Sunday, November 4, 2012

Swinging Into A New Art Trek

Preparations are in full swing for the 2013 Art Studio Trek. This year there will be more fabulous artists included on the tour. Pam Burns is one of the local artists who will be showing her luminous watercolors. Her colors are bright and fresh. Her work would be a delightful addition to any art collection.

Pat Abraham was selected to participate in the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibit. This is a top level watercolor show with submissions from all over the United States. Pat's work is in great demand as is her teaching. I've heard that her classes fill up immediately. I know from experience that Pat is a patient, warm and concise teacher. She truly understands her medium and knows how to bring out the best of her students.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Where does the time go? I vow to write on this blog yet it seems that the opportunity slips through my fingers. Time is clearly one of those challenges that many artists face and few can conquer.
Recently however I had the opportunity to share a blustery Sacramento afternoon with Chris Foster and Veronica at Access Sacramento. Veronica has been meeting with many of the Art Trekkies to interview them in their studios. I opted to go to the Access TV Studio with Chris. It was my first opportunity to get to see that type of environment so it was quite exciting.
I was impressed to see the organization that was going on to create a public television clip. The camera crew were all very dedicated and focused - in spite of their youth or lack of experience. Veronica was the director and she lead with a clarity and patience. Many kudos to her and her team. I am looking forward to seeing the tapes that she creates from the interviews of the art trek team. They will be airing on Channel 17 & 18 Cable TV. When exactly we don't know yet but we are all eager to have our debuts.
I have been enjoying some time to work in my studio as we have Easter break. It's been luxurious to have time to clean up some piles and to pursue some ideas that have been floating in my head. There are two things that I have been focusing on so far. One is a plate of a tabby cat. This is for a gentleman in Pennsylvania. He contacted me and asked me to make a piece for his daughter. What a lucky daughter to have such a thoughtful dad. He sent me a picture of an adorable tabby cat that has little white paws. It was fun working on and I am so pleased I would like to make a similar one of my friend's cat Bubba.
The second project that I have been working on is due to that day with Chris Foster. Chris creates these beautiful paintings that include phrases or quotes. I was listening to her explain her passion for the word and for calligraphy. So I started to consider including some quotes with my glass. I am now making some fun tiles that include some of my favorite "words of wisdom".

Monday, February 20, 2012

Diane Ruhkala Bell - Printmaker Extraordinaire

I've recently had the pleasure of meeting with Diane Ruhkala Bell. I was in love with her use of color and repetition of design elements. It’s very dynamic and playful. She uses a variety of printmaking techniques to create these vibrant images and will frequently combine printmaking with found materials and collage. It’s refreshing to see art that is fun, well crafted and also irreverent.

“How do I work? I work best alone, in my studio with music in the background, dressed in comfy clothes okay for ink spots. I like a little mess around me so I can play without thinking too much. At my age I have learned too many things about art and techniques so I have to try to forget about them and play until I get back to that more child like state of self-expression.”

If you have the opportunity take a look at Diane’s work on her web site at:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chris Foster Musings


“Where do you find the words?” Chris is often asked this question about her paintings. She tells us she has, for 30+ years, accumulated a computer database of writings, organized by subject matter.

Sometimes the idea or words come first, and then the image that follows is my interpretation of those words. Other times, I just paint what appeals to me and find my own words to accompany the visual. The stage of finding the right words may require weeks of meditation before I find the right fit.

I‘ve recently been doing what I call improvisational “Jazz Writing.” I start the work with an idea but no thumbnail plan of the finished drawing. One mark is put down, and then the second mark (or stroke or word) is a reactionto the first, and the piece continues to unfold. This is a very spontaneous way of working and the resultscannot be predicted,as it’s best to work in the moment. The viewer may find misspellings, no punctuation, or illegible passages. Of course, the artist’s knowledge of good composition and design are crucial to the success of the painting. Unexpected things will appear.This method of working requires a setting asideof my ego. “Going with the flow” isn’t as easy as it sounds, nor is silencing my own mental critic. Quite often, failure is part of the process.

My calligraphic paintings aren’t just about reading words. They draw the viewer in to ponder meanings and explore their own personal feelings about the ideas expressed.

If you's like to see more of Chris' work take a look at her web site. Her use of color and lettering is inspiringly beautiful.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Judy Dillon And Her Inspiration

I think Judy Dillon's work is fascinating with her bold use of colors and textures. Her paintings are very vibrant and demonstrate her delightful creativity.

"I am an innovator, problem solver, creator (and sometimes destroyer) of art that is of my making in media of my choosing. I meander through various medias and styles. I feel no urgency to please anyone but myself in my work. I usually start with an idea or a simple drawing and let the painting tell me what to do. That means spending as much time studying the work as time spent painting it! At some point, intuition takes over and shows the way to the next step in the process.

Much of the time, I start with an abstract under painting. Just the process of splashing paint on paper forces me to stay looser in the next phases. Painting takes on a whole new feeling when not adhering to some exact subject or form. Even “realistic” subjects become more alive and vibrant with unexpected color.

Painting gives me the chance to create and solve new problems. I can create something that no one has seen quite the same way before. How fun is that!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What is Inspiration?

The big weekend is quickly approaching for the wonderful Art Studio Trek. It is no doubt that April 28 and 29 will be upon us soon. The artists are all very busy in their studios creating new and unique pieces of art that will be available for viewing and sale during the weekend loop. One of the discussions that has been circulating has been about "inspiration" - as in what inspires an individual to create a specific piece of art? This always an intriguing question and can provide numerous diverse responses.

I find that I rarely lack for inspiration - not because I'm special or "creative" but because I have so much input of ideas. As a high school art teacher I exist in a constant flood of young hormonal individuals. They are in flux about what to wear, who said what, who did what, who has what, and all of the multitude of challenges that exist for our young. And in the midst of this controlled chaos I attempt to instruct about the basic concepts of art. And it is during these times when I am trying to share with young people my passion for art that I can sometimes see the light being ignited in them also. It is delightful to suddenly see that they too can find joy and solace in the simplicity and complexity of creating art. Consequently I have little doubt that the act of sharing my joy of art is what truly gives me inspiration.

I hope that others will share their source of inspiration. Happy Valentine's Day.

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