Featured Artist: Meet Eric G. Peterson

November 13, 2017

Digital Polarity

Digital Polarity (click to enlarge)


Featured Artist: Meet Eric G. Peterson


About Eric (Artist Bio): “I began my long journey as an artist from a very early age. My fascination with science fiction, fantasy, and the natural world played an important part in laying the groundwork for what was to become my “Social Surrealist” style (a term I coined for my work) many years later. As a teenager I took and interest in comic books, photography, and film making. It was during my college years however, that I began to take a more serious look at the work of the artists Salvador Dali and H.R. Giger. Their work inspired me to improve my skill as an artist. I also took an exceptionally strong liking to the mysterious nature of ancient Egyptian art as well. These sources of inspiration along with a desire to address more serious subject matter in my work took my mind and my artistic output in a more mature direction. My grandfather Gov. Russell W. Peterson, was a highly regarded environmentalist and political activist. His dedication to protecting the environment and speaking for the common good transformed me into a socially conscience artist. After college I worked as an intern at the sculpture studio of the professional artist, Charles Cropper Parks. I was inspired by his talent and work ethic as an artist and was even granted the opportunity to assist with several projects at his studio. In the years following my internship, I began my career in the field of education and continue to create, show, and sell my own mixed media work. Working as an art teacher has taught me how to look at art projects from a different perspective and learn that each individual has their own unique way to view the world and approach the creative process. My artistic journey occupies an ever evolving and expanding universe”.


Addicts in the Eather,

Addicts in the Eather (click to enlarge).


Tell me about your inspiration for your piece “Addicts in the Eather”. I had the privilege to see this one in person and it was one of the ones that piqued my interest in your work.

“Addicts in The Ether” is a commentary about American culture being addicted to so many unhealthy things. Oil, prescription drugs, junk food, guns, our phones, etc. We are hooked on so many things that distract us from being connected to one another and to the natural world. The piece could be interpreted as more of an environmental warning as well. We are sucking the earth dry. My grandfather was a well known environmentalist, so it’s an important issue for me.

Your piece “Vampires of Industry” is intriguing to me. I would like to hear more about its inspiration… Would you say that this one is about corporate greed and its impact on our environment?

Yes, it’s definitely about greed. The vampires are representing the corporate elite who in my opinion are like vampires. There is such a wide income gap between the rich and poor in society right now. It’s an unbalanced system, and the poor always end up suffering the consequences. Those at the top are literally sucking the world dry of both money and natural resources.


Libidine Foeda

Libidine Foeda (click to enlarge).


Okay, now how about Libidine Foeda?…This one seems to put a unique spin on religion and spirituality? Please tell me more about this one!

It’s a little more personal in theme, but I still tried to illustrate an observation about organized religion that I think many people have begun to notice in modern society. The title is in Latin and roughly translates into “dirty thoughts”. I was raised Catholic (but no longer practice or participate as one), and I sometimes struggle with the issue of how religion wants to interfere with our intimate lives. Some forms of organized religion think it’s their duty to invade people’s sex lives and dictate who they can or cannot love. It’s really no religious leader or politicians business to be in our bedrooms.


Vampires of Industry

Vampires of Industry (click to enlarge).


Your work is super intricate in it’s detail…Will you explain a little about your process? Approximately how long does it take to finish each piece?

Being a lifelong science fiction junkie, I always took a keen interest in the look of science fiction films and the complex set designs and machinery that was created by the filmmakers. I also love artwork from ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Mayans, Aztecs, etc. The art that came from those cultures was so intricate and heavy of symbolism. It’s mind boggling to me that ancient people had such fantastic talent; it’s rather humbling. I try to pay tribute to these influences. I almost feel like it’s my duty to carry on a bit of this tradition in my work and give viewers a feast of visualizations.

In regards to the creative process, I usually begin with a very basic composition that starts in my head. Once I work out the large elements of the composition with some rough sketches, I’ll move on to the large scale piece. The smaller details are absolutely a surreal, type of stream of consciousness effort. I allow my mind to slowly fill in the details as I work on the piece. It’s not a linear process, but in the end I end up with the symbolism that ties the theme all together.

It’s hard sometimes to pinpoint the exact amount of time a piece takes me. I’ve cranked out as many as 3 finished pieces in a matter of 4 months when I’m really, “in the zone” so to speak, but my work schedule is on average fairly erratic. I’ve had some pieces take me as much as a full year, maybe longer depending on how many distractions I have going on in my life. I work full time as an art teacher, so most of my personal art time happens on weekends or school vacations.


Washington Machine 2012

Washington Machine 2012 (click to enlarge).


What direction to you feel your work is headed?

I can guarantee no matter what my work will always address some fairly heavy subject matter whether it’s a personal issue or a more global concern. Sometimes I force myself to loosen up a bit and not get too caught up in the “story telling” with my piece and just let my stream of consciousness take over a bit. I know there will be more pieces addressing environmental issues for certain. Taking care of our environment should be a high priority to humans as the health of the environment is the same as the health of the human species.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Thank you very much Lisa for giving me an opportunity to share more about my art and my philosophy. I hope in some way what I do as an artist may get some people thinking a bit more about the world around them. If nothing else, my goal is to grab people’s attention and maybe make them pause for awhile in our very chaotic modern day ADHD society! If you do like my work, follow me on Instagram and facebook. Just fair warning though, I get pretty political at times with my posts, so be forewarned!


Connect with Eric G. Peterson:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/e.g.peterson/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eric.peterson.3344

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Featured Artist: Q&A with Holly Spruck

September 30, 2017

First Love First Goodbye

First Love First Goodbye



Featured Artist: Q&A with Holly Spruck


Bio: Holly Spruck’s paintings have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in galleries across the United States and abroad, including the Merrill Jennings Gallery, ArtWorks On Main, Dialect Design, and the Green Rice Gallery in North Carolina, and the Blue Moon Café in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Her solo exhibitions at the Radost FX Gallery, Hairline Studios and the Ouky Douky Cafe in Prague, the Czech Republic were sold out on opening night.

Her work is included in private collections across the US and around the globe. She has a devoted following of collectors who have been known to buy her paintings directly off the easel, before they can even dry.

Her paintings have been featured in publications including THINK magazine, Creative Loafing, and on the cover of The Main Street Rag. In the ART IN HAND project, her painting is featured as the joker in a deck of 53 cards by regional artists in North Carolina.

Holly was born and grew up in Westchester County, New York State, just north of New York City.


When I look at your work, I see a lot of influences from the Impressionists to the Cubists. What would you say your artistic influences are?


I am influenced by the Cubists. They showed multiple views in their work. I also show multiple perspectives as well as multiple depths by overlapping objects and breaking up composition. This creates ambiguous spaces which establishes a mood. My Other influences are: Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Egon Schiele, German Expressionists and Abstract Expressionists for their bold colors and intense subject matters.


According to your artist statement: “The commute to work, a conversation with a friend, getting lost in a maze of city streets in Spain, seeing the colors change with the seasons…This is where I get inspired”…What has inspired you most as of late? 


Lately, Travel inspires me. I have been lucky enough this year to go back to my adopted continent, Europe, 2 times this year. I hadn’t been back for 12 years. It was like coming home.


I am also inspired by a new way of painting for me.  I am 45 years old. The Middle Ages of human stages.  As I  get older, I want to preserve my memories. Every time  you recall a memory, they say, part of it fades. Year after year, the favorite memories lose detail until only the shadow of the essence is left. Emotional memory never leaves us. It might become less intense over time but never fully leaves us.   Nor would we want it to because then the memory would be gone. Grief is like this. This is how people live on after they pass. Through the livings emotional memory. This new style evolved for me: the palette knife, the process of starting with the detailed contour drawings and working my way to the point where, with slabs of color and no straight lines, no crisp definitions, the Expressionist essence is let loose. The hazy, fuzzy aspect of these paintings fits my mental state, as my unfocused mind jumbles with non-linear thought. Our modern times are full of disillusionment, abandonment, betrayal – things are either moving too fast, or they are not moving fast enough. I respond with blobs of color that might explode. Letting go of the need for control and order.  Add everything then strip away till you find only the important part.


Edvard Munch once said,
“One should not paint what one sees but what one saw. It is the emotional impression”.
Charles Bridge Narrative (The cover For the advance copy of The Chimera of Prague)

Charles Bridge Narrative (The cover For the advance copy of The Chimera of Prague)

Tell us a little about your technique. I found it interesting to read that you work on a black canvas. Are the black outlines the actual canvas showing through? Anything else you’d like to share about your process?


I stated above the process of my new memory pieces, but the process of my narrative work is quite different. I actually learned it from my friend and colleague, Jesse Littell, while living in Prague from 1996- 2002.  After doing many sketches of my image or story, I move to a black canvas. With a China Marker I draw and redraw the image or scene on the canvas. I add lines to break up the composition into a mosaic-like effect, creating broken or shattered spaces. This changes the composition by creating an ambiguous space. The viewer is left unsure of the depth of the objects. Then I fill the spaces with bold expressive color using oil paint.  I fill the color just up to the China marker line leaving part of the black canvas showing.  The black varied contour lines are the negative spaces of the black canvas showing through.


Describe your studio or where you paint. Do you have any rituals or music you like to listen to to get your art-brain going?


I share a studio with Rick Pryll (rickpryll.weebly.com) author and husband, at Hart Witzen Gallery in NoDa, Charlotte, NC (hartwitzengallery.com).  I do listen to Pandora while I paint. The Cold Play station when I am feeling more upbeat and the Smashing Pumpkins station when I am not so upbeat. I also make a cup of coffee before I start working for the day.
The Solicitor

The Solicitor

Last but not least, anything else you would like to share?

The meaning of HMCAS (my art name):

Holly Marie Cecilia Agar Spruck
Holly- first name
Marie – middle name named after my grandmother Mary
Cecilia- Christian confirmation name
Agar – my grandparents name.  They helped me financially in college so I include them in my art name.
Spruck – my last name.


Connect with Holly Spruck:


Twitter: @HSpruck
Facebook: HMCAS-original oils
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Featured Artist: Q&A with Sarah Strachan

September 25, 2017

“The Struggle” This represents the struggle I have between creativity and depression. 7” x 7”

“The Struggle”
This represents the struggle I have between creativity and depression.
7” x 7”


Featured Artist: Q&A with Sarah Strachan

About: Sarah Strachan is an up and coming abstract painter in Morecambe, England. She states that she always had a creative streak but it is only since becoming a mum that she has had the time to explore her creativity. According to Sarah, Abstract seems to be her vocation, and her artwork very much reflects her personality, which is “emotional, bold, and vibrant yet delicate.” Here we talk about inspiration, motherhood and more:

What inspires you as an artist? 

I am inspired by everything and anything, a thought, a feeling, nature, the world around me. I recently went to the Zoo and have been inspired by the patterns on the animals I saw, I’m currently translating my thoughts into new work.

Why abstract? How does abstract painting appeal to you? 

Abstract suits my personality, I suffer from depression and it is something that I have to manage everyday consequently my mood and outlooks can change from one day to the next. Abstract allows me to express how I feel as well as what has inspired me, I find it therapeutic and very satisfying. I can draw and copy other styles but I love the expression and texture of abstract for me there are no rules I feel very free.

“Abstract Marble” This piece is a large scale fluid acrylic pour with mesmerising intricacy and patterns. 24” x 19”

“Abstract Marble”
This piece is a large scale fluid acrylic pour with mesmerising intricacy and patterns.
24” x 19”

You have mentioned that you always had a creative streak, however since “becoming a mum” you finally have decided to explore your creativity. How has motherhood changed how you express yourself? 

It has made me realise that life is too short to be unhappy and for me the biggest source of stress was working 9-5 in the corporate world. I don’t like the impact other people can have on your outlook and stress in an office environment can spread like a cold and before you know it one person’s bad day can change yours. I felt caged and fake like I couldn’t be myself because if what was expected of me and all the rules! Becoming a mum gave me a new found confidence to embrace who I am, why should I be unhappy? Why should I look a certain way? I love my little boy he is so fearless and curious, nothing stands in his way so I took a leaf out of his book and resigned my position in order to be a full time mum and Artist, scary but liberating!

How old is your child/children and what is your key to finding balance between art and family? 

My boy is 9 months and balance is not easy! My husband is self employed so he works his own schedule which allows me to take time out to do my art. I’m very lucky as my boy sleeps 12hrs on average at the moment so I am free from around 7pm so I get working! It’s not easy but it is so much better than 9-5 I am my own boss and I love it!


“Corrosion“ This was inspired by weathered flaking blue paint. 24” x 19”

This was inspired by weathered flaking blue paint.
24” x 19”

What direction do you think your work is headed? 

At the moment the sky is the limit, I know that it is hard to become a world renowned artist so I’m starting small! I dont want to take over the world just decorate it! I am working towards getting my work into UK galleries with a view to possibly exhibiting in America but it’s one step at a time!

Anything else you’d like to share? 

Anything in life worth having takes dedication and perseverance, although I have my own unique set of challenges I know that even if nobody buys a single painting I have created a thing of beauty. I will keep trying and hope that somebody else will appreciate my work, if I can brighten just one person’s world with my creation then I am happy.

Connect with Sarah Strachan:

Website: www.abstractimagination.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SStrachan616
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Abstractimagi47

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Featured Artist: Q&A with Gene-Manuel Whirling

September 15, 2017

The Future's Looking Back At Us mixed media on Yupo paper 8 x 8 inches

The Future’s Looking Back At Us
mixed media on Yupo paper
8 x 8 inches


Featured Artist: Q&A with Gene-Manuel Whirling


Gene-Manuel Whirling is a self-taught, mixed-media artist, who follows his instincts when it comes to the work he creates.  He learns by doing and does his best to not let the fear of “not knowing” get in the way of making art.


Your current series of abstracts with the alcohol inks & fluid acrylics are so beautiful. Would you tell me a little bit about your process in making these and what does abstract painting mean to you?

Thank you so much. I’m having a blast creating these. My process is very simple. It all started with Instagram and seeing these amazing artists creating with the alcohol inks. I did very little research and then dove in. At first I was using India inks mixing them with alcohol and acrylics and now I’ve gone full alcohol inks, which are great. But, the entire process is actually me jumping into the work without a net or expectations for the outcome of the work. I’ve found through the years that the more I do the actual work, the more I learn in that “doing” stage. I make lots of mistakes along the way and some of them cause me to throw out whatever I’ve been working on because it can’t be saved. Although most of the time, I’m able to learn from the mistakes and incorporate them into the work. So, in a nutshell, my process with these abstracts is to try anything and everything and see what happens.

In answer to the last part of your question, abstract painting means freedom. I will be 100% honest and say that until I started working with the Yupo paper and the inks, I wasn’t really into abstract work. It was as if my brain was stuck on this thought pattern that what I created had to “look” like something. Does this make sense? Strangely enough, for someone that dislikes labels of all kinds and wholeheartedly believes that people have the right to make whatever they want, however they want, and do whatever they want with their work/life, etc., I was stuck in this mindset of my work having to be easily recognizable and accessible. I didn’t know this until quite recently when I started working on the


A Galaxy Tucked Away

A Galaxy Tucked Away


My first one, A Galaxy Tucked Away In Some Forgotten Corner Of A Universe, was actually in the trash pile overnight because it didn’t make sense to me at first. Then the next day, I went into my studio and picked it back up and “saw” it. That galaxy that is mentioned in the title. I saw it! And it was beautiful and it made me happy. I also felt the freedom that came with it.  I was able to go from there and just create and allow the art to guide me to its completion.


Love Will Always Win mixed media collage art on canvas 20 x 20 inches

Love Will Always Win
mixed media collage art on canvas
20 x 20 inches


It's A Long Journey To Become The One mixed media collage art on canvas 20 x 20 inches

It’s A Long Journey To Become The One
mixed media collage art on canvas
20 x 20 inches

Your paintings “Love Will Always Win” and “Its A Long Journey To Become the One” appear to be cousins of your abstracts however with the addition of collage elements depicting same-sex couples throughout history. What do these pieces mean to you?

My intention with the collage work is to shine a light on the LGBTQIA community, especially those that came before us. The people that allowed themselves to be captured on film, displaying their love and affection, in times that weren’t necessarily the most open and accepting. These were brave individuals and I love being able to feature them in the work. And in doing so, even though we have a long way to go, I’m also amazed at how far we’ve come. I mean, I’m old enough to remember when it would have been truly revolutionary and brave to create something like these two pieces! I remember when being gay was still something you didn’t talk about openly for fear of what could happen to you. So, just being able to create these pieces and show them on social media for everyone to see and to then have them be accepted and admired like they have been…that’s huge for me.


To Be On Fire From Within mixed media on clapboard 5 x 5 inches

To Be On Fire From Within
mixed media on clapboard
5 x 5 inches

Your recent painting To Be On Fire From Within really struck a chord with me as a lot of my work also picks up on this concept. Do you think having a fire in our belly is what makes us artists? What kindles the spark?

I actually think we are all born with a small fire in our bellies and how that flame gets treated determines what will happen to it and how the individual uses that fire. I think artists are the ones that usually become aware of that fire from within and aren’t afraid to use it to create. But I really do think we all have it and the more we pay attention to it, to that fire or maybe someone will call it “gut instinct,” the happier we can be. Because, from experience, the fire never dies. When I’ve stopped working on my art or my music, etc. and have decided to just do nothing for whatever reason, be it depression or exhaustion, whatever, that little light inside might flicker and fade but it never goes away. I’ve always felt it.  Reminding me that I have work to do.


For me, other artists kindle that spark within. Seeing your work, for example, and how open and honest you are with your writing and sharing, that kindles the spark of creativity in me. That’s one of the reasons I love Instagram so much. I really could NOT care less about someone’s latest new shoes or vacation spot or food.  But show me what you’re working on, what you’ve created or give me a sneak peek at your studio and your process and you’ve got a follower. And I’m grateful to those artists that are out there, day in and day out, making art and letting us know about it. Letting us in and being vulnerable.  That’s exciting and inspiring.

King Aster mixed media on paper 14 x 11 inches

King Aster
mixed media on paper
14 x 11 inches


Your beautiful bearded men series is just so appealing to me, with its mandala-like designs and stylish beards. Can you tell me a little more about what inspired this series?

One person inspired the entire series and his name is Ricki Hall. (@RickiSamHall on Instagram) He’s a British model whose looks change all the time but a few years ago, he had this amazing beard. One day, I had a vision pop in my mind, just a flash, of a piece with Ricki’s face and beard. It was a very quick mental image but I rushed to the studio and found a photo of him and created my first bearded gent, KIRAN. I then used Ricki as a reference model for many of my bearded guys, which I call The Illumined Ones. I was able to chat with Ricki and show him some of the work he inspired and he really loved them and gave me his blessings, which I’m grateful for.


Kiran_Ricki Hall

Kiran_Ricki Hall

Also, I was so surprised to read in your bio that you are color blind? I couldn’t believe it because I felt like your color was so on point! Seriously??

I have to get this professionally checked because there’s more to it than just color blind and maybe using color blind is the wrong term. Although I have major issues distinguishing between reds and greens, I do see color. I just think I see them waaaay different than most people. Meaning I can walk in to a room with different shades of purples, and to me that room will look pretty much the same, all one color. But, I will know that it’s in the blue or purple family. I don’t know if I’m making sense because it’s just hard to explain. That’s why everything in my studio has to be labeled so that I know what I’m using because, as an example, it’s very easy for me to be working with teal, turn around and come back and start working with dark blue, thinking it’s teal.  It all looks the same to me. Therefore, I have to mark what colors I’m working with and be vigilant. This is another reason why abstract work appeals so much because it really taps into my working with my instincts and letting the art lead the way.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Well, I’d like to thank you so much for your kindness and encouraging words about my work.  I truly appreciate it and you and your work inspire me on a daily basis, so thank you, thank you, thank you. I guess the main thing I’d like to let people know is that with art, and life to some extent, feel free to make up the rules as you go along and allow yourself to create, make mistakes, and keep creating. Let a sense of freedom be your guide and let go of anything that you feel is restricting the flow of your work because once you do that, incredible things can happen. Amazing art then has the passage way to come through. Keep doing what ignites that fire from within!


Connect with Gene-Manuel Whirling:

Website: www.thewhirlinggene.com
You Tube: www.youtube.com/thewhirlinggene (Great interviews, etc…I highly recommend checking out!)
Instagram: @thewhirlinggene
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheWhirlingGene
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewhirlinggene/

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Feature in 1340art!

July 10, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 6.55.37 PM


Feature in 1340art!


It is an honor to be featured by 1340art! They are an international online and print art publication and I am just tickled to be included with such amazing talent from all around the world! You can check out the full feature here: http://1340art.com/post/162831264187/lisa-k-salerno-usa

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Featured Artist: Q&A with Justin Michael Jenkins

June 25, 2017


Featured Artist: Q&A with Justin Michael Jenkins


Artist Bio: Born in upstate New York, artist Justin Michael Jenkins has been creating since he was 5 years old. Drawing portraits of historical figures started him on his journey into more creative endeavors and at the age of 18, he was accepted on scholarship to the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts. There the young student began thriving on research and experimentation with various styles and color. The influences of Bosch, Escher, Dali, and Picasso steered the student into new realms of thought and creativity. Soon a unique approach and style manifested that set him apart from his peers. After graduating, the artist set his sights on New York City and showed at various exhibitions in the SOHO area of the city. The artist currently promotes his Drawing collection, Genesis”, featuring 144 works of art in 12 collections based around life. His brand and studio, Imaginative Pencil, packages and sells these works as prints as well as shirts.


Wow! Your work is truly unique…Yet I am always curious about artistic influences. I might see some Alex Grey and maybe Dalí? Who and what would you say influences your artistic style?
Well, when I got the scholarship for art to West Virginia University and finally settled in to the college atmosphere that is where things really started to blossom for me in terms of research and having my Professors introduce me to some artists who helped mold my style a bit further. Fernand Leger was one artist that stood out to me who made me think of compositional structure and balance. For me, composition is the most important aspect of my work. The breakdown of shape, forms, line, and the balance and harmony of color into one fused and synchronized dance. Dali, Picasso, Bosch, and Escher have subconsciously instilled their vision in me, but I would say my style is more my own and not pinned down to certain artist. I think a lot of times, artists can get lost in another influence and forget that you need to use other artists as a way of finding your own unique voice through what you learn from them. You don’t want to lose yourself in someone else and piggy back their approach. You want to explore new ways of doing art for the future and advancing the past.




How has your spirituality influenced your art making? Do you see art as an expression of the spiritual?
I’m a man of God. His power and love works through me during my creative process and is critical to the overall approach. The challenge of harmonizing so many components in my work without ever sketching (I have never sketched nor owned a sketchbook) becomes the ultimate reward and his power and guidance through my process enables me to create these visions directly from my mind onto the surface. My natural use of color also is a direct result of my link to the spirit work and the spirit, for me, is a colorful spectrum of passion, love, and beauty. I have a passion for life and this spirit within me influences my art on a very high level.


Describe your process. How do you prefer to work?
I work in a series. Each theme that makes up the “Genesis Collection” is researched, studied, and after that process, my mind and spirit absorb what I’ve learned and then it is converted to visual form using my unique approach that is colorful and surreal. I’m dabbling into abstraction more and a scientific approach that showcases energy and motion. Although i’m an artist, poet, and writer, I have an affinity for science and love to extract the truth about life and try to represent the grand beauty and complexity that makes up our world. My process for each drawing is the same, yet the overall subject within each work and end results can be much different. I also spend a considerable amount of time finding a title that is as creative and unique as the work itself. This is the final stage of the process.




Can you tell me a little about your Genesis collection? I’m intrigued…
It all started from the drawings that were inspired from my working on a book about chess. The book is a huge compilation of ideas, etc., and as a person who values the benefits of chess and has been playing since I was 6 years old, I was inspired to write a book. One day, I began working on a drawing “The Birth of a Strategy”, and from there the whole idea of a 12 drawing collection that could enable me to dive further into a subject visually resulted in my brand, Imaginative Pencil, and the idea of 144 works in 12 themes. 12 works per theme, 12 themes, 144 total drawing. That’s Genesis. The name derives from the Bible and once the collection is entirely finished, a code is in the whole works that unlock universal secrets. I will leave that for future generations to figure out once I move on from earth. I love putting symbolisms and hidden meanings in my work!


Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes. Art is something that is fundamental to us all and I think children need to be subjected to the arts at a young age. Creativity can harness the spirit within and open the doors to a healthy mind and emotions. While subjective, art is a reflection of our experiences and world, and we all our connected through it. I leave you with a couple of my poetic quotes that I share daily on my twitter feed (twitter.com/artistjenkins) :
“We begin as an innocent sketch and as the painting of our life progresses, we color inside these lines with the brushstrokes of memories.” ~ Justin Jenkins
“Take flight in the skies of hope. Spread your courageous wings into the clouds of fear and let the light of faith pierce through the shadows.” ~ Justin Jenkins



Artist Statement:
The journey for creative spirits is one filled with many rewards. Nothing is more fulfilling to me than to sit down and create another vision filled with color and my unique spin on life. I enjoy thinking outside the box and the challenge of new ideas manifesting into visual forms. I have naturally gravitated towards a surreal outlook on life and try to envision worlds where we look at things inside out and upside down in order to extract the heart of truth. My passion for creating lies in the nucleus of this idea and is what drives me to further my creative aspirations. The further I dive into the unknown and let my curiosity lead the way, the more I want to learn and grow as an artist. There is something transcendent about the process of creating that enables me to reach further into life and take visual risks while at the same time challenging me to come up with new visions and exciting new frontiers. This exploration has become my parachute into new worlds where color surrounds me and forms become part of me. The whole process is a cathartic revelation that enables me to connect to a higher energy or power like a lightning rod and harness the creative potentials within me. Channeling these forces inspires me to new creative horizons.

Connect with Justin Michael Jenkins:

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Featured Artist: Q&A with Justin Holt

May 25, 2017




Featured Artist: Q&A with Justin Holt


Bio: Justin Holt is an artist and musician who lives and works in North Carolina. He is an Avant-garde saxophonist, cornetist, improviser, painter, and founder of the Pink Lady Apple House. He describes himself as a “natural free expressionist”. 

I love your colorful abstract paintings…There is so much movement. Can you tell me the inspiration behind these pieces?

I usually just sit down and start painting. Though the occasional instances where I may have imagined a couple shapes or something. But normally just sit down and go to work. My inspiration is possibility.





I would love to hear more about your creative process. Will you describe it to me?

I’m very much into free improvisation in both my painting and my sonic work. I believe that the moment is rich with possibility and honesty and I try to just let it happen and turn off the inner critic. Which can be a challenge sometimes. And let my work just exist in its most honest natural form.

You are also a musician. Tell me about your musical projects and is there a bridge somewhere between your art and music?

Yes I am part of a duo called caterpillar hedge. Along with mike gese on drums. we exercise free improvisation as I mentioned earlier natural sonic expression in Its most honest form possible. It’s incredibly fun you never know what your gonna get.
And in my mind I don’t really seperate the two …music and art. They are one in my mind.

Tell me more about your little girl named Marley. How has parenthood influenced your art making? 

Marley is really something else. She just turned four in April…she loves to sing, and dance. She plays the drums, Mandolin electric guitar and harmonica. She also paints. And it’s effected my creating in many ways. But the main thing she has taught me is how to just be and not “try” to do this or that just do it. We paint together often and I get to see first hand, a child being a child with no expectations just painting to paint! And it’s really amazing to see and be apart of. I’m so proud of her and I’m very thankful for her.



Artwork by Marley, Age 4.



Artwork by Marley, Age 4.


What are your greatest artistic influences? 

My greatest influence is possibility. And I’m fascinated by what the imagination is capable of.





Connect with Justin Holt:
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Featured Artist: Mario Sostre

May 14, 2017




Featured Artist: Mario Sostre


I really love the new works on paper. This new series has a great balance of color and texture. I see a combination of paint, collage, and possibly also printmaking? Will you tell me a bit about your process in creating these? 

I just started rolling paint on paper with a brayer, letting it dry then adding another layer. I cut out circles to lay on top of the dry paint, and rolled more paint to get the under painting, not

knowing what I was doing until I heard the news about the planets, That when I said to myself that they are planet circles; and that’s it really.





There certainly are a lot of circles in this series. Is there symbolism behind it or is your use of circles a purely intuitive or aesthetic decision? 

A little of both. How the series started was I heard on the news that NASA, the space agency discovered a solar system with planets like ours. Well that got the ball rolling, no pun intended.




I see a lot of possible influences in your work, from Modern to Post-modern and Contemporary.  What would you say are your biggest artistic influences? 

One of the leading influences that got me started was when I saw a Robert Rauschenberg exhibition, it left me breathless to see all the chaos of objects some how making sense. Another of course is Andy Warhol and then along came Basquiat which I immediately had a connection, since he was part Puerto Rican, that sealed everything for me.





You have been active as an artist in NYC since the 1980’s. Do you feel as though location can has an impact on an artist’s work? If so, how has the city environment affected your art?

Oh,sure it has. My work has definitely been influenced by living in NYC, especially in Hell’s Kitchen in the 60’s,70’s,80’s to the present. My work has a fast pace action, just like the city, constant moving of people, cars, buses noise, and weather. I use various kinds of paint, found objects…whatever is at hand. In the 80’s I cofounded a theater company called Teator Alegre, we performed mostly in the Lower Eastside. These are some of the flyers I made to promote our shows, people loved them.

"The Face", flyer

“The Face”, flyer for Teator Alegre

Over the years, you have been involved with projects to raise awareness for AIDS. What role do artists play in creating social change? What can other artists do to help a cause they believe in?

They can start by being aware of their surroundings and try to make a positive input where needed. By finding out what the cause is and if it’s something that moves them.




Anything else you’d like to share?

I wish that the world be a place of peace, where the children have no fear.


Bio: Mario Sostre was born in the Bronx and raised in Hell’s Kitchen in NYC. He studied at Fashion Institute of Technology, Manhattan Graphics Center, The Art Students League, and Cooper Union and has actively exhibited his work in the Greater New York City since the 1980’s.


Connect with Mario: 



Note: This interview was first published in Inigo Online Magazine: https://inigoonline.com/2017/04/20/featured-artist-mario-sostre/ 

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Featured Artist: Interview with Anne Camozzi

May 05, 2017

Tears of Colour

Tears of Colour

Featured Artist: Interview with Anne Camozzi


About Anne Camozzi:

Anne Camozzi creates art and writes in Nova Scotia, Canada. An early passion for the arts led her to an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University (Toronto, Canada) in 1976. While studying painting, she was one of two writing apprentices selected to work with well known Canadian author, W.O. Mitchell.  After graduating, she joined the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) as a television and radio reporter for a few years. Later, she moved to Nova Scotia and earned a Masters in Adult Education.  While raising two children, Anne became an award winning, international environmental education consultant, and later, a university senior administrator.

In 2003, illness forced Anne to slow her fast-paced lifestyle and on the advice of her physiotherapist, she began using drawing as a distraction from pain. Picking up a paint brush for the first time in over 25 years, she soon regained the passion for art she had as a young woman, discovering a talent for paintings on silk, based on the French Serti method and began a full time studio practice. opening the Anne Camozzi Art & Design Studio in 2004. Her unique art has been commissioned by Feed Nova Scotia, the Peoples’ Place Library, NS Easter Seals, QEII Hospital Foundation, QEII Hospital Pain Management Unit, Aids Coalition NS and the North American Highland Dancing Championships, among others. She has done numerous private commissions, including art for offices of professionals with healing practices, and for individuals with cancer, or in palliative care including a series of angels for children with cancer.

Her art is in private collections in Canada, Europe, India, Asia and the United States, and in public collections in Nova Scotia.  She has exhibited in group shows at St.Francis Xavier University Art Gallery and Lyghtesome Gallery and in Ontario, as well as in a solo show at the J. Franklin Wright Gallery in Nova Scotia.

Integrating her lifelong interests, she is currently working on several projects involving writing and art, while enjoying family and grandchildren, and remaining engaged in community social justice projects.  In September 2016 her studio published a book of Anne’s art and writing entitled “Galaxies- Serenity Within“. It has been sold all over Canada and the US and copies have been  shipped or hand delivered to the Netherlands, England, Portugal, Indonesia, Mongolia, Japan at last count. As many purchasers bought multiple copies for gifts, we,re not sure where they have all landed. It’s been an exciting new venture for the studio.

What first sparked your interest in art? 

I had no art at home growing up or in elementary school other than cutting and pasting which I flunked as I was left handed trying to use righthanded scissors. I saw some books of art in a library and thought I would try drawing.  A high school teacher gave me paints after seeing some drawings I had done and really encouraged me.  I discovered pure joy and happiness when I painted and drew and couldn’t believe how wonderful it felt. I was shocked when my portfolio was accepted for a highly competitive visual arts program at university.

Your art is created using the French Serti technique? Can you tell me a little about this process?

You are referring here to my paintings on silk. I also paint with acrylics, draw with pen and ink, pastels and do photography. The French serti technique uses gutta (a rubber compound) to create a barrier so paints can’t flow freely on the silk. Most silk painters remove the gutta after painting. I leave it in and consider it and the line I create with it, an integral part of my art. The paints used in this technique are special dyes and the painting technique is similar to watercolour using watercolour brushes.
Shaman Angel

Shaman Angel

What do you like most about painting on silk?

I love the fact that the line is as important as the colour. I love the act of drawing and painting in one piece.
But most of all, I love the vibrancy of the colour and also the ability to overlay many layers of colour.  There is also a fun aspect that one can’t always completely control the paint, so sometimes spontaneous outcomes can be thrilling and surprising.

What is the biggest challenge you face with this process (if any)?

As a fairly disabled person it’s a challenge to prepare the silk (wash, iron and stretch). However preparation of anything is difficult for me and this is easier than stretching canvas or working at a traditional easel. The other challenge is that one can not undo mistakes. In oil and acrylics, one can mask a mistake or something the artist wants to change. With silk painting, every stroke has to be right, there is no going back! The other challenge is having my silk paintings considered as legitimate fine art. Some people relegate them to more craft then fine art. I would argue this point vehemently and feel the technique requires a high level of skill and understanding of colour theory (at least the way I paint).

Leaf Angels

Leaf Angels

Your bio mentions that some of your inspiration comes from dreams…What influence do dreams have on your art?

I dream in fantastic colour and imagery. I like to use the colour and imagery from my dreams and transform them into paintings and drawings.

You have a lot of birds, angels and spirals…Is there a symbolism behind these repeating images?

The spiral image is central to my art as a universal symbol of the pathway to “source energy” or  and I use it as meaning the soul of a person or animal in my work. I have always been fascinated by the amazing spiral form in nature and have studied the Fibonacci number series in regard to this. I am an avid naturalist and environmentalist and birds hold a particular fascination for me and have been an important part of my life. I once taught a young crow to say hello. As an environmentalist I often try to emphasize that humans are part of nature and smaller than it, so I will depict people within leaves, for example, to emphasize this interconnectedness.

Although many of the paintings on my website have angels in them, I only use angels in a small fraction of my paintings.  Most of the time I have done an angel painting it has been a commission for someone who is dealing with a difficult situation, or dying and most of the website paintings are commissions.

I did a series of angels for children with cancer and these were popular with young patients who would cart their angel from hospital to home and back. I’d sew special loops so their angels could be hung on hospital curtains. I have also done angel commissions for people who have had a loved one who has died.

Having said that I generally only paint angels as commissions, I must confess I believe in angels – both earthly ones (those special people who seem to appear and help you just when you need it) and ones from the great mystery beyond. I had an experience of an angel coming to hold me during a trauma when I was four years old and since then I have shared angel drawings and paintings when people ask. I often have small angelic creatures in my painting to represent the mystery of a life beyond this one.



What role does art play in healing?

Art distracts the brain from pain and suffering and lights up an area of the brain that can do remarkable things.  Doctors know now, for example, that people looking at, or engaging in art, often require less pain medication.  Art engages a different side of our brain and in doing so challenges our mind to work differently. This can often lift the spirits of a person and has also been shown to aid in mental illness and promote mindfulness which has been proven to be healthy in many ways.
I have seen people who are dying, visibly relax when viewing one of my palliative paintings and tell me that for the first time they felt they had something other than their illness to focus on.  One person told me that when she was ready to die she was going to crawl into my image. This engagement of the imagination is needed when one is suffering or facing grief and loss. If one is creating the art, it can be even more healing and enlivening as it gives one purpose and goals, as well as the distraction.

Would you like tell me a little bit about your recent book, “Galaxies- Serenity Within“?

My book was born when a palliative care doctor who himself was dying, viewed one my paintings, especially commissioned for him. He told me my painting had taken him ” out of his head” and into a “quiet serene place” but then sadly told me that he wouldn’t be able to see my painting once I hung it on the curtain as his vision was failing as he died. He begged me to find a way to make my “colourful, comforting and hopeful art” more “accessible to people who were suffering”. After testing mock ups, the final result “Galaxies- Serenity within” has now shipped all over North America, to Asia, and Europe. It is a slim, elegant, beautifully produced high quality 32 pg. giftbook of art and writing that’s deliberately easy to hold.


Anything else you’d like to share?

I believe all people all creative in some way and that if the world could tap into this creativity we can and will make a better world. As artists we have a responsibility to talk about the issues that are important to our common futures and weave these messages into our art. Thanks for the opportunity to share with you.

Connect with Anne:

Website: http://annecamozzi.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ComfortandSerenity/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/anne_camozzi
YouTube: Anne Camozzi Art Studio
Instagram: AnneCamozziart

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Featured Artist: Ana Rita Canhão

April 29, 2017

The Promised Land

The Promised Land


Featured Artist: Ana Rita Canhão


Ana Rita Canhão is a contemporary Portuguese sculptor who describes her installations as a “multi-layered and complex artistic reality where art serves as bridge between the individual and society.”


Drawing from the many social and political events going on in the world around her, each of Ana’s works serve as a “conceptual analysis of society and its existing constraints in order to deconstruct it”.  Much like a dystopian novel,  installation tells a cautionary tale of the many ways in which society and governments can break down individuality in order to gain control over its members.


Ana’s work is not meant to be aesthetically pleasing and may actually stir up feelings of discomfort. Ana states, “By confronting the audience with its discomfort, or resistance regarding these constraints, I aim to instill a deeper reflection in the audience.” Perhaps the most ‘uncomfortable’ of all of Ana Rita’s work is her installation “Comfort Station”.


Comfort Station

Comfort Station


Ana Rita’s “Comfort Station” tells the story of the “comfort women” of World War II who were abducted from their homes in countries under Imperial Japanese rule and forced to become sexual slaves for the Japanese army.


This powerful installation not only serves as a memorial of the thousands of women who were forced into slavery but also a reminder of how countless women have been placed in subjugation and have suffered throughout history. Ana Rita acknowledges that where she resides in Portugal, it can be difficult to imagine such atrocities happening around her, however she also wants us to recall how only a few decades ago similar events were taking place in Europe itself, for example: in Bosnia.




Do Things Still Grow Beneath The Shadow Of Big Trees?



“The installation Do Things Still Grow Beneath The Shadow Of Big Trees? depicts an institution which “shrouds and suffocates the individuals and undermines each person’s will and inclinations”.  At first glance, this institution may seem appealing and offer comfort or safety in order to recruit its members. In reality, this institution could care less about the well-being of others.


The Hollow Men

The Hollow Men


The Hollow Men speaks of a society where its individuals have lost all freedom and individuality; a society where the institutions reign supreme. These individuals have been long stripped of their identity, are lined up like cattle at a feeding station, being tube fed by wishbone-shaped tubes. Perhaps the wishbone shapes signify a wishing or longing for more, further enslaving these men. This piece signifies a system of enslavement to meet one’s basic needs. A system of government that only benefits a select few, and  the wealth trickles down leaving the working poor, even the middle class with the scraps to feed on.


Connect with Ana Rita Canhão:

Website: http://www.anaritacanhao.com
Behance: https://www.behance.net/anaritacanhao
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/anaritacanhao
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aritacanhao
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/a_n_a__r_i_t_a__c_a_n_h_a_o/

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Featured Artist: Daniel Sullivan

April 22, 2017



Featured Artist: Daniel Sullivan

Bio: Daniel Sullivan is a founding partner/owner at Oliver Street Studios and was co-founding Director of AREA 405. Born in Columbus, Ohio; he received his BFA in painting from The Ohio State University, where he received numerous honors and awards – including the Hoyt L. Sherman Memorial Scholarship. He received his MFA, also in painting, from The University of Maryland, College Park – graduating with a 4.0 GPA. Daniel currently lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.

Daniel has a thirty-year exhibition history, showing regionally, nationally and internationally. Exhibition venues have included solo and group shows at The Columbus Museum of Art, The Delaware Museum of Art, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Muscarelle Museum of Art, Maryland Art Place, School 33 Art Center, Walker Arts Center, Baumgartner Gallery, Acme Art Company, Atlantic Center for the Arts and many others. He has also been awarded grants from both the NEA and the Maryland State Arts Council, as well as being a national finalist for the Richard C. Diebenkorn Memorial Teaching Fellowship at The San Francisco Art Institute.

His work for many years, was an open-ended dialogue with the viewer, deconstructing scientific metrics and the methodologies of Modernism. This subject and the disassembly of conventions, has recently been supplanted by a thorough investigation of historic and clandestine conspiracies. The control of information and the fracturing of an individual’s psyche, are equally considered and taking the form of modernist standards. A quest for an aesthetic truth in a world where truth is selective and redacted.




Can you tell me about your series of images with the butterflies? What was your inspiration behind them and what does this series mean to you?

I often operate from a place of very specific intention – yet with the resultant imagery and forms being an ambiguous home for the viewers’ associations. I hope to create multi-layered events that, like an archeological dig, create strata of interpretation.

These images are really as close to figurative work as I have perhaps ever gotten. On a general level, they feel skewed and perhaps uncomfortable. Both the butterflies and human forms are dark – figuratively and literally and they continually re-contextualize each other. Grainy and amorphous, the human forms seem clouded in secrecy and specificity simultaneously. They feel somehow offensive and explicit, as if one is guilty of viewing a subversive act or depiction.

In a very specific way, they were meant to address the release of covert and often redacted CIA documents which tell of a dark world of experimentation – to nefarious and disturbing ends. MK ULTRA is the overarching title of the program that houses various specific operations – each with their own goals and methodologies… and none of them pretty.


MK Ultra

MK Ultra


Your other large painting for your “MK Ultra” series is really intriguing. Can you tell me a bit about this piece? 

This piece was done for a specific show, with a specific theme that I was asked to take part in, thus its dissimilarity to other pieces. I was requested to do a piece based on the Spirograph…. a charming and interesting thematic. My core premise was to use the innocence of a childhood toy to reference the illuminati and sacred geometry. The latter a tool for both secrets and answers by the former. In form, it is an exercise in mark-making and composition. Layering and superimposition, depiction of specific symbolism with the generality of pure painted activity – one informing the other. It was an enjoyable creative process – taking form in front of me, as I was painting it. It uses some predetermined forms, yet also chronicles its own act of creation.




Will you tell me a bit about your “Project Monarch”, or color grid paintings? Also, It looks to me as though each color is created on a separate panel. Did you plan this so that your paintings could be interchangeable or easy to transport, or is that just a bonus?

This was really one of the first bodies of work to deal with the aforementioned clandestine program and takes its title from a specific CIA event of the same name. The source is color-averaged photos of people – often myself or others close to me. They take the form they do, partly to reflect the intention to fracture an individual’s psyche by Project Monarch – self and non-self, used unwittingly to accomplish other’s distasteful goals. Also intertwined are the concepts of public vs private and the definition of portraiture.

Wedded to this subject is the form of color field painting and the ever-present grid of Modernism. The colors and their placement are pre-determined not by me, but by the pixilation process I subject the source image to. It takes a good deal of time to mix the colors to match and I often use how closely they replicate the source, as a gauge of success of any given piece.

Since the wok depicts a very specific image of a very specific person in a very specific context – albeit abstracted, the constituent panels are not interchangeable. I have experimented with painting them on a singular surface, but they just didn’t work for me, visually or metaphorically. And while they may be easily transported, that was unintentional and is a tradeoff to the multi-step process needed to display them.


Name three artists you’d like to be compared to, and why?

That’s an interesting question. I’m not sure I really want to be compared to anyone specifically. We, as artists, have historically trafficked in the concepts of individual, unique and authentic, so willing comparisons may not always be something I choose. While I may appropriate some specific forms and/or methodologies –it’s to my own ends and for my own goals.

I formed as an artist in a developing post-modern world and aesthetic. I spent many years debasing and underscoring modernism’s inadequacies when contextualized or deconstructed. My goal was to simultaneously question the forms and metrics of both modernism and scientific inquiry. A while back, I noticed there was a creeping shift of this thematic to another: that of historical and clandestine conspiracies. But it took some time for me to conceive the visual language I felt comfortable using for this loaded topic. Parallel to my shift in content, I became acquainted with the term and concept of metamodernism. That feels more comfortable to me – and perhaps a more accurate description of where I am with my work presently. I really am both enamored by, but also wishing to question, the language of modernism – often by pairing and/or contrasting it with a very specific subject matter and internal narrative. I wish to use a set of abstracted forms and formats, but imbued with enough specificity of intent, to satisfy both the casual and a more inquisitive viewer (and myself). I hope both will find adequate solace and challenges.

As to some of my favorite artists – which to me is a wholly different question, I adore Cy Twombly. I was influenced by Antoni Tapies and moved by Felix Gonzalez-Torres. I also enjoy Roman Signer and Joseph Beuys, and admire David Hammons.


Studio View

Studio View


Your bio states that you have had an exhibition record of over 30 years. Did you always know that you would be an artist or was it something that you just fell into?

Just falling into art-making seems alien to me and would certainly not be the case. As far back as middle school, I wrestled with two competing career paths… either the biological sciences or art making. I was enamored at a young age by the work of Miro. His graphic abstraction seemed some exotic language depicting very specific events that I was not privy to. I was insatiable in viewing every art book I could get my hands on. This was pre-internet, so access to imagery, was not always easy. Then I began to actively make things. Looking back now, it seems a forgone conclusion I would be an artist, as there was nothing I was moved and motivated by more.


What’s the best piece of advice (for building an art career) that you’ve ever been given? 

Look at as much work as you can and learn as much as you can.


Anything else that you’d like to share?

No, just that I appreciate this opportunity to speak about the work. I don’t often get the chance, unless a curator makes a studio visit and often what is spoken of, is either abbreviated or relating to a predetermined thematic.


Connect with Daniel Sullivan:

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Guest Post: Filling the Blank Canvas by Anne S. Katzeff

April 09, 2017

Azaleas, pastel, © 2015 Anne S. Katzeff

Azaleas, pastel, © 2015 Anne S. Katzeff


Guest Post: Filling the Blank Canvas by Anne S. Katzeff


Last week, I sat down in my backyard to begin my first painting of the season. While I experience some level of anxiety when starting a painting, it’s mild compared to what I feel when starting a design project. With art, I’m not trying to solve any communication problem; I’m simply expressing a sentiment or emotion or vision. Excitement tempers most of the unease. I think this year’s harsh winter enhanced my joy about finally getting outside to paint again. I usually have more than enough ideas for what I want to paint, and those ideas fuel my anticipation. Any apprehension I do feel has little to do with the actual blank canvas. It is more related to the logistics.


Anne with her ArtComber

Anne with her ArtComber


I have a studio, but I paint outside because the pastels are so dusty and they would make a mess of my indoor space. It’s taken me years to develop a logistical “system” for gathering my materials and getting them to my painting location (see my blog post, 10 Tips for Pastel Painting En Plein Air). All of my supplies are ready to go at a moment’s notice. I pack everything into an ArtComber, which is a large waterproof bag on wheels, with an attached chair.

The anxiety arises when I think about the preparations. Once I’m actually in the midst of preparing, I feel fine. Painting en plein air is more complicated than painting in a studio, where you can just launch right into a new project or pick up where you left off. I have to pack, go somewhere to paint, unpack and set up my work space, paint, pack again, and return home. I might paint in the backyard, or I might drive an hour or 2. Even though my logistical process works well, it does present a sort of barrier between the desire to create and the actual creating. There is a delay between the wanting and the doing.

My pastels lie dormant for the entire winter. So, the first painting of the year has special meaning for me. It symbolizes my breaking through an inertia and getting back into the rhythm of artful activity. I wonder if birds have any anxiety before taking their annual migratory flight north?

I usually do a small painting to launch the season and get the creative juices flowing. Like the bees, I am definitely attracted to flowers in the spring and it’s easy to find some beautiful ones in our own backyard, thanks to Peggy’s (my partner) gentle care. Last week, it was the bright magenta azaleas that caught my eye. I sat very close to them and began marking the blank paper with the shapes. Since azalea blooms are rather small, I had to make choices about which ones would be fully rendered, saturated, and activated in the foreground. Other blooms were drawn darker with more vague shapes, to push them to the background. Some contrasting colors were added for shadows and leaves. On this quiet, sun-filled afternoon, my day’s purpose was found and I lost track of time. It was most restful and satisfying.


Connect with Anne S. Katzeff:

Website: https://www.askdesign.biz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ASKDesign
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ASKDesign2
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/annekatzeff/

(This post was first published in the Anne Katzeff’s blog here: http://www.askdesign.biz/blog/2015/05/filling-the-blank-canvas/)

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Featured Artist: Q&A with Vesna Rikić

April 01, 2017


Featured Artist: Q&A with Vesna Rikić


Vesna Rukić creates incredible art that is made entirely out of paper. Her process, known as quilling, consists of cutting paper into strips, rolling them into precise shapes and then very carefully adhering them onto canvas.

Although Vesna’s attention to detail and craftsmanship is as outstanding as that of a professional designer, she insists that she does it only as a hobby. Vesna Rikić was born on 1991 in Bosnia. She currently lives in small town near Tuzla.

What sparked your interest in quilling? 

As a little girl I started to make some simple origami figures, it was just a game (who will quickly make a ship, better plain etc.). I always admire how you can make so many different shapes from just a paper. As time passed I started to explore and figure out that there are so many opportunities to make art out of paper like 2D origami, 3D origami, kirigami, kusudama, paper sculptures, etc. All of these techniques are interesting and every one of them is an art for itself. For me…quilling was the most interesting. When I discovered quilling…I {thought to myself} that [quilling] was exactly what I was looking for…Something so simple but so extraordinary.

Have you experimented with any other media before (painting, etc.)?

I like to observe and I know a little bit [about] every type of art but I didn’t experiment a lot. There was some small attempts just to satisfy my curiosity but nothing kept me for a long time. I was looking for my own path, something that is going to fulfill me. I was patient and patience always pays off.




How long does it typically take to complete a project?

That depends on the size of the picture and how complicated it is. For some I needed a couple of days but for the other a lot more like a month. Also everything depends on how much free time I have because quilling is just a hobby of mine.  The picture that took me the most time was the map of the world because I needed a lot of small circles. The other one was ”Starry Night”, that’s my favourite one and I created it with a lot of patience and love.


Describe your process (How do you do it? What type of materials do you use?).

In my country quilling is not popular at all, there is nowhere to buy quilling paper or quilling tools, that’s why I mainly improvise and try to work with what I can find. I use plain colored paper (copy paper) or thick paper that I can find in bookstores. Instead of needle for winding tape I use toothpick. As a base I use artist canvas panel different sizes, depending on my picture.

When I found or imagine some picture I want to work, first of all I make a sketch or I draw it on canvas. Than I choose paper (color), I cut it (I use 5mm strips) and then I start to wind them up or paste them immediately. I use wood glue and water-based paper; after it’s dry it becomes transparent. But only when everything is ready I can start with my work. And of course with good music in the background work is progressing better.



How do you choose your subject matter?

Pictures I create are entirely my choice and in them you can recognize things I love the most. Sometimes when I like some painting I copy it in quilling technique, and sometimes I just leave it to my own imagination and feelings.

I think that for the artist there is no right time to create, he always creates-when he is happy or when he is sad. Artists through their works express their feelings. And thus becomes “What A Wonderful World”, or “Woman in Black & White”.


What A Wonderful World

What A Wonderful World

Woman in Black and White

Woman in Black and White


I really loved your version of Starry Night. Do you have a favorite artist or movement in art history?

Every movement in art is beautiful in its own way…As for the artists of course – Vincent van Gogh. I love his blue and yellow color, his landscapes, sunflowers, sky and the way he showed stars…magnifico. Perhaps in the future I’m going to steal another painting of his and do it in quilling technique.


Anything else you’d like to share?

At the moment I work and prepare a lot of pictures. Inspiration was never my problem; we are surrounded by many great things, people, nature, and colors… I have already elected a few pictures to work on and they are going to be warm and colorful, I am still an optimist

We will see in which direction will bring me my children’s game. As one our famous writer and Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andrić says: “Art is similar to life: Looks like game, but in fact it is serious as hell; and so much serious if it looks more like game.”




Connect with Vesna:

Website: https://www.priboj-majevica.com/zanimljive-slike/vesnine-kreacije/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vesna.rikic.9

This post originally appeared in Inigo Online Magazine. More of Vesna’s images can be found here:  https://inigoonline.com/2017/03/06/featured-artist-vesna-rikic/
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Featured Artist: Lora Serra of SerraCraft

March 25, 2017



Featured Artist: Lora Serra of SerraCraft


So, Tell me about your switchplate art.

I draw and paint the art for many of the plates. Currently in the shop, I have 12 plates I have painted original watercolors for. Some plates are a combination of painting and digital collage. Other Plates are complex digital collages, where the original picture[s] used are altered into a new image. And some are very straightforward found images cropped to plate size.

I view my switchplates in all but the last category as handmade multimedia art. The last category is more of a salute to art history, [ and an attempt to raise the aesthetic in available functional art for the home with some fun camp images.]



SaraFina SeaBling in silver

SaraFina SeaBling in silver


Why Switchplates?

I started making light switch plates about 15 years ago when I bought my beach house in Gerritsen Beach. I have always hung a lot of art on my walls, both collected, and my own, and in my new house it was no different. Wall space was a well utilized commodity. But I do love images, and wanted to add more. So I began decorating my light switch plates.

At first I decoupaged medieval calligraphy plates onto simple switchplates, for my own home. Later I experimented with more durable sealants such as resin. I was pleased with the results and the opportunity to display more art in my home.


African Proverb

African Proverb


When I started my Etsy shop, I did not think of listing Light Switch Plates. My motivation in opening my shop was to get me back in the studio to paint, so I displayed my watercolors. But I really loved my own switchplates, and enjoyed the opportunity it provided to me to enhance my home decor. I also loved searching for images [I am quite a pinterest junkie, as well as an art history buff. And I only had a limited number of switchplates in my beach bungalow.]

So I started by listing a few,.. They became popular, and more and more I liked the idea of providing aesthetically pleasing functional art for the home. {and offering an alternative to the kitch BS usually available.}


I also love sharing my “art finds” with others and sharing the images’ back stories.
So now that I have earned my artistic freedom in retirement, at Etsy I focus almost exclusively on switchplate art. Because at my house, turning on the light is an asethetic delight. And what a wonderful “cheap thrill” to be able to share….

So that’s the story of my switchplate art.


Beatific Bird

Beatific Bird in Copper


Can you tell me about your process of how you create each switchplate (from idea to finish)? 


There are basically 3 types of plates I do: plates from my original art work, altered image plates, and ‘homage to the image’ plates.


Original Art Switchplates start with lots of drawing…. I start with a large proportional template of the switchplate base I am planning to use. I will trace this on my pad first and work the image around it so that the placement of the switch and fastening screws works within the image. Then I will work on sketches until I am satisfied.
I will then retrace the template on watercolor paper. I like using a watercolor block and prefer 300 lb cold pressed paper. I will then lightly draw in the image, and then paint it in watercolor. Once I am happy with the watercolor [ sometimes the first painting, but sometimes I will have to paint it several times to work out the image until I am satisfied]… Anyway, once the image is complete, and dried, I scan it at high resolution and size it to the plate digitally. The finished sized image is then printed on a heavy weight paper. It will then be ready to be cut and mounted on the plate. From here on out the finishing process is the same for all 3 types of plates. My “Sarafina Blingfish (image above)”  is an example of an original art switchplate.
Altered Image Switchplates start with lots of browsing of images. I may have an idea in mind, a theme in mind or just browsing and saving things that strike my fancy. I do a lot of browsing on Pinterest and store the images that strike my fancy on my Pinterest boards. I maintain public and private boards and save stuff I definitely am seriously considering creating on in the private boards, while saving intriguing images on my public boards to share.


Kuba Cloth

Kuba Cloth


“Kuba Cloth Pattern” and “Bunny Hug” are examples of altered image switchplates. These are so much fun to do!

If you look at “Kuba Cloth”, it is a repeat pattern of a small swatch of fabric, made my reversing, inverting, cropping and piecing the pattern. The color was also digitally altered to modify the deep tan of the original print to a paler ivory, to match the ivory coloring of the dalmatian jasper chips I added to the four corners of the plate.


The Bunny Hug

The Bunny Hug Source Material


The Bunny Hug - The Craze of the Day A2

The Bunny Hug Altered Image Plate


The bulk of my plates are altered image plates. Some have ‘major alterations’. The alterations on other images are minor but judicious crops and color changes, when done strategically, can turn the viewer’s perspective on its head. A good example of this is the Face of Antiquity Light Switch Cover. The image is a cropped detail of an ancient Roman elite soldier’s face mask. By closely cropping, strategic positioning and punching up the gold and silver of the finish on the armor, the resulting image is subtly erotic, revealing a tempting curve of the lip that is nowhere in evidence when the lips are seen as a whole. And the screw at the edge of the lip …. a nod to body piercing.


Face of Antiquity

Face of Antiquity



‘Homage to the Image’ Switchplates: This third type of process involves no real alteration aside from the cropping needed to accomodate the size of the plate. An example of this is “Museum of Wonders”. The image is a children’s book cover from 1884. Placed on a switchplate in your home’s entryway, it gives the image a whole other layer of meaning, as it invites your guests to delight in your collected art and objects.

From Printed Image to Finished Switchplate:  The printed images are cut to fit the plate. Once cut, the image is sealed in an acrylic varnish, in a 6 step process of applying successive layers. The image is then adhered to the switchplate base and sealed in poured resin. Once the resin has cured, the switchplate is complete.


Museum of Wonders

Museum of Wonders


What kind of paints do you use, and do you need to use a varnish for durability?

I mostly use watercolor when I paint. I sometimes use acrylic for decorative additions, but enjoy working with watercolor when I paint.
The acrylic varnish I mention above is used to waterproof the paper and protect it from the resin while the resin is wet.
The resin itself hardens to a very durable finish. To test the finish,  I hung 2 switchplates in the open on my outside deck over a year ago. These plates have gone through 100 degree temps, single digiit temps, blizzards, and storms with high winds, and show no noticeable signs of wear.


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Featured Artist: Q&A with Katie Bute

March 18, 2017

Watercolour - Picaflor



Featured Artist: Q&A with Katie Bute


Bio: Katie Smith is an artist and textile designer based in Madrid, Spain. Katie’s formal education began at school on the Isle of Bute, Scotland where she began to take interest in painting and illustration.  And, though an easily distracted student herself, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Textile Design with Honours from the prestigious Heriot-Watt University where she gained experience in woven and knitted textiles before specialising in printed textiles.

She is inspired by a variety of sources, chiefly the skill of drawing and painting in a detailed and exhaustive manner.  Discovering all possibilities is an important aspect of her method; working closely with subject matter ensuring all qualities are captured and then translated onto paper or fabric.  Katie’s work is based around detail, colour and subject matter tends to be linked to nature or emotion.  Katie works with  variety of media although always leans towards the fluid and romantic textures created by watercolour painting.

Katie enjoys wandering Madrid´s Buen Retiro Park in search of coffee and inspiration and is altogether too enthusiastic about nature, attempting to paint, and procrastinating with regards to learning Spanish.




Your textile piece “Tulips” intrigues me. Would you tell me a little about this piece?


“Tulips” was the rebirth of a project brief set whilst I was studying at university. The pieces are part of a series of textiles I created based around the poem “Tulips” by Sylvia Plath, the Poet was recommended to me by a close friend and the particular poem “Tulips” resonated with me although I wasn’t entirely sure why!

Initially I took the poem too literally and in true painterly style painted beautiful watercolour flower tulips and my intention was to screen print these to fabric. It was too easy!

After stepping away from the project for a while and revisiting the poem I realised I was missing some interesting clues.

They’re not ordinary tulips.

“The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.

Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in.

I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly…”

So I revisited my initial drawings and ideas, they completely changed by analysis of the poem. Sylvia Plath is writing from her hospital bed.

The redness of the tulips pains her, and she believes she can hear them breathing lightly through their wrapping paper. The colour also speaks subtly to the colour of her wound.

And so my project changed completely.

The fabrics used within the textile are all simple canvas, bandages, swabbing and papers to create a clinical feel. I’ve used vivid red beads, hand sewn embroidery and decoupage to create wound like imagery or the oxygen bubbles you get behind your eyes, “breathing behind the paper”, with subtle pieces of the lines of the poem sliced throughout. There are around five A3/A2 pieces in the series detailed and unique in their own simple, persuasive way.

It became an unusual and emotive piece. Very clinical and different from other pieces of textile work which were much more fluid and of a painterly style. It’s a piece of personal work I revisit when I need to think outside the box, this makes me think it’s possible to step away from your creative comfort.


Dorothy's Sewing Box

Dorothy’s Sewing Box


I also like “Dorothy’s Sewing Box”. It brings back memories of me peering into my grandmother’s sewing box as a child. Will you tell me a bit about this series as well?


“Dorothy’s Sewing Box” began within my final year of university. I was interested in the fabric archive which lived at University but felt I had exhausted my time with it and it’s beautiful laces which had featured heavily in a previous project.

So whilst looking for new inspiration I literally stumbled upon “Dorothy’s Sewing Box”. It was a large mahogany box which peaked out from a shelf at second hand store, I knew I had to look inside! It contained old sewing and embroidery tools; the kind which are mounted on beautiful old card backing.

The box came home with me and I took about drawing and sketching some of the items. I experimented with new paint materials on paper to try and obtain the aged effect of the pieces within the box creating contrast from the shiny hooks and the card mount and the tangled threads which had unwound over time.

Transforming the painted studies to fabric was experimental which is always nice in the print studio. I decided to create three boxes intended as installations with complimenting lengths of fabric for interior use, some of these can be seen on my website however the original pieces were retained at university.

The techniques used were basic screen printing alongside resist dying/printing, hand painted method with dye and foil transfer. It was quite precise but experimental. I was determined to obtain the aged nature of the bobbins of thread alongside the cardboard backed poppers and pins. I combined this with some imagery which I obtained from old sewing pattern pieces which really provided structured arrows and measurement prints which brought some pieces up to date creating another look almost intended for fashion textiles.

So a diverse range overall.

Why the name Dorothy? Inside the box lurking underneath all the sewing treasures was an old card of a floral garden handwritten to, who I believed to be the previous owner, “Dorothy”.


What is your favorite medium to work with and why?


It has to be watercolour!

I enjoy the fluidity of watercolours and how they can be quite diverse. They give you that unpredictable burst of colour when applied to wet paper but at the same time you can control them and lift colour to create fine detail.

Overall I like the romantic, natural motion of watercolour which is like a little dance on paper.


Bee's Bouquet

Bee’s Bouquet


Your portfolio is filled with beautiful renderings of birds, butterflies and flowers…What do these subjects mean to you?


They mean different things for different reasons.

Flowers are easy, I love drawing and painting them! So much so I try to think of other subjects to test myself more. Working with flowers is beautiful capturing their delicacy, textures and patterns; with petals almost like fabric.

My love for birds is very similar, I enjoy drawing little duos because I like to capture their relationship in my work. How they interact with each other, like a dance in mid air (particularly the hummingbirds) or a conversation. It’s nice to try and detail their textures on paper which is almost a link to my love for textiles.

Butterflies is an unusual subject. I have small detail of a larger piece “Fears” on my website which is based around my fear of moths. I started to draw/paint the moths detailing their fuzzy textures, delicate wings, beautiful patterns and prints soon realising drawing them actually wasn’t so bad. To evolve this subject I decided to venture to butterflies. Sadly I didn’t overcome my phobia!

Overall these subjects have close links to the natural essence which I like to capture in my work. I like to focus on the finer details and delicacy sometimes we often don’t see in real life.

Hummingbirds in Acrylic and Ink

Hummingbirds in Acrylic and Ink


You recently (in October 2016) relocated from Scotland to Madrid, Spain. Has this move to a new city changed your art in any way?


Yes. I’ve certainly seen things through new eyes, mainly the most simplistic things we don’t stop and take a moment to appreciate. I believe this is based on my love for my new local park, Parque del Retiro, I explore there most weekends!

Additionally there are a multitude of art galleries to explore in Madrid which host some of the most exclusive paintings in the world. I’m fortunate to have been able to take some time to visit and see some of these paintings from art eras which aren’t so common to stumble upon in Scotland.

I think because of these I have certainly became more experimental with colour particularly bright backgrounds featured in some newer work created freely and loosely before deciding what the overall piece transforms into! I have also been working with new and previously unexplored mediums including oil and acrylics painting. They always seemed quite complex and scary to use to me before but you can get some really nice techniques and retain the same detail I like to attain when painting or drawing. Finally some new sketches I’ve been working on are dreamlike and almost imaginative whereas previous works have been fairly realistic or close to subject matter. It’s been good to consider unexplored creativity which has been loosely inspired by my gallery visit to see the work of Salvador Dali and Yves Tanguy.





Anything else you’d like to share?


I do like working with new topics, briefs or subject matter as I think it helps keep things fresh and new! If anyone reading has a suggestion or title they think could work with my style please do suggest by sending it on to me to work with.

I am available for commissions or enquiries. My work is on display at galleries throughout the West Coast of Scotland and shortly in Madrid, Spain.


Website: www.katiebute.com
Twitter : @KatieBute
Instagram: @KatieBute

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Featured Artist: Brad Teare

March 11, 2017

Canyon Color, 24x24"

Canyon Color, 24 x 24″, oil on canvas (click to enlarge).


Featured Artist: Brad Teare



Brad Teare’s very first encounter with original paintings by Vincent Van Gogh was during a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 1989. “I marveled at the visceral power of the thick applications of beautiful color,” Brad recalls. “Reproductions of his work were faint shadows of the originals.” This particular moment is what sparked his interest in textured palette knife painting and planted the seeds for his future work.




East Bench Color, 20 x 20″, oil on canvas.



In 2012, Brad began experimenting with texture in his abstracts. He started with acrylics,  since they “allow unlimited layers and bizarre texturing mediums without the threat of cracking”. He studied combinations of color and texture using a unique painting process that frequently employed both hands and mediums such as fumed silica, calcium carbonate, and marble dust. Brad worked on this series for two years.



Country Road, 24x30"

Country Road, 24 x 30″, oil on canvas.



After two successful abstract shows, Brad returned to landscapes with a desire to infuse oil paint with even more texture and vibrating color. He embraced the palette knife as my primary means of paint application.



Brad Teare

Canyon Light. 12 x 12″, oil on canvas.



According to Brad, “This new found fusion of techniques provided a rich repertoire and a robust, energetic wellspring for a new generation of paintings.”  Brad states, “After a long search, I finally found my home.”



Reflecton of the Shadow, 36x36"

Reflecton of the Shadow, 36 x 36″, oil on canvas.



Brad Teare built a successful career illustrating for publishers such as The New York Times and Random House where he did book covers for authors such as James Michener, Anne Tyler, and Alice Walker. In 1994 his aspiration of painting the Western landscape reasserted itself, and he moved to Providence, Utah, a small town in the Rocky Mountains.

Teare has been invited to many artist residencies including the Maynard Dixon Residency in Mount Carmel, Utah and the Forbes Trinchera Residency in Southern Colorado. His work has been featured in magazines such as American Artist and Gulf Connoisseur (Dubai). His work has been included in shows such as the LA Art Show, the Springville Museum, the Door County Plein Air Festival,  and the Forbes Galleries in New York City.



East Bench, 16x20"

East Bench, 16 x 20″, oil on canvas.



Connect with Brad:

Instagram: bradteare

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Featured Artist: Gerdi Möller-Jansen

March 07, 2017

Forgotten Items

Forgotten Items, acrylic on canvas, 100 x 80 cm


Featured Artist: Q&A with Gerdi Möller-Jansen


When and why did you decide to become a painter?

“Both brain hemispheres need to be fed equally. And that’s maybe the reason why I started painting (and dealing with other areas of art like screenprinting, photography, and illustration) during my successful career in business information technology.

What inspires you as an artist?

Almost everything is inspiration to me. Exiting and boring books. The beauty of nature and maltreated environment. Traveling the world and relaxing at the home beach (I recently relocated to Hamburg to Lübeck along the Baltic Sea). Most of my works are abstract today. They usually develop in an informal process. First and foremost I am guided by my gut feeling. I do not look for perfection, however, to work as an artist is such as strong motivation for me as it allows me to work completely independently – and that’s freedom.

What does painting mean to you?

Painting does not just mean creating to me – but often it means finding. Finding those fascinating moments and imaginations. Something that has been covered for so long and I hope that the beholder or viewer of my works can feel and see those characteristic situations or places.”


Deep Water Horizon

Deep Water Horizon, acrylic on paper, 64 x 50 cm


Your paintings “About Forgotten Items” and “Deep Water Horizon” look like they belong together. Are they part of the same series? What do these paintings mean to you?

“Those 2 paintings are from a cycle of works dealing with our abused oceans and nature. It seems that our society still does not see the long term impact of our behaviour.

When painting, I’m trying to express what touches me and try to make things visible. e.g. “forgotten items” is kind of a story of human shortsigthedness.

We throw away our plastic waste into rivers or the sea or just forget our items in the environment. Those “forgotten items” are forming already huge islands.

It must be human shortsightedness, that the pollution  of our oceans with plastic trash seems to be overseen.  Everyone is responsible but it looks like everyone is waiting that our politicians take care.

The next example “deep water horizon” with all shades of caribean blue is not what it seems to be at first sight. Tourism is booming and the catastrophy is almost forgotten. Kind of a mass amnesia. With seven million litres of Corexit, BP let the oil pest disappear. The gulf recovers, the water is blue, beaches are clean. Super duper. “Deep water horizon” is no longer visible. What a summerly fallacy.”


I was especially drawn to the paintings “Dangling on a string”, “Out of the blue” and “Only scars left”. I love the titles as well. Would you tell me more about these works?

“These paintings are from my work series “Mental State” and reflected my personal situation at the time of creation, but I’m sure it could be situations which most people have experienced.

I think many people know this feeling when terrorism and wars are covering two thirds of the news. Everything that was considered as well-known and safe seems to be no longer stable. Fear is creeping into your thoughts.

It is like big blocks are dangling on a string



"Dangling on a string", acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm

“Dangling on a string”, acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm


And who hasn’t experienced the feeling, that “out of  the blue” your complete life has changed. It was just the other day, when everything was perfect and now … a beloved person died, your friend left you,  your boss gave you a notice …. So many examples when a deep cut can change your life. 


"Out of the blue", acrylic/marble dust, on artist board, 100 x 80 cm

“Out of the blue”, acrylic/marble dust, on artist board, 100 x 80 cm


But time heals every wound. And after a while you can see that there are still signs, they might never go away, they belong to your life – but it is “only scars left” .


"Only scars left", acrylic on paper, 64 x 50 cm

“Only scars left”, acrylic on paper, 64 x 50 cm


Connect with Gerdi Möller-Jansen:
Website: http://www.gerdi-jansen.de/
Artfinder: https://www.artfinder.com/gerdi-moeller-jansen
Saatchi Art: https://www.saatchiart.com/gerdijansen
Other: https://shop.spreadshirt.de/gerdi-jansen/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moellerjansen

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Featured Artist: Q & A with Espacia Maria

February 25, 2017

Espacia Maria

Particles #1, 7” x 10”, Gouache


Featured Artist: Q & A with Espacia Maria

A native of Long Island, Espacia Maria actively exhibits in many art related gallery shows, auctions and events both nationally and internationally. She works for clients in New York City and across the country. She was selected to participate in a Rotary International Exchange in South Korea for a month where she learned about traditional South Korean art techniques. She was also awarded a fellowship and hand selected for a renowned art residency at The Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York, as well as a full scholarship to the Vermont Studio Center.


Particles #1, 7” x 10”, Gouache

Espacia Maria concentrates on plein air and abstract painting and has shown at numerous galleries in the Northeast of the United States.  Espacia Maria was named “Best in Show” at the Northport Plein Air event. In perhaps her best achievement yet, she was chosen to be in the exclusive Heckscher Museum of Art Long Island Biennial. Espacia Maria’s paintings are in several private as well as permanent collections. Aside from painting, Espacia Maria enjoys teaching art, yoga, dancing, poetry and chess. She lives and works in Long Island, New York.

Tell me a little about your Abstract Series.


The constant exploration and destruction of our environment inspires me to paint what I’m afraid we’ll lose. My paintings are influenced by the constant flux in landscape; either suburban or rural, country or city. From the seasons to the constant spread of our industrial society, our landscape is always in constant reformation. I am drawn to nature and the purity of cyclical change. The images emerging out of the abstract and impressionistic strokes represents what we as artists need to remember, honor ourselves, honor our instincts and our world.


This abstract series is a reflection of my respect for nature. My strokes represent a meditative zone that I enter into as I see the landscape in front of me.


I am upset with what is going on right now with the EPA and how our views of Earth are changing inside our government. Scientists have proven that we are disrupting the temperatures in our world with our carbon footprint. This is what we need to respect and this ignorance can influence the future for our children. This is a time where we should all be aware of our actions and respect and honor our planet to the fullest instead of ignoring the facts.


Tell me a little about your creative process.


I photograph, sketch, and paint these landscapes. Drawing is the immediate means by which I bridge the external world with my sensation of it. Not only to the visual richness of nature but also to the rhythms underlying it. These notations form the basis of both my abstract and my impressionist paintings that represent the fluidity and connection with us all.


Travel is an integral part of my creative process, as I am drawn to variety, which is researched through multiple landscapes, climates and cultures. I am continuously looking to expand, to gather and to organize these experiences. Research is an important component of my art-making process. I equate process and media with idea when utilizing drawing, printmaking, installation, sculpture, video, performance and photography. Each body of work explores different ways in which our landscapes transform and how they are remembered.


I am passionate about our environment and the protection of our national and international landscapes/forests/waterways. It is all integrated together and we need to remember this.


Particles #1, 7” x 10”, Gouache


What is your favorite artist or movement and why?

I have several favorite artists in different art movements. Yet, the movement that speaks to me the most is Expressionism. The Expressionists encouraged the distortion of form and the deployment of strong colors to convey a variety of anxieties and yearnings. The other reason why I choose this artistic style is because the artists seek to depict non-objective reality but rather the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events can arouse within a person. Just like then, right now we are in times of social change and spiritual crisis. In this sense, it forms the converse of the rationalist and classicizing tendencies.


Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it?


Here are two quotes that inspire me to create:


“Art is not about beauty, art is an expression.”

(From The Alchemist A Mystery in Three Acts, by Vikram Roy)


“Art is creative for the sake of realization, not for the sake of play. It is the quest of our self that drives us along the eternal and never ending journey we must all make.” -Max Beckmann


Esther Marie

From “Koi Series”


Connect with Espacia Maria:

LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/espacia-maria-esther-marie-b6953434
Twitter: https://twitter.com/esthermarieart
Tumblr: https://esthermarieart.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/esthermarieart/
Website: https://www.esthermarieart.comEspaciaMaria
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Esther-Marie-Art-Aka-Espacia-Maria-223884067663904/


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Featured Artist: Yassine Mourit

February 19, 2017



Featured Artist: Yassine Mourit


As a child growing up in his native Casablanca Morocco, Yassine always found immense pleasure in art making. His love of art only intensified into adulthood. In 2005, Yassine earned his MA in Graphic Design and Illustration from the National School of Fine Art, in Casablanca, Morocco (École supérieure des beaux-arts de Casablanca).

Over the years, Yassine was employed as a Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and an Art Director with worldwide known international brands. In 2013, he moved to London to pursue other opportunities to work in fashion and branding. During all those years working for various employers, he continued to work on his own art. In 2016, he decided to turn his passion into a full-time profession.


Happened Today

Happened Today


Geometry and figures are central to Yassine’s work. He paints in layers and combines figurative elements with expressive brushstrokes and geometric lines. His works are influenced from past and present life experiences, often focusing on human expressions, divulging secrets and exploring stories from different narratives, often with more than one meaning.

Yassine’s work is a beautiful commingling of technical knowledge and emotion, of organization and expression. His sense of color and composition suggest a place where the physical meets the spiritual. Each work carries a certain feeling and story, yet the space between the figurative elements leaves room for the viewer to add his or her own imagination or interpretation.

You & me

You & me


As for inspiration, Yassine states that often his paintings are often a result of several experiences or influences as it can take as short as a few days to as long as a few years to complete each piece:

‘I take days, weeks, months, years to make my artwork ready, and when someone asks me what inspires and influences [it] I simply say, “Today will not be the same as tomorrow or yesterday. That means that I can’t be inspired and influenced by only one thing. Each day brings me something new; new ideas, philosophies, stories which I carry during the whole process of making it to come to life.’


No Regrets

No Regrets


Connect with Yassine:

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Featured Artist: Madeleine Kuijper

February 14, 2017

2016-08-09 17.37.48

From the series: People with animals on their head: “Madame Octavia la Polyjambe” (click to enlarge).


Featured Artist: Madeleine Kuijper


Madeleine Kuijper always felt that imagination and creation was a normal part of life. Growing up in culturally rich Amsterdam, Madeleine would often visit the numerous museums and galleries around her. This constant exposure to art at such a young age is what initially planted the seeds for her later blooming artistic career. Madeleine’s work is made using various printmaking techniques such as etching and linocut. She will often also embellish each piece with pen and ink, technical pen, and watercolors.


Ets driepoot kleur

Tripod with Mirror (click to enlarge).


Madeleine’s art can be described as a wonderful combination of fanciful yet meticulous in detail.  Her work is truly magic. It conjures up bizarre yet beautiful images of the past: Medieval woodcuts, postcards of the Victiorian Era, and the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, to name a few.

Madeleine says she works mainly though her imagination, and not so much though observation. According to Madeleine, the need to imagine and express herself through her drawings has become a necessity; it enables her to put reality into a personal perspective, in which she often tries to add a touch of humor. Madeleine also states that her inspiration can come “from mythology, from (news)stories, from quotes, proverbs, sayings and word-jokes… and sometimes just from silly ideas that develop organically whilst drawing”.


Katachtige op visachtige kleur naam

Feline Victory (click to enlarge).


Transformation is also a recurring theme in Madeleine’s work. She will often create images of objects and animals morphing into humans. Her anthropomorphic imagery is what often lends humor and a touch of surprise to her art.


Boat Trip

Boat Trip with Cat Ladies (click to enlarge).


Madeleine has had several exhibitions; most recently at The Central Library of Amsterdam. You can learn more about Madeleine and her whimsical artwork through the following links:


w: http://madeleinekuijper.nl

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Featured Artist: Q&A with Shannon Kelley, Portland Zombie Series

February 06, 2017

Gluten Free Zombie

Gluten Free Zombie


Featured Artist: Q&A with Shannon Kelley, Portland Zombie Series


Shannon Kelley and is a native Californian currently living in the “notoriously weird” city of Portland, OR. After graduating from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Shannon began a career in the corporate world designing for such places as the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Target Corporation and Push Magazine. After feeling an insane urge to break out of the corporate structure, Shannon shifted her focus from the corporate world to producing documentaries, then to making art full-time and “painting everything in sight”.
Shannon’s most recent series, “Zombie Portland”,  is infused with observational comedy that is inspired by the city of Portland and all the quirky people who inhabit it. She primarily paints these zombie portraits on wood collected from dilapidated buildings and abandoned structures, believing that the wood “holds secrets in its forgotten grain”.

Your Zombie Portland series is hilarious. What was your inspiration for these paintings?

I started creating the series ‘Zombie Portland’ as an homage to my new home city, Portland, OR. Portland is one of the most quirky, weird, wonderful, and annoying cities I’ve ever lived in. It’s a real love/hate relationship. There are things about this city that make me want to run down the streets with my middle fingers in the air screaming “recycle THIS Portland!” because god forbid I put a plastic bottle in the wrong recycling bin. Or ask for directions. No one in the entire Portland Metro area can give directions! Or use an umbrella. Or not act snotty when you walk into a bar. Even though I like to poke fun at my new city, I am also having a love affair with it. I love that art is alive and pulsing here. I love that the best damn coffee and the best fucking craft beer and the best LEGAL marijuana is always at my fingertips no matter the neighborhood. I love that when the sun comes out after the gabillionth day in a row of rain, the city starts to dance. I love that there are more bars than churches here. I love it so much that I had to write it a “love letter” through paint and zombies.

To get inspired, I sat at Pioneer Square, a busy downtown square full of business people, food carts, heroin junkies, skateboarders, and religious zealots with a bullhorn and a Casio (the usual downtown crowd). I made a list of the things I found unique to Portland. As the people walked by I noticed the commonalities in specific personas: the vegan yoga lovin whole foods shopping soccer mom, the dick head bike commuter that rides in the middle of traffic, the hipster with the long beard holding a PBR who hates Californians, the list went on. I tried to imagine the best way to represent and exploit the stereotypes that are alive and well in Portland and then, it hit me…. Zombies! Zombies are weird and silly and fictional and the perfect way to represent my view of Portland.

Craft Beer Zombie in a Hoodie

Craft Beer Zombie in a Hoodie


What is your medium and process?

My medium for this series is acrylic paint on recycled wood. My process for each zombie starts with research. I’ll sit in a spot downtown and observe people and do quick sketches. I clip pictures out of magazines and print images from the internet and then tape them up on the walls of my studio. I pester every breathing person around me as to their ideas of things and stereotypes that are totally Portland. Once surrounded by all things that inspire a particular zombie, I start sketching. When I feel that I had found the right perspective, tone, and persona in the sketches, I transition to painting.

You have mentioned that you paint the zombies on found wood collected from dilapidated barns and other structures. In your opinion, what does the reclaimed wood lend to the series? 

I knew I couldn’t use any old canvas for this project. I needed something special and very Portlandesque and I wanted to have a feel of a Zombie apocalypse worthy canvas. So I went around the city and collected old wood from knocked down or burnt structures, wood piles from old homes being remodeled, business that have  shut down…etc. So not only is each zombie a representation (of my view) of Portland but the ‘canvas’ they are painted on are part of its history.

Are you a fan of zombie movies or tv shows like The Walking Dead?

To be honest, I have never seen an episode of The Walking Dead, but I hear it’s riveting! I can’t recall a particular Zombie movie that specifically inspired me. The biggest inspiration was actually an incident that happened years ago in Austin, Texas. Someone hacked into the electronic highway signs that warn drivers of upcoming accidents and traffic patterns. Whoever hacked it made the sign read ‘Warning Zombies Ahead’. I loved that prank! I don’t know why I thought it was so cool but it struck a chord in me.

I watched a few episodes when I first got to Portland. I thought it was kind of awkward humor…Maybe it was just the few episodes I saw?  I definately need to watch more because I keep hearing that the show is hilarious and nails Portland perfectly.


Urban Chicken Farmer Zombie Couple

Urban Chicken Farmer Zombie Couple

Describe your studio. Is there a ritual that you perform to get you into the mindset for painting? Music, etc?

I currently live in a fantastic 2 story loft in downtown Portland. My studio is on one floor and my living and eating on another. The studio space has big floor to high ceiling windows that overlook the City. Perfect backdrop for creating. To get into paint mode I need to stretch out. I need to find a way to tap into the creature in me that creates. I do that by putting on wireless headphones and blasting music. As I am deaf in one ear, the headphones really help me hear the music and shut out the external world so I can enter mine. I’ll pace in front of the intended canvas like a gunslinger showdown until ZAP! inspiration hits and the painting begins.

Can you list some of the Zombies you’ve created so far?:

Zombie Strippers, Craft Beer Hoodie Wearing Zombie, Urban Chicken Farmer Zombies, Rip City Zombie, Naked Zombie Girl on an Orange Rental Bike, The Budtender Zombie, The Toy Horse Zombie, Murder of Zombie Crows, Burnside Skater Zombie, Pissed Off Hipster Zombie. Belmont Goat Zombie, Zombie Civil War, A Lesbian Zombie and her Dog, and a Gluten Free Zombie.

Anything else you’d like to share?

More Zombies are on the way. Be prepared! Buy a Zombie Survival Guide. Take shelter. Practice your Zombie kill. Seriously. I cannot guarantee that my zombies won’t jump out of their paintings and run rampant hunting for brains. They have a mind of their own. Once I paint them, it’s out of my hands. Zombie takeover coming soon.

Naked Zombie Girl on an Orange Bike

Naked Zombie Girl on an Orange Bike

You can learn more about Kelley and her Portland Zombies by checking out the following links:

Facebook: @Shannonkelleyart
Twitter: @shannonlovesart

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Open Letter to Women Questioning the Importance of the Women’s Marches:

January 23, 2017

"Silenced", 2012. 16x16", oil and earplugs on canvas (click to enlarge).

“Silenced”, 2012. 16×16″, oil and earplugs on canvas (Silenced is NOT a state we want for ourselves!) Click to enlarge.


Open Letter to Women Questioning the Importance of the Women’s Marches:


I see you, and I read your posts as I seek to understand. You claim that you have enjoyed all the benefits of being a woman in America. You feel as though you have never been discriminated against. You do not understand what the big deal is. How is marching going to change anything, anyway?


If you are one of these women, please let me say (and I mean it with complete compassion and love and respect) that I am happy for you… I am truly happy that you never felt like your work was undervalued and you have had to work harder for less than what a man would make. I’m happy for your privileges, how you have enjoyed the right to vote and are able to believe what you want and say what you feel.


I am happy that you never struggled to pay for healthcare costs, which are on average 68-69% higher for women than they are for men.


I am happy that you were never made to feel like a victim, and I’m certainly grateful you have never experienced abuse, rape or sexual assault (which according to RAINN, there are on average 321,500 new victims each year in the U.S., with new incidents occurring every 98 seconds.)


I am happy that you have not had to endure discrimination due to race, religion or sexual orientation on top of being female. Please believe me when I say I am glad you have not had to battle any of these issues (among others) that many women face everyday….but keep this in mind before you share another article or post that mocks those who have decided to speak out and make their voices heard:


We are where we are today because of the sacrifices of others. If we choose to silence ourselves, I’m afraid we won’t have much left to sacrifice. We as a country are able to enjoy so much freedom today because of the greatness of our military, however we as women hold more rights than ever before because of the countless women throughout history, who stood out in crowds, just as they did this past Saturday. They were mocked and criticized too.


I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that we should all be grateful to reside in a country where the rights of women are greater than that of other countries. Yet, at the same time I believe there is much more social progress to be made and policies that need to be kept in place.


Like so many others, I prefer to be vocal about these issues at hand… because I want to see my daughter grow up and enjoy all the rights and opportunities that we enjoy today, and then some. My art comes from a place of love and hope, and I will continue to use it to express what I feel is right… and even if you still don’t agree…please know that I am speaking out for you as well. <3




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Featured Artist: Barbara Navarro

January 19, 2017

Amahini (Spirits of the Forest), 112cm x 76cm.

Amahini (Spirits of the Forest), 112cm x 76cm (click to enlarge).


Featured Artist: Barbara Navarro


Barbara Navarro is a Franco-American multimedia artist who has been living in Paris since 1978. She was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1950. Her large body of work spans over several decades and has been informed and inspired by her voyages to West Africa, as well as her time spent living among the Yanomami people in the Amazon Rainforest of Venezuela and Brazil.


Barbara first acquired her knowledge of vegetal pigments while visiting the Dogon people of Mali. There, she studied the techniques of traditional “Bogolan” painting. The pigments used are made from a combination of plants that are dried, crushed and then mixed with mud. After mixing, the pigments are then ready to be applied to canvas that has been dyed an ochre color with boiled bark from the wolo tree.


Time spent in Venezuela and in Brazil living among the Yanomami people of the rainforest has also made a huge impact on Barbara’s work. There, she created paintings using a mixture of acrylic colors and roucou, which is the plant-based pigment used by the Yanomami for painting on shamanic ritual implements, as well as body painting.


These works were created on roughly woven canvas prepared with acrylic medium then textured with a mixture of sand from a nearby riverbank and lava. The canvas is easily rolled so that it could be and transported on expeditions into the Amazon.


Rahara (Mythical River Serpent), 100cm x 75cm.

Rahara (Mythical River Serpent), 100cm x 75cm (click to enlarge).


Barbara’s concern for the ongoing devastation of the Amazon also inspired her most recent sculptures, installations and film projects. Since 2005, she has been working on a performance and film project titled “Fire Sculpture” which is, according to Barbara, intended to bring “urgent attention to the Rainforest and the indigenous cultures that it sustains”.


As a protest against the Amazon’s ongoing destruction, Barbara has been publicly burning her totemic sculptures. While these sculptural works were first intended to “seek to express the universality of the shamanic visions of the Yanomami”, the performances in which these structures are set ablaze symbolize the “degradation of nature and the annihilation of indigenous cultures that depend on the forest for their survival”.


Burning sculptures ( Photo Installation).

Burning sculptures photo installation (click to enlarge).


I encourage you to check out Barbara’s website and the following links for even more on her expansive body of work. There is so much to see!


Website: http://barbaranavarro.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Amazon-Rainforest-Magic-304864686226747/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbaraNavarro
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/barbaranavarro/


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Gearing up for 2017…

January 13, 2017

Turquoise Buddha (My first painting of 2017!), 12x12", oil on canvas.

Turquoise Buddha (My first painting of 2017!), 12×12″, oil on canvas (click to enlarge).


Gearing up for 2017…


So I’ve been taking a little blogging break to get myself into more of a Zen mindset to carry into 2017. It hasn’t been easy and perhaps I am still recovering from 2016, but I’m not sure if that’s the best excuse. Being an artist can sometimes feel like swimming against the currents. It can feel as though you are pouring your soul into something meaningful yet the masses often don’t see value in it. You put yourself out there again and again… Will your voice be heard this time, or will it vanish like an echo in the wilderness? Why keep going?

One of my favorite mantras of 2016 that really helped me to keep moving forward, especially through times of self-doubt was this:


“Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” -Sarah Kay


For this reason I keep creating and shouting into the internet ether, and I hope all my fellow artists continue to do the same. To my fellow artists: Never loose hope. If someone doesn’t understand what you’re doing, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it just means that they aren’t ready to receive what you have to give. Just keep shining your light outward and the right people and opportunities will find you!

The world needs art more than ever right now. In a time where our free press may be under threat, please remember that artists were the first recorders of events, the original storytellers, and usually some of the first to break social norms. An artist’s reason for existence is to shake things up, to acknowledge what’s right, to raise awareness and bring healing to communities.


This tweet I received today from fellow artist Lee McIntyre is everything!

This tweet I received today from fellow artist Lee McIntyre is everything!


I am currently gearing up for more posts and features for 2017. This year however, I will be focusing on art with a message, art that seeks to ignite positive social change, and art that goes against the norms of what the art market desires. Last but not least, I want to create and share weird art!

In the coming year, I hope to introduce and promote the work of artists who refuse to conform to the trends of the art market, as I know how hard it can be for one to stay true to oneself, especially when no one seems to get it

Several years ago, when I first started submitting my Paper Dolls series to galleries, gallery owners weren’t exactly sure what to make of my work because it didn’t comfortably fit into a “marketable” category. I received a fair amount of rejections before I decided to go the independent route.

In order to not let these rejections get me down, I decided to embrace it…even make a game out of it. Every time I got a new rejection letter I would cut it out and collage it into my paintings. I would laugh at each response and then say to myself  “Oh look! More free collage materials to work with!”


Reject, 10x10", mixed media and gallery rejections on canvas. 2010.

Reject, 10×10″, mixed media and gallery rejections on canvas. 2010 (click to enlarge).


So, with that said, my fellow creatives…Keep on spreading your light and do so with empathy and love. Keep those freak flags up in the air, and waive that shit around higher and prouder in 2017 than you ever have in previous years. I want to see a massive freak flag parade going on…with celebrations so loud that they drown out the voices of those who would otherwise try to repress it.<3


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Guest Post: The Artistic Process of Portrait Artist Malinda Prud’homme

December 11, 2016

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Guest Post: The Artistic Process of Portrait Artist Malinda Prud’homme

by Malinda Prud’homme


Hello Everyone! I’m Guest Blogger and Full-Time Portrait Artist Malinda Prud’homme, here to share some of my artistic process with you! I began my career part time back in 2010 and started off by experimenting with a wide variety of styles, mediums, and subject matters. But by the time I was ready to take the leap into a full-time career in 2012 I had become an established Toronto Portrait Artist being sought after for commissions. In recent years I’ve been further blessed with international exhibitions and orders coming in from all over the world. Just as it took years to build up my career, the same applies to my technical abilities. Below you’ll see a self-portrait I did in Secondary School compared to the one we’ll be discussing here in this post. You can see how much improvement has taken place over the past 12 years. It’s important to remember that when it comes to art, good things come with patience, dedication, and time. I think one of the appealing aspects of my work is its clean crisp look and the way I achieve that is with many different layers and steps, allowing everything to dry in between. Today I share these steps with you and I hope that you will take from it what you find useful. 🙂



self-portrait-practice, 2003-2014.


Step 1: The Drawing

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Just the other day I had a friend and fellow artist ask how I get my drawings onto the canvas and I gave him a rather quick answer and was disappointed with the way I explained myself. I use different methods depending on the amount of detail. I always start with a sheet of white paper (for smaller pieces) or a sheet of Kraft paper (for larger pieces). On this paper I will create my to-scale drawing based off of my reference image(s). To make sure my lines are correct I will use a sight stick and/or a ruler to measure everything out. I am not the type of artist that just lets my drawing flow, or at least not very often. If the reference image is complicated I may use the grid system over certain areas for example in the jewels you see above. The drawing is done on a separate piece of paper, rather than drawing it directly on the canvas, because your final surface should be free of any unnecessary impressions. A pencil mark on a canvas, even if done very lightly, is likely to appear under the paint as a little ridge. Once I am pleased with the drawing and can only imagine minor changes it is transferred over to the canvas (or painting surface) using the carbon method. Whatever drawing is copied onto the canvas can now be altered ever so slightly but the lines will be imprinted so make sure you are very pleased with your drawing before doing the transfer.


Step 2: Background

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My next step is to paint in the background. It has always been my natural inclination to paint in whatever is furthest away first, working my way to the items that are closer and more detailed. I find this ensures that items in the foreground overlap those in the background, as they should. Many artists underestimate how important the order of their layers is to achieving realism and perspective.


Step 3: Layering The Flesh

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For Oils:  I LOVE oil paints! Especially when I’m trying to capture smooth well blended skin tones! When I’m using oils I will start with an initial layer that covers all flesh and determines where the lights and darks will go. You should try to capture the skin colour but know that this can be altered in the second layer. The shadows are most important in the first layer because they need to dry before they are built up in the next layer. Allow the first layer to dry completely. Then apply another layer deepening the shadows, brightening the lights, and getting more details with shimmer, beauty marks, etc. If necessary, allow this layer to dry completely before applying another layer. Do so until you are fully pleased.


For Acrylics:  While I do enjoy working with acrylics, creating smooth well blended skin tones can be very challenging. How I go about achieving that look is something I am asked very often. Because acrylics dry very fast, blending is difficult. I pre-mix large portions of ALL the skin tones I will require and I make sure I have a wide range of tones (both light and dark). Remember, it is always better to have made too much of a colour than too little when it comes to acrylics. Once you start this painting process there will be no time to stop and mix more. Once I have all of my paint colours prepared on multiple palettes (lights on one, darks on another) I like to plop a bit of retarder onto each colour blob. This will help lengthen the drying time. With everything set, get painting! Paint in the skin tones, blending as you go, starting from one end to the other, as quickly as you can. When you’ve covered all the flesh allow the layer to dry completely (VERY dry, the smallest amount of moister could be catastrophic). Then apply another layer, blending as you go, very quickly, from one side to the other. Once you’ve allowed this to dry you can apply another layer if you wish but I wouldn’t do many more after that.


Step 4: First Layer on Hair and Colours


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This step if pretty simple and sometimes a nice break after working on the flesh. I simply do a basic layer on the hair and other colours I see in the piece. I might do some minor shading or detailing but nothing too complicated. I also DO NOT touch the facial features until I’m ready to get detailed.

Step 5: Eyes

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No matter what medium I work in I always do my eyes in the same way. I start with shading and minor detailing around the eye, brow bone, and the lid. Then I move onto the eyebrow by first filling in the shape of the eyebrow with an all over colour (the one most seen in the reference). Then I go back in doing strands with flesh tones and lighter brow colour tones. Then I go back in with some darker brown strands and even some black depending on the person. Within your eyebrows you should see a little range of lights to darks. My next step is to fill in the eye whites using an all over off-white colour (the colour most seen in the reference) and then adding in some shadows in grey, brown, pink, and peach. Sometimes, because of reflections, there are blue shadows in the eyes. Once I am pleased with the look of the eye whites I move onto the irises starting first with an all over colour (the mid tone of the eyes) and then adding in light details and dark details. In my experience I have found that there is a darker ring around the iris which gives the eye more definition and life. Once all the details are in place I fill in the pupil and then the white eye shine. Eyes generally always have a little shine in each eye. This also gives them life. But keep in mind the shines can be different from each other. One may be bigger than the other or even shaped differently. Make sure to capture what you see in the reference. At this point I prefer to allow my eyes to dry if time permits. The next step would be to define the lines around the eye using a variety of colours and shades. Notice where there are shines and shadows and include black eyeliner if it’s present in the reference. When all looks good, apply the lashes using a very small long bristled soft brush.


Step 6: Nose and Lips

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The nose is generally an easy task achieved using first lights and darks to add shines and shadows. Then apply faint lines where necessary to give the nose definition. The lips are achieved using far more steps. First I go around the lips applying shines and shadows where I see them in the reference. Then I apply my dark middle line that separates the lips. I like to put this line in first to help me maintain the shape of the lips when I apply the all-over colour (the colour most seen on the lips in the reference). Then layers of darker colours are placed on the lips to show detail and shadow. Once the darker shades are in place, lighter shades are applied to give the lips more dimension. Finally the lip shines can be placed on, usually on the bottom lip, but sometimes the light reaches the top lip as well.


Step 7: Hair

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The hair step is by far the most tedious for me. Using a variety of shades and colours, create strands throughout the hair. While some artists opt for sections of light and dark in order to save time, I can’t help but put in the tiny little strands. I think the results are far more impressive in the end.


Step 8: The Final Details

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In the final layer I go through all of the jewelry or areas of clothing and add the appropriate shading and details. Though this stage is the final one it can often be one of the most time consuming and can make you’re piece extremely impressive. Once the facial features are in it sometimes feels like the portrait is complete, making the final details seem a little tedious.  But if I know that will be the case I will save the facial features last to keep my anticipation high. Once the final lines go in the piece will look polished and alive!

I hope you enjoyed this Art Tutorial! Feel free to leave any questions or comments below or direct them to me on …


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We Are The Artists: Interview with Charity Janisse

December 04, 2016

Photo by Charity Janisse

Photo by Charity Janisse


We Are The Artists: Interview with Charity Janisse


Note: This past year I had introduced the work of Charity Janisse as part of my #SupportLivingArtistsIn2016 series. Since then, Charity and I have enjoyed some meaningful exchanges…conversations about art, creativity and life and general. I very much enjoyed her poetry and could relate to much of what she was writing about. Charity recently self-published a book titled “We Are The Artists”. Her beautifully illustrated book of poetry,  filled with artist quotes and illustrations (Charity’s own photography and explorations in paint), tells of her own inner journey and also about the gifts of creativity and self-expression. 

“We Are The Artists”  stems from the author’s own self-observation and reflection, and is filled with anecdotes about being an artist as well as thoughts on living a creative life. After reading, I immediately knew that I would like to interview Charity, simply because I figured that if I could relate to so many of her words, then perhaps many of my fellow creatives could relate as well. 


Define “artist”…What does the word “artist” mean to you?

I believe art is an act of creation. It is the rather magical ability to take something that only previously existed in the shape of emotion or thought and to bring it into reality. So, in my mind an artist is someone who transforms ideas and feelings into a tangible, audio or visual experience. An artist is a creator, an inventor, a performer… an artist is someone who knows, appreciates and expresses what moves them. An artist is a communicator, a translator; taking the language of imagination and presenting it in a form that can be perceived by another.

One does not have to have a career in the arts to be an artist. So much of what we do every day is an art form; how we dress, cook, move, work, decorate, communicate, love… it is all art. How are you expressing yourself? Are you expressing your thoughts, ideas or emotions in a perceptible form that can be experienced by another person? Then you are an artist.


"Meltdown" by Charity Janisse

“Meltdown” by Charity Janisse


You have divided up your book into sections, each a different part of an artist’s journey. Some of this journey includes heartbreak and emotional pain… In your opinion, Does heartbreak and emptiness lead to good art, or is it bliss and joy? Is pain a necessary component to an artist’s development?

For me heartbreak turned out to be an imperative part of my artistic process. It was my sadness that ultimately drove me to write (and share) what I consider to be my very best poetry. A few years ago, I fell in love, crazy love, like love at first sight – cheesy, head over heels movie love, and unfortunately the other person did not feel the same way. I’d never really loved like that and when it didn’t work out I was so overwhelmed by emotion that I had to express it… somehow. In the months after I realized that nothing was going to happen with this person that I love, my hurt and my unexpressed passion became poetry and paintings. The heartbreak and emptiness of unrequited love inspired my best creations and led to the greatest creative breakthrough of my life.

But ultimately, I’m not sure if it was truly my pain and heartbreak that drove me to create art… it is more likely (now that I think about it) the love that moved me to write and paint.

Even though the love brought me pain, if I had not loved first I would not have been driven to write, paint and create the way I did. So perhaps pain is not a necessary component of art, but love most certainly is.


Quotes and photos inside "We Are the Artists"

Quotes and photos inside “We Are the Artists”


In the book, there is also a wonderful collection of quotes from famous artists and artists throughout history. Do you have a favorite one? What does it mean to you?

I have been inspired by so many artists in my life, past and present. But if I were to choose one favorite it would most certainly be Vincent van Gogh. It is not only the exquisite beauty and powerfully expressive nature of his art that inspires me, but how he lived and who he was. I have struggled all my life with highs and lows that often make me feel as if I’m going a bit crazy. I fluctuate between pinnacles of ecstatic creativity and self-confidence, and desperate moments of crippling self-doubt and despair…Van Gogh has been labeled and judged in so many ways over the years, but I don’t believe he was mad, I just believe he was a profoundly unique artist and person. He saw, felt and expressed above and beyond what many others could. That does not make him mad, it makes him brilliant. And seeing the success that his artwork has acquired long after his death, despite all his struggles, gives me hope…even in those moments where I feel a bit mad, it is my uniqueness, my desperation, my touch of madness and my depth of emotion, that makes me the creative individual that I am…Van Gogh gives me more hope, inspiration and self-confidence than any other artist who ever lived.



Excerpt from poem “I Chased Sunsets and Trains Instead”.


As you know, one of my favorite poems in the book is “I Chased Sunsets and Trains Instead”… There seems to be a recurring theme in your book of art as eternal in a world where all else is impermanent. (Michelangelo has also illustrated this concept in his poetry). This idea continues in your poem “Art Goes On” and reads like a manifesto…Would you like to elaborate on this idea?

Art is timeless. In the moment that I wrote the poem “Art Goes On” I was deeply moved by the idea that art lives on and describes not only the soul of others, but in many ways the day to day lives of people who lived even thousands of years before us. Art is a touch point that we use to understand people from other times, other cultures, other walks of life. Art speaks beyond language, beyond time… beyond the grave. Art teaches us to understand one another. Art expresses love and emotions, pain and suffering in forms that nearly all people can understand in one way or another.

Art connects us all in ways we could never be connected…That is what I was…hoping to convey when I wrote the poem “Art Goes On”, and it is a current of thought that runs through much of my artwork and writing.



We Are The Artists



Connect with Charity Janisse:

Website: http://www.charityjanisse.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/charityjanisse
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/charityjanisse/
We Are The Artists on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/We-Are-Artists-Poetry-Expression-ebook/dp/B01DH7ZLIS

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Guest Post: “Refresh, past ideas revisited” by Mark Perry

November 30, 2016

MP, Phase 2, detail

MP, Phase 2, detail


Guest Post: “Refresh, past ideas revisited” by Mark Perry


The desire to incorporate imagery has returned. With many influences I have begun some explorations, close-ups of indoor plants. The workshop I recently attended played a part in speeding up this process but my history shows that I always return to nature. Each time I am reminded of how difficult drawing is, pushing my boundaries and limitations. Which is where the fun is for sure, maybe not in the moment but certainly later.

One observation is the need to accept that the two kinds of work, abstract and representational need different approaches. A more studied result requires me to slow down, even if just for the preparatory work or drawings, to increase my vocabulary. The goal is not botanicals but solid, interesting compositions with contrast.


MP, Phase 1, 11/07/16, Explorations on paper, 14×11″ each.


MP, Phase 2, 11/07/16, charcoal, graphite, acrylic on paper, 14x11" each.

MP, Phase 2, 11/07/16, charcoal, graphite, acrylic on paper, 14×11″ each.


MP, Phase 3, 11/07/16, charcoal, graphite and acrylic on paper, 14x11" each.

MP, Phase 3, 11/07/16, charcoal, graphite and acrylic on paper, 14×11″ each.


My mark can feel limited but I am what I am, so I need trickery.


Connect with Mark Perry:

Website: http://www.markeperryart.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/markperryart
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/markperryart

Mark Perry was also featured on this blog this past May. His feature and additional links can be found here: http://www.koschwitzsalerno.com/home/artist-of-the-week-mark-perry/
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Guest Blog: “The Monet Experience: 35 Years Later” by James Thatcher

November 23, 2016

Irrational Numbers Painting

“Irrational Numbers” by James Thatcher.


Guest Blog: “The Monet Experience: 35 Years Later”

by James Thatcher


In autumn of 1980 I moved to Washington, DC and stayed with the Richard K. Thomas family in Potomac, MD for 3 months. Rich and I would ride into DC almost daily—him to his office and post as Chief Economic Correspondent of Newsweek Magazine, me to museums and galleries to gorge on art.

On a visit to the National Gallery (West Wing) I found copyists diligently working before painting of old. This was like something out of an art history book; everyone of a certain period copied the masters. I decided I’d better do the same if I had any intention of being a serious artist.

Quick conversations with the copyists got me into the right office for the rules and requisites (plenty of those). A month later, after reference letters and background checks I was in the mix.

Copyist at work

A brilliant job of rendering Rembrandt


I made two dreadful renditions of Monet’s “Rouen Cathedral in Afternoon Light”. One wasn’t enough. Clearly Monet didn’t have Grumbacher oil paints at his disposal when in the late 1800’s…and my canvases weren’t proportioned correctly…. Still it was surprising that the second copy was no better than the first.

But the result of the experience is all about the influence. Monet’s color range was internalized regardless of whether our colors matched or not. I chose Monet because I was having trouble with color, which continued; but decades later this is where I go for color choices and relationships.


Rouen Cathedral

The real deal, Monet’s “Rouen Cathedral in Afternoon Light”


More subtle and surprising was the effect of the Impressionist surface. Texture has become a subject in its own right in my recent work. I’ve been doing fairly heavy textures in my artwork since 1992, thinking about the surfaces of Julian Schnabel and Anselm Kiefer’s paintings from the Neo-Expressionist 80’s. But this interest traces back to the Monet experience.


Schnabel Painting

“The Patients and the Doctors” by Julian Schabel (1978).


Kiefer Painting

“Nuremberg” by Anselm Kiefer (1984).


Reducing my imagery in the recent grid paintings, I’ve come to understand the profound influence of copying Monet. Not in becoming a plein air painter; not in terms of emulating Impressionism, but in fundamental terms of palette and surface texture.

Monet Rouge

“Monet Rouge”, Hay, Bulrushes, Latex Paint and Acrylic on Plywood Panel, James Thatcher © 2014


These have become my current subject matter. Thirty-five years later essential elements of the Monet experience fuel my work. Who would know, who could tell? It wasn’t exactly copying the “old masters” but it has ultimately provided depth and foundation to my painting technique.

After Monet

“After Monet”, Cat Litter, Wood Chips, Latex Paints and Acrylic on Canvas, James Thatcher © 2004-2014


Copying a Monet painting hasn’t been the only influence on my artwork, but it has been fascinating to see it in light of current developments in the studio. I was surprised by it and wanted to share the discovery.
Connect with James Thatcher:
Website: http://jtnwdc.wixsite.com/jamesthatcherarts
Twitter:  @jtnwdc
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/james.thatcher.1291

James Thatcher was  recently also an artist of the week on this blog this past October. His feature can be found here: http://www.koschwitzsalerno.com/home/artist-of-the-week-james-thatcher/

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Artist of the Week: Jeanne Conway

November 19, 2016




Artist of the Week: Jeanne Conway

Jeanne Conway is an artist and illustrator who has been painting in watercolors and oils for 20 years with an emphasis on light, nature and the human personality. In her illustration work, Jeanne makes use of a variety of media, including ink, watercolor, oils, gouache, pencil and digital.  She is a member of  the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and has been an art teacher with over 30 years’ experience with elementary and secondary schools.

Jeanne pulls her inspiration from the people and events around her. For example, her magical “Mermaids” were inspired by attending a Chinese Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden this summer.  This colorful event, according to Jeanne has  been “an irresistible muse” for her.



Russian Tribal Leader


Sometimes a unique find like an old photograph will lead to inspiration for Jeanne’s next project. The illustration above was inspired by a colorized photograph of a Russian tribal leader in 1900. According to Jean,  “The photograph was intriguing because the beautiful intricate coat was so delicate and this man is anything but delicate. His face looks like he has seen the rougher side of life.  Having a sword at his side does make a person want to watch what they say around him.  The man’s one eye was damaged in some way either from birth or from injury – I was going to fix it in the illustration but decided to leave it in. Whatever happened to him?  The Russian Revolution happened  not long after his picture was taken”. 

Jeanne has illustrated a number of books, many  available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Pictured below, is one of her illustrations from the book, “A, B, See … The Beatles” by Jill Davis.


G is for George, from A B See Beatles Book

G is for George, from A B See Beatles Book


Jeanne’s illustrations also adorn the book, “Harold and the Legend of the Singing Turtles” by Kathleen J. Mackin, and also (available through Pearson Digital Library) “The Storm” by Dina Anastasio.

Some titles that Jeanne has both authored and illustrated include: “Clickity’s Clock” and “Serena’s Special Day”. I invite you to check out her website and links below. She has a wide range of titles to explore as well as artwork that surely will brighten your day.


Her Royal Highness Fancy Pants

Her Royal Highness Fancy Pants


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Guest Post: “The Blank Page” by Anne S. Katzeff

November 16, 2016

Thoreau Drums thumbnails

Thumbnails for Thoreau Drums

Guest Post: “The Blank Page” by Anne S. Katzeff


The blank page stares at me when I begin a new design project. I always experience some level of anxiety with this challenge of transforming emptiness into an attractive piece that communicates a clear message. You can’t just put ANYTHING into the empty space. The design has to have a concept, an idea, a plan.

When I was first in school learning graphic design, I wanted to hurry through the planning stage and get to the implementation phase as soon as I could. Why? Because I was comfortable on the computer. I knew how to use the software and do the layout. It was the unknowns in the planning stage that intimidated me.

I actually had a dream one night that helped me become more at ease with the concept development phase. In the dream, I was sitting on the ledge of the Grand Canyon enjoying the beautiful scene. A group of eagles appeared. Each eagle was a different color. They were soaring and circling, then one by one, each of them settled onto the ledge next to me. We all just sat there together for a while, until I woke up.

The next day, I asked a friend (who is very wise and spiritual) what she thought the dream meant. She said that the eagles were showing me how wonderful it is to sit at the edge of something large and powerful and mysterious and simply enjoy the view. This became an epiphany for me. The blank page staring at me could become an invitation to explore and wonder “what if…?” And so began my practice of just breathing and seeing where the adventure leads me.

Thoreau tee: 3 drums

I’ve had a few years to accumulate and refine the tools that assist in the idea phase of a project. The process varies, and how I select the tools depends on how specific or metaphorical I want the design to be. But, every project begins with an intake discussion with the client where I ask a series of questions that help us define the scope and the goals. This discussion provides me with the information I need to write a design brief and construct a design strategy.

Concept Development

  • Research and brainstorm. For me, these happen simultaneously. My favorite techniques are taking notes, making lists, doing mind-mapping (or “flapdoodle” as I call it in my classroom), forcing connections, and asking “what if…?”. Effective brainstorming needs good stimuli, such as music, going out in nature, looking at books, or searching the web. I love surfing the web for visual inspirations and posting them on a Pinterest board I create for each project.
  • Draw thumbnails (small sketches that are visual representations of the space). I usually need to draw 10 or more thumbnails to get a sufficient range of ideas that will work visually.

By the time I’ve finished with the thumbnails, I’m ready to implement my ideas on the computer. The blank page becomes a “comp” (abbreviation for “compehensive” design), which must resemble the final layout, typography, and imagery as accurately as possible.


2015 Perpetualmobiles-thumbnails

Thumbnails for Perpetual Mobiles website

Everyone Faces a Blank Page

I’ve overcome a lot of the anxiety of the blank page when I’m designing something. I continue to practice the breathing and exploring. But sometimes I still feel a bit apprehensive about a blank page when I begin a new painting, or even when I start a new blog post! A lot of my design students are reluctant to do research, brainstorms, and thumbnails; they want to jump onto the computer as soon as possible to get to the “real business” of designing. As they become familiar with the concept development tools, they are more willing to spend the necessary time using those tools. What is your “blank page” and how have you faced its challenges?


Perpetual Mobiles Website

Perpetual Mobiles Website (finished product)


Connect with Anne S. Katzeff:

Website: http://www.askdesign.biz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ASKDesign
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ASKDesign2
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/annekatzeff/


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Guest Post: Why Does It Take So Long to Finish a Painting?

November 02, 2016


Painting in progress.

“Olana” Painting in progress.

Guest Post: Why Does It Take So Long to Finish a Painting?

by Anne S. Katzeff

People ask me all the time, “How long does it take you to do a painting?” It depends. I rarely finish a painting the same day I start it. Usually, it takes 2-3 sittings before I experience that definitive moment of “it’s done.” Each sitting is approximately 3 hours. If the painting is small, I may be able to finish within 2 hours. Larger paintings take me longer. But, size isn’t the only factor.

I’m thinking about all of this right now, because I finished a painting this summer that I started 4 years ago. Yup, you read that right. 4 years. Now THAT is a really long time! Why did it take me so long?

The painting is a landscape of an Olana overlook, the home of Frederic Church. It’s not particularly large (12″ x 9″). The issue was more about the vivid memories of that awesome day and wanting to give myself the right “space” to return there in my mind so that I would give the experience proper justice. I really liked what I started and didn’t want to screw it up. Something about the painting wasn’t quite right, though, and I couldn’t pinpoint what that was, until this summer.

The finished painting.

“No Wonder He Lived Here” (The finished painting).

I used Wallis sanded paper, which provides plenty of tooth and allows me to use several layers of colors, resulting in a complex, rich palette. I was happy with the composition. I felt that the colors were interesting, but too subtle. It needed some spark. In its early stage, the painting didn’t accurately convey the light and heat of that day. So, I changed the foreground from a straw-like beige to a light green. The sky takes up half of the painting, but it was too “quiet”. To make it more dramatic, I added clouds and lightened the blue. Then, I brightened the trees and added fiery orange hues to some of them. Lastly, I added some yellow flowers (pockets of stella d’oro lillies) to the middle-ground. The overall result is an increased contrast that tells you how intensely bright everything was.

Now, when I look at it, I’m right back at that spot, feeling the sun’s heat, and hearing the birds twittering all around me. I smile too. In my heart, I know “it’s done.”

There are lots of reasons why it can take a long time to finish a painting.
What are some of your reasons?


“Flower Symphony”


Connect with Anne S. Katzeff:

Website: http://www.askdesign.biz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ASKDesign
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ASKDesign2
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/annekatzeff/

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Artist of the Week: Leah Spencer Pereira of Calling Crow Creative

October 30, 2016

Hand Painted Skull Candle Literary Mug

Hand Painted Skull Candle Literary Mug


Artist of the Week: Leah Spencer Pereira of Calling Crow Creative


Leah Spencer Pereira is the owner of the brand new Calling Crow Creative, an Etsy shop dedicated to making functional art pieces with an eclectic theme, infusing gothic, fantasy, and literary imagery onto pottery and glass. Her work is a perfect gift for someone who appreciates the unusual, quirky and eclectic.

As owner and artist, Leah designs each item by first sketching it by hand, then transfers the drawings to each object using non-toxic, heat fired paints. This gives each item a durable, dishwasher-safe finish.

Leah’s Skull Candle Literary Mug stands out for its strong imagery and meticulous detail. According to its description on Etsy, “One side features a vacant, staring skull with the last vestiges of a candle melting down its sides. Perched atop a small stack of mysterious tomes, it almost dares you to open a dangerous book on a dark night.”

On the reverse side, is penned a brief quote from poet e e cummings: “Unbeing dead isn’t being alive”, your (slightly spooky) literary reminder to seize the day.


E.E. Cummings quote on back of Candle Skull Literary Mug

E.E. Cummings quote on back of Candle Skull Literary Mug


Leah’s “Steampunk Menagerie” series is a fun and imaginative collection of bone china mugs painted with a Steampunk-meets-mother nature theme. Her little Victorian cyborg-like creatures include a perky rivet-jointed bird (shown below), an armored dragon, a mechanize fish and a copper-plated giraffe!  The Calling Crow Creative shop describes the metallic paints painstakingly used to as giving these pieces the “shine and polish of a whimsical Victorian wind-up”. These one-of-a kind cups are sure to make delightful gifts, or cherished additions to your own kitchen.


Hand Painted Steampunk Menagerie Mug

Hand Painted Steampunk Menagerie Mug


One of my other favorite pieces from Leah’s collection would be her “Tea with Tentacles”.  The octopus legs add a touch of playfulness and movement as they encircle themselves around each handle, as if the octopus is helping herself to a splash of milk. As Calling Crow Creative describes it, “Why settle for a conventional sugar bowl and creamer set when you could invite a bit of fanciful drama into your morning routine?” This unique, hand painted, tentacled serving duo is just the thing to set your table apart from the ordinary.


Tea with Tentacles: Hand Painted Octopus Themed Sugar Bowl and Creamer

Tea with Tentacles: Hand Painted Octopus Themed Sugar Bowl and Creamer


Leah Spencer Pereira is an artist, writer, and mother of three. She obtained a BA in English Literature and Studio Arts from Centre College, where she would spend most of her time in the art studios splitting her time between drawing, painting, ceramics, and hot glass. Leah has worn many professional hats before returning to art. She previously worked for another artist painting glassworks, but has since struck out on her own. This new independence has allowed Leah to explore her eclectic tastes and follow the creative muse wherever she may lead. When not painting, Leah is involved in homeschooling and advocacy for the education of children with special needs.

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CallingCrowCreative
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CallingCrowCreative
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/calling.crow.creative
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theCallingCrow

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Featured Artist: Q&A with Jessica Young

October 22, 2016


Through another’s eye, 19.4 cm x 21.5 cm, ink on paper.

Featured Artist: Q&A with Jessica Young


Bio: Jessica Young is a 25-year-old emerging artist based in the U.K. who creates striking pen and ink drawings. Her images are simply inspired by “looking at what can not be seen but only imagined”. Although she is just embarking on her artistic career, it will be interesting to see where her work takes her. You also can learn more about Jessica’s work though the links below.

What is your medium and process? I’m passionate about eye catching surrealism and abstract designs. Looking at what can not be seen but only imagined. Using black ink pens, I focus on techniques of shading and lots of detail. 

What inspires your work? From a young age, I’ve been influenced by many artists and musicians due to the passion of music from my family. Anything can inspire me from being out with my friends, listening to music, and being outdoors. I have been into drawing since a very young age, and I have developed my skills over the years… Music is a big part of my every day events so I like to add… music based ideas into my work if I can. I am inspired by artists such as Dalí…I love his style, the abstract and Surrealism of the designs. I also like using various blues and greens in my work, [The color] breaks them down a bit, allowing them to all to look a bit different , but still have the same style and detail.


Another Dimension, 22.8 cm x 25.4 cm, ink on paper.


Describe your studio. I work at home, I don’t have an exact studio, just wherever I am comfortable.

Do you have any painting “rituals”? How do you get yourself motivated to start working on a new project (any certain types of music, etc.)? I don’t ever start with an idea of a new project, I put pen to paper and see what happens, I usually start with drawing lines or shapes, which then gives me ideas to what I could turn it into. I am very into my music. I listen to artists such as- DJ Koze, Massive Attack and James Holden, having music on while I am being creative helps me to relax.



Hear What You See, 18.0 cm x 25.4 cm, ink on paper.

Twitter: @Jess1Artistic
Instagram: Jessica Young Art
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Artist of the Week: James Thatcher

October 15, 2016

"Rouen Cathedral after Monet", 44" x 66", Hay embedded in latex paint, Acrylic, on canvas.

“Rouen Cathedral after Monet”, 44″ x 66″, Hay embedded in latex paint, Acrylic, on canvas.


Artist of the Week: Q&A with Artist James Thatcher


Art was always a viable career option for artist James Thatcher. His parents ran an art gallery in Naples, Florida, during the 1970’s. Artists frequently stayed with his family while installing one person exhibitions, including opening receptions and painting demonstrations. James graduated from the notorious Corcoran College of Art + Design, Washington, DC, in 1984; and worked as a cabinet maker until the real estate bubble burst in 2008. Leaving the building trade, James had eventually returned to his art making, which had become such a big aspect of his creative life. He now works in his studio and shop in Roseburg, Oregon.

In his Sweetgrass Algebra series of prints, technical elements blend with expressive art. In his Graphite Grid series, unusual textures are set on cleanly assembled plywood panels. Here James shares a little more about his work and process:

"Pi" from the Sweetgrass Algebra series, 8" x 10", Acrylic, chalk, pencil on primed mat board.

“Pi” from the Sweetgrass Algebra series, 8″ x 10″, Acrylic, chalk, pencil on primed mat board.

What is your medium and process?
I use wet and dry techniques: acrylics (both opaque and as wash), pencil, pastel and charcoal, gesso. I begin with random strokes, tempered with lots of painting over, and then incorporate algebraic formulas, graphs, and stencils into the mix.

What inspires you to make art?  The phrase, “What if….” I love not knowing what I’m going to end up with. Creating is an act of faith. I have confidence that it’s going to work, although I may have to surprise myself in the end.

What sets your artwork apart from others?  My use of unusual materials and textures results in an intriguing finished product. I love experimenting, but temper it with strong craftsmanship. The use algebra and trigonometry as abstract text is very specific without being literal.

Installation proposal, 12", Acrylic on paper, bamboo sculpture model.

Installation proposal, 12″, Acrylic on paper, bamboo sculpture model.

How would you describe you studio?
I create in a production facility, a holdover from my industrial background in cabinet making. It’s well laid out with a section for shrink wrapping and packaging, a 30’ working wall painting, and a 2D and drafting area. I sweep up at the end of the day and organize my next day’s work.

Do you listen to music while working on your art, and if so, what type? I generally have classical music playing. It’s non-verbal, free range, and not overtly representational.

What is one of your favorite quotes, and why?  2nd Timothy 3:7 “Ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Paul wrote that 2000 years ago and it’s timeless but perfect for the “information age”. Those key words “never able to “…all of our intelligence is so seductive, but it gets in the way of knowing the truth!

(Q&A via ArtsySharkGallery.com)

Connect with James Thatcher:
Website: http://jtnwdc.wixsite.com/jamesthatcherarts
Twitter:  @jtnwdc
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/james.thatcher.1291

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Artist of the Week: Matt Brown

October 09, 2016

Allergic to bulshit 4'x5' acrylic on canvas. Model: Cara delevingne

Allergic to Bullshit 4’x5′ acrylic on canvas. Model: Cara Delevingne


Artist of the Week: Matt Brown


Matt Brown is a full-time artist from Cleveland Ohio, now living in Santa Barbara, CA. His lively and very contemporary work varies in subject matter, from portraits to urbanscapes. His imagery is inspired by street art, urban decay, consumerism, and celebrity. Matt adds his own sense of color to these images allowing the viewer to see each subject in a new way. According to Matt:

“As an artist, I bounce around quite a bit. No subject is off limits. If I can conceive it in my mind, I’ll do my best to bring it to life on canvas. I like to think I’m versatile. I’ve done abstract, landscape, portrait, seascape, cityscape or urbanscape. Experimenting with colors is something I love to do!”

Matt is fearless with color. He seems to have developed a signature palette of earthy colors and contrasting bright jewel tones, as his most recent paintings suggest. Oftentimes in Matt’s portraits, he will brush an unexpected heavy splotch of green or blue right onto the subject’s face! Sometimes his most colorful brushstrokes follow his subject’s natural contours, and sometimes the addition of color is more of a random surprise. Matt isn’t yet settled on a label or categorize his work, yet perhaps one could describe a number of his portraits as “Contemporary Fauvism”? Matt’s portrait, “Alicia”, certainly has some similarities to Matisse’s “The Green Stripe”…



Alicia, 30×40″, acrylic on canvas.


Henri Matisse "The Green Stripe" AKA "Portrait of Madame Matisse

Henri Matisse “The Green Stripe” AKA Portrait of Madame Matisse, 1905.


“Urbanscapes” are another subject of Matt’s work. These strong, slice of life images make the viewer feel as though they are standing alone in these abandoned spaces. Seeing these images painted takes the popular  subject of “ruin porn” often depicted in photography, and adds freshness and smoothness by expressing it in paint,  Each of the paintings in this mini-series contain graffiti, however they are not a close up details. Each painting captures the entire space that surrounds it.

Brown’s painting, “Art Eternal”, lends the viewer a sense of discovery; of exploring these abandoned spaces where the eyes have adjusted to the grayness and decay, and suddenly brilliant color is found. However, the painting does not give the viewer a direct view, just a hint of the surprise…Matt’s perspective pulls the viewer in to investigate more.

Perhaps the title of the piece refers to a reflection on how all things are impermanent, yet art is always going to be there. The painting captures how all art, including street art is a way for an artist to leave his or her mark behind long after they are gone.


Art Eternal

Art Eternal 40×30″, acrylic on canvas.


As for Matt’s process, it is more like stumbling through until he gets to where he wants to be. Things start to get muddy, and that’s when he knows when he needs to take a break and start a new piece. Working on multiple paintings at a time is beneficial as it keeps him going even after getting stuck. When Matt works on the next piece, he will get ideas to build on the last one. Here, Matt explains that there is always a point of chaos in each piece, but it seems to all work out in the end:

“However, the process of completing a piece… I go through the same emotions. First, I get excited, then depending on the subject, overwhelmed. After the first few layers, I hate it. This looks like shit! I tell myself. I take a break from the painting and start on another one. Usually I’m painting 3-5 pieces at the same time. By doing this, I began to formulate new ideas for each painting I’m working on, using colors that I didn’t envision from the start. After the 3rd and fourth layers I began to see light at the end of the tunnel. One would think after all these years I would have learned to trust myself, and the process… I’m beginning to, slowly but surely.”
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheMBGallery
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themattbrowngallery
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themattbrowngallery

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Artist of the Week: Daniela Pasqualini

September 25, 2016

Hall of Colors

Hall of Colors, 30×40″, acrylic on canvas.

Artist of the Week: Daniela Pasqualini


Daniela Pasqualini is an Italian Artist who lives and paints in Boston, MA. She creates contemporary abstract landscapes with rich colors and lots of texture. Her work depicts various bodies of water such as rivers and waterfalls that are full of color, movement, and light.

Because water can either be choppy or tranquil, rushing or slow, it can be regarded as a symbol of human energy and emotion. Here Daniela explains how she uses the act of painting waterscapes as her own personal outlet for expression:

“ There is nothing I find more relaxing than the holding of the brush and letting my mind guide me to create something unique to me and to the world. I utilize the mix of strong, vibrant colors in the abstract and this allows me to express many different and powerful emotions…(that are) meant to be not just seen but felt…My feelings and moods will guide the mix of colors… I have always been a very passionate person and my expression of art is no different. My art opens a window to me and each person who gets to view and share in my paintings get to see a piece of me.”


Beyond the River, 25x25", acrylic on canvas.

Beyond the River, 25×25″, acrylic on canvas.


Daniela’s art is not only a mode of expression of but also a tool for personal development, and allow her to imagine new possibilities for herself. According to Daniela, “The constraints of life we experience force us to imagine, create, and push the boundaries of what we wish to experience in life as represented by art. In art, crossing the boundaries between the practical and impractical is perhaps more simple, if you have the courage to recognize and overcome your own limitations.”


Equilibrium, 24x36", acrylic on canvas.

Equilibrium, 24×36″, acrylic on canvas.


BIO: Daniela states that from an early age she had a passion and love for the creative arts, however her adventures in painting really began while spending 6 years living in Florence. During that time, Daniela was able to reflect about her priorities in life and how she wanted to move forward. Daniela explains that it was the constant connection with the historical and cultural context of the city and its many historical sites and great artworks is what really triggered her artistic inclinations and passion for painting. Daniela works in a wide range of styles, however it is her abstracts which allow her to push her own boundaries in her artistic and personal life:

“My desire to consistently push the boundaries of my creative spirit has led me to explore the abstract in my search for producing what I feel expresses my true nature as an artist.”

Website: http://www.danielapasqualini.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danielapasqualiniartist/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/art_by_dany/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/pasqdani

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Artist of the Week: Rosso

September 17, 2016

Pink Symphony

Pink Symphony, oil on board, 85 x 85 cm 2016, SOLD.


Artist of the Week: Rosso


Rosso is a London-based painter who describes herself as a “transitional” realist to describe her work’s changing nature and variety of styles. Her work draws from a wide span of artistic movements from Photorealism to Street Art, while also embracing the expressive brushstrokes and markings of Abstract Expressionism.

The portraits that she paints are striking depictions of carnivalesque characters, and include symbols of contemporary urban folklore as well as religious iconography. Each portrait embodies certain fears and feelings while exposing some of the taboos of modern day society. Rosso states that her art is a reflection of “the irony and conundrums of the human condition”, and that “each character impersonates feelings, fears, themes and taboos commonly experienced, resonating with the viewers’ subconscious in very distinct, subjective ways.”


Phoenix, oil on board, 105x85 cm, 2016.

Phoenix, oil on board, 105×85 cm, 2016.

Of all her stunning work, perhaps one of Rosso’s most memorable pieces would be her self-portrait, “Madame Moustache”, which was inspired by Manet’s “Olympia”, whose confrontational gaze caused shock and astonishment when the painting was first exhibited at the 1865 Paris Salon. Not only did a number of details in the painting suggest Manet’s subject was a prostitute, the direct gaze of the subject was much more strong and subversive than a traditional female nude, therefore deemed inappropriate. Rosso’s take on Olympia is of a reclining nude is also beautifully painted with a traditional approach, however Rosso’s subject exhibits an unconventional beauty, with her shaved head, tattooed arm sleeve, stretched out earlobes and Rosso’s addition of facial hair, which is actual human hair glued onto the canvas. If we are pulling from Rosso’s carnavalesque theme, Madame Moustache would for sure be the bearded lady.


Madame Moustache

Madame Moustache, oil and human hair on canvas, 100×120 cm. SOLD

Édouard Manet's Olympia

Olympia 1863

Rosso states that her art can be either “confronting or comforting depending on the viewer.” Personally, I find her Madame Mustache to be oddly comforting and empowering, as the subject appears to be so relaxed and self-assured. She is not here to please you; as you the viewer just walked into her space. She says nothing, but waits for you to react. If it is discomfort you are feeling, it is up to you to seek out why this is so, and perhaps also why you may have been conditioned to feel this way.

Not In Use, oil on panel, 89x57 cm, 2015.

Not In Use, oil on panel, 89×57 cm, 2015 (click to enlarge).

BIO: Rosso was born in Sicily in 1978, moved to London in 2004 to finish her academic studies in international relations and human rights followed by a few years working in marketing and advertising. Primarily self-taught, Rosso trained briefly at the Prince Drawing School and at LARA (London Atelier of Representational Art) before embarking on a full time professional painting career in 2014. She has exhibited mainly in London and her painting “Madame Moustache” recently won the Emerald Winter Pride Arts Award 2016.

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Artist of the Week: Al Gord

September 11, 2016

 "I am the Chosen I'm the One" Portrait of Lenny Kravitz 24 x 30", Acrylic on Canvas.

“I am the Chosen I’m the One”, Portrait of Lenny Kravitz, 24 x 30″, acrylic on canvas.

Artist of the Week: Al Gord


Al Gord is a self-taught emerging artist who has experimented with a variety of media. As his work evolved, however, Al began using acrylics as his chosen medium. His rock artist portraiture work pays tribute to various music icons, with titles inspired by song names or lyrics. With this series of paintings, Al hopes to challenge the viewer to dig past an image of a famous face and into a deeper understanding of each artist represented. Al hopes that his work “promotes conversation, as people search to make their own meaning while at the same time forming a connection with each piece”.

Two Hearts Beat as One

“Two Hearts Beat as One”, 24×36″, acrylic on canvas.


Using varying colors and techniques, Al creates a distinct and fragmented background. He works to create a sense of balance and harmony, as his dynamic compositions draw the viewer into a focal point, but do not allow the eyes to get stuck in one place. The lines in the background create a sense of movement and rhythm, and perhaps even visual depictions of sound. For the main subject of each piece, Al uses a lot of black to depict the outlines and shadows in each portrait, which gives his work an almost street art stencil effect, but it is not overdone. Al explains that the colors in the works are “carefully chosen to help elicit certain feelings and emotions; to let the viewer create their own narrative”. Al works to create a sense of balance and harmony, and his use of a limited color palette also helps him to achieve this balance.


The Wind Cries Jimi

The Wind Cries Jimi, 24×30″, acrylic on canvas.


Al’s other projects focus on topics of intimacy and supporting mental health awareness. Through his work, Al hopes to “immerse people in and promote the importance of art”. He understands “the significance of introducing people to the art world, so that the contributions of the past are recognized and maintained”. Al also believes in “the importance of connecting with people newer to the art world”, as he strives to create and represents works that are “synonymous with the world we live in today”.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlGord_Art
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/algordart/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlGordArt/

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Studio Update: The Art of Doing “Nothing”

August 18, 2016

Everything Carries Me To You, 6x6", spray paint on canvas.

Everything Carries Me To You, 2016, 6×6″, spray paint on canvas.


Studio Update: The Art of Doing “Nothing”


“We all go through fallow periods, when we must let the soil rest to prepare for new growth.” -Six Feet Under


My “artist-guilt” is telling me that I should probably post something on here since it’s been awhile, so here you go…I’ve been taking a little break from posting for the past few weeks since my kids have been home on summer vacation and it has been difficult for me to achieve a work/life balance, as the “life” part of that equation has been a bit more demanding. Bella, Alex and I have been spending most of our time sleeping in whenever possible, venturing outside, soaking up the late summer sun, running around with dirty bare feet and watching our heirloom vegetable garden grow. Doing “nothing” yet doing so much at the same time.

In a few short weeks, school will be back in session and I will miss having two of my favorite people around all day, but I am also looking forward to diving back into my paintings with renewed energy and insight. I will finally get my art brain back …and, frankly, I’ve been holding back so much I just might have an art orgasm! See that? I must be so relaxed, because I’m even being bawdy on my “serious” art blog 😉

I guess I shouldn’t say that I’ve been doing nothing…I’ve been painting in my sketchbook often and working on a children’s book about autism acceptance (with my daughter as co-author!), as well as other creative projects…but no matter what I do, it doesn’t feel like I’m making “real” art unless I am being a manic artist and spewing out painting after painting… Crazy, right?

I’m also looking forward to getting back into my arts writing and my #SupportLivingArtistsIn2016 series. I already have some fabulous artists lined up, and can’t wait to share their work! If you can, please continue to share, support and encourage the work of these independent artists…Being a serious artist is hard work, but to an artist, receiving positive feedback or having one’s art shared by others is always encouraging.

Also a big shout out to the London-based Niji Magazine for also publishing several of these features so far! More info on this project can be found here in this blog, or you could also check out Niji’s Magazine’s site at http://nijimagazine.com.

I would also like to express my gratitude to those who have cared enough to read and share my posts, to the artists who were brave enough to let me write about them, and artists who show their support for other creatives as well!


Be Wacky…Be you!! (Sneak peek of children’s book in progress…more coming soon!)


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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, 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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The 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).

The Art of Giving: Just by Being Present


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: 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”.


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.


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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:


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Artist of the Week: Barbara Billeiter

May 28, 2016


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:



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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


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:
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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.


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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/

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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.

http://www.saatchiart.com/matraggi https://www.instagram.com/matraggi/

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Suburban Mom Graffiti and Other Musings

March 08, 2016



“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. Original plans are abandoned as one movement or decision leads to another; 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”…


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 some of us can never quite fit into this world… because 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
She’s Niagara to me
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
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

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:
Punk Rock Girl Art (Abstract photography and poetry):
Channeling Art: (“A Gallery of the Unexpected. Channeling Original Art, Art News, Art History…):

*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:

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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.



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” 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:


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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



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

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December 21, 2015




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




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:


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“Artism”: Visual Depictions of Life on the Spectrum

April 27, 2015



“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:



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My Most “Secret” Painting Revealed

March 01, 2014



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


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.


“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!


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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.


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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,



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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!


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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!



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