It Was Time For A Redo

I had the opportunity to introduce Alcohol Ink Dreamscaping to a guest over the weekend. This art major now in her early thirties, like so many of us, had let art-making get away from her. Believe me, I understand. It takes discipline and resolve to keep creating art vital when working full-time.

I gave a few pointers and encouraged her to experiment. She took to it right away, fascinated with the moving fluidity, transparent brightness and instant responsiveness of the inks.

In the process of sharing with her, I ran across a few of my earlier Dreamscapes that I thought were lacking something and decided to redo one of them to demonstrate how forgiving alcohol inks can be.


Above is Dreamscape No. 277, 5×7, created in Nov. 2012 during my orange and blue period. Adirondack Sailboat Blue and Sunset Orange are a hard to beat combination.


Here is the Dreamscape No. 277 Redo that took about 60-90 seconds. I added alcohol to the sky, dropped-in sailboat blue and the tiniest bit of Rich Gold into the land shapes. Tilted the surface and let gravity do the rest. I like it so much better and have been pondering why. I narrowed it down to these three reasons.

  1. Wider range of values: light, mid and dark
  2. Some of the original shapes juxtaposed with newer, more interesting shapes
  3. Atmospheric quality achieved by lighter values and softer edges in the distance

When I asked her the next morning what she liked most about Alcohol Ink Dreamscaping, she said, “I didn’t have to think. I know about planning and executing. This was just relaxing and fun.”

I think she left inspired and will continue. I hope so.





We’re In This Together

I enjoy demonstrating and exhibiting my art  because of what I learn about others and myself. Plus, I get the uncensored version on how the public views my efforts.

Visit and click on “June Rollins” during Jan/Feb 2011 to read what I found out. After Feb. 2011, read below:

We’re In This Together

Most people think when they go to an art exhibit they’re the observers, the ones viewing the artist’s efforts. And they’re right, they are. But, let’s not forget, artists are observers by nature. Attuned to seeing from the inside out, sensing and interpreting what often goes unnoticed by others.

At a recent solo-exhibition of my work in Monroe, NC at the Union County Community Arts Council I had the opportunity during the two-day Monroe Art Walk to observe the observers. I watched them analyze, question, identify, critique and sometimes judge.

There was the usual percentage that breezed through not seeing. One must be present to receive what art is offering. I’m not speaking of personal tastes, of liking or not liking. We all know art is subjective. I’m speaking of being aware, open and receptive. And a few folks just didn’t have their antennae up. Flushed and glassy eyed from a little too much liquid confidence, in too big a hurry, agitated or bored, the walls might as well have been blank.

Then there were the one or two with antennae like snapping whips. “She copies,” one self-assured expert whispered with disdain into her friend’s ear.

But, mostly the people simply received and responded.

A Queens College art student chose one of my paintings as his audio-assignment and stood before it for several minutes talking into his recorder of its vivid colors and 3-D effects.

Two Wingate art students returned the second day with a friend. “We had to come back,” they said. “We wanted her to see this too.”

The model in one of my pastels brought by several family members and a joyous mini-reunion took place beneath her portrait, her smiling clone adorned in a black vintage hat overseeing the festivities.

One woman showed interest in buying a painting but wanted her husband to see it first. She left without it, declining my offer to hold it for her. Within the hour someone else came in and bought it.

Another woman smitten with a 5×7 loosely rendered landscape I was creating out of my head said, “I want that! I love the colors! Hold it for me. I’ll be back tomorrow to buy it.” And toward the end of the second day, she returned, money in hand.

An artist came in, a beginning draftsman of dragons and wizards. I affirmed his efforts.

Another artist came in, he had recently gotten “Best Of Show” in a Mint Hill Arts competition I had also entered last fall. I had been awed by his work. He affirmed my efforts.

A teacher from Country Day School in Charlotte brought a small group of students who eagerly took turns with my offered brush when I asked, “Would you like to try?”

One woman wondered if she had encouraged her son enough when he was younger. “He used to be such a good artist. Is it my fault that he didn’t stick with it?”

And a “we’re doing whatever-it-takes”” mom came in with her reticent 18-year old daughter whose vulnerable, young heart was wishing for an art degree.

“She’s so shy,” her mother confided.

I saw myself in the daughter and I couldn’t help but think, what if? What if I would have had the courage, when I poured over that JMU (James Madison University) handbook thirty-five years ago to declare the fine arts major I so yearned for?

“I’ll trade places with you,” I told the daughter.

An artist was once asked, “Why are there no people in your paintings?”

“Ah, but there are,” the old master responded, “You and me.”


“Critique Exchange” Response

One of my subscribers took me up on the “Critique Exchange” offered in the last post and gave me permission to post her painting and the critique.

I hope this provides encouragement and  hope to hear from other subscribers who are eligible (as outlined in  last week’s post) by Dec. 15th.

White Lily, 24×36, Acrylic, by Carol Evans

White Lily immediately grabs my attention with its luminous strength, power and drama. The artist shows a deep passion for and knowledge of the subject. There is a skillful and confident handling of the medium with bold composition, strong color and value choices.

What I especially love:

  1. The combination of pure orange-red against white with neutralized greens.
  2. The flower reads white, but is anything but. Excellent shading.
  3. The wide value range. Love those background darks.
  4. Skillful shading creates depth in subject and background. Interesting shapes.
  5. The close-up, slightly off-centered composition with cropped petals anchors subject.

Area to question:

Could anything be done to make the viewer’s eye linger a little longer in the painting?


Carol, who is a young 71, has worked in watercolor and egg tempera for thirty years and has only been working in acrylics for the past two years. She welcomes your comments.

“Critique Exchange” Offer To My Subscribers

One of the most horizon expanding critiques I ever received was a question which after five years, continues to whisper in my ear each time I step away from paintings in progress.

The artist I exposed my soul to simply asked, Where are your areas of rest?

I would like to offer this same critique method to you, my 23 subscribers as of this post, because I am thankful to you for subscribing to my blog, From The Art, begun March 2010.

Here’s where the exchange comes in 😉  In all my creative endeavors; painting, writing, blogging, I am finding my way and wanting new eyes to see past currently perceived horizons. What I’m proposing is a critique exchange. Here are the details:

In the subject line, write critique exchange and e-mail,, (using the e-mail address that registers you as a subscriber to my blog) a low resolution digital (72 dpi and no more than 500 pixels on longest side) of one of your paintings, collages, etc. along with responses to the following three questions and I will e-mail you back a critique of your painting:

1. I subscribe to From The Art because…

2. I would like to see more ….

3. I would like to see less….

And like all offers, there is a deadline. I need to receive your image and responses by Wed., Dec. 15th. Your critique will be e-mailed to you by Mon., Jan. 31, 2011.

Oh, and one other matter. Please include if you would like the critique to be private between you and me or, if you would like the option of having your image and critique included in a future From The Art post in 2011.

A person can grow

only as much

as his horizon allows.


–John Powell

Meeting The Judge

Sunday, June 6, from 5-7 pm Artists League of the Sandhills, 129 Exchange St. in Aberdeen, NC hosted it’s annual, all-member, Absolutely Art reception. Over 100 works of art are on exhibit by fifty-five artists through June 29th.

One of the best things I like about this reception is ALS requests the juror of the show be present and offer comments. Not only is it inspirational to see the art, it’s educational to hear “what the judge was thinking” while making selections for award recognition.

I had the opportunity to meet this year’s judge, Dr. Richard Gay, Assistant Professor and Chair of the Art Department of UNC-Pembroke and was honored Treasures By The Sea was awarded first place in the watercolor category. The next day, ALS notified me that Treasures By The Sea had also received the “People’s Choice” award.

Dr. Gay told me he particularly liked the negative spaces between the figures in my painting. Some of his other criteria in judging the show was, attention to up-close detail, evidence of confident brushstroke work, an artist’s signature that was not distracting, matting and framing that did not detract from the art, and handling of the medium that honored the medium.

Most importantly, he made reference to the high quality of work in the show and the subjectivity of art. “If I were judging this show tomorrow, I may make different choices.”  All helpful information to consider when entering future shows.

If you’ve never been to Artist League of the Sandhills, this would be a good month to visit. See the Absolutely Art Show, professional artists at work in their studios and check-out upcoming classes.