Art & Parameters: I’ve always wondered a

Art & Parameters:
I’ve always wondered about the relationship between art and parameters. Do limitations promote freedom of expression, or do they unnecessarily confine it? I’ve been studying and dabbling in art since before high school, and I have to say that I personally thrive on parameters. Knowing that you have a set area to work within, or requirements that must be met, allows you to make those limitations work for you rather than hinder you. It becomes a challenge of expression to work within a set of confinements, but the results are typically quite fulfilling because you, the artist, took control over the constraints, making them conform to your vision. There are those, however, who believe differently and who prefer a blank slate that doesn’t have restrictions or requirements attached to it. I get that mentality—complete and utter freedom to do as you wish. But just as they view parameters to be controlling and hampering of their artistic creativity, others are baffled by the unchecked freedom and sometimes are intimidated by it—I know I am. I can’t count how many times I’ve tried to create this collage piece that is in my head. I have an 18×12 canvas and all the drawings, magazine clippings and saved scraps I could ask for, but since I have no pre-existing conditions that I must meet per an instructor or customer, I flounder. Even though I consider myself a creative and imaginative person who enjoys writing and constructing art, I am also of the mindset in which I think in black and white, therefore I need parameters. Now, I should push myself to working without prerequisites and see what I can come up with (I do this in my writing, but not so much with my art), but it’s also important for me to know myself and how I can best produce my work. What I’m really getting at is that you need to know yourself and the best way to bring your art to life. Do you prefer absolute freedom, or do you need some guiding parameters? Speaking of this topic in a literal or physical sense, a canvas has limited space, but another can always be added—you are never limited to the point of compromising your work; you just need to adjust and expand. In my mind, parameters don’t limit what you can create, they force you to take something into consideration and still create beauty.

Article Submitted by Alexandra Dailey.
To read more of her work, visit her blog at

Art piece by Curtis Montgomery.

Spring By: Alexandra Dailey With the sun

Spring By: Alexandra Dailey
With the sun shining today I can’t help but to think about the impending arrival of spring and all that accompanies it; vibrant flora, chirping and mewling fauna, beautiful and fresh scenery. Spring is about rebirth, revival, and new beginnings, so what better way to honor the upcoming season than with a new beginning of your own? Challenge yourself; make your first stroke on that white canvas, put lead to paper and sketch, capture that blossoming bud on film. Whatever your passion or hobby, start a new project as the world’s fresh season comes into being once more. Up here in northern Michigan our spring starts out with snow still covering the ground so my new project will have to take place inside. But, once the thaw starts and flowers start poking their heads out with petals unfurling, I will surely be reveling at the new life and inspired to give life to my own piece. However, for the time being I am stuck inside so my spring project will have to be something not necessarily dealing with new greenery. I will have to get creative and brainstorm about repurposing objects that I have lying around my room—a challenge I readily accept! Get creative and make something brand new, or craft something new out of something old. Cheers to a new season of nature’s beauty and beauty created by artists like you and me!

Article Submitted by: Alexandra Dailey. To read more articles written by Alexandra, visit

Painting By; Betty McGlamary

Contemporary Life. Doesn’t that sound fu

Contemporary Life.
Doesn’t that sound funny? Nobody says “I’m living a contemporary life” (at least I haven’t heard that phrase). Synonyms for the word ‘contemporary’ are ‘current’, ‘up to date’, ‘present-day’, all words that mean right now, just like life is occurring right now. Now why do I mention contemporary life, or life? Because I want to point out how puzzling the phrase ‘contemporary art’ may sound to those not well versed in the art world. Contemporary art to them sounds like ‘contemporary life’ sounds to me—strange, funny, and possibly a bit confusing. Contemporary art is simply art that is produced at the present point in time, just like ‘contemporary life’ is life that is lived at the present point in time. Directly stated, contemporary art is art and ‘contemporary life’ is life. During my years of appreciating, loving, and creating art (Yes, I’m only 22, but bear with me) I’ve come across many people who scoff at, dislike the idea of, or who don’t understand contemporary art. I believe the term is seen as limiting, possibly a bit intimidating, and it sounds or appears to be exclusive. I know I feel daunted when I’m creating art because I worry whether or not my work will be viewed as old news or belonging in the contemporary bracket. But then I remember that ‘contemporary’ is just a word in front of that which I, and all of us here, love—art. I believe many people have a misconception of what contemporary art is, which therefore can cause potential and future art lovers to turn away from the category all together. I bring up this topic because I think we as supporters, lovers, and artists need to explain away the false impression that some may have about contemporary art. Simply put, as people and artists we aren’t merely creating contemporary art, we’re creating art, plain and simple. Now I understand the term ‘Contemporary Art’ and its purpose trust me. I minored in Art History. But I feel the term belongs in the books, museums, and galleries rather than in everyday conversation or creation of art. We all want the appreciation and support of art to grow, and in order to expand we need more people supporting art. Here at CAGO, contemporary art is our business and that’s not going to change. But I think we should all encourage people to view contemporary art as just art, opening their minds to all art can be without their connotations that are connected to the word ‘contemporary’. I know there are some people who won’t agree with my thoughts on this topic, but in saying all of this – my goal is to open up the art and contemporary art world to everyone, those that are curious, uncertain, who question its validity, or who have a misunderstanding regarding contemporary art. The artists on CAGO create contemporary art, I can create contemporary art, and even a middle-schooler can create contemporary art—the ability is within all of us. Just as we all live life, we can all create art and appreciate art, art that belongs to today, the contemporary.

GSNETX Cookie Box Creations By: Alexandr

GSNETX Cookie Box Creations
By: Alexandra Dailey

For my first post of 2013, I would like to discuss an annual art event that the Girl Scouts of North East Texas (GSNETX) put on in Dallas. It’s called the GSNETX Cookie Box Creations, and naturally as the name insinuates the art creations are all made out of Girl Scout cookies boxes! This event teaches girls that all materials, especially those recently emptied of their sweet confections, can be repurposed and turned into something beautiful and interesting rather than being flattened and thrown away. 3-D creatures and scenes are brought to life by girl scouts of all ages with the help of architects and engineers. Such a creative event shows that all items and objects have use beyond their intended purpose, and also that by working together people can achieve the goals they set. The GSNETX are teaching girls and their community valuable lessons about teamwork and living a greener life, but they are also instilling an appreciation for creativity and art that is extremely important. Art affects people on a variety of levels, and presenting young girls and young woman with a positive and fun view of art and the methods in which it can be brought to life is an invaluable contribution to the community of Dallas and to the lives of the girls. Contemporary art made by the hands of a community’s youth is some of the most precious because it represents hope for a continuation of art and an appreciation for it in the coming generations.

Article contributed by Alexandra Dailey. To read more articles written by Alexandra, visit us at or visit Alexandra’s blog at

My Christmas Thoughts on Red: By Alexand

My Christmas Thoughts on Red: By Alexandra Dailey
One color that is constantly on my mind during this time of year is red. This vibrant primary color is everywhere; on bows, Christmas tree skirts, ornaments, candy canes, twinkling lights, candles, holly berries, and Santa’s suit, just to mention a few. And today while reading the news, searching for gifts, and looking at art online, I came across a piece that fits in perfectly with this warm and cheery season. Katherine Parker’s 2010 oil painting entitled Malta is an all red canvas with a handful of black and yellow marks scattered over the otherwise monochromatic surface. Working in the abstract expressionism vein, this piece of Parker’s, as well as the majority of her paintings, reminds me of Mark Rothko. The intense use of color in Malta is most definitely reminiscent of Rothko’s style, as is the presence of horizontality and verticality. At first glance simple is how one could describe both Parker and Rothko’s work, but upon longer meditation the vibrancy of their pieces speaks much louder; they possess a powerful simplicity that is difficult to capture. Seeing the brushstrokes embedded in the red layers of Malta shows the viewer that time, concentration, care, and great effort went into its creation. Simplicity is powerful, and layers of simplicity are even more impacting. And in my opinion, layers of red are even more compelling, but perhaps that’s because red is my favorite color. Overall, I would say that there is nothing “simple” about these artists or their styles, nor would I say that Christmas is a “simple” holiday, or red a “simple” color. All of the above are elaborate in their own right, but when they can be enjoyed via simplicity I believe they can be truly appreciated.
Since we have almost breached the craziest time of the season I will leave you with this: Don’t get caught up in the hectic human orchestrated antics of the holidays, but instead enjoy the simplicity of the red lights upon your tree, the rosy red cheeks of your loved ones, and perhaps the warmth of a fiery crimson painting like that of Katherine Parker.
Happy Holidays!
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Winter Carnival by Alexandra Dailey Dece

Winter Carnival by Alexandra Dailey
December… Winter… Christmas…
Being from the northern state of Michigan I associate one word with these three—snow. And along with the snow comes the ice. Both wintery forms of water can prove to be extremely dangerous when travelling, however, they can be used for creative, frozen splendor. I’m talking about art made from the subzero elements. In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in Houghton Hancock there occurs a Winter Carnival every February which is put on by Michigan Technological University. A multitude of activities and events take place during the festival weekend but the one that crowds flock to is the viewing of the snow and ice sculptures. University organizations and community groups participate in carving Michigan landmarks, buildings, professional sports team references, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, and other unique “mitt” imagery. The tools of this trade are a bit more physically powerful than say a painter’s brushes, oils, canvases, and easels. Chainsaws, drills, chisels, tongs, and sometimes torches are used to create the pieces in the frigid outdoor gallery. Not only can sculptures be crafted with clay, marble, or metal, but they can be constructed out of what nature provides, and in the north Mother Nature provides much snow and ice. It is refreshing to see people use what they have within their reach to make temporary monuments. This coming February marks the 92nd year of this festival and I can’t wait to see the new icy art that the contestants are devising! If only I could actually attend like I did as a child. Oh well, thank goodness for the internet!
Interested in more information about the festival? Check out this link –
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Holiday Wrapping The holidays are fast a

Holiday Wrapping
The holidays are fast approaching, and I believe that I am safe in saying that many of you (myself, the poor college graduate included) have tight budgets for gift purchasing. Not to worry or be stressed though my fellow creative and artistic friends! You can make amazing, thoughtful gifts for those in your life with very little cash. I have one word for you – repurpose. We all have random items floating around our homes, things that have served their purpose long ago, are broken, or are in poor condition as they stand. I don’t know what objects any of you may have but find them and imagine their potential. For example, I’m using old drawings and cards to create fun and unique gift tags for my family. I’m also using vintage beads and cabochons to make earrings. I may even compose some scrap art pieces for people who like original work. All of these projects do require a few household supplies such as glue, scissors, maybe tape, and modge-podge if you have some. Other than those items, the rest can be spotted by your creative eye and taste. Use old magazines, books, broken or out-of-date jewelry, photographs, paper labels, old clothing—use whatever you have and what speaks to you! The holidays are about showing our loved ones that we care, and how better to do so than with something made with your own hands? So rather than picking up a little store bought gift or gift card, make something from the heart that has a little bit of you glued together in the pieces. After all, we bestow our love into that which we create.

Article written by Alexandra Dailey. To read more articles written by Alexandra, visit her blog at

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Thanksgiving is here; a day full of foot

Thanksgiving is here; a day full of football, family, and of course, food. Having this particular holiday on the brain I am compelled to delve into food art, a medium that I have never had the guts to play around with aside from carving rudimentary pictures into the crust of pies. I believe at one time or another we’ve all seen edible sculptures made out of watermelons, cantaloupes, and honeydew melons. These items are commonly used because they provide a durable carving material, but artist Christel Assante prefers to work with a more delicate food item when creating art. She carves gorgeous, detailed, and delicate scenes into egg shells. Assante uses a most fragile material that also happens to be quite a bit smaller than any melon; she predominately uses quail and goose eggs for her custom pieces. Concentration, deliberate action, and great care are all required in order to execute her designs. When one looks upon Assante’s work it is easy to recognize the elements of control and discipline within the artwork itself—every line, cut, and mark serves a purpose, there is nothing superfluous. Christel Assante devotes much time and effort into her work, just like many of us devote hours to perfecting our “food art” that we display on Thanksgiving. Both Assante and the rest of us enjoy food art, it’s just that one type is merely to be enjoyed with our artistic eyes, and the other is meant for hungry eyes and bellies. Make sure to thank your family’s “food artist” for their hard work today, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Article Contributed by Alexandra Dailey. To read more articles by Alexandra, visit her blog at
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Opening My Sketch Book: I recently decid

Opening My Sketch Book:

I recently decided to reopen my college sketchbook and start drawing again. Skipping past my old attempts at quick still-lifes and object drawings, I began to draw female figures with swooping contour lines and attention to the details of toes and such. Like writing, drawing for me is rewarding yet draining. You pour all you have out onto the paper, and after such a purging you feel empty and exhausted. But the glorious feeling of having created something glistens, overshadowing the burnt out emotion that lingers within. My style is a combination of light, sketchy drawings and highly detailed ones—putting two seemingly opposite approaches together on the page can be challenging while also yielding happy results. Today I was perusing the internet and I came across a drawing called “Two Women Sketch” by Erin Payne. The piece depicts two female figures in a quick sketch that utilizes both light and dark strokes of a conte crayon. The drawing is whimsical yet determined in composition. The figures strike their poses and hold them as statues would, but their bodies look as if they could be blown away by a slight breeze. Payne created a juxtaposition of hard and soft, stable and unstable, permanent and fleeting—these combinations are compelling to look upon because of their extreme differences, differences that Payne was able to capture in an eye-pleasing manner. Strong and fragile are two angles that I try to convey with my drawings like Erin Payne so successfully does in her piece “Two Women Sketch”. I attempt what Payne has accomplished within the pages of my sketchbook. I understand the concept, but to deliver upon that concept is another step that I hope to achieve one day.
Article Submitted by Alexandra Dailey
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To view the piece refereced, click on the link attached.