West of Center Art Show

It’s the eve of the national celebration of Queen Anne’s birthday and I’d like to interrupt your celebrations preparations for an announcement. Two out of a half-dozen submissions were accepted to be part of the West of Center art show at the town museum this summer. This is Wickenburg’s big summer art show at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum’s Cultural Crossroads Learning Center in downtown Wickenburg.

Airstream For Sale
One of my images selected for the show is an early model of an Airstream Trailer sits on a lot in Congress, Arizona.

The show runs from Saturday July 29th thru Sunday October 29th. There will be an opening reception at the Learning Center on Friday the 28th from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, which the Queen and I will attend. I am also hosting the show at least once each month on Fridays/Saturdays (depending when I’m scheduled) during the duration.

Whitman Store Front
The second image selected for the show is of the old Whitman Store that I shot along US 60.

The art show features  the works of Wickenburg’s local artists. There will be a variety of paintings, water colors, sculptures, weaving, and photography from the town’s local artists.

I hope you get a chance to visit our little hamlet and enjoy the art. The Learning Center is located at the Northwest corner of Tegner and US 60 (if you go under the railroad tracks, you’ve gone too far). Here’s hoping to see you at the reception or on one of my working days.

Till then . . . jw

New Showing at the Wickenburg Library

I see from the date of my last post, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. I have a good reason. I’ve been working the last two weeks printing new images and making frames for them. I’ve worked my fingers to the bone and it’s a wonder that I can still type. The reason for printing and framing is for a show of my work at the Wickenburg City Library.

White Argentine Cactus Blossoms
White blossoms of an Argentine Cactus.

This afternoon I’m hanging a group of six new images in the library entry hall. The collection is a grouping of the cactus flower images I’ve taken over the last month. On my morning walks, I tried to capture the wide variety of colorful blossoms I saw along the way. Their colors were intense; almost surreal. It seem like it was only days before the beautiful flowers went to seed and but for a few stragglers, they’ve gone.

Claret Cup Cactus Flowers
The vibrant colored blossoms of a Hedgehog Cactus.

I hope you get a chance to visit Wickenburg and see the collection. The show will continue throughout May. The library is old town Wickenburg,  north of Highway US60 at 164 East Apache Street (East of Tegner Street). They’re open from 8:30 – 5:00 weekdays and till 12:30 on Saturday (closed Sunday). Please accept my invitation to stop in and see them. I’m also looking forward to hearing what you think.

Jim Installing Library Show
Yours truly posing before framed prints hanging at the Wickenburg Library.

Till then . . . jw

Rain; Sweet Rain

We’re saved! I complained in an earlier post about the onslaught of a premature summer. Well, a low pressure front came through a couple of days ago and brought strong winds, thunder storms, some rain, and cooler weather. I had to break out the sweaters again.

It looks as if we will be back to normal for the foreseeable future. Next week’s forecasts show pleasant days broken by intermittent rain days. That means a continued wildflower season.

Lichen and Brittlebush
Blooming brittlebush before a lichen covered outcrop near Wickenburg, Arizona.

The brittlebush is in full bloom now and the cactus is just beginning to blossom. I recommend that you grab your camera and head to the nearest road out-of-town to capture the color while it’s here. March and April are when the Sonoran Desert is the prettiest, but this is an exceptional year. Don’t miss it.

Till then . . . jw

March 4th Art Show at Wickenburg Ranch

Next Saturday, Wickenburg Ranch will be hosting an exhibition featuring the  Wickenburg Art Club artists. I managed to weasel my way into the show. I’m planning on having one of my latest images on display. I hope you stop by.

Date Creek Yucca
A Yucca plant in the plains of the Date Creek Range.

The exhibition will be open from 10am to 3 pm although we don’t get to set up until 10. I wouldn’t be in a big hurry to get there early. It is being held in the ‘Art Barn’ (whatever that is). Rick, the club’s vice president, told me that this is the second year we’ve been invited to put on this show. The promotion department liked it so well, that they invited the club back.

To get to Wickenburg Ranch, take Highway 93 like you’re going to Las Vegas and when you get to the big round-about (the one with a giant spur in the middle) take the road to the east. At the guard gate, tell the attendant that you’re looking for the ‘Art Barn’ and they will give you directions.

Till then . . . jw

Wickenburg Gold Rush Days

Next weekend is Wickenburg’s big annual celebration, Gold Rush Days. The festivities take place beginning Friday the 10th through Sunday the 12th. If you picked this weekend to drive to Las Vegas, you might consider an alternate route, because fair goers will pack downtown. However, if you’re at a loss for something to replace football, come on up and join us. The predicted perfect weather is for clear skies and highs in the 70s.

There are multiple activities during the weekend anchored by the carnival area wedged into the open space downtown west of the main traffic circle. Arts and crafts booths are scattered among rides and people selling food that can’t possibly be good for you. Fred will be showing off his classic Chevy truck at the parade and car show on Saturday. There’s a Senior Pro Rodeo at the rodeo grounds and more vendors on the pedestrian bridge over the Hassayampa. It’s a great excuse to spend a day exploring our little hamlet.

Cow skull and posted sign on a fence gate.
A tree-lined drive blocked by a gate decorated with a cow skull and Posted sign.

As for me, I’ll be working indoors at the local artist show inside the city library. I’m entering two photographs for judging; Posted and Salome Motel. The show is open to the public from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm except Sunday when it closes a half hour earlier. I will be acting as host Sunday morning. That means I will be answering questions and handing out ballots for the people’s choice award. If you stop by then, I’ll even fill the form out for you so at least I have a shot at winning something.

Salome Motel
The town of Salome was once a major stop on the road between LA and Phoenix until the Interstates changed all that. The tower on the town’s motel recalls times long gone.

It’s supposed to be a fun event to entertain our winter guests before they leave for destinations north. It’s the most excitement we get in this otherwise sleepy little town. I hope you come up and join us and if you come Saturday, be sure to say hi to Fred (I might even be hanging around taking pictures). I’d love to have you stop by the library Sunday and see the works of the talented local artists. Or, as the queen would say, “Y’all come, ya’hear.”

Till then . . . jw

Wickenburg Jury Process

When you move into a new place, it’s important to get a lay of the land. You need to know pretty quickly where the grocers, hardware, doctor and barber shop are. Finding ones that you care to patronize is some times easy; others take a bit of time. For example, if you have several choices, you may have to visit all the barbers before you find one that doesn’t talk too much.

The same thing holds true with my photography. With Phoenix an hour away, I needed to learn what the locals did for supplies and how they got their work out to the public. One of our neighbors, Jane, suggested that I attend the local photography club meetings as a way to shorten my learning curve, so I did. These days, the internet is your best source for art supplies regardless of where you live. But, in Wickenburg, there is a protocol for getting work out to the public.

In Wickenburg, calls for artists are put-out through the Wickenburg Art Club (WAC), of which the photography group is a part. There are two requirements that the club has. The first is you are a club member (of course) and the second is that you be a juried artist. After moving here last year, I missed several chances to hang my work, so I decided to send examples of my work for jurring.

To submit for this process, I had to sign up at the beginning of the month to get in on the review last Saturday. I had to pick out three examples of my current work (within the last four years), and drop them off at the meeting room, framed and ready to hang. I have plenty of framed prints, but only one that was less than four years old, so I needed to pick out two newer images to print and put into frames.

I didn’t want to limit my entry to one project, so I picked out a print of Corn Power; the keystone image of my West Side project. That made life easier because I had one in the frame already .

Corn Power
This is the keystone image from my West Side project. It was shown in a Scottsdale gallery last year, so I already had a framed print.

As an example of the kind of work I’ve been doing since moving, I chose the image Posted, which has created good Web traffic.

Cow skull and posted sign on a fence gate.
A  gate decorated with a cow skull and Posted sign, blocks a tree-lined drive.

For my last image, I selected Kluane Lake and Ruby Range, a photo that was September’s Picture of the Month. This is one of the images that I got on the Alaska trip. I was kind of partial to it, and I wanted to see it in print anyway.

Kluane Lake a Ruby Range
This was my September Picture of the Month and was taken this summer in the Yukon Territories. Because of the mats that I had in stock, I had to crop this version in a 4:5 ratio and not the 16:9 version that I prefer. Check out both versions and tell me which you like better.

After making my selections, I had to come up with some 16×20 prints. I had two obstacles to overcome. I was out of that size paper, and my large format printer hadn’t been turned on for a year. I was sure the ink was dried solid by now. Ordering a box of paper wasn’t even simple. Harmon had dropped the warm-tone version that I’m set-up for and now only offers it in cool white. That means that I’d have to create a new printer profile so the colors would come out right.

B&H Photo had a good price, so I ordered a box of paper and just beat the Rosh Hashanah holiday closing (B&H doesn’t take orders after Friday’s sundown or on holidays). With paper on its way, the next task was to get the printer up a running. My Epson 3880 replaced an earlier one that quit working because of severe ink blockage; even after replacing all the cartridges. I was very afraid that I would have the same problem with this one. After turning it on though, it printed a test page, so I ran it through several cleaning cycles before attempting to make a paper profile. It took another dozen cleaning cycles before I got a decent looking print.

The next step was to pick out a couple of frames. The pair that looked the best had nicks and scratches, so I would have to repaint them. That sounds easy enough, but the Krylon wouldn’t come out of the can evenly, and I had to buff them with Scotch Brite pads to get a uniform finish.

After two weeks of working diligently, I had my three framed prints and anxiously dropped them off at the hall for jurying on Saturday. We weren’t allowed to hang around and watch, because it was done behind closed doors. Three jurors examined the works, one of which was an expert in your medium, but we had no idea who they were. If only one of the three said yes to any of your three pieces, you were golden. Our only instructions were to come back at 1:00 to pick up our submitted work along with a sealed envelope which contained the Yeah or Neigh results and maybe judges notes.

Shortly after 1:00, I showed up the door where I got my envelope that I nervously shoved into my pocket. After loading Fritz with my frames, I climbed behind the wheel and fished out the results and tore open the envelope. All three pieces were marked ‘Yes’ along with some very nice notes from the jurors. What a relief. Now I am a juried Wickenburg artist. Yeah!