Make your own Chester card

"Chester Speaks" ©2012 Richard Fudge
So in addition to all the other Chester cards you can order, I've created a DIY Chester card. You just fill in the the speech bubble with your own note. I'm having a lot of fun with them and I hope you will too.

If you'd like to order a pack of five cards and envelopes, shoot me an email. I'm selling them for $10 a pack. Cards are 4.25"x5.5" when folded.

To kick things off, I'm offering a free pack of Chester Speaks. To enter, leave a comment on this blog post and leave your email address. The winner will be randomly selected on Wednesday, September 12th at 8 am.

AND THE WINNER IS..... comment #6 CcBuck


Writing 'I Love You' in 2.5ft tall letters

“Love Is a Journey” takes shape after one night at The Stirring

This painting is based on a the sketch I gave to Katie. I'd post a photo of it, but Katie won't loan it back to me (lesson #1: always photograph your work). We just celebrated two years of dating and feels awesome to paint what is basically a huge "I Love You" sign on stage at The Stirring in front of a 1000 people. Also, I can't help but be reminded of my good friends Cheryl and Smith when reflecting on the message of this painting. They are an inspiring portrait of love to me.    
Artist Statement for “Love Is a Journey”

I grew up on a hilltop in the Ozarks. You could see downtown Fort Smith, Ark. from my house. When I was a Boy Scout, I loved to hike in the mountains. Now my favorite vacation trips are to the Great Smoky National Park. My heart and soul seem to breathe fresh life whenever I am there. The mountains in this painting are based on the view that I photographed from Newfound Gap. Mountains hold a very spiritual connection as well since it is here that God’s work as creator and master artist is lavishly on display.

In this painting, the mountain view is more than just a beautiful backdrop. The mountains are a metaphor for the journey of life with all of its ups and downs. In Boy Scouts, you are taught the importance of the buddy system. The buddy system is a way for scouts to look out for one another. If one person gets hurt, the other can provide first aid or go for help. Also, it is more difficult to get lost since two heads are better than one. Life is like that. It’s also better when you have a buddy to help you along the way and to share those mountain top moments with. Lastly, here are a couple of quotes I was reflecting on when creating this piece:

“Yea, though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” – Psalm 23

“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone. It has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.” The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

“Give us this day our daily bread” – Matthew 6:11

Going BIG:

This is my first time painting at The Stirring since we moved to the new sanctuary. I wanted to paint something BIG, but I also wanted to paint something for me. I don't get commissioned to do large works often nor I do sell large ones often. It feels like a fluke when one sells. They can end up at your house for a long, long time (I'm looking at you, Mary and Christ). So instead of crossing my fingers and hoping someone will buy it, this one is mine. I'm commissioning myself for a piece to go in my living room over my massive sofa. The wall space over my sofa has been a problem for the past 3 years. Art comes and goes as it displays at galleries. Half the time it's blank - which is a good thing for the art but a bad thing for my house.
When this is completed, it will be second largest Chester-themed painting I've ever done. And because I like to make lists...

Top 5 biggest paintings by Fudge:
  1. "Not Alone" 2010 - 8ft x 6ft (two 4ft x 6ft panels) - 48 sq ft 
  2. “The Light Shines in the Darkness” 2009 - 3ft x 9ft
    (three 3ft x 3ft panels) - 27 sq ft
  3. "Silent Night" 2010 - 3.5ft x 5ft - 17.5 sq ft
  4. “Love Is a Journey” 2012 - 2.5ft x 6.7ft (two 30"x40" panels) - 16.7 sq ft
  5. “Virgin Mary and Christ” 2009 - 3ft x 4ft - 12 sq ft

I'm very excited. The subject excites me. Painting in the Big house excites me. Big paintings of Chester excite me. This painting almost fills my little 10'x10' studio. Look at that photo. It's nearly wall to wall. I had to stand in the doorway to photograph it. I also had to buy a bunch of paint (lesson #2: always restock before you paint on stage).


Steven Smith - Guest Artist for August

Guest artists Steven Smith and Ally Guscette
I've got a couple of announcements about the Stirring, our guest artist for August is Steven Smith. I'm really digging this photo that Katie took. A poignant moment was captured as Steven kneeled before Jesus, The Creator, while painting last Sunday. Steven is very talented and I know he's got some special artwork planned. You won't want to miss him.

Also, The Stirring will be making the move from the South Hall (our home for all these years) to the big sanctuary on Aug 19th. Here's a nice clip about the move by Eli Morris.

We'll reconfigure the stage, turn down the lights, turn up the sound, and hang a gigantic Stirring banner to make this new space our own on Sunday nights. We need your help. We need your prayers. We need your enthusiasm. We need you to join us on Aug. 19 and bring a friend. You don't want to miss what God's gonna do next.


Oh, baby. Let's make beautiful art together.

Now that I've found you, I can't let you go.

I don't normally post product reviews but I bought this marker yesterday and it was love at first doodle. I was just in awe. And what has taken my breath away?

The Montana Acrylic Paint Marker - Extra Fine

Expect pictures of our beautiful art babies very soon.


Throwing clay in church

For most churches having an artist paint on stage during a service is a special and unusual event. But at The Stirring, it's just a typical Sunday night.

In the nine years that I have attended The Stirring, we have never had a ceramic artist throwing on stage. To be honest, I didn't think it could be done. There's the potter's wheel to lug up onto the stage. How could you see anything? Wouldn't it be messy and noisy? Years ago, I had even consulted with a couple friends who are potters and they agreed that it was not practical. 

Then along came Ally Guscette. She asked me if we'd ever do pottery on stage. I told her all the reasons we couldn't. She kept insisting that she could. So a little dumbstruck and amazed, I found myself scheduling The Stirring's first guest ceramic artist.

I still had my doubts as I stepped into the sanctuary last Sunday. But as you can see everything worked out perfectly. 

My beautiful artist's assistant, Katie, took a few shots for me (in addition to helping me carry in my supplies and set up). I chose to have a painter on stage in addition to a ceramic artist because I wasn't sure that we could get a camera angle on her. Again, things worked out better than I thought and we could have probably just had Ally up there working. But it is kinda neat to have two artists on stage.

Please come join us Sunday July 29th and/or Aug 5th at 5:30p as we throw some paint and clay at The Stirring.


I am an Artful Mess

So we do these creative exercises at work occasionally. Recently we were challenged to create a label for our personal brand. Something that embodied our personality, traits, and style.

Here's my quick creation. I'm pretty happy with it. It's a combination of doodles and paintings that I have saved on my computer. If you've been to my house, neat and orderly is not my thing. I am an artist and since I'm not married, no room or table is off limits to art making. Every so often the art studio erupts in a fury of creation. It pours out of its confined space and every room has an easel or table full of art. I feel creation needs a little chaos to grow.

Even when the house is in order, there are corners of clutter - little collections of art supplies, mail, or receipts. Stuff I need to get around to going through, filing or trashing.

So that's why I feel like an artful mess. I'm a little messy and a bit of a mess. I don't have a neat and orderly plan for my life. I've had some troubled times. Some spills and tears. But like a good painting, it's all coming together into something beautiful. I'm a messy work in progress. And I'm totally happy with that.  


Yearning for the Open Road

Here's a picture of my summer reading list: "Blue Highways" by William Least-Moon, "In a Sunburned Country" by Bill Bryson, "Turn Right at Machu Picchu" by Mark Adams, "In Patagonia" by Bruce Chatwin, and "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac. Truthfully, there's no way that I'm reading all this by the end of the summer.
For me, summer is for road trips. For the past two years, I have gone on a 2,000+ mile roadtrip around Memorial Day weekend. So as Memorial Day came and went this summer with no roadtrip plans and no vacation plans finalized, the travel bug bit me hard. Now I've got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell the open road.

The second best cure is a good travel memoir (or five apparently). I'm currently reading "Blue Highways" by William Least Heat-Moon. And it's been great.

In 1978, after separating from his wife and losing his job as a teacher, Moon, 38 at the time, decided to take an extended road trip around the United States, sticking to only the "Blue Highways." Heat-Moon had coined the term to refer to small, forgotten, out of the way roads connecting rural America (which were drawn in blue on the old style road atlas).

At first, a good story satisfies the travel craving. It's that little taste I needed. I get lost in the narrative and ride shotgun with the author through his journey. But after a while it starts to inspire. It starts to stir up that yearning for adventure. And that's when I relapse. The fever grips me and I get these really crazy ideas. I get to thinking, "well, if he can do a 13,000 mile road trip, why can't I do short one." Why can't I pull out the road map and plot some 3-4 week, 6,000 mile, cross country adventure?

So what would this crazy cross country trip look like? Roughly speaking it'd go something like this: I'd rent a car and drive west. I want to see Austin, TX. Maybe catch one of my favorite bands along the way to New Mexico. I'd stop and say hi to my brother at the Philmont Scout Ranch. Then visit a few national parks like Mt. Zion and the Grand Canyon. Eventally I'd make my way to California to visit my friend Susan Issacs. Here's where I'd return the rental car and switch to the train. I'd take the Coastal Starlight route from Los Angeles to Portland. After such a long train ride, i might rent another car and make my way to Glacier National Park. Once there, I might shift back to another scenic rail route called the Empire Builder and ride to Chicago. Then I'd hop on a MegaBus for the return trip to Memphis with a short stop in St. Louis, MO. I like the idea of mixed transportation. Taking a little bit of everything across country. I think i'd do this trip European style and travel very light. Everything would have to fit in a big internal frame backpack. The kind you'd go trekking across the mountains with. That way I could easily make the switch between car, rail, bus, or plane.

Could I realistically do this? Probably not. I cannot take off more than 2 weeks in a row at my current job. So I'd have to do half the trip at a time. But now I've run off into a tangent. This post was suppose to just be a short list. I really only meant to share with you my summer reading and now I'm outlining my great American road trip.

Recommend listening: David Ramierz "Carry Me Like The Wind"
For every line on my body I want a thousand stories
And for my heart to hold the great American novel 


Open Studios at Marshall Arts

Marshall Arts
639 Marshall Ave. Memphis, TN 38103
Saturday, May 19 
5:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Marshall Arts is having an open studios night this Saturday. If you can make it, you should stop by to visit Ally Guscette. She's a regular at The Stirring and she'll have some beautiful, functional pottery for sale. So get out and support local artists. Here's some samples of her work:

I bought the smaller one already. You snooze you loose.

One of these is mine too. Hands off. (This means you, Katie.)

 You can see more of her work at allynguscette.com


Why you should buy some handmade pottery

Dear Handmade Pottery,
This is my love letter to you. Enjoy.

I think everyone should own some handmade local pottery. Functional stuff that you can use every day. I'm not going to preach about buzz topic things like buy local, sustainability, green, or even supporting small business, local farmers, artists, etc.

I love my little collection because it reminds me of my friends. I'm reminded of whoever made the mug. I have three mugs by Melissa Bridgman and every time I use them I think of her. I think. I wonder how Melissa is doing. What new pottery has she done? Has she solved that clay and glazing issue that's been driving her crazy? How are those chickens? Boy, she did the perfect job shaping this mug. I hope she's doing well and making perfect little mugs with perfect little imperfections. And in that moment, its like I say a little prayer for my friend and share my morning coffee with her.

My handmade pottery pieces seem warmer. Its like they have a warmth leftover from being made by hand. Like how a mug stays warm after the coffee is finished. They are all individual with their irregularities and it seems to give them a personality. I like to run my fingers over the glaze and texture. I sit and ponder them - their individual shapes, textures, colors, how they were made. My other mugs seem as cold, dull, and lifeless as the steel machines that made them.

There's something meditative about the mugs. I love using these mugs. They bring me joy. They give me comfort. They make me smile. I can't imagine my mornings without them.

Thank you. And I'll see you in the morning,


Art Opening at The Chair Den

Just wanted to share with you some exciting news. My art is being featured in a new local store in Cordova. I think it's great that a locally owned store is so supportive of local artists. If you're a local artist looking for a place to display your work, you should definitely contact Michael Harvey. He's planning to make these art openings a regular event at The Chair Den.

Grand Opening and Art Show
Thursday, May 3 • 5-8 pm
The Chair Den by Babytime
7760 Trinity Rd., Cordova, TN

Featured local artists include:
Kristi Hall, Richard Fudge, Darlene Newman, Joyce Petrina,
Terence Washington Sr., and Gail Wilkins 

Come check out the new space and enjoy refreshments and local art.


Downtown Presbyterian - Show Pics

For those of you who couldn't make it out to the opening, here are a couple of images from my Love: Lost & Found show.  I have to give a special thanks to all of you who came out and made the opening reception so amazing. The attendance was great. It was packed for most of the show. So crowded in fact, that I couldn't make it around to say hello to everyone (a belated "hello and thanks for coming" to those I missed). I thought it was rather amazing for a South Main Art Walk especially one in February. 

The show was very successful not only in terms of attendance. The opening was listed on ilovememphisblog.com calendar and the Memphis Flyer listed it in the We Recommend section with a picture. A special thanks goes to my incredibly supportive girlfriend Katie who was probably responsible for more than half the people that attended and bought my art.

There were some other little things that I've always wanted to do at a show that I finally made happen this time. For example, I dropped a special playlist of songs onto my iPod and played it during the show - here's a Spotify playlist if you're interested Love - lost, broken, found .  I listen to the same playlist when I'm working in my studio and I've always wanted to share it during a show. Also, I finally got my act together and had 5x7 prints, greeting cards, and 8x10 originals all for sale at the show. It was really beneficial to have some 'impulse buy' art options. At one point, I had a line of people waiting in line to buy them. It was really unexpected. This was probably one of my best art shows to date. 

Suggestions for artists interested in showing at Downtown Church (they recently changed their name from Downtown Presbyterian Church).

• Book It Now. Trolly Night openings book fast. I think I had to ask about six months in advance. So get in touch Gretchen Becker Shaw at Downtown Church and get it on the calendar ASAP.

• Lighting is a bit of an issue. You should attend an art walk night and see for yourself. The artist who showed before me chose to bring his own extra lighting. I worked around it by just displaying work on the best lit walls.

• You will need power tools. The first wall on the right as you enter the space is concrete. You will need a drill and special screws to get new wholes in that wall. Thankfully the rest of the gallery space is drywall.


Save the Date for My Opening Reception

Friday, February 24, 6pm-9pm
South Main Art Trolley Tour 
Downtown Presbyterian
502 South Main St., Memphis, Tennessee

Love: Lost & Found 
“I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues” – Duke Ellington

Love, both the good side and bad, is great source of inspiration. A musician turns to his guitar, an artist turns to his canvas. For this February show, I thought it would be an appropriate time to pull together all of my work that resulted of the ups and downs of love. In addition to expressing the different emotions and states of love, the four mini-series showcase a variety of my artistic styles and a range of mediums from collage, acrylic, mixed media, illustration, and watercolor.

It’s very personal collection of paintings created over the last eight years, but I feel that everyone can find a connection to at least one painting since they address a universal experience.

Richard Fudge:
Richard Fudge received his BFA from the University of Memphis in 2003. He pursues his passion for painting by creating works in his studio and live on-stage during The Stirring. As the senior artist and gallery manager at The Stirring, Fudge promotes the enrichment of the worship experience through visual art.


Print Sale and Give Away

So I just learned about this C3 conference ( Christ : Church : Culture ) in Nashville in March. This year they are also having a juried art show. I've submitted some of my work and I'm hoping I'll get chosen. You can help send me to the conference by buying a print. The conference isn't that expensive but I had a $700 car repair bill last month. It would be great if I could raise some of the money I need for the conference through some art sales. So any little extra bit will help.

5"x7" photo print, signed - $8.00
8"x10" photo print, signed - $16.00  
First 25 orders get free shipping. To order, email me at richard.fudge@gmail.com 

To kick things off, I'm offering a free 5"x7" - print of your choice. To enter, leave a comment on this blog post, say which is your favorite of the designs pictured above, and leave your email address. The winner will be randomly selected on Monday Jan. 16 at 8am.

UPDATE: The randomly selected number was 7, and the 7th comment is Pattie VZ. Congrats