Tuesday, September 30, 2008

KENTUCK Festival of the Arts

I spoke with the Executive Director of KENTUCK today and was informed that I have been accepted to participate in KENTUCK. The KENTUCK Festival is the mother of all juried art festivals (in my mind)!

I have lived and breathed KENTUCK since I arrived in Alabama ten years ago. It is the south and all things southern. The art, the food, the music. Everything about it speaks to me. I haven't missed a festival since 1997.

So much to do; so little time.
Hope to see 'yall there.
Bring a smile and good weather!

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Monday, September 29, 2008

The 45 Annual Bluff Park Art Show is Five Days Away!

Once, again, I'd like to extend an invitation to each of you to visit me at the 45th Annual Bluff Park Art Show on Saturday, October 4, 2008. Sorry, I don't have a booth number yet, but maps will be distributed on site. So come on out and enjoy fantastic art and great weather! Here's a link for more information.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Staging my "Studio"

I was running around like a crazy woman last week. I received a call from a Birmingham News reporter who asked if she could take photos of me in my "studio." Studio??!! What??!! I work all over my house, whenever I want to; however I want to. . . in the kitchen; on the dining room table; sitting in the den on the floor, etc. However, it was a reasonable request and I didn't hesitate to say "yes." The reporter and I negotiated a time and a day. Lord, Lord. I haven't moved so many sketch pads, books, papers and miscellaneous supplies at one time in my life. So much stuff; so little time. And I mean STUFF! Two-thirds of it should have been tossed out weeks ago (if not months)! It took me a couple of evenings but I was able to pull it together.

The photographs were taken (groan) and I cringed when the photographer allowed me to see the results of her effort in the preview window on the digital camera. (double-groan) Whatever. It's about the art, right? It's not about the wrinkles and puffy places that won't disappear even when you suck in and hold your breath 'til the cows come home. I give up. I'm usually good for one shot, maybe two on a good day. But by the fifth or sixth pose, I just couldn't suck it all in and hold my breath another second. The puffy places contracted and then fell into their natural state. It is what it is.

My "studio" is wonderful. See the picture? I had just started to make some decisions about what was in, what had to go, when I snapped this. I took this picture, of one corner of the room, to get a feel for what the photographer might see through her lens. I have a lot of whimsical things that I surround myself with in my studio. Most are thrift shop finds. Toys from the '30s and '40s are my favorite items along with my flour sack quilts. I removed them, initially, then decided to bring them back into the room because, well, because I like them.

It is what it is.

A Sunday Morning Surprise!

My usual habit is to read the morning paper, very early, and then move on with the day. About mid-afternoon I jump on the computer to check messages, read my daughter's blog MAKE IT and surf the web. However, this morning I simply skimmed the paper. I made a point of checking to see if Desperate Housewives was coming on tonight to start the new season and then I put the paper down thinking that I'd get back to it later in the day.

When I started checking my email messages I saw a subject line which read: COVER GIRL. It had been sent by a patron of mine (we'll call him PAT). His message read as follows: "Your work is on the cover of Play in The Birmingham News this morning. Congratulations!" My teeth fell out of my mouth! How did I miss that???!!! I was so excited that I ripped thru the house to find the PLAY section of The Birmingham News and on the cover was, indeed, my work promoting the upcoming Bluff Park Art Show which will be held on Saturday, October 4th. This image (shown above) is the lino print that is displayed, in part, on the cover of PLAY, The Birmingham News, Sunday, September 28, 2008. Better yet, you can see how beautifully my linoleum print compliments the blog column written by Michael Huebner who is the fine arts writer and classical music critic for The Birmingham News.

Kudos to PAT. I know that he's working his magic behind the scene and I'm grateful for his support and for his confidence in me.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Gift to Myself: CHARLEY HARPER An Illustrated Life

I have wanted this book forever!
CHARLIE HARPER: An Illustrated Life.
And now it's mine! MINE!

It's large and VERY heavy! The packaging is just as beautiful as the book itself. I ordered the book through Amazon. I'd seen it posted on other sites (used) costing far more than what I paid for it on Amazon (new). What a lucky break! The end papers are so colorful and so grand. Don't you think so?

This morning, I saw this post written in The Birmingham News by Michael Huebner, fine arts writer and classical music critic: CAGB AWARDS ARTISTS' GRANTS TO EIGHT PROFESSIONALS

Next week, the clock will start ticking on my one year quest to complete my proposal.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

ARTWALK 2008 Birmingham, Alabama

I had a wonderful two days participating in the Birmingham ARTWALK 2008 art festival which was held on Friday, September 5th and Saturday, September 6th. I had a great location and a perfect host H. B. Brantley, president and founder of Brantley Visioneering. I shared space with two other artists, Ken Turk a glass artist from South Carolina and local personality and filmmaker/photographer Leo Ticheli.

The best part of any art festival, for me, is meeting new friends and seeing old faces. A few of my coworkers dropped by and I had an opportunity to meet the new President and CEO of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham Buddy Palmer.

My third place award was a wonderful surprise. If you look closely you can see it hanging at the top right side of the panel. I received a monetary award along with the ribbon. I sold quite a few prints but found myself constantly arranging and rearranging the prints as I pulled them off of the wall(s) to show to patrons who wanted a closer look at them. It was a bit awkward. I'll have to find another way to handle this.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham 2008 GIA Award Winner

I'm pleased to announce that I am one (of eight) individuals who has been selected to receive a 2008 Grants to Individual Artists (GIA) funding award. There were two teams. My $5000 grant is awarded in the name of a GIA donor Mrs. Gloria Narramore Moody. 61 proposals were presented to the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham team; 60 proposals were reviewed.

A summary of all of the Grants to Individual Artists Awards can be read here. My project is to "create a series of linoleum block relief prints documenting the migration of an African-American sharecropper family from Alabama's Black Belt region to the industrial city of Birmingham and settling in the company town of Sloss Furnaces."

My proposal has a number of components. In addition to creating the lino block prints, I will document my one year process digitally, publish the prints, exhibit the prints, take a caste iron class at Sloss Furnaces, collaborate with Sloss Furnaces to create a caste iron panel of one of the blocks, teach the linoleum block printing process to a select group of children (possibly students in the Birmingham City Schools) and finally to exhibit the entire series of prints. If you would like to read my entire proposal email me at: debra.riffe@gmail.com make your request and I'll mail a hard copy via USPS to your mailing address.

Kudos to all of the talented artists who participated in the process and congratulations to the 2008 GIA Grantees.

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