Monday, February 4, 2013

GETTING BACK ONTO THE ART SCENE

Giraffe on 9" x 12" Clayboard

GETTING BACK ONTO THE ART SCENE

I have been busy since the first of the year trying to do some self promotion at the encouragement of my friends and family.  First off I applied for an artist grant to help me re-emerge onto the art scene.  I have been out of the loop for a few years while taking care of my disabled grandson and although I still help care for Ethan every day, it has become easier for me to integrate time to paint into my weekly schedule.  I have found that painting with acrylics allows me flexibility to work on a piece in short sittings, yet still enjoy the therapeutic benefits of simply picking up a brush and creating art. I am also eager to make new connections and colleagues in the greater Lansing area.  My proposed project for the grant is to be the first "Artist in Residence" for the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, MI.  I will be painting, demonstrating and teaching wildlife art in the midst of Wildlife!  I am super excited about this because through this project I will have the opportunity to paint my favorite subjects more accurately as I will be able to observe them live and up-close, capturing their essence, characteristics and personality.  I will also have more ownership of the creative process through this project  because I will have access to take my own photographs, make sketches, and even record video of the animal so that I will have exactly the reference material that I need to create the best finished pieces.    
The most engaging portion of my project will be the public demonstrations that will be accessible to anyone who visits the zoo while I am there painting.  I have found that nature is often the subject that new artists, both young and old, are drawn to. Painting at the zoo seems a perfect way to engage people and ignite their creative spirit.  While demonstrating, I will have an assortment of blank canvas boards, brushes and paints available for anyone who wishes to try their hand at painting. I know from experience that it can be intimidating to try something new, but my hope is that individuals will feel comfortable joining in even if they may not feel confident in their artistic abilities, they will be intrigued and inspired by the live animals, and will want to learn how to capture them through painting.
  I plan to kick-off my series as a demonstrator at Potter Park Zoo during  their annual International Migratory Bird Day Celebration on June 1st.  Throughout the summer I will demonstrate and hold acrylic painting classes at the zoo.  My project will culminate with an exhibition of my 10 completed pieces that will be held in the zoo’s Safari Room on September 15th.  The Potter Park Zoo has been very generous in offering to help me procure this grant by offering the space for my classes and waving my numerous admissions to the zoo as an in-kind donation.  
I will try to keep a journal of my progress over the summer months and share it here.  You can also follow my zoo adventures on my facebook page www.facebook.com/C.L.Tonning.Artist  I look forward to meeting new artists and making new friends through this project, and of course all the cool animals I get to paint!
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