collaborations

I am excited to be working with Atrocious Poets on a collaboration. My art installation and their poetry responding to it will be installed in the small vault at the Old CourtHouse Arts Center in Woodstock, IL in November.

I have created a blog dedicated to this project:
LEVEILLE ART WITH POETRY
JOURNAL – As It Happens – Atrocious Poets project
You can follow along my art process at:
http://bertleveille.com/wordpress1/
There are currently two posts. The second one contains a video of me painting and another video of a color check of the lighting on the paintings.

1 the beginning
2 the middle
I will do a completion post also.

a family story – Looking BACK

I wanted to tell you about my one experience plein air painting.

32 years ago on 9-18-1988 my Dad died. So, I was thinking about him. And, I pulled out this paint by number he did in 1961. Dad and I always admired paintings of rustic barns and rustic frames.

He was so supportive of me and my art career. I could write tons about that, but this is about barns and paintings of barns. One thing he did wonder was why (after all, he had paid for most of my college education) so, why couldn’t he get me to paint a barn for him.

In college I discovered contemporary abstract art and never intended to paint barns. But, I kinda wanted to give him something for everything he did for me. So, I put my easel, brushes, turpentine, a canvas and oil paints into the back of my car and found a barn I could see from this beautiful forest preserve. The weather was great; I wasn’t plagued by insects or animals; only saw one person and the ranger. So, after a few sessions I painted this barn and later finished it in my studio. It was a pleasant experience, but I was not sold on plein air painting. But that is not the point.

I found the grasses and flowers and abstract shapes much more interesting than the structure of the barn. I gave this to my Dad in 1975. Given the lack of importance I put on the barn, it is not surprising, that in 1988 not long before he died, when I asked him to tell me the truth, “Dad, you don’t really like the barn do you?” He truthfully said “No”. I smile every time I think about that. You may try to please someone, but, you can’t always. I guess the important thing is that you try, and that they appreciate that you tried.

Interestingly, I pulled out another painting I did in the same year 1975. It is structured – like the barn – maybe I was influenced by that barn. I noted that the color palette is the same in all three paintings. Maybe in a way my Dad and I connected/collaborated – maybe that is the point.

what artists do in quarantine

continued

delivering my work to “XrE*al” art exhibition at the Old CourtHouse Art Center during COVID19

Galleries are beginning to open again.

XrE*al is coming to a close. It has been a challenge, an adventure, an accomplishment!

gallery directors carry in my 12ft x 18ft painting. A little help from my friends. I am too scared to enter any buildings.

I found my art practice dysfunctional at the beginning of this pandemic. It was difficult to clear out my studio to make room for my 12ft x 18ft painting, let alone muster up the energy to paint it. You saw the three small paintings in an earlier post that became my creative lifeline and were the jumpstart to the larger painting “Ocular Fracture”. In past exhibitions I lit my large art from the front – this large painting is back-lit with color changing LED lights – fractures of changing color lighting. I am exploring consciousness in a seemingly unconscious world; reality in a world that seems increasingly unreal and yet more real or maybe surreal – XrE*al. This unimaginable world-changing, reality-changing pandemic has intensified my need to connect to mindfulness. My vision of normal is shattered – “Ocular Fracture”. 

Like other scheduled exhibitions, the E* artists considered our options: cancel the exhibition, reschedule the exhibition (we did move it from June to August), and/or go completely digital. Regardless, we committed to a digital format. Unsure of a physical exhibition, with everyone’s optimism that things would go back to normal again soon, the thought was to carry on and be flexible. So we alerted the participating artists of our desire to proceed with the exhibition, even if it would be just digital.

We were lucky. The gallery opened. So we proceeded with a physical and virtual exhibition. Now, I won’t go in any buildings, so I did not get to hang, light or see the exhibition – only on-line. I did test hang it in my great room. When I have an exhibit, my entire house becomes my studio!

test hanging “Ocular Fracture”
my painting at the end of the gallery

So, that is what artists do during a pandemic. They keep working; they keep exploring their artistic vision; and they keep sharing their work with the world any way they can.

The artgroup E* in conjunction with the Northwest Area Arts Council presented this themed all media art exhibition, XrE*al at the Old CourtHouse Arts Center on the historic Woodstock Square in Woodstock, Illinois. It closes Saturday 8/30/2020, but can still be seen on-line!!!

You can see the XrE*al art exhibition on-line at: http://e-artgroup.com/exhibits_XrEal.html

And you can see all of the XrE*al videos at: https://vimeo.com/showcase/7439721

artists in quarantine

Many artists and art groups have been trying to come up with virtual art experiences for our fans and collectors.

SO, during COVID19 as we struggle to adapt
and be productive:

  • I have participated in a three artist group discussion with E* (formerly E-artgroup) about the XrE*al world we are living in now — how it is affecting us, art, our art, the art world and our world. In addition we individually uploaded videos about our art that we are making for the exhibit XrE*al which may be a physical exhibition, but will definitely be a virtual exhibition. We discuss our challenges and the world as we are now starting to see it. You can see these videos at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/XrEal.artists/
    The concept for XrE*al was conceived of last fall before the world became so unreal, so incomprehensible. We could not have imagined how appropriate our title would be.
  • I just put up a virtual gallery layout of my exhibition at TAC. Whether you saw it or not it is kind of fun to play with the interactivity. You can try it out here (my experience – some browsers work – chrome does; safari does not):
    https://www.artsteps.com/view/5ebc4ef7bd373e42c307e3c9
  • I am working on a movie of the exhibit that will include the colored lighting effects. I’ll certainly let you know when that is available, but until then you can visit my website: http://bertleveille.com/ and find links to my videos on vimeo with changing colored lighting effects.
virtual exhibition of bert leveille’s “streaming reflections” at TAC Highland Park
  • And, I am using #wcachicago on Instagram when posting along with other Chicago Women’s Caucus artists to bring together what our group is doing during COVID19

UPDATE:
I finished the third small piece I wrote about last time.

Guy Clifford came up with a name for the one on the bottom… “Deflection”.
Thank you, Guy!
So, I still need a title for the top two! Any suggestions?

Deflection

Ready to tackle the big one

I have these two and the third small almost complete. Anyone suggest any names for these two? I’ll upload an image of the third one next time. They are mixed media with metallic and acrylic paint on stretched canvas, 24inches x 12 inches. The new piece for XrE*al will be 9 feet high and span 18 feet – It will be in pieces but will seem like one piece. I am excited to get started on it. I will keep you updated and do some video.

And now a story: My paintings result from my experiences and my connections to my world around me. But, often, I do not control which experiences or when these experiences will be filtered into my paintings. In other words, when 911 happened, artists around the world were creating in response to the event. It took 4 years for me to creatively process and paint my “911” painting. Several years later I did an installation collaborating with another artist, which became a tribute to 911. I will do a special post on that in September.

“911”, acrylic on canvas, 10ft x 7ft

I paint from my subconscious and it usually determines to some extent the meanings found in my paintings, which may not be revealed to me until nearly finished or even later and sometimes never. My “crossover” paintings dealing with the border wall are an exception to that, and for another post. It is yet to be determined how Covid19 will affect my art. Aside from it being extremely difficult to work, the artwork I am doing currently is still deciding Covid19’s influence. The fear and uncertainty, the changing of a world I thought I could control. My idea of a figure… of reality — it is all shaken, yet I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. — to be continued…

surviving covid19

Unlike many, I am very lucky to have a wonderful studio that I love to work in. One would think that I would be happy just to be tucked away doing my art. I am embarrassed to say that I have been somewhat paralyzed. Don’t get me wrong. I have been exercising (I cannot go to the pool that I love – so I am now biking on my stationary bike – I did 15 miles today – but it took 1hour 20 minutes!), learning new art related things, doing some art and gradually organizing my digital and painting studios.

My studio before I cleared things out and vacuumed the floor. The paint stays on the floor until I paint over it!

Sometimes you need some inspiration and I have this — my largest watercolor hanging on my studio wall. It is 39 inches x 7 feet wide on 180 (150?) pound watercolor paper, my artist/lifelong friend gave me some years back.

I was taking a grad-level class from Charlotte Rollman at NIU https://charlotterollman.com when I did it. She does beautiful large watercolors, so I challenged myself to do a huge watercolor. It was challenging to wet it (in the tub via the shower!) and I tacked it to a 4×8 foot homesote board. I never did like stretching canvas or watercolor paper, which is why I generally use 300 pound watercolor paper and often work on unstretched canvas). The uneven paper adds to the character of the artwork. Here are some details of this piece.

What strikes me looking at these images is that they tend to speak to Covid 19. The figures are isolated and separated by windows or transparent planes. And, maybe this is just evident of my exploration of consciousness. How do we connect? Oh… we can’t even connect physically now. So, connecting to consciousness is not a physical connection, so maybe we are experiencing connections in a more spiritual way right now. Just some thoughts…. 

The task at hand is to finish these three small pieces and then to tackle a large piece for XrE*al.

E – Bridge*s

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My concept for my art bridge for the Bridge*s exhibit began when I started my crossover series debuted at TAC – The Art Center, Highland Park.  IMGP3426crossover
In the first crossover painting – a 22×10 foot acrylic painting with LED lighting – I contemplated whether my mindful beings were crossing over a wall, a prison, an impossible situation, a personal haunting, a mind that won’t give them rest…? Are they making it, surviving, succeeding, rejoicing…? My life experience is filtered through me — surrounds me as I paint. I cannot escape the realities of children being separated from their parents, human beings treated lesser because they are unfamiliar (Are we not the same?). Are they crossing over? Are we crossing over? Is our society crossing over?

Preparing for Bridge*s, I felt compelled to go literal and build a bridge (not a wall).

The recent massacre in El Paso once again reminds me that we are all the same. The Bridge*s exhibit opens Friday, August 9th at the Old Courthouse Arts Center in Woodstock, Illinois, while families and communities in Texas and Ohio are reeling with grief. This exhibit includes art that addresses humanity. I will be thinking of those who have just suffered this horrific loss.

On a personal note, too many good friends have “crossed over”. Whether bridging life and life beyond, a change in careers, a life challenge or situation, or crossing over to a new city, state or country; or just to the other side … whether a literal or metaphoric bridge … it may take courage, conviction and a leap of faith; or it may simply offer a new perspective.

Here is how my art bridge started
– a simple bridge symbolizing a complicated passage.
IMG_2983layers of silver paintIMG_2985simple piers to support the bridgeIMG_2986adding colorIMG_2994laying the foundation and assembling the bridge (thank you, Patrick)IMG_2997ready for installation art IMG_2999

Please join myself and the other Bridge*s artists Friday night.
Cross over my art bridge!
For more info about the exhibition visit:
http://e-artgroup.com/exhibits_Bridges.htmlIMG_0561Thank you, Vicki Senn for this photo and the top photo.
Vicki and I (E* artists) curated this exhibit.
It is the second exhibition of E*, formerly E-artgroup.

appreciation

I marvel at the things I can do now that I took for granted before my health issues; and I am starting to take for granted again. Simple things – like standing while dressing, and going up and down stairs effortlessly, and laying on my right side. I will probably never be able to do the lifting I used to do, and will always need more assistance installing an exhibition than I used to . . .

Crawling on the floor to paint is difficult  — so when I can, I adapt . . .

I so love the movements of dancer, Ellyanna Hope Anderson — movements that I cannot emulate but can appreciate, that I can paint — movements I can feel in my soul, and attempt in the swimming pool ! — in my mind anyway . . .

Ellyanna’s passion for movement (and the perfection of it) has made me more aware of how important movement is in my art. It has always been there, and I suspect will continue to play a dominant role in my work and the implementation of my artistic visions . . .

weather can thwart your plans!

The boot is gone — yay!
Not trusting the weather for travel, I decided to send my art and my lights to Wabi Sabi gallery in Twin Falls, Idaho for Art & Soul! But, I had hoped to drive there at some point!

Nano waves without lighting
hung without the lighting installed

Some details of the lighting before packing  

loving the lighting

taking it down 🙁

canvas wrapped on this styrofoam tube then inserted into the PVC tube

I hoped to drive to Wabi Sabi in Twin Falls, Idaho for the gallery’s event this Saturday, BUT the weather decided to ice and snow – we needed 3 days to drive and the weather did not cooperate. We travelled to Salt Lake City years back and on April 28 we were the last car allowed to proceed up the mountain road before the officer closed the gate. We fortunately were able to get off the road and find a motel. It was quite an adventure, and not one we really wanted to repeat. So, now i guess I will spend extra time rehabbing my back and now my foot. Gotta look on the bright side. And, maybe I’ll get to my 10 x 12 foot. But, I am missing the show.

My deer are happy I am still here — well… maybe.

My deer wondering why I am still her — laughing at me?

overcoming challenges

So, as I  am sharing my art adventure with you, here is what happened. I’m thinking the sciatica is healing, and I’m starting to paint on my large painting … and, another mishap … I tripped over my laptop chord, smashed my nose into my face, crumpled my neck and body like an accordion, twisted my ankle and broke my foot. Ouch.

So my painting is again delayed. I did however test the lighting for these 4 — 8ft x 4ft paintings that are going to be at Wabi Sabi gallery in Twin Falls for “Art & Soul. I managed to pack and ship them. They are on their way. YAY!

So, being an artist is more than playing with paint – it includes dealing with adversities and life, handling the details, doing not so fun grunt work — but getting it done, so we can share it with you and/or those that want to see/experience it.

I was so grateful when I got this boot so I could put weight on my foot and walk — NOW, I want it gone! Ahh, the luckier we are the more we want. Happy walking, everyone!

My boot painted in the spirit of Nano Waves!

Nano waves detail light effect testing before packing

Nano waves light effect testing before packing

my story about the miniature installation “imagine”

In lieu of doing a full-size installation at Art-Prize at the Harris Building (we will do one this year), I created a miniature replica. I asked the viewer to imagine that I created an installation in a much smaller universe than ours — perhaps one that would fit on the head of a pin. Below are photos of the finished miniature gallery in my studio and photos of my process.

View of “imagine” mini-installation in leveille studio — 12″ x 12″ box, mixed media box with video, white and clear plastic, acrylic paint, changing colored lighting. See interior detail shots below.

Making this mini installation required new tools – miniature table saw.

Cutting thin material.This is 1/8 in plywood. Thicker pieces are cut with larger saws.

Gluing, drilling and screwing to make the structure for the miniature walls

Using another cool mini tool with a turn any way blade to cut out the mini door openings.

Constructing the box.

There will be a base with the interior structure and the walls and ceiling will drop over the base.

Adding structure for wires and controller storage to the underside of the base.

Creating the wall to support the back lighting.

Creating the white plastic art that will be backlit with changing colored lighting.

Testing and getting materials ready for video and back lighting.

Making the wall to hold the white plastic art that will be backlit.

Painting the gallery floor and the backlit wall black – inserting the art to be backlit.

Interior view of clear plastic art and silver wall hanging. black paint interior, black textured paint and other colors on the exterior.

Interior miniature gallery view of clear plastic and back lit wall.

Interior miniature gallery view of clear plastic art and video.

Silver wall hangings on either side of the gallery doors.