Thursday, November 17, 2011

Two New Opportunities for Artists

The Arts Council of Fairfax is offering fellowships to Fairfax artists, the Maryland Federation of Art is seeking submissions for an upcoming gallery, and both have deadlines in January.

Art on Paper — Deadline January 11, 2012 
The Maryland Federation of Art (MFA) invites all artists residing in the United States and Canada to enter its thirty-fifth annual Art on Paper exhibition. Any original two or three dimensional works on or of paper following exhibition guidelines will be considered by the juror. The selected works will be on exhibit in the MFA’s Circle Gallery, 18 State Circle, Annapolis, Maryland from March 22 through April 22, 2012.
Details and submission guidelines are on the MFA website.

Strauss Fellowships — Deadline January 18, 2012
The Arts Council of Fairfax has announced the fifth annual Strauss Fellowships for individual artists. These grants recognize professional working artists’ achievements and their demonstrated history of accomplishments; they promote artists’ continued pursuit of their creative work. Artists in all disciplines including visual arts, creative writing, theatre, dance performance and choreography, film and new media, music composition and performance are eligible to apply. Applicants must reside in Fairfax County.

The application deadline is January 18, 2012. The Arts Council will hold a free grant writing workshop for interested applicants on November 12, 2011 from 10am to 12pm at 4022 Hummer Road, Annandale, VA 22003.

The Strauss Fellowships are awarded through a competitive grant program and recipients are determined by their work’s merit. No specific project needs to be carried out with the funds granted; Strauss Fellowships award outstanding achievement for work already completed. Awards range from $1,000-$5,000, and in previous years, up to eleven fellowships have been awarded.
More details are here.

Photoshop Lecture for Artists

The Art League Gallery became a classroom, briefly, on Tuesday for a lecture on Adobe Photoshop by Art League member John Burgess. John, who gave another lecture Wednesday on exhibition-quality prints for photographers, spelled out the basics of Photoshop and answered questions at the free lecture, part of The Art League's FotoWeek DC events.

Among the topics covered were how to get photos properly sized and onto a CD for electronic submissions and how to maximize quality during an image's trip from camera to printer. John's tips included:
  • Purchase an external hard drive and save images on both your computer and this hard drive, to guard against hard drive failure.
  • Use an organizing program, such as Adobe Bridge, Adobe Lightroom, Aperture, or iPhoto, to manage large numbers of photos.
  • To print for exhibition purposes, aim for a resolution of 240–360 pixels per inch. Check the recommendations for the printer and the paper you're using.
  • Use the histogram on your camera and adjust exposure to avoid clipping of shadows or highlights in your image.
  • Avoid using the sRGB color space because it loses some color information.

    Histograms tell you about your photo's lighting at a glance.
    John gave attendees a crash course in terminology, explaining color models (RGB, CMYK, CIE Lab), color spaces or profiles, which specify how a device differs from the standard color spectrum, file types (.jpeg, .tiff, .psd, Raw), and explained how to use color profiles to produce accurate color in files and prints.

    He also used a picture of his granddaughter to show how to make her "pop" against the background by adjusting the curves (under Image>Adjustments) and colorized a black-and-white photo of himself by painting with masks:

    Need a Photoshop lesson? The Art League School offers a Photoshop workshop this March (details and registration here), a workshop on using Photoshop for pictures of artwork, also in March (details), and later this month, a workshop on Photoshop for painters (details).

    In Plein Sight

    Last week The Art League Plein Air Painters, a group previously featured on this blog, were up to their usual antics, painting at Green Spring Gardens Park in Alexandria, Burke Lake Park in Fairfax, and Theodore Roosevelt Island, where David Diaz painted this scene:

    Kim Stenberg also shared her painting from Green Spring Gardens, Autumn Brook, at her blog.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    On the Horizon: Travel Workshop to Ethiopia

    It's not too soon to start getting excited about The Art League's travel workshop this spring in Ethiopia. We spoke to instructor and photographer Andargé Asfaw, who was born in Ethiopia and called the land "a paradise" for photographers and other artists.

    Inside Abune Aron Church by Andargé Asfaw
    Each day of the workshop will start with the morning light, following a schedule of shooting locations to follow the light during the day. Students can expect to cover ground in the historical, Northern part of Ethiopia and see such natural wonders as the Simien Mountains.

    Andargé has been to these locations before, and says each trip gets better as the logistics and the roads improve.

    A photo taken in Kenya by Andargé Asfaw
    The sites, cultural and natural, create a wide world of opportunities for photographers — and artists in other media: Andargé stressed the workshop is open to others.

    "You’re in paradise," he says. "Everything is there for you. You’ve got culture; you've got architecture; you've got faces, animals — I don’t think you can ask for a better place than that."

    Roadside Market in the Fog, Kombolcha by Andargé Asfaw
    The trip also includes professional, English-speaking guides and an expert instructor, Andargé, who has experience in the area and is with students all day to answer questions.

    Details of the trip, including the exact dates, are being finalized. Check back here, and on The Art League School website, for news as it develops.

    Andargé has released a book,
    Ethiopia from the Heart, and started a nonprofit, Canopy Ethiopia, to promote trees in Ethiopia. His work is also featured in an exhibit in Richmond this month.

    Gate Keeper of Zege Kidane Mihiret Monastery by Andargé Asfaw

    Local Calls For Artists

    Several local groups are seeking submissions for upcoming exhibits, including one with a late deadline today. We also received an announcement for available studio space.

    Final deadline today — 21st Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival

    May 19 and 20, 2012 marks the 21st Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival showcasing the best contemporary fine art and craft from around the country. Over two hundred artists fill the streets of Reston’s up-scale Town Center with an outdoor art exhibition that is regarded as one of the top festivals on the East Coast.  Artists are selected on the basis of quality, originality, and craftsmanship by a panel of jurors who are experts in their fields. Festival  organizers also invite ten award winners from the previous year and six percent of participating artists.  In 2011, thirty percent of exhibitors were first-time artists. The festival is produced by Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, in support of its exhibition, education, and outreach programs. No sales commissions are charged and festival admission is free but voluntary donations are encouraged. 100% of the funds collected go directly to support GRACE’s mission. 

    Tonight at midnight is the deadline for this festival, which takes place in Reston. Details are here.

    December 2 deadline — Photography Exhibition

    The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is hosting its 6th Annual Contemporary Photography Exhibition, January 6 – February 2, 2012, including over $2,000 in purchase awards and the opportunity for a solo exhibition. Details and submission guidelines are here.

    light paint 1 by Brian Cognazzo, from the 2011 exhibition

    December 10 deadline — Prince George's County Artists

    The Prince George's Department of Parks and Recreation, Arts and Cultural Heritage Division, in partnership with the Prince George's Arts and Humanities Council, is pleased to announces Memories from All Directions, this year's exhibition of Prince George's County artists in the Lowe House Office building in Annapolis, during the Maryland General Assembly/ the Legislative Session. 

    This call for entries is open to all artists 18 years old or older who live, work, attend school or have studios in Prince George's County, MD. Artists may submit a maximum of 5 artworks for consideration. All works must be original. Artworks may use any media. However, in order to be considered for the exhibition, artworks must incorporate memory as an important theme. Art works must also be presentation-ready and able to hang on a wall without projecting off the wall in such a way that they could obstruct or endanger foot traffic in the exhibition area. To download the prospectus, click here.

    Old Brick Warehouse — 4 studios available
    This 11,500 sq. ft. artist’s warehouse is about 2.5 miles from the Torpedo Factory and near the intersection of Duke Street and S. Quaker Lane. Onsite parking is free, and you will have 24/7 access. Each artist has a key to his or her studio and another key to the building’s main entrance. There are no requirements to keep your studio open during specified hours. Please contact Liz Boynton at or 703-759-4227.