My Exhibition, “Painting for Myself” and the Reception.

September 13, 2015 was an inviting day. Warm sunshine splashed the sidewalk as people spilled in threes and fours through the wide open friendly doors of the Old Town Art Center. The crowd came early to enjoy the show, the food, the wine, the friends and the paintings. Buying was brisk. Out of 42 images on display, 20 were sold by the end of the day.

I greeted the guests as they came through the doors . So many surprises —there were the Towbins, Jennifer and Steve from Winnetka, past patrons whom I had not seen in ages and delighted to see again. Eileen Leeming, long time friend, from Florida to see the show, Colette Holt from San Francisco. Then there were hosts of my former students and many of my neighbors. The guests were wonderfully varied and came from the city and suburbs as well as those from far away places.

I thank all of you for coming and making this a successful exhibition and for the deep pleasure we all experienced being together. And a special thanks to The Old Town Triangle Association for their help and for the Old Town Gallery for the exhibition.

Thank you, Leslie Wolfe, Triangle’s director. We could not have had the success we enjoyed without your advisement and guidance. Also thanks to Barbara Guttman. Leslie’s work mate, for her cheerful hands on help when we needed it. And for taking messages for me concerning the exhibit.

Thanks to the Lincoln Park Village for their promotion of my show and help for me through their intern, Courtney Wilson.

I must thank my Team K– Julia Smith, Karen Burnett, Ruth Kimerer, Bev Hossa, Jeanette Keogh, Danny Lena, Steven Rosofsky. These eight individuals are the spark plugs, the generators of the work I am doing. Their help working together to pull this exhibit out of my archives and putting it together for display was what enabled me to have this show. It was My Team, My Team, My Team. Need a drum roll here. Hearty Thanks team. Another time I will tell this whole story and about each member. A story that should be told.

“Painting for Myself” is an expression of me that is unfettered by anyone’s input but my own–they come purely from the inner artist. Some of these subjects relate back to my American Legacy Collection. “Isla, Christina, Spain” is one sketched when I was “following the footprints of Columbus”, 1991, across the south of Spain. It is a direct sketch of the three caravels as a possibility to use it in a show later.  “Genoa, Italy,” the birthplace, of Columbus is another painting from that trip.

Ordinarily these would have gone into The American Legacy Collection but at the end of a month painting in Spain I had a plethora of subjects on Columbus and did not need these two. It is to help me with the future of the American Legacy Collection that my team was formed—to work to see it placed in a facility that will use it for education.   In this we need help that you out there can provide.

If you would like to help me raise money for my American Legacy Collection Foundation, host a fundraiser or contribute or if you have an idea on where we could place the American Legacy Collection, please email me at akaysmithartist@gmail.com.

What a joyful day it was. My heart is full.

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“Painting for Myself” Art Exhibit Sunday, September 13, 2015, at the Old Town Triangle Association Gallery in Chicago

Hi, Hello, Greetings —

I am meeting old friends, special faithful friends that can be put away and wait patiently for their recognition anytime one chooses—personal paintings from stored portfolios. Come, follow along with me.

Here are my friends. I am sorting, deciding about which images I will use selected from my personal portfolios.

Lovely scenes painted in my neighbor's garden.

Lovely scenes painted in my neighbor’s garden.

Dressing them up in mats and frames for their public debut on Sept 13 at the Old Town Triangle Show. Each painting has its own story to tell and in my memories they are so loud that I don’t know which one I will listen to first.

This picture was painted while enjoying my neighbor and her garden on spring evenings.

This picture was painted while enjoying my neighbor and her garden on spring evenings.

This one—my next door neighbor’s garden with the Stone Pig (image size 19” X 14”, framed size 27” X 20”). She was also my student. My neighbor liked her cocktails and invited me over two or three times a week to have an early evening drink. She hated living alone and when she became too in the “dumps” for a good time we would sit in her “Garden with the Stone Pig” and paint together. It is a pleasant memory of my old friend who was one of our country’s first aviatrix. She is long gone. I thought she would leave the stone pig for me but she didn’t

Well I can’t listen to all but let me tell you another quite different story so you can fully enjoy it and I can share a special memory of painting, “Elk in High Pasture” with the Tetons their backdrop, size 27”Lx21”H.

Migrating elk while high in the mountains of Wyoming.

Migrating elk while high in the mountains of Wyoming.

My brother, Paul Dean, lived in Dubois, Wyoming. Every summer, I went out to stay a month with his family. His two daughters and I had free range to ride horseback anywhere we chose. If we got lost he advised, “simply give the horses their heads and they will bring you back to the barn.” It only happened once. The painting was sketched and began in this beautiful meadow in the High Country in its full summer bloom–and as if that was not a gift big enough, as I was swinging my brush happily and purposely on the scene, several elk came into view and stopped to graze. They stood in magnificently majestic poses as if staged then bent to crop the sweet grass as gracefully as dancers in performance. My cup runneth over with gratitude.

More later mates……………

My Life in Art at Old Town Triangle Art Center – a short missive

I first came to the Old Town Triangle Art Center as a student. One of their instructors was a fine artist, Eleanor Coen, whom I knew from art school at the Art Institute of Chicago. I was privileged to study with her. In 1987, I relinquished my student status and became an instructor at the Center. At that time, the administrator told me I would have to build my own class. “Not a problem”, I thought. I had a number of eager followers and the class took on a life of its own. I taught three days a week for years, restarting a defunct Life Drawing class by student demand.

The heady days of being a new instructor.

The heady days of being a new instructor.

The impact of my long association with Old Town Art Center enriched me as an artist and furthered my art career. I had the intrinsic value; the joy of helping my students open their eyes to see and within their selves to understand that the their art must flow from the Heart to the Head to the Hand.

When I resigned from the Center in 2013, I left a lot of myself there.

 Retirement Party - Old Town Triangle Art Center

Retirement Party – Old Town Triangle Art Center

My experience at OTTA and the friends I made in those years will always be a part of my present journey to place my American Legacy Collection in an appropriate facility where it will be used for education.

The Gulf War Parade Down Michigan Avenue, 1991

Dearly Beloveds,

The Chicago Alliance of Visual Artists (CAVA) is having an exhibition at Chicago’s Old Town Triangle Art Center. The Center is in the heart of our Old Town neighborhood – historically storied for its internationally known visual artists; Ivan Albright, Edgar Miller, John Brown and more. It is still a mecca for art, artists and architects with the Old Town Art Center as its anchor.

Many returning soldiers of WWII found housing in Old Town. They were the artists and architects who began a rebirth of the houses and streets and as time went on became highly desirable property and a place to live.

CAVA, to celebrate this tradition of the arts in Old Town, has brought together area artists in a group exhibition opening Sunday August 9, 2 pm to 5 pm at the Old Town Triangle Gallery located at 1763 North Park. It is a juried show and I have been asked to have a painting as part of the Old Town exhibit. The invitation reads “We are inviting selected artists of note, such as yourself to be a part of the show.  We are looking for a piece that has some connection to the neighborhood and which reflects your unique style. Of course we will waive the entry fee.” from Patricia O’Malley, one of the organizers of the exhibition.

Out of the six digitals I presented for them, they chose “The Gulf War Parade Down Michigan Avenue, 1991”

"Gulf Parade Down Michigan Ave, 1991"

“Gulf Parade Down Michigan Ave, 1991”

The Gulf War, as you remember, was our first engagement with Hussein and Iraq. George H.W. Bush was president. 12 years later in 2003, President George W. Bush would send troops into Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein.

In my painting the parade is passing in front of the Art Institute where the dignitaries were gathered. The scud missile is depicted almost across from the Institute. It is identified by the balloons in red, white & blue that arch over the missile riding on its platform. The crowd cheered and cheered, wildly waving small flags or anything white as the deadly missile came into view. As I sketched and photographed, it was the young service men who stepped out so smartly, so intently with eyes straight ahead. It was they, so young, so manly, so American, so seemingly dedicated—our soldiers, spending their precious youth protecting our country, I waved, cheered and cried for them.

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