It's Soirée time! Please plan to join us on Sunday, June 5th, from 2:00 to 5:00 PM!

In this June issue of Amy Funderburk's newsletter, Off the Easel, you will find details about this year's Subscribers' Studio Soirée, an exclusive annual event open only to newsletter subscribers. Read on for more information on the fabulous raffle prizes you can win just for attending.

Also in this issue:
  • My feature article, Art's Purpose
  • A new greeting card will be ready for the Soirée!
  • Flotsam and Jetsam: I will not be open for the Downtown Art District Association's Gallery Hop on Friday, June 3rd, and other various news
Read on for all this and more!

Welcome to the June issue of
Off the Easel


The Subscribers'
Studio Soirée

Sunday June 5, from 2 PM to 5 PM

An exclusive open studio event only for
newsletter subscribers

Including a raffle for those in attendance
and storytelling by special guest James C. Williams

Please RSVP by Friday, June 3rd

  • If you are seeing this newsletter on Twitter, please subscribe and have it sent conveniently to your inbox each month! Subscribers will receive an invitation to attend the exclusive Subscribers' Studio Soirée, so this is the perfect time to get on board.

It's time for the SoiréeA very warm welcome to new subscribers, and thanks so much to everyone for your continued interest and support of my work. To express my thanks for your subscription to my newsletter and for your support of my artwork, on Sunday, June 5th, from 2 PM to 5 PM, I am hosting the exclusive Spring Subscribers' Studio Soirée at my Artists On Liberty Studio. 

There will be a raffle for those in attendance, including a special Grand Prize for eligible patrons, so I hope you will be able to attend and perhaps win one of several prizes. Light refreshments will be served. Complete details are included in the article below.

Please RSVP by the extended date of Friday, June 3rd. 
Also in this issue:

Art's Purpose. In my feature article this month, I discuss longevity and ask: what is the most important purpose of art?

New greeting card available. Since Rabbit won the race last January, my painting Manifestation of Rabbit will be available as a greeting card at the Soirée. More details below!

Flotsam and Jetsam. Read on for various news. Please note I will not have my Artists' On Liberty studio open for the The Downtown Art District Association First Friday Gallery Hops on June 3rd or July 1st. Please stay tuned to future newsletters to learn when I may next be participating.

I hope you enjoy the June issue of Off the Easel. I look forward to seeing you at the Spring Subscribers' Studio Soirée! Please be sure to RSVP by Friday, June 3rd.

All the best,

Details and Special Guest

In appreciation for your support of my work through your subscription to this newsletter, on Sunday June 5th from 2 PM to 5 PM, I will host the third annual Spring Subscribers' Studio Soirée. This exclusive event will be open only to newsletter subscribers.

When and Where. The Subscribers' Studio Soirée will be held Sunday, June 5th, from 2 PM to 5 PM at Studio #107, the Artists On Liberty Building, 521 North Liberty Street in downtown Winston-Salem, NC. 

Special Guest: James C. Williams. James C. Williams loves to tell stories with his photography, but he also follows in the treasured footsteps of the Irish seanchai
1 as a storytelling enthusiast.

You all know Jimmy from attending previous open studio events, but you are in for a real treat at this Soirée as he shares spine-tingling stories of both personal experiences and folktales from some of the special places we have visited, including some NC locations. 

Building on a background in film and video production, Jimmy became a photographer after traveling in Ireland and becoming inspired by the work of Sir Simon Marsden, who became a friend and mentor. He has exhibited locally and internationally for twelve years and has won numerous awards, including a Regional Artist Project Grant from the The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, NC.

Jimmy's large archive of fine art images is primarily made up of black and white landscapes shot on infrared film.

“My choice of subjects reflects my tastes: I enjoy dramatic imagery and art of all kinds,” shares the photographer. “I appreciate stories, legends and myths as well as history, and find that the more colorful a region is for stories, the more interesting the people and landscape of that region are. A more recent fascination with medieval churches grew from my interests in decorative art found in medieval cemeteries and churchyards.”

Ever evolving in his field, Jimmy has recently expanded his subject matter to include portraits. He is active in the community, shooting for Twin City Stage as well as numerous other events in and around Winston-Salem.

Other Special Events. The following treats and more will only be available for Soirée guests, and have not been available during any of the Gallery Hops:
  • See the story locations come alive. Jimmy and I will be displaying photographs and artwork in other media depicting some of the locations featured in the stories he will share.
  • Art-efacts. Exclusively for Soirée attendees, a few works from my college days and earlier will be on view.
  • Make your vote count! Once it is completed, how should I frame Fictitious Pictish Standing Stone? If you've been to my studio, you've seen this large charcoal rubbing drawing in progress. 

    The actual stone sits at an angle reminiscent of the center of a sundial. In order to make the subject matter as large as possible in my rubbing drawing, I had to turn the stone as if it stands straight, balanced on a pointed end.

    I have several ideas as to how to orient the stone when I frame it, so cast your vote in my poll.
  • Plant giveaway and swap. While supplies last, I will have extras of certain plants available for interested Soirée attendees. If you are also an avid gardener, feel free to bring plants to trade!
And more! 
  • The Continuous Spiral. Participate in my current interactive drawing! The Continuous Spiral is the third piece in this series of meditative drawings. Come trace the labyrinth to feel centered and relaxed!

    You will also see my current progress on the first drawing in this series, Blue Moon Fire Spiral, when you visit during the Soirée.
  • An Animal Scavenger Hunt for children of all ages! No matter what your numeric age, have fun hunting for the various animals I've depicted in my artwork. This has been very popular with young visitors! 

Parking. The Artists On Liberty building is located at 521 North Liberty Street in downtown Winston-Salem, NC, between 6th and 5th Streets -- please refer to the photograph of the building below the Soirée Raffle Details article. 

In addition to free on-street parking on Liberty, parking is also available nearby at the Liberty Street parking deck between 5th and 4th, as well as on Main Street just behind the Artists On Liberty building. Look for a sign out front with balloons. 

We look forward to seeing you at the Spring Subscriber's Studio Soirée! Please RSVP by the extended date of Friday June 3rd.

1. Seanchai or seanachai in Old Irish means a “bearer of old lore.” They are traditional Irish historians and storytellers, a reminder that the Celts maintained an oral tradition rather than a written history. (Pronounced shahn ah key,with a gutteral sound on the CH.) 

Above: The Storyteller (detail)
Photographer and storyteller James C. Williams
© 2015 James C. Williams
All Rights Reserved

Soirée Raffle Details

Raffle: Attend to Win! There are some fantastic prizes for you to have a chance to win just for attending -- no purchase is necessary. The raffle drawing will be held at 4 PM, and you do need to be present to win. 

Each newsletter subscriber attending the Soirée will receive one raffle ticket for a chance to win one of the following four prizes: 
Back by popular demand! I am thrilled that Mooney’s is once again offering these fantastic raffle prizes to my newsletter subscribers.

This is one of our favorite restaurants, and for good reason. Mooney's superb quality Lebanese food is prepared with beautiful simplicity. The enthusiasm and care taken in the kitchen is evident: the hummus, falafel, sides, sauces, and dishes are handcrafted on location, and the falafel is always freshly fried to order.

Mooney's is conveniently located on the corner of 4th and Liberty, so when you visit to redeem your gift certificate, you may see us there. In addition to the falafel and hummus, I highly recommend the tempeh, fried cauliflower, fettoush, and lentil soup! 
  • A One-Hour Massage with Catherine Moses. 
Like art, massage is a necessity not a luxury! The winner will receive a relaxing one-hour massage with licensed massage therapist Catherine Moses, LMBT #1594. 

Catherine has been a licensed massage therapist and bodyworker for 16 years. She combines her love of anatomy from her background in art and sports with her ongoing knowledge of massage and energy work into a therapeutic and beneficial session.

Catherine offers a variety of modalities, including Swedish, Sports, Deep Tissue, Cupping, and Tuning Forks with Reiki and Energy Work. Trust me, you’ll literally be in great hands!
The winner will receive one photography session for a promotional head shot or portrait of one model. During this session, Jimmy will produce between three to five images for you to use as you wish, such as for social media or other personal use.

Also our Special Guest at this year's Soirée, Jimmy has been a photographer for twelve years, and is available to provide for all of your photographic needs. While you may know him for his fine art landscapes, Jimmy is also a very skilled portrait photographer. Be sure to visit his new website to see examples of what he is now offering. 

Thank you so much, Mooney, Catherine, and Jimmy for offering such fantastic raffle prizes! 

Increase your chances of winning! As a newsletter subscriber, you get one raffle ticket for the above prizes just for attending, but you can receive additional raffle tickets by doing one or more of the following: 

• If you bring a guest to the Soirée who signs up for my mailing list during the event, you will get one additional raffle ticket per guest who subscribes. 

• If you forward a copy of this newsletter to a friend prior to the Soirée and that person subscribes to my newsletter, you will get one additional raffle ticket for each new subscriber. (To get the credit, simply have your friends list you as the reason they learned about my artwork when they subscribe.)

• If you are a Twitter follower and you subscribe to my newsletter between May 6th and June 4th, you will get one additional raffle ticket. Simply mention that you are subscribing as a Twitter follower on 
the subscription form. Please note that you do have to be present during the drawing to win.

• If you are a current newsletter subscriber and you start following me on Twitter between May 6th and June 4th, you will get one additional raffle ticket. Simply send me an @ mention when you follow me to say that you are a newsletter subscriber.

Grand Prize. 
If you are a qualifying Soirée attendee, you could win an artist's proof of the giclée reproduction of my painting Lakes of Killarney (Michael's View)!

This giclée reproduction is printed on archival rag watercolor paper with archival inks. The only work from the Aisling: an Artist's Vision of Ireland series to be published as a giclée, the original private commission is an oil on linen, 15" x 29".

The image area of the artist's proof is 4 1/2" x 9", and I will be happy to sign and personalize it for the winner. An extremely limited number of these artist's proofs exist, and they are not currently offered for sale.
The final version of both this reproduction as well as the giclée of Manifestation of Rabbit are both
available for purchase in three sizes, each printed in limited editions of 100.

• Eligibility. Between May 6th and during the Soirée, patrons who purchase one of my original artworks, a five-pack of my greeting cards (or a minimum of five individual cards), order a giclée reproduction, or schedule a private lesson or critique will also be eligible to win the Grand Prize.

Check my website to view some of my available artworks, or email me to schedule a private studio visit to see more options. 

Patrons will also increase their chances to win the list of first tier prizes above by earning between one and ten additional raffle tickets depending on their level of purchase. (Private lessons or critiques must be for a minimum of two hours, and must take place between June 27, 2016 and December 31, 2016. Please 
email me for rates and further information.) 

Above: Our fabulous Soirée raffle box
by Chris Williams of Creations by Chris

Above: Lakes of Killarney
(Michael's View)

oil on linen, 15" x 29"
© 2008-09 Amy Funderburk
All Rights Reserved
Lakes of Killarney, Co Kerry, Republic of Ireland
Private Commission

If you are a qualifying 
Soirée attendee, you could win an artist's proof of the giclée reproduction of this painting!
The Artists On Liberty Building 
521 North Liberty Street
between 6th and 5th Streets
Winston-Salem, NC 

See you at the Soirée!

The Finish Line:
New Greeting Card

Manifestation of Rabbit. Your votes were tallied after Rabbit raced Turtle last January, and Rabbit came out the victor! As of the Soirée on June 5th, I will have greeting cards of my oil painting Manifestation of Rabbit available for sale.

If you voted for Turtle, don't worry -- a greeting card for Turtle's Progress will be made available soon.

To insure the highest quality reproduction of my paintings, I use archival inks printed on a matte version of the same quality Red River paper that I use for my photographs. Photographer and Soirée Special Guest James C. Williams skillfully matched the colors as accurately as possible to the original painting.  

Like my other greeting cards, including the oil painting Savasana -- The Release and my two photographic collections, The Trees of England and Cornwall and The Loch Ness Sunrise Suite, these cards will be blank inside, making them ideal for any purpose. I also sign each card in acid free ink, making them suitable for framing. 

My five-pack collections include one card of each design along with envelopes; single cards and Artist's Proofs are also available. To see the other works that are available as greeting cards, please visit 
my website. Email me today to place your order!

If you would like a larger version of Manifestation of Rabbit, don't forget that it is also available as a giclée reproduction in three sizes.

Remember, those who attend the June 5th Soirée and make a minimum purchase of a five-pack greeting card collection (or five separate cards) will be eligible for the Grand Prize raffle prize drawing! See the article Soirée Raffle Details for additional information.

Thanks to those who have voiced such a strong interest in this painting. I deeply appreciate your support.

Above: 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

Art's Purpose 

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle
I often engage in fruitful philosophical discussions about art with my sister, poet Julie Funderburk. During the course of one recent conversation, she wrote: 

Art's most important purpose isn't about permanence, is it?

Depending on environmental conditions and the techniques or materials used, the ravages of time can take its toll on even the greatest of the Old Masters. Examples like Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper illustrate this all too well. Painted in the late 15th century, unfortunately the mural has suffered extensive deterioration – yet it remains one of the world's most iconic works of art.
“A beautiful body perishes, but a work of art dies not.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Perhaps in unfortunate cases like The Last Supper, we can consider the ephemeral “beautiful body” that da Vinci speaks of to be fragile substrate and pigment, while the true work of art is the artist’s surviving conceptual idea.
I could list several other cautionary tales of artists whose works typically suffer from deterioration. Mark Rothko used unbound pigments to create luminosity in his oils. Albert Pinkham Ryder’s paintings, due to the artist’s careless use of his materials, are notoriously unstable.
“It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism.” – Mark Rothko
Rembrandt, on the other hand, is considered a conservator’s hero. It was long assumed that he must have used a complex painting medium to achieve his effects. As it turns out, his secrets were simply linseed oil and great technique.1

How does one balance an artist's drive for creativity and innovation with doing one's best to foster longevity via the materials and methods employed? 

I think the first answer to this question may lie in the intention for the work.
Artist Andy Goldsworthy masterfully uses natural materials such as stone, leaves, and ice, but the way time and elemental forces evolve or disintegrate his elegant works is just as important an element in his creations as the physical components.2
Tibetan Buddhist monks fashion intricate sculptures out of butter as offerings. Their colorful sand mandalas are created and then ritually destroyed. 
The purpose of creating the sand mandala is to engender healing and enlightenment. Through its ritualized destruction, the monks then illustrate the Buddhist concept of impermanence.

As an artist who cherishes the ideal of greatest longevity for my work, I purposefully explored the liberating idea of impermanence during the creation of The Wishing Tree installation. Though my team and I coated the pieces of bark with wood preserver, I know the materials will eventually biodegrade. From the inception of the project, I planned to burn the wishes that visitors tie to the removable branches. The ultimate purpose of the installation is community interaction.
Yet despite my initial impulse to explore impermanence, once I had the idea to use the resulting charcoal and ash as a drawing medium to illustrate the participants’ wish categories, I tested the materials for durability prior to making a mark on the first drawing.

I was delighted to find that, once sprayed with a workable fixative, the homemade charcoal and ash seem much more permanent than traditional vine or compressed charcoal.
While artists cannot control future environmental conditions or how a buyer may handle one of our works, if we do due diligence by researching, networking, and experimenting before using new materials, we are doing the best we can to insure longevity.
If you agree with my sister’s point that art's most important purpose is not about permanence, however, what do you feel is the primary raison d'etre of my field?

When I asked Julie, she replied:

"Art affects and reflects what is human."

When she said this, I immediately thought of the title of an old art book: Man Creates Art Creates Man.
Despite the gender-specific title, the concept expressed is the same as my sister’s statement.

"Art, like life itself, does not have to be defined or understood to be enjoyed. It must simply be received," author Duane Preble states.
4 "Above all, works of art reflect us."5
I agree with Julie's definition. Artists reflect what we – or sometimes our patrons – consider important. We chronicle our environment and what is happening around us in society, politics, or religion.
As Pablo Picasso said,
“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
How would you answer the question, “What is art’s most important purpose?”

Please visit my blog and leave a comment with your answer.

Julie Funderburk is the recipient of a 2015 North Carolina Arts Council fellowship. LSU Press will publish her first book, The Door That Always Opens, in December of this year. Her poems appear in 32 Poems, The Cincinnati Review, and Ploughshares. Her chapbook Thoughts to Fold into Birds is available from Unicorn Press. She teaches at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina.

1. Virgil Elliott, Traditional Oil Painting: Advanced Techniques and Concepts from the Renaissance to the Present. (New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2007), 98.
In this book, Elliott includes a thorough and enlightening section on Rembrandt’s painting techniques.

2. Andy Goldsworthy, Time. (New York: Abrams, 2000)

3. There are a lot of resources available to artists if you have questions about your art materials, though you may find conflicting information. Art making is sometimes subjective like art itself.
Start by contacting the manufacturer of your materials for one of the very best sources of information. Leading manufacturers conduct rigorous testing of their products. The various technical support representatives with whom I have spoken have all been very thorough and helpful. Networking with other artists who use the same materials is also invaluable.
New technology and conservation discoveries are expanding our field rapidly, so even certain information published a few years ago could now stand to be updated. As a good starting point, however, I highly recommend the following book:
Mark David Gottsegen, The Painter’s Handbook. (New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2006)

4. Duane Preble, Man Creates Art Creates Man. (McCutchan Publishing Corporation, 1973) 5.

5. Preble, Man Creates Art Creates Man, 7.

Above: The Wishing Tree
mixed media interactive installation

Dimensions variable; 11'H x  12'W x 8'D as installed at the Mary Davis Holt Gallery, Fine Art Center, Salem College, Winston-Salem, NC

© 2012 Amy Funderburk All Rights Reserved
Created with the help of Funderburk's team of assistants. Clooties added by visitors.

materials include: 150+ year old tulip poplar wood and bark on locust limb central support post; plywood base with latex paint; Irish coins; selvage linen canvas clooties, cloth and paper clooties

Flotsam and Jetsam 

No Hopping. Remember, I will not have my Artists' On Liberty studio open for the The Downtown Art District Association First Friday Gallery Hops on June 3rd or July 1st. This is all the more reason to attend the June 5th Soirée!

Please stay tuned to future newsletters to learn when I may next be participating.

Father's Day. In many countries, Father's Day falls on Sunday, June 19th this year. The long list of those observing this celebration of fatherhood on this date include the US, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, the UK, France, and India. 

When remembering Dad with a special gift, what could be better than original artwork? I offer merchandise options at a variety of price points, including greeting cards mentioned in the article above, and giclée reproductions!  

Happy Summer! Happy Summer as it officially arrives here with the Summer Solstice on Monday, June 20th. The date and time will vary based on your precise location.

Website and Blog updates. Be sure to visit my website regularly to see updates, new work, and blog posts. 
Above: Ocean with Heavy Sky,
Topsail Island, NC

digital color photograph
© 2016 Amy Funderburk
All Rights Reserved
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Studio 107, Artists on Liberty Building
521 North Liberty Street, Winston-Salem, NC USA 27101

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