Sculpture I find Interesting – Maya Lin

Yale architect and sculptor's art found throughout New England

Women's Table by Maya Lin   I read an article today in the NY Times that I wanted to share and save, hence the blog posting.  Maya LIn has created many public sculptures in New England and across the United States.  Here is an excerpt and link to the article: "The table is inscribed with a sea of numbers in an exquisite spiral. Ms. Lin marks the presence, and absence, of female students through the years, creating a strong statement and pattern. After many years of zeros, the number grows quickly in the 1970s and ’80s, getting to 5,225 women enrolled at Yale in 1993 when the sculpture was finished. It is a meditation on social and gender progress. She is meticulous in her design: the stone is “Lake Placid Blue” as her homage to Yale’s blue and numerals use Bembo font as a link to Yale publications. “The Women’s Table” is understated, like so much of her work. Though it carries no explanation on it, people seem to appreciate it whether they fully understand its context or not." For the rest of the article, click here.  

Did you know that more vinyl records were sold than music downloaded in 2016?

Box Stores and the effect on galleries.

Did you know that more vinyl records were sold than downloaded music in 2016?   According to Forbes magazine, "Fueled by that unique sound quality and a nostalgia wave, sales of vinyl records were up 32% to $416 million, their highest level since 1988, according to the RIAA. Revenues from vinyl sales last year were higher than those of on-demand ad supported streaming services." What does this have to do with art and C2C Gallery? I have been thinking about how we use the words "hand-crafted" when discussing things like beer, watches, shoes, arts, and bicycles.  So, what does hand-crafted really mean?  I am sure it is deliberate when marketing uniqueness, quality, and care taken when an item is created.  Yet, isn't is strange that while we respect well made "hand-crafted" items, there is also a desire to demand low cost and immediate availability.  So, how is an artist to survive?   How many of us notice the art in an hotel or restaurant? Or is it like streaming music, where we are barely aware of it?  Does this cause us not to value or even see the art in front of us unless we are in a place where art is supposed be noticed, such as:  galleries, art fairs and museums? As an artist and a gallery owner, I have worked hard to learn how to use social media such as Facebook and Instagram effectively for my ceramic work and for my artists.  Each of my posts have a goal of sharing our artist's art and who they are as people.  I have always felt that you are more inclined to fall in love and ultimately purchase a piece of artwork if you feel that you know a bit about the artist and why they create art.   From taxi cabs to skincare, technology is disrupting economic systems. The need for service that exceeds expectations will keep a place for excellent businesses. Art that transcends the commonplace, even occasionally art on a hotel wall, will find its way to those who value and notice the art. Technology will allow more people to find and hopefully collect our art. Deliberate practice is necessary to become ever better in our art. Ongoing marketing helps take our art beyond the commonplace.

Every One is Creative. Yes, you are!

ArtPrize 9 and ArtWalk 8 Wrap up.

I found Sofia Ramirez's ArtPrize entry interesting showing the public of her daily creative practice - drawing.  As in all things, in order to become "good" or accomplished at a craft or skill, you must practice.  Many times, customers come into the gallery and I hear them  saying how they have no artistic talents.  I always try to have a conversation with them that being creative takes practice.  Our artists have tens of thousands of hours invested into their art medium.  I also believe that being creative does not mean only using an art medium.  Everyone is creative daily making decisions, cooking meals, choosing clothing, and even in how they choose their words to communicate.  We are all creative.   Flint - ArtPrize 3 Dimensional Juried Winner Another ArtPrize and ArtWalk wraps up today.  Three weeks of all things related to art in West Michigan.  It's fun to hear the comments about the entries with discussions about "Is this art?"  In Grand Haven, I felt that the entries were of high caliber across all categories.  Our artist was Denise LeClaire with a mixed media entry, awarded honorable mention in this category, "In Honour that Life is Short". With Grand Haven's smaller, volunteer organized version of ArtPrize, we gained a new mural in town by Chris Protas, who won the Juried Painting Category for Grand Haven's ArtWalk event.   Sofia Ramirez Draws Every Day - It is Non-negotiable.  Art for Life  

Baked Brie with Pistachios and Honey

Serve in a handmade ceramic baker to create a simple appetizer using brie cheese, pistachios and honey

  Baked Brie with Honey and Pistachios A simple, yummy appetizer that is quick and easy - plus designed for a handmade ceramic baker.   Ingredients: 1 (6-8-ounces) round Brie or Camembert 1/4 cup lightly salted pistachios (about 2 ounces), shelled and roughly chopped 2 tbl honey Directions: 1.  Using a sharp knife, score top rind of cheese in a cross-cross pattern, spacing cuts about 1 inch apart.   2.   Remove the packaging and place in ceramic baking dish.  Put cheese and dish into a cold oven.  Set the temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake until top is soft and runny, about 25 minutes.   3.  Top with chopped pistachios and drizzle with honey.  Let rest 5 minutes, then Enjoy!  

Learning to See – how to look at a painting

How does a painter create an impressionistic versus realistic painting

Learning to See “Mary Cassatt at the Louvre” 1880 pastel by Edgar Degas Sara Genn writes a blog that was started by her deceased father, Robert Genn.  I thought our customers might find it interesting to learn about how an artist creates a realistic versus an impressionistic painting.  Sara writes: I recently returned from traveling to find a pile of mail gems, many from readers of these letters. One was a gift of a small paperback postmarked Crescent Pond, New Hampshire. I crawled into bed and into a list of timeless painting tips ordered by importance, the essentials highlighted and supported with first-hand insights from old and modern masters.Sara Genns writes a blog that was started by her father.  I thought this article might interest our customers with regard to looking and seeing a painting.  She writes: Painters of classical realism employ this list as the backbone of good painting. However, what could be mistaken for the techniques of a niche are in fact the foundation of all visual art, and while these basics have been almost completely edged out of the art school circuit, an aspiring painter can still independently mine golden nuggets from classical painting to produce work of deeper knowledge and skill, regardless of style or stripes. When I sat down at my first potter’s wheel at age twelve, my teacher said, “You are putting on your first pair of skis, and you do not yet know how to ski.” And so tonight I started again at the beginning. There are two fundamental approaches to realistic painting, the book began: An academic renders each item in detail, inserting her knowledge of anatomy, colour, religion, myth, and history as an enhancement to what she sees with her own eyes. While this idealism delivers the details of nature with accuracy, it isn’t necessarily the truth. An impressionist, by comparison, grabs the whole subject at once and paints a broad, visual experience of it. She honours the poetry of the human eye and its cherry-picking of colour, nuance and focus. The impressionist forgets what she knows in order to paint what she sees. The notebook then broke into sections to clarify the academic principles of drawing and composition. Design, proportion, visual unity, spotting, simplification, rhythm, eye control, edgemanship and carrying power, plus light and reflected light, shadows, highlights and accuracy of values and shapes were laid out like a set of life-saving lug nuts. Then began an item-by-item exploration of what makes a painting a visual “impression,” and why. “The artist sees objects as smudges of warm and cool colours of different shapes and values and having only a suggestion of detail. He sees the edges of objects fuse in places to form broader and simpler masses of light and shadow.” (Richard Whitney, Painting the Visual Impression) “The secret is to follow the advice the masters give you in their works while doing something different from them.” (Edgar Degas) Sincerely, Sara    

10 Questions to the Artist – Denise LeClaire

2017 ArtWalk Artist - Denise LeClaire

Denise R LeClaire Denise is our 2017 ArtWalk artist.  She is a West Michigan artist and high school counselor. Denise creates collages using found paper objects such as antique sheet music, atlases, and books.  Often, she applies a photo transparency over the collage and then, paints over those layers allowing you to see or hide different components of the canvas.  This artist focuses on an idea such as belonging, forgiveness, mortality, or love. Her goal is to create a connection between people and her art with shared experiences.  All of Denise's work is personal, a combination of the ordinary and the profound.  Like a soft kiss on the forehead for no reason. In Honour of the Fact that Life is Short ArtWalk Voting Code:  Artist number - MM14. Category - Mixed Media Denise answers our "Ten Questions to the Artist" so that we can get to know her, just a little.     1. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? I heard a quote once, I think it was Marianne Williamson who said that the spiritual path is just the journey of living our lives and we are all on a spiritual path, sometimes we just don’t know it. I love this philosophy and feel like it falls together with my own belief in the importance of small moments, the little things that end up being the most memorable. So, it’s just everyday life that does it for me. We get to decide in the first world, what to do with our days, how we respond to life, and how we are creative; it’s a huge gift that not everyone has, that’s a pretty big turn on. 2. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work? I think the theme is connection through common ground. I think there is a spiritual and emotional element to my work with the combination of ideas, words and photographs and I see and feel this when I talk to people about what’s drawn them to a particular piece.    3. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Travel photographer/writer 4. What profession would you not like to do? Police officer 5. Who are your favorite artists? VanGogh, O’Keefe, Gustav Klimt, Mark Rothko, Jim Dine 6. What is your favorite tool used to create your work? A “mop” brush. 7. What is your favorite word? Serendipitous 8. What is your least favorite word? Can’t think of one. 9. Who is your favorite musician? Impossible to choose. I love all kinds of music. 10. How much formal education have you received? My B.A. is in Sociology and Fine Art. I’ve taken art classes on and off my entire life including in photography, pottery, painting, drawing & collage. What I’m currently doing with regard to the combination of collage, photography, photo transfer and painting is self taught, trial and error. Thank you, Denise, for answering our questions.  Stop in to the gallery to see her exhibit. She and I will be hosting an Artist Talk beginning at 7:30 pm.  Denise will be in the gallery, Friday night, October 6, 6-9pm.      

ArtPrize 9 Begins Tonight – As in all lines of work, just “do good work”

Artprize 9 begins today. what makes good art?

Just like in any profession, if you want accolades, then you need to do good work. One of my friends posted this editorial about Artists  participating in ArtPrize 9.  I think this article is relevant all of the time - just "do good work." Here is the editorial: Dear artist, You and I both know there are tricks to get the general public’s attention at ArtPrize. You and I know these have, at times, won over the public for large prizes. But really sublime work has also won over the public’s heart, and this is, after, all, our ninth time doing this thing called ArtPrize. I myself, in this wonderful circus of ArtPrize, have participated as an artist, a curator and venue manager, an ArtPrize staff member, and a member of the media covering this monstrosity. I’ve been heavily involved every year, experiencing it in every way except being a passive visitor. Some call it a sickness, an obsession. I don’t know what to say — I just love that throngs of people are hanging out and looking at and talking about art. You may be a new artist or someone considering submitting work next year. But just a heads up, we talk about your art. And through the years I’ve heard some real zingers. We notice the bad art and are getting better and better at discerning as we get more practiced throughout the years. So here is the start of a list of simple ways to truly win over our hearts, not to mention maintain your, um, well… your dignity. Let’s go: Don’t try to trick us into liking you. Do not, for the love of all that is holy, resort to gimmicky for the sake of having a gimmick. Sure the penny made of pennies made a splash seven years ago. It also garnered abysmal and definitely not complimentary nicknames of course. But we’re asking for more. Don’t paint with lipstick instead of paint just because…well I have no earthly idea why. Don’t do it. Gimmicks are cheap; they’re trickery; they’re wholly unnecessary. Wow us with your skills, your craftsmanship, your conceptual layers. Stick to what you know. I know it’s tempting to try out a new idea when faced with the competition and prize money, but ArtPrize is not the time to completely shift gears. Create a work that shows off the skills you have honed over years of work. If you’re a painter, don’t suddenly create a sculpture. If you’re a sculptor, don’t try your hand at painting. Do these things, sure—but perfect that new skill before you enter it into a large competition. Go big. I don’t just mean size, here, though large work is a proven tactic to get the notice of the throngs at ArtPrize, I’ll admit. I mean give it your all. I mean push your boundaries just enough, and challenge yourself to expand on your skills. Be sure to give yourself time to try out your big boundary-pushing challenge to expand your work to new levels before entering it into ArtPrize, of course, but do it. Don’t play it safe. I know this and the advice before it seem like they contradict one another. That’s okay. Life is full of both/and, after all, so stick to what you know and then go big with that. Practice. If your work has some sort of performative element to it, or your sculpture has moving parts, please don’t just think you can wing it. We will—all 500,000 plus of us—see you fail and know it’s because you didn’t practice. Remember the first year, when the paper airplanes were all supposed to come floating down to us from a tall building all together, thousands of them? Well. Guys. They came down in clumps. Huge clumps of hundreds of paper airplanes, with just a few separating to do what they were intended to do. The artist himself admitted they hadn’t done any trial runs, not even a throw from a 2nd story window. It was an embarrassment and that failure is what everyone was talking about. For years. Don’t have us talking about that. We understand things go wrong but if you don’t even practice, do any trial runs, we will see that and we will feel betrayed. Consider the base. I don’t mean the voting base, I mean the thing you put your artwork on. The frame for a painting, the structure holding up your sculpture, the pieces that you don’t think of as your work, and yet when we the viewers look at it, we see it with your work, all at the same time. There is nothing more visually frustrating than a beautiful or conceptually moving work that’s propped up with….bright blue plastic bins, for example. The presentation of your work—even lighting, arrangement, how far apart it’s placed from other work—should be considered as carefully, crafted as closely, as the work itself. As much of this as you can control, control it. We see it as a whole. Please don’t throw together shim-sham and expect us not to notice. It’s distracting. We notice. Nobody likes a car salesman. Don’t shove flyers in our hands or plaster your work itself with your voting code. We understand you want to get our attention, but there are so many ways to accomplish this without resorting to something that makes us feel icky. Set up a little table where you demonstrate how you make your work, for example. People love watching artists work. We are fascinated. Work your social media savvy—or have a friend with social media savvy up your game. There are plenty of ways to get our attention. Compromising yourself or your work to get your voting code in our face isn’t the way to do it. I’m not voting for a cause. I don’t care how important your issue or need is, be it cancer or puppy adoption or domestic abuse. I care about those issues sure. Well, I don’t care that much about puppy adoption, if I’m honest. But none of that matters: if the art is bad, I’m not voting for art based solely on what it’s trying to say. Art has to also be visually masterful. Remember those toilets? About colon cancer? Yeah, even my then-5-year-old could tell that was bad art. We can talk about causes and issues and you might even get a donation to your nonprofit doing valuable work but I’m not hitting that thumbs up on your ugly hastily thrown together “statement” piece because of it. Make good art. That’s what where my votes are cast. And that right there basically sums it up: Make good art. Stop trying to trick us into liking your work and just make work worth liking. Don’t pander. We want to walk up and be arrested by the work, to draw in a quick breath at its exquisite color, or form, or conceptual expression. I’m not saying it has to be beautiful. But it has to be masterful. It has to be smart. It has to be carefully considered and well made. And beautiful, stunningly, shockingly beautiful? That works too. Just like in any profession, if you want accolades, dear artists, then you need to do good work. And good luck out there. I hear everyone’s a critic these days. by:  holly Bechiri :

And the Winner is….

And the Winner is.... We would like to thank Michelle Courier for generously donating one of her gorgeous landscape paintings;  our customers who bought raffle tickets; Mary, Mary, Culinary! (Mary Van Oordt) for her catering services; Christi Dreese for helping at the sales desk; and Therese Magee for serving beverages. We raised $1,000 for our Ottawa County Parks on Friday, September 1, 2017.  We are thrilled to support our community in this manner.   And the Winners of our Raffle benefiting  Ottawa County Parks Foundation are:  

Piney’s Sweet and Sour Beans – a family favorite

Piney's Sweet and Sour Beans This recipe was given to me when I got married in 1980.  Edie Swart was my second mom for most of my life.  Edie's husband was my mother's business partner.  This bean recipe was much loved whenever it was made.  Last week, a friend asked about bean dishes and I remembered this one. Mom made it for lots of summer gatherings and other family events over the years.  Let me know how you like it.  Happy almost Labor Day Weekend!   Ingredients: 8 slices bacon 4 lg onions 1/2 - 1 c. brown sugar 1 tsp dry mustard 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp salt 1/2 c. viegar 2 can lima beans 1 can green beans - drained 1 dark red kidney beans 1 - 1 lb. 13 ou size of canned baked beans Instructions: Brown Bacon, remove from pan. Brown onions in the bacon fat.  Mix other liquids and spices in this mixture. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Combine the beans in a baking dish.  Pour the liquid onion spice mixture into the beans.  Add the bacon (torn into pieces). Bake in 350 oven for 1 hour.

Why Medical Schools are requiring art classes….

This warms my heart reading about U.S. medical schools requiring students attend interdisciplinary arts classes to help them develop skills such as critical thinking, observation, communication skills and empathy,  Throughout my life, I have had a wide range of physicians who were fantastic with their patients and others who were lacking.  I knew that I needed to be patient with the docs who didn't have the best bedside manner because many of them were so smart that they never learned social skills (didn't have to, they were so intelligent). First-year medical students discussing Dallas Chaos II (1982) by Peter Dean, Blanton Museum of Art. Photo by Siobhan McCusker. I found this article interesting and thought you might also: Why Med Schools are requiring art class? “What the heck does Impressionist art have to do with medical communication?” It’s a question that Dr. Michael Flanagan often gets after telling people about “Impressionism and the Art of Communication,” the seminar he teaches to fourth-year medical students at the Penn State College of Medicine. In the course, students complete exercises inspired by 19th-century painters like Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet, ranging from observation and writing activities to painting in the style of said artists. Through the process, they learn to better communicate with patients by developing insights on subjects like mental illness and cognitive bias. Flanagan’s seminar speaks to a broader trend in medical education, which has become pronounced over the past decade: More and more, medical schools in the U.S. are investing in curriculum and programming around the arts. Professors argue that engaging in the arts during medical school, whether through required courses or extracurricular activities, is valuable in developing essential skills that doctors need, like critical thinking and observational and communication skills, as well as bias awareness and empathy. While it’s become more common in recent years, some medical schools have been incorporating the arts into their curriculum for decades. Penn State, for example, was the first medical school in the U.S. to develop its own department of medical humanities, which launched with the school in 1967. And many schools have long required students to take reflective writing courses or interdisciplinary classes that tap into social sciences or the arts as part of graduation requirements. This coursework is meant to address a wide swathe of real-world scenarios, from medical decision-making to ethics. And within this framework, there’s room for the performing arts, music, literature, and visual arts, as vehicles to deliver lessons. Students from Dr. Michael Flanagan's class "Impressionism and the Art of Communication" at Penn State College of Medicine. Medical students at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, for example, are required to take humanities seminars in their first year, which range in subject from dance to poetry. And in the past few years, more schools, including Harvard Medical School and the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School, have developed their own arts and humanities programs. “It’s not just a nice idea to incorporate humanities into medical schools to make the education more interesting,” Flanagan says of such programs. “It’s protecting and maintaining students’ empathy so that by the time they go off to practice medicine, they’re still empathetic individuals.” He notes that while medical students traditionally enter their first year with very high levels of empathy, after three years, research has shown, the exposure to content around death and suffering can cause those levels to plummet. Engagement in the humanities can rectify this problem. Dr. Delphine Taylor, Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, emphasizes that arts-focused activities are important in training future doctors to be present and aware, which is more and more difficult today given the pervasiveness of technology and media. One of the most popular programs, adopted at schools including Yale, Harvard, and UT Austin, involves students meeting at art museums to describe and discuss artworks. At the most basic level, these exercises in close observation help to improve diagnostic skills—priming students to identify visual symptoms of illness or injury in patients, and (hopefully) preventing them from making misguided assumptions. But it’s also about delving beneath face value. Photo from the Art Matters event at MoMA, courtesy of Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.  “It’s a richer experience than just, ‘Check, I know how to observe now,’” says Dr. Taylor, regarding the courses Columbia offers, where students visit museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She notes that by verbally reacting to the art they see, and developing hypotheses around factors like what the artist was thinking or why they used a certain shade of red, students can prepare for future scenarios with patients and colleagues that will be uncomfortable and uncertain. These classes, which are most often led by museum educators, also serve to engender curiosity, to encourage students to ask questions, and, importantly, to consider the perspectives of others. One of the oldest courses of this type was begun at Yale in the late 1990s by dermatology professor Dr. Irwin Braverman and curator Linda Friedlaender, who created a class that takes place at the Yale Center for British Art, and continues to be taught today. After taking that course in 2013, current Yale med student Robert Rock, who studied art history as an undergraduate, took the initiative to develop his own art tour of the Yale Center for British Art.“The point is to create a critical consciousness,” Rock explains. “I think in medical culture there’s a deference to authority that holds people back from asking important questions about things that can mean life or death.” He notes that the museum is neutral territory where students, who often don’t much much experience with art, can feel comfortable voicing opinions or asking questions. His tour, called “Making the Invisible Visible,” has since been incorporated into the Yale curriculum.Beyond looking at and discussing art, students are also making it. At Columbia, students can take a comics course taught by Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Chief Creative Officer at Columbia’s Department of Surgery, who is also a contributing cartoonist to the New Yorker. In his classes for first- and fourth-years, students learn to create their own comics and, in the process, gain insights into the different vantages from which to see and understand real-life situations. Perhaps most importantly, they learn to practice effective storytelling.“When you become a doctor, you train really hard to learn another vocabulary and it really is almost like its own language,” says Dr. Schwartz. “You become so well-versed in it that you can forget that you’re speaking it and words that are common to you might be confusing jargon to the person you’re speaking with.” Making comics, he explains, can help to prevent these types of scenarios, and engender mindfulness.Efforts to better communicate with patients also drive much of Dr. Flanagan’s Impressionism course. One particularly original exercise sees students partner up to paint. One student is given a postcard with a famous Impressionist painting on it, while the other student, who cannot see the card, stands at a canvas with a paintbrush in hand, and must ask their partner questions about the painting in order to reproduce it. “The painter becomes like the physician who’s taking a history and trying to get information from the patient,” Dr. Flanagan says. “They experience firsthand how much easier it is to gain information when you ask open-ended questions, when you stop and let that patient tell their story.” At many schools, programming around the arts is also happening outside of the classroom. Yale has its Medical Humanities & the Arts Council, which promotes interaction among the medical school and other schools at the university, while also supporting student-run organizations and events—like Rock’s art tour and a series of drawing sessions started by one of his classmates, Sue Xiao.Yale med student Nientara Anderson says her involvement in an on-campus interdisciplinary group and other artists initiatives has helped widen her perspective on important issues—perspective that will ultimately make her a better doctor.“I noticed in my first year of medical school that we were talking about things like race, mental health, sexuality, and we weren’t really reaching outside of medicine and asking people who really study these things,” Anderson says. “I see art as a way, especially art in medicine, to bring in outside expertise.” Rock agrees, stressing that a sense of “criticality, more than anything, is what I would hope that the arts and the humanities bring to the medical profession.” He points to incidents of unconscious bias, where preconceived notions about things like how a certain disease presents or where an individual lives can negatively affect a doctor’s decision making. “There are a lot of apparent assumptions in Western society that can be extremely problematic and very dangerous when aligned with the power that a physician has in the clinic, operating room, or emergency department,” he adds.Dr. Taylor notes that at Columbia, students are similarly receptive to taking humanities courses. “The application to medicine is very obvious, we don’t have to tell our medical students why they’re doing this,” she says. And visual art, it seems, has a special role to play.Dr. Schwartz suggests that visual art is somewhat unique in what it can offer to medical professionals. “For me, the greatest asset with visual art in particular, when it comes to teaching medical students, is just that it gently takes us out of our comfort zone,” he says. “It gives us a great opportunity to have these stop and think moments.” Doctor or not, we could all stand to have more moments to stop and think. editorial by artsy writer:  Casey Lesser

Come visit us in lovely downtown Grand Haven.


Handmade Art & Gifts

104 Washington Street
Grand Haven, MI 49417
Cyndi Casemier, Owner

Spring Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 10am - 6pm
Sundays: Noon - 5pm
First Fridays: 10am - 8pm

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C2C Gallery | C2C....Art For Your Everyday Life