Saturday, February 28, 2009

A New Medium

"Pineapple" by Drina Fried

It's always good to be trying new things. This post subject comes courtesy of HAA artist Drina Fried.

Last Sunday, February 22, Debra MacDonald, National Marketing and Sales Manager of Chroma, gave a demonstration of interactive acrylics to a packed house (literally) in HAA artist Sharon Menary's studio. The workshop was free and artists turned out in numbers.

Historically, oils take an eternity to dry but can be blended to perfection. Acrylics are tough to blend but dry in an instant, sometimes too quickly. Interactive acrylics intend to give you the best of both worlds. They mimic the look of oil paint. Their finish is smooth and non-plastic. They provide the artist flexibility to blend and re-blend, while maintaining the faster drying nature of acrylic paint. 

To learn more about this product and others, visit this direct link: Atelier Interactive / Products / Chroma

Chroma is an international manufacturer and supplier of artists' oil paints and mediums, artist's acrylic paints and mediums, artists' hyper gouache, educational acrylic paints, art students' acrylic paints and paints, and mediums for decorative art.

They have offices in the UK, the US, and Australia. You can find out more or stock up at their website:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Perception vs. Reality

I spend my days dealing with, shaping, and influencing these two things—for brands, for organizations, for myself. You have the way things are and the way things appear to be. There's what people think. Then there's what we'd like them to think. There's what people see. Then there's what we want them to see. Simple. Right? Hope everybody's still with me.

Well, when it comes to art, especially art right here in the Las Vegas Valley, especially, especially in Henderson, there's no greater need for clarification. And more than simply defining things clearly, it seems there is a need to push ourselves perhaps to and beyond the point of being challenged; maybe even to the point of being a little (or a lot) uncomfortable.

Normally, I'm totally onboard with the articles I see being written about the local art scene, its growth, resurgence, proliferation, or complete lack thereof. Today I read an article, however, that got me going in a completely different way. Initially, I took offense. The first three paragraphs were unflattering and mildly condescending in their tone, suggesting that the subject matter portrayed in many pieces rendered locally is flimsy, shallow, and less-than-fit for inspired conversation. There was a subtle allusion to the work being superficial and elementary.

Then, somehow the article redeemed itself by not being totally unflattering. It seemed almost pitifully empathetic to the plight of the local artist. In the end, I didn't get upset because, while I may have said it differently, much of what was being said is exactly right.

The perception within local art organizations is one thing. That of the public on the outside looking in is altogether different, much like what a painter intends when painting is often a far cry from what passes through the mind of the viewer. The perception of our art community is that it is small, quaint, safe, and trailing edge. The reality of it is, in many ways, pretty close to the perception. But it can be changed and it will.

I took these allegations personally and to heart. My instinct was to come to the immediate defense of all of my fellow artists, for whom I take time out to write, applaud, and support here.

The reality is, there is an overwhelming amount of artistic talent between us but often it is not promoted, displayed, or showcased properly. Or, in an effort to represent each of us fairly, we represent all of us unjustly. But, honestly, to the author's credit, I wholeheartedly agree that more of the same is not going to get us the results we need to see, now or even when there's a drastic economic turnaround.

So, after suppressing my initial wave of outrage, I could appreciate the article for its candor and the unintentional back-handed methodology within it that lit a spark within me. I know the author's intentions were as good as my own and she is in fact much more advocate or ally of the art community than she is adversary. Please click on the link and read it in its entirety.

Also, know that new positions have been created on the HAA board and old ones have been filled by other standing board members and even a few new ones. There will be a General Meeting on the 22nd of March to discuss the state of the local art scene and the role we play within it. Within the next few days, I will proudly post and announce the names of winners from the juried City Lights show at the Liberace Museum and congratulate all who participated and went home with honors.

Art may not be flying off the shelves or walls, as it were, right now but someday it will again. While it's relatively quiet, let's take stock and collectively work on our perception to create a more beautiful and bountiful reality.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Plaza Gallery Hosts February Third Thursday Reception

This Thursday, February 19th, is Third Thursday in Henderson. In true fashion, Gary and Susanne Reese, owners of Plaza Gallery, invite you all to an opening reception featuring The Art of Sonya Young. Three pieces, "Westbound," "Heart Song," and "Sea Goddess," shown above.

Artist Sonya Young welcomes you to view her work at the opening of her solo exhibition. Her watercolors are described by some as "reminiscent of Orphism artist Sonia Delaunay, mixing complementary colors with designs bridging cubism and abstract expressionism."

The reception will take place from 5:00 pm till 9:00 and Sonya's work will be on exhibit through March 15th. Plaza Gallery is located at 223 S. Water St., Suite B in Henderson, NV, across from the Events Plaza downtown.

See more of Sonya's work at her site:

See more from Plaza Gallery at theirs:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

HAA Artist Charme Curtin's Exhibit Makes LV Sun

Charme Curtin's show, "Art: The Song in Your Heart," went on display this week at the Henderson Multigenerational Center Gallery and will remain in place until March 13th.

There will be a reception at 7:00 pm on February 18th, open to the public.

Her inspiration? Cowboys, the West, and her love of both. According to an article in Thursday's Las Vegas Sun, it was art and her children that originally drew her to Henderson four years ago. Meet her and learn more firsthand at Wednesday night's reception.

The Henderson Multigenerational Center is located at 250 S. Green Valley Parkway.

Check out her show there and see more of Charme's work here: My Work - Work by Charme'

To read the entire article from the Sun, click here: Western artist drawn to Henderson - Las Vegas Sun

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Watercolor Workshops. Current, Upcoming, and Ongoing.

Stephen Quiller's "Pulsating Night Sky"

Joan McKasson's "In the Country"

Bill Fravel's "Mahalo Kaui"

This week, renowned watercolor artist Stephen Quiller of Creede, Colorado is giving a week long workshop, courtesy of the Nevada Watercolor Society.

Please don't get upset because you're just now hearing about it and it's already underway. By the time the news got to us, the course was already full. That's good news for everyone but the latecomers.

But there's more good news. NVWS will be sponsoring another watercolor workshop featuring renowned artist Joan McKasson. This one won't be taking place until early September, so you've got plenty of time to sign up and get your brushes ready.

If you're interested in the Joan McKasson workshop, it will be taking place from Thursday, September 10th through Sunday, September 13th. The cost for enrollment is $200 for NVWS members and $225 for non-members. Payment may be made in the form of a check made out and sent to Nevada Watercolor Society, PO Box 27224, Las Vegas, NV 89126.

The workshop will be held at the Spanish Oaks Clubhouse on Sahara, near Palace Station, and HAA Events Coordinator Sharon Menary is the point of contact. Email her here:

Lastly, highly-decorated and newly transplanted watercolor artist Bill Fravel will be teaching classes at Henderson's Desert Art Supply on Thursday mornings, starting on February 19th. Classes will run from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm or, as some like to call it, noon.

This particular Desert Art Supply is located at 2750 Green Valley Parkway and Sunset in Henderson. There is a materials list most of whose contents can be purchased at either of the two Desert Art Supply locations (Charleston Ave and Eastern or Green Valley and Sunset). For this list and additional information, email the artist at

Each of these talented artist/instructor's work may be viewed at their sites, respectively, listed below.

Stephen Quiller:

Joan McKasson:

Bill Fravel:

Monday, February 9, 2009


"No Deposit, No Return" by Sharon Menary.

"Dance 'till Dawn" by Sharon Menary.

Menary in a recent photo taken by fellow HAA artist and photographer Nicky Watts.

In troubling economic times, people still have an appreciation for the finer things. Want proof? HAA artist Sharon Menary's painting "No Deposit, No Return" recently sold after hanging for only one day at Henderson City Hall.

In her recent Life's Journey of the Traveling Artists solo exhibition at the Henderson Multigenerational Center, a second painting "Dance 'till Dawn" had been eyed by a past client. She'd noted, if the piece hadn't sold by the time the exhibition was over, she would buy it. Recently Sharon received an email acknowledging the purchase.

Congratulations, Sharon. If you're selling work and you're an active HAA member, let us know and we'll make some noise about it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Art of Collaboration

What does a European-style bakery have to do with a blog page dedicated to creativity? Nothing. At least at first glance that's how it may appear. Upon closer inspection you'll find there are actually quite a few similarities.

First, this site is about art. Baking in and of itself is an art. Criterion number one satisfied, and Chef Flemming (hands and treats featured above) takes it to the next level.

Second, the wife of the esteemed pastry chef was at one time a successful mural artist who used to have her own local business. Then the economy tanked and, it would seem, their bakery business was established as much out of necessity as desire. Still, she has a fundamental understanding and appreciation of what it takes to be an artist and a commercial artist, no less. 

Third, Chef Flemming's Bake Shop is one of several businesses in the downtown Henderson, NV area doing all that they can to survive the tough economy. This is territory all too familiar to artists in Henderson and, likely, artists everywhere.

So, in the spirit of there being strength in numbers and applying the logic that trying to build a community is a lot easier together than it is working separately or alone, I am compelled to not talk about painting, photography, watercolors, silkscreening, lithography, or pen and ink in this post and, instead, invite everyone who enjoys sweets and lives nearby to do your part to support local business. In between creating something beautiful and figuring out a way to sell it or make yourself more marketable, consider heading over to the bake shop and buying a treat.

Why should you? Why should any of us? The answer is simple. In a normal economy, artists may starve. In the current economy, if Henderson starves, Henderson artists will definitely starve. One local business doing really well will do a lot more for a community than a whole lot of businesses doing really poorly, even if we're strictly talking morale. And, of course, the goal is to have as many local businesses as possible generating revenue, staying in the black, and keeping their doors open.

One by one, gallery by gallery, show by show, shoot by shoot, stroke by stroke, article by article, each of us is doing what we can to keep this community alive. More than that, we're actually trying to help it flourish even as every imaginable economic indicator would have us believe growth at times like these is simply an impossibility.

Let's stay positive and continue to help out and do right by one another. It's the only way.

Chef Flemming's Bake Shop is located at 7 Water Street in downtown Henderson. To revisit an earlier post about the bakery, click on this link: Creative Henderson: Starving Artists, Starve No More.

To read the article in the Las Vegas Sun featuring Chef Flemming's Bake Shop and a second Water Street District business that inspired this post, click on this one: New Water Street businesses hope to weather economic tides - Las Vegas Sun

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cosmetics Go Creative.

Photos by Nicky Watts. Pictured (from top to bottom): Tania Salazar, Delight Schwartz, Ashley Valley, and Sharon Menary.

On the right, here, HAA member and photographer Nicky Watts.

On Tuesday evening, January 27th, HAA members Nicky Watts and Sharon Menary participated in a fantastic Valentine's Day photo shoot for Mary Kay Cosmetics clients, new and old.

Nicky served as photographer and Sharon was one of the many cleansed, moisturized, made over, and photgraphed that evening. Mary Kay Cosmetics consultant Karen Bindner and a few fellow consultants were the hosts of the event.

The collaboration and the evening on the whole were an overwhelming success. According to Watts, the photos turned out beautifully and she attributes this to the fact that she had great talent to work with behind the scenes and in front of the camera. All of the women who participated "truly are gorgeous and they made [her] job easy."

Above are several of the finished head shots and a couple of images detailing the night's events.

The event and shoot took place at Findlay Cadillac in Henderson.

See more photos from the evening and read a more detailed synopsis on Nicky Watts' blog page: The Adventure of Nicky Watts