I will be facilitating a three day Plein Air Oil Painting workshop through Atelier Art Studio on Tuesday 9/14, 9/21, & 9/28 from 9 AM – 12:30 PM.
Go to this website for more info and to register: LINK
The Opening Reception for the ArtScape exhibition at Downriver Council for the Arts is this evening at 6 PM. Three of my plein air oil paintings will be on display and for sale.
Art Mile Detroit
I am Anton Art Center's featured artist for Art Mile this year. "Art Mile is a city-wide digital art exhibition that champions Detroit's vibrant and diverse arts community by promoting public programs and online acquisitions" (Art Mile). "Visit www.artmiledetroit.com to see all featured artists or see the full collection of 19 artworks by Alex Gilford at www.theartcenter.org" (Anton Art Center).
You can buy my plein air oil paintings online now. 20% of each sale will go to International Wildlife Refuge Alliance on Grosse Ile, which supports Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. I am now an Associate member of Artists for Conservation, "the world's leading artist group supporting the environment."
Here is my Artists in Conservation website: LINK
Limited Edition Print
A limited edition photographic print that is hand-signed and numbered by me is available for purchase. Contact the photographer Mark Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org. In 2018, I designed and painted a mural on the side of Union Woodshop in the Village of Clarkston as part of the Partners in Public Art partnership between Detroit Institute of Arts and Clarkston Cultural Arts Council.
The Launch Party for Issue #1 of Prickly Pear Magazine is this Saturday April 17th at 3 PM EDT. The theme of the issue is "The Natural Form." My painting Drey Nests, Pointe Aux Peaux State Wildlife Area and an accompanying write-up will be included in the issue. I will be doing a reading as part of the Launch Party program. I hope to see you there!
Here is the LINK to the Eventbrite page for the Launch Party.
Here is a LINK to the issue. My painting is on the Art & Photography page and the write-up is on the Contributor Biographies page.
I am thrilled to announce the release of vol. 56 of the online magazine, LandEscape Contemporary Art Review. On p. 208 there is a 44 page article containing an in-depth interview with me, images of some of my paintings, and beautiful photographs of me at work by Kristen Eakin. I am excited to be in the company of other talented artists from Canada, Israel, Bulgaria, Germany, England, and Iran. You can press the arrows to turn pages, use the + and – to zoom in and out (you can click and drag to move around on the page when you are zoomed in), and click on the artist's names in the table of contents on p. 2 to jump to each article.
Here is the direct LINK to the article.
Sketching at Presque Isle River, Oil on canvas, 32" x 26",Palette: Blue-Green / Yellow / Red Major Chord
I finished-up this painting a couple nights ago depicting my friend, Nate Bell, sketching at Presque Isle River last year during my Artist-in-Residency at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. This is the painting that I will be donating to the Friends of the Porkies' art collection as part of the Artist-in-Residence program. It will be part of a rotating display on a gallery wall in the Visitor Center at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
My oil painting Rab Hamilton (See post from 4/19/20 below) has been chosen as a finalist for Canvas Pontiac 2020 out of 200 submissions worldwide! It will be printed on an 8 ft. x 10 ft. canvas and suspended on an outside wall of a building in downtown Pontiac, MI. You can still vote for the People's Choice award by going to www.canvaspontiac.com, looking at either the 2020 Handcraft or Photography submissions and giving your favorite piece a heart. Voting will be open until 4 PM on Mon., 8/31.
Installation of The Werewolf of Lake Saint Clair
This is a follow-up on my post from Fri., 12/20/19. Yesterday, Jim Hillman and his Assistant, Dwayne, installed The Werewolf of Lake Saint Clair painting on the exterior wall of a house in Woodbridge Neighborhood Historic District as part of the Art in Woodbridge project. It was installed beside the St. Patrick's Trout painting, which went up in 2018. The Werewolf of Lake Saint Clair is inspired by a story about a werewolf, known as La Loup Garou, who once struck terror into the heart's of people who lived in the Detroit area as well as the boulder that bares his footprint when he stepped off of it and dove into the mouth of a giant catfish in Lake Saint Clair. That boulder still exists in Grosse Pointe Farms.
Grosse Pointe Historical Society has an excellent version of the story that inspired this painting on their website: LINK
During this strange time while the world adapts to COVID-19, it has been fascinating to see how the creative sector has devised ways to engage artists in new ways. A number of local art centers (like Scarab Club, Anton Art Center, and Paint Creek Art Center) have been putting together online exhibitions, either as an alternative to an actual exhibition that was planned or as a wholly new online exhibition themed around the current health crisis. These online exhibitions can sometimes have a geographic reach beyond what you'd typically see in a physical exhibition.
Today, there was an online art event called Stay Safe, Stay at Home, Stay Creative. It was organized by the OuiArtist programming team of Cultural & Arts Management students at Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea. It featured pictorial and video art created by artists in Pachuca Mexico, Caen France, Seoul South Korea, and Detroit U.S.A. The videos were posted to the OuiArtist Youtube channel that was created for today's event and the pictorial art was placed in a virtual gallery on a website called Artsteps.
My painting, Rab Hamilton, is in the Artsteps virtual gallery. I have placed the link below. When you go to the virtual gallery, give it some time to fully load. My recommendation is to start off with the Guided Tour option. You can press the "Play" icon and it will walk you up to a work of art and a window will pop-up with information about the work of art (like a gallery label). You can press "Pause," read the label, "X" off of it to see the work better, then hit "Play" again when you're ready to navigate to the next work of art. Once you get used to being in the virtual space, you can navigate manually if you'd like.
OuiArtist Artsteps Virtual Gallery: LINK
OuiArtist Instagram: LINK
Over the past few years, I have engaged in some online daily art initiatives like Inktober and The 100 Day Project. In many ways, drawing is a skill that benefits from consistent practice and it requires upkeep. I often compare it to playing an instrument. In addition to connecting with other artists far-and-wide, being a part of these programs has been a great encouragement for me when it comes to maintaining my own drawing practice.
An Lanntair is a wonderful, "…hub for creativity and the arts…" located on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. This year, they put together a program called the An Lanntair Sketchbook Project. They shipped each participant a blank sketchbook, are emailing one drawing prompt each day for thirty days, then at the end of the thirty days each participant is to send the sketchbook full of drawings back to An Lanntair. There will be an online exhibition of all of the participant's work and they are planning to have a physical exhibition showing all of the actual sketchbooks at An Lanntair after the COVID-19 lockdown lifts.
I am posting some of my sketches for this project on the Sketchbook page of my website. The image posted here is a sketch of a Selkie that I drew from imagination in response to the twelfth prompt, "An imaginary sea creature."
An Lanntair's website: LINK
An Lanntair Sketchbook Project: LINK
Rab Hamilton, April 2020, Oil on canvas, 32" x 26", Palette: Red-Orange/Yellow/Blue Major Chord
I’ve been utilizing the current Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives. Executive Order to spend some uninterrupted hours on this oil painting of my relative Rab Hamilton. He is a prawn fisherman and mountaineer living in Cuil Bay, Scotland. On my last visit to him in 2018 he took my fiancé, brother, and I out in his boat onto Loch Linnhe and Loch Leven and showed us how to pull-up the creels, gather the prawns, bait the creels with salted herring, and shoot them back out into the water without losing any fingers.
His mouth is caught open, whether it is to tell you the Gaelic name of each of the hills that rise up from the shoreline and beyond, to belt out a sea shanty to a green horn fisherman who is new to “the outdoor life,” or to regale you with tales of past mountaineering expeditions. His nose is rosy with the brisk November wind coming down from the mountains and off of the water. His etched crows feet are evidence of a life lived with an authentically rugged spirit for adventure. His gaze is cast off into the distance, perhaps tinged with dread for the collapsing fisheries aggravated by the undiscerning gluttony of the large scale commercial fishing operations— a threat to his way of life as, “the last of the hunters.” A sole proprietor whose line of creels is guided by experience and knowledge of the loch and who takes only what is ready to be gotten. It is a look which knows that, “the seas have had enough.”
Prawns crawl out from the creel and into the tangled rope below. Crabs, an octopus, a dogfish shark, and other sea life swirl around him. Anticipatory sea gulls wheel above his head hoping to make a meal out of the unsought creatures as they are thrown overboard, intent on resuming their life in the watery depths. These cycles revolve and feed off one another, echoing the natural pursuit of living off the land, in a manner of speaking.
*Note: Painting referenced many photos taken by Grant Gilford.
Flora of Michigan Art Exhibition
My painting, American Lotus, Lake Erie Metropark, will be in the Flora of Michigan Art Exhibition at River Raisin National Battlefield Park. The art exhibition will coincide with the grand opening of the new Visitor and Educational Center on Sat., May 8th 2021. If you've never visited the River Raisin National Battlefield Park before, it is a great place to learn about the January 1813 battles of the War of 1812, which played a major part in shaping this region as we know it today.
Album Art for New Dada Trash Collage Album
After a hiatus of about six years Dada Trash Collage is releasing a new album this year called Crowded Wound and I am excited to continue this collaborative partnership with Billy Freed that began with the illustration of the band’s first album, Lions to Lightening, in 2009. As an illustrator-by-training, a music-lover, and an avid reader, projects like these are a great pleasure for me to work on. I enjoy letting the music under my skin, deciphering and reinterpreting the words, letting it simmer, and then transforming the invisible sounds and story lines into a visual image.
In 2018, I designed and painted a mural on the side of Union Woodshop in the Village of Clarkston as part of the Partners in Public Art partnership between Detroit Institute of Arts and Clarkston Cultural Arts Council. Union Joints created a short time lapse video of the mural project. You can see the video here: LINK.
The mayor of the Village of Clarkston, Eric Haven, asked the Arts Council if there could be a key that shows the buildings in the mural. About a week ago, I created this key that shows all of the buildings as well as the native flora & fauna depicted in the mural. I sent this to the Arts Council and the Clarkston Community Historical Society, who has the original preliminary watercolor painting in their collection at the Clarkston Heritage Museum. My hope is that this key can be used as an educational tool to learn about the human history of Clarkston and the natural resources in the region.
Michigan Annual XLVII
My Constructing the MI Rail oil painting was accepted by Juror Salvador Salort-Pons to be included in the Michigan Annual XLVII exhibition at Anton Art Center. This portrait will be for sale during the run of the exhibition with a portion of the proceeds going towards the Art Center. The Opening Reception and Awards Presentation will be Sat., 1/25, 2 PM – 4 PM. The exhibition will be on display through Thurs., 2/20.
This morning I went walking around the marshes at Lake Erie Metropark, searching for a Muskrat hut to paint. Before I even made it onto the trail, I spotted an adult Bald Eagle perched high-up in the branches of a dead tree. As I got my binoculars out, the eagle took flight. When I got it in my sight, I realized that there were two. Both were adults. They flew out over the marsh making a wide arch and then they both swooped back into the tree. One had a fresh catch in its talons. I started to walk around the perimeter of the marsh, surveying the many Muskrat huts and seeing a couple Muskrats along the way. One hut in particular caught my eye because it had a Great Blue Heron standing right on top of it, craning its neck around. I quickly set down my gear and began sketching the scene onto my canvas with a stick of willow charcoal. As I worked on the underpainting, I saw about four different Great Blue Herons atop Muskrat huts, trumpeting to one another. While I finished-up and began walking, the sun slowly started to come-out and warmed everything up. I decided to hug the Lake Erie shoreline and take a seat out on a peninsula to do some bird watching and practice some of the skills I learned this past fall at Detroit River Hawk watch. Amidst the many different Gulls and Geese, I identified male adult breeding and first winter Buffleheads and Common Goldeneyes diving down and popping back up in the bay. After feeling like the day was already perfect enough, I began to head back to my car. Before I reached the lot, I was surprised to spot a Red Fox warming itself against a sun splashed red brick wall. Keeping a distance, I sat and watched it napping and lazily cleaning itself as comfortably as a house cat in a sunny windowsill.
Long ago, there was a werewolf who roamed the Detroit River region. One day, he was chased to the shores of Lake St. Clair, where he evaded capture by diving into the mouth of a large catfish. All that remains is his footprint, pressed into the stone that he jumped off of. That stone still exists today in Grosse Pointe Farms, although moved from its original location. To the right is the mock-up for a new design that is inspired by this story that I will be painting on a 6' x 4' panel for Art in Woodbridge.