Hello ...and it's good to be back.
My apologies to all for the long silence here. I can assure you I haven't been idle since last Summer and the Calgary Stampede show - and what a cracking event that was! I have been quite active on a number of different fronts: moving home, finding new galleries, organizing a new work space and giving much thought to new ideas. A wonderful trip to Spain in December also helped fill in some of that time! Suffice to say that life has been interesting.
However, back in January I was delighted to host a lino printmaking class in Turner Valley, Alberta. Many thanks to the Sheep Creek Arts Society for providing this opportunity, and to their coordinator, Shelia, who did a stellar job in pulling it together. On March 25 I will be hosting another and I can't wait! I'll provide an update after then with details and photos.
Happy students having fun at Sheep Creek Arts Society in January.
More recently, I was delighted to be a part of the Ranchmen's Club 5th Annual Emerging Artists Exhibition (March 12th). The evening is a much anticipated venue for a number of seriously talented artists in Calgary. It's such a joy to meet up with them and see the developments with their own work too. But on a personal note, I was awestruck by more than one patron who not only knew a thing or two about lino printing, but they actually owned some rare and valuable lino prints from Sybil Andrews and Cyril Power among others. The Grosvenor School was a legendary institution that helped make lino printing an accessible and public art form. Many of those original prints sold for about $40. Today they can fetch $20,000 to $50,000. That does not happen very often!
One of the things I love about taking part in these shows, is having the opportunity to talk and educate the public about what lino printing actually is. I've often mentioned how it is little understood in comparison to most other art mediums. and of course I don't exactly take the easy route, because I also practice reduction lino printmaking. It's one of those things you have to do to understand. But whenever I can, I provide a step-by-step guide that simplifies the process with the aid of visuals (see the board in the photograph below). I provide the tools and the remains of my lino blocks. The blocks demonstrate that I cannot "make more copies" as they are destroyed as part of the process of development (as a principle and rule, prints aren't "copies" - each one is an original hand pulled image in its own right).
There were sales too! It's always interesting to find what patrons choose to take home. And it gives any artist a serious boost of confidence to know that our work lives a new life beyond the studio or gallery. I am grateful and appreciative to all.
Until next time...
With the naming of the recent Leighton print as ‘Ballyhamage’, I wanted to send out a personal note of thanks and acknowledgment to all who generously offered their suggestions.
I initially thought this process would be an easy one, but as the entries came in I quickly realized I hadn’t anticipated how other people would read into it. All your suggestions and comments conjured up unique insights and visual interpretations. I was highly impressed by everyone’s efforts and consequently found my mind turning this way and that trying to make a decision. I was surprised, awestruck, and on occasion, a little confounded by the originality and possibilities they provided.
From ‘Continuity’, a reference to the ongoing legacy that is the Leighton Arts Centre, to ‘Beyond’, a nod to something more intriguing and mysterious, they all had my mind in a tizzy. ‘Out of The Shadows’, ‘Seclusion’, ‘Fortitude’ – were all great pointers to a particular theme - one that I hadn't envisioned. You all had me thinking. Deeply.
But time and again I was drawn back to ‘Ballyhamage’. To my mind, it has a gentle sound that fits the tranquil setting of the printed image. But more specifically it was the name given to the original 1919 one-roomed school house nearby. The house we know today was built in the 1950s and named Ballyhamage after it. When A.C Leighton passed away Barbara Leighton purchased the Ballyhamage schoolhouse and turned it into an art studio. With all these historial details and as the Leightons Arts Centre is a Historical Heritage building in itself, I think the name of Ballyhamage is a significant focal point for the Leighton legacy …and there’s no more logical way to recognize this fact than to name it so.
And the winner of the prize? Bonnie Gerard. Congratulations Bonnie! She did some research on the place and came up with the golden nugget that secured her chosen print, January, from A Year in Trees collection. Here is what she had to say,
“I have enjoyed following Lenny’s artistic journey immensely and, through his blog, feel as though I have been along for the exciting and inspiring ride. When he put out the call to help him name one of his precious pieces, I felt I owed it to him to research a bit more of the history of the Leighton Centre, which is where I discovered the reference to Ballyhamage. I was secretly hoping that a kilt-wearing, cowboy hat-sporting Scotsman was the original owner, but perhaps that is history in the making.” She's a funny one! Thanks Bonnie!
A warm and sincere thank you to everyone for taking part, and commiserations to all who didn’t win this time. However, I hope you’ll agree that this was fun and I‘m sure you’ll get another opportunity. I’m currently working on a large series of ranch inspired works – lots of them! …surely you’ll get it next time?
Saturdays opening show for the 14th Annual Juried Members Show was a truly wonderful event. With over 40 exceptionally talented artists on view, it was a real privilege to be counted among them.
A big shout of thanks to the wonderful directors and selection committee on this years submissions and to the dedicated staff and many volunteers who brought it all together. The quality of work and tireless dedication of everyone resulted in an exceptionally pleasant afternoon for the many who attended - and there wasn't a single murmur of complaint or raised eyebrow over the selection. Indeed, the works on display featured a broad scope of interests and techniques. From masterful acrylics and oil paintings, beautiful sculptures, mixed media and even fused glass ...and of course, lino prints, there is something there for every discerning taste.
The Leighton Arts Centre (directions) is only a short 20 minute drive south of the city limits and the building itself is a unique piece of history. Take the trip ...you won't be disappointed. The show runs until June 19.
Best of the Leighton's Artists
My recent membership to the Leighton Art Centre has certainly provided plenty of positive opportunities and new acquaintances lately.
I'm honoured to announce that my prints August, September and October have all been warmly received and accepted by the judging directors for the 14th Annual Juried Members Show, which runs from May 7 - June 19, 2016. This particular event represents the "Best of the Leighton Artists" and I'm so happy that all three of my submissions have been accepted.
As any emerging artist will tell you, being accepted for a show, gallery or event is never easy or straightforward. So it is with heart-felt gratitude that I extend my thanks to those on the judging panel and the Leighton Art Centre for accepting my work so graciously.
I'm now looking forward to meeting some artists and the Leighton staff who have recently become good friends through various collaborations this year. If you live local, then I hope you manage to come and see the show and please make sure you say hello. Mark your calendar and I'll see you there!
Last night marked a new milestone in exhibiting my prints to a wider audience. The Ranchmen's Club in Calgary hosted it's 3rd annual Emerging Artists exhibition. Attended by over 100 members and their guests, this private show managed to bring together 31 local artists and highlighted a diverse range of unique styles and talent.
To begin I would like to thank my friends Gervais Goodman and Janice McDougall for the introduction and subsequent invitation to be a part of this show - you have my sincere gratitude. A special mention also goes to Megan Smith, the coordinator at the Ranchmen's Club for her considerable energy in organizing the evening. She was a star in facilitating all our needs and addressing our questions.
As it turned out I was the only printmaker and had quite a fun evening with a captivated and responsive audience. With a selection of my Year in Trees series I received a lot of enthusiasm from many guests and art collectors. Curious about the process, the tools and the patience taken to execute these prints, their compliments, feedback and purchases are truly appreciated. High energy and enthusiasm was evident throughout the night from members and artist alike - and some members had traveled a considerable distance to see my work. To you, my deepest thanks and appreciation.
Photos below highlight some of the wonderful people I was able to spend some time with. Thanks to you all.
Start of the evening
Members discussing the work
Members showing appreciation
Art collector Majella Morin and I having a discussion
Other artists and members discussing the lino process
Sterling Rempel and I discuss the techniques of lino reduction
I hope to see you again at my other upcoming exhibitions!
Thought I'd share an great event that's coming up in Calgary.
It's a short window of opportunity here - SPARK Disability Arts Festival 2015 is taking place at 5 venues around Calgary, including ACAD (Alberta College of Art & Design), Main Hall, December 2nd - 4th, 8am - 4pm
ACAD will showcase the largest collection of work by many artists. There will be three Lino Lenny Prints on show (*see below) among that collection - go check it out if you get the chance. For more information on this exciting event visit www.indefinitearts.com. Hope some of you get to see the show.