owner of one or both of these wonderful Santas. Just purchase one or many raffle tickets. Proceeds for this raffle will go towards building the Education/Scholarship Fund for RRAA. It is part of our community outreach effort (artists reaching out through art).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Branding and Fireflies

I have been working with Nina Baldwin and Paula Scott to apply a new logo to RRAA, and to create a branding that reflects RRAA, and it is a task that is giving me pause. The goal of branding an organization is to create something constant in everything you show that reflects what you are. Yet, to me, art is an every changing expression of the people creating it, the people viewing it and the society in which it is being viewed. So how can I presume to design something that reflects – constantly – a group whose existence is based on an ever changing process of creation?
I was thinking this over this last night as I looked out over the mesas. I flashed back to my life in the north east when I used to spend hours catching fireflies. You might see a single firefly flicker for a second and then disappear. You knew they were there, but you had to be so patient and search to find them. Every kid had an old mason jar with a perforated lid for catching them, and it would take all evening. But once there were ten or twenty or more in the glass jar you could suddenly see them all. They all flickered in their own time, but the light shared illuminated all of them, and created the most beautiful display. You held them there for just a bit then opened the jar to let them fly off in a flurry of magic and light. That is what branding an art organization should do. It should be the mason jar that for a moment brings all the light and magic together to make every artist shine brighter than they can alone.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Copyright and you: The basics Alan Mitchell

After the copyright talk I gave at the RRAA meeting in Sept. there were requests to have a brief summary put together at least of the high points. Well here it is finally. In putting this together I have added some thoughts on fair use and some excellent references on public domain that were not possible to go over at a talk. The best overall summary I have found is from site at Cornell University. The links are all shown below. At some point, and if enough people ask for it I will put the complete presentation on my web site. Hope you enjoy…

From the Copyright office web page:
"Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works."

So what happens with Copyright?
Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
  • To reproduce the work in copies;
  • To prepare derivative works based upon the work;
  • To display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work

Fair Use
Fair use: “Although fair use was not mentioned in the previous copyright law, the doctrine has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years” US Copyright office.
  • This means that fair use to some degree is open to court interpretation.
“Various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered “fair,” such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.” Reference US Copyright office.
  • No commercial use of a work would be considered
  • If you take part or whole of another work and incorporate that into your art and then sell your art that would be a violation of copyright.
  • “Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.” US Copyright office
One common question for visual artists is “How much do I have to change in order to claim copyright in someone else's work?” You cannot claim copyright to another's work no matter how much you change it.

Reference from the copyright office: “Publication is the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending.” This is important because if you offer for sale a work in a gallery it is considered published. Publishing a work prior to registering the copyright limits the possible court awarded damages. Always register your copyright prior to publishing or at least with 90 of the first date to ensure you maintain your right to full compensation.

Many questions come up on public domain: The best reference is the folks from Cornell have done a great job compiling many links to and defining public domain.

There are an excellent set of frequently asked Questions on the Copyright office web site.

Lots of information is available at:

Great basic Introduction:

Alan Mitchell

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Elliot Framan Exhibits at the Placitas Artist Series

Rio Rancho Art Association member, Elliot Framan was juried in to the Placitas art show for November as one of four to be showing. It will run from November 1 to December 5 at the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, State Road #165 in Placitas. The Visual Art Exhibit is done as a part of the Placitas Art Series (click on the link for more information on the venue). He will have approximately 9 prints there.

This serves as a 'sneak preview' of the work he will be showing there.

There isn't a more beautiful time of the year to drive out to Placitas and enjoy world reknown music performed in not only an intimate setting, but acoustically sound!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Nina Baldwin Wins Poster Contest!

Kudos and congratulations to RRAA member, Nina Baldwin, whose poster design was chosen as the winning design for the 2008 New Mexico Conference on Aging.

Here is the artist statement for the image design that Nina provided for this post:

"This poster is a visual of the conference theme “A Diverse Community; Exploring Options, Expanding Horizons”.

Life is a journey. The ladders throughout the image symbolize the journey we are all on, starting with the ladder at the bottom of the poster the viewer is peering over…

The hill is comprised of many different fabrics representing the different cultures in New Mexico. Starting at the top of the hill, the Mexican serape, of course, represents the Hispanic culture, and going clockwise, the blue fabric with feathers stands for the Native American population. The Asian people are represented by the red fabric with flowers. Continuing clockwise, the African- American culture is illustrated with a bold geometric pattern. And completing the hill, the Anglo population is represented by a red plaid. The different colors and textures highlight the differences in our cultures, our “diverse community”, but united our cultures make a beautiful tapestry… TOGETHER WE ARE THE FABRIC OF NEW MEXICO!!!

At the top of the hill stands a pueblo scene with many buildings with many different colored doors…this illustrates the many options we all have as we explore the services, educational opportunities, agencies, social events, medical options and life-changing possibilities available to us as we age. Ladders assist us to even more exploration.

The clouds represent our expanding horizons as we take advantage of the options available to us. Can you see the ladders in the clouds? They assist us on our journey…to greater horizons! Truly, for all of us, “The Sky is the Limit”!

I am honored to have my artwork chosen for the 2008 Conference on Aging Poster! Thank you!"


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Plein Air by the full moon!

It was a harvest moon last night, I swear! You can click on the image to get a closer view. There was five of us that got together at Nina 's house in the early evening yesterday to do "plein air" painting. Well, Linda and I did photography, Nina played hostess and Joanne and Cecelia did the rest.

The light was ever changing and beautiful. Even with a camera, it was a chase to capture the moment. It seemed to change dramatically every 30 seconds. We did start off with a bit of wind and rain clouds around us. But, typical New Mexico weather, it all dissipated within the half hour.

Enjoy the slide show of the evening. I hope that more members from the Rio Rancho Art Association make more of an effort to come out to events like this. It's great chance to share comraderie, learn more about each other and enjoy the raw beauty and light that we all love about New Mexico!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Old Vehicles" hang at Esther Bone Library

"Snow Mobiles" by Lou Lafrado.

"80's Flintstone on a '46 Chevy" by Linda Laitner.

"One-Eyed Thing" by Paula Scott.

"New Mexico Reflections" by Nina Baldwin.

"Truchas Fire Engine" by Alan Mitchell.

"A Little Work and I'm Good to Go" by Bob Crowley.

"1947 Woody" by Deborah Newman.

"Winter Sale" by Gordon Vanus.

"In Storage" by Marilyn Meuret.

"1942 GMC" by Sue Hanauer.

"Driving New Mexico Stlye" by Donna Barnitz.
This exhibit of "Old Vehicles" will hang at the Esther Bone Library from August 7th-Oct. 2nd, 2008. I hope you get a chance to come by and see the exhibit!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Albuquerque Art Alliance Exhibit

The Rio Rancho Art Association will be exhibiting at the Art Alliance Gallery in Albuquerque during the month of August, 2008.
This exhibition has been dedicated in memory of RRAA member, Jean Bogoshian. We will miss you, Jean...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Esther Bone Library Youth Program

Rio Rancho Art Association helped with last weeks Youth Program (June 12th) at the Esther Bone library in Rio Rancho by curating the special exhibition of spray art on display in the library. In addition, spray artist, Nick Tramontina did a live demonstration on a ten foot canvas while everyone enjoyed the music by the DJ, Garronteed, rap music by the 2ubers and classic rock music performed the Riverside Jam.

The Rio Rancho Journal also featured an article on the event (publication date was June 12th). I hope you got a chance to see that article as it puts a positive spin on spray art. Nick has also painted the dumpster enclosure in the back of the library done in a whimsical Southwest cartoon theme (by the way, RRAA sponsored that work). The art on the enclosure was intended for young children to view during the reading programs there at the library. Nick has also done the art on the reading room wall at the Shining Stars Pre School, the exterior of the Launchpad building (downtown Albuquerque) and much of the terrain park at Angel Fire Ski Resort.

We hope that programs like this will help our youth in knowing that there are good choices that can be made.

Here's a slide show that captures the afternoon's event:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Take the Tour!

Don't forget to take the tour! Rio Rancho Art Association's 4th Annual Studio Tour on April 26th and 27th from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Information about the tour, tour maps, brochure and the list of participating artists can all be found at the RRAA website.

Don't miss it! There will be forty four artists participating in this tour.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

December 2007 Christmas Party

A good time was had by all and the food catered by Joe's Pasta House was absolutely fabulous!

Casa Rodena Plein Air Event

For those of you who missed this event but would like to see some of what we were up to!