Welcome to the February issue of
Off the Easel
Thank you to everyone for sharing in my artistic journey through your subscription to this newsletter. A warm welcome to all new subscribers this month!
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In this issue:
The Creative Genius of David Bowie. My husband and I were both really shaken by the recent passing of one of our favorite musicians, David Bowie. In honor of his legacy, I felt compelled to share an artist's perspective on the importance of his potent creativity.
Who won the race? Did you vote for Rabbit or Turtle to be featured on my next greeting card? Find out the exciting final results below!
Highlights from the recent reception. Luckily the winter weather abated in time for the reception on January 26 to take place as scheduled. Read the lowdown below.
New page on my website. Read the details below to learn what has been added, and then please visit my site to see the progress for yourself!
The 10-for-9 Lessons Special is back! For a limited time, my 10-for-9 Lessons Special is back! Apologies to anyone who tried to email me to take advantage of this offer during the time period when -- unbeknownst to me -- my web-based email was down! Read further details below.
I hope you enjoy the February issue of Off the Easel. My deep appreciation to everyone for your continued interest and support of my work.
All the best,
Don't forget -- my studio will not be open for further Downtown Art District Association First Friday Gallery Hops until later in 2016.
The Race. It was quite a spellbinding competition throughout the month of January between the fabled adversaries, Rabbit and Turtle. As it turns out, Turtle is actually the sprinter of the two contestants, while Rabbit is the patient endurance runner.
When my January newsletter was posted to Twitter, I also launched a 24 hour poll for #RabbitRacesTurtle. Turtle took this first leg of the race, garnering 55% of the votes. However, for the remainder of the month, Rabbit fans took to my blog to cast their votes via comments.
In the end, Turtle couldn't maintain his initial lead even with some additional votes, and his long-eared friend overtook him. Rabbit won by more than a "hare" with a final total of 61% of the votes.
I deeply appreciated the various thoughtful comments I received about both works. Several people remarked that they liked both paintings, and found the decision to be a difficult one. Much appreciation to all those who voted!
If you missed the blog post, you may read the stories behind these two works as well as visitors' comments on my blog page of my website.
Rabbit may now hop up to claim his prize. I will have the winning painting printed as a greeting card and available in time for the next Spring Subscribers' Studio Soirée (date to be announced).
Turtle fans need not despair -- he may be slower to arrive, but eventually I will have greeting cards printed of this painting as well.
And Rabbit fans, you don't have to wait until the next Soirée for your chance to count invisible rabbits in your own home. Giclee reproductions are currently available of this painting at a variety of sizes and price points. Please check the shopping cart page of my website for details! You may also view information on existing greeting card designs there.
Above: Invisible rabbit detail,
Manifestation of Rabbit
Below: Manifestation of Rabbit
oil on linen, 30" x 36"
© 2007 Amy Funderburk, All Rights Reserved
Standing stone on Cnoc Áine,
Knockainy, Co Limerick, Republic of Ireland
We were fortunate that the recent East Coast snow storm melted sufficiently to allow the Absolutely Art reception to be held as scheduled on January 26th!
I was delighted to be one of nine artists selected to participate in this spring group exhibition at the Mendenhall Administration Building on the campus of Davidson County Community College in Lexington, NC. Around 50 visitors attended the reception, and it was a pleasure to meet some of my fellow artists.
Miss the reception? The exhibition will run through May 13, 2016. I have also updated my Upcoming Events page to include enlargeable thumbnails of all my works included in this exhibition. Above, you can see me from the night of the reception with three of the archival pigment prints selected for the exhibit.
In the photograph accompanying the article It's Baaaack!, you can get a sense of now much snow we received here over the weekend prior to the reception.
Above, left to right:
Double Rainbow Over Loch Ness, © 2013
Beech Tree of Camelot, © 2012
Waxing of the Moon, Waning of the Holy Thorn, © 2012
Each archival pigment print 12" x 18"
framed to 26" x 21" (horizontal) or 27" x 20" (vertical)
New Page on my Website
If you have been a subscriber for awhile, in past issues you have seen photographs of certain new works in progress. To give you a better look via larger images, I have created a new page on my website.
If you would like to view the evolution of my new pieces, I invite you to share in my art practice by visiting On the Easel: works in progress. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my creative process. I will be adding updated images as they are available, such as the detail above of the three most recent hot coals in Blue Moon Fire Spiral.
Above image: Detail, Blue Moon Fire Spiral, in progress; January 27, 2016
interactive meditative drawing
watercolor pencil on paper with burned edges
17" x 13 1/8"
© Amy Funderburk 2016 All Rights Reserved
10-for-9 Art Lessons Special extended
Ah, the joys of website construction.
Unbeknownst to me, the web-based email associated with both my newsletter and website was down for two months following the initial transition from the old version of my website to the new one! My apologies to anyone who tried to email me during this time period to take advantage of this offer.
As a result, I am extending the 10-for-9 Art Lessons Special for the months of February and March. Through March 31st, if you prepay for 9 lessons to take place between now and December 31st, 2016, you'll receive a 10th bonus lesson! Please read on for further details.
Thanks to Chris Williams for alerting me to this email issue!
10-for-9 Art Lessons Special: Between now and March 31st, if you purchase nine lessons, critiques,1 or tailored art marketing sessions of at least two hours per lesson at my regular rate of $35 USD per hour, you'll get a tenth two-hour lesson or session for free! I welcome artists of all skill levels, as well as those working in a variety of media.
As long as you prepay for the bundle of lessons by March 31st, they don't have to all take place between now and then -- you have until December 31st to take advantage of all your lessons.
Email me today to schedule your lessons or for more information. If you aren't local, I can provide critiques,1 via your website and marketing materials, and we can conduct the session via Skype. Contact me for more information.
1 Critiques that take place in my downtown studio or via Skype may qualify for a minimum of nine one-hour sessions. With the purchase of nine such critiques, you will be awarded a tenth one-hour session.
Due to the set up and clean up times involved, a two-hour minimum is required for hands-on lessons to qualify for the 10-for-9 Art Lessons Special.
Above: Sunset at Salem Lake in the Snow
digital color photograph
January 24, 2016
© Amy Funderburk 2016 All Rights Reserved
Winston-Salem, NC, US
Loving the Alien:
An artist’s perspective on the creative genius of David Bowie
Knowledge comes with Death’s release…
I'm not a prophet or a stone-age man
Just a mortal with the potential of a superman
I'm living on
Quicksand, Hunky Dory (1971)
On Friday, January 8th, we celebrated David Bowie’s 69th birthday and the release of his new album, Blackstar.
At 2 AM the following Monday morning, tremendous shock tried its best to cushion my sorrow as I read the news that slowly sunk into my awareness as unbelievable truth. David Bowie had passed away on Sunday, January 10th.
"You know who I am," he said
The speaker was an angel
He coughed and shook his crumpled wings
Closed his eyes and moved his lips
"It's time we should be going"
Look Back in Anger, Lodger (1979)
I was surprised at the strength of my grief; it felt as though a long-time friend had died. Memories of how his music had affected me in both direct and subtle ways kept floating to the surface.
I realized that, since my first David Bowie memory in high school of Let’s Dance, his music was part of the soundtrack of my life.
In college, I took it upon myself to further my David Bowie education. Unlike many bands that I was introduced to by other music-loving friends, I am proud that I purposefully sought out more Bowie, and devoured every album that I came across.
One good look at my artwork and you might rightly guess that I like drama and romance in my music as well as the visual arts. Bowie offered all this and more in spades, and his creative methods are still excellent examples for artists of any discipline who quest for greater lateral thinking.
Turn and face the strange. For me, a scene from Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: The Motion Picture 1 epitomizes Bowie in his role as an uplifting flag bearer for all the black sheep, creatives, the disenfranchised, and all the rest of us who never felt as though we ran with the pack of normality.
Bowie’s arm is first outstretched to the crowd, and then he reaches for their hands in the front row. As the song rises to a nearly operatic crescendo, his voice soaring over Mick Ronson’s wailing guitar, Bowie’s famous alter ego plaintively cries:
“You’re not alone! Gimme your hands, ‘cause you’re wonderful!”
Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
As artist Paul Watson (@lazcorp) from Brighton, UK, puts it, Bowie was “the champion of the weirdo and the outsider.” For the artists who grew up feeling like square pegs that someone was trying to force into round holes, Bowie songs naturally became like rallying cries.
Turn and face the strange
Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it
Changes, Hunky Dory (1971)
“Relentless creativity.” The musician’s influence on other performers is well documented, but as one of my friends in the UK (@thesweetcheat) beautifully describes, “…(Bowie) was always there as a huge influence on all the musicians I like, a major part of that big continuum of inspiration, so his passing felt unthinkable.”
Not limiting himself to just the music arena, Bowie impacted a host of creative realms, including film, fashion, theater, and other genres. He was also a painter and visual artist who worked in a variety of media. After writing a song about pop artist Andy Warhol (the artist reportedly walked off when Bowie first played it for him), Bowie went on to play the mop-wigged icon in a film about another American artist, Basquiat, 1996.
As a musician, Bowie courageously stretched himself time and again creatively, famously reinventing himself as various personas, and blowing the doors off of societal gender mores in the process.
He was a remarkably prolific recording artist; the exact number of albums listed in his discography varies depending on the source and what reissues, movie soundtracks, and various greatest hits are included. A friend reported that in the days immediately following Bowie’s passing, all of his CDs were sold out on Amazon.com, and some titles still are. Since his death, I have been going through our own collection, and am nowhere near completing my chronological review.
Paul eloquently describes Bowie’s “fearless creativity and his ability to change direction and style, seemingly without missing a step” in this way:
“His relentless creativity and agility are inspirations on my whole artistic process. It’s good to master an art form or technique, and Bowie undeniably did this many times, but he also made sure he was never enslaved to (them). He’d take something, voraciously absorb and learn it, and then – shunning any notions of purism or preciousness – radically change it or combine it with something very different to create something new.”
One of my very favorite methods employed by Bowie to this end was his use of a Dadaist technique to create certain lyrics. He would take lines from diaries and other varied sources, cut them up, and then rearrange them in new, and often surprising, combinations.
Paul also cites Bowie’s frequent collaboration with others as one of his routes to arrive at the new. One of those collaborators was musician Brian Eno, who worked with Bowie on the so-called Berlin Trilogy of albums Low, “Heroes”, and Lodger from 1977 to 1979.
In 1975, Eno and his friend, British painter Peter Schmidt, created a deck of cards they called Oblique Strategies. Each card contained a suggestion designed to prod creativity. This exciting tool for lateral thinking was used by Eno on the Berlin Trilogy of Bowie albums. Examples of these cards can be found online.2
A New York perspective. My friend, artist and photographer Gina Fuentes Walker (@gfuenteswalker)3, is a longtime New Yorker. She shares her favorite memory of David Bowie, a New Yorker himself for over 20 years, as he performed at The Concert for New York City at Madison Square Garden in 2001.
Held a month after the World Trade Center towers fell during 9/11, the concert was organized to honor fallen firefighters and other first responders. In his performance, Bowie both expressed and engendered a feeling of solidarity with other New Yorkers:
“He called out to his local ladder (our neighborhood fire department stations) and sang Simon and Garfunkel's America. Listening to that performance again in the days following Bowie's death reminded me how raw we all felt here in the city as we tried to make sense of what happened and as we wore profound sadness on our faces.”
Gina goes on to describe Bowie’s uncanny ability to make you feel that you belonged....
1 Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: The Motion Picture was released in 1983 from a concert filmed in 1973.
2 Much appreciation to Paul Watson for alerting me to Oblique Strategies. To order the current 5th edition, visit Brian Eno’s website.
3 You can check out Gina Fuentes Walker’s work by visiting www.ginafuenteswalker.com.
Above: David Bowie
fan art, gouache on paper, 3" x 4"
© Amy Funderburk circa 1985-1988, All Rights Reserved
Above: David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust
fan art, markers on paper, 3" x 4"
© Amy Funderburk circa 1985-1988, All Rights Reserved