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Happy New Year 2012 and Overview of 2011

Happy New Year to all my readers!

As it is already customary for me to write in January an overview of the year that has just ended, here it’s my 2011 overview. Enjoy!

Last year, the weather was a little crazy around here; we were hit hard with unprecedented amounts of snow, cool temperatures, ice and slush everywhere, roofs collapsed... it was total chaos, since we are not use to having such a harsh winter.

Awareness (c)

So I took this time to read more (added a few more books to my art library), expanding my knowledge in Social Media, and ...remember the donation I've been working on since last year? Well, I decided to create a non-for-profit blog and Facebook page to raise Awareness on Dense Breast Tissue and the current screening methods that cannot detect cancer well on this type of tissue. My dream is to make this a blog for all women to share their stories, so the world realizes that we are many affected with the issue and that we all deserve to be screened early if we have cancer cells growing on our breasts. I was very excited when Dr. Nancy Cappella, from Are you Dense, Inc, kindly wrote her story to share it on the Awareness blog. But we need more!! Please, visit the Awareness Blog, read about this issue, learn about it and be proactive!

Then, in September, we were under the eye of hurricane “Irene”, which was very stressful. Thank goodness it changed into a tropical storm when it reached our coastline. However, our state had extensive damage all around, and some people had no power for about a week or so, with no water, no stove... God willing, we won't get another one like it for many years to come!!

We finished the year, weather wise, with an early snowstorm in late October. Can you believe it? There were still leaves on the trees, which complicated things a bit, many trees fell down on homes, electrical wires, roads… hence most of the state lost power once again, and unfortunately many people were without power for over a week.

We ended the year with a warmer winter. Let’s see what this year will bring. I hope the weather behaves better this time around!

As you may know, I'm always looking for ways to expand my creative possibilities. So, since construction of my new Studio/Gallery continue through most of last year, and my old studio was too cramped to work on, I took the opportunity to take some new art classes, to learn new approaches and techniques that I could later apply to my works and pass along to my students.

In this note, here are the workshops I took during 2011:

One of my Solarplate prints
During March, I travel to New York City to take a SOLARPLATE WORKSHOP with the internationally recognized painter and printmaker, Julio Valdez, which I enjoyed greatly. Not only because of all the new knowledge learned, but it was also the perfect mother/daughter weekend. You see, my college daughter joined me in the class, so it was fun to make art with her and get to bond with her.

You may be asking yourselves what is Solarplate? It is a revolutionary and versatile method of printmaking created by master printmaker, Dan Welden in 1972, to create an etching or photo-etching plate using solar energy, developing the image with water.

Michelle Belto, me and Bonny Leibowitz,
from the Encaustic Center in Dallas
Last April, and thanks to the donations that many of you, my readers, made here on my blog, I was able to travel to Dallas, Texas to take Michelle Belto's workshop: FROM PULP TO PAINTING: EXPLORATIONS IN PAPER AND WAX, at the Encaustic Center. It was one of the most enriching experience I’ve ever had, besides being the first time in my life that I would get on a plane by myself and go to an unknown place, and meet people I’ve never seeing before. Awesome!

Encaustic Conference
Founder/Director Joanne Mattera
addressing the crowd
In June, I was so fortunate to be one of the participants to the 5th International Encautic Conference at Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA. Those were three full days of lectures and demonstrations on everything to do with this wonderful media of Encaustic and the business of art. Got the chance to meet artists from all over the world and learned so much from them, and the place, PTown is so beautiful, it was so worth the drive!!

While there, I had the opportunity to take some wonderful workshops at the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill; CASTING WITH WAX with the multi-talented Kim Bernard, and a very different workshop, VISUAL JOURNALING, a workshop that focuses on the visual expression instead of a written language diary, with Nancy Azara.

During the summer time, I joined Binnie Birstein’s encaustic class at the Creative Arts Workshop to better my skills in the media.

I participated in fewer exhibitions than usual last year, for the same reason that I didn’t have a space to work. Nonetheless, here’s the list of the few I entered:

The year began with my participation in [UN+ART]-4; a salon style art exhibition at the Hartford's ArtSpace Gallery, which benefited the South Park Inn homeless Center.

February started with my participation in the Annual Members Exhibition of the Madison Art Society, and was invited to partake in The First Mixed Media Exhibition at the new Six Summit Gallery, in Ivoryton, CT, where I sold one of the mixed media paintings I brought in. I sold another painting in March at Expressiones Cultural Center in New London, CT

During April, I was invited to take part in Time In, a collaborative project involving Expressiones Cultural Center, Mitchell College, and the Judy Dworin Performance Project (JDPP) at Expressiones Cultural Center, New London, CT. It was such a heartening experience to learn about the penitentiary system in the US and in particular about the York Women Penitentiary in Connecticut. I had to take their experiences, read their poems, songs… and create two artworks inspired from the experience. At the end, I was very happy when the own Judy Dworin wrote to me:
Uncomfortable Minutes (c)

“Wonderful Work! I loved your two pieces in the show at Expressiones. And the woman who wrote the text that you incorporated would be so thrilled to see them! Might you have photos of the two pieces that I might bring to York [women prison in Niantic, CT] to show her and the other women?” 2011 -Judy Dworin, author of TIME IN, reflections of women in Jail.

Also in April, I was invited by Arte, Inc Gallery to curate an exhibition for them. So I invited a group of talented artists with Latin roots from all over Connecticut, and named the exhibition Perspectives/Perspectivas. Because, even though they all have common roots, each one brings their own particular view to their artistic works.

Sponsored by the Downtown Milford Business Association, I was invited again, along with other artists, to create an artwork on a recycled door. In the summer, completed works were displayed at the sponsoring businesses throughout downtown Milford, and in September the transformed "doors and windows" were auctioned off and a percentage of the sales was donated to this year's charity,
Domestic Violence Services of Greater New Haven.

On a different note, my work, “Medallion,” made using Encaustic was featured at the 5th Encaustic International Conference's home page.

I was honored with an invitation to join the 6th Annual In The Pink Art Stroll for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, at Expressiones Cultural Center, New London, CT, where my sculpture, Awareness had center stage on their gallery window. At the same center, but in a different gallery, my sculpture “As One” was juried in to LOVE, Juried by Jeffrey W. Cooley, Director of the Cooley Gallery, in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

At the same time, I participated in The New Haven Paint & Clay Club active members exhibit at the John Slade Ely House, New Haven; and was invited by artists Julio Valdez, who curated a small group of artists (from Washington DC, New York and Connecticut) to showcase our works at The Affordable Art Fair, Fall Edition New York, NY. I’m happy to report that six of my paintings were sold during the fair.

During the month of October, I participated in All About Water VII presented by GalleryOne and the Tracy Art Center at GalleryOne at the Clayhouse, Old Saybrook, CT.

November came with good news, my artwork “Undinde, the Water Nymph” had been accepted in to the Connecticut Women Artists Juried Exhibition. Gallery, Meriden, CT, juried by Melanie Anderson Bourbeau, Curator for Collections at Hill Stead Museum, Farmington CT

The Grand Opening!
Once my new studio was finally finished and I had moved in, I started working and working, days and nights, until the anticipated grand opening of my new studio, the weekend before Thanksgiving. The opening was a great success, good friends and new ones came along, many people showed interested in joining my classes and ten of my artworks were sold, along with prints, my mixed media book, cards… Thank you everyone who stopped by and to those that couldn't come but sent me their good wishes, you all made this grand opening perfect and I'll treasure it in my heart forever!!

Finished my exhibition calendar with my participation in Winter Lights, invitational exhibition at Expressiones Cultural Center, New London, CT

FOREVER, piece donated to FOCUS
Also in 2011, I created a especial painting that was donated to FOCUS’ fundraising, a non-profit organization in the town of Farmington, CT to keep school children safe and away from drugs and alcohol.

I continue donating 50% of the sales of the pocket mirrors with the printed image of my sculpture "Awareness", to the Downey Sisters' Fund FOR BRCA MUTATION AWARENESS AND EDUCATION, to educate the public and the medical community about the genetic risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

During my lecture -ArtSmart
I was also invited to come to an Elementary school in Westport, CT to talk to a group of 11 year-old children about the art/technique involved in my sculpture work, and we all had a blast! After my talk and demo, the children had to make their own sculptures following my idea of creating “round” sculptures. Their works were showcased and auctioned off during the school's MUSEUM NIGHT. It is all part of a local program call ArtSmart, a parent run, in class program designed to stimulate student appreciation for art. Isn't that great?

Well, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be more constant with my writing here. So, I will be making an effort to write at least once a week to keep you all updated with my works, my exhibitions and even tell you more about what I have learn in the arts and my art classes. So stay tune, and remind me if I get behind… Thank you!

Wishing you all a new year filled with blessings of good health, love, and a steady job, peace, happiness and… lots of creativity!!!

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