November 29, 2017

The Palette is available to all interested with an e-Subscription


In this issue:

After Losing 30 Years of Artwork in Fire, a Painter Looks Ahead
HEALING THROUGH ART PROGRAM PROVIDES DISTRACTION FROM PAIN, ANXIETY AND HOSPITAL ROUTINE
Art Saving Lives in Milwaukee through Photojournalism
After 81 Years, Memphis College of Art Will Shutter Due to Debt and Falling Enrollment
‘Lost’ Leonardo Da Vinci Sells For Record $450 Million At Auction
The Russian Billionaire Behind Christie’s Controversial $450M Leonardo
South County Art Supply plans to close, seeks new owner
U.S. Military Claims Ownership of Art Made by Guantanamo Bay Detainees
Rare Tintin art fetches $500,000 at Paris auction
Ocean Shores artisit Walden paints a colorful career
“Emergency” art kits give cancer patients a dose of inspiration

 

 

 

 

After Losing 30 Years of Artwork in Fire, a Painter Looks Ahead

SANTA ROSA, CA: Even as he saw flames encroaching on the hills behind his home in Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park neighborhood, Chris Henry didn’t think he was about to lose the house he’d lived in for the past 14 years.

“I had no idea what these fires could do,” says the 56-year-old artist when we meet at a downtown Santa Rosa coffee shop. As we talk, he often glances at his phone to make sure he doesn’t miss a call from a family member or insurance agent. Since the flames took his home several weeks ago, his life has been filled with constant phone calls as he tries to put the pieces back together — so much so that he hasn’t had a chance to think about painting, even though he has clients expecting commissions.

“No, my focus isn’t there, partly because I have a new career: It’s being on the phone with insurance people,” he says with a half smile.

Henry is an abstract expressionist painter whose work is well-known around Sonoma County. He exhibits at Terra Firma Gallery in Sonoma and, for the past dozen years, he’s opened his studio to the public for the annual ArtTrails, a county-wide art crawl that takes place each year in October.

ArtTrails coincided with this year’s disastrous wildfires, and Henry had been looking forward to showing local art lovers his new studio, which he spent the summer building out in his garage. He estimates there were between 25 and 30 paintings in the studio, including a self-portrait he painted over 30 years ago. In a backyard shed were more expensive art supplies, including bronze sheeting and glass for mixed-media works.

Calculating the value of the losses, Henry says, has been overwhelming. “I haven’t gotten to that part yet. It’s too much.”

In many respects, though, Henry considers himself lucky. After he saw flames approaching and neighbors evacuating, he fled to his brother’s house in another part of Santa Rosa with his wife, stepson, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old granddaughter. They’d had to leave behind their two cats, and when Henry and his brother returned for them at around 4am the next morning, he saw his house was completely gone.

Two weeks after the fire, while scrolling through lost pets at animal shelters on Facebook, his daughter-in-law found their two cats; the white one had turned dark grey from the ash. “I almost didn’t recognize him,” Henry says.

Fortunately for the family, they found a rental near Henry’s brother’s house, and the insurance on their home will help their plans to rebuild.

But for now, Henry and his family are trying to return to their routines and regain a sense of normalcy. His wife is back at work at her hair salon, and he’s looking for a new studio and already itching to get started on his commissions. Fortunately, Terra Firma Gallery has a good portion of his work, so not everything was lost.

Despite the experience, Henry is thankful that his family survived; not everyone in his neighborhood did. An estimated 17 of the identified fire victims were from Santa Rosa.

“I tend to look forward more than back, so I want to get up and going as soon as possible,” he says. “And listen, if you saw me the day after the fire, I was a mess. But I’ve come to a place where it really is, to me, just stuff.” KQED

 

HEALING THROUGH ART PROGRAM PROVIDES DISTRACTION FROM PAIN, ANXIETY AND HOSPITAL ROUTINE

SANTA MONICA, CA: John Delgado rated his pain at 9 on a scale from zero to 10 – even when he was taking medication to reduce its severity. Then, with encouragement from nurses and volunteers at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, he picked up a paint brush and focused on recreating the image before him. To his surprise, he realized he was experiencing less pain.

When I’m painting, my mind is set on what I’m doing, and not my pain level,” said the Culver City resident, who has been a hospital patient several times during this past year.

That’s exactly the response registered nurse Heather Dodge hoped for when she started bringing art supplies to her medical-surgical unit last year – a unit where patients spend days, weeks or sometimes months.

“As an artist and a nurse, I saw a huge opportunity to help keep patients occupied with art rather than focusing solely on their pain and illness, said Dodge, who earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2012, after receiving her bachelor’s degree in fine art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002. She actually began as a hospital volunteer in 2010 before becoming a certified nursing assistant and later an RN.

These experiences led her to combine her loves of art and nursing by exploring a new approach to help patients deal with pain, stress and isolation while hospitalized. As she began visualizing this new approach to healing, she wondered how to attract dedicated volunteers like herself to help with the program.

“My challenge was to create a meaningful experience that would help distract patients from their illness and pain by offering them an outlet for creativity while keeping volunteers actively engaged in the program,” she said.

The answer was to provide art supplies and inspiration to patients and volunteers, allowing them to work together to create paintings or other projects. The outreach was an immediate success, with patients like Delgado and others welcoming an opportunity to express themselves through art while interacting with volunteers.

As artwork was completed, Dodge asked patients if they would like to keep the painting or donate it to the “Healing Through Art” program. If patients opted to donate the piece, Dodge would frame and gift it to another patient on the unit during the holiday season.

“In this way, each piece of artwork has the potential to touch yet another life,” Dodge said. To date, about 64 works of art have been gifted for other patients during Hanukkah and Christmas.

Currently, the program is evolving to include additional types of art, and may soon expand to other units at the medical center. While Dodge has funded the fledgling effort with personal funds, she hopes to receive support through a grant and have the program become part of the hospital’s Volunteer Program.

Dodge thinks similar programs are a rarity in hospitals nationwide. Although many hospitals have child-life specialists who do art projects and provide play therapy to help pediatric patients deal with the uncertainty and monotony of hospital stays, few have equivalent art programs for adult patients.

“The same anxieties and fears common to hospitalized children are still very relevant in our adult population, and helping patients discover their ‘voice in color’ provides a fundamental vehicle for self-expression” she said.

“I truly believe this personal interaction while creating art can play an important role in helping someone heal faster, manage stress and have a better overall hospital experience,” she continued.

Delgado agrees, and is glad he had a chance to participate in the program. “Lying there in pain, I was kind of desperate, so I started painting,” he explained, “and sure enough I stopped thinking about my pain, and started realizing it wasn’t that bad. The program really helped me.”

For more information about the program or to donate art supplies, please contact Heather Dodge athdodge@mednet.ucla.edu. Santa Monica Mirror

 

Art Saving Lives in Milwaukee through Photojournalism

MILWAUKEE, WI: Milwaukee native Nick Hansen is creating photo journalistic work throughout the black community under the alias Art Saves Lives MKE. He preaches that art can be a bridge. He feels a calling to tell the stories of those that live in the urban space.

Who is Nick Hansen?

I’m Nick Hansen, the artist, the MIAD [Milwukee Institute of Art and Design] grad, 30-something, who’s been doing art for a long time. I am behind the photojournalism of Art Saves Lives MKE but I am not solely a photo journalist. I paint murals, I illustrate and I have a repertoire of visual creative skills. I grew up in Milwaukee, on the edge of Bay View, with one parent, and poverty was something I could relate to. Art and sketchbooks were my thing. Art stopped me from doing the other stuff. I know how art can save lives because it saved my own life. I’m from what the phrase is: Art Saves Lives.

How did Art Saves Lives MKE come to be?

About a year ago I shifted my Facebook name to Art Saves Lives MKE and formulated the new website. I’m in transformation and transition. Last year I ended up buying a Nikon camera on Black Friday. It was post-Sherman Park and I thought, “How am I going to respond to this artistically? I have to buy this Nikon camera.” And I started taking pictures. These started with community murals with Tia Richardson who said, “It’s bigger than me or Heal the Hood.” I also met Dominic Inouye of Zip MKE, which was a strong impetus in showing me how photojournalism and art can change a community. Art Saves Lives MKE is about community and reflecting true stories of what art can do.

What sparked your transition as a creative?

During the years after getting out of MIAD, where I studied illustration and painting, I focused on automotive illustrations and paintings. In the past year, my work has shifted into more of a focus on education, art and activism. I’m also an art educator at Milwaukee Environmental Sciences Academy and I’ve just been struck by the community. I think the combination of getting away from Nick Hansen to Art Saves Lives MKE and Sherman Park was really important to me. All these years I’m doing this cool hot rod art, it just felt like it wasn’t having the passion and soul to tell stories that are really important. Nina Simone says, “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” Hot rods are great and I could be a greaser until I’m 50 but how is that affecting anything? Especially when I’m so immersed in the urban black community.

How does working in art education affect your work?

As an educator, things aren’t perfect, Milwaukee’s not perfect, the education system isn’t perfect and I’m not perfect. Part of Art Saves Lives MKE is telling the positive stories of the urban black community and the beauty I see, but when I look at the politics of the education system it can be painful. This has helped me tell the stories in the work I’m creating.

What is the purpose of Art Saves Lives MKE?

My goal was to take up this camera as an artist, an educator and a lover of the Afro-African American community. What I’ve seen as an art teacher are stories and beauties and truths. I feel like Milwaukee is two cities: one that’s on the lakefront and, on the other side of the interstate, it’s a whole other city. I work as a teacher in these cities. I enjoy them, I’ve seen a lot of beautiful families, but I now have a camera. I’m going to photojournalize. I’m using a camera to tell the stories of urban Milwaukee and the black community.

What is your dream for Art Saves Lives MKE?

My God-sized dream is to have a free physical space called “Creation Station” as an open arts studio where Art Saves Lives MKE has art materials for the black youth to paint or express. A professional role model would inspire and give slight direction to them to explore within the visual arts, no curriculum. I want to have an artistic visual safe haven where they can realize that doing this art is not just a craft but something that, if they express themselves wisely enough and get their imagination going enough, can save their lives. Shepherd Express

 

After 81 Years, Memphis College of Art Will Shutter Due to Debt and Falling Enrollment
While many remain optimistic that the school could remain open, it would take a miraculous $30 million endowment donation to make this possible.

MEMPHIS, TN: On the morning of October 24, the Memphis College of Art took to Facebook to announce that it will permanently close its doors in 2020, after 81 years of operation. In a matter of minutes, the comment section was filled with responses: past alumni sharing fond memories of their student days at the MCA; Memphians expressing sadness at the fact that the city will lose a pivotal member of its arts community; but above all, many people desperately wanting to know whether anything could be done to keep the institution afloat.

The final decision had been made two weeks earlier, spurred by a combination of declining admissions — down by 35% just this year, according to High Ground Memphis — increasing real estate debt, and the school’s small endowment fund. Tuition at the school is $35,000 per year. While many remain optimistic that the school could remain open, it would take a miraculous $30 million endowment donation to make this possible. The institution immediately stopped receiving applying students, and will focus on the current student body for the next three years. During that time, it will fund its operations partly through the sale of its real estate holdings. The fate of its main building, Rust Hall, has yet to be determined.

While a number of factors contributed to the institution’s demise, the MCA’s Interim President Laura Hines highlights one shift as especially significant: the declining enrollment in fine arts programs and the increasing emphasis on digital and design arts among incoming students. While the MCA offers an undergraduate degree in graphic design, Hines believes the lack of courses in digital and design arts is a major factor in the drop in applications.

“There’s declining enrollment nationally in the traditional Fine Arts, which is what MCA’s curriculum is more focused on,” Hines told Hyperallergic. “So we maybe missed an opportunity to build out Design Arts a little more fully to ensure enrollment.”

The MCA opened in 1936 and gained official recognition as an accredited Tennessee art institution in 1947. It has since become a member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, and remains the only art school within the city of Memphis offering an intensive fine and visual arts curriculum. Though not as widely known as elite art schools like the School of the Art Institute of Chicago or Savannah College of Art and Design, the MCA has set itself apart by being one of the few nationally accredited art schools in the Southeastern region, as well as being more affordable and having smaller class sizes than many competitors.

The school is located in scenic Overton Park, close to the bustling arts neighborhoods of Overton Square and the Cooper Young District, and adjacent to the Brooks Museum. With a student body of over 300, the MCA offers a total of 16 fine arts programs — 11 undergraduate and five graduate degrees — in fields ranging from comic illustration to metalworking and art education. A large majority of the MCA’s student body hails from surrounding states and neighboring regions, but students from all across the world come here in search of a quality education in a more low-key setting than major art centers like New York and Los Angeles. The school’s alumni span an impressive range of artists including pattern painter Valerie Jaudon, Palestinian filmmaker Emily Jacir, as well as artist and Warhol mentee Blake Nelson Boyd.

While undergraduate arts and MFA programs will still be offered at nearby institutions — including the University of Memphis, Rhodes College, and Christian Brothers University — the MCA’s closure has left many in the Memphis art community wondering what will happen to the city’s arts scene. To many students, the closure announcement came as a surprise, but Tawny Armus, an MCA senior originally from Colorado and concentrating in sculpture, had a feeling that mounting cutbacks were leading up to this drastic decision.

“When it comes to the students at MCA, most thought everything at the institution was fine,” Armus told Hyperallergic. “Nobody told me, but I did see this coming since the beginning of this semester. I just had a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.”

This past June, Time magazine published an article identifying the top 25 cities where millennials are moving, placing Memphis at fourth on the list with a 9.5% increase in millennials between 2010 and 2015. However, without the MCA, many prospective art students looking for an intensive, studio-based program will look to other schools in the Southeast, like the Kansas City Institute of Art or the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

“If you don’t have that magnet drawing students to Memphis then you can pretty much predict that there’s going to be a hole there,” Hines says. “There’s not going to be the pipeline of visual artists who make the culture here so rich.”

However, there are many residencies available for Memphis artists via the likes of Crosstown Concourse and Youngblood studios, plenty of affordable studio and gallery spaces, and Armus is optimistic that this will entice young artists to remain in the city. Still, the MCA served a key functions in teaching young artists how to find and grasp such opportunities.

“I really do worry about how this will affect young artists in the community,” says Armus. “I think with the school closing there will be a need for some type of space for young artists to be able to consult about all of the opportunities available for them to apply to and how to do so.”

The MCA’s closure reflects a pattern of challenges facing small fine arts institutions, according to Hines. As institutions struggle to shore up adequate endowments and enrollment numbers continue to dwindle, colleges focusing on intensive fine arts studies will face further obstacles. In the past few years alone a number of institutions have been impacted, including the sudden closures of the Brooks Institute in Ventura, California, and the New England Institute of Art in Boston. In New York, the Cooper Union in particular has suffered through years of financial crisis during which the famously free school cut scholarship funds and introduced tuition fees.

In such a tumultuous time, Hines remains holistic and optimistic about the future of the Memphis arts community. She adds: “One can hope that something new and different will rise that will sustain the visual arts after the college’s closure.” Hyperallergic

 

‘Lost’ Leonardo Da Vinci Sells For Record $450 Million At Auction
“Salvator Mundi,” long missing, was expected to fetch at least $100 million.

Leonardo da Vinci has shattered expectations yet again with the sale of one of his paintings Wednesday.

Da Vinci’s long-lost “Salvator Mundi” (“Savior of the World”) sold for a record-breaking $450.3 million at auction at Christie’s in New York City. The painting shows Jesus holding a small orb in his hand, symbolizing the world, and is one of the few surviving pieces of da Vinci’s work.

The Renaissance artwork was thought to be lost for centuries, disappearing from the collection of King Charles I of England in 1736. Charles Robinson purchased the painting in London in 1900, but the piece was no longer credited to da Vinci at that point, according to the auction house.

“Salvator Mundi” went through more unwitting owners before being discovered in Louisiana in 2005 by New York art collector Robert Simon.

Christie’s auction house billed the painting as “The Last Da Vinci.” “Salvator Mundi” was authenticated after years of restoration and research that began in 2007.

The small artwork has gained international attention with BuzzFeed News even live-streaming the auction on Wednesday to thousands of viewers.

Da Vinci’s painting well surpassed the $100 million expected price, as the sale ended up being worth just over $450 million after including fees. The sale is a record, according to The Guardian. The Huffington Post

 

The Russian Billionaire Behind Christie’s Controversial $450M Leonardo
The painting’s seller is part of the clique of billionaire oligarchs exerting an outsize influence in global affairs — and art.

Last night, Christie’s auction house sold “Salvator Mundi,” which it claims is the last painting by Leonardo da Vinci in private hands, for an astounding, record-setting $400M (the final price was over $450M with fees). The sale was controversial for a couple of reasons: that mind-numbing number itself, but also the fact that there are a lot of questions — and serious doubts — about the painting’s authenticity, restoration, and provenance.

One can therefore be forgiven for initially overlooking another elephant in the room — the identity of the seller. When there’s this much money involved, though, it usually pays to follow it, and here the money leads directly back to the Russian billionaire Dmitry E. Rybolovlev. Rybolovlev’s family trust sold the painting, through Christie’s, to an undisclosed buyer, but if his name sounds familiar for other reasons, that might be because in 2008 he paid (through a company he controlled) $95M to buy a Palm Beach mansion from Donald Trump. Or it could be that he’s also known for allegedly using his art collection to shield money from his wife, a bitter conflict brought to light in the Panama Papers. Or it could even be in connection with “Salvator Mundi” itself: Rybolovlev has been in a protracted legal battle involving Sotheby’s and “freeport king” Yves Bouvier over alleged overpayment in Rybolovlev’s purchase of the painting.

With much of the public-facing art world firmly turning its back on the Trumps, it’s yet another example of the fraught, high-stakes interests at play. When a controversial piece of such dubious authenticity is sold at prices no museum can afford, making it available only to the increasingly indistinguishable cliques of oligarchs and their head-of-state business pals, it contributes to a market where expertise and devotion to art are dispensed with; the final word on what’s a Leonardo and what isn’t goes to the highest bidder, not the most knowledgeable or most dedicated scholar. It’s hard to envision any benefit to society, or artists, or art. Hyperallergic 

 

South County Art Supply plans to close, seeks new owner

WAKEFIEKD, RI: After 5½ years, South County Art Supply, 430 Main St., Wakefield, will close at the end of the year.

Owner Andrea Peitsch said she hopes to sell the business and has met with potential buyers. However, if a new owner does not emerge, she plans to close Dec. 31.

Peitsch cited a few reasons for the closure of the business, which specializes in art materials and tools and hosts art classes for children. The main reason, she said, is the time commitment.

“When I was running the store, I was giving it 150 percent of myself, and that’s really what it takes ... I have kids, and after 5½ years, I’m just really burnt out from spending every moment working on the store,” she said, adding that she intends to go back to school to study engineering.

A statement from the business reads: “In our current economy, no matter the business, it is difficult to compete with larger box stores and online retail as far as price and choice go. This is especially true for niche and specialty stores like mine where the overhead is high and it can be hard to know the next trend in art as well as keep enough traditional materials and mediums in stock.”

Peitsch said she will miss receiving new art supplies and having them available to the community.

“When I had new merchandise, that was exciting. It was like Christmas,” she said.

Pietsch said she may continue holding art classes at her home.

“With the store I have met so many people in town, and that is nice,” she said. “Just meeting all the creative types in town is fun.” The Independent

 

U.S. Military Claims Ownership of Art Made by Guantanamo Bay Detainees

U.S. authorities have halted the release of art created by Guantanamo Bay detainees after an exhibition of their work went on view in New York City in October. Over 30 artworks made by current and former detainees, now on display at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice as part of “Ode to the Sea: Art from Guantánamo Bay,” reportedly caught the notice of the U.S. military. It has since suspended the transport of art out of the prison, asserting that the works are property of the United States government.

“I did this show to try and help people see that detainees are human beings and give detainees another way to think about themselves: as artists,” said Erin Thompson, professor of art crime at John Jay and co-curator of the exhibition. “The authorities saw it as a risk and just slammed shut that possibility.”
The decision reverses prior policy under the Obama administration, which allowed artwork created by the 41 detainees still held in the controversial military prison to be transported out by their lawyers following an inspection. Thompson said that detainee lawyers have told her the crackdown on artwork is “yet another clear demonstration of the human rights violation that is Guantanamo.”

News of the military’s decision was first reported by the Miami Herald. The detainees’ lawyers discovered this change in policy after a recent visit, when, without explanation, prison authorities did not release any new artwork. One attorney told the paper that authorities planned to burn artwork created by prisoners, while another said her client was told art could still be created but in limited numbers, with additional works to be “discarded.”

Navy Commander Anne Leanos, spokesperson for the military, refused to confirm or deny that work would be burned in a comment provided to the Herald. “Transfers of detainee-made artwork have been suspended pending a policy review,” she told the paper in a statement.

Major Ben Sakrisson, spokesperson for the Department of Defense, told Artsy that the art classes at Guantanamo Bay are continuing, but reiterated that the work is U.S. property and that “the appropriate disposition of this property has been clarified with our staff at Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay and will be accounted for according to applicable local procedures in the future.”

The military also has questions about how proceeds from any work sold in Thompson’s exhibition are being used, as Sakrisson previously told the Herald. Thompson noted that only work by detainees tried and released by a military tribunal is available for sale. One former inmate, for example, wanted to use proceeds to send money to his sick mother in Yemen, the Herald reported.

That authorities would raise questions about released prisoners selling work made while being held without trial is “an illustration of how these men can never escape,” Thompson said. “They’re always under suspicion.”

Formal art classes began at Guantanamo Bay in 2009. The courses became highly popular among detainees, though even sanctioned artwork could be confiscated during cell searches. Originally, authorities were strict about which images could leave Guantanamo Bay, with censors even blacking out doodles in detainees’ letters out of concern that they contained secret messages. But the policy loosened over time, with the military creating a dedicated form for applying to have artwork cleared, according to the Herald. Still, access to art materials and classes is entirely at the discretion of military authorities, who could halt or curtail these liberties at any time and without explanation, as they have in the past.

The works on view at John Jay display a range of artmaking, from a model ship built by Moath al-Alwi, to a drawing of the drowned child refugee Alan Kurdi by Muhammad Ansi, to a pigment-on-paper image of the Statue of Liberty by the same detainee.

Observers have noted that the military has long recognized that while some of these artworks can serve as a way to promote a more positive image of the prison, they can also convey damaging messages. “Depictions of suffering are more or less categorically banned from release,” one lawyer wrote in the exhibition catalogue. Aliya Hana Hussain, a liaison between lawyers and grassroots activists, described the display of (less incendiary) detainee artwork during media tours as a tool meant to give the impression that the prison was “a better, more humane place.”

Detainees interviewed for the exhibition detailed the importance of artmaking while being incarcerated. “I believe that art is a way to try and express the pain (physical and mental) that comes from having been tortured for over 14 years,” wrote Ammar al-Baluchi, who is still held at Guantanamo, in the catalogue. “Art work represented a form of expression during my prison time: expression of my feelings about the unclear future; things we were deprived of; things that I dreamed of,” wrote Djamel Ameziane, who was released in 2013. Artsy

 

Rare Tintin art fetches $500,000 at Paris auction

A rare India ink drawing of young reporter Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy has been sold for almost $500,000 (£380,000) at auction in Paris.

The picture from the 1939 comic album King Ottokar's Sceptre was among items by Hergé, the Belgian artist who created Tintin, to go under the hammer.

An original strip from the book The Shooting Star fetched $350,000.

But a copy of Tintin adventure Destination Moon, signed by US astronauts, failed to find a buyer.

Other items by Hergé on sale at the Paris auction included books, sketches and drawings.

Tintin is one of the most recognisable comic-book characters ever created.

Translated into 90 languages and selling in excess of 200m copies, the cartoons remain popular to this day.

Last year a comic strip from the Tintin book Explorers on the Moon sold for a record $1.64m in Paris.

The same year, a rare drawing of Tintin in Shanghai from the book The Blue Lotus sold for $1.2m at auction in Hong Kong. BBC

 

Ocean Shores artisit Walden paints a colorful career

Ocean Shores artist Larry J. Walden was in the third grade in Ft. Worth, TX, “when it occurred to me that being an artist was something that I could do. I discovered my love of art as a little boy going to museums and galleries with my parents. My mother was an accomplished artist who taught and encouraged me.”

On the surface, his gently glowing landscapes in oil, his favorite subject and medium, may seem at odds with a life’s journey that successfully mixed several years of serious art studies at a very high level, running a “boring business,” a career in law enforcement, and martial arts expertise. For Walden, who celebrates his 70th birthday this month, the thread through all of this is learning and practicing the fundamentals until applying them becomes second nature.

Area art aficionados can view several examples of Walden’s work at the Fall Gala exhibition that runs through Dec. 7 at the John Spellman Library at Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen. The show, in its 25th year, features 24 area artists, many of them members of Associated Arts of Ocean Shores, which helped produce the event. More information about the Fall Gala can be found online at www.ghc.edu/news/25th-annual-fall-art-gala. Walden’s art can also be seen at Fusions Gallery, 834 Point Brown Ave. NW, in Ocean Shores.

After high school graduation in 1965, Walden did a stint in the U.S. Air Force, where he was an air policeman, and spent a couple years in Southeast Asia where he studied martial arts.

In 1973, he was admitted to the Art Students League of New York, an institution begun by art students in 1875, that has counted many accomplished artists among its faculty and students, and currently has an average enrollment of about 2,500 student artists. He completed a four-year certificate program and was elected as the student member of the school’s board of directors for three of those years, the most allowed.

What drew him there was the opportunity to study “the highest level of fundamentals.” One of his primary instructors was Frank Mason, who taught art for over half a century, and “was considered like, Rubens reborn… so I studied with a guy who understood the old masters.

“And the drawing teacher could draw the entire skeleton, and all the muscles, from memory.” Robert Beverly Hale “was a genius with anatomy, and I was his monitor, so I was with him quite a bit.

“I wanted to study the old masters… that depth, that three-dimensionality, the feeling of air, of space, the light actually hitting things and coming off… it’s miraculous… and they could do that because they had the technique of the art… the materials they used and how they used them, put them at a different level. And these guys (Mason and Hale) knew that.”

For Walden, the combination of artistic education and experience eventually brought him to “that point where the technique is transcended by the heart or the soul, and it’s not a thought process any more. If I didn’t understand the methods and materials and hadn’t practiced them all the time, I would never be able to get into that place where something better than just my knowledge takes over.”

He describes himself as “a realist painter” and “a modern luminist. Like Inness, Moran, Hurley and others, the interplay of light, a luminous atmosphere and color are what fascinate me.”

Although he also paints with watercolors and pastels, he mostly works in oil because “it has the most possibilities for what I’m talking about, doing something that isn’t just technique, it’s transmitting something from the real you.”

Following four years at the Art Students League of New York, he worked different jobs until he moved to Tacoma in 1981 to take over his dad’s business, “a billing service before the age of computers.” In 1987, he went back into law enforcement with the U.S. Department of Defense, based in Bremerton, but with job assignments as diverse as Maine and Hawaii. In 2007, after he and his wife, Shirley, grew weary of five years in Maine, he took a reduction in rank to return to what was essentially his old job in Bremerton. For the next three years, until his retirement in 2009, he rented a small apartment and commuted on weekends to the home they had bought in Ocean Shores. Walden usually has several paintings going at once, and he continually finds a wide variety of subjects out here that arouse the interest of the artist that has always been a part of him.

They’ve been thoroughly enjoying life on the North Coast ever since. The North Coast News

 

Emergency” art kits give cancer patients a dose of inspiration

Brad Bailey never left his house without four essential items: wallet, keys, phone – and art supplies.

That’s why, last winter, when he woke up in the hospital without anything to draw on or with, he felt completely lost.

“I thought, this is unacceptable. Totally wrong,” says the professional artist, who spent his career at Kaman’s Art Shoppes, a company (the largest of its kind in America) that trains and hires the artists who paint faces and draw caricatures at amusement parks.

Mr. Bailey was at Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Center for treatment of his sarcoma. Previously, complications had caused him to lose a leg, and he now uses a wheelchair. His spirit undeterred, Mr. Bailey saw an opportunity to focus his art on more “romantic” subjects: he taught himself watercolors and began spending warm afternoons out and about his hometown in Oberlin, Ohio, painting street scenes and landscapes.

“I’m a punk,” Mr. Bailey says good-naturedly. “I specialized in caricature; my art made fun of people. But now, I’ve found the beauty in beauty, if you know what I mean.”

Hatching a plan

As he looked around his hospital room that winter day, longing for his supplies, Mr. Bailey’s eyes fell on a small, greeting-card size tin that was being used to store medical supplies. “And it hit me that this tin could be used for something else,” he says.

By the time he was discharged, Mr. Bailey had a plan.

With help from members of his church, he and his wife, Tammy, raised enough money to buy 200 tins and set about creating art kits for hospitalized patients.

“I wanted to help other people,” he says. “Art anchors me. I remember who I am and I don’t get lost in the hospital bed when I have art.”

The gift of inspiration

Inside each limited-edition Brad Bailey Emergency Art kit, you’ll find 50 pieces of card stock, three assorted travel-size colored pencils, a pencil sharpener, one ultra-fine Sharpie pen, one mechanical pencil, and over 50 sketching ideas.

Mr. Bailey says that the small size is intentional. “You can put it in your glove box so it’s there when you need it, like a spare tire.”

The kits were lovingly assembled by members of Mr. Bailey’s church, who got together on a Saturday afternoon to help their friend realize his vision.

“Nineteen people worked for two hours to put the kits together,” Mr. Bailey says. “There was an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old. There was such a great vibe!”

Lisa Shea, Art Therapist at the Taussig Cancer Center, is helping to distribute the 200 kits to patients at Cleveland Clinic main campus and The Gathering Place.

The very first patient to receive a kit was Amir Williams, a 37-year-old Cleveland native who was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in April 2017.

Mr. Williams is an artist as well, although he never pursued it professionally.

“My wife didn’t believe me a few years ago when I told her I could draw,” Mr. Williams says. “She said, ‘Why hadn’t you told me before?’”

He is now working on a portrait of her.

“Art is a really inspirational thing,” Mr. Williams says, adding that he was very grateful to receive the kit. “It was a good outlet for me, an opportunity to create some beauty.”

Like Mr. Bailey, Mr. Williams believes in paying it forward. A civic activist, he appreciates that the cancer has given him a platform to raise awareness and spread education about the preventable disease.

“This is something that crosses political divides,” he says.

“I see it as a blessing, this opportunity to show other people what they can get through. We’re all going through something. Attitude is 90 percent of the journey.”

Adds Mr. Bailey: “People start conversations with me from a place of pity. But I don’t want to focus on the negative. I turn to them and say, ‘I’d like to give you a gift.’” He mimes handing someone an art kit. “And then I ask, ‘What did you create today?’” Cleveland Clinic