I sent paintings created with my hand-made earth paint to Apartment Earth Gallery’s annual Earth Day exhibition, which opened Friday, April 21, 2017. I love participating in this annual exhibit and I’m eager to travel to Charleston, West Virginia to view everyone’s take on this year’s theme:
Image courtesy of Apartment Earth Gallery.
I have presented the garden with a hand-painted banner mural (15’ long x 2.5’ high) called Growing Together: Planting. It is the first of five outdoor artworks to appear at various public garden locations throughout Stark County, Ohio. The overall project is made possible through a grant from ArtsinStark, in collaboration with the City of Massillon, StarkFresh, the Boys and Girls Club of Massillon, The Little Art Gallery, and DeliOhio. Sherwin Williams, Bonnie’s Engravers, Massillon Museum, and artist Richard Vaux have assisted with discounts, equipment loans, and material donations, respectively.
Top Feature Image ^ Massillon Community Garden Coalition Leaders Lisa Benton and Heather Neirkirk, artist Emily Vigil, with Master Gardener volunteers Paul and Traci.
Monday April 24, I participated in a community garden workday. Lunch was supplied by the Massillon, OH Chipotle for the event.
Details, Emily Vigil, Growing Together: Planting Acrylic on Vinyl, 2′ x 15′, 2017
My paintings have traveled to three places this month. I hope that they can also transport you, perhaps to a place in the past or future where you imagine yourself in their painted landscape. But if you don’t live in Ohio, West Virginia, or Florida, you can still view my paintings on my newly updated website, www.intimateecologystudio.com
Last week I was the recipient of a surprising generous gift. The gift was given by a fellow artist who I met recently. Although he is new to the northeast Ohio area, he is not hesitant to make friends and connections to contribute to our greater community. He is an artist who has been successful in his career, a professor emeritus of Adelphi University, whose artworks have been collected and exhibited nationally and internationally. Painter Richard Vaux and his wife, also a successful artist, Sandra Benny, relocated to the Hudson, Ohio area recently from Long Island, New York.
When they heard my description of the “Grow Together” ArtsinStark grant project I have embarked upon, they responded with enthusiasm. I described the trellis artworks I will be creating. In addition to the banner mural for Franklin Community Garden in Massillon, I will make two trellis art installations.
This trellis has a folding panel design, with 8” square openings for plants to encircle as they grow up the structure. (sketch image caption) I will install printed Plexiglas panels to hang in the trellis openings. The designs will be colorful images of produce that will be growing in the garden, and will openly invite people to pick produce that grows in the garden.
The first will be placed at the Edible Garden behind Deli Ohio, at 328 Walnut Ave, E, in Canton, Ohio. The history of the beginning of this particular garden is special. In the fall of 2015, Deli Ohio owner Ryan Miller enlisted collaboration from the nonprofit StarkFresh to turn a run down parking lot into a vibrant and welcoming edible garden. The space was transformed, with help from over sixty volunteers from all over the area. StarkFresh is a non-profit organization working through many avenues towards access for all to healthy, locally grown food. This former parking lot is a new space, a welcoming place, inviting people to pick ripe fruit or veggies, and to sit for a spell.
So my new artist friend Richard Vaux just delivered sixty hand cut 7” square Plexiglas panels for me to use for the Deli Ohio Edible Garden trellis and for the second trellis, which will be placed in the garden at the Boys and Girls Club of Massillon. I am grateful by Richard’s generous spirit and his and Sandra’s enthusiasm for the project.
Naturally when we met for me to pick up the panels from him, we ate lunch at Deli Ohio. I was pleased when I reflected the first time I visited Ryan’s restaurant. Back in 2014, I had stopped by to try a sandwich and look into placing a catering order. My admiration at the time was for the décor, the good food, and some details—the beautiful cutting boards, water carafes, and comfy clean dining area. On that visit back in ’14, I was the only customer at that particular moment. But dining with Richard last week, I was struck most of all by jovial, full atmosphere, many conversations over lunch, the busy, and still friendly staff. And though I haven’t visited yet, Deli Ohio now has a new location in North Canton.
So I realize that taking on this project, these panels will not depict random greens and berries and herbs, or stock images of “someone” planting “something”. In the same way, I do not consider myself a “landscape” painter. Instead my deeper artistic goal is to create meaningful portraits of places. To do that, I am honoring the care that has gone into fostering this particular place, by all in the community.
I am honored to accept a Special Projects Grant from ArtsinStark for the creation of three outdoor art pieces for different Community Gardens in Stark County. Some of my upcoming blog posts will show the progress on this project from start to finish.
For this post I’ll focus on plans for the first garden artwork. Its a banner that I’ve decided to hand paint. My initial idea had been to have the banner printed, but when I discovered a source for a previously used banner, I thought I’d give the greener method, recycling, a shot. I researched to find the paint of the very best quality that would adhere to the vinyl properly in all weather conditions. Then I experimented by painting a sample to make sure that I could fully cover the previous design.
Last Wednesday I received the check from ArtsinStark and Thursday I deposited it, so I could get to work right away!
My excitement about the project along with the unusual warm weather prompted me to begin as soon as possible. Sherwin Williams makes an extreme bond primer that is the best to use when painting on vinyl. This banner will be painted with a mural showing gardening images from gardens all over Stark County. It will be put up at Franklin Community Garden in Massillon.
With limited heated studio garage, I’ve unrolled the 30’ banner as far as I can, and will prime 10’ at a time, then move to the next section.
After priming, I thought I’d try out mixing some of the extra paint with the toner, to experiment with this new texture for me, because I’m much more used to working with much thicker oil paint. I also wanted to see how much toner it would take to come up with a bold body color. I was just playing here. I opened an old sketch book to find inspiration: an important place in my life—El Yunque, the rainforest of Puerto Rico. I lived in Puerto Rico from age 8 to age 13. So that is where I first learned to love painting and drawing plants.