Friday, November 30, 2007

From Artist S. Renee Prasil: One of our local families needs help.

Everyone- I became aware of this situation a few hours ago.  Two of three children in the family have this disease; the youngest, age seven, is healthy. My family is acquainted with the son, Blaise- He is one of the 'good guys;- nice, well-mannered, kind to others, volunteers in our community.  Blasie had volunteered to help with art
classes/camps during the summer. This is what HHS posted this week:


Join us on December 10 at the Robert Trent Jones, Hampton Cove Golf Course in an effort to fight Fanconi Anemia and provide help, life, and hope, for the Finnegan children of Huntsville.

This is a Golf Benefit to help the Finnegan Family of Huntsville raise funds for their two children who have recently been diagnosed with a life threatening and rare genetic disease called Fancon i Anemia. All proceeds for this event will go to help fight this terrible disease. Madeline is age 12 and is a student at Hampton Cove Middle School, and Blaise is age 16 and is a student at Huntsville High School. They have both been recently diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia. Fanconi Anemia causes the bone marrow to fail to produce healthy blood cells, leading to infection, cancer, and death. Both children are in need of a complete bone marrow transplant. When a donor is found, each child will have to travel to Minnesota for a minimum 100+ day hospital stay and possible chemotherapy/radiation treatment.

Golf Fore Hope will be a 4 person scramble held on the scenic River Course at Hampton Cove. There will be a long drive competition, closest to the pin, door prizes, prizes awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams, and a live auction of NFL and Sports Memorabilia. Lunch will
also be provided. Shot gun start at 9:30 a.m. with practice balls available @ 8:30 a.m. (Mulligans will available for purchase.) 

Silent Auction of NFL, Alabama, and Auburn items along with other interesting items will be available. Cost: $150.00 a player or $600.00 a team. Corporate an d Matching Sponsorships are welcomed and strongly encouraged.

You can obtain a form to participate in the Golf for Hope by calling Matt Gibson at 256-653-5555 or email him at 
If you can not participate in the Tournament at this time please
consider giving to the Blaise and Madeline Finnegan Fund Fore Hope account to benefit the Finnegan children which is set up at First American Bank

I thank you for your efforts in getting the word out during this holiday season. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, may we all remember how much we truly have to be thankful for and perhaps give of ourselves-time, talents, etc-as a way of offering our thanks.

S. Renee Prasil

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Huntsville Museum of Art- Art Krewe

The Art Krewe is an optional membership program open to all Huntsville
Museum of Art members, over the age of 21.

Established in 1992, the Art Krewe is an active group comprised of
young professionals, generally under the age of 45. The Art Krewe
sponsors and coordinates art-centered social events and parties for its
members and the community at large. These events include:

Art Krewe Members-Only Events (no charge for members, nominal charge
for members guests):
• Exhibit Preview Parties
• Annual Membership Party
• Holiday Twist (Wine and Cheese Tasting)
• Champagne and Chocolate Party

Art Krewe Events for the Public:
• Classic Movies in the Park
• BBQ & Bluegrass
• Annual Hauntsville Masquerade Ball

How to join the Art Krewe? To be a member of the Art Krewe, you must
also be a member of the Huntsville Museum of Art. If you are interested
in getting involved in the Huntsville Museum of Art and meeting young
professionals with an interest in art and community, consider adding
this membership to your Museum membership.
• Individual - $30 + cost of Museum membership (any level)
• Couple - $40 + cost of Museum membership (any level)

For more info on joining, please contact or call
535-4350 ext. 228.
Or visit:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Artisan, Deb Paradise- Fur Art's Sake new Gallery Opening

Hello Friends,
Just wanted to invite you to the opening of a new gallery at THE GREATER BIRMINGHAM HUMANE SOCIETY.  Fur Art's Sake Gallery is opening to support the beautiful facility in operation at 300 Snow Drive, Birmingham AL, 35209.  All sales will benefit the GBHS with at least 20% of the sale price.

Please join me and over 40 other artists for the GALLERY OPENING AND HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE.  This facility is light, playful and colorful and designed to welcome animal lovers to come and see the animals, purchase art and gifts and feel really good about helping these animals find good and loving homes.

Here are the details:
FUR ART'S SAKE Gallery Opening & Holiday Open House

DECEMBER 6, 2007, 5:00PM - 9:00PM

300 SNOW DRIVE, BIRMINGHAM, AL 35209, (205) 942-1211

I look forward to seeing you there!  deb paradise

For more information about Artisan, Deb Paradise, please visit her website at

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Salvation Army Mural- Vicki Garner and Natasha Nashadka

Lifting the Lives of Others on Thanksgiving

SALT LAKE CITY- 21 November 2007 This Thanksgiving when hundreds of homeless and needy people gather at the Salvation Army soup kitchen in Huntsville, Alabama, they will be treated to more than just a hot holiday meal. 

Artists Vicki Garner and Natasha Nashadka collaborated with others in a three-month project to paint a 350-square-foot mural illustrating Jesus Christ feeding the 5,000.

“Many of the homeless have told us how inspiring it was just to look at the mural while they ate and how the painting lifted their hearts,” Nashadka explained. “I felt we were bringing some beauty to people who have very little beauty in their lives,” Garner added.

Vicki and Natasha are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and like hundreds of others in congregations across the United States are participating in community service to mark the Thanksgiving holiday.


The mural is in the dinning hall of the Salvation Army Emergency Shelter, 305 Seminola Dr. Huntsville, AL. In October, the shelter fed 10,304 meals out of the shelter kitchen. The mural unveiling and dedication ceremony was Nov. 14th. Materials for the artwork were paid for by a gift from students of Huntsville Middle School and Hampton Cove Middle School.

Info submitted by Vicki Garner

Post and Email Your News Release by Alyson B. Stanfield

Last week I wrote about the fact that news releases are no longer being consumed only by traditional media outlets. These days, the general public--your audience--is reading your news releases because they are online. At least they should be online. In case you missed last week's newsletter, you can find the podcast version on the

This week I want to talk with you about where you're going to share all of those news releases now that you have them. Here are five outlets for your news releases.

1. You will post your news release on your Web site in an area titled "News" or "Media Room." You can see news release samples and what my media room looks like by visiting the media room. (It's going to be filling up with the upcoming arrival of my book, so look for a big change in content over the next couple of months.) You will also post your news release on your blog. See how Margret Short did this by visiting

2. Email your news release to your mailing list with a short pitch letter above it. Do this in the body of a regular email--not as an attachment. You want to make it as easy as possible for the recipient.
You can see Margret's pitch letter to her friends in the link in the previous paragraph. Read how to assemble your email message in this article I wrote for Art Business News: .

See a news release that was sent to me that I was happy to post on my blog since it benefited a large number of artists: .

3. Email your news release with a different (more formal) pitch letter to local reporters and editors who cover your story. It might be someone in the arts, but you might have a lifestyle or business angle to your story as well. Pitch it to the appropriate person. Do not send it as an attachment, but in plain text in the body of the email.

4. Use the text outside of the official news release format to post an announcement to Craigslist. We had one person attend the workshop in Iowa because he saw it on Craigslist. You can post without charge at .

5. The first four items on this list are my favorites for getting an actual return on my investment, but it doesn't hurt to post your release on some of the free distribution services out there. Some will charge a fee for a "higher ranking." I have only used PRWeb and paid once for such a ranking and saw no results from it. Here are some places to start.

Free Press Release:

There are many others out there and you could spend a lot of time posting news releases to free distribution services. I would encourage you to try one here and there, but to spend your time with targeted releases that are more apt to garner results.

Know This . . .
News releases being read by your audience.

Think About This . . .
Is your audience reading news releases from you?

Do This . . .
Post and email your news release so that your audience can read about you. On the Art Biz Blog, I have posted a major (major!) tip for writing your news releases. Don't tackle your next release without reading this: http://www.ArtBiz

Copyright 2007 Alyson B. Stanfield. Alyson takes the mystery out of marketing your art and making more money as an artist. Visit to get articles just like this one delivered to your inbox.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fur Art’s Sake Gallery- Birmingham

The Greater Birmingham Humane Society is pleased to announce the
opening of the Fur Art's Sake Gallery, a brand new fine art gallery
located in the Humane Society's headquarters in Homewood, AL and is
calling on area artists to submit works for display in the gallery (20% commission charged).  The works will be showcased beginning in November and introduced publicly in conjunction with the Society's Holiday Open House event. For more information, contact Catherine Bres at 205-267-6133 or

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mountain Valley Arts Council- Gift Shop

The sales space has been set up and we have started stocking works by
our artists for sale. If you are interested in putting in some of your
work, call 256.582.1454 or email

Mountain Valley Arts Council- MVAC
300 Gunter Ave
Guntersville, AL 35976
(256) 582-1454

A Pricing Question

by Clint Watson

A reader posted a comment regarding prices on my blog (Would You buy
now without knowing the price?):

I agree, prices should be listed on an artist's site and I do list
mine, but I wonder how other artists handle this problem. On your site
you have an 18x24 listed at $1,000, now that piece has been accepted
into a show that takes a 40% commission, & shipping is your
responsibility. Your work is now priced at the exhibition for $1,700
but prospective buyers at the show could buy it from your website for
$1,000, why would they pay $1,700 at the show??? How do other artists
handle this?

I would like to address a few things here.  I'm not sure what painting
specifically to which the reader refers.  As I am not personally a
painter, it is not one of my pieces.  However, I see some issues here. 
I'm not sure why the painting would be marked up 70% to go to a show,
but that is unacceptable.  Shipping is not $700.  The painting should
be the essentially the same price at the show and on the individual
artist web site.  In other words, if you deal with shows or galleries,
your retail prices should always account for the gallery commission. 

Let me say this again to be clear:
Your prices should be essentially the same wherever your work is sold.

Now I understand that there is sometimes a transition period from an
artist who has been selling everything directly and is now just
starting to sell in galleries or shows.  But  once you reach a
professional point of selling in galleries, the prices of the work
will need to reflect that.  You will need to get through that
transition point as quickly as possible.  Pricing work on a web site
that undercuts your gallery pricing is a bad idea.

Think about it this way.  You make 60% of the price for creating the
work.  The gallery (or show) makes 40% of the price for selling the
work.  If you sell the work from your own web site then you deserve
both the 60% and the 40%.  But the price the customer pays is still
100% - exactly as if he had bought it in the gallery.

Here's another thought.  Put yourself in a customer's shoes.  Let's
say an art collector falls in love with your artwork and buys a piece
from a gallery.  Now the customer visits your web site and finds out
that everyone else pays 40% less than he did.  He'll feel like a fool
and it will make him wonder if your work is really worth anything at

Just some of my thoughts on pricing.


Clint Watson
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic

PS - You should always post prices on your web site.


This article is reproduced with permission.
Copyright 2007 - Clint Watson.

To get more of Clint Watson's insights into art, marketing,
inspiration and fine living, check out his blog at:

FineArtViews Blog by Clint Watson:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Artist, Everett Carter- Little Red Bridge

Local artist, Everett Carter just informed me that his painting of the famous "Red Bridge" in Big Spring Park now has a new home in the Mayor's office! I thought I would share this exciting news with the art blog... Great job Everett! ~Gina

For more info about Everett Carter and his artwork, you can contact him at or (256) 517-1341.

A little history about the the Red Bridge from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Big Spring International Park (or Big Spring Park, for short) is located in downtown Huntsville, Alabama. It is most noted as being the site of the Panoply Arts Festival, held there the last full weekend in April, and Big Spring Jam, an annual music festival that usually occurs on the fourth weekend in September.

Big Spring Park is named after an underground spring that John Hunt, Huntsville's founder, built a cabin next to in 1805. During the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th Century, the spring was Huntsville's water source. Today the park features gifts given by other countries to Huntsville. One of the most recognizable gifts is the "Red Bridge", given to the city from Japan in 1987. Other gifts include 60 cherry blossom trees, also from Japan, a 1903 light beacon (often referred to as "the lighthouse"), a 1929 fog bell given by Norway in 1973, and a park bench from Britain.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Twelve Alabama Artists Join Juried, Regional Registry

At the close of the 2007 artist nomination season, The
Southern Arts Federation (SAF) and the Alabama State Council on the
Arts have welcomed 12 Alabama artists to their juried, online, artist
registry -- is a free, online registry dedicated to showcasing
the lives and work of outstanding visual artists, writers, performers,
filmmakers, and arts educators who are living and working in the South.
Each spring, state arts agencies from the SAF's nine-state region
nominate artists to join this multi-disciplinary, online registry.
Artists are then selected based on the quality of their work.

Since the site's launch in 2004, more than 1,000 nominees have been
added to the registry. This year, the Alabama State Council on the Arts is proud to announce the addition of the following artists listed by name, medium and location:
Jack Williams- Architecture/Landscape- Auburn
Mary Kaiser- Poetry- Birmingham
Robert Taylor- Metal Art- Birmingham
Irene Latham- Poetry- Birmingham
Bruce Larsen- Sculpture- Fairhope
Anita Miller Garner- Fiction- Florence
Jerry Brown- Clay- Hamilton
Barb Bondy- Experimental Arts- Opelika
Janice Wiley-Dorn- Fiction- Pell City
The Sullivan Family- Gospel Music- St. Stephens
Larry Percy -Clay- Troy
Brian Bishop- Painting- Tuscaloosa

Artists listed on the site come from a variety of artistic disciplines
-- 46% of artists represent the visual arts, fine arts and/or crafts,
35% represent performing arts disciplines, including dance, theatre,
music, puppetry and opera, 18% are literary artists, and 1% specialize
in media arts and film. Additionally, 13% of the artists on the site
have been recognized as folk/traditional artistsÑartists whose work
incorporates methods and materials that are specific to their cultural

How To Join the list: Requirements and contacts:

All artists on SouthernArtistry must live in the South, have their work
adjudicated by their state arts agency, and receive a nomination from
that agency. Guidelines and deadlines for nominations vary. Contact
information for Alabama:

Alabama State Council on the Arts
201 Monroe Street, Suite 110
Montgomery, AL 36104
TT/Relay: 1-800-548-2546 allows online visitors to search for artists based on the artist or group name, their state of residence, artistic discipline, classroom experience, general services offered, and/or public art experience. The site is maintained by the Southern Arts Federation in partnership with nine state arts agencies and the Center for Arts Management at Carnegie Mellon University.

The Southern Arts Federation, a non-profit regional arts organization founded in 1975, creates partnerships and collaborations; assists in the development of artists, arts professionals and arts organizations; presents, promotes and produces Southern arts and cultural programming; and advocates for the arts and arts education. The organization works in partnership with the state arts agencies of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. It is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, member states, foundations, businesses and individuals.

For further information contact: Ann-Laura Parks, Development and Communications Director, 404-874-7244 x25, or Hannah Leatherbury, E-Services Manager, 404-874-7244 x29,

1800 Peach St. NW, Suite 808, Atlanta, GA 30309
(404)874-7244 / (404) 873-2148

2007 is the Alabama Year of the Arts!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Write a News Release by Alyson Stanfield

Write a News Release (and another one)

Why wait until you win a MacArthur "Genius" Grant? You're doing stuff
right now. Tell people about it in a news release.

In the good old days (something like three or four years ago), we wrote
news releases in hopes that they'd get us a big splash in a
metropolitan newspaper or get picked up by the evening news. In other
words, we wrote news releases for the traditional press. Notice that I
didn't call them press releases. That's because these days, news
releases are dispersed on the Internet to an audience that is much
larger than the traditional press. These days, you write news releases
for the world. Better put, you write news releases for your target

• Have an exhibit? Write a news release.
• Receive an award? Write a news release.
• Tackling a juicy topic on your blog that's generating discussion?
Write a news release.
• Teaching a class? Write a news release.
• Giving a gallery talk? Write a news release.

The format of the news release goes something like this.

1. Your name and contact information at the top. Always provide a phone
number and email address and be prepared to respond to requests
immediately. When your release piques the interest of the traditional
press, they'll want action ASAP.

2. News releases used to announce FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, but I
understand this is no longer necessary when you're immediately
releasing them online.

3. A catchy heading with appropriate keywords and phrases that will get
picked up by the search engines. Don't be afraid to make it longer and
spill over into a second row. You can even do a subheading if you find
need for it. The subheading is an additional place for your keywords
and phrases.

4. The body of the release (under the heading/subheading) opens with
your location and date (called the dateline)--e.g. "Golden, Colorado,
June 1, 2007--" and then launches into the text right after the "--".
It answers the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How that readers will
be looking for. Those answers no longer have to be outlined in the
first paragraph. Instead, you want to use that first paragraph to grab
attention. Because releases are now online, they no longer need to be
double-spaced nor do they need to stay on a single page. Aiming for 500
words or less might be a good goal for your release.

5. Signify the completion of your news release by typing "--END--" at
the very bottom.

Know This . . .
News releases are no longer for press consumption only.

Think About This . . .
When is the last time you wrote a news release?

Do This . . .
Write a news release. And then another one. And another. Make it a
habit. Keep a file for news release ideas and opportunities. Visit the
blog to see a news release format that you can copy. 
Copyright 2007 Alyson B. Stanfield. Alyson takes the mystery out of
marketing your art and making more money as an artist. Visit to get articles just like this one delivered
to your inbox.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Massachusetts native lets nothing come before his art

Conor O'Brien, Abandoned Project, 2005, oil on fibrous cement panel,
Collection of the Huntsville Museum of Art

Thursday, November 08, 2007

In 1973, Conor O'Brien said goodbye to the workplace. He left behind a
world of punching in and out, lunch breaks and sitting in rush-hour

O'Brien decided to become a full-time artist.

"I'm a painter," O'Brien said. "That's what I do. It's fun."

On Sunday, O'Brien will present his work at the Huntsville Museum of
Art. The show is part of the museum's "Encounters" series that features
regional, contemporary artists. An opening gallery walk with O'Brien
will begin at 2 p.m. The exhibition runs through Feb. 17.

O'Brien is a landscape artist whose works are painted in the realist
tradition and focus on pastoral scenes around North Alabama and
Southern Middle Tennessee.

The Massachusetts native moved to Huntsville in the 1960s when,
ironically, he took a job at Loveman's department store in the old mall
on North Memorial Parkway.

But O'Brien never strayed too far from his art. An artist all his life,
O'Brien said he has tried painting, sculpture, lithography and
silk-screen printing.

"I've dabbled in a little bit of everything," he said.

After studying art at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and
earning his degree, O'Brien decided to make painting his life.

Today, O'Brien's Five Points home is like a cluttered studio filled
with easels, tubes of paints and unfinished paintings. One room, most
likely the dining room at one point, has been transformed into a
painter's paradise.

Upstairs, there's a woodworking shop where O'Brien makes all of the
frames that adorn his paintings.

"I live in a workshop," O'Brien said. "It's not a normal house."

On a normal day, O'Brien said he wakes up, makes tea and starts
painting. Then, after a few hours, he eats lunch, then starts painting
again. After checking his e-mail, it's back to painting.

O'Brien never runs out of material.

"When I see something, I know it will make a good painting," O'Brien
said. "There's just something about certain places."

Since the museum asked O'Brien to put together a show, other aspects of
his life, like housework, have taken a back seat.

"I haven't done anything, including cleaning," O'Brien said.
"Somebody's got to paint these things."

Artist, Sandra Rowe volunteers at young age of 85

Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Madison Spirit

Sandra Rowe is a very active member of our community. An artist and
former teacher, Sandra will soon begin teaching a new art class at the
senior center. But Mrs. Rowe is not your typical volunteer; Sandra Rowe
is 85 years old!

Rowe was working as a "lady marine," when she met her husband, also a
marine, just after World War II. The two attended the University of
Georgia together. Mrs. Rowe earned a BFA, and her husband became a
physicist. When Mr. Rowe got a job working with Wernher Von Braun at
the Marshall Space Flight Center, the couple moved to Huntsville. Mrs.
Rowe taught first grade for many years at Randolph School.

The Rowes were married for 61 1/2 years, before Mr. Rowe died just last
year. Together they have 3 sons, 10 grandchildren, and 2 great
grandchildren. Mrs. Rowe now makes Madison her home.

DAE gets job done through cooperation

Wednesday, November 07, 2007
For the Madison Spirit

Decorative/fauxfinishing requires multiple talents

Business competitors CAN get along. The Decorative Artist Exchange has
proved cooperation is more valuable than competition.

Lou Ann Lanier and Alissa Murnane founded the exchange to educate the
community about decorative/faux finishing and the mural industry and
promote a positive working relationship between professional finishers
and muralists. "It's our responsibility to work within DAE to provide
our clients with the best experience and artistry," Murnane said.

If a finisher or muralist lacks the expertise for a client's request,
the exchange finds a colleague who can help. "We either work together
or pass the job to that artist," Murnane said.

Lanier is owner, instructor and professional faux finisher of Faux And
Beyond Faux Finishing Studio. Lanier has worked in the field for 15
years. From 1998 to 2004, she taught at United Auto Workers training
center and then opened her Madison studio.

Murnane owns Average To Art. "We turn average walls into art with
customized, decorative finishes and murals" with professional-grade
products that are UV-protected, durable and vibrant in color, Murnane

In French, "faux" means "fake." Faux finishes simulate a material in
nature, like marble, granite or metal. "For example, Average To Art
uses a limestone plaster imported from Italy that cures to true
limestone," Murnane said. "There's nothing fake about adding
architectural value to your home or office."

"Faux finishing is a 2,000-year-old art form - not a 'fad.' No two faux
finishes are the same." Lanier said faux finishes give a customized
look. "Even something as subtle as a color wash is much more 'user
friendly' than a painted or wallpapered wall."

"It's more than a sponge on the wall," Murnane said.

Each month, exchange members "are able to get together, talk about new
products, ask advice from other finishers and pass referrals," Lanier
said. They negotiate pricing guidelines. "When two or more of us submit
a bid to the same client, we're selected because of style instead of
pricing." When a large project requires multiple workers, the exchange
members pitch in to help.

When Average To Art painted a Huntsville Hospital mural, 66 feet by 13
feet, "We needed help painting and with character development and were
able to call DAE members, who came to the rescue," Murnane said.

Conversely, Average To Art refers cabinet glazing and furniture
painting to other exchange members. When DAE members ran out of
supplies, fellow artists delivered "glaze to their job site and taught
a new technique," Murnane said.

Decorative Artist Exchange meets the third Tuesday of each month at
various sites in Madison County. "It's a luxury to finally talk shop
with my peers instead of being looked upon as the enemy," Lanier said.

Lou Ann's spouse is David Lanier, owner of Lanier Construction. Their
children are 17-year-old Kathryn Alexus Lanier, a Bob Jones student,
and David Lanier IV, 19, of Goose Creek, S.C., who serves in the U.S.

Murnane was a 2006 finalist for "Young Professional of the Year" with
the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce and was named
"Artisan of the Month" in July by Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes.
Average to Art was a 2007 finalist for the chamber's "Small Business of
the Year."

Murnane is married to Austin Ramsay, who works with Average To Art as
painter, accountant and online designer.

"Original" Art (Part II)-"Art Sale Markets": What Can We Learn From Them? by S. Renee Prasil

Artist, S. Renee Prasil sent a very enlightening article last week to post on the art blog, "Original" Art (Part I)- Caveat Emptor!- by S. Renee Prasil. I hope you got a chance to read it. This week, I am posting her follow up to the first post. Comments welcomed! This is a very interesting topic.

"Original" Art (Part II)-"Art Sale Markets": What Can We Learn From
S. Renee Prasil-artist/art educator/art advocate
The earlier article referred to the 'art sale markets' that are
indundating the area with 'original' art for unbelieveable
prices-framed or on rolled canvases.  How do they do it?  They rely on
the general public's lack of knowledge regarding the term 'original'. 
These dealers/owners/operators are dependant on the unsuspecting public
being unaware that they are using the term 'original' to mean
'hand-painted'.  They are legally able to rely on this narrow meaning,
rather than educating the public that the works they sell are mass
produced reproductions and not 'one of a kind'.  I am not advocating
that we as artists follow such questionnable practices.  Also, we
cannot all hang in an upscale gallery, nor do all artists have the
desire or ability to 'push' or commercialize our art.  But we can learn
from the way the said "Art Sale Markets" market their art: they treat
it as a valuable commodity, justified by the questionnable use of the
term 'orig inal' in their marketing plans.
Whether sold on unstretched canvas or in an ornate frame, the dealers
present these reproductions as being worthy to grace the finest homes
in our area.  Do we artists present our art as 'worthy'?  Too often
artists are almost apologetic when an individual expresses interest in
our art.  It is not that we believe our work to be unworthy, it is that
we think we are.  As artists, we are always learning, hoping to improve
our talents, sometimes struggling to capture an image or vision as we
want to portray it.  As artists, it is sometimes painfully difficult to
sell this 'piece of our soul on canvas' or in metal or clay or the
medium you have chosen.  The general public does not make this
distinction between our art and the others.  They think they do-they
talk to the artists, wanting to know the inspiration, the muse that
persuaded us to attempt this piece.  What they are in actuality looking
for, is verification t hat they have chosen wisely in choosing a piece
of our art for purchase.  The 'intelligencia' of the moment always has
a new 'darling' of the art world-fauvism, realism, impressionism-and it
does not always 'mesh' with what appeals to Mr. and Ms. John Q.
Public.  They wish to be justified in making a purchase, whether of $50
or $50,000.  Few purchasers trust their own instincts and buy art 'just
because'.  They buy because it 'matches the sofa' or because they need
'something' for that space or because they want 'something to show for
their money or..for a multitude of other reasons.  For some purchasers,
just wanting the piece is reason enough.  These patrons are few and far
between and if an artist is to rely on these informed and brave few, we
will starve-or do something other than persue our passion for art.  As
artists who wish to eat, we must help the other art purchasers feel
assured of the 'rightness' of their decision to buy our art, especially
given the multitude of very good reproductions as we have been
Your art has value because it is an original in the truest sense of the
world: it is a small piece of where you are in talent or vision or
public worth at that moment in time.  It is 'you'-captured and visible
for all to see.  It is also a visual reminder of a gift-the talent
provided by God that only you possess.  Without getting into
ideologies, whether you have studied formally or are 'self-taught',
what you have accomplished on canvas or clay or in whatever medium you
have chosen is special.  If it is a creation of your unique vision,
made with your unique talents-it is worthy art.  Remember this as you
present your work for others.  YOUR art is worthy of gracing the finest
homes in any area.  Lets all work together to educate the public to the
value of truly 'original' art.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Legacy Gallery Grand Opening featuring artist, Mary Clem

Athen's artist, Mary Clem just reminded me that the new Legacy Gallery in Florence, AL is having an official GRAND OPENING this Friday, Nov. 9th at 7PM. There will be music, food, drinks, and of course art. There will be over 15 artists represented, including Mary Clem. Hope you can stop by!

Legacy Gallery
Owner, Allen Peters
2801 Mall Dr.
Florence, AL
(256) 443-1381

Watercolor Workshops


I teach watercolor workshops and am researching organizations that may
be interested in scheduling one-or-two-day workshops during the next
year. A sample of my work can be seen at  I
would appreciate your considering me for one of your events next year.

Thank you,

Imogene Dewey

Collecting Alabama Art

Mark M. Johnson, Director of Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
(334-240-4340) passed along this message from Alabama Artist Nall.

From: Nall

Subject: Montgomery artists
Date: Fri, 02 Nov 2007
Hello Friends,The RSA initiative of collecting Alabama Art continues!
Soon the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel will open, and we would like to
see works by any Montgomery area artists that you could advise or
recommend. We would like to be more informed of the local talents in
the Montgomery area, this would help showcase their works and become
part of the rich artistic heritage that is rapidly becoming a reason to
visit Alabama. Would you please send us email addresses of artists?  We
will write to them and fix a day for viewing available works in
December. We will have an address in
Montgomery for viewing and storing of selected works.
You may send all listing of artists, or have artists contact us
directly at:
Dian Hudnall
Artists should email photos of works including: Dimensions, Medium,
Retail prices and all works must be securely mounted or framed & have
strong hooks to support them onto the walls.
I am very happy that the RSA has provided this initiative to initiate
art education and collecting for the State of Alabama.  We have such a
rich Alabama Art  heritage, which can be viewed in Mobile at the Mobile
Museum of Art, The Battle House Hotel , The Riverview Hotel ; at
Birmingham's Ross Bridge Hotel; at Muscle Shoals Shoals Creek Hotel;
and at Fairhope's Point Clear Grand Hotel.

All best wishes and thank you for this service.   -Nall

Do you have a Montgomery art connection? If so, this would be a great
opportunity! An Online Arts Magazine

Florence Artist, Tommy Thompson included in his e-newsletter this
interesting website. I thought I would share it with the art blog: Web Site--Following a lead in an article by Clint
Watson of, Marie recently discovered a web site
of an international online magazine for art, photography, literature,
film, and music at This online magazine
contains many interesting articles by well-known artists and writers.

Sergei Bongart's Notes on Painting--Artists may be interested in
downloading the "Notes on Painting by Sergei Bongart," the famous
Russian painter. These very valuable notes, edited by a former student
of Bongart, can be found in the latest issue of at 

More about Tommy Thompson can be found on his website

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Decorative Artist Exchange Featured in Madison Spirit

Look in the Madison Spirit this week and you will read about the DAE (Co-Founded by Lou Ann Lanier and Alissa Murnane). We will be posting the article soon. Until then, learn more at

Makeover at WHNT

Average To Art turned channel 19's average walls into art. To see the video go to and click the WHNT link on the home page.

"Judith the Mermaid" by Betty Burchfield

Portrait artist and doll maker, Betty Burchfield just sent me a picture of her newest creation.

This is "Judith" which she sculpted to look like her friend, Judy Moore. Judy and Betty have worked together on several doll projects. "Judith" can easily be made into a mermaid. She is 21" tall, all porcelain doll. Betty is writing an article for the Doll Crafter Magazine giving instructions on how to make a solid porcelain doll, like "Judith", into a mermaid.

Betty sells her creations, if you are interested in this one or have
further questions, please call her at 1-888-773-6055 or local at (256)
Betty Burchfield, "Little Reb" - dolls, patterns, molds, restorations, wigs  - custom oil paintings using your

Federal Campaign-give to the National Museum of Women in the Arts

The National Museum of Women in the Arts is accepting contributions
through the Federal Campaign to help the organization with funding.
Those who are employed by the federal government can give to the
National Museum of Women in the Arts through paycheck deduction. Just
select #27501 on your Combined Federal Campaign ballot and you will be
making a vital contribution to the museum and its mission.

Participate in the Combined Federal Campaign, now through Dec. 15th,

National Museum of Women in the Arts
1250 New York Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20005

Monday, November 5, 2007

Wood-carving exhibit runs gamut

Monday, November 05, 2007
Times Staff Writer

Bowls, boxes, birds, bears and Christmas ornaments displayed

Tom Kaeding and Bill Hastings of Madison are, for all intents and
purposes, retired. But they've found joy, and a way to serve, by making
things with wood.

The two men had some of their work on display at the Depot Roundhouse
downtown Sunday: Kaeding had a display of handmade wooden boxes;
Hastings' work included wood-turned bowls and vases.

The men are also volunteering their carving skills in honor of the
military serving overseas: They are part of a group of carvers meeting
at Redstone Arsenal, producing "freedom pins" to send to troops in Iraq
and Afghanistan.

"We'll have more than 1,000 made in time for Christmas," Hastings said.

Kaeding said the Edgewater Woodworkers group will also have a show Dec.
2 at the Edgewater clubhouse off Zierdt Road.

The Roundhouse was turned into a veritable menagerie over the weekend
as dozens of artists who work with wood displayed their craft at the
annual Midsouth Woodcarving Exhibition. The event drew craftsmen - and
craftswomen - from throughout the Southeast.

Intricately carved birds, bears, dogs, and humans, in addition to
wood-turned bowls, vases, decanters and goblets, were on display.

Shoppers could buy Christmas tree ornaments as well as gifts.

Figures ranged from the sacred - a relief carving of Jesus Christ - to
the humorous - a tabletop scene showing an old woman running to an

In addition to finished products, the show had tools and carving kits
for sale. Visitors got a chance to vote for their favorite display

Dick Wollam of Winchester, Tenn. had a table showing pieces he'd carved
and stained or painted. He said the largest piece he's ever carved was
a 3-by-3-foot Boy Scout seal for the organization's convention hall in

"I hated it," he said. "I had a time restriction on it and I don't like
to rush."

Hastings said he's "always done a little bit of wood carving." He began
turning wood after he traded a pistol with a man for an old lathe.

"Every time you put a piece of wood on a lathe," he said, "something
comes out of it."

Saturday, November 3, 2007

"Original" Art (Part I)- Caveat Emptor!- by S. Renee Prasil

Artist, S. Renee Prasil sent this very enlightening article to post on
the art blog. What are your comments? Next week, I will post her follow
up with: "Original" Art (Part II)-"Art Sale Markets": What Can We Learn
From Them?" Stay tuned...

"Original" Art (Part I)-  Caveat Emptor!
S. Renee Prasil -artist/art educator/art advocate
You may have noticed a plethora of 'art sale markets' popping up with
'original' art that have prices and quality 'too good to be true'. 
That is because these artworks are not genuine originals.  The
dealers/owners/operators of these places are relying on the general
public's lack of education about what constitutes an original work of
art.  Most people assume when they purchase an 'original', that they
are getting a 'one of a kind' piece.  These 'art sale markets' are
using 'original' to describe what would more correctly be called
'hand-painted'.  They are able to use the term 'original' because the
works are hand painted, thus slipping through a loophole in our legal
The quality of these mass produced hand-painted reproductions is often
excellent, but these works are no different than the paintings
sold across the United States, known as "Starving Artist
Sales".  Individual artists/technicians are being paid a pittance to
produce multiples of an image that is sold time and time again. 
Despite the improved images, these new originals are still 'decorator
art'.  Why they are perceived differently than the 'Starving Artist'
paintings is due to the methods used to market them.  While the
"Starving Artist' works are hawked in motel rooms with stacks of the
same image on a variety of canvases ("nothing over $49!"), these new
entries to the market are displayed in upscale 'galleries' or at home
sales.  These paintings seem to be 'one of a kind' art, as they are
always displayed singly and the dealer usually does not replace the
image with a repeat immediately.  This tricks the unsuspecting public,
whether intentionally or not, into believing they have purchased a true
'original'.  To purchase art to match the sofa, or to add decoration to
a home or office is entirely acceptable.  To purchase "Decorator Art"
believing you are buying a unique work of art, is not.  To sell such
reproductions as 'original' rather than as 'hand-painted' to an
unsuspecting public is questionnable at best.  This dupes the buyer
and interferes with the livelihood of millions of true artists the
world over. And in some instances the practice contributes to inhumane
treatment of the technicians producing the 'sweatshop art'. 
So what can we do to protect ourselves against the onslaught of such
questionnable art practices?  Educate your patrons and visitors to your
galleries as to the difference between 'original'-meaning 'one of a
kind, unique, imagined and painted by the artist' and 'original'-
meaning painted by hand, mass produced reproductions of anothers
artistic vision.  And as always, "Let the Buyer Beware". 

Melissa Carter

Copyright Artwork by Melissa Carter.

November is National Adoption Month and it is only fitting that we feature artist, Melissa Carter. Her artwork is a reflection and connection to the Adoption Ministry she and her husband, Duane, feel God has called them to do. There are so many kids that need adopting and the Carter's want to spread this need by making others aware through ministry and art. More about Melissa...

Art and Adoption

"My name is Melissa Carter and I am a watercolor/mixed media artist. I have been painting for about 5 1/2 years in watercolors. I love adding mixed media to my paintings to provide texture and have enjoyed recently doing portraits."

"I am a member of the Shoals Artist Guild and the Tennessee Valley Art Center in Tuscumbia, AL. I studied art under a wonderful teacher named Ann McCutcheon for 2 years and take art workshops whenever I can. Currently, I am studying under Tim Stevenson."

"Before I ever picked up a paint brush, I was an accomplished Sugar Artist (yes there is such a thing) for more than 15 years and owned my own speciality bakery and catering store for 3 years. I have taught cake decorating, candy making, and Stampart classes at our local Hobby Lobby. I have also taught art at a small local christian homeschool group. I have been accepted into several juried art shows and have won numerous ribbons for my art. I have participated in several art shows such as ARTS ALIVE and THE HELEN KELLER FESTIVAL with great success."

"I live in Florence, AL along with my husband Duane and 6 children, Ben, Seora, Nathaniel, Graham, Eli and Maggie. We are currently in the process of adopting Andrew and Allan from Uganda, Africa. Ben and Nathaniel are adopted from Bulgaria and Seora and Maggie are adopted from Romania. Eli is adopted from China. Graham is our biological child."

"Adoption has become our ministry. We have seen miracles happen in our childrens' lives that are amazing. No longer do they live in a hopeless situation where their path would have ended in severe poverty or death. They have a family and have an abundance of opportunities at their disposal and can become anyone they want to be."

"In 2002 Senator Sessions awarded us the Angels in Adoption award for our state and we were humbled that we would have been chosen. It is not us that does this, we have no power of our own but of Christ that works in us."

"I love art! AND I am passionate about adoption! I want God to use my talents to help other children find homes and orphans to receive aid."

When you visit Melissa's website she hopes you will enjoy her artwork and learn a little about adoption in the process. Melissa is so passionate about giving to those in need that all proceeds from the sale of her artwork benefits adoption and orphan relief. "I pray that you may enjoy this talent that God has gifted me with. I want to use it to help other little children come home to a forever family." So please, help a child and buy a painting.
For more information, you can also contact Melissa at or (256) 757-6078

"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you." John 14:8

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Keely Beth Finnegan

Keely Beth Finnegan is a local artist behind a unique form of jewelry design. Keely’s art-glass pendants are a result of her desire to combine both her love of jewelry design and art. Her goal is to create unique pieces that make each customer feel beautiful when she puts one on.

Every one of Keely’s pendants is handmade with love, care, and a dedication to quality. She does the glass cutting and grinding, most of the artwork featured in the pendants, and the wire wrapping. Keely only uses sterling silver in her jewelry. Most of the artwork placed between the glass is created using watercolor and ink. Some of her other pendants contain batik fabric which Keely chooses for its rich color and design.

With help from her crafty mom, Keely began to love art and jewelry making at a young age. She has also always had a love for nature, which inspires many of her designs. Raised in Madison, Keely is currently a resident of Florence, attending UNA for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. She will

continue to develop new designs and has plans to attend school for a Master’s degree.

Contact info:

Vanessa Austin

Vanessa Austin owns and manages CABBIT Designs in Harvest, Ala., where she currently lives. CABBIT Designs is handcrafted jewelry, in which Austin makes and sells. Austin also enjoys reading biblical and health literature, writing poetry and making arts and crafts. She holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing with a minor in management from Jacksonville State University, a Bachelor of Business in accounting from Athens State University and a master’s degree in business education from Alabama A&M University. She has a husband, Frederick, and three sons, Cedric, Andre’ and Brian. Austin’s oldest son, Cedric, illustrated the cover of her first book, Live On. For more information about Vanessa Austin, please visit her website at or you can also reach her at (256) 852-6195 or

Robert Schuffert

Born and raised in Montgomery, Robert Schuffert has been a Huntsville resident for over 23 years. Attending the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa after high school, he then served with the military working in missile maintenance for three years, where he discovered his passion for photography in Germany’s landscapes of vast farmlands, vineyards, mountains and castle ruins. “Living in Huntsville reminds me so much of that German terrain; with all the mountains, streams and lakes here, waterfalls are abundant.”, Robert said. He began frequent photography excursions around North Alabama’s countryside after his wife died in 1998. These excursions guided him to author Scenic North Alabama, a fullcolor photographic travel guide revealing many hidden scenic areas across the north half of our state. Scenic North Alabama has been a Best Seller at several retail outlets across North Alabama, which has prompted him to begin work on a similar book for Middle and Eastern Tennessee. With his desire to locate and photograph waterfalls, he has even compiled a decorative map poster locating over 350 waterfalls in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Cumberland Plateau extending through Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. He has already photographed almost 1/3 of these waterfalls.
He started Robert Schuffert Studios Photography in 1999, and has recently expanded the business to include wedding photography, graphic design, photo restorations and cartography. He has been teaching photography classes for the last several years and is expanding to include photo-editing software classes as well. He has studied under several
well-known landscape and portrait photographers, including Colorado’s John Shaw and Huntsville’s own late Arlon Moss. He also attends photo-editing seminars frequently. Photography has been a passion for Robert since the 1960’s. In 2002, Robert’s “Golden Gate Blues” image of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco won Grand-Prize in the Decatur Daily newspaper’s photography contest after winning First-Place in their Landscape category.
In 2006, his “Foggy Cove” photograph imaged at Buck’s Pocket State Park near Guntersville, won First-Place in the Black-and-White category at the Gadsden Museum of Art juried competition. He was also invited by the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel to display several of his Alabama photographs in their “2006, The Year
of Outdoor Alabama” photography exhibit which toured the state last year ( Robert is a Fellow of the Huntsville Photographic Society ( where he currently serves as the VP of Activities, organizing photography field trips for members and guests, usually to nearby waterfalls.
Robert’s website at displays many of his landscape photographs, where he also posts monthly newsletters on recent field trips and information for upcoming classes.

Exhibit taps into artist's inspirations- Melanie Escher

Wednesday, October 31, 2007
For the Madison Spirit

'Real People' features musicians, historical figures, other icons

Mick Jagger and Hank Williams are hanging around Clay House Museum as part of Melanie Escher's current showing.

For her Clay House exhibit during November, Escher has chosen a
portraiture theme, which museum director Robin Brewer is calling "Real
People." About 20 paintings feature people "who have emotionally
inspired me to capture not just what they look like but some of their
essence," Escher said. "I even have a self-portrait."

All paintings are in acrylics on canvas. Musicians are prominent in
Escher's portfolio, including Hank Williams, Janis Joplin, a young
Keith Richards and Bryan Ferry.

"I also have several from the early 'pre-punk' New York period, like
Iggy Pop, Patti Smith and the New York Dolls," she said. Escher's close
friends, icons and historical figures, like the Red Baron, Amelia
Earhart and Ralph Nader, also stand in her collection.

Escher holds a commercial art degree from Ferris State College in Big
Rapids, Mich., and has worked as a commercial graphic artist in Chicago
and Tucson, Ariz.

"I had to admit I was bored to tears," Escher said. She switched to
working as a restaurant server, manager and bartender. In April, she
moved here from California to live near her parents in Madison.

Escher is currently employed at Grille 29 in the Village of Providence
and enrolled in Madison School of Massage Therapy. Escher has two sons
- Evan, 13, and Liam, 11.

"I've been painting for over 25 years, off and on. I finished the Red
Baron in 1982, but only in the last five years have I been able to
start building a body of work," she said. Escher primarily has taught
herself to paint and "technique has been trial and error."

She strives for creativity and expression by use of color. "I usually
use black-and-white Xerox copies blown up from old newspaper clippings
for reference."

Escher's work has been shown at the Underground Arts Society and
Gallery at the End of the World in Alta Dena, Calif., and at Bonham and
Butterfield's on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

"I have a few good stories about giving celebrities a photo or print of
their portraits, like Sylvain Sylvain of the New York Dolls at a club
in Los Angeles, Goldie Hawn at a book signing and Iggy Pop by mail,"
Escher said.

The Clay House Museum's address is 16 Main St. in Madison's downtown
historic district. For information, call 325-1018, send e-mail to or visit the Web site

Artist brings her expertise to Madison- Barbara Faulkner

Wednesday, October 31, 2007
For the Madison Spirit

Barbara Faulkner to open studio for adult classes.

Barbara Faulkner is bringing her art expertise to Madison with the opening of Faulkner Studio for art and oil painting classes for adults.

Faulkner is adding the Madison studio while maintaining her original site in Meridianville, which she opened in September 2006. With the Madison opening on Nov. 4, Faulkner will personally teach oil painting for all skill levels - beginner to advanced. Currently, she's searching for other teachers.

Faulkner teaches in the style of the "Old Masters, which allows a wide variety of artistic interpretation." In her own personal paintings, the style is "traditional classic."

To develop painting skills, she experimented for "thousands of hours" to perfect techniques. A self-taught artist, she has attended workshops of artists with local, regional and national reputations and studied with world-renowned artists like Dahlhart Windberg, Johnnie Liliedahl and Dan Gerhartz.

Faulkner has worked with designers at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles and galleries in San Diego and the New Orleans area. For many years, she owned Artistic Images Art Gallery in Huntsville.

Faulkner's paintings hang in many private and corporate collections. She strives "to exude her joy of life and beauty of the world." Oil on canvas is her chosen medium, although she also paints in watercolor, alkyds and acrylics.

"Oil painting is so versatile. It allows a great variety of expression, from the softest of hues to rich vibrant color," Faulkner said. She enjoys the oil's ability to layer one color upon another. "Each layer brings the painting to life creating its own destiny."

Working daily at her home studio, Faulkner surrounds herself with books, videos and beautiful music for "an atmosphere that helps increase the creative flow." Whenever possible, she also enjoys location or Plein Air painting.

Since his retirement from United Airlines, her husband, Troy C., has worked as her business manager. The Faulkners often travel and look for artistic ideas. "Troy takes photos while I sketch."

Faulkner hopes her paintings "transport the viewer to a peaceful and beautiful place," which accomplishes her goal as an artist. "I want to share a vision of 'my' world through painting and bring pleasure and escape to the viewer."

The class schedule at Faulkner Studio is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and evening classes from 6 to 9 p.m. at 8006 Old Madison Pike in Miller Plaza. For more information, call 828-2073 or 457-2179.