I have been very fortunate as I emerge as an artist, in addition to my friends and family and fellow artists, a few individuals deserve a lot of credit for what I have to say tonight, I would be remiss if I didn't recognize them here. Thanks go out to Tom Stallard, Ron and Beth Caceres, Christy Hayes, Mark Glickman, and Ken Hiatt.
With all of that said: I have a couple of big announcements to make tonight. I have booked TWO shows at local galleries that I am very excited about!
First, My work will be shown at the Blue Wing Gallery in Woodland Ca from October 1st - October 31st.
Al Eby and his wife have been among my many supporters as I work to establish myself as a 'showing artist'. Al has given me a lot of advice and help getting my work ready for show.
Please come and see me at the First Friday opening on October 2nd from 6:00pm - 9:00pm. I am also available to meet you down at the gallery if you would like to see my work and discuss the pieces with me.
If that isn't enough awesomeness! I am so thankful to get to return to the Sparrow Gallery for a show with two other artists that I am utterly in awe of. My work will be featured next to Steve Bradford (http://stevebradford.me/) throughout the month of January with an opening during the Second Saturday festivities on January 9th. Cinthia and her husband have been so supportive, after the ArtxArchitects show last year they have helped me get into the correct frame of mind to show my work and have helped me start to plan a show schedule.
Please stop by the Second Saturday opening on January 9th, I will be there from 5:00pm-9:00pm, come check it out! I am also available to meet you down at the gallery if you would like to see my work and discuss the pieces with me.
A Personal Exploration of Coffee Craft and Consumption
I have been painting now for roughly 3 years, and sketching since some time in 2010. In my experience, I have found that the best way to progress in my artwork is to set goals and then push myself to meet them. Continuous practice has become a tool that I employ to try and reach the goals I have set. This can cause a few challenges when you get so saturated with painting that you just don't feel like there is anything 'new' out there, which is precisely where I found myself early one morning while getting my 'usual' coffee at the Temple on 9th Street in Downtown Sacramento.
I am not sure if it was out of sheer desperation, or some kind of super inspiration, I snapped a photo of my Latte for that morning and started contemplating the piece for the day.
Something in that foam art grabbed me. I found the purity of the heart and the multitude of bubbles to be visually interesting, I wondered if I could pull it off. I started sketching in ernest, and before I left that morning I put down my initial wash. Over the next day or two I continued to contemplate the piece, laying in wash after wash trying to capture that perfect foam color. (it was very elusive, I thought about giving up a couple of times.)
Here is the 3rd day of work:
I returned to the photo over and over again, just hoping I could get some of that beautiful depth and richness found in the foam. As I layered in complimentary colors, trying to tease out the essense of the photo, I found a certain peace with the process. I think it ended up taking me 5 days of solid (1 hour) painting sessions, but I finally arrived at a piece that I was very proud of.
Shortly after I completed the Latte piece I was having coffee with close friend of mine. She had an iced coffee and the light was hitting it in such a way it really stood out. I decided, why not! I snapped a photo and got to work on a sketch.
I return to a few very comfortable mechanisms when I compose a painting, this was no different. I decided it would be boring to just paint exactly what I saw in the photo, I wanted to push it a little bit.
This piece turned out very nice:
As I worked through this painting and discussed the new found 'peace' I had in painting these coffee drinks with my friend, we came to the subject of the expanding craft coffee industry. In fact, Sacramento has at least 5 boutique coffee roasting houses in the downtown area that all have their own fiercely loyal clientele. Unfortunately, I am a creature of habit and had ordered a Latte every single morning for the last 1.5 years! I decided it was necessary for me to branch out, to experience as many of the different coffee preparations that I could; and so, the Coffee Series was born.
I don't think this was my favorite preparation, honestly...the sludge at the bottom of my cup kind of weirded me out. It wasn't terrible coffee, but it definitely wasn't my favorite!
(I love the painting though!)
I have returned to this preparation a few times, there is just something about the ritual of slowly pouring hot water over the prepared grind of coffee that is just sublime. I have found though....I don't like 'stone fruit' in the description of my coffee, I avoid those now!
I consider this drink the father of our modern coffee culture, this was the first piece that I did some background research on before approaching. I have gained such a deep respect for this ancient drink, one that crosses culture, language, time, and locale.....Coffee is everywhere, and I've just begun to explore.
WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!!!! It's not over!
As I was working on the espresso piece, I had a conversation with a few of my co-workers.... I overlooked one of the most ubiquitous coffee drinks EVER: The Cup Of Joe (Diner style). Not just any cup of joe, but a CUP of joe, (the classic mug is very important).
I spent a few days researching on Yelp......
(looking at every diner I could find, I didn't care what their food looked like, just the mugs!)
I finally found the perfect diner, it's called the Lucky Cafe (fitting) just inside the midtown area of Sacramento. If you haven't been there, the food is excellent, and the staff is really great. They gave me a slightly odd look when I requested a very specific white mug....but I would have done the same!
Cup of Joe
The final piece is quite representative, I think this process helped me find a methodology to create interesting art, that conveys a story. I like the way this piece finished up.
This series represents a concerted effort, I greatly enjoyed the process and plan on putting together more like it. Who knows there are a few drinks I definitely missed (Gibraltar, Americano, Cappuccino, etc)
I am very interested to hear your input on this series, let me know which ones you like, don't like.....and hopefully what it makes you feel.
2015 has been a major growth year personally, professionally, and in my art. I started out the year by Joining Laura Wood at the helm of the AIACV (American Institute of Architects - Central Valley Chapter) Emerging Professionals group. Our responsibilities include planning tours and events that appeal to young professionals. Through my involvement I entered the ArtxArchitects group show which brought together artist/architects from the whole AIACV chapter. This show was also my first exposure to showing my work in Sacramento. The Sparrow Gallery hosted a handful of architects and kept our work up for the entire month of April.
Also at this time, a project I worked on for 4 of the last 5 years, the Sutter General Hospital project was starting to wrap up. The team was out on the project job site, away from the main office for much of the time, we worked hand in hand with the contractor and owner to complete the complex project. The end of a project is always an exciting time, you start to look around and think about what the next project will be; However, this time I felt different. Something wasn't right. I had felt this way for a while and discussed this feeling with my mentor and then my direct supervisor, but it wasn't enough, the discontent kept growing until it felt unbearable. I needed a change.
The process of changing firms is a little foreign to me, I've only changed once, and that was over ten years ago. As I began looking around, I knew I wanted to interview at one particular firm that I had heard great things about. I had come to realize, one of the most important elements of a firm is their culture. Being an architect is best when you feel passionate about everything you do, it is what drives you to come to work, even when you're facing the most unreasonable deadline or redesign. Drefuss & Blackford Architects embodies a lot of the same traits that drive me as a creative individual. I knew within 10 minutes of starting my interview that I wanted to go to work for John Webre/Kris Barkley/Gus Fischer and their team. I accepted the job, and started on May 1st, I couldn't have anticipated the amount of joy this change would give me.
June brought about the biggest change of all, my wife and I welcomed Lydia Ann Holt into our lives. She has been a constant example of all of the things that are magical about our existence. My life and outlook has forever changed, it has become the biggest and most prominent thought in my mind every day.
The rest of 2015 has some great things to look forward to:
I continue to create artwork (see my latest watercolor pieces posted on my page), I have found a rhythm that allows me to paint every day and maintain work/life balance.
I will be announcing a couple of shows for 2016, with the first show happening in January! I continue to look for additional show opportunities around the area, and will let you know as soon as I get word.
I have been working on a series of watercolor paintings that I am very excited about, I will be posting about those pieces within the week, I hope you will find them as compelling as I do.
Chris Holt is an Architect and Artist. His art work centers around cityscapes, still life, and abstract work.