Latest Event Updates

The Bless Her Heart Art Gallery

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Waiting in line for my chai latte this morning, I overheard something about Paris and Art and I pricked up my ears:

“You know, when I was in the service, I was stationed in Paris. Right across from the Louvre; you know, the Looooovv? You could spend a whole day in there! Ya know the Mona Lisa is only about that big? Yup! Ya know, the only thing I didn’t like about Paris…was the people!”

Just when ya think there’s some hope for humanity, when the lines seem to start to blurr and someone not typically inclined toward appreciating art can see and recognize something of greatness. And then…? Nope…nope…he is really an asshole.

But then you happen along something that’s just so sweet in it’s simpleness. Just so sincere and you gotta appreciate it for what it is: some folks trying to make the world a prettier place. I saw these photos and just fell in love with the truly unintentional kitsch of this thing.

And I thought it should be called The Bless Her Heart Art Gallery. I love it…

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And my very favorite…

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snapshots courtesy of theyetiden

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Keep It Local!

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IMG_20151010_124229_767It’s a cloudy dreary Saturday here in the piedmont, North Carolina. But I’m not missing anything; I’m in my studio painting.

I’m getting ready for the annual fall Keep it Local show in Oak Ridge, NC. I don’t usually schlep my paintings to outdoor shows (I prefer my work in galleries with proper lighting; I’m a snob that way.) but this event is super fun!

On a small cozy farm in Oak Ridge, NC, nestled away from the main road, with LeeAnne Pizio’s precious little studio/gallery building beckoning, the sound of clucking chickens and crowing roosters, and friendly dogs to welcome you, it’s the perfect backdrop for an art fest.

There will be over 20 craftspeople (including me!), wonderful musicians, an art hunt, and Princess Inca the Llama…! Plus it’s on Halloween day–only the best holiday of the year!

And, by the way, what’s this anti-candy corn movement I’ve been hearing about?? Sacrilege!

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A Hurricane and a Pumpkin Ale Make a Gallery Hop Complete

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I recently joined Delurk Gallery, an artist run gallery in Winston-Salem, NC. Friday was the first opening reception that I participated in with them. The art district’s monthly Gallery Hop is on the first Friday of every month and Delurk has a new show each month with the opening reception coinciding with the Gallery Hop.

It was a rainy windy evening with the threat of hurricane Joaquin headed our way. Although the weather cut down on the number of visitors we had, it gave us Delurkers time to chat and get to know each other. What a great group of people! I’m really excited to be a part of it–an established gallery with a group of strong artists dedicated to a common goal, working together to make things happen. And they’re all making amazing artwork!

After the few dedicated Gallery Hoppers, undaunted by the weather, cleared out, we turned out the lights, closed up shop and decided to go have a beer upon the suggestion of a new friend and fellow gallery member. 

We headed down to Single Brothers, a cozy local pub. I was told that they’re known for their delicious mixed drinks and local beers on tap. We got our drinks and headed for a table out on their patio. Sitting outside under their curagated metal roof so engrossed in conversation over delicious pumpkin flavored drafts, we finally noticed the wind getting stronger, the rain pouring down harder and the temperature dropping; we decided it was time to bid farewell and go home.

Bodies in the Basement – A Short Story

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Cloudy, damp, windy October day–it’s a great day to read this spooky story by M. Taggart. Enjoy!

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Written by M. Taggart 10/17/14

Fiction: A Halloween style tale.

Copyright 2014 by Matt Taggart, aka -M. Taggart

Bodies in the Basement

It was a crisp, damp, October night.

“When we get to the Church I’ll go down first.” Colin was thinking of the moment when both he and Aaron would be standing at the top of the basement stairs peering down into the darkness.

The old stone Church was perched at the top of the largest hill on the prep school’s campus. Colin’s parents were professors at the school and their house was on campus grounds. They’d been waiting for Colin’s parents to fall asleep upstairs.  Both boys were comfortable in their sleeping bags on the screened in porch. The lights had been turned out an hour ago and Colin felt it was time to slip into the night.

They unzipped their sleeping bags without noise. Colin gave Aaron…

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I’m One of Those Rare Freaks–an Artist with a Business Sense!

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I’m currently in the midst of a major search, a sometimes seemingly impossible quest. I’m looking to invest my time and energy in a job, one that will supplement my art career, ideally in arts administration/management, or with a worthwhile organization where I won’t feel like I’m selling my soul to the devil each time I punch in. I’m wondering, “Where will I ‘fit in’?”

One of the prevalent interview questions is, “Why do you want to work at this job/company?” (I suppose they would get a lot of people simply applying, without first seriously considering if they could spend such a significant chunk of their life at a particular company.) I carefully consider each job opening and whether I’m qualified and if I might fit in. When the answer is yes, I apply. I don’t waste anyone’s time, including mine.

I have extensive experience, creativity, and resourcefulness from years working with various start-up companies and artist collaboratives–specializing in making something great out of next to nothing! I wouldn’t squander this talent on something meaningless.

Each line, word, punctuation on my resume has been carefully considered. My resume is crafted so it can be perused quickly, with organized bullet points and a minimum of superfluous text, so the reader can get a solid idea of who I am and what I’m capable of. (So it’s rewarding when a prospective employer actually reads it.)

It looks like I’m properly prepared for my job search; I’ve done everything the career search experts suggest. So, it’s one more day off to the world of internet job searching, networking, and brainstorming about alternate job options that my talents and skills may match. “Searching for a job is a job in itself,” they say, and for good reason. And in between these efforts I’m painting and happily preparing for my next exhibit.

A Luminous Pause–A Journey Through Life and Death and Life

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The Three Graces, oil on canvas

I’m having so much fun meeting and working with the folks at the Friends Homes here in Greensboro. It’s a retirement community, based on Quaker principles, full of the coolest retired professors, artists, and authors, most still active in their crafts. As the administrator joked about me being a new resident, I thought of how nice it would be to live there.

When I was asked to do a show at Friends Homes, I was surprised at the work that was chosen. Shame on me for assuming our retired friends would want to see typical soft impressionist landscapes and simple still life paintings. After previously hearing such feedback as: “Your work is too dark; I could never sell that.” and “Oh, That’s kinda crazy…” I’m always surprised when my work is embraced.

As we curated my paintings, a few people examined my work as they walked by, some even laughed, as if they got my private jokes. (Very Cool!) When I stepped back and looked at the combination of paintings that were chosen–some darker, brooding expressionist abstracts, along with some still life paintings from my thesis work regarding Jeff’s suicide, and some lighter abstracts and still life paintings from when things started easing up–I realized this combination of works comprise a journey, through life and death and life.

may 2012 - Kelly L TaylorThis is work completed in May of 2012

I wonder why some people don’t see the light in my work; it’s always there, like when you look up at a cloudy sky and you know, you feel, the blue sky and the sunshine behind the clouds.

The opening reception for the Friends Homes show, A Luminous Pause, will be on the afternoon of Friday, October 2nd when I’ll do a short talk and present my artist statement for the show which goes like this:

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.

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I make paintings–curious objects combined with abstract elements, emphasized by light and shadow. This collection represents a story of great scope, of life and death, a journey through dark grief, while looking toward the light.

Conjuring the melancholy of past desires, abandoned objects ask me to paint them shadowed by the lives of the people who loved and left them. Embodying triumph and tragedy, the objects are all that’s left of those who have gone on. They remind me of what slipped through my hands, a magnificent life no more. They are the last vestige of stories lost once voice is stilled.

Some things just make me smile and beg me to play, like wooden dolls, a vintage firetruck, and a telephone you can’t keep your hands off the dial. I paint those, too.

Navigating the chaotic currents of life, I reach for acceptance, move forward while learning to embrace the mystery of reality, the uncontrollable, the inevitable, and the joyous.

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Hello? oil on canvas

Patience and Process and Painting with Oils

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They say you need patience to paint with oils. “Oh, oils are hard,” they say. “You need to use dangerous chemicals. It takes too long to dry. It’s easy to turn it all into mud.” It’s all worth it to me. I start a painting, set it aside, let it dry some, work on an alternate painting, go back to the first one…

The first time I smoothed oil paint on a canvas it felt so natural to me; Previously I had been working so hard (with various mediums, water, utensils, etc.) to make acrylic paints do what oil paints do naturally. I found a medium I truly loved to work in. It felt so good. I wondered why I waited so long to try oils. Why had I been intimidated by something new?

My abstract process consisted of layers and layers of paint mixed with various amounts of cold wax medium, adding, scraping off, revealing things beneath, getting lost in the magic that happens in texture and color interactions, light and shadow. But somewhere around the middle of a painting it would start to feel like hell. The painting would come to a stage where it just looked and felt horrible. Each time I had to remind my self “This is your process, remember? Move through it. Just keep working.” And eventually I would come out the other side feeling good about the painting, loving what was happening on the canvas.

Metaphor for life? For the inevitable darkness we need to trudge through sometimes? Maybe that’s why I’m good at this painting thing. I’m not sure where I got the courage to face the scary stuff, to know I needed to go straight through it, to confront it, to keep reaching toward the light, in order to persevere.

appartition-Kelly L Taylor