Colorado Black Arts Festival Day 1

African Americans have made some crucial contributions to art and culture. The Colorado Black Arts Festival is proof. Live African drum and bass, blues, gospel, jazz, hip-hop, reggae, soul and world beat music fills the air. Multiple mediums, from fiber to photography, are displayed by notable and up and coming African American artists. Might want to have an appetite when you come, it’ll be tough to walk past the food court without stopping.

Synesthesia is Back – at St Mark’s Coffeehouse

The art of Synesthesia is back! For those of you who missed it the first time, Synesthesia is a series of paintings of celebrity musicians by artist Adri Norris. Each piece will have you grooving to the music in your head as you recall songs by some of your favorite artists.
 
The artist will be in the house, and all paintings are for sale. If the thought of shelling out a wad of cash for an original makes you nervous, she will be selling prints and posters as well. What is not in stock can be pre-ordered on site.
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Vote for me – Small Business Grant

Hi everyone,

I’ve been taking a break from blogging for a while. I am far more visual than I am wordy, so at times, I just focus on the images. There are some new ones I want to share with you, but first, I have something to tell you about. I recently applied for a small business grant.

FedEx is offering to award $25,000 to the small business with the most votes. With that kind of money, I could create some great new products for you guys. I have some ideas for my Women Behaving Badly series that would help women and girls everywhere learn more about their place in history. So many women have contributed to the building of this country and our way of life. We should know who they are.

To that end, I want to print posters, informative postcards, collectible card decks (like baseball cards with stats and all), basically beautiful educational tools. Ideally, some would be for sale while others will be distributed to school aged kids. I want to inspire our young people, especially our young girls to enter high power, high paying fields like STEM, politics, business… fields in which the feminine touch is in short supply.

I am asking for your help. Please vote for me so that I can make my plans a reality.

 

 

UPDATE: The ballots have been cast and unfortunately, I have not been chosen this time around. Thank you to everyone who took time to vote (and help me troubleshoot my buttons). I will let you all know about any future opportunities that arise.

 

Women Behaving Badly at First Baptist Church of Denver

Women Behaving Badly is moving to the First Baptist Church of Denver! This series by Denver artist Adri Norris celebrates women who were leaders, activists, and innovators in a variety of fields. From  worker’s rights to Bluetooth technology, Title 9 to the Nobel Peace Prize, these women and their work profoundly shaped our modern world. This series strives to tell their stories of bravery, determination, and relentless rule breaking. After all, well behaved women seldom make history.
The collection will be hung in the hallway and on display every day from 7:30am to 6pm. This showing also includes two opportunities to meet the artist: Wednesday March 15th at 6:30pm and Sunday March 19th at 12pm. Whether you’ve been following the series from day one or are encountering the work for the first time, you don’t want to miss this!

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The Last Painting of the Year

Happy New Year everybody! That’s it, 2016 is over and it’s time to ring in 2017. It has been a wild ride, full of ups and downs, pleasure and pain, happiness and sorrow. As we move into this new year, it helps to reflect, but let’s not forget to look forward.

This is the time of year to set goals. January is when we change the things we don’t like about ourselves and improve upon those things we love about ourselves. I have never been good about making and sticking to resolutions. I find that plans have a way of changing or falling through if there is no accountability.

The thing that works for me is setting a theme for the year. Last year’s theme was “Growth”. I worked to grow my business and grow the relationships most important to me. I think this year’s them will be “Learning”. There is so much information that I put into my head on a regular basis, but to be honest, it doesn’t all stick. This year, I want to be more intentional with my learning so that I actually retain the information I take in.

A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for the Realistic Portraits course with Jason Seiler on schoolism.com. Just doing the first couple of lessons has showed me where I have become complacent with my art. Doing the assignments will (hopefully) make me more deliberate with my artwork and help me improve my skills. With any luck, that deliberateness will leak into other aspects of my life, making me a better person as well as a better artist.

What is your theme for the new year? I’d love to hear what motivates you!

Harriet Tubman watercolor study.
Eye watercolor study – my last painting of the year
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Working with Clients – Portrait Commissions

I haven’t done a process post in a while, so here goes. This piece is for a client of mine who has commissioned a few paintings over the years. She always sends me high quality photos, which I appreciate. Blurry or low resolution photos always make my job more difficult.

tinas-grandkids-mock-upIn any case, I started with this photo here. I took it into Photoshop for a little pre-treatment. The first order of business was to crop the photo to the size of the final painting, making sure I was pleased with the placement of the boys within the frame. I then blurred out the background so that they really stood out.

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Once I completed this mock up and got approval from my client, I sketched in the figures. Next, I went to work on the background. In order to simulate the blur effect in Photoshop, I utilized the wet on wet technique. With a brush loaded with clean water, I soaked the whole background area. Then I got some pigment on the brush and started dropping in color. Because the paper was already wet, the colors began to run into one another, causing them to blend smoothly.

After I was satisfied with the background, I moved to the foreground. You may have noticed this ugly greenish-grey on the boys’ shirts and hat. That is masking fluid, used to preserve the white of the paper. It also allows me to freely paint large areas of color without having to paint around small details. I built up the folds of the shirts to my satisfaction before removing the fluid.

Although white, there are still some shadows in the numbers and logos on their shirts, so I added these with some bluish-grey. I have also done some significant work on the older boy’s face.

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When I got close to done, I sent a photo of the painting to my client. She felt that the legs in the background were distracting, so I got rid of them. I darkened the background while I was at it, using the darkness to cut out the younger boy’s hair. I sent a photo to the client again and she pointed out that I had aged the older boy too much with heavy shadowing on his nose and around his mouth.img_20161122_153522

Back in Photoshop, I applied a black and white filter to the original photo. This helped me to examine the shapes more closely and discover where I had gone awry. I changed the nose and adjusted the mouth while I was at it and sent it off to the client. This time she loved it.

This is how I work with all my clients. I take pains to make sure they end up with the painting they want. The process is fastest when the reference is clear. If you would like to commission a portrait for the holidays, place your order by December 13th. If you live outside of Denver, allow time for shipping. Click here to order.

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SOLD!

Good morning all! I thought I’d share with you some pieces I no longer have because I sold them last night. If your favorite is not on this list, come see me at Mini Comic Con at the Sam Gary Branch Library. I will be there today from 10am to 4pm.

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The Dream Client

Many freelancers like to talk about their nightmare clients, those people who seem not to know exactly what they want but will happily tell you that you’re doing everything wrong. These folks have little respect for the time and effort you are exerting on their behalf. They ask for re-dos and redesigns of work you both approved but balk at the extra fees you charge for that extra time.

That’s one end of the spectrum. The other end is the Dream Client. The Dream Client knows exactly what she wants and communicates  it well. She is open to your input, but will not blindly follow or reject your suggestions. If, during the creation process, she sees something she doesn’t like, she lets you know and is specific about her needs. This client has great respect for your time and for your skill. She won’t haggle over the price of your work or drag her feet when it’s time to pay.

Best of all, Dream Clients come back for more.  Not only do they purchase from you again and again, they tell their friends and bring you more business. I am so grateful for all of the Dream Clients I have so far. I hope to find many more.

If you are interested in becoming one of my Dream Clients, I am taking orders for the Holidays. Be aware, if you or your loved one lives outside of the state of Colorado, allow for shipping and place your order before December 6th. If you are in the Denver Metro area, you have until the 12th to order.

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It’s Show Time!

Tonight’s the night! I know you’ve been following the progress of this show since April. Now come check out the full exhibit of Women Behaving Badly. I’ll be at Coffee at The Point (710 26th ave) from 7pm to 10pm, or until they kick us out, whichever happens first.

There’s going to be live music, spoken word and a question and answer period about the art itself.

8pm – Marthe Ndongala – Spoken Word

8:20 – Zainab – Live music and vocals

8:40 – Pardees Goshtasb – Live music and hip hop

9:10 – Adri Norris – Q&A

Follow the link below for the map and more details.

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Rigoberta Menchu Tum

Who is she?

Rigoberta Menchu Tum is a K’iche’ political activist, an indigenous Guatemalan woman who promotes indigenous rights and fights for the rights of women in her country. After losing most of her family to the Guatemalan civil war, which lasted form 1960 to 1996, Menchu worked tirelessly to bring the perpetrators of that war to justice.

What did she do?

In 1982, she dictated the book “My Name is Rigoberta Menchu and this is how my Conscience was Born”, winning international acclaim and calling attention to the ongoing conflict in Guatemala, as well as the ill treatment of its mostly Mayan people. Menchu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for “her work in social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.” She created the Rigoberta Mentu Tum Foundation, which helped indigenous Guatemalans in exile return home.

Why does that matter?

Rigoberta Menchu Tum gave a voice to the indigenous people of her country and paved the way for justice to be served. There is still a long way to go before the country is completely healed, but many people are dedicated to the task.

You may be thinking to yourself, “those look like shell casings….” Yes, those are shell casings that I glued to the piece to enhance the violence of the time. 30 years is a LONG time for a civil war.

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Katherine Johnson

I’ve been so busy getting ready for this show, I’ve forgotten to post my last few paintings. Time to rectify that little oversight.

This painting is of Katherine Johnson.

Who is she?

Katherine Johnson was a computer for NASA, back when it was a job description, not a machine. She and a number of other Black women answered the call when NASA was looking for women to work in their fledgling space program.

What did she do?

One of the West Area Computers, Katherine Johnson did the calculations that astronauts relied on for some of America’s earliest space travel. She was so good at her job, even after the electronic computer had been invented, astronaut John Glenn requested that Johnson personally check the machine’s calculations before he took off for his mission on Friendship 7.

Why does that matter?

Katherine Johnson and other pioneers in her field are living proof that women have a place in science and technology. Without her efforts, American astronauts would not have left this planet when they did, and humanity would not know as much about Earth’s place in the universe.

I pushed myself a bit further on this one. I even managed to hunt down a toy space shuttle to indicate Johnson’s importance to the Space Program. I’m enjoying the 3D elements and will definitely be playing with that more in future paintings.