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May I Have Your Attention Please

May 17th, 2013

May I Have Your Attention Please

Recently I saw a businessman enter the grocery store ahead of me, and he was talking on his cell phone. Sound familiar? While passing each other in the aisles and through the check out, he was still on the phone, much to the chagrin of the check out person trying to ask him a question. She wanted to communicate with him. He wasnít paying attention.

Multi-tasking has its place and is often necessary in the competitive, do it now world that we live in. However, at times and for some things, we just need to slow down and be in the moment in order for quality communication to take place.

Creating, viewing and truly enjoying art are a few of those places and times. For example, not many artists try to create a painting and balance their checkbook at the same time. They may have more than one painting that they are working on, but not at the same time, with both hands. They focus, giving one all of their attention and energy and then switch to the other.

The same applies to viewing and truly enjoying the art experience in a gallery. If you come in talking on the phone, discussing what youíre going to do this weekend or whatís on sale at the garden shop, you are going to miss the experience of being in the gallery. Each piece of art in the gallery is a creation to be felt fully and in the present. To allow yourself to be distracted is to miss the full richness of the artistís voice, and to miss the opportunity to communicate in a fuller, more meaningful way.

So come into the gallery, relax, leave the world with all itís pressures behind. Turn off the cell phone and allow yourself to live in the moment. Pay attention! Youíll be glad you did!

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderfully creative day.........Jim

Art Comfort Zone

March 21st, 2013

Art Comfort Zone

I heard an interesting comment from one of our customers a couple of months ago that I would like to share with you. I had just invited her to an upcoming artist reception and she replied that she was concerned that she would feel uncomfortable, because she didnít think that she knew enough about art to attend an artist reception.

This got me to wondering how many others pass through our gallery feeling the same way? Or worse, how many donít come in at all because they fear that they will feel out of place? Her remark reminded me of the individual that puts off joining the local health club until after they get in better shape. I asked her if she had seen the movie What about Bob. When she said she had, I reminded her about Bill Murrayís character and the need to just take baby steps at first.

To enjoy art, is it really that necessary to have taken art history courses, to have visited some of the great European museums or to be or have been involved in creating something yourself? While these experiences may give you a head start, they certainly are not required to enjoy what someone else has created, today.

And donít stress over not knowing how it was created. Do you know how your house was built, how your car was assembled or how your clothes were made? And you certainly donít want to know whatís in that double dip Gelato now do you? All that really matters is that you were drawn to it, you liked it and it made you feel good.

So, thatís all Iím saying: take a few art baby steps, ask a few questions and when it makes you feel good, take some home. Art has no cholesterol and is 100% fat and calorie free, so you can put off joining that health club a little longer and feel good about buying some art, for yourself, today! (Oh and by the way, the customer that I mentioned earlier, she decided that she would like to attend the artist reception after all.)

Thanks for stopping by and have creative dayÖÖ..Jim

Enhancing The Quality of Life Through Art

March 10th, 2013

Enhancing The Quality of Life Through Art

Can it get any better than this? Everyday I am blessed to be surrounded by beauty, a beauty that displays and expresses the creative energy of eighteen extremely talented local and national artists.

Frequently I will arrive at the gallery with some level of stress, sometimes it is a cognitive awareness and sometimes not. All the usual stuff; didnít sleep well, burnt the toast, spilled coffee on my last ironed shirt, car started making a weird noise, stopped by a train and finding a parking spot was impossible. And donít get me started about always watching the gas gauge and the cost to fill up the tank. After I arrive at the gallery it doesnít take long for all of this to dissipate as the sights, sounds, aroma and textures of the gallery start to apply their innate healing powers.

And itís not just me that feels this. We have customers that stop by frequently to just, as they put it, ďto relax and detoxĒ - and all without an office visit and or a prescription. Last fall I read an article that went on to suggest what technically makes a piece of art ďgood.Ē But I wish to address the other side, the emotional side. How does the artwork make you feel? Do you feel drawn into it? Does it make you feel excited and full of energy? Does it make you feel peaceful and relaxed? Or does it make you stop and ponder what the artist is communicating? Good art should make you feel something every time you look at it. Otherwise it just becomes wallpaper. The true value of art should be in how it affects you emotionally, physically, spiritually and not for monetary gain. Invest in yourself first and your financial portfolio last. If your purchase should increase in value, then you have just received an additional blessing.

Could you use some stress relief in your life? Could your home and or work environment use some help to liven it up or calm it down, or is it just time for a dťcor/life renewal? Life is finite, enhance your life and make art an essential element in its quality.

What does it take to make the Connection between art and you? What makes you stop to, admire, explore and purchase art for yourself, or someone else? Drop me a line, I would enjoy hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by & make it a creatively great dayÖÖ..Jim

The Painted Road

February 14th, 2013

The Painted Road

Life has its way of bringing us to forks in the road of options, or to unmarked intersections of opportunities and my life has been filled with many of both. I have been associated with the arts through my photography for over 25 years and made the transition to painting a little over two years ago. When Iím asked what made me change directions, what lead me to pursue the path of painting, or where did I get my inspiration to change from, I always start with two main sources of influence, artists Norma Meeks and Ford Smith.

I accredit Norma with opening my eyes to the world of abstract painting. I first saw her exhibited work in 2006 and it was through her use of earthy colors and rich tones, in combination with the applications of mixed media and texture that got my attention. Her work spoke to me in a way that I could be comfortable with and enjoy, without the need to necessarily understand or be able to explain. I just enjoyed it for what it was. Iíve always said, she was the bridge that transported me from being a firm realist to opening my eyes to the possibilities of abstraction.

In 2007 I was introduced to the art of Ford Smith through his gallery ads in the trade magazines that I was following. I found his contemporary styling of landscapes and the use of bright, rich color the perfect connection from my photographic background to the art world that I was becoming attracted to. I was to later learn that Ford had had an accomplished and respected photography career before pursuing his painting, which later served as encouragement for me to one day pick up a brush myself. It was about this time that I actually started having dreams of painting, which were always of abstracted images and always very colorful.

Now itís 2013 and Iím managing the gallery for Old Town Art & Framery in which I represent the fabulous works of both, Norma Meeks and Ford Smith as well as fifteen other wonderfully talented artists. Itís no surprise to me that Iím now painting, in the abstract with the use of texture and am showing a transition from mostly using monochromatic earth tones to the introduction of brighter colors, as in my recent piece "Guidance" pictured above.

I feel honored to know and be surrounded by so many talented artists who serve as a constant source of inspiration and encouragement, as I continue to enjoy my journey on the painted road.

Thank for stopping by and following my travels..............Jim

Celebration

January 12th, 2013

Celebration

The reasons to celebrate are many and certainly vary with intensity as we experience our own life cycles and challenges. Have any of you seen and remember the movie Wild in The Streets? It was basically about a youth movement to overthrow the older establishment. Thirty becomes a mandatory retirement age, while those over 35 are rounded up, sent to "re-education camps", and permanently dosed on LSD. The movie came out in 1968, I was 17 years old (need I say more) and thought why not, 35 was way too old anyway.

Fast forward to.......how about that Mayan calendar thing? December 21, 2012 has come and gone with no Apocalypse and no end of the World. Turns out their stone tablet was just too small to continue any further, bummer. We obviously have all survived this momentous occasion, I made it through the sixties, along with all of its experimentations and am now in my 60's.

I just celebrated another birthday yesterday, you do the math and am happy that the planet has survived as well as myself. Many transitions, challenges and opportunities later, I'm happy where I'm at and love what I am doing. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I've left you with "Celebration", an image of mine to bring in the New Year. Or it could be the end of the world.......what do you see?

Enjoy & thanks for stopping by........Jim

Art Stimulus

December 23rd, 2012

Art Stimulus

Stimulating the senses through art, I get to experience it everyday. Not just through my own creations, such as this month's image "Grounded", but I also get to represent it through the works of seventeen other very talented artists in the gallery that I manage at www.OldTownArtandFramery.com

When you step into the gallery you are at once surrounded by a variety of styles, colors, shapes and textures. Some are soothing, some more stimulating, some representational, while others more abstract and challenging. You are wrapped in the creative energy with every step and aroused by the occasional scent of a fresh oil painting or the distinct aroma of some recently fired Raku pottery.

I have to admit I'm spoiled, being constantly embraced by this incredible energy and it's not just me that witnesses it. Customers come in to, as they say,"just to detox and get into the zone for awhile". If you're smiling right now, you already know what I'm talking about and if not I invite you to stop by the gallery and witness for yourself. Once you do, you'll want to take some of it home with you and be spoiled as well. It doesn't need to be expensive and in my January Newsletter I'll show you just how affordable it can be to stimulate yourself and the local art economy at the same time!

Be sure to sign up for my Newsletter now, so you don't miss out at www.jimbenest.com

Thanks for stopping by.......Jim

Happy Holidays

December 10th, 2012

Happy Holidays

While looking through my images for one to accompany today's blog I settled on this one "Chili Greetings" . I know, you're wondering what the heck is the connection between the Holidays and chili peppers on a door.

When you know me, you know that I love the Southwest and try to get to Santa Fe or Taos, New Mexico at least once a year. I've found that either of these places really help me to slow down, pay attention to the moment and reconnect with my inner artist. I have always visited during the summer and late fall months, however I've always thought it would be fun to see the wonderful colors of the Southwest nestled in a blanket of white snow. So a few years ago I decided to do just that and spent Christmas in Santa Fe.

Driving down it was a near white out on Raton Pass, however not so much in Santa Fe, which was dry as a bone. While the vivid colors surrounded me, a single snow flake was not to be found. Not discouraged in the least I decided to make a day of it walking the Historic & Art Meca Canyon Road. So there I was on Christmas Day in Santa Fe and I could have easily titled this image "Chilly Greetings" because it was a balmy 19 degrees at high noon. Before my fingers lost all feeling and with the fear of snapping my film while winding it, yes I was still shooting film at the time, I did capture a few memorable images.

So now you know the story behind the image and from my door to yours I want to extend Chili/Chilly Greetings and wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Wonderfully Happy, Holiday Season!

Thanks for stopping by..........Jim

Does Size Matter?

December 2nd, 2012

Does Size Matter?

In the beginning I was most comfortable when it measured small, however as I matured and with some trial and error I came to appreciate working with a larger size. Of course I'm talking about my canvas size, but you knew that....right.

Okay, let's start over. In the beginning just applying some paint to a small canvas was monumental and a 10x10 or 12x12 seemed huge. With some experience and the use of broader strokes it wasn't long before a larger surface area was necessary and the 20x20 format soon became my new comfort zone. While I have since been working toward the use of larger canvases and hope to tackle a 48x48 someday, my newest challenge has actually been working small again. By small I mean 5"x5"x1.5" little guys, which should be a slam dunk, right?

Even though my works depend very little on any fine or recognizable detail, I have found myself spending almost as much time as I would on a much larger surface. Granted I use a fraction of the paint, but the surprise was the design and application, which has consumed much more time than I would have imagined.

So does size really matter! Certainly not if you enjoyed the relationship and are satisfied with the results. This image "Improv 1" is my first 5x5 and you know what they say,"you never forget your first", but of course you already knew that.......right!

Thanks for stopping by........Jim

A Brand New Day

October 9th, 2012

A Brand New Day

I know you have heard the saying, "Today is the first day of the rest of your Life" many, many times before. Believe it or not I'm just starting to get it, or maybe it's more accurate to say, I'm just now getting closer to living it. Having gone through the recent shedding of so much material stuff, as well as other life issues, I am now able to get a clearer vision of what is really important. The personal aging process has also brought about the shortening of time frames for goals and accomplishments.

What used to be projected in 20, 10 and 5 year action plans is now measured in this year, next month and today reality checks. Two areas of key importance have risen to the top and they are health/exercise and art. Neither can be taken for granted or neglected if improvement is needed or desired. So I share with you this month's painting "A Brand New Day", which hopefully shows some daily to monthly growth in my creative pursuit of the arts. As far as exercise........well, I'm taking that one day at a time as well.

Enjoy & thanks for following...........Jim

New Beginnings

September 29th, 2012

New Beginnings

After an almost two month hiatus from painting, I'm back into the creative side of my brain again and it feels so good! The title for this painting "New Beginnings" not only refers to my personal post-move status, but also to a direction I feel that my art is taking me. While continually Abstract rooted, the addition of color and graphic elements are starting to emerge and this month's painting shows a hint of both as they begin to surface.

New Beginnings...embracing it...enjoying it and hope you do too!

 

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