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Grand Re-Opening of Cornell Museum

The Cornell Museum at Old School Square has recently undergone a million dollar renovation and if it looked like an old school before it certainly does not now.  I attended the Grand Re-opening of the Museum on Nov 8th which was also the opening of the latest exhibit “Looking Glass”.  The atmosphere was joyous and electric.  While it retains the charm of an ‘old school’ the space is bright and open and will well serve the innovative and contemporary exhibits that curator Melanie Johnson is becoming known for.

Looking Glass Exhibit Nov 9 – Feb 25

Looking Glass, a group exhibition featuring contemporary artwork that immerses the viewer into the piece by creating their own reflection. The viewer and the space around the piece become a part of the work itself.  It was fun to view the exhibit with so many other artists and art lovers.   The exhibit will be there until Feb 25, 2018.

The opening was very festive and fun.   As a resident of Delray Beach, I felt proud that museum in the heart of downtown Delray is so progressive and attractive.  I was not too thrilled with their new policy of not serving red wine at the reception.  Really, they could just get some Mr. Clean magic erasers to clean up a spill.  This will not keep me from attending future reception there because it really is a gem of a museum.  



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Artist Reception for "Art Outside the Walls: en Plein Air"

Artist Reception for “Art Outside the Walls: en Plein Air”

My weekend of Art & Culture began with the Artist Reception on Thursday April 10th, 2014 for Art Outside the Walls: en Plein Air, the exhibit at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach that showcases the artwork of the group I co-founded, Plein Air Palm Beach (PAPB).  This is an exhibit I have been working on all season. 


It is runs from April 11 –June 7th, 2014 and can be seen during regular hours of the Cultural Council; Tuesday –Saturday 10 AM – 4PM.  It is a joint project with the Cultural Council and Plein Air Palm Beach showcasing the work of local area and visiting artists.



We painted out in the 10 different locations, chosen from the members’ favorite places to paint in Palm Beach County, over the course of ten weeks, between December and February, going to a different location every week.  Sometimes the weather did not cooperate but that did not stop the hard core artists.

During the course of this project, over 80 different artists participated and well over 200 paintings were produced.    Not only was I a participating artist and organizer of the paint-outs, but together with Ralph Papa, co-founder of PAPB and Nichole Hickey, Director of Artistic Services at the Cultural Council, I helped plan the actual exhibit.  So by the time the opening reception rolled around, I felt like a celebrity walking in on the red carpet. The natural high and floating feeling I got from this Artist Reception will keep me going for awhile.

The Reception


The artists I work with in PAPB are tremendous and all have been very supportive and encouraging during this project. The Cultural Council of Palm Beach, as usual has been very professional and is always a pleasure to work with.  I have been an artist member of the Cultural Council for the past two years and highly encourage other artists to consider becoming members as well.  It is so nice to have professional organization working for arts and culture in our area.


The second part of my arts weekend was my participation in the Atlantis Spring Fling Art Show and Sale.  It is a very nice community event that includes an art show.  It was fun to be with a group of artists and have a chance to show my work and even made a sale.   With two other exhibits ongoing besides the above, most of my work is currently out being shown in exhibit.  Not really a bad problem.  Thus, I brought mostly artwork from my cruising travels to the Spring Fling Show.  Sometimes I feel like I’m not painting enough but when I pulled together my work for Spring Fling I realized I had quite a few paintings.  Side benefit of preparing for a show and sale like this is that it really helps to get the artwork inventory organized.  Besides it was fun to be chatting with other artists and Atlantis gave us a nice dinner to boot.


Finally, on Palm Sunday, I attended Seraphic Fire concert of Haydn: Last Seven Words.  A good friend and I have season tickets and originally we were supposed to attend on Thursday in Boca, but that turned out to be the night of Cultural Council artist reception so we decided to reschedule to Sunday in Miami.   The weather and traffic tried to thwart my plans; we encountered heavy rains and, at one point, a sign saying all lanes on I95 closed.  So we had to get off and take the scenic route to Miami Beach.  No problem, but we made it with only a minute to spare.  The anxiety of the weather and traffic melted away as soon as Seraphic Fire began to sing.  I was transported for a brief time to a place of sheer pleasure and beauty.    After the concert, we took the scenic route back part way as the traffic was still snarled on 95.  However, by now the sun was out, and we got to enjoy the ride and each other’s company.


My weekend immersion in art was complete.

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First Place: Kerry Eriksen “Gator” Oil on canvas

It was a great day. Starting out very foggy, which cast a magical glow on the everglades, and later turned sunny and warm, it was a great day for plein air painting. Twenty-five of our artists showed up to paint, and while visitors for the day listened to talks at the pavilion, they could see the artists painting the beauty of the refuge. At the end of the day, we gathered in the visitor’s center theater for a meet and greet the artists.

It was great to see all the work produced that day all up on the artists’ easels during the gathering. While we were chatting with the visitors, the juror for the exhibit, Maxine Schreiber, circulated around and judged the works presented. When Steve and Maxine presented the awards, Maxine commented that she was impressed by the quality of the artwork. I have to agree, I am always humbled to have my artwork being displayed along with the truly great artists we have in Plein Air Palm Beach.




PAPB Artists at the Meet & Greet


The Winners were:

First Place: Kerry Eriksen for “Gator” Oil on canvas

Second Place: Lorrie Turner for “Foggy Morning” Pastel

Third Place: Linda Apriletti for “Willows and Lifting Fog” Oil on Linen

HM: Stan Dornfest for “Joyful Loxahatchee” Acrylic on Canvas

HM: Sal Sidner for “At the Pavillion” Oil on Canvas board

HM: Elfirda Schragen for “Two Trees Trail at Loxahatchee” Oil on Canvas


There will be an exhibit of the paintings produced the day of Festival in the  visitors’ center of the Wildlife Refuge that will run from March 5, 2014 – April 30th, 2014. Be sure to visit the exhibit “Plein Air Palm Beach Paints Loxahatchee” and the take a look around the refuge that inspired the artwork, you won’t be sorry. Twenty-five percent of sales of any artwork will go to Friends of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, a very worthwhile organization.

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Plein Air Palm Beach

Postcard for Plein Air Palm Beach

Here is what has been keeping me busy both painting and organizing. Palm Beach Plein Air Artists began with Donna Walsh organizing paint-outs for Palm Beach Watercolor Society. At the same time Ralph Papa organized a Plein Air group to paint in and around Delray Beach FL. In the Spring of 2013, Ralph and Donna decided to merge the groups and thus became the co-founders of Plein Air Palm Beach. We decided to use the Plein Air Palm Beach as the group name, after consultation with key members of the meetup site since this most aptly describes the area where we schedule paint-outs.


We have regularly scheduled paint-outs twice a month from October to May. At the end of the second paint-out we meet for a group critique and a picnic lunch. This year we are planning for an exhibit at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach. The Cultural
Council is sponsoring ten paint-outs around the county and will host the exhibit “Art Outside the Walls: En Plein Air” from April 11, 2014 – June 7, 2014.

Plein Air Palm Beach mission is to work with members, local art groups, cultural centers and the public to support and enhance plein air painting, events and exhibits. We welcome support and sponsorship from the cultural community to enhance our mission. We are in the process of becoming a Florida non-profit group.

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county contemporary
I recently applied for and was accepted into the County Contemporary: All Media Juried Art Show.  I am deeply honored to be among the group that was accepted by Juror Mark Richard Leach, Executive Director, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  A representative of the Cultural Council told me they had a good response and had received over 450 entries, of which 44 were being showcased in the exhibit.  Again, I felt honored and excited to be part of the exhibit.  This exhibit opens June 14 and runs until September 7th and is located at Palm Beach Cultural Council located at 601 Lake Avenue, Lake Worth, Florida 33460.  For more information see http://www.palmbeachculture.com
A time-honored challenge for artists is to get ones work exposed to art admirers and collectors.

In pursuit of this goal, I entered the County Contemporary Show as it was sponsored by the Palm Beach Cultural Council.  Ever since I became a member earlier this year, I have been impressed with the dedication and professionalism of the Council.  The Cultural Council does impressive amount of promotion for the exhibits and other events that are held there.    It is also just a wonderful space for an Art Exhibit.  I thoroughly enjoyed the most recent Artist as Author exhibit held there and the corresponding lecture series.

When I first got active in the local artist community here in South East Florida, I joined many groups and began to exhibit with them.  I found this a good way to get my feet wet, and I learned a lot about shows and juries.

I soon became a bit disillusioned as it seemed that the same people were always winning.  While that would be acceptable, if the show and hence all the artwork in it was actually getting exposure, the venues were rarely publicized, and foot traffic to see the exhibit was purely by chance.

When I analyzed that it seemed this, in many cases, to be due to big-fish-in-a-small-pond situation.  With member-only shows in local groups with membership numbers of approximately 150-250, and not all of whom would be entering a particular show, the role for newcomers seems to be mainly supplying the prize money in exchange for a miniscule chance of winning.  Even with these shows being juried and thus the prize winners truly deserving of the, it becomes a bit of a catch 22.  Newer members do not think it is worth the bother to enter and yet the group needs to get a certain number of entries to pull off the show.

To try to address this problem that small groups face, different groups have tried various solutions, such as:

    • Limiting the number of times year an artist can win a cash prize.
    • Having the juror select the group of painting that will be the prize winners and then the group leaders decides which artist gets which prize.


    • Coming up with special awards so that insiders who volunteer can be awarded.


All of these solutions pollute the small pond in my opinion.  So at the end of the day I guess I’d rather be a small fish in big pond as long as I like the pond I’m in.

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My husband, John  and I were at the opening of the  Artist as Author: An exhibition of artists in various creative disciplines who are authors and it was splendid.  It is presented by Cultural Council of Palm Beach County at the Councils headquarters at  601 Lake St, Lake  Worth. The exhibit will be there until  May 18, 2013.

Must see this exhibit

It was fun to drive up to the valet, turn over our keys and enter a magical space of art and culture.  Elaine Meier is the guest curator for the exhibit and has this to say about it:  “Artist as Author is a celebration of creative talent as well as an exploration of the relationship between the arts and the written word.  The artist participating in this exhibit work in multiple disciplines but they all share a passion for excellence… and a Palm Beach County address.”

The exhibit is fantastic and the opening was a wonderful opportunity to see the work, meet the artists/authors and be with others who appreciate culture in Palm Beach County.  There are fourteen artists as authors in this exhibit, all of them captivating.  I guess the one that really caught my eye was Sandra Thompson. She is known for her quintessential paintings of Palm Beach. I was immediately drawn in to paintings and felt like I could walk around in them all day.  My eyes did feast on them for some time.

Great job by all at Cultural Council of Palm Beach with this event.  To find out more information about the exhibit see  Artist as Author Exhibit

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IMG_8736Getting back to painting more regularly has been good: good for me and good for my work. Painting is a lot like dance.  The muscles don’t forget, but to be good requires constant practice.

One of the directions I have been exploring is a mixed media approach using digitized watercolor combined with photography and digital painting.   The initial step is to complete a watercolor in the conventional manner. To create the initial image, there is nothing that can replace the dynamic and expressive way watercolor develops on paper.   Then, it is converted to a digital image.  It is quite exciting to see the details in an enlarged format in a digital image. This approach reveals a level of exquisiteness inherent in pigment in water that is otherwise invisible.

Once the image has been digitized, I combine it with a digital photograph, usually one of the images from my “nature’s wonders” series.  I, then, break up the photo highlighting design elements of the photograph and integrate them into the watercolor image.  In this way, I create the effect of the complexity multiple layers of nature and, if all works well, reveal a level of beauty that is otherwise unobtainable.

One of the digital paintings I’ve created with this process is Hidden Orchid.  Here, I have used a spider-webbing technique on the original watercolor with colors that incorporate the light and reflections of an orchid I photographed growing on a tree.  The photograph was manipulated also digitally to isolate the blossom and stem.  The background light of the photograph was further broken up and moved to enhance design and to integrate that image with the watercolor.  The watercolor image was also modified for transparency, and several layers of different sections with varieties of transparency were integrated with the blossom to give the effect of the complexity beneath the beauty of the blossoming orchid.

I have been pleased that the work I’ve completed in this Art/Science series has been well received on Fine Art America and my CafePress Store, Donna’s Art for Everyone  As much as I’d love to be seen as the next great artist to collect and have collectors in a bidding war over my work, I truly believe in art being accessible to everyone.  So, the fact that prints and merchandise of this new direction has had recent sales encourages me to believe that people are responding to my art.  The problem is most of the local venues for group exhibits do not allow digital work, so I am looking into finding venues that do allow it.  In my view, this is “the new art” of our time, and resistance to it has to be expected.

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For the last month or so, I’ve been participating in outdoor exhibitions run by The Delray Artist’s League that are called “Artists in the Park.” Usually, it’s a fun and interesting, although particularly unprofitable, experience.  However, on my birthday, February 20th, it got a lot less fun.

Here is where I hit the street to sell my art

I was moving things from the car to my assigned display-spot when my toe was caught by the concrete stop the city had put in place to prevent cars from touching their precious sidewalk.  Because I had my hands full, the first part of my anatomy to reach the ground was my face.  Fortunately, beyond a cut lip, an enormous bruise on my cheek and a broken rib, I was relatively unharmed.

Back in my consulting days, we had the phrase “hit the street running,” this was NOT what we meant; however, it did point out with painful clarity the difference between what I was fearing, “falling flat on my face as an artist” and what had happened, simply “falling flat on my face.”  Obviously, I wasn’t able to vend that weekend, but the next weekend, I was back in my old spot, fired by a new determination.    Up to this,  it had been Sidewalk -1,  No Sales -1,  Donna -0.  It was time for me to get on the scoreboard.

It worked.  I sold a print.  A total stranger walked up, loved my work, and bought it.  The print was of one of my favorite paintings, an underwater view of a coral reef with all the delightful wildlife that is so much a part of it.  What a head trip to be recognized as an artist!

Of course, I haven’t been wasting my time.  While I sat outside of my tent painting, I have been taking careful note what people seemed to like about my work, what things were appealing to them and what my colleagues were selling.

Another thing that takes place quite a bit when I’ve vending is because my sign announces my orientation as a Remodernist Painter.  While I do have a short explanation of what this means as part of my personal display, many people come by and ask me to expand on it.  This has led me to consider creating “an elevator speech,” something that is short, compelling and memorable.

When I asked the assistance of my friends on the artists’ website RedBubble, it spawned what is called “a challenge,” wherein the contributor on a particular board engage in the cooperative effort of refining a statement to its essence.  (You can view all the responses at http://www.redbubble.com/groups/remodernist-painters/challenges )     My personal response is Remodernism is an alternative to the established High Art hegemony, known as Post-Modernism.   The movement  is a response to the distance from meaning, beauty, and emotion that Post-Modernism has traveled and favors instead the intent of the artist communicated through the spirituality or emotional impact of their work.

The other big news is that I’ve been accepted for Vermont Artists Week at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, and I will be going up there the last week in April through the first week of May for an intensive week of studio work.  All of the participants live at the Studio Center and share time, space and meals.  I will have a private studio and have a chance to meet with other artists.  I’m really excited about the opportunity.

Oh, and another thing, I’ve discovered that Dunkin Donuts and I are celebrating the same number to years, not sure if that is good or not.

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