Artist of the Week: Hava Gurevich

July 24, 2016

Apis Mosaic, 24x24", acrylic and paper on canvas.

Apis Mosaic, 24×24″, acrylic and paper on canvas (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Hava Gurevich

 

Hava Gurevich is a painter whose work explores the wonders of nature. Moving far beyond simple illustrations that one would encounter in a Biology 101 textbook, Hava’s work awakens the viewer to the intricate beauty and design of all living things. Hava’s creations are offerings of beauty with a touch of the mysterious and grotesque. Each painting is a playground of gorgeous color, depth, and spirit. Along with these elements of beauty, things like tiny creatures, insects, and slimy textures are also thrown into Hava’s nature stew, yet everything she adds gives it a balanced flavor at the end. The element of repetition in Hava’s work is also quite appealing. The patterns that unfold tend to echo those that exist in the natural world. Of these repetitive patterns, Hava states:

“The inspiration for my paintings comes from observing details in nature; shapes of tree branches, color of sunlight, patterns in ice and reflections in a pond, networks of twisted vines and delicate spring blooms. These human‐scale patterns imprinted in the environment repeat themselves both on a microscopic and macroscopic scale, from one life form to another, transcending the physical reality we perceive to the very concepts of life itself such as growth, decay, regeneration, fission and symbiosis.”

 

Life Always Finds a Way (Thrive, for Lisa), 40x53", acrylic on canvas.

Life Always Finds a Way (Thrive, for Lisa), 40×53″, acrylic on canvas (click to enlarge).

 

When it comes to process, Hava states that she often starts with photographs or sketches that “inspire a vocabulary of shapes and gestures which echo these patterns and retain their organic quality.” From that, she “blends imagery from the real world and her imagination” and explores “the perception and interpretation of the infinitely large and infinitely small patterns that make up reality.” Sometimes she pushes these elements further into representation and sometimes her paintings can be seen as more abstract. The end result is what she refers to as “organic fiction”. Perhaps this is a place where nature, imagination, and the human spirit exist as one.

More than anything, Hava’s work speaks for itself without the need for much interpretation. It simply needs to be seen and experienced. Nature is cool, and Hava’s art is a beautiful reminder of that fact. I encourage you to check out the links below and enjoy. There is so much to see!

 

Devonian Playground, 30x40", acrylic and collage on canvas (click to enlarge).

Devonian Playground, 30×40″, acrylic and collage on canvas (click to enlarge).

 

Website: www.hava.biz
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Artist of the Week: Joan Raspo

July 09, 2016

Ask Me

Ask Me Installation, Media: Galvanized Steel Geodesic Dome 8′ x 4.5′, LCD touch screen monitor 42″, 99 Plexiglass triangular mirrors, Arduino microcontroller, Clear plexiglass inverted pyramid sculpture 20″ x 14″, 10 1GB Animations


Artist of the Week: Joan Raspo

 

Joan Raspo is a California based multimedia artist. A Jill-of-all-creative-trades, Joan paints, codes, sculpts and also directs films. Joan is obsessed with illusions. She strives to ” trick the viewer’s eye to see reality through a lens of magic”. She sees her art as entertainment. According to Joan, each work is “an opportunity to build drama and tension which invites interaction with (her) audience”. If the goal of Joan’s practice is to include the viewer, she has far exceeded this goal in her latest piece, ASK.ME, which was recently shown at ODETTA Gallery in Brooklyn, NY (as part of a city-wide art initiative called Creative Tech Week).

ASK.ME is an interactive installation of a life-size magic 8 Ball. It houses a touch activated perceptual hologram that senses a viewer’s presence and produces an answer that hovers inside an inverted plexiglass pyramid. When the viewer enters the dome, they will be greeted with the message “ASK.ME.” Visitors have the opportunity to ask the 8 Ball questions resulting in three-dimensional holographic answers. The holographic “answers”, which reflect the lexicon of current slang (particularly words, acronyms, and symbols that have evolved through social media and the web), will reflect off the mirrors lining the inside of the dome. According to Joan, “Light and space will skew to divulge a deeper strangeness. This unique take on holograms, fortune telling and divine spaces addresses our human need to foresee the future”.

joan raspo

Messages inside the Dome: Software used: Cinema 4D/After Effects/MAX/MSP/jitter

Although Joan works with such a wide range of media, she considers herself primarily a painter. Joan’s painting style also defies genre, however many of her abstracts seem to depict impressions of landscapes, both real and imagined. Her work is an intuitive yet thoughtful combination of color, texture, and materials.  The most notable and appealing aspect of her paintings, however, is their extreme texture and tactile nature. Each painting has a childlike quality, as though they were initially guided by impulse. Joan grants each piece added complexity and sophistication as she edits and adds her final touches at the end. Here is where she “formalizes the coincidental and emphasizes the conscious process of composition”.

Joan is a risk taker. Her work is driven by her playful exploration of techniques and materials. Some of the media she works with include C-Prints, oil and acrylic paint, gesso, and collage materials, to name a few. The inspiration for each new piece is often inspired by leftover materials she may have from her last. By using extra paint or physical elements from one piece as the foundation for the next, Joan creates a cohesive body of work. The recycling of materials seems to contribute to her wide range of style and her constant evolution as an artist.

Earth

Earth, 26×35″, acrylic and oil on canvas.

Joan’s painting “Earth”, for example, is a piece that she made using a remnant of plexiglass from when she was constructing her ASK.ME  installation piece. According to Joan, the best description for “Earth” can be derived from her artist statement: “By focusing on techniques and materials, Joan formalizes the coincidental and emphasizes the conscious process of composition behind her deeply textured work”.

Joan is a graduate of the MFA program at UC Santa Cruz in Digital Arts and New Media. Prior to that she lived in New York City, carving out a career in commercial directing and teaching.

Website: http://joanraspo.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/joanraspo
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jraspo/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanraspo

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Art of Giving: Just by Being Present

July 08, 2016

Austin's Friends

Austin’s new friends (Austin, our superstar of the day, is the one in bright orange).


Art of Giving: Just by Being Present for Others

 

Perhaps this isn’t art-related, but the story is so wonderful it needs to be shared. Yesterday was a most memorable day. It started off at our local animal shelter so that my daughter could drop off the donations that she had collected during her “epic” lemonade and cookie stand. We thought that meeting the furry friends we were helping would be the highlight of our day, but little did we know how much better the day would get. The cake was only just being baked…

The yummy frosting came in the afternoon when we met a sweet 11-year-old boy named Austin who also has autism and Tourette’s. His mom (our new friend Delilah) had recently posted to a local forum on Facebook how her son recently cried while watching his siblings make friends with kids on the playground while he had none. Austin was feeling especially lonely this summer, and rarely gets asked on a play date, so Austin’s mom asked for anyone who was willing to bring their kids to come meet him at the playground. She also mentioned how her son Austin dreams of being a firefighter when he grows up, so if anyone knew someone who was a firefighter/EMS who could come visit, it would be a huge bonus, but wasn’t necessary.

My little group of autism parents sprung right into action. My friend Katie saw the post and sent a text to our friend Lori and her husband Chris who is a detective with local police to see if a first responder was available to stop by.

Later that afternoon, we rolled into the parking lot to the most amazing sight: 2 cruisers, 1 D.A.R.E. cruiser, 5 police officers, 1 ambulance, 1 fire truck, multiple firefighters…and plenty of new friends for Austin! The greatest sight of all was a very excited Austin who ran right up to our car to meet us. His smile was truly priceless!

This impromptu event just came together in less than a day. All because of a text and a few people who saw a Facebook post and simply decided to show up. None of us had any idea how amazing it would be. As my friend Katie put it, “humanity sang”…and the sound was incredible. Austin had proclaimed that it was his “best day ever”!

Hats off to our first responders who showed up to let the kids climb all over their vehicles, let them shout in their loudspeakers and even stayed to play on the playground. Cheers to the autism parents: Katie, Lori, Chris and Ashleigh, some of my dearest friends who may be busy dealing with their own issues, but will never hesitate to help out someone else out in the same situation. We all posed for a group photo for Austin as a reminder of all the friends he has now. It is an honor to call Austin our new friend, and we look forward to returning to the playground to play with him again next week!

 

The first responders had fun too!

The first responders had fun too!

 

Note: the local media has quickly gotten ahold of this story and it is being a bit distorted as it spreads. No, it was not the boy’s birthday as some news outlets reported, and to also clarify, no one involved is trying to make a statement about first responders in light of recent events. This is simply a story of a community coming together to cheer up a boy and make his day <3.

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The Art of Letting Go

June 30, 2016

Evolution of the Buddha (work in progress), 30x40", oil on canvas.

Evolution of the Buddha (work in progress), 30×40″, oil on canvas.


The Art of Letting Go

 

For the past several months I have been working on a large painting of a Buddha, using only leftover paints from my palette at the end of each painting session. I have no idea what will come of it or what it will look like. It’s a slow evolution and I’m just finding enjoyment in watching it unfold. It could end up being a hot mess, but I don’t care as one shouldn’t really be attached to a painting of a Buddha anyway.

This morning my 9-year-old daughter, Bella came to me in tears, distraught over the thought of her brother Alex, currently 5 ½, growing older. “I love him so much the way he is now,” she said, “I don’t want him to change!” As she sat in a chair and curled herself up into a little ball, I got a flashback of her at 2 or 3 with her first balloon. It brought her so much joy, and even though we tied it tightly around her wrist, it still managed to loosen and fly up into the sky. When she realized there was no chance of getting it back, Bella let out the loudest wail of anguish humanly possible and there was nothing in this world that could console her. From that moment on, balloons were a source of joy, but also profound anxiety. There was always a fear of letting go. Always the night after getting a new balloon, she would worry about going to sleep. Will it still be there to greet her in the morning? Would it still be happy and full, dancing freely and playfully along her bedroom ceiling, or would it suddenly become a deflated lifeless remnant of what it used to be?

Flash forward to a few years later at my son Alex’s 4th birthday party. I had bought him a few Angry Birds balloons, which he had also loved and carried around throughout the party. As Alex took one outside, my husband and I exchanged an “oh, no, this can’t be good” glance and he let his first balloon go. Bracing ourselves for an epic meltdown, we were taken by surprise as Alex had let out the loudest and longest belly laugh humanly possible. He chucked the entire time as he observed it float higher and higher until it gradually reduced itself to a tiny little dot before disappearing completely. Not only did Alex find it hysterical, he wanted to find another balloon so he could do it again!

Back to consoling a grief-stricken Bella. A girl with so much love for her brother, the thought of him changing was more than she could bear. We talked about the story of the Buddha (the real Buddha, not just the ones in Mom’s crazy paintings), and how he taught others that the greatest source of suffering is attachment. Then we recalled our memories of how she and her brother both lost their first balloons and how the same exact situation can bring either great suffering or joy. To love is to allow for change; to embrace new possibilities and all the surprises that unfold. Practicing the art of love means to love fully but without attachment. Finding a balance between embracing and releasing, of loving while letting go is the key to everything.

 

Sweet Bella

Sweet Bella.

 

In my studio, I am also trying to practice loving and letting go, and I am thankful for my two teachers. I aim to love whatever I am doing as deeply as my daughter, while embracing the playful non-attachment of my son. I pour all my energy into my work, however I cannot allow myself to be fixated on any particular outcome, as I am also processing the fact that my art is not really mine. For each painting or piece of writing to be complete, it must be seen and hopefully enjoyed by others. I must release each work like a balloon and take delight in seeing where the wind takes it.

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Artist of the Week: Leslie Waxwing

June 25, 2016

Leslie Waxwing1

LESSONS LEARNED, 12×17″, oil on canvas. Private Collection (click to enlarge).

 

Artist of the Week: Leslie Waxwing

 

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. -Pablo Picasso

 

Leslie Waxwing has been a long time painter of highways, rivers and pathways. Her work signifies inner growth, movement, and all the directions one can travel in the course of a lifetime. Above all, Leslie’s imagery is a reflection of her own personal history. She uses her work as a way of keeping a visual diary, which helps her to navigate her own path in life. The process of painting allows Leslie to sort out her own experiences and emotions while focusing on her desire for continual growth and progress. Like many artists and visual thinkers, Leslie finds that she can better express certain moments and feelings in a visual way. Leslie describes her life and own experiences as her “art arsenal”.

“The process I use to create visual imagery focuses on my own personal history as subject matter. My life is my “art arsenal”. This sounds like an obvious strategy but it’s taken a while for me to fully understand why I use it. The “why” is always very important to me. I strive for meaning in my work. Without being too literal, I will reveal, it has something to do with being visible and holding emotion – memory within a time and space. The imagery I create is usually a deep landscape of a place I call home. Recording my experiences and being fully connected to my flow is vital for me. I always think of any creative endeavor as life support for the active participants and passive viewers. For me, the process of creating is absolutely thrilling”.

Leslie2

Cool Yellow One, 24×50″, oil on canvas (click to enlarge).

Leslie’s highways lend the viewer a profound sense of freedom, movement, advancement, and also a bit of nostalgia. Sometimes Leslie chooses to paint a border around her paintings. Occasionally, she will add a few tiny images around these borders; little snap shots of her inner and outer travels, like postcards or other souvenirs that seem to be collected along the way.

In the above “LESSONS LEARNED”, only the bottom portion of the border is filled in, leaving plenty of space for more memories to be had. Perhaps the existing images reflect some lessons to keep while moving ahead.

Leslie’s work also reminds us that no matter where we travel to, even when not moving, we are always in transit. There is always more progress to be made. As we evolve, part of that process is learning to embrace even those moments when we aren’t quite sure of where we want to be, including those times when we have no idea where we are going. It’s easy to get antsy and cranky while trying to navigate somewhere but it is so much easier to relax and check out the scenery. Perhaps Leslie’s work is all about learning to enjoy the ride.

https://www.instagram.com/lesliewaxwing/
https://twitter.com/LeslieWaxwing

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Artist of the Week: Chris Boyd

June 18, 2016

Something Omega

Something Kind Of Like the Omega Point…But Not, 2015, 70″ x 52″, oil on canvas (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Chris Boyd

 

Chris Boyd is an artist and author based in Tempe, AZ. who holds a BFA in painting, an MFA in sculpture, as well as a PhD in Psychology with a specialization in Transformative Social Change. His work investigates concepts of collective identity and self-perception within our own socially constructed realities and explores the ways in which we can alter this reality as we move toward empathy, interconnectedness and social equality.

At first glance, Chris’ cityscapes have street art flair, with bright colors and buildings that seem to playfully bend and dance about. After more careful exploration of Boyd’s work, however, I come to understand that his work is much more complex. I realize that each building is symbolic of the individual. We all begin life with an inherited foundation; our race, gender, class, inherited family beliefs etc. These are the foundations that we build ourselves from. What we choose to construct of ourselves afterward is what creates the collective identities that form our socially constructed reality, thus the cityscapes in Chris’ work emerge.

One of the more predominant themes in Chris’ work and research is systemic racism and white privilege. Chris approaches these issues from the angle of a white male born in the United States, where it is not uncommon for white people to avoid the topic of race, and perhaps one of the benefits of white privilege is the ability to evade this discussion. Chris, however, is determined to tackle these issues, and he does so with knowledge, thoughtfulness, and compassion as he explores how we can go about making needed changes to create a shift in the paradigm, a new way of living:

“There is infinite potential for art and imagination to completely change the world we live in.  The contemplation of how to go about transforming our socially constructed reality along with advocating for social change, are two of the main concepts that fuel my work. It is essential that we become more informed about the true history of America and the layers of white supremacy that blanket it in order to be a part of deconstructing it and bringing about a paradigmatic shift. A shift in the consciousness of white America that not only allows the majority to see the systemic racism embedded in our country’s framework, but a way of being that also promotes empathy, interconnectedness, and the desire to radically transform what most of us have come to know and accept as the American way of life. A way of living that encourages individual achievement and accumulation of material wealth over the health and wellbeing of others. A way of living that provides white Americans with privileges most are not aware of, a false sense of entitlement, and the subconscious belief that people of color are inferior. This way of life is taught in the history books of our public schools, reinforced in acts like gentrification and mass incarceration, and witnessed today in daily news stories that consist of people of color being shot, killed, imprisoned, or just forced to drink water that will eventually kill them.”

Chris also describes in his work what he calls a “socially engaged imagination”. By this he means that by “imagining new ways of what humanity could one day come to know as reality, we are essentially helping to build and promote a new paradigm, a new way of being in the world, and a new socially constructed reality”.

 

Seen it with my own

Seen it with my own 3, 2015, 70″x48″, oil on canvas (click to enlarge).

 

According to Chris, “by studying indigenous ways of knowing, transformative social change, the evolution of consciousness, consumerism, and the imagination, my work has become a response to the state of the world we live in today. It is my own form of therapy as I try to understand how we collectively arrived at this point, and how we might be able to begin transforming the world around us. Often times my work is guided by a single thought, a news story, the contemplation of the madness in our society that continues to escalate, or what a new way of being might look like. This new way of being led to the notion of a socially engaged imagination, a concept that originated out of my artistic process and led to doctoral research work to support it”.

Perhaps in Chris’ cityscapes the swirling cloud circling around the tops of the buildings represents the imagination and social engagement; the two things that Chris describes in his work to be the needed catalysts that will allow for this needed movement to occur for all of humankind. Each structure’s surprising flexibility demonstrates that we can all shift away from the foundations from which we were built from. The more easily we can change our perspectives, the more clearly we are able to view the landscape of humanity as a unified whole. When we lean toward others just like Chris’ buildings, we lean toward empathy: and empathy is what creates equality and positive social change.

personal site: overmanarts.org
Chris’ nonprofit org, Velnonart : velnonart.org
twitter: @overmanarts
Chris’ book: White Devil seeks White Buffalo: Socially Engaged Imagination‪http://amazon.com/dp/B00Y5Q3DV8

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Artist of the Week: Luis Colan

June 05, 2016

Lullwater Bridge, 2016, oil on linen, 15x10".

Lullwater Bridge, 2016, oil on linen, 15×10″ (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Luis Colan

 

Luis Colan is NYC painter whose primary subject is landscapes. One of his most recent paintings “Lullwater Bridge” is a familiar scene to anyone who has visited Prospect Park in Brooklyn, a place he was hoping to paint for sometime. According to Luis, “The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the mastermind behind Central Park. Many years ago I read somewhere that this was Olmstead’s favorite park he had designed, and I can see why.  There is something more organic about Prospect Park, which in the end yields more surprises as you explore it”.

Luis views his landscape painting as a way of exploring and celebrating life.  Working from direct observation in the field allows him to think quickly and to respond to light and weather changes as they occur during each painting session. The limited time Luis has while working in plein air forces him to focus and to connect emotionally to his surroundings, and allows him to see and record colors and moods as they occur.

“With this kind of work I am following another long tradition, one that began centuries ago when British and French painters took to the fields to capture the world. There is something humble about exposing yourself to the elements while trying to create something beautiful and honest.  By charging a brush with color and placing it in relation to other brush strokes, I’m trying to achieve humility, serenity, and light.”

When not painting outdoors, you can find Luis at a local NYC museum studying the works of master painters, making monotypes at the Salmagundi Club, or cooking up a delicious meal. For Luis, food always played an important role his family life; and before moving onto landscapes Luis was primarily a still life painter. His meticulously painted hyper-realistic depictions of food, such as onions on cutting boards or tomatoes and lemons about be sliced, was his way of connecting with his home life and family culture after moving further away from them to New York City.

I encourage you to explore more of Luis’s work in the following links. You will be amazed at the attention to detail and level of care that he pours into each piece:

http://www.luiscolan.com/
http://luiscolan.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/lcolan1
https://www.instagram.com/luiscolanart/
https://www.etsy.com/no-en/shop/LuisColan

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Artist of the Week: Barbara Billeiter

May 28, 2016

Billeiter_Bella_Norica

Bella Norica, 120 cm x 80 (click to enlarge)


Artist of the Week: Barbara Billeiter

 

I have been following the work of artist Barbara Billeiter on Twitter for some time, intrigued by her unique paintings of innocent child-like characters with humongous eyes placed in surreal fairytale-like scenes. The sweet innocence of each character is juxtaposed with devils, bees, floating eyeballs, and other symbols. In Barbara’s world, there is a balance of innocence and mischief, and objects that can bring both pain and pleasure (such as the bees). Billeiter’s work is perhaps also riddled with some dark humor and occult meaning.

Barbara has had a deep love for art since she was a small child, and much of her work is allegorical of of her own childhood experiences. Her other sources of inspiration include artists Albrecht Dürer, Hieronymus Bosch, and Frida Kahlo.

One of the most recognizable features of Barbara’s paintings is her depiction of doll-like characters with large life-like eyes that gaze directly at the viewer. Barbara likes to exaggerate this feature because according to her, “The eyes are the most important parts of the human body. They are able to express almost everything without the utter of a single word”.

Barbara is based in Franconia, Germany.

More of Barbara’s one-of-a-kind paintings can be found on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/duckylemon

 

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Artist of the Week: Interview with “Embrace the Matrix”

May 21, 2016

Life Lines, 20x16", acrylic on canvas (click to enlarge).

Life Lines, 20×16″, acrylic on canvas (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Interview with “Embrace the Matrix”

 

Chuck Taylor, also known as “Embrace The Matrix”, is an Ohio-based abstract painter and musician. He is also a father and a proud owner of an epic goatee ;).  Here, Chuck shares some of his thoughts behind his Life Lines series, the difference between art and music, and art as a powerful form of therapy.

LKS: Would you tell me a bit more about your process (materials and technique) that you use for your line paintings?

CT: I only use acrylic paints on all my creations. I bounce between Golden, Liquitex and Studio 71 depending on if I need a thicker or thinner paint. I use Golden airbrush medium to thin my paints. I only use hemp cord to create the lines on the paintings. I feel it holds the paint better than cotton or any other blend. I generally create my background first and then add the lines using the hemp cord. I do thin the paints a bit when applying the lines so they come out smooth. Like many artists, I assume, I start a creation with an idea but as I go through the motions and about 80% of the time I will go off the rails a bit and it will end up much different then how I originally envisioned it. But I like that. I want my art to be spontaneous and unpredictable.

LKS: I couldn’t help but notice some themes surrounding mental health. Are your life lines also tied to this theme, or do you consider these paintings to be purely abstract?

CT: Although I do source some themes for my creations from my own anxiety and depression issues, the life lines creations don’t necessarily represent those emotions. I consider them abstract but somewhat controlled since I do control where the lines will go but not so much when removing the cord from the canvas. My thoughts behind the lines are that they represent people and their individual ability to shine. Each line is unique and has its own direction and destination. You will notice in a lot of the pieces that there is one line that is a different color from the rest. This line represents you, me or that person feeling a connection to the piece. I think people need to stand out on their own and find that thing that sets them apart from the rest of the population.

LKS: Your bio states that you have been a musician for much longer than you were an artist…In which ways are painting and playing music very different? Which ways are they the same?

CT: I have been a multi-instrumentalist for over 20 years focusing on guitar and bass. I have been part of a few successful local bands and recorded many albums worth of material. While you can write music on your own and I have, I prefer to create music within a full band environment. Everyone bringing their own piece to the song to make it sound great is very rewarding… for it to be unique it needs to be dynamic, which has its challenges. You also need to rely on everyone showing up to practice and putting forth a solid effort. Not to mention working cohesively with different personalities and agendas. The reason I embraced painting as much as I did is because if you are very creative as I am, it’s an independent form of expression. I don’t need to wait for anyone and I can go into my studio and create anytime I feel a desire to emotionally express myself on canvas.

Website: www.embracethematrix.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Embracethematrix
Twitter: https://twitter.com/embracematrix

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Artist of the Week: Mark Perry

May 14, 2016

MarkPerry-Mountaintops-2015-oiloncanvas-46%22x45%22

Mark Perry, “Mountaintops”, 2015, 46×45″, oil on canvas (click to enlarge).

 

Artist of the Week: Mark Perry

 

Mark Perry is a painter of abstract landscapes.  His work teeters along the edge of landscape painting and total abstraction. Although Mark seems to favor the abstract, the landscape element gives his work a needed structure that ties it all together. The playful brushstrokes and dabs of color are the kids at play at recess…The landscape elements are the teachers on playground duty giving instructions and keeping the children in line.

According to Mark, “My process is fluid by necessity to create space for my creative personae: the adult, the experimental inquisitive one, the child with a five second attention span. The challenge is to stay focused on the abstract when I suddenly start thinking figuratively. When there is conflict I find the best solution is to work through it, remaining open to an unexpected resolution.”

Also regarding process Mark writes, “Of my different approaches to constructing a painting one I repeatedly turn to is the concept of layers, what is in front, behind, or on top. These sequences can assist in piecing together an interesting composition. Making decisions and/or leaving things to chance is my delicate balance.”

When it comes to artistic influences, Mark Perry pulls his inspiration from the many movements in art history, however he always felt a particularly strong pull toward Impressionism. Mark writes in his artist bio:  “In my 20s the Impressionists really spoke to me. The color and the freedom of the mark, and at the same time the skilled draftsmanship was a big influence. It freed me to see that painting did not have to be “perfect” to be good.”

Perhaps above all, Mark is a colorist. He has the refined sensitivity of a seasoned painter, and his application is well balanced. His palette of muted gem tones and pastels conjure up the feeling of spring in full bloom as well as summon the spirit of Post-Impressionist, Pierre Bonnard.

Mark Perry currently resides in New York City and East Hampton, NY. His paintings have since been showcased in solo and group exhibits and Art Fairs in New York, Houston, Providence and East Hampton; his work has been featured in national art and design magazines as well as in set designs for Off-Broadway productions and major motion pictures.

Website: http://www.markeperryart.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/markperryart
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/markperryart
Press: http://www.cottages-gardens.com/Hamptons-Cottages-Gardens/July-2015/Three-Mile-Harbour-Hamptons-House-Tour-Mark-Perry/
Internet Art Sites:
https://www.1stdibs.com/art/paintings/abstract-paintings/mark-perry-accobonac-harbor/id-a_854073/
https://www.artsy.net/artist/mark-perry
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Artist of the Week: Interview with Eddie Bruckner

April 30, 2016

Eddie Bruckner, Skewed Color Grid with Sparkled Mosaic.

Eddie Bruckner, Skewed Color Grid with Sparkled Mosaic, 12×16″, acrylic on canvas.


Artist of the Week: Interview with Eddie Bruckner

 

Note: I thought I would mix things up a bit and feature some of the artists in our #SupportLivingArtistsIn2016 series in a new way. An interview format naturally unfolded as I found myself asking each artist more and more questions about their art and process. Each answer allowed for greater insight into each artist’s unique perspective, thus bringing a greater understanding of their work. It may also be helpful to disclose that style of feature does not necessarily reflect an artist’s status or significance as compared with another artist; it is simply a different presentation. Thanks to Boston-based artist Eddie Bruckner for agreeing to the first interview of the series. Here we talk about his process, artistic influences and his love for art from a young age:

LKS: The illusion of mosaic tile is one thing that makes your work uniquely yours. I like how some ’tiles’ in this series pick up some colors from other parts of a painting and also how they add a bit of texture on a flat field of color. Are the tiles there for purely aesthetic reasons, or is there an idea or concept behind it?

EB: I first started painting the mosaic tiles in my painting, “Live Love Eat,” which was based on a photograph I took of a mosaic wall that struck me visually.  I really like how it looks, how it adds life and energy into a painting, making it more fun and exciting.  I also find that it affords me the opportunity to use it in a variety of ways, shapes, forms, colors, that contribute to the overall composition of the painting.  It helps balance my artwork providing a unique center of interest, balance, repetition, and dimension.

Live Love Eat, 36x24", acrylic on 3 canvas panels (triptych).

Live Love Eat, 36×24″, acrylic on 3 canvas panels (triptych).

LKS: Your bio states your biggest artistic influences come from the art movements of the late 20th Century. Besides an obvious connection to the work of Mondrian, who are a few of your other all time favorite artists?

EB: Artists I admire (just to name a few) are Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly, and Edward Ruscha. Visiting Art museums and galleries, drawing inspiration from notable artists, participating in open studios, or trying something new and different with the materials I’m using are all things that inspire me to create art.

LKS: Your bio also states that you’ve been painting since a child? When did you know for sure that you would be painting into your adulthood?

EB: I’ve always liked art.  I have a great photo of me as a 7 or 8 year old sitting at my easel painting.  When I think back to some of my first pieces of art, they were created in my high school art class, or at least inspired by my art class and art teacher.  I was fortunate to have had an amazing high school art teacher, Mr. David Brodman. He had a reputation of being tough, but I always enjoyed his constructive criticism, his approach to teaching, his passion for experimenting with new materials, and his constant prodding to push the limits with my artwork.  I would skip lunch to spend more time in the art room as well as staying after school to paint, draw, and create.

Website:  http://www.eddiebruckner.com
Twitter:  twitter.com/EddieBrucknerFA
Instagram:  instagram.com/eddiebrucknerfineart
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/EddieBrucknerFineArt
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Artist of the Week: Chazalon Respress

April 23, 2016

"Communication Breakdown", 2016 58.5 x 48, Mixed media on paper

“Communication Breakdown”, 2016
58.5 x 48, Mixed media on paper


Artist of the Week: Chazalon Respress

 

Chazalon Respress is a contemporary artist whose work explores and expresses the ways in which we are connected as citizens of the world. While investigating the interconnectedness of individuals and groups, one must acknowledge that there are also barriers that interfere with our connection to one another as well. Her painting, “Communication Breakdown” is a combination of experimentation and exploration of these concepts.

According to Chazalon, “When I began to create this painting, I was thinking about the different ways people around the world communicate and how, because of differences, these avenues of communication can break down: Through lack of understanding different languages/cultures, generational differences, social media jargon, texts, etc….I often tell people that communication is the key to understanding one another, however there are so many obstacles that can cause a break down in communication.”

Chazalon’s style combines abstraction, symbolism and language. Some of the symbols that she uses to indicate confusion or lack of understanding are imprints of puzzles, blank crosswords, and clocks to add a sense of chaos and urgency. Recycle symbols are present to suggest that something is happening over and over again. In “Communication Breakdown”, there is also a lot of  movement to suggest a breakdown: including several arrows that follow a heavy black spray painted line indicating that all the elements are in the painting are headed toward a downward slope.

Chazalon loves to explore and experiment with a variety of materials. For this painting, she used a combination of acrylic paint, newsprint and magazine clippings, ink and spray paint on Canson XL series paper. When asked about her process while creating, Respress states:

“I generally have in mind what the topic of the painting is going to be about, which could come from a past conversation, a lingering question or a song title. However I never pre-plan these pieces, I build upon them adding a lot of detail, symbols and words until I feel that they are complete.”

As for the title of her piece, Chazalon explains, ” I also like Led Zeppelin and the song Communication Breakdown!” Chazalon lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chazalonart
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Chazalonart

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Artist of the Week: Malinda Prud’homme

April 16, 2016

Malinda Prud'homme, Golden Indian Bride, mixed media on canvas (click to enlarge).

Malinda Prud’homme, Golden Indian Bride, mixed media on canvas (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Malinda Prud’homme

 

Malinda Prud’homme is a Toronto-based artist who paints stunning portraits like the Sikh beauty above, “Golden Indian Bride”.  Malinda focuses on portraying natural female beauty and uses her art to express that all women are beautiful in their own unique way; regardless of age, size, ethnicity, or style. According to Malinda:

“Growing up I always felt there was a huge lack of variety in what the media portrayed as beauty. I yearned to see freckles, gapped teeth, asymmetrical faces, wrinkles, and people of color and other non–Caucasian ethnicities. It wasn’t that the women in the media were not beautiful; they were and still are absolutely stunning; but I feel it’s time to start celebrating the beauty of all women, not just one group.”

Malinda carefully paints each subject with extreme attention to detail, down to every last hair and eyelash. Not allowing the brushstrokes to show, Malinda’s paintings have a smoothness that somehow remind me of the painting-style of Georgia O’Keefe. While Malinda primarily works in acrylic and oil paint, she also utilizes a wide variety of media including watercolors, charcoal, encaustic (wax) paint, and colored pencils.

When asked about her technique for her portraits, she explains that she creates them using mostly acrylic paint. In her “Golden Indian Bride”, Malinda used a bottled gold acrylic and dropped it onto the canvas in a mendhi inspired design. She also often uses a sparkly medium called “Mica” to create the effect of jewelry and other adornments. Finally, to add even more shimmer, Malinda attaches high quality acrylic gems directly onto her paintings.
The jewels are a nice enhancement, and demonstrate Malinda’s fastidious judgment in adding them in a manner that is well-balanced — each piece can be seen and enjoyed as a unified whole.

My favorite part of Prud’homme’s painted portraits, however, are the details she puts in the eyes and how they seem to reflect the light of the jewels. This really is what engages the viewer and captures each subject’s expression and spirit.

www.MalindaPrudhomme.com
www.Facebook.com/MalindaPrudhomme
www.MalindaPrudhomme.Blogspot.com
www.Twitter.com/MalindaArt
www.MalindaPrudhomme.Etsy.com
www.Pinterest.com/MalindaArt
www.Instagram.com/MalindaPrudhomme
www.Periscope.TV/MalindaArt

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Artist of the Week: Lee McIntyre

April 10, 2016

Streaming Into Being, bas relief: mixed media on wood 30 x 44 in/76 x 112 cm

Streaming Into Being, bas relief: mixed media on wood
30 x 44 in/76 x 112 cm (click to enlarge)


Artist of the Week: Lee McIntyre

 

Lee McIntyre is a contemporary Canadian artist whose sculptural paintings celebrate each person’s capacity for healing, growth and inner transformation. I am drawn to the bold color; the prussian blues and the rich reds, as well as the texture and symbolism of each piece. According to Lee, the shapes and patterns in her paintings are inspired by ancient symbols, sacred geometry, meditation, labyrinths and sacred feminine wisdom. There is a certain purity in her work that makes it easy to enjoy. Looking at one of her paintings is like scrying in a mirror. You get what you are ready to perceive. Sometimes her paintings read like diagrams and sometimes the shapes and lines naturally unfold as they do in the above “Streaming into Being”. Lee’s metaphysical paintings invoke a sense of how the mental and spiritual advancement of each individual is linked to the evolution of the human consciousness as a collective whole.

Here she states in her bio:

“My work is inspired by questions of meaning, purpose, passion and joy. I’m fascinated with how we make sense of and evolve through this experience called “life”. Whether the concepts come from the spiritual disciplines or from mathematics or science I am moved to express the eloquence of those ideas in artistic form…There’s something about how the paint and the texture interact that reminds me of the duality of our nature; the energy of the spirit trickling into the cracks and crevices of our physical being. Ultimately for me, creating art is like being in this amazing living laboratory …colours and ideas, equations and textures, beliefs and shapes all bubbling together until they somehow order themselves into a painting and also into new ways of understanding and experiencing life.”

Lee holds a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology and Certificate in Fine Art from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She currently lives and paints in Vancouver. Her work can be found in private collections in North America and Europe.

Website:  http://leemcintyre.com
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/@vancouverartist
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/vancouverartist/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/leemcintyre.artist

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Feature in Niji Magazine!

April 07, 2016

Screenshot of Feature in Niji Magazine feature

(Screenshot of feature)


Feature in Niji Magazine!

So excited to be featured in Niji Magazine: the U.K.’s biggest source for emerging talent in fashion, art and music. The London-based magazine is run by a group of dedicated volunteers who are passionate about sharing work that inspires them, so it may inspire others. Thanks to the staff discovering my work and sharing it with their readers across the globe. You can check out the feature here: http://nijimagazine.com/2016/04/meet-lisa-k-salerno/

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Art Exhibition in Milan Italy!

April 04, 2016


M.A.D. Gallery Milan


Art Exhibition in Milan Italy!

I am so honored to have my work included in this international exhibition in Milan in conjunction with Design Week! As I have been expanding my network and sharing more work to an online audience worldwide, I look forward to doing more international shows when I can. Thanks to curators at M.A.D. Gallery for being so accommodating and welcoming me as one of their newest artists.

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Artist of the Week: Alex Salerno for World Autism Awareness Day

April 02, 2016

 

The Two little ladybugs meet up with their friends for an Egg Hunt! by Alex Salerno

The two little ladybugs meet up with their friends for an Egg Hunt! by Alex Salerno (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Alex Salerno for World Autism Awareness Day!

 

This week, in conjunction with World Autism Awareness Day, I am featuring not a professional artist, but art by my 5 ½ year old son, Alex! Alex was diagnosed with autism in 2012, and with therapy and a whole lot of effort from his teachers, therapists, family and his determined spirit, he has made great strides! While he still has some degree of difficulty with his verbal expression, when drawing on paper he can express himself freely…and can now even write his own short stories!! His favorite thing to draw is ladybugs. He had found some of the ladybug stories his big sister Bella wrote, and he has been expanding on this concept. Everything he does, he goes back and draws the ladybugs doing the same thing. Drawing is how he processes and expresses what he perceives from the world around him. Most recently, the ladybugs went on an Easter egg hunt!I wish everyone could see what I see in Alex. Expressive, funny and imaginative…he is definitely like no other! Unfortunately, sometimes the word “autism” still gets in the way…

Last week, for instance, my son had a half-day of school, so I treated him to lunch at his favorite café. After explaining some of Alex’s dietary restrictions to the woman behind the counter, she asked, “I know…Spectrum right?” I reluctantly nod, because you never know what happens when you open the floodgates by mentioning the “a-word” to others. In this case, the woman feels the need to tell me about a book I should be reading and she is very persistent, “It’s about diet and everything” she preaches, “It can be reversed!! He can be cured!!” I politely brush her off, but only because I am determined not to let this moment ruin the little lunch date we’ve been looking forward to all week. The woman moves over to our table, and continues to talk to me about my son like he is not even there. Although Alex may not always express that he is paying attention or understanding, he is definitely soaking up every word. I realize that the woman was just trying to be helpful, but what I also heard from her was that my son is broken and needs to be fixed; or in her words “reversed”.

I, on the other hand, want to help Alex to be his best, but I wouldn’t change who he is for the world! What I want to see is the world change for him. I want for others to accept, accommodate, embrace and even celebrate his differences. Nothing needs to be “reversed”. Progress is only made in forward movements.

It is a great honor to be Alex’s mom. For every reason I am overwhelmed with the additional responsibilities of being a special needs parent, Alex gives me 5 more reasons to smile and to keep pushing on. Today, on World Autism Awareness Day, it won’t take much effort for Alex to “Light it up blue”, as he lights up everything around him with those big blue eyes of his! Of course, Alex is also wearing a favorite blue shirt that he insists on wearing everyday. One with a little yellow chick decal on the front and two words that more accurately describe him than anything else: “Chick Magnet”.

The Two Little Ladybugs in their new bunk bed. by Alex Salerno

The Two Little Ladybugs in Their New Bunk Bed. by Alex Salerno (click to enlarge).

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Artist of the Week: Judy Hintz Cox

March 21, 2016

Judy Hintz Cox: Emergence and Impermanence, Oil and charcoal on canvas (click to enlarge).

Judy Hintz Cox: Emergence and Impermanence, Oil and charcoal on canvas (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Judy Hintz Cox

 

Judy Hintz Cox is an abstract painter who uses painting as a medium to process and express what she’s reading, thinking or meditating about at the time. Sometimes Judy will even jot down these thoughts directly onto her paintings! Judy is also a student of Buddhism and some of the text in her paintings as well as the titles of her work reflect Buddhist notions of suffering, compassion and impermanence. Her work to me has an aesthetic that is also inspired by traditional Asian art in addition to Abstract Expressionism. Some of her expressive markings made with black charcoal resemble the fluid lines in Chinese calligraphy. Hintz Cox takes a minimalist approach to color. She works in mostly black and white, adding only small touches of color. Judy also paints abstract landscapes. These works portray the feelings one receives from being in a particular place instead of that environment’s actual physical appearance. Judy’s highest hopes in regards to her work are for others to enjoy looking at them. If someone reacts with emotion to one of her pieces, she has accomplished her objective. According to Judy, “If someone…escapes life’s sufferings for a moment, I have been successful as an artist.” Judy Hintz Cox lives and maintains a studio in North Carolina.

More of Judy’s work can be found through the following links:

Website: https://www.judyhintzcox.com
Video: https://vimeo.com/search?q=judy+hintz+cox
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JudyHintzCox
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/judy.cox13/
https://www.facebook.com/Abstract-Art-by-Judy-Hintz-Cox-106655396045688/

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Artist of the Week: Jeffrey Luque: Girls with Flowers

March 19, 2016

First 9 in Luque's Girls with Flowers series. Each paintings is 58"x72" and are oil on canvas (click to enlarge).

First 9 in Luque’s Girls with Flowers series.
Each paintings is 58″x72″ and are oil on canvas (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Jeffrey Luque: Girls with Flowers

 

Jeffrey Luque is a self-taught artist based in the CoRK Arts District in Jacksonville, FL. His most recent series in progress consists of several large-scale portraits of women, each whose head has been adorned with an abundant wreath of flowers. There are so many interpretations that can be attributed to the wreaths. Flower crowns are steeped in tradition and meaning all the way back to ancient Greece, yet his subjects, shown from the shoulders up, are clearly dressed in modern attire. One can say that Luque’s portraits are a tribute to classic feminine beauty, which never goes out of style.

In an era filled with images of idealized and sexualized women and Instagram feeds filled with thousands of Kim Kardashian-like behinds, I find it refreshing to see an artist depict female beauty in a such a natural way. The looks on each of the women’s faces are also interesting to note, as they are quite relaxed and candid in their expressions. The subjects do not directly interact with the viewer through eye contact. It is not a mutual interaction, but a one-way admiration. Perhaps the lack of reciprocaiton leaves the viewer free to comfortably appreciate the subtle details, such as curves of their faces and the way the light hits their skin… in a way that doesn’t feel too intimate or intimidating.

Luque’s technique consists of many small distinct dots of color and pays homage to Pointillism. Other sections are made of vibrantly colored lines and other markings. Many of these close up detail photos taken by Luque and posted to his social media pages would make lovely abstract paintings on their own! Here is just one image that captures the lovely and meticulous detail in his work:

Close up of some of the detailed work in Luque's paintings (click to enlarge).

Close up of some of the detailed work in Luque’s paintings (click to enlarge).

Due to the technique and size Jeffrey has chosen, each measuring 58×72”, this series has been a huge undertaking. Luque’s objective is to have finished twelve paintings in total, and he aims to have the series completed by the fall. More updates on Luque’s Girls with Flowers and other works can be found through the following links:

Interview with Jeff from a local public tv station:
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Artist of the Week: Michele Tragakiss

March 12, 2016

 

Galway November 2016 Acrylic/Glaze on canvas 48” x48” x1.5”

Galway November
2016 Acrylic/Glaze on canvas
48” x48” x1.5”


Artist of the Week: Michele Tragakiss

 

“And so artistic creation is the metamorphosis of the external physical aspects of a thing into a self-sustaining spiritual reality.” –Hans Hofmann

Michele Tragakiss is an abstract painter whose works attempt to bridge the gap between the dream world and reality. According to Tragakiss, paint is the medium through which her subconscious (her omni-present psychic) guides her to a transcendent place – her personal and collective life stories in a visual stream of (sub)consciousness.

I am drawn to the vibrant colors in Michele’s work. Each color conveys a different meaning and carries with it vibrations of emotion, lightness, heaviness, expansion, as well as contraction. Tragakiss works in a very spontaneous-intuitive way.  I like that she lets her process show, which gives her work energy and movement. Here she describes her process:

“Everything I create begins with a liberating burst of paint and adrenaline. Layer upon layer I continue to paint a story that I am not yet aware of. Then the image begins to take form and I return to the present moment and details. Pulling everything together is the most challenging and painful part of my work. There is always a battle before the resolution. Painting is problem solving really; balancing colour, texture, form and weight, all without thinking too much. I almost always find inspiration from within.”-Michele Tragakiss

Looking at each of Michele’s paintings is like peering into a doorway of a new world. Each piece opens up the mind to experiences beyond the physical plane; to remind us that there is always something more to be seen. Art at its highest form, opens up the viewer to the unseen.

www.micheletragakiss.com
matraggi@earthlink.net
http://www.saatchiart.com/matraggi https://www.instagram.com/matraggi/
https://www.facebook.com/michele.traggakiss

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Suburban Mom Graffiti and Other Musings

March 08, 2016

 

IMG_7427

“Marbles and Hearts”, 2016 12×12″, spray paint on canvas (click to enlarge).


Suburban Mom Graffiti and Other Musings

 

Art is a primal urge. At least for me. It is something, no matter how chaotic life gets, I must keep creating, and sometimes as things in life get even more chaotic, I must create more. When everything is up in the air, I just can’t wait for the pieces to fall so I can collect the bits and make a beautiful chaos collage! But really, is anything ever settled? Do the pieces ever stop falling? I sweep the floor everyday and an hour later it is covered again…Oh, here I’m just talking about life with two kids. No, here I am talking about life. Life is art.

So here I am, making art in Southern New Hampshire surrounded by pine trees, making stuff some would call art. Does anyone care? And why was I given the brain of an artist instead of a chemist, a neuroscientist, or an engineer? I sure as hell would have made more money by now. But here I am, talking to the pine trees, that I imagine have personalities, and doing the best I can with what I’ve been given. In my garage, I spray paint on nine new canvases, watching as shiny droplets of hot pink splatter and settle. I am learning to embrace this loss of total control. I can point the can, but I cannot make the paint fall. I can have a picture in mind of how I’d want things to turn out, but they seldom ever turn out that way. One movement or decision leads to another and you can only go to there from here. But usually, the surprise is better than the original thought. Art is a series of leaps of faith. Art is life.

My sheer joy is then interrupted with a single intrusive thought: Why am I doing this again? Luckily, I am able to quickly dispel this uninvited guest in my head, crashing my personal painting party. Because art is essential. It is as essential now as it was since the beginning of humanity. To tell a story. To leave one’s mark, as if to say. “I am here”…

SantaCruz-CuevaManos-P2210651b

Hand stencils. Cueva de los manos, Santa Cruz province in Argentina…Art is a primal urge.

I may not be able to control which direction the wind blows the paint, I think, but wherever it blows me, there will still be a piece of me attached to this canvas. Then I am reminded of the quote often recited by a favorite professor and mentor of mine, Maestro Bodlak:

“Art is not something you do on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and it is not a career; art is a way of life as essential as breathing.” –Paul Darrow

Maestro Bodlak was an artist and flamenco guitar player whose passion for art and life was contagious. He may have left this earth too soon, but he undoubtedly left his mark, his “I am here” in the minds of all those he influenced. For a moment I feel his presence, along with all the other creatives who have ever touched my life. I am a tiny branch connected to a long line of artists. The tree we come from is large and twisted and knotted. It grows in a place far away from the rest, as we artists can never quite fit into this world… we are here to create a new one. Our art is the unique and precious fruit that we bear.

My attention shifts back to my paintings. Finally, I lay out all nine canvases in three rows of three. I search for the nearest pointed object, still not knowing why (as sometimes instinct knows what it is doing far before the head catches up to it) and I inscribe into the center painting:

“I am still going to be here.”

 

I am still going to be here… (My first experiment with spray paint for Paper Dolls series, 2016).

 

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Artist of the Week: Charity Janisse

March 05, 2016

Waterfalling, by Charity Janisse

Waterfalling, Painting and Poem by Charity Janisse


Artist of the Week: Charity Janisse

 

When she falls
She falls
Like water falls
Crashing into the sea
Beneath
She’s Niagara to me
Fierce
Rushing
Dangerous
And Lovely ~
When she falls.

Charity Janisse is an extremely versatile artist: an author, poet, painter and abstract photographer. Regardless of the media she chooses – all her work is a free-flowing form of emotional expression. Her goal is to create something new each day and then present that work in a practically raw form. Charity feels that too much editing would only take away from her work’s spontaneous-intuitive quality, and get in the way of her ability to experience any new inspiration available in the present. After each day, she takes her creation, whether it is a piece of art or writing and considers it to be complete. Charity creates within the fleeting moment and then frees herself to move on to the next thing.

Charity’s written work seems to flow like her paintings. Her poems are reflective and introspective. They speak of love, longing, and the determination of creative spirit. They are enjoyable to read, and don’t feel overly fussy. I don’t feel the need to over-interpret because they speak for themselves, like a conversation. Here’s an excerpt from her poem “Exclusive”:

She changed her name and left the state.
What do we do
When we realize that
We don’t have to stay
The way
We are
And we can actually be
What
Or whoever
The fuck we want.
It’s life right (And we’ve got just this one.)
Why attempt to be like the rest …
When we can be
Exclusive…

In Charity’s industrial abstract photography projects, known as her Punk Rock Girl Art, she explores urban landscapes and abandoned areas, looking for the beauty in decay and complexity in the mundane.

Charity’s abstract paintings utilize intense color where most of the mixing happens once each color hits the canvas. The paint dances and swirls together in a natural way, using a spontaneous-intuitive approach, as if the artist is not simply a manipulator of the paint, but also a carrier of messages and emotions. The marbleized patterns of fluid movement that emerge remind me of bodies of water, the sea and also antique book covers (which makes total sense coming from an artist who is also a writer). Again, as with all of Charity’s work, she intuitively knows when to stop, when to embrace a piece in its completeness. As Jackson Pollock would say, “No sketches; acceptance of what I do”.

For more info on Charity Janisse and her various projects,  feel free to explore the links below:

Main Accounts:
https://charityjanisse.wordpress.com
https://twitter.com/charityjanisse
https://www.instagram.com/charityjanisse/
Punk Rock Girl Art (Abstract photography and poetry):
https://twitter.com/punkrockgirlart
https://www.instagram.com/punkrockgirlart/
Channeling Art: (“A Gallery of the Unexpected. Channeling Original Art, Art News, Art History…):
https://twitter.com/channelingart
https://www.facebook.com/channelingart

*Update: Charity Janisse recently published a wonderful book of poetry and images titled “We Are The Artists”. The book can be viewed and purchased through Amazon.com:
https://www.amazon.com/We-Are-Artists-Poetry-Expression-ebook/dp/B01DH7ZLIS

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Artist of the Week: tjCervantes Art

February 27, 2016

 

tjCervantesArt, Moon Bowls: "Gramma Moon" (click to enlarge).

tjCervantesArt, Moon Bowls: “Gramma Moon” (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: tjCervantes Art

Terry Cervantes is a California based artist who combines her skills as a production potter with her talent as a visual 2D artist. She pulls her inspiration from Surrealism, Asian and Native American cultures, and all things found in nature to create beautiful and whimsical works that are both decorative and functional. Her work stands out as unique, in part, due to her trademark “Moon Pottery” which consists of hand painted moon-like faces on mostly white bowls, plates, mugs, and jars. Each piece has its own distinct personality: There are “Lady Moons”, “Men on the Moon”, “Mister Moons”, and glamorous “Kissing Moons” with bright red lips. I like how each piece stands out on its own, but when several of these pieces are placed together on a surface, they seem to interact with one another. They would definitely create a lively atmosphere at any dinner party. The only thing that I could imagine to be more whimsical would be a tea party, Alice and Wonderland-style.

I chose the “Gramma Moon” to feature because I find her oddly comforting. I think everyone deserves a grandmother figure to sit with and remind you that everything’s going to be okay. One thing for certain with Terry’s Moon Pottery, is that you will never have to eat alone again.

Website: www.tjcervantesart.com
Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/tjcervantesart
Twitter: www.twitter.com/tjcervants
Facebook: Facebook.com/tjcervantesart
Instagram: @tjcervantesart
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/tjcervantesart

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Artist of the Week: Lorn Curry

February 20, 2016

 

16x16, oil on cradled birch panel. Completed November 26, 2015

Lorn Curry, Metamorphosis, 16×16, oil on cradled birch panel (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Lorn Curry

Lorn Curry is a painter of still-life paintings, inspired by Hyperrealism, a genre of painting and sculpture resembling a high-resolution photograph. (Hyperrealism is considered an advancement of Photorealism, just as digital photography is considered an advancement of traditional photography with its use of filters, etc.). Although the still life is considered a traditional subject that pays homage to the European masters, Lorn’s paintings are very much a reflection of contemporary life. I enjoy that his stunning works don’t simply aim to copy old paintings; they have a freshness and vibrancy of their own. Bright colors emerge from traditional dark backgrounds, perhaps as a metaphor as how the still life has emerged to what it is today. And perhaps the most impressive aspect of Lorn’s works are his treatment of transparent or reflective surfaces. As Lorn writes in his Artist Statement:

“These pieces represent an ongoing exploration of light’s ability to define the surfaces across which it travels and an attempt to better understand the constants of life that connect us all as human beings through place and through time: cherished objects, childhood memories, and shared daily experiences.” –Lorn Curry

I also appreciate the humor in Lorn’s art. Titles such as  “Tabletop Anarchy”, ” A Dram Fine Drink”, “House of Carbs”, “Mug Shot”, and “Honey Comb Over”, help to break the ice, engage the viewer and make a gallery environment seem much less stuffy. Lorn Curry is based in Vancouver, B.C.

To discover more of Lorn Curry’s work, feel free to check out/follow the links below:

Website: www.lorncurry.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/OriginalsByLorn
Instagram: www.instagram.com/lorn_curry/
Twitter: twitter.com/LornCurry
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/lorncurry/originals-by-lorn-curry/

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What I’m Working on Now

February 19, 2016

Gold Dust Woman Mixed Media and gold leaf on canvas (Work in Progress).

Gold Dust Woman, Mixed media and gold leaf on canvas (Work in Progress).

What I’m Working on Now

It’s been awhile since I posted about myself on here so I thought I’d give you a little update on my latest projects. Hope you all have been enjoying the #SupportLivingArtistsIn2016 Series, where I’m giving a shout out to an awesome artist every week in 2016. I am putting a lot of thought in which artists I’d like to feature, and curating from a large pool of artists whom I am connected with in real life and on social media. I encourage all to support these artists and like and share the posts to give them even greater exposure. It makes me truly happy to see all artists succeed, and we need to make sure that these individuals, who bring beauty and expression in this world, are also be able to earn a sustainable living.

I have been continuing work on my “Artism” series, painting portraits of children on the autism spectrum to bring awareness and acceptance of a much-misunderstood diagnosis. It has been a long project, as I am taking my time with it because I want to present each child (in collaboration with each family) with as much love and respect as possible. I’m also researching ways that I can best use this project to directly benefit the autism community. Also, thought I’d note how awesome it is to see my son’s portrait continue to spread like wild fire on the Internet! Just the one tweet I have pinned to the top of my Twitter has already reached 35,000 impressions!! Thanks to all who have helped me on my mission by spreading the word. I realize that I cannot change my son (only embrace and love him for who he is), but I will try my best to change the world for him and others like him.

Lastly, I am also having a blast with my “paperdolls” and other works exploring female stereotypes, but in a humorous way. My latest paintings: “Resting Bitch Face”, “The Stink Eye”, and “Bitch in the Kitsch”, explore the concept of female “bitchiness” and what it takes for a woman to get ahead, but are often the same traits that get her called a “bitch”. (In the words of Tina Fey: “Bitches get stuff done!”) My latest painting, “Free the Nipple!” was the first of my paper dolls to have a distinct body part. The woman is emerging… and hey, why not start with the nipple? “Free the Nipple!” was also my first paper doll painting made graffiti-style with hand-made stencils and spray paint! I have to say I love the technique and how it conjures up my inner-badass and I look forward to producing more.

 

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Free the Nipple! Work in Progress. (18×18, spray paint, oil and baby bottle nipples on canvas).

 

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Artist of the Week: Alexis Duque, Boundless Cities

February 14, 2016

 

Calavera

“Calavera” acrylic on canvas, 12×8 inches (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Alexis Duque, Boundless Cities

Alexis Duque is a creator of fantastical cities; microcosms that have developed along organic, planet-like clusters. They contour and wrap around themselves or seem to spring up on recognizable icons and objects such as skulls and other familiar pop culture relics (yet, I wouldn’t categorize him as a pop-artist, as his works are very contemporary and one-of-a-kind). In Duque’s sculptural work, worlds protrude from the ground as lone islands. Duque’s paintings, however, mostly appear to float in isolation against white or light-colored backgrounds. There is so much detail to get lost in (but in the best possible way). His work portrays overdevelopment, abandonment and decay. Only a few inhabitants are depicted. Buildings are starting to crumble and what’s left is a human wasteland. Relics of consumerism and waste such as signs and logos such as Ford and Campbell’s soup, are juxtaposed with Buddha statues and birds. Plants are wild and invasive; their overgrowth perhaps signifies Nature reclaiming its dominance over humans. This leaves the viewer wondering, where did they all go?

Duque’s unique style is no doubt influenced by the landscapes of his native Columbia. While viewing his Instagram photos that document a recent trip to the city of Medellín and it’s shanty towns, one cannot help but see a connection. Alexis Duque now lives and maintains a studio in NYC.

I invite you to get lost in Duque’s world. I bet once you take a look, it will be hard for you to avert your gaze.

Website: http://www.alexisduque.net
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/duqueart/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/duqueart
Tumblr: http://duqueart.tumblr.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/duqueart

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Artist of the Week: Jin Kwang You

February 06, 2016

 

Jin Kwang You, Transformation, oil and beads on canvas

Jin Kwang You (in collaboratiion w/ JT Kim): Upgrade, oil and beads on canvas (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Jin Kwang You

 

Jin Kwang You is an artist based Seoul, South Korea whose works on canvas evoke feelings of nostalgia, childhood and imagination. His latest series (a collaborative effort with friend JT Kim), features some of the most well-loved icons from the 80’s to early 90’s: Super Mario Bros., Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, and Ghostbusters to name a few.

The process of creating each piece is an intricate and time consuming one. First he paints the background of each piece in oils. Then he creates each character by melting the beads together with an iron, then hand-sews each bead onto the painted canvas. The process is painstaking, but the end result is all well worth the effort, as the beads give the impression of pixels on a screen and enhance the retro feel.

Jin Kwang’s work is so cool I really had a hard time deciding which one to feature. I encourage everyone to discover more in the links below:

Blog: blog.naver.com/uzil0415
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uzil0415/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uzil0415?fref=ts
Email: uzil0415@hanmail.net

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Artist of the Week: Jeni Lee, The Art of Process

January 30, 2016

 

Jeni Lee, Afternoon Approach, 2015, acrylic on canvas (click to enlarge).

Jeni Lee, Afternoon Approach, 2015, acrylic on canvas (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Jeni Lee, The Art of Process

Jeni Lee is a painter based in Portland, Oregon whose soft atmospheric works are inspired by the environments where she has lived and traveled to. Her paintings capture the ways in which we experience our surroundings and the impressions that they leave behind in the mind’s eye.

I have been captivated, not only by Jeni’s work, but also by her process, in which she seems to dip her brush into her wells of memory and the subconscious, and brings forth a bit of what she finds onto each canvas. Sometimes thoughts that pop up while painting will even make their way onto the walls!

Jeni Lee’s paintings consist of many glazes and washes of color. There is a lot of push and pull, also a lot of knowledge vs. instinct at work (and perhaps also at play). The end result is always a dynamic surface that is both complex and strikingly beautiful in its simplicity.

To follow and support this artist:

http://www.jenileeart.com/
https://www.instagram.com/jenileeart/
https://www.facebook.com/jeni-lee-art-418428835141/

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Artist of the Week: Joseph Pastula (Silkworms Art)

January 23, 2016

 

Silkworms Art Comic by Joseph Pastula (click to enlarge).

Silkworms Art Comic by Joseph Pastula (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Joseph Pastula (Silkworms Art)

Thought it would be fun to introduce a comic artist as our next artist of the week. Joseph Pastula (a New England native now living in Tokyo, Japan) is the artist behind the emerging Silkworms Art comic series, where he depicts a world of strange characters with perhaps some obvious physical differences, but very real emotions. In Pastula’s world, body parts seem to have a mind of their own and the physical appearance of each character reflects an inner state of being: Limbs are stretched from too much longing and reaching for something that can never be reached. Body parts get lost as one loses parts of oneself. Sometimes limbs are found and reattached, perhaps a metaphor for self-discovery. Legs may also run off when there is somewhere they want to go. Sometimes these characters even choose to modify themselves. Perhaps these are the moments in Joe’s comic that some may find to be most disturbing, however these dark elements are balanced with strange humor, tenderness and self-discovery. You will see that these freakish misfits really just want to love and fit in.

To follow and support Joe’s latest work:

Website: http://silkworms-art.blogspot.jp
Instagram: @Silkworms_art
Twitter: @xcornmuffinx
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SilkwormsArt/?fref=ts

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Artist of the Week: Jan Zoya

January 16, 2016

 

Jan Zoya, Ramshackle Harbor, 30x30, oil on canvas.

Jan Zoya, Ramshackle Harbor, 30×30, oil on canvas (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Jan Zoya

This week’s featured artist is Jan Zoya! I admire Jan’s abstracts and appreciate Jan’s sensitivity to color, as well as her painting technique, which allows for process to show. Layers of color give each piece an ethereal quality and also a sense of atmosphere. Looking at Jan’s work is like being transported to another realm, sometimes even a fairy land, where lights shimmer behind veils of color and mystery. There is something alluring about each piece. There are secrets to be found in each layer, but you need to slow down and look in order to find them. Her work is not simply thrown at an audience, but set out as graceful offerings. It it is up to each viewer to have the openness to discover and explore.

Jan Zoya’s life is as interesting and colorful as her work. In addition to being an artist, Jan is also a world traveler, energy medicine practitioner and spiritual seeker. She is currently living in South America, studying the ways of native shamanic tribes in Peru.

For more info on Jan’s beautiful work, you can find her online at:

Website: http://janzoya.com
Twitter/Instagram: @janzoya
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jan-Zoya-Art-143299859120204/?fref=ts

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Artist of the Week: Jessica Regele

January 09, 2016

 

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Small sampling of Jessica Regele’s work (click to enlarge).


Artist of the Week: Jessica Regele

Jessica Regele is both an artist and artisan. Her studio is fully stocked with a variety of unique items, both decorative and useful, however Jess takes an artistic approach to all that she creates.

Jessica creates standard pottery items such as mugs and bowls, yet she adds her own unique style and flair. I especially like her “cemetery cups”, each engraved with a seventeenth century “death’s head” (or winged skull), similar to those still found in graveyards across New England. Jess also creates other items such as wall hangings, jewelry and other tiny treasures. The most impressive of her collection, however, are her large and small scale ceramic sculptures of skulls, anthropomorphic bunnies, cats, creatures, and figurative works. Each is sure to enchant and add a touch of magic to any space.

To follow and support Jess’s work, or to find out more about her upcoming open studios and events, you can like her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Jessica-RegeleArtist-114637601904728/

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Artist of the Week: Ethan Boisvert

January 03, 2016

 

Ethan Boisvert, Turns on a Dime, 36x30, oil on canvas.

Ethan Boisvert, Turns on a Dime, 36×30, acrylic on canvas. (click to enlarge)


Artist of the Week: Ethan Boisvert

Happy New Year!! Excited to give a shout out to my first featured artist for my #SupportLivingArtistsIn2016 project! Our first featured artist of the week is CT/NY abstract painter and photographer Ethan Boisvert! His manner of style is pure abstraction where form, texture, and color are emphasized. He describes his work as visual poetry and I enjoy that you can see the energy that he pours into each piece.

You can follow and support this artist at:
Website: www.ethanboisvert.com
Twitter/Instagram: @edboisvert
https://www.facebook.com/ethanboisvertart/?fref=ts

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#SupportLivingArtistsIn2016

December 21, 2015

 

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#SupportLivingArtistsIn2016

Excited to soon be launching my ‪#‎SupportLivingArtistsIn2016‬ campaign! Each week in 2016, I will be featuring a new artist in this blog as well as on my social media sites to follow and support!

The purpose of this project is to:
– Educate the public about the online arts community
– Share with you a sampling of the vibrant artwork being produced by today’s contemporary artists 
– Encourage the support of living artists
– Create a network of artists who support each other. 

No money or space for art? You can still help encourage these artists and show your support for them by liking/sharing upcoming posts to spread the word. Stay tuned for more details. Also, Feel free to also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (links below) for more info and inspiration. Wishing you the Happiest of Holidays!! -Lisa

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Autism Speaks Blogpost

September 26, 2015

 

Alex, 2015, oil and mixed media on canvas

Alex, 2015, oil and mixed media on canvas. 24×24″


Autism Speaks Blogpost

 

So excited to see my work and writing (along with the portraits of some of my favorite little rockstars) featured on the Autism Speaks website!! I would like to thank each family for sharing their stories with me and inspiring me to paint their beautiful children. The more awareness we raise together, the closer we move toward autism acceptance. Story can be read here with more info at the link below:

I can still clearly remember the day my son Alex was diagnosed with autism. It was in November of 2012, and he was just 2 years old. We had made an appointment to address some concerns we were having: He wasn’t responding to his name. He didn’t play the way “typical” children did. His eye contact was poor, and he was already diagnosed with a speech delay. I also remember running late to the appointment due to the challenge of having a boy who refused to keep any shoes or clothes on. His wardrobe consisted of footed-pajamas, with the feet cut off, and the zipper in the back so he wouldn’t strip in public, which surely led to funny looks from strangers. It’s a good thing, as an artist, that I’ve never cared much about what others had to say…

Carrying him up the sidewalk toward the clinic, I got a glimpse of his sweet smile as he relished the feeling of the wind on his face. I admired the little dimple on his chin and how the wind took the soft blond hair from his forehead and blew it straight up to the sky. No matter the outcome that day, I thought to myself, he would still be perfect to me. Two hours later came the diagnosis. I’m still not quite sure how we got home that day. Instead of panic, my initial reaction to any unpleasant situation is to float above it and watch it like a dream until I can process it. So, I must have floated home.

Autism. Such a scary word, and to add to the stress it came just a week before an art opening I’d been anticipating for 2 years. The show was great; but would I ever have the time or energy for my art again? I didn’t for an entire year. I grew frustrated with how little others understood autism. I felt so isolated and had not yet found my tribe of like-minded families. It seemed as though I had walked though a veil, and on the other side of that veil was a world filled with sleepless nights, appointments, and hours of ABA. There was no going back! However, part of me didn’t want to, because where I was standing at that moment was so much deeper and more meaningful than what came before.

When I was finally able to dive back into my work, I needed to find a way to incorporate our new story into my art. So I started painting my son. I wanted everyone in the world to know what a wonderful boy he is, regardless of what diagnosis he had been given. I took some of his IEPs, progress reports, and evaluations, and tore them all up–as a way of rejecting the idea that my son can be tested, analyzed and labeled on these documents. His spirit is much too big to fit in a stack of papers! I collaged them into the background and also on his clothing (under his charming caterpillar drawings) as a statement of how he has to wear this diagnosis everyday… but just look at that smile on his face! There is so much strength in this boy. No twenty-page report can even begin to capture the essence of who he really is. Then, like a protective mommy, I used my paintbrush to create a safer distance between the paperwork and his face, for I want others to see as Alex as an individual first. The rest is just background.

I have also been painting Alex’s friends, whom I have also grown to love. Each child their own strengths and positive attributes to be shared, and each family has a unique story that needs to be told. Each portrait is painted in one dominant color to be displayed together to create a full “spectrum” of color, as in “on the spectrum”. I’ve been posting the paintings and stories on my blog to raise autism awareness as well as to reach out to and empower those who care for these unique individuals. I want everyone to know that a life touched by autism is still a life filled with joy and beauty. More than just awareness, I want to contribute to a culture of acceptance. I also like the concept that portraits have been historically reserved for ‘important’ people, so I’m making a statement that individuals like my son also deserve to be seen as important and understood.

Full article can be found here: https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2015/09/25/facing-autism-painting-colors-spectrum

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Alexa: A Picture of Strength, Beauty, Intelligence, and Humor

August 01, 2015

Alexa, 2015, 24x24, oil on canvas

Alexa, 2015, 24×24″, oil on canvas (click to enlarge)

 

Alexa: A Picture of Strength, Beauty, Intelligence, and Humor

 

I am so grateful for the amazing families who have contributed and collaborated with me for my “Artism” project and for helping me along my mission to show everyone just how awesome kids on the spectrum can be! My most recent portrait is that of Alex’s friend Alexa. My son would tell you however that Alexa is his “girlfriend”, but I’m sure all the other boys in their preschool class are claiming the same…I have no doubt that this girl will have no trouble finding a prom date in 2027 ☺.

Alexa is not just a beauty; she is also naturally very strong and athletic. She loves to dance and sing to Taylor Swift and has amazing rhythm. It is so much fun to watch Alex and Alexa play together! They both enjoy a similar sense of humor. They dance and imitate each other’s silly sounds and movements, and play little “games”… One of my favorite things about Alexa is her infectious laugh!

This smart girl is now learning to read and could identify every letter of the alphabet before 2 years old, and could spell before the age of 3. She has won both the friendliness and independence awards in her preschool class. It has been a pleasure watching Alexa grow. Just this past year, Alexa’s family moved into a new home and became a big sister! Alexa has been amazing toward her baby sister, Cami and loves her very much. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

For the painting, I chose an image captured by Alexa’s mom Lori, a photographer* as inspiration. I loved the close-up of her eyes and the painterly quality of the image and knew it would be the one I wanted to use… I think seeing Alexa everyday allowed me to paint her portrait more like the way she looks today, at 4 ½ years old. It was the most challenging piece of the series so far because the plan I had in mind for the next several paintings was to make each one monochromatic (painted with mostly one color), so they could be displayed all together to form a spectrum of color, but I thought one in all yellow wouldn’t look great, and this girl is just too pretty to be painted in just one color. Also, I like color too much and I got a little carried away and gave myself extra work…Or maybe it’s because I’m such a rebel; I can’t even follow my own rules.
😉

For the text, I hand stamped on the surface of the canvas a few words that I believe all children need to hear and internalize, especially special children with special needs–and these very important words are:

You are capable.

You are valuable.

You are loved.

 

*Also, here’s the link to Lori’s Facebook photography page (I would recommend for my readers in Southern NH with sensitive or special needs children): Laurie Spillane Photography

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Fresh Off The Easel…

July 20, 2015

Impression of Almond Trees in Bloom, 2015, 36x24", oil on canvas.

Impression of Almond Trees in Bloom, 2015, 36×24″, oil on canvas.


Fresh Off The Easel…

 

I recently completed this commissioned piece for a client who loves Van Gogh, and wanted me to paint something inspired by the painting, Almond Branches in Bloom, San Remy, c.1890. The client also requested that I add my own color and personal flair…The client is very happy with the results, and can’t wait to hang it in her living room.

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Update: “Artism” Project

June 17, 2015

MJ, 2015, 24x24", oil and mixed media on canvas

MJ, 2015,
24×24″, oil and mixed media on canvas (click to enlarge)


Update: “Artism” Project:

I have continued to work on the “Artism” Project that I recently previewed on this blog. For those who haven’t read the original project announcement, I have been creating a series of portrait paintings of children on the autism spectrum, each telling a unique story about an individual child, to promote awareness of how amazing these kids can be!

This is my latest completed addition to this project, a portrait of Alex’s friend MJ! He is truly one cool little guy and of course I had to paint him in all reds, as he has the most gorgeous red hair humanly possible… the bright dark red you usually only see on boxes of hair color kits, but his is au naturale :).

Beneath the facade of this ginger cutie is a little guy who has worked so hard to be where he is today, and two awesome parents who have maintained a positive outlook through it all.

MJ’s mom, Katie is an amazing mother and friend. She was generous (and brave) enough to let me hijack her facebook timeline and let me use whatever posts I wanted to print out and collage into the painting. Scrolling down through years of posts, it was hard for me to not get emotional, as her story was almost identical to my own. Katie’s timeline tells a story of autism from a mom’s perspective; the ups and downs, the struggles, the triumphs, the joy, the pain…all of it.

One of the reasons I admire Katie, is how she strives to keep a positive outlook, which includes celebrating the small things and enjoying the present moment whenever possible. Here are some of Katie’s posts that I have selected to include in MJ’s portrait (She’s also working on a book about her experiences with her son and I can’t wait to read it–See how our au-some kids inspire us?):

… We are branching out and trying new things and those trials are coming with great success. So to see me euphoric over what seems to be a simple trip to the beach, it helps to understand the perspective we have. To be where we’ve been and to be where we are gives us an outlook on life that I wish so many of you could experience. We find joy in the smallest of things. A meltdown-free trip to a new place? Huge.”

Of all the lessons MJ has taught us, I think one of the most valuable is how to live in the moment. When I’m with him I don’t dwell in what happened yesterday, I don’t stress about tomorrow, I inhale everything we are sharing at that very moment. He has taught me to slow down and simplify life. As he lays here next to me, sleeping, I can’t help but look at him and wonder how we got so damn lucky in this lifetime.”

I have also included some of MJ’s quotes as Katie wrote them, that capture what a sweet, funny, and lovable guy he is:

“MJ’s new line- “Don’t do dat. Dats not nice.” Need an example?

(me): Time to brush your teeth

(MJ): Don’t do dat. Dats not nice.”

“This flooding is getting serious. MJ said he just saw a shark in the parking lot”

“As I lay sick in bed, “Mommy I play wight heeya so I can be wif you.” He is so sweet and I am so lucky”.

 MJ and his family are also amazing people because no matter what they are going through, they are always extending themselves to others regardless: collecting donations for women’s shelters, food banks, you name it! Their altruism is contagious! It promotes gratitude and inspires others around them to give back as well…and now they are helping me to help others by allowing me to share their story…

Helping others is what I aim to accomplish with this series. By telling these stories, I hope to help those who do not understand, to understand a bit more…and for families who are new to the autism community, I would like them to see that there is hope and strength to be found in these stories we are sharing, and that they are not alone.

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Recent Commissioned Piece

June 11, 2015

 

10155538_10153337034605586_4771470623136769047_nLotus, 2015, 16×20, oil on canvas


Recent Commissioned Piece

I just finished this painting commissioned by a client who recently moved into a new home. It was inspired by a found photograph, as well as the Impressionists and it also picks up on the decor of the room in which it will be hanging. It was a fun break from what I’ve been doing, and reminded me how much I love working with color and texture!

10408486_10153337034710586_9141917190274513247_nDetail of painting…Lots of color and texture!!

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Portland OR Art Fundraising Event

 

smallworks_front

 

Portland OR Art Fundraising Event

 

This East Coast artist is going West coast for a great cause! I will have some pieces on display/for sale at Basic Space Gallery in Portland, OR for an art fundraising event on June 14th, 3-8pm. All proceeds from this event will directly benefit a partner of a fellow painter/friend of mine after a breast cancer diagnosis. For more info: http://www.basicspacegallery.com or visit the event’s FB page:

https://www.facebook.com/smallworks.bigcause

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“Artism”: Visual Depictions of Life on the Spectrum

April 27, 2015

 

AlexPaintingSmaller

“Alex”, 2015, 24″x24″, oil and mixed media on canvas (click on image for better detail)


“Artism”: Visual Depictions of Life on the Spectrum

As you may know, my last series, “paperdolls” was inspired by my daughter, Bella. It emerged from the inspiration I received while sitting at a table with her and cutting out paper dolls, a simple act that resulted in an obsession and entire body of work that explored female stereotypes, but in a fun, playful manner. Now I am working on a new series of paintings that have been inspired by my son, Alex, who was diagnosed with autism in 2012.

I am sharing this painting because I want to the world to know that my boy is much more than a diagnosis or label. In order to convey this message, I ‘ve taken some of his IEPs, progress reports, evaluations, and medical forms that reflect on his journey so far, and collaged them into the background, as well as in some of his clothing (because once diagnosed, he now must wear that label everyday). As grateful as I am to his many wonderful therapists, school administrators, teachers and other medical professionals who have prepared these forms (we consider ourselves very lucky so far), I have torn them all up–as a way of rejecting the idea that my son can be analyzed and tested and labeled on permanent records that attempt to describe and label him, as I believe that no detailed report can even begin to capture the essence of who he really is: a beautiful child who likes nature, drawing, dancing, Peppa Pig and Spiderman. Who hugs like he means it and finds joy in the little things. (He is also a big fan of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, and so I’ve collaged some of his charming caterpillar drawings onto his vest.)

His spirit is much too big to fit in a stack of papers, so like a protective mommy, I have also used paint to brush these forms away and create a safer distance from my boy and his innocent smiling face. I guess you can also say that I painted the portrait in the same way that I would want someone new to see my son…I want the viewer to notice him first…all the rest is just background.

Even though I never really considered myself a portrait artist, I like the concept that portraits have been historically reserved for ‘important’ people, and by creating these works, I am making a statement that individuals like my son should also be viewed as important; and even though some may have trouble expressing themselves, they too deserve to be seen, remembered and understood. I feel very passionate about this project and I plan on painting more portraits of children on the spectrum and displaying the work in as many places and possible, to raise awareness of autism and its prevalence in society, and to also shed a more realistic light on those affected by ASD as well as those who care for them. I also hope that this project will dispel some of the myths (such as no, there is no “look” of autism) as well as fears that have been perpetrated by the media on this topic. Most importantly, I want the viewer to see past the labels and get a glimpse of these kids as they really are.

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When Life Gives You Lemons…Make Jewelry!

May 27, 2014

photo 1 copy 2

 

When Life Gives You Lemons…Make Jewelry!

As you may have noticed, many of my recent posts on social media have been announcements about my new line of eco-friendly jewelry, made of reclaimed/recycled materials and featuring hand rolled beads created from recycled paper. This new art form came at a time when I was least expecting it, shortly after my son’s autism diagnosis in November 2012, and just days before my opening at the former SoBoBo Gallery in Milford, CT (where I was featured artist for the month).

After the diagnosis, I had to put everything in my life aside as our schedule was filled with therapy appointments 5 days a week (and sometimes 2 or 3 appointments a day). During these in-home therapy sessions, I needed to stay close and accessible to the therapists, and also to my son, who would periodically check to make sure I was still there. This new schedule provided very little time for painting, but for me, the need to create was still there…

I also needed to come up with a quiet yet fun project in order to keep my daughter entertained during these times, so I came up with the idea of making paper bead necklaces. My daughter enjoyed the project, however, I soon discovered that I was having even more fun than she was! I found the repetitive motion of winding the paper to be quite soothing and therapeutic, and I also found that the process of painting and/or varnishing each bead satisfied some of the tactile sensations that I enjoyed while painting on canvas. I found that after my daughter had finished the activity, I was still happily working on it…

While later considering incorporating my jewelry into my art making business, I initially had some hesitation, as I admit to having some attachment to labeling myself as a “fine artist”, however, I had to let go of this self-imposed label and just create, in order to keep my sanity, in order to just keep going…

Most of all, I loved the idea of creating something beautiful out of whatever I had at that very moment, items that were normally overlooked or would otherwise be considered trash. According to French social anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, the artist “shapes the beautiful and useful [out of the dump heap of human life]” by using whatever materials on hand, and he referred to this process as “bricolage”.

I also see this process of building with what one has on hand as symbolic to the mental space I was in at the time, and my efforts to continue to live a creative life while giving my son the necessary foundation to build his own with…and so far this journey has taught me more than all those years I spent in art school, and my son’s smile and spirit fill me with more joy than anything art related possibly could.

More info on my handmade jewelry can be found here:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/LisaKSalerno

 

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My Most “Secret” Painting Revealed

March 01, 2014

 

virginandbuddha

My Most “Secret” Painting Revealed

There’s this one odd painting that is currently hanging in my basement that does not seem to fit with the others. It was left in an unfinished state, but I kind of like it that way. This painting literally has not seen the light of day. I have never even attempted to show her in a gallery, but today she is calling to me to share her image with the world. I painted this piece in 2005, a year of transition for me as I was adjusting to my new life as a newlywed. During this time, I had continued to create, but it was all in secret.  Although I had recently moved to a new city with a vibrant art community, I was not yet motivated to show or share my work with others. I was working out my own thoughts and did not want any outside opinions to influence my work.  I call this painting “Virgin and Buddha”.

Perhaps one reason of why I kept this painting a secret for so long is that I didn’t yet have the words to fully explain it…but I knew on a subconscious level it was something I needed to paint at the time. Also, I knew that others would find its subject matter a bit controversial, and could even be offended if they did not fully understand my intentions, but frankly, I was a bit burnt out from being in art school and the constant need to explain myself. I just wanted to find my own way…to paint and break all the rules that have been imposed on me for so long.

But now I have the energy to open myself up to discussion, and I don’t really mind what others think…as only half of what a viewer sees when looking at a piece of art is what the artist intended. The other half of what they see is what they bring to it, with their own eyes, their own experiences and thoughts. Anyone can allow himself or herself to get offended, even though my work was not meant to do so. As part of an artist statement I had previously written, my work  “is not a call for a riot, but an invitation to tea”. In my mind, there is something beautiful to be found in all cultures and religions, and when I create something containing these images, it is in celebration of this fact. When my work contains images of two or more icons from different cultures and religions juxtaposed into one, my intention is not to create cultural divides, it is to build bridges that connect others based on similarities.

 

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On Adding New Color

February 11, 2014

greatminds.12x12


On Adding New Color

Perhaps it was the Vivaldi in the background or the caffeine buzz from my morning cup of coffee and then some green tea (and maybe some dark chocolate as well), but I somehow got an extra dose of ambition that led to me digging around in my studio when I had stumbled across some paintings that I had abandoned for months…paintings that I had stashed aside because they were either too wet to work on or I just simply had enough of them.

This morning, inspiration had struck and I was able to see them with fresh eyes, and so I began work within minutes. As I began to apply new color to these long neglected works, I had a flashback from when I was a young painter fresh out of art school, on a residency at the Vermont Studio Center, when I had the privilege of meeting as well as receiving a studio visit from world-renowned artist Wolf Kahn. One of the things he had said to me in response to looking at my work that really stuck with me over the years was: “Add some color that scares you”, and so I began to whip up a new, fresh and intimidating color.

Then, I started to reflect upon the real wisdom behind his words, and how they could also apply to other aspects of life as well. Just imagine…all the possibilities that naturally unfold when you dare to add an element of surprise, attempt something bold, or do something that you wouldn’t normally do. Then, take a step back to reflect upon what you just did (just as you would study any work of art in progress). Suddenly, old patterns break as new ones will emerge, and you will find new meaning in everything else in contrast. Your move will shift and expand your entire view of things.

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Art at the Capitol

May 29, 2013

I'm still here


“I’m Still Here”, 2009, 12×12″, oil on canvas: Currently on display at State Capitol Building, Hartford, CT.


Art at the Capitol

 

I was recently informed that one of my paintings had been selected by the Connecticut Commission for Children for inclusion in an exhibition at the State Capitol Building in Hartford entitled: “Celebrating Community, Safety, and Bravery: An Artistic Tribute to Newtown and Connecticut”. The special show, which will run from June 5th to July 5th, will include carefully selected art from the CT region, the nation as well as from around the world. The honor came as quite a surprise…The painting selected for display was actually a donation I had made to the HealingNewtown Artspace this past winter to help support their programs to bring healing through the arts, so I really wasn’t expecting anything else to come of it and didn’t know anything about this exhibition until I received the following letter:

Letter to Artist

 

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Art of Healing

January 25, 2013

"Flake", 2010, 10x10", oil on canvas.

Flake, 2010, 10×10″, oil on canvas.


Art of Healing

Last night, I attended the opening reception for the Art Reach Project, at St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, NH. Art Reach, a collaboration between local artists and the hospital, is coordinated by artist and interior designer Ruth Axtell of New England Art Reach and Tout Le Monde Interiors.  By promoting health and art in the community, one of the goals of the project is to harness the healing power of the arts and to create and inspire a healing design for display in the atrium and the first floor of the hospital.  While I mostly exhibit my art in galleries, it is sometimes a pleasure to display my work in venues where the people who are viewing the works aren’t necessarily artists, collectors, or gallery goers. Sometimes I gain a new perspective about my work as I overhear the reactions to others with an “untrained” eye, and if I am open enough while listening to others, I will receive a much different input about my art than someone trying to intellectualize it, dissect it, find meaning in every brushstroke or compare my paintings to other painters in the grand history of art. These folks are just simply taking it in…

 

On a personal note, I believe that when one finds or discovers their own talents and abilities, the first challenge is to further develop these skills so that one is constantly evolving. The other challenge is to find ways in which to utilize these abilities in order to service others, even if it feels like it’s just something small, like making someone smile as they walk past your work. Last night, soon after the reception attending crowd dispersed, I witnessed the power of art by watching hospital workers and patients walking by. Some were being pushed in wheelchairs with bodies weakened by chemo or drained from the effects of illness. Perhaps these individuals were living out some of the darkest moments of their lives, but their faces lit right up as they glanced at the colorful art on display, as though it was a temporary breath of fresh air. It is moments like this when I was reminded of why the arts really do matter; and how just the act of simply viewing art can offer one  a short respite from one’s own suffering. It also made me think of this quote:

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” -Pablo Picasso

 

All the pieces in this exhibition will be on display through the April 24th. Featured Art Reach artists are donating 15% of their proceeds to the St. Joseph Hospital Cancer Center.

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“Paper Dolls” Unfold for Opening Reception at SoBoBo

November 14, 2012

"Lucky", 2012, 24x24", oil on canvas.

“Lucky”, 2012, 24×24″, oil on canvas.


“Paper Dolls” Unfold for Opening Reception at SoBoBo

It was a great time at the opening reception at SoBoBo Art Gallery & Consortium, in Milford, CT, where I have the honor of being Featured Artist for the entire Month of November.  It was a pleasure to meet up with some old friends, as well as share my work with other art appreciators and collectors who asked many questions and showed a genuine interest in my “paperdolls” series.  I overheard and participated in many lively and serious discussions, among friends and strangers, yet there was also a cheerful energy in the room. Laughter and joking around at one of my shows is always a welcome thing, because that is exactly what  I hope to initiate with my work, especially with this series, as I see my art as being playful with serious undertones, a fun and non-threatening way to start a meaningful conversation.

reject10x10mixedmedia

“Reject”, 2010, 10×10″, mixed media on canvas.

One unexpected favorite seemed to be my painting titled  “reject”, a collage piece I had made of old gallery rejection letters. Visitors said they were inspired to see me willing to display something that may be seen as a weakness, and transforming a negative into something positive, such as art. I told the story of when I started the series, many gallery owners and directors rejected my work because they didn’t know what to make of it, so I got some really interesting rejection letters, some even suggesting that I go to galleries in cities with a “more sophisticated art scene” than their own. I decided I would make some art with these rejections, so that every time I got another rejection letter, instead of feeling down, I would be excited about the new art piece I would be able to create with it…The funny thing is, as my attitude changed, I haven’t received any more rejections to collage with. As one visitor put it; “Good Voodoo perhaps”?

Perhaps one of the biggest hits of the evening was my timely installation “Binders Full of Women”. Gallery patrons can enjoy flipping through a book I created (something allowed to be touched at an art gallery!), filled with depictions of female stereotypes, but with a touch of humor and whimsy, a style that I can only describe as “Punk Rock meets Martha Stewart”. This binder is also on display alongside an open binder, “Binders Full of Women Volume II”, which is more of a sculptural and free-flowing piece, whereas the “paperdolls” are depicted as freeing themselves from what binds them and are given positive labels such as “capable”,  “leader”, “confident”, and “loved”. “Binders Full of Women” may be title and concept inspired by a quote Romney made during one of the presidential debates, however the piece makes no other visual references to the former presidential candidate, but calls attention to some of the current issues such as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, so I was expecting to get into a little trouble with this this piece. I was surprised  however at all the compliments I received, especially from those who had affiliated themselves with the Republican/Libertarian parties.  One visitor confessed to me that regardless of her own party affiliation, the piece still managed to give her “the chills”, yet also managed to make her smile at the same time. Best compliment ever!

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What I’m Working On Now…

October 22, 2012

 


What I’m Working On Now…

I have some new works in progress, which will be new additions to my “paperdolls”. All of the pieces for this series I have completed and have been exhibiting so far are primarily two-dimensional oil on canvas paintings with a few mixed media elements. These new projects will incorporate even more mixed media. They are meant for exhibit alongside the paintings not only to expand the collection but also to take the series to a new level as well. I have added new elements, such as text to these new pieces, which will enhance the messages they convey. I am at the point in this project, two years in the making, where I am now ready to incorporate my “paperdoll” symbol or icon and work it into some multimedia installations as well. I thought I’d give you a little teaser here and share an image from my first project, which will make it’s debut at SoBoBo Art Gallery in Milford, CT, where I will be Featured Artist for the month of November. Wish me luck!

-Lisa

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History of Woman

June 21, 2012

"Silenced", 2012, 16x16", oil and earplugs on canvas.

“Silenced”, 2012, 16×16″, oil and earplugs on canvas.

History of Woman

I just returned from a long weekend in Connecticut, where I attended the public reception for the “History of Woman” exhibition at the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University. The opening was a wonderful success and many were in attendance. It was not your typical wine and cheese opening; guests had the opportunity to enjoy plates of Indian Food, enjoy sumptuous desserts, listen to beautiful live music performed by a very talented 14 year-old cellist, and view amazing works of art by local and regional artists. I had 13 pieces in the show; a dozen paper doll paintings and an abstract thrown in for good measure. As for me, I have to say that it felt great to see my work in such a beautiful gallery setting …it was a little bit like: “okay, I raised these babies, now it’s time for their first day of school”! Needless to say, I was a very proud “momma of paintings”.

The best part of the exhibit is that it is hosted by the Traveling Art Gallery (T.A.G.) of Montage Initiative, a non-profit organization based in Bridgeport, CT and London, U.K. that “gives women around the world expanded opportunities to earn a sustainable living; contribute to their families and communities; and be part of a global network of positive change”. Montage Initiative’s attention is currently focused on the plight of the widows in the Indian providence of Vrindavan, although it endeavors to alleviate the reality of extreme poverty worldwide by rallying support and awareness and promoting peace building. The exhibition runs through June 23rd.

For more information on the Traveling Art Gallery and other Montage Initiative projects, please visit: http://www.montageinitiative.org. For more information regarding programs and exhibitions at the Quick Center for the Arts, please visit: http://www.quickcenter.com.

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Targeting a New Challenge

February 14, 2012

My antique 50 ft. small bore rifle target, to be used in an art challenge!


Targeting a New Challenge

Every year, I like to take on a new challenge that allows me to break out of my normal way of thinking, make new connections, and explore new techniques, which in turn, infuses my work with new energy. The last two years I participated in the Downtown Milford Business Association’s “ Open Doors of Downtown Milford Art Exhibition and Charity Auction”, in the vibrant city of Milford, CT, where selected artists were challenged to create a work of art using recycled doors. I very much enjoyed the challenge of working within the confines of my “assignment”, and stepping outside the gallery setting to chat with the locals and share my art with all who happened to walk by…

Since the last Open Doors, I’ve kept my eyes open for what would be my next challenge, until I accepted with enthusiasm an invitation to participate in the upcoming exhibition, “On Target”, hosted by the Woman’s Caucus for Art/New Hampshire Chapter. For this Invitational Challenge Exhibition, which will be on display this summer at the beautiful Bedford Library in Bedford, in New Hampshire, I will make an art piece out of/inspired by an antique brown paper “official 50 ft. small bore rifle target”. In other words will have to turn this very plain and brown thing, which has no more aesthetic value than a paper bag into an object of beauty…

…And to make things more complicated, I received mine in the mail last week, and it came slightly damaged with a tear in the center. I will try not to be discouraged and begin on a positive note to say that the tear was a “happy accident”…So what will come of this new opportunity? Will I hit the mark? Stay tuned for more adventures of an artist and her target.

Lisa

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Regarding Art and Motherhood

February 08, 2012

"Making A Statement", 2010, 10x10, mixed media on canvas.

“Making A Statement”, 2010, 10×10, mixed media on canvas.


Regarding Art and Motherhood

 

Upon making new business connections within the art community, I realize that I also must use the same level of tact that any other professional working mom must exercise during a job interview, etc. when it comes to revealing the fact that I am also a mother of two young children. I fear not being taken seriously, coming across as a mere hobbyist, or worse case in my imagination: a mom who paints because it is better than sitting at home and eating bon bons.

 

Likewise, upon meeting non-artists, I am also a bit apprehensive when answering the question of what I do “other than being just a mom”. In the past, when I have revealed that I am also a painter, I have gotten responses such as, “How do you find the time for that?” and “Where are your children while you are doing this?” (Because the former question was during a play date, and I want my children to have friends, I had to bite my tongue to refrain from giving a sarcastic reply such as: “Oh, breaking into the liquor cabinet and playing in the street”.) No one thinks to ask other moms who work from home these very same questions. Unfortunately, art is viewed as a leisurely activity, and not necessarily a career. Regardless of formal training and/or professional experience, it is still seen as a frivolous activity that should be tossed aside in favor of more “practical and productive things” once the responsibilities of parenthood come into play.

 

There is no doubt that my children come first. However, I cannot stifle my own personal and intellectual growth or suppress my natural inclination to create. I just can’t do it! Anyway, how could I not be inspired to paint when I have two beautiful muses surrounding me each day? How do I not feel the love and passion for life that inspires me to continue on with my work? I view the continuation of my artistic career as not a hindrance in my parenting skills, but as a gift to my children. By continuing to create, I am giving them the gift of a mother who had not tossed her identity aside because it didn’t fit into certain social norms. I want both of my children, especially my daughter (my biggest fan and follower), to see and understand this. What empowers me also empowers them.

 

Blessings to those who dare to dream, and to those who dare to cultivate themselves while also nurturing others,

 

Lisa

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From Paper Dolls to Czaszka

January 29, 2012

"Czaska", 2012, 16x16", oil and gold leaf on canvas.

“Czaszka”, 2012, 16×16″, oil and gold leaf on canvas.

From Paper Dolls to Czaszka

After doing several paper doll paintings and finishing “mandala”, my largest piece of the series to date (as well as my first painting of 2012), I thought I would regain some energy by experimenting with something new.

I conceived of the “Czaszka” (Polish for skull) paintings, after a long obsession with pink skulls. There was something feminine and pretty about them, but they were also a little badass at the same time. When working at a dead-end (pardon the pun) corporate job, where I would dress up and wear suit jacket, I had a pair of favorite black socks with pink skulls on them that I would wear to help pacify my rebellious side, so I could continue on with my day and collect a paycheck in the end. I also wore my lucky socks often in my pregnancy with my first child, and would joke that the magic socks were there to balance my body’s “life giving properties”.

I never really thought of painting them until I had a recent dream of doing just so. After the lucid dream, I immediately went to my home studio to search for an old, half painted on canvas that I knew I had to practice on. I found the canvas, which (I thought) was the beginning of an abstract painting with outlines of shapes already painted on it, gave it a closer look and noticed something amazing: the outline of my first skull was already there, clearly painted in the center! Perhaps my subconscious knew what I was doing well before my conscious mind caught up to the idea…All I had to do was add a few touches. I am also using this an opportunity to experiment with a new technique, which consists of adhering thin gold leaf flakes to the surface of the canvas.

Here’s a little sneak peek of the works in progress (note that these are not complete yet):

I don’t yet know what this new emergence of paintings means in terms of my art career. All I have to say that it felt great for the moment to paint again using quick gestural brushstrokes, to try a new technique, and to also have a little fun in the process.

Wish me luck!

Lisa

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New Year, New Surroundings

January 20, 2012

 


New Year, New Surroundings

It being January of 2012, I am taking time to pause and reflect on the past year. What an amazing year it was! Unexpected changes brought a big out–of-state move, which had me packing up studio and relocating to beautiful New Hampshire. The quiet surroundings have given me abundant time and thinking space to work on my art, as much thinking space as an artist and mother of two could possibly have anyway…

As I move forward with my “paperdoll” series, I can already see how the lush greens of my new surroundings are making an appearance in my most recent paintings. Many of my former works were serious pieces, with careful consideration and subtle color, however this move has brought out a newfound brightness and cheerful energy into my work, which I perceive to be more playful and folk art-like in nature. Here, I will give you a sneak peek of my current painting in progress, which I have titled “Mandala”:

In preparation for some exciting upcoming shows already booked for 2012, I am currently in the process of going larger in scale, but not too large, considering that some of the shows booked this year will require the paintings to be shipped to other states…

With that being said, the world better not end this year. I have way too much to look forward to!

Best,

Lisa

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