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.
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 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!
I may have mentioned this before but I love listening to podcasts. My list seems to grow every month as more, interesting series come to my attention. I stared listening to Radio Lab a few years ago and it was like my gateway drug. Podcasts allow me to insert information into my brain while I am working and inspire me to apply new concepts to my art.
It was through podcasts that I learned of some of the women I painted or my Women Behaving Badly series. I heard their stories, learned of their deeds and asked myself, why have I never heard of these women before? So, I set myself to the task of using my art to teach others. I felt as though I had finally found my purpose.
Listening to Hidden Brian today, I heard an episode which added to my motivation. The topic of the episode was unconscious bias as it relates to women, particularly women in leadership roles. Women who have the “masculine” traits necessary to be seen as good leaders are often considered overbearing and unlikable. When women display the expected “feminine” traits of being caring and compassionate, they are assumed to be weak and incompetent. The podcast calls this the “double bind”. It is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
The end of the podcast suggests that if we are to get women out of this double bind situation, we need to change society’s perception of women. I have chosen to showcase women in history as my way of changing that perception. I highlight women leaders, inventors and healers of nations. Not only do they inspire me, our society needs to see them as contributors to who we are. We need to let go of our unconscious biases and see value in the feminine.
Check out this episode of Hidden Brain to learn more. And go to my Women Behaving Badly blog to learn more about the series.
Happy new year everybody! I know, it’s already been a month since the year started. I just been so busy working on projects, I’m only now finding time to gather my thoughts. I would love to show you what I’ve been working on but I want to make sure I respect the privacy of my clients.
Teaching at Girls Inc.
What I can share with you is something I’ve been waiting months to do. I have moved my Women Behaving Badly paintings to Girls Inc. of Denver, where they will hang until March 3rd. When I started this series I wanted to inspire young girls with the deeds of the women who have helped to shape our society. I wish I’d had these women as role models when I was young. Now the students of Girls Inc. can see these paintings every day and read about the lives of these amazing women.
In addition to showing my work in their halls, I’m also teaching three classes a week at Girls Inc. These classes are combination of history lesson and art lesson. I begin by walking through the halls with the girls, looking at the paintings and telling each woman story as I know it. Then we had back to the classroom to review and I find out which woman inspires each girl and why. I ask if there’s anyone else they find inspirational and take note of their responses.
The younger girls are given handouts of women they can research for their own paintings. The older girls get to do independent study of woman of their choosing . I asked him to tell me a story. By day 3, we take a break from academics to do art class. The first day is all about collage where I teach about technique as well as ways to think about color, shape and subject matter. The next day we do some acrylic painting with the same ideas in mind. These will be the key elements of their final project.
The last two classes are where we put it all together. Each girl is given an 18″ x 24″ wooden board to work on and is given the task of telling the story of the woman she is selected through image, word and color. I want them to work on wood so that they see it as a final piece, not just another throwaway school project. I wanted to feel special.
The Final Product
Over the course of eight weeks, I will have worked with second grade through fifth grade. The third-grade class is already finished and the fifth-graders are halfway through. At the end, we will hold an exhibition showing off the girls work to family and friends.
I am loving this opportunity to work with young girls and to hear from them what traits they admire most in the women they’re learning about. I love their openness, their enthusiasm and their spirit of exploration. I can’t wait to see what the next five weeks will bring.
A couple of weeks ago, I ran into my friend Mike Rosenbaum, a caricature artist here in Denver. He and I had gone to school together, but haven’t hung out in a long time. We immediately made plans to catch up. He told me about this life drawing session at the Lakewood Cultural Arts Center, so we headed over there on Thursday.
Life Drawing in a Nutshell
If are an artist and you have never been to a life drawing session, I highly recommend that you go regularly. I hadn’t gone in over a year, but it came back pretty quickly. Different sessions have different formats, but the basics are:
- Short gesture drawings, usually 1-five minutes per pose
- Longer poses, about 10 minutes or so
- Slightly longer poses 20-30 minutes each. Here the model is usually seated or reclined, though some will stand.
- Long poses of 40 minutes to 2 hours. For the longest of these, the model will take a break at the halfway point to rest, then resume the pose to the best of his/her ability.
The session I went to last week had about five 1-minute poses, five 5-minute poses, one 10-minute poses and four poses that were between 20 and 30 minutes long. One minute per pose is a harrowing pace if you’re not used to it. It is, however, essential. If you can figure out the pose at one minute, with 20 or 30, you will have so much more time to work in the details. This makes it all worthwhile, to me.
Below are the drawings I did last week. One is missing because I gave it to the model. Sometimes they will take art in lieu of tips, though tips are encouraged as well.
Thanks for stopping in! Don’t forget that this Saturday is the Meet The Artist reception for Women Behaving Badly at the Blair Caldwell Library. I will be there from 2:30 -4:30 pm to answer any questions you have about the art and the series.
A Custom Portrait for Someone You Love
Women Behaving Badly is moving to the Blair Caldwell Library. If you missed the last showing at Coffee at The Point, this is your chance to see these paintings for the first time. If you have seen them already, there are some new women on the walls, so it will still be fresh.
Women Behaving Badly is like an artistic history lesson, telling the stories of women past who have contributed to the world we live in, but whom we know very little about. His-story needs to be rewritten to include the women who have turned their passions toward the betterment of us all.
The art is going up on the walls October 24th and will be up until December 10th.
Meet the Artist
Reception is from 2:30 – 4:30pm on Saturday November 12
Good afternoon all! I am happy to report that Women Behaving Badly has found a new home (for the time being). Just yesterday, I took all the pieces over to the Blair Caldwell Library and hung them up in the third floor gallery.
Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library
This library is a fixture of the Five Points community. Not only does it have all the things one would expect to find in a library, it also has a conference room, a meeting room, a research section complete with original letters and documents, and a gallery. My work is on the third floor which houses the Western Legacies Museum and the Charles Cousins Gallery. (Hint: I’m in the gallery.) I have one new painting to showcase, so if you think you’ve already seen them, you haven’t.
Although my paintings are already hanging, I’m waiting until the 12th of November to do my opening. Mark your calendars and tell your friends!
Good morning everyone! I hope you all had an amazing weekend. I know mine was relaxing. My wife had just returned from a father/daughter vacation in Mexico, so we spent the weekend catching up. It was glorious!
As the title of this post suggests, I will be taking my work down from Coffee at The Point today. As always, it has been a great run. I want to thank Ryan and Donovan Cobbins for providing such a great space. I want to also thank the staff of Coffee at The Point for always being friendly and helpful. They would rearrange the space for me for our discussion panels and consistently check in to make sure me and my guests were comfortable.
I also want to thank Judith Weaver for being a great friend and excellent curator. She is the one who first encouraged me to show my work at Coffee at The Point back in 2014 with my Synesthesia series. Judy urged me to push myself with both the quality and quantity of my paintings and to make sure that I had my marketing messages organized and ready to go. Every time I work with her, I improve.
At the end of this month, I am on to the next location: the Blair Caldwell Library. I would like to continue holding panel discussions, though at a much slower rate than this last round. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what topics I should cover? So far we’ve done Women in the Arts, Women in STEM, Women in Literature and Women in Politics. I am open to suggestions and looking for speakers.
In keeping with the theme of Women Behaving Badly, I want to take some time to showcase the women in our community who are making a difference right now. This week, come for an evening of talks from women in the arts. These ladies range from the performing arts to visual art and each one is incredible at what she does.
Debbie Scheer – Comedian
Lelija Roy – Painter
Lady Speech Sankofa – Spoken Word Artist (among other things)
Check back in for more information about these ladies. And if you haven’t been down to see the show, the art will be up until the end of this week, so come early and look around.
Good morning everyone! This Wednesday night will be the final panel discussion at Coffee at The Point. It will not be the last one forever, just the last at this venue. This week also marks the last opportunity to view the Women Behaving Badly series at Coffee at The Point. The next artist’s work will be going up and I will be moving on. Look for me at the Blair Caldwell Library starting October 26th. This will, however be the very last week to view the Sojourner Truth painting. That piece was purchased this summer and will finally go home with its owner.
Wednesday’s panel discussion is about Women in the Arts. On deck, I have a visual artist, a comedian, and a spoken word artist. Each will tell you about herself, what she does and why she does it. Lelija Roy wants people who see her paintings to fall in love with nature. Debbie Scheer uses her comedy to talk about things we don’t like to talk about and makes us more comfortable in the process. Lady Speech is challenging, yet nurturing in her activism, using her poetry to talk about sexual freedom, women’s rights, and everything in between.
These panel discussions have been some of the best conversations I have had the privilege to participate in. I am the kind of person to download as much information into her brain as possible through books, documentaries and podcasts, but these talks are on a different level. I get to see the passion in each woman’s eyes as she talks about her vocation. I get to participate and be more than just an information sponge. And, best of all, I get to know more about old friends and make some new ones.
Bring yourself and bring your friends.
Coffee at The Point
710 26th Ave
Join us on Friday, September 30th as we talk to women in politics. Some of these women have the ability to choose the leaders who create the policies that affect us. Others are in the trenches, helping to formulate and enforce those policies.
I admit, this is not a world I understand, so I am looking forward to an evening of enlightenment.