December Houseplant Happenings

Here are the photos from the final month of 2017!  We've got fewer flowers for sure this December - just this Copiapoa hypogaeaGymnocalycium pfanzii var albipulpa, Sansevieria cylindrica, and Sansevieria phillipsiae, respectively.  This fruit on my Gymnocalycium mihanovichii has also been around since at least November, but it really started becoming eye-catching in December.  It is now in the process of drying out.

A New Year, a New Semester!

It's that time again!  Spring 2018 at USM will start on Monday, January 15th, and with it, my courses: Introduction to Printmaking, Computer Graphics, Advanced Honors Seminar in Interdisciplinary Art, and Art Career Internship, Advanced Studios, and Senior Exhibit (the latter three counting together as one course load).

I look forward to seeing new and returning students and all the new artwork they'll produce!

November Houseplant Flowers!

And here is the next set of houseplant happenings, from November!  I'm at the point now where I always have at least one or two plants in bloom at any given moment; I often neglect to photograph my orchid and African Violet (Saintpaulia spp.) flowers not because I don't appreciate them - I do! - but because they're quite common.  Here, we have in order from left to right and top down: Crassula perforata, Crassula ovata, Mammillaria elegans, Quaqua incarnata, Echeveria shaviana 'Neon Breakers', Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides, Rhipsalis pilocarpa, Senecio jacobsenii, Duvalia sulcata, Anomalluma dodsiana, Stapelia sticula, and Matucana madisoniorum.  

The Crassulas are particularly surprising because Crassula hate me (and in return, I don't much care for them) but on both plants the blooms seem like they could be a last gasp, so... it's damning with faint praise, I suppose.  Also, my Anomalluma dodsiana revealed a mealybug infestation post blooming, so it's currently in round two of diatomaceous earth dusting.  The Quaqua incarnata has been blooming non-stop since November and is still in flower today, and the Stapelia sticula has also been quite prolific.

Remember that if you want to, you can click on any of the photos to see them in more detail!

...And Another One!

Well, let's start the new year the same as we ended the old!

Some prefacing information: I've heard that one should set water out for at least 24 hours to let the chlorine dissipate out before watering plants.  This presumes there is chlorine in the tap water, which is not always true, but it's easy to do and possibly helpful so I do it.

This morning, I was greeted by a bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax) floating in my watering can full of de-gassed water.  He did not appear to be able to get back out.  I took a couple photos, rescued him with a screwdriver, and put him on my Dischidia platyphylla to dry off and get his bearings.  I do have a limit to how many spider friends can stay indoors with me, and already removed another jumping spider who got a little too adventurous to the outdoors, but since this little fellow was soaked and it is presently -6°F or -21°C, he would not have survived.  So he'll join Audrey's territory and I'll hope they get along.

I know he isn't Audrey because his spot coloration is different (hers is a light yellowish tan, his is a saturated orange), and he has bushier eyebrows - thus leading me to suspect he's a he.  I have christened him Brooks, due to his rather wet arrival.

My New Phidippus Audax Roommate!

Happy holidays!  Here to celebrate with me is my new spider friend, Audrey.  She's a bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax).  She must have hitched a ride indoors with me when I relocated all my plants in for the winter, but she's preferred to maintain a very low profile and only popped out recently (and only for two days).  There's a whole small ecosystem going on with my outdoor/indoor plants - there are ants, and beetles, and mites, and spiders... I could nuke them all with neem oil or diatomaceous earth, but as long as they aren't harming me or causing significant damage to my plants, I like being able to support the local fauna and they in turn pollinate my plants or like Audrey keep them safe from pest species.  I watched her hunt for prey on at least ten different plants, but due to the way in which I've set up my collection, I couldn't get clear photos on her on most of them.  The best photos of Audrey are of her posing atop my Matucana madisoniorum which serendipitously was in bloom at the time!  I also have a couple okay photos of her on my Anacampseros rufescens.

More Houseplant and Insect Visitor Photos!

Here are my October 2017 notable houseplant moments and visitors!  The photos are respectively of flowering Ariocarpus fissuratus, Duvalia sulcata, Euphorbia francoisii, Mammillaria schiedeana still in bloom (it lasted two months!), Mammillaria plumosa, Stapelia gettleffii, and then a stick insect and a moth pretending to be a fallen leaf while visiting a Pilocereus.

Confluence of Expression's Wildlife Exhibition held at Green Door Art Gallery

My painting City Solstice has been awarded Honorable Mention at Confluence Art Gallery's 2017 Wildlife Arts and Photography Exhibition.  For this juried show, there were 121 artworks submitted for consideration by 79 artists. Jurors Lisa Ober and Dana Holm selected 56 artworks by 31 artists for the online exhibition, and selected 18 artworks including my own for awards and inclusion in the Green Door Art Gallery exhibition outside of St. Louis.

Green Door Art Gallery is in Webster Groves, MO.  The exhibition is open Wednesday-Sunday 10am-5pm from November 8 through December 30, 2017.  For more information, please call (314) 325-6130.

Houseplant and Insect Visitor Photos!

All of these houseplant and insect visitor photos were taken in September 2017 - I'll make separate posts for October and November pictures!  The plants in question are (in order): Hoya carnosa compacta, Mammillaria schiedeana, Parodia mairanana, Stapelia gettlleffii, Stapelia schinzii var. angolensis, Ariocarpus retusus var. furfuraceus, Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, Gymnocalycium ragonesei, and Dracaena marginata tricolor.  The insects in question are respectively a Redfooted Cannibal Fly (Promachus rufipes), a bumblebee pollinating the Hoya carnosa compacta flowers, a tan moth, and a praying mantis I named Vladimir (after Saint Vladimir) on a Dracaena marginata tricolor.  You can click on any of the thumbnails to see a larger version of the photo.

A Selection of Readings

Lincoln Gallery 2017 Regional Fine Art Show

I'm participating in the Lincoln Gallery 2017 Regional Fine Art Show!  I actually had all three entered pieces accepted, but I didn't do the math right on two of the pieces' return dates from a different show which they were at the time (the Irving Art Association's exhibition) so I was only able to send one - Dominion, my new giant anteater painting.

The show opened on October 13th and runs through November 10th.  Here's the gallery location and phone number, if you're thinking of going: 429 North Lincoln Ave, Loveland, CO 80538; (970) 663-2407.

I Purchased a Shimpo Banding Wheel!

While I was an artist in residence at Cerdeira Village, I used their studio space to sculpt detailed ceramics.  They had two Shimpo banding wheels in the studio space, and I quickly discovered their utility in allowing me an easy method to keep on turning the pieces to aid in sculpting and painting them.

Upon arriving back in the US, my shipped sculptures from Cerdeira Village were waiting for me.  I had mentally prepared for my own estimated 50/50 odds that they'd arrive intact due to their insanely fragile natural branch additions.  Fortunately, the biggest parts that I'd worried about, the branches, were mostly okay - though one had fully detached from the turtle's back and had to be reattached.  Unfortunately, the packing material I had selected to give the sculptures the best shot at arriving in decent condition meant that I had hours of clean-up ahead of me: I used tiny sytrofoam balls typically used in pillows or beanbags which - by intention - had secreted themselves into every nook and cranny of the sculptures and their natural branches and lichens.  This meant I had to painstakingly, delicately remove each pellet (and fragment of pellet, as a lot of them fragmented in shipping) with tweezers.  The two sculptures each also lost several nail tips, which I had to repair and repaint.

Though the cleaning and repair of the pieces took over eleven hours, I count myself lucky they arrived in such good condition since I was able to fully restore them - something that wouldn't have been possible if the branches had suffered severe injury.  I spent much, much more than eleven hours (and used irreplaceable materials) in the initial creation of the pieces.

In repairing them, though, I kept trying to spin my non-spinning pot rest that I was working atop of on my table.  When I couldn't, I had to keep picking up and rotating the sculptures myself, and each time I did that I increased the chances that I'd put them down off balance, or at an angle that threatened a nail tip, and so on.  I realized that I wanted a banding wheel of my own.

I looked at several online; the Shimpo banding wheel I'd used in the Cerdeira Village studio was one of the more expensive ones available so I debated amongst my other options.  From reading various reviews and looking at the details of other types, though, I decided that many of the others that are cheaper are too light-weight and/or don't spin as cleanly as I want.  I really just wanted the same piece of equipment that I found so useful.

I also learned that there are several different types of Shimpo banding wheel.  The one I used in the studio was the BW-25H.  I really considered whether I wanted a different type, but in the end I went with that one again.  The main reason is the height of it - it's the only one with significant clearance between the spinning top and the base.  This was really useful for me when I wanted to move and/or cure the sculpture - without touching the top and getting near a fragile part of my sculpture at all, I could easily put my hands underneath the top to heft the whole thing up.  I also often liked the bit of extra height - typically, when at a table or desk and sculpting or painting a relatively small piece, you're always looking down at it.  The added height of the BW-25H means that you're closer to eye level with the piece.

So that's what I purchased, and I'm excited to own it.  I do think I may eventually want to acquire a BW-25L or BW-22L at some point in the future as well, but for now, I don't need another one, they're expensive, and I'm already facing a lot of expensive artwork-related costs right now (material costs, international shipping fees, framing fees) so I'm holding off on that for the moment.

Upcoming: 2017 Wichita Arts Council Juried Exhibition

Jurors Kristin Beal and Kate Van Steenhuyse selected my painting Perfect Form for inclusion in the 2017 Arts Council Juried Exhibition held in Wichita, KS.  They winnowed down over 100 applicants and nearly 500 images by selecting work from 44 artists.

The exhibition will open on Friday, October 20th, with a Final Friday reception on Friday, October 27th from 6 to 8pm, and will run through Thursday, November 9th.  The gallery is located at 334 N Mead St, Wichita, KS 67202.  The hours of operation are M-TH: 9am-9pm, F: 9 am-5pm, SA: 9am-3pm, SU: Closed.  If you'd like to contact CItyArts, their phone number is (316) 350-3245

Artist Profile in Rootstalk: A Prairie Journal of Culture, Science and the Arts

This neat opportunity came to me by way of the recommendation of my childhood friend Sister Theoterpi; her undergraduate alma mater is Grinnell and she thought my work would be a good fit.  The editors of the journal agreed, and a multi-page artist profile of me was published in Rootstalk: A Prairie Journal of Culture, Science and the Arts Volume III Issue 1.  It was the Fall 2016 issue, but it didn't come out until recently.

Here's a link to the PDF of just my profile!

The Rashel's Immigration & Community Engagement Exhibition

As part of a campus-wide interdisciplinary focus on social justice, immigration, and human rights, with events centering on on these topics will take place throughout the month of September, we in the Art Program brought A K M Jabed Rashel and Tajreen Shupti Akter to USM's Goppert Gallery with their show The Rashel's Immigration & Community Engagement Exhibition.  Here's their press release!  

If you're in the area, you should not only come and check it out but consider buying - all proceeds will be donated to the relief efforts supporting Rohingya refugees.  The show will be up through October 6th.

Second Place in Water Media in the IAA's 16th National Animal Art Juried Competition

My painting Perspective won second place in the Water Media category at the Irving Art Association's 2017 16th National Animal Art Juried Competition with juror Patsy Lindamood!  I wrote about being juried into the show here, and if you're near Irving, Texas, in the next few days you can still catch it - the exhibition will be up through September 29th.

Leavenworth Times Article on My Graphic Design Class's Digital Colorization Project

The Leavenworth Times wrote a front-page article on one of our class projects - digital colorization - in AR 383 Graphic Design!  You can read it here.

The Intelligence of Fish

Here are two articles on fish intelligence I've read recently, though the first is problematic in terms of writing (overblown results language in the title and first couple paragraphs) and in terms of non-ideal (cruel) experimental processes.  Watching fish suffocate alive on ice in a seafood store in Florida instigated my vegetarianism, actually.

Fish are sentient animals who form friendships and experience 'positive emotions', landmark study suggests

Fish can’t recognise faces if they’re upside down – just like us

Irving Art Association's 16th Annual National Animal Art Juried Competition

Juror Patsy Lindamood accepted two of my pieces, Balancing Act and Perspective, into this year's exhibition!  101 artists had entered 238 pieces of artwork, out of which 65 pieces were selected.

The Irving Art Association's 16th Annual National Animal Art Juried Competition opened on August 27th and will be open through September 29th, 2017, with an awards ceremony and reception on Sunday, September 10th, from 2 – 4pm at the Jaycee Park Center for the Arts in Irving, Texas.  I was planning on making the long drive down when I mistakenly thought that it was the same weekend as Labor Day and thus would have given me a little more driving time, but unfortunately I won't be able to make it.  If you can go, though, please take photos as I'd enjoy seeing them!