Welcome to the May issue of Amy Funderburk's newsletter, Off the Easel. 

In this issue:
  • Save the date -- the Subscribers' Studio Soirée is coming June 5th!
  • Join us Friday, May 6th for the Downtown Art District Association First Friday Gallery Hop
  • My feature article, Reconnecting with the Land
  • What's currently on the easel
  • Last week to see a group exhibit
Read on for all this and more!

Welcome to the May issue of
Off the Easel

A very warm welcome to this month's new subscribers! I am delighted to welcome friends this month from as far away as the Netherlands and the UK as well as those as close as my own city.

Thank you to all of you for your interest in my work, and for sharing in my artistic journey through your subscription to this newsletter.
  • 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.

In this issue:

Two Open Studio Events - save the dates! Mark your calendar now for my upcoming open studio events:
  • The Downtown Art District Association First Friday Gallery Hop on Friday May 6th, and
  • My annual Subscribers' Studio Soirée on June 5th. Please RSVP by Sunday May 29th to attend this exclusive event, open only to newsletter subscribers.
Please read on for further details!

Reconnecting with the Land. In my feature article this month, I share my artistic intentions for encouraging viewers to connect -- or reconnect -- with nature. 

Currently on the Easel. Take a look at how I am coming along with Blue Moon Fire Spiral. Be sure to attend one of my open studio events to see this and other works in progress for yourself!

Last Week for Exhibit. It's not to late to go see the group exhibition at Davidson County Community College -- read on for full details.
I hope you enjoy the May issue of Off the Easel. My deep appreciation to everyone for your continued interest and support of my work. 

All the best,

Spring Soirée and Raffle Details

On Sunday June 5th, I will host the third annual Spring Subscribers' Studio Soirée.

This exclusive event will be open only to newsletter subscribers in appreciation for your support of my work. If you are reading this newsletter via Twitter, be sure to subscribe today so you can attend!

When and Where. The Subscribers' Studio Soirée will be held Sunday, June 5th, from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM at Studio #107, the Artists On Liberty Building, 521 North Liberty Street in downtown Winston-Salem, NC. We are located between 6th and 5th Streets on Liberty Street. (See the photograph below.)

Special Guest. James C. Williams loves to tell stories with his photography, but he also follows in the treasured footsteps of the Irish seanchai1 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.

As one of our special Soirée events, we will play a slideshow of the locations Jimmy will be describing.

Other Special Events. Look for further details in the June newsletter, but we will definitely have several other special activities and items on display that you would not be able to experience during the Gallery Hops.

Raffle: Attend to Win! Complete raffle prize details will be in the June newsletter, but 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 4:00 PM, and you do need to be present to win. 

Each newsletter subscriber attending the Soir
ée will receive one raffle ticket for a chance to win one of the following: 

 One of two $25 Gift Certificates to Mooney's Mediterranean Café.  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 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!

A Photography Session with James C. Williams. 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.

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 just prior to the Soirée on 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 just prior to the Soirée on 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. The Soirée raffle will feature a fabulous Grand Prize that I will announce in my June newsletter, but it will have something to do with yours truly.

• 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.) 

We look forward to seeing you at this year’s Spring Subscriber's Studio Soirée! Please RSVP by Sunday May 29th.

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: Our fabulous Soiree raffle box
by Chris Williams of Creations by Chris

Payment methods. Please note that I have original works available at a variety of price points. Since I accept the new chip credit cards, including Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover, it is easier than ever to purchase that certain work you have had in mind.

I also offer a layaway plan for up to six months; please email me for additional information on any of these payment options.
Above: The Artists On Liberty Building

Last Chance to See Exhibit 

The spring group exhibition Absolutely Art is drawing to a close, but you still have a chance to see the show through May 13th.

I was delighted to be one of eight artists selected to participate in this exhibition at the Mendenhall Administration Building on the campus of Davidson County Community College in Lexington, NC. 

Included in the show is my archival pigment print, Loch Ness Sunrise with Light Nessie-Shaped Reflection, 9/27/12. To see which other works I have on display, please visit the Upcoming Events page on my website.
Above: Loch Ness Sunrise with Light Nessie-Shaped Reflection, 9/27/12
archival pigment print
18” x 12”, framed to 26” x 21”
© 2013 Amy Funderburk, All Rights Reserved

Invermoriston, Loch Ness, Scotland    

Above: The dramatic Thornbird German Bearded Iris
digital photograph
 2016 Amy Funderburk
All Rights Reserved

One of my favorite things about May: the month when most of my irises bloom!

Hop on Over! 

May 6th Gallery Hop

On Friday, May 6th, hop on over to visit my studio at the Artists On Liberty Building during the upcoming Downtown Art District Association's First Friday Gallery Hop from 7:00 to 10:00 PM.

Mother's Day is right around the corner here in the US, falling on Sunday, May 8th this year. During your visit to my studio, be sure to keep a gift for her in mind! 

The Continuous Spiral. Come participate in my current interactive drawing! Begun by visitors to my studio during the December 4th Gallery Hop, The Continuous Spiral is the third piece in this series of meditative drawings. Come trace the labyrinth to feel centered and relaxed!

Pictured below, this third labyrinth design is the most complex I have chosen by far. I discovered when laying out the template that I cannot possibly do anything larger or more elaborate on this size of paper! I really enjoyed laying out the colored stones, using the values to create a sort of yin-yang flow with a warm center.

For more about my intentions and inspirations regarding this series of drawings, please see the August and October issues of Off the Easel. (You can see my current progress on the first drawing in this series, Blue Moon Fire Spiral, in the next article, Currently On the Easel.) 

Music! Join the visual artists of Artists on Liberty in welcoming musician Kirsten Gray to the building. As a special treat, Kirsten and the Foothills Chamber Ensemble usher in spring with the performance of Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring - Suite for 13 Instruments at 7:00 PM. The performance will be in front of the Artists On Liberty Building. 

We are located at 521 North Liberty Street in downtown Winston-Salem, NC, between 6th and 5th Streets -- please refer to the photograph below the Spring Soirée article.

Liberty Street will close to street traffic between 6th and 5th Streets starting at 7:00 PM on the day of the Hop, but parking is available in nearby parking decks, as well as along the 600 block of Liberty Street, and on Main Street just behind the Artists On Liberty building.

Look for a sidewalk sign and balloons out front featuring our poster on the night of the Gallery Hop. We look forward to seeing you!

Not able to make the Hop this month? Be sure to attend the Soir
ée on June 5th! I am also available for studio visits by appointment.

Above: Detail, 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

Remember -- Since Rabbit won the race in January, I will be debuting greeting cards of Manifestation of Rabbit at the Soiré

Above: The Continuous Spiral, in progress
Phase 2, interactive meditative drawing
spiral template: smooth stones gathered from the shore at Topsail Island, NC
drawing: watercolor pencil on paper, 17" x 14"
December 4th, 2015
© 2015 Amy Funderburk, All Rights Reserved

On the Easel

Blue Moon Fire Spiral. This is the first piece in the interactive drawing series mentioned in the Gallery Hop article above.

I am currently building on participants' contributions to this interactive drawing by making glowing coals from the traced shapes of the smooth stones I
 featured in my initial labyrinth template. As I mentioned in my January newsletter, I find creating these coals to be a very meditative process. 

Eventually, white-yellow flames will lick up and away from the outer coals. How do you think I will transform the spiral itself? I am keeping that as a surprise for now. You may need to come to the Soir
ée to find out! 

This is among several works in progress you will view when visiting my studio during the May 6th Gallery Hop and the June 5th Subscribers' Studio Soir

For a look at the current status of the entire work in progress, as well as a detail of a section of coals, v
isit the On the Easel: Works in Progress Gallery on my website.

Above: Blue Moon Fire Spiral, in progress 4/22/2016
interactive meditative drawing
watercolor pencil on paper with burned edges
17" x 13 1/8"
© Amy Funderburk 2016, All Rights Reserved

photograph by James C. Williams

With the Land

When everyone celebrated Earth Day recently on April 22nd, I realized that some of my artistic intentions directly relate to the concept of this annual ecological event.
Artists who use recycled, repurposed, and reclaimed materials or who depict climate change and polluted waters head-on in their work are certainly speaking very directly about vital environmental concerns. Mine is perhaps a more subtle approach as I try to underscore the importance of land, sea, and sky.
As I outline in my
Artist’s Statement, my artistic goal is to inspire viewers to feel as though they could walk into the sacred landscape to personally experience the imagery I depict. Through all my works, I seek to engage the community directly and personally with the imagery I paint, reconnecting city dwellers to a meaningful connection with nature through the peace and transformation it can symbolize.
This connection is a topic that has been coming up all around me lately. Others have started conversations about observing such a lack of connection with the earth’s natural rhythms.
I realize that the sites I depict that were made by human hands were created at a time when an undeniable bond was felt with the forces of nature. Their very lives depended on knowing when to sow the crops and when to harvest them.

Using the powers of observation and experience, prehistoric humans constructed sites with celestial alignments, such as the Newgrange passage tomb in the Republic of Ireland and Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. They did not have computer models or other modern conveniences to calculate their giant clocks made of stone.

I am also provided with rich source material at holy wells, those natural springs or other water sources that are revered as places of healing, a continuation of the ancient Celtic tradition of venerating water. These uplifting sites, filled with the relaxing sounds of flowing water and birdsong, are set aside from the modern, mundane world as sacred outdoor spaces. While others are now lost or overgrown, many wells are still actively tended and venerated by modern pilgrims. 
I find that one can slip into an effortless connection with the calming spell of nature at these tranquil sites.

Now that we find ourselves in the merry month of May, I recall that this is a particularly auspicious time to visit several of my favorite holy wells in West Penwith, Cornwall, England. According to old tradition, the curative or divinatory properties of several wells were said to be at their height during the first three Sundays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays in May, depending on the well and your preferred folklore resource.
The delightful Alsia Holy well, on private property in St Buryan parish, and the twin Carn Euny wells are said to be sites best visited on these Wednesdays.
The Three Wells Walk was begun in May 1989. Reviving old tradition, participants walked the ancient footpaths in a twelve mile figure eight to visit the Carn Euny Well, nearby Sancreed Well, and finally, the Madron Well. 1
This well at Madron is a very evocative one for me. The spring well floods the area and, difficult to find, remains hidden to those staying on the path. Colorful strips of cloth called clouties and a wide array of other offerings are tied to not just one tree, but cover several by the path to represent prayers and wishes.

Here, in Victorian times, young ladies would divine the length of time before they married. The nearby chapel or baptistry, partially destroyed in Reformation times, features a second holy well also known for its healing associations that originates from the same spring.2

You can see the boggy area just beyond the path in my photograph above, The Wild Trees of Madron. Eventually, I will also be painting a large visionary oil of this site.
It is the type of connection I feel with such sites as the Madron well that I encourage you to seek, though you do not have to travel far to find just the right peaceful spot. Some of the places that are the most restorative for me are quite close, including my own garden.

Last weekend we witnessed the first flight of a baby chickadee, and just today, I discovered eggs in the masterfully built wren's nest that we thought had been abandoned.

What will you find if you start looking for just a little longer? 

1. Janet Bord, Cures and Curses: Ritual and Cult at Holy Wells. (Wymeswold, Loughborough, UK: Heart of Albion Press, 2006), 94.
2. Phil Cope, Holy Wells: Cornwall, a photographic journey. (Bridgend, Wales, UK: Seren, 2010), 111.

Additional suggested reading about holy wells:

 Janet Bord, Holy Wells in Britain, a guide. (Market Harborough, UK: Heart of Albion Press, 2008)
 Elizabeth Healy, In Search of Ireland's Holy Wells. (Dublin, Ireland: Wolfhound Press Ltd, 2001)
Above: The Wild Trees of Madron
archival pigment print
12" x 18", framed to 20" x 27"
© Amy Funderburk 2012, All Rights Reserved

Madron Holy Well
West Penwith, Cornwall, England
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Studio 107, Artists on Liberty Building
521 North Liberty Street, Winston-Salem, NC USA 27101

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