April 17, 2020

Fellowship from Afar: Weekly Artist Meetup

Black Computer Keyboard

By Garen Robie

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Though we can’t control our circumstances, we can accept them as an opportunity to grow. The good news is there’s no need to go at it alone. We are lucky to have technology to help us all stay connected and inspire us to use our time creatively. The Hamilton East Public Library and Ignite Studio are contributing to that effort by providing excellent online programming. One such program that I have had the privilege to be involved in is our now weekly Artist Meetup. Some of you may have attended one of our monthly, in-person meetups. We are now hosting these via Zoom every Wednesday at 6pm to inspire our creative patrons and field questions about materials and processes. Each meetup features an artist and includes an equipment or media demo.

Zoom Artist Meetups Recap

Setting for a Fairy Tale Joseph Cornell

Joseph Cornell, Setting for a Fairy Tale, 1942, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

The first Artist Meetup on April 1st featured Joseph Cornell, an American artist and filmmaker with Surrealist influences. Cornell is famous for his assemblage art—imagine a collage with 3D elements—that incorporated found objects. If you’re familiar with using shadow boxes to display your art or other significant objects, you might recognize that Cornell’s assemblage art is very similar. Reflecting on Cornell at this time can encourage us to look around our homes with new eyes. We can be inspired by his use of found objects to make our own art with everyday items.

To pair with our discussion of Joseph Cornell, I did a demo of Rosco FlexBond, which is great for found object assemblage and collage. What I like about FlexBond is that it dries hard and clear but remains flexible so materials can bend without cracking the adhesive.

Legends the Gunslinger Michael Wehlan

Michael Whelan, Legends: The Gunslinger

At the April 8th meetup, I featured Michael Whelan, an American artist of imaginative realism. Whelan is most famous for his science fiction and fantasy cover art, having had his paintings appear on more than 350 books and magazines. If you’re a Stephan King fan, you may recognize some of Whelan’s artwork on book covers for The Dark Tower series. The Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted Whelan in 2009 and credited him with the “transition of genre book covers away from the surrealism introduced in the 1950s and 1960s back to realism.”

After the featured artist, I showcased the Reilly Method of portraiture and figure drawing. This  method is named after Frank Joseph Reilly whose figure drawing technique uses structural lines as a guide. You can see an example of the Reilly Method in the video below.

Join Us on Wednesdays

To sum up, these were only the structured parts of the meetups. Each session also included a great deal of back and forth between artists and craftsmen. Join us next Wednesday, April 22, at 6pm (and every Wednesday after until we can meet again in person) to see what projects other patrons are working on and hopefully gain some tips and inspiration for your own projects. (Don’t forget to register here!)

From all of us at HEPL and Ignite Studio, take care and try to focus on what you can control as opposed to what you cannot.