Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New England Watercolor Society Exhibit at the Guild of Boston Artists

I have been on the board of the New England Watercolor Society for a couple of years now.  In November, one of the exhibitions that had been in the works was finally scheduled - the Member's Show to be held at the Guild of Boston Artists in  February! It sounds like "Oh, there's plenty of time" but with the holidays fast approaching and lots of details to be attended to, chairs for the show had to be secured and details worked out with the gallery director immediately.  I said I'd co-chair the show.  Wendy Hale, the NEWS Treasurer, agreed to chair it with me, and we immediately began the planning process.
It hasn't been without its ups and downs, but it has been a great success so far.  The show opened Saturday, February 2 with about 250 people attending.  Paul MacMahon provided the hospitality and all went well!
The show is just filled with exceptional watercolors by New England's best artists, and there are artist demonstrations on February 9 - Wendy Hale, February 16 with me, and February 23 with Irena Roman, AWS.  All demonstrations take place from 1 - 3 pm and are free and open to the public.
Above is my painting, "Subito Primo de Battaglia della Arance," or "Just Before the Battle of the Oranges", an annual event in Ivrea, Italy.  The largest food fight in Italy, it dates from the 12th century and takes place each February in the days preceding "Fat Tuesday".  No gentle battle, the oranges are hurled with considerable force by competitive teams.  The event was started when a bully local lord took liberties with an unwilling maiden, who is still portrayed by a young woman in modern celebrations.  Inspired by some beautiful Mandarin oranges from Whole Foods and a bottle of wine one of David's customers gave him from his own family vineyard in Italy,  the painting is all transparent watercolor on Fabriano Artistico 300 lb CP paper.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Have Become One With the Rabbit

Pete Hamilton Superbird Rabbit ©2012 Dawn Evans Scaltreto
I have always enjoyed rabbits.  My niece and I had them as pets as children.  When we asked our neighbor, Mr. Legge if he wanted our pets when we went to Cape Cod for the summer, he gladly took them.  And ate them.  Lately, however, rabbits have taken on an interesting influence in my art and career.  First, for the past year I have been one of the lead artists on an animated film, Infinite Santa 8000 by Burnt Reindeer Films.  This is a full-length animated action/adventure (with a little horror) film.  Two of the characters I have been called on to illustrate and essentially design have been rabbits - one is a 50' high, dumb as dirt and mean to boot bunny that takes great pleasure in stomping stuff to death.  The other is also larger than life, but more on the scale of an adult human being.  Evil Bunny Man, or EBM as we refer to him, is a twisted version of the mall Easter Bunny we were all terrified with but obliged to pose with as children.  My son, Jake, was so terrified of the one at Shopper's World that David and I felt like horrible parents for expecting the familiar rite of passage photograph of your child on the sickeningly happy rabbit's lap.  So, EBM is a nerdy, scary and, yes, evil, version of the mall rabbit every Baby Boomer remembers so well and probably still has a few nightmares about.

Bronze Rabbit, watercolor on Fabriano 300 lb CP © 2012 Dawn Evans Scaltreto
The rabbit again took hold of my art, this time with my fine art watercolor work.  One of my still life reference photos features a little bronze rabbit I got as a souvenir on a trip to the National Gallery.  I painted this still life and submitted it for consideration with several other paintings to the New England Watercolor Society 13th Biennial Open Show this spring.  Lo and behold, my painting "Bronze Rabbit" was selected for the exhibition, juried by one of my favorite artists, Tom Lynch.  Tom also saw fit to give it an award, the "Airfloat Award", so my humble rabbit painting is an award winning watercolor on a national show.  I am feeling very cool about rabbits right about now!

Then, one of my very good friends, artist Monica Fairbairn, who is aware that I have participated in many public art projects, forwarded me a call to artists.  The city of Dedham is sponsoring a temporary public art project featuring those amazing large-scale Fiberglas sculptures like Cow Parade.  But not cows, no siree Bob. You see, that community is known for its pottery, Dedham Pottery, lovely, earthy, crackled white and blue glaze pots that feature... wait for it... a RABBIT!  So, yes, of COURSE I am interested, this is my "Year of the Rabbit"!

I did a little research for ideas for my submission, and found that Dedham is also home to the legendary NASCAR driver, Pete Hamilton.  He won lots of races back in the 1970's, in 1970 winning both the Daytona 500 and the Talledega Speedway.  He drove this very cool Plymouth "Superbird" with a huge spoiler on the back.  My design features this race car, #40, which will be on display later this summer.

I am one of 15 artists selected for this exhibit, and tomorrow I pick up my blank rabbit.  I don't need a rabbit's foot to be lucky, they just keep hopping in my direction.  Keep coming, bunnies!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

LONG Time, but I'm back!

Sorry, dear readers, for taking so long to blog. I am a bad blog-girl. I am reformed, though, and I am excited to formally announce that Watercolor Whirled, the new educational watercolor show, is getting ready to air on and on the Watertown Channel beginning February 2! I am officially inviting you to my Premiere Event of Thursday, February 2, 7 - 9 pm at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street in Watertown. I will air the first 30-minute episode, "Still Lifes that are Still Alive", followed by a Q & A and a live painting demonstration for those who just can't get enough of me painting stuff! I'll have some of my artwork on display, and have refreshments, and hold a raffle for one lucky participant to walk away with an original watercolor painting! Above is Blue Bowl with Pears, the subject of my first episode. Future episodes will highlight perspective featuring a Venetian canal scene, color mixing with a pair of colorful macaws, using mask material to create exciting crashing surf in a scene from Bass Rocks in Gloucester and cool gifts you can make with watercolor paper and your imagination. I hope you can come out for my "red carpet event", I would love to see you there!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Coming Soon - Watercolorwhirled, the Experience!

Exactly one week ago I was in the course of filming my first episode of my soon to be cable television show, Watercolorwhirled! I think I am at that point in my life when I just think, why the hell not? Why not me on TV telling you how to watercolor paint? I love to teach, have a lot to share, enjoy painting and talking about it, all the tools, techniques and such that get me jazzed up. I started with a still life - how to set one up and photograph it, how to get it on your paper, and finished with how to paint it. Above is the painting, Still Life with Pears and Books. If you want to know how to do that, I am the girl to show you how!

I am working on setting up a companion web-site that will have episode guides for download. I hope to have links to places where you can download stuff that will make me some money, too - like buy my art here, note cards, coffee cup, tee-shirt. Maybe sign up for my classes. I think big, too, like how about me on Create TV? How about buying Dawn Evans Scaltreto Watercolorwhirled supplies at your local art store, why not take a Mediterranean "how to paint" cruise with me?

Watercolorwhirled, the Ride
will be a flume that features flowing waterfalls in bright primary colors, which blend into dazzling secondarys as they hit the pool, an exciting salt effects laser light show and culminate in a steep, stomach churning drop and spash that gets everyone soaked and covered with shimmering color. You exit the ride through the token gift shop where you can purchase all sorts of baubles. DES Signature brush quivers and aprons, cute little bottles of kosher salt, framed, hand signed and numbered limited edition giclée prints, a playset for little boys and girls of my studio complete with a colorful cow. Of course, Watercolorwhirled, the Tee Shirt will be available in every size and color so you have something dry to change into. I know you're laughing now! Poor Bob Ross has been dead since 1995, yet his shows are still in syndication, his books and art supplies sold at every art store all over the world, making millions. You may have thought he was smoking some of those happy little trees, and maybe his style of painting is not my cup of tea, but he has inspired people to paint, made them believe that they could paint, too. That's all I want to do, and if I can make a little money at it, prosperity will be a welcome thing. I'll hang out for a while at that fun little theme park in my head, riding Watercolorwhirled, the Ride again and again.

I have another wild dream, one I have had for many years. My brother, Guy, is awesome. Like all my siblings, he is older than me, and actually he named me. I was supposed to be "Don" but poor Guy didn't end up with the little brother he hoped for. Anyhow, he was a Wellesley firefighter and just retired a few years ago. I have wanted to create a "Mouse Firehouse" as a 3-D installation for the Children's Hospital Boston, and when I told him he got very jazzed about it and started saying, "Oh, it should have a firefighter cooking! And washing the trucks - it could have a hose that squirts!" I get such a kick out of him when he gets excited about one of my projects like that. He was a great artist, even won a Silver Key in the Globe Scholastic Art Contest when he was a kid. I am going to do a proposal of the Mouse Firehouse for installation at the Peabody CHB facility. And I am going to ask Guy to help me with it. It turns out that Peabody has a long and distinguished firefighting history, and even has a firefighting museum and a book published about it. So this is the time! I taught a ceramics class the other day for one of the Arsenal Center teachers who was out. I made this little fella in an oversized firefighter coat and boots. I am going to glaze and fire him as a sample to submit with my proposal. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Art Stars and Snow Flakes

Today is another snow day for much of the east coast - no exception in the Boston area, but at this time only a few hesitant flakes are falling. I am spending my day at the studio catching up on correspondence and preparing for my project next week - TA DAH! I am filming my first Watercolorwhirled! segment for WCAC, our local cable channel! Yup, Tuesday I'll be rocking, and start what I hope will be a prosperous and exciting journey into the television art education field. I have high hopes for this - as previously mentioned, my 8 minute video is on YouTube in Jerry's Artarama Art Stars Contest. Each viewing is a vote for me, so check it out here:

Dawn Scaltreto's Art Stars Video on YouTube

As of this morning, I have 282 views!!! Not as many as some, but they are honestly come by. Please watch it often, or at least put it on in the background while you do other stuff online.

I am excited about my new cable show. My first episode is "Still Lifes that are Still Alive". I will use my humorous approach to teaching fundamental lessons in watercolor, hopefully encouraging my viewers to experiment and enjoy creating watercolor paintings. I am working on a companion website that I am building on Google. Above is one of my still life paintings, Apple Arrangement - a still life that is hopefully fun, exciting and "still alive".

And in other news - I have a new band! We are called "Perfect Crime", and of course, my husband David is the bassist and one of the lead vocalists, and it also includes Mike Onessimo on lead guitar, Jimmy Honohan on rhythm and lead vocals, and Brian Honohan on drums. You can visit our website at We are even booked for two events in April - we are performing two "unplugged" sets at the Arsenal Center for the Arts on Thursday, April 23, and at the Belmont Gallery of Art on Friday, April 25 as part of the Watertown Belmont Open Studios gallery opening exhibits. This band has some amazing potential. Jimmy, Mike and Brian have been playing together for years, and of course, David and I have been playing with each other for a long time (musically - I know what you were thinking! We've been doing that, too), so we are trying to get in synch with each other. Right now we are just really enjoying the music we are playing and I am really looking forward to sharing it with others when we are polished up.

David and I received a gift from our son, Jake - tickets to see Yes last night at the House of Blues Boston. It was great and a really generous gift so appreciated by us. David is a fan of Chris Squire and we really enjoyed watching and listening to him play his beautiful Rickenbacker bass. HOB Boston had great acoustics, and it was nice to see a show there, very intimate, but, damn, no chairs! We are classic rock people! Average age 50 probably! Give us a chair, HOB, and we will go to more shows there. David and I enjoyed looking at the art - clearly some sort of outsider art David was having a hard time wrapping his brain around. Edgy and weird.

Something that is not edgy and weird is one of David's guitars, his beautiful vintage 70's Rickenbacker 4001. His first one was stolen, but he bought this one used in about '82 and refinished it. Over the years the epoxy in the inlays yellowed and he had other ideas about staining and refinishing it, so he did it again just last year. Neck problems inherent in the design has sent this treasured heirloom to visit the luthier for a while. But here at right is a view of his treasured Major Disturbance Limited Edition Rickenbacker 4001.

And lastly, a follow up on my last post/rant. There was a clerical error, and Fred Dingler's award was mistakenly sent to me. I received a lovely letter from the Editor, Kelly Kane, and she even said, "I went back to our 2007 publication to remind myself of your work, and it’s really quite wonderful." How nice! I would not have minded a prize, though - but as the Red Sox say, "There's always next year!"

Friday, January 29, 2010

What the F+W is going on here?

Coming home in the night and gathering up the mail at the door, I noticed a big envelope with the return address of F+W Publications, the publishers of two of my favorite magazines I subscribe to, Artist Magazine and Watercolor Artist Magazine. They publish many other magazines, and are the parent company of North Light Books for artists. I also have recently entered several of their contests. I was kind of excited - did I win something? When I got inside, I realized that the mail was addressed to "Fred Dingler", but at my address. I am certain Fred doesn't live at my house.

Inside was a lovely letter from the editor of Watercolor Artist Magazine, Kelly Kane, reading in part:

"Dear Fred,

One of my most enjoyable tasks as editor of Watercolor Artist is passing along good news to artists. As you have already been informed, your entry, Sun Dreamer, has been awarded Honorable Mention in the Watermedia Showcase sponsored by Watercolor Artist. Enclosed is your Certificate of Achievement to honor your accomplishment."

There was a certificate. With Fred Dingler's name on it. But Sun Dreamer is my painting. Was I supposed to be featured in February's Watercolor Artist? Because it is not my painting in there, but Fred Dingler's painting Apalachicola. When I received the magazine, I was a little PO'd anyhow. Tthe article mentions that over 600 entries were received. At $15 per entry (the fee), that netted F+W Publications a tidy $9000+. Couldn't they have selected more than the 8 artists they did - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 4 Honorable Mentions?

I received an award from them in 2007 when the magazine was called Watercolor Magic. There were 22 winners. I was thrilled and it is still one of my proudest accomplishments. So I sent Kelly Kane a letter asking her to explain, maybe she'll respond. I hope she does. Maybe I get an award, maybe I don't, but Fred Dingler should get his certificate, anyhow.

David and I have a word we invented: "Scaltreatment". We use it whenever we feel that we have gotten the shaft, the old poopy end of the stick. David followed me around after I shared this with him exclaiming, "You received the ULTIMATE Scaltreatment!" Yup, I have again received the Scaltreatment, and in the name of Scaltretos everywhere, I think that just stinks.

Above is my painting, Sun Dreamer. Poor little Miss Kes got the Scaltreatment, too.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

New Year is such an awesome time - tabla rasa, start anew, and we are post winter solstice with longer days so there is the promise that spring will come again someday. My thoughts are turning to putting into action some new ideas, or actually old ideas whose time has come for me. I think it is very cool when you open a new chapter and feel totally ready for it, and actually this chapter opens as so many of mine do, with a deadline. About a year and a half ago, I got really organized with deadlines for artist competitions that I wanted to do, ones that I felt would further my career. It is a real great way to sharpen up. You are competing, so you have to put your best work out there, and there is a reward in that you can be in the exhibition, or published in the magazine, or whatever, so having a carrot is a great motivator. And, as mentioned, there's a deadline, so you have to get the heiny in gear, baby, or you miss the bus.

Quite by accident, in November I discovered a competition - the Jerry's Artarama "My Art Journey" Art Stars competition. The deadline was December 31. They wanted interested participants to put together a maximum 8 minute long video, demonstrate a technique, talk about your "art journey" - career, things that inspire you - and show some of your work. The winner gets $1,000 of art supplies from Jerry's plus a contract to make a "World of Art" video at Burning Oak Studios in North Carolina with all expenses paid. I have been talking about doing a local cable show for years, "Oh, I should do that..." I thought I'd be good at explaining techniques and my students certainly think so. Thank you, Jerry's Artarama, for giving me a deadline and a competition!

I planned much of it out in my head, obsessing about it for a while. Waking up at 3 am, I'd think about what to demonstrate, how to film it, what could I do that is special and make me stand out from the crowd? Watercolor was my medium of choice. I talked poor David's ear off, mentioned it at each of my classes and got those wonderful cheerleaders buzzing about it. In a flash of brilliance, I figured out what I could show that was cool and exciting, how to get the look of galvanized metal using salt and lifting techniques. My good friend and student, Skye Gladstone, who is also a professional actress and just about the most multi talented person I know, came to my studio and filmed it. During the snowstorm the weekend before Christmas, David and I went over the footage and he did a masterful job of editing footage from the two cameras, plus adding in the still images of my work, titles and even a soundtrack with a bit of my classic rock band, Ringin' in the Ears, doing the harp solo part of The Standell's Dirty Water. It is so awesome! It came out 1,000 times better than I could have imagined, and I know it will do well in the competition.

During this time, I happened to be taking a free class at the Watertown Community Access Center at the high school, and got to meet Nick Palm who taught the Photoshop class and who is the production coordinator over there. I told him I was filming this video for the competition, and my crazy idea to have my own art show. Right away he was jazzed about it, and I talked a little about filming at my studio and he said that could be done. I am going to make a packet with the video to submit to Tamarah Green, the Executive Director at the station. Hopefully she'll be jazzed, too, and David did such an awesome job editing the video, I am hoping he'll be doing some of that with me on this project. So, Happy New Year 2010, I may have my own show! Take THAT, Bob Ross! Hey, Donna Dewberry, watch out! Ok, it is on local cable, but their programming is shared regionally through Peg Media, and WGBH has their new Create TV channel and they are so close! Don't you think they will love Watercolorwhirled with Dawn Evans Scaltreto?

I'll post a link here to the video as soon as Jerry's puts it up, and the winner will be determined by hits so get everyone you know hitting You Tube daily to watch it. Above is the painting, Still Life with Watering Can, featured in the video.