Tag Archives: West Park

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending June 22


Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Another Art week begins, hello!

Friday, June 15 (additional) – After I closed out last week’s Diary I did a little work on the clay figure I was working on – the tall cylinder. It had dried enough to stand up on its own.

I gave it a bottom – I set the cylinder on a circle of clay and used my serrated rib tool to scrape up the fresh clay. I left some of the marks.

AD 6-15 #a001

I added a strut across the top to hold up the head, and then I added a top, same as I did for the bottom.

AD 6-15 #b002

Then I gave her a neck and head and bosom. Here she is, with her shelf-mate looking at her, askance. Already life has become interesting for her, I guess…

Saturday, June 16 – We spent the day at Art-in-the-Park in West Park, Allentown, PA. I’ll start right off by saying there is no sadness to report about this show. I had a good day in all sorts of ways – reception of my work, sales, and I won 3rd prize in my category, Acrylics and Oils. So you can look forward to a pleasant account. I just wanted to warn you!

We stopped at our usual Wawa for gas and coffee. Shout out to my friend Diane here, she has moved to North Carolina, but we did shows together for years, and several times we met (by chance) at this location on the way to events up PA Route 309. Coffee calls out to all of us.

AD 6-16 #1005

We arrived and the park was still quiet. The weather was just perfect, ten of ten. And, we got a parking spot right next to the park, not only for unloading, but we could keep the car there all day. This is a real advantage – parking around the park is pretty much non-existent.

AD 6-16 #2006

We did our usual set-up thing. Space sizes are generous and I was able to use the outside of the display for artwork.

Then the show got into action.

Did you see the giant trunk of that sycamore tree to the right side of the first photo? That tree is magnificent, right across from our booth. Remember, this park is an arboretum and trees matter here.

AD 6-16 #3007

I took a few minutes to go over to the bandstand and watch some of the ballet performances. These two girls were doing a jazz version of a dance from the Nutcracker. Yes, they were.

AD 6-16 #9001

Water fountain, original fixture of this 100+ year old park. It still works.

AD 6-16 #10002

I have participated in this show for 20+ years and it has always been a good one for me. Contemporary art is appreciated here, in fact is more popular than traditional and more realistic pieces, and in my experience it always has been, so for me, the crowd is interested and involved. I had many good conversations about my work and I was very happy that a couple of my more abstract pieces were especially noticed – I had wondered if there was anything to them or had I just had a nice time painting! I am glad others were attracted to them.

I also saw many people here that I know – and remember, I live about an hour away, so normally I would not expect so much personal attention. However, I have exhibited in Allentown for 20 years and many people have been very good to me in all kinds of ways here.

I want to say thank you to everyone, and I’ll mention a few – Ann, Hannah,and Adam; Adrian, Missy, Carol, Jodi, Olga and her daughter, Rob, Kris from the Baum School, Mickey and Sandy, and I’m pretty sure I’m leaving someone out. Do I sound like I’m auditioning for an Academy Award? Anyway, you can see, my art and I felt very appreciated.

Back to the show. In the afternoon I saw herds of people wandering the park, eyes glued to phones.

Guess what, it was a Pokemon Go event.

So the day wound down and we packed up to go home. I was grateful for how nicely this show went this year.

AD 6-16 #14006

Monday, June 18 – I decided to work in the pleasantly cool basement today and do some clay. I rolled out some slabs of white low-fire clay.

AD 6-18 #a01

This clay is part of my recently-acquired stash. When I went to work with it, I realized that I needed to make some slip to match it – my previous white clay was from a different manufacturer and was browner in tone. You say, what is slip? And I’ll tell you – it is a more liquid version of the clay – I put some bits in a jar, add some water, and shake it up to get it to break down into a gloppy consistency (which can take some time).

Slip is used as “glue” when two pieces of clay are joined. The mantra is, slip and score – make grooves in the joining areas and then smear some slip over it. Or vice versa, doesn’t really matter, just that you do it! In this way the pieces will intermesh. Just sticking a couple of pieces of clay together is not enough for a bond that will survive a firing.

All right, back to work. I made this little guy:

AD 6-18 #204

We call him a puff person. I’ve made hundreds of them in the past, and they looked like this:

puffs await the kiln #3 4-13

Puff Creature #2 3-26-12 small

You can see I finished them with underglaze washed over a heavily-textured surface. With this new creature, I want to try a smooth surface and color him all over as I’ve been doing with figurines. I’ll make some more and see how it goes.

I also made these small women figures from slabs @ 2″ x 4″ or so (not counting their heads, I made those separately):

I plan to give them colored outfits too. I left their bottoms open, with no covering base. I might use these for art giveaways and if I do, I want to put a message inside them instructing the finder to go ahead and take it, it’s ok. That’s what I did with the earlier small figurines I gave away, who looked like this:

small clay figurines - group of three 7-14

Inquisitive ladies. 2014.


I also made some tiles, which I didn’t photo, as I think you’ve seen plenty of freshly-cut tiles!

Tuesday, June 19 – Do you remember the Ogre Baby paintings?

Yes, me too. I have never quite felt they were finished. Well, when I was going through items for the last show I did, I set them aside.

AD 6-19 #501

Today I started to remodel them. Here we are so far:

All right, we’ll see how it goes. So far I’ve used India ink, acrylic inks, crayons, and oil pastels. A free-for-all, all right.

Friday, June 22 – This week has been busier than I thought when it started out. Not as much art time as I had thought. Well, it goes along as it goes.

This morning I went down to the basement and cleaned up the edges of  tiles I did earlier in the week – by rubbing the edges with a wet sponge I smooth the edges and get rid of ugly transitions and sharp edges. While I was there I photographed the white clay slips I mentioned earlier in the week – the old one is on the left, the new one on the right. You can see the difference in the raw clay color and yet they both fire white.

AD 6-22 #203

Here’s a photo of those little women figures, now almost dry. Notice how the color of the clay has changed as it dries.

AD 6-22 #104

I also spent some time painting edges on acrylic paintings, back upstairs in the studio. I am getting close to the end of this task. Good. I also sprayed the ogre babies with a fixative spray out in the garage (very strong odor, yes) and repainted their edges – you can see them in the background.

AD 6-22 #401

And I did three more illustrations for my Minuscule book.

AD 6-22 #302

Then I figured I’d done enough. I’m going to go into the studio and clean things up to the background accompaniment of my favorite radio show, Funky Friday on WXPN Philadelphia. See you later!

OK, that’s it for this week! Thank you for coming along with me.

Just Stop Working On It

I’ve been fussing over this painting for a while. It’s had quite a few incarnations. Suddenly it seemed time to be finished with it. So, quick, I took a picture. That should stop the cycle of a brushstroke here, a paint-out there, and then some more…

Also, I want to take it to the show I will be exhibiting in this weekend in Allentown, PA – West Park. One of my favorite locations and so I like to take as much good work as I can.

So, here it is. It’s hard to know when to stop, sometimes, so you have to put the brakes on and just end up wherever you end up.

"The Neighbors Know Everything" - acrylics, 2014 - 16" x 24"

“The Neighbors Know Everything” – acrylics, 2014 – 16″ x 24″


While in Allentown for the Mayfair Festival of the Arts, I took the opportunity to leave some of my women figurines around town.

I’m familiar with Allentown – I’ve done shows there for years, I have friends in town, we like to go to events there, we run on trails in local parks when we want to take in some different scenery from our usual routes at home, and our son worked there for two years for the local newspaper, the Morning Call. So it was not hard to pick out some locations.

On Saturday morning, we dropped off the first lady figurine in West Park. I do a very nice show in this park each June – located in an area of stately rowhomes, the park is actually an arboretum and has existed for more than 100 years. The centerpiece of the park is a beautiful fountain, and we placed the figurine in a tree with a good view of it.

The next morning, we took a short walk in Trexler Memorial Park. It was a beautiful day and we decided to set the figurine out in the open. So we placed her on a directional pillar with a great view.

On Monday, we left figurines in two different places. First of all, we stopped at the Lehigh Parkway. This park is a favorite of ours – we have run along the trail here many times, participated in 5K races (including a nighttime one at Christmas when the whole park is decorated with holiday lights), and it was part of a memorable half-marathon we did a couple of years ago. It’s a very popular park and many people were out enjoying the nice weather.

We set the figurine near the bridge at the parking lot, up the hill a little so there would be no danger of her being swept away by the creek.

Then, on our way to the show, we stopped at West Park again. Why? Well, the day before, I had mentioned the figurine here in West Park to a woman who had bought some of my small works. She also painted, and we got into conversation about art and the mediums we worked in. She was intrigued by the idea of leaving art out in public and told me she was going to go to West Park to see the figurine. So I was wondering if she did visit, and if she did, I hoped that she read the message I put into each one, and took the figurine with her if she wanted to.

Sure enough, when we checked the tree, the figurine was gone. So I don’t know if my customer found her, or if she had already left, but in any case, we decided to set another one in the park. This time we put her in a tree bordering the space I always occupy in the West Park art show (I’ve been in space 108 since I first exhibited here, so if you come to the show, you will always know where to find me!).

So that’s that. No telling if any of them are still in place, or where they went. I like to think about people finding them and enjoying them. It’s a small thing, but I really enjoy scattering these figurines out in the world.

Saturday in the Park in June

This past Saturday, June 15, I spent at a show in West Park, Allentown, PA. The event is put on by the West Park Civic Association.

I’ve done this show for many years, since the mid-90’s, I think. And I will say that I think this is my favorite show to do. When I first exhibited here, I was welcomed by the organizers and the crowd, and it’s continued in the same way ever since. This year, as I have in the past, I brought my collage work. The spaces are large and there is plenty of room to show a lot of work without crowding things.

I see many familiar faces every year and my artwork has always been appreciated. It’s a pleasure to return.
Even my booth location has always been the same – from the first year, I have occupied space #108, under the same tree.

My booth. For this show I brought my collage work and acrylic paintings.

My booth. For this show I brought my collage work and acrylic paintings.

West Park is an arboretum, shady and green, in the middle of a historic district. The surrounding homes are mostly rows, three stories, with beautiful brickwork and details. The park is a nice oasis amid the densely-built city streets. The day after the show there is a house tour featuring residences in the neighborhood. I have long had the fantasy of moving into one of these houses – I think they are just charming.

There are other events in the park throughout the year and I can tell you, from having visited it at other times, that the park is just great on a hot summer day – peaceful and cool. If you’re ever in Allentown, visit the park.

A view looking toward the central fountain from the sidewalk in front of my booth.

A view looking toward the central fountain from the sidewalk in front of my booth.