Tag Archives: Exhibits

A new year and a new beginning

Drew Griffin and Lisa Schaffner

Drew Griffin and Lisa Schaffner

Amid the sniffles, sneezes and viruses of the post-holiday season, I was privileged to be able to attend the opening reception for my new exhibit with Monica Rao, entitled Within Me, held at the Gallery at UNOS. Monica Rao is a professionally trained artist who recently returned to her artistic roots. She is married to Virginia Commonwealth University president, Dr. Michael Rao.

Sonja Moore and Monica Rao

Sonja Moore and Monica Rao


Throughout the Christmas vacation, I had diligently matted and framed my works in anticipation of the January 10 opening. I cursed the amount of time it took and asked myself repeatedly why I had bothered. Once everything was ready, I peered closely at the result and eventually stood back deep in thought. I knew from the start that the basis of my exhibit would be my series of photos based on the core values. But, I was asked to submit some additional pieces and that’s where the head-scratching began. I had seen some photos of Monica’s works and knew that she painted abstract canvases. I’ve always struggle with what one could loosely term “inventory”. I have neither the time nor the space at this point in my life to be prolific.

ValuesSo, I was torn. I had some pieces already framed. But, they were what I would call “standard” photos. And, I knew they would contrast too greatly with the abstract paintings hanging close by. So, in a last minute mad dash, I opted to show four additional pieces that were far more abstract. Three of them began life as straightforward macro shots. One actually started out as an iPhone snapshot. By including those pieces, I felt the exhibit would be more cohesive.

Silver Dish

Silver Dish

Once I had decided on the final nine pieces, I felt relieved but also much more confident about my choices. Exhibiting to me is a risky business. I feel as if I’m baring my soul. How will they be received? Do I stand by my work? Am I satisfied with what I’ve produced? Do I truly care how others feel? As I stepped back and looked, I knew I felt happy. It’s a peaceful, contented place. A place to strive for. A place worth working towards.

Douglas D'Urso

Douglas D’Urso

The evening itself was a festive occasion, with refreshments provided by the Bull and Bear Club, here in Richmond. As the wine flowed, people talked about art, life, love, relationships and everything in between. I was so grateful for the presence of friends who had turned out on what was a typical, miserable January evening. I was pleased to get the feedback and hear the comments about my work and felt spurred on to continue down this crazy and circuitous path. I now know that I want to push the limits of my creativity. I now know it’s OK to be cerebral in my approach. I now know it’s OK to take this wherever I want it to go.

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A New Year

Andre ThomasAt the end of last year, I lost my best friend. It was unexpected and it was so premature. In losing my best friend, Andre Thomas, it occurred to me that I lost my cheering section, my one-man fan club. Andre had faith in me when I had no faith in myself. He pushed me and cajoled me when I wanted to stop. We talked endlessly about this website, about creativity, about doing what we love. And he died. And I stopped. And, I realized only recently that I hadn’t taken any photos in several months. When I’m under a great deal of stress or facing great sadness, my creativity shuts down. I no longer see the world through that kind lens. Nothing fits any more. Nothing feels right. And, nothing makes sense. But, I sat down a few days ago and heard Andre’s voice in my head. He was nagging me and complaining loudly that I still hadn’t launched the site and I wasn’t taking pictures. So, Andre, to quiet your chatter, here it is. No more excuses. No more hesitation. The deed is done. This one’s for you.

Over Christmas, I went to see the Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. When the exhibit came to town, I wasn’t immediately drawn to it. I was a little hesitant but decided to go after I read a piece about Chihuly’s “insistence” that his art be photographed. It is so unusual to be able to take your camera to an exhibit and be allowed to take pictures. That grabbed my attention. I was so glad I went. There are times when I fight with my camera, when I feel I don’t know enough about all the buttons and settings and wished I knew more. But, being forced to take low light pictures with no flash spurred to really think about what I was photographing and how I was doing it. Thank you Andre and Dale Chihuly for starting 2013 on the right foot.



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Putting It Out There

UNOS Exhibit

I attended the opening for the UNOS exhibit with some misgivings. While I generally have confidence in my own talent and abilities, I don’t always have confidence in my ability to shrug off criticism.  As I looked at the other works, I reminded myself that ultimately it was more important what I felt about my work rather than what others felt. Intellectually, it’s easy. Just tell yourself that the opinions of others are less important, that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Emotionally, however, it’s easier said than done. We all want to be appreciated. We all want accolades. I did indeed get some great feedback. But, more importantly, I felt how vital it was to continue my venture because it’s something I want to do no matter what.  Whether people buy or not. Whether people are critical or not. It’s something I want to do for me.

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Welcome to Kenwood Gallery


Tonight, Friday, September 7, 2012, I will attend an opening at the Gallery at UNOS. The event, entitled Memories Past & Future, is a joint exhibit between artist Linda C. Hollett-Bazouzi and UNOS employees. This is my second time showing at the Gallery at UNOS.

I will be showing two pieces – two digital photos printed on canvas – and each time I show my work, I approach each event with a mix of trepidation and excitement. It’s hard to put yourself out there, as the saying goes. You open yourself up to the potential for both praise and denigration.


These two pieces (Azalea and Lilies) represent something of a departure for me. I have always rather frowned on post-processing techniques and preferred seeing what came directly out of the camera. I even shy away from cropping my pictures and have tended to be something of a purist.  But, on this occasion, I decided to fiddle around a little in PhotoShop just to see what happened. I resisted the urge to crop the pictures and attempted to give each shot a more painterly quality. All in all, I think I’m OK with it.

The opening reception is from 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

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