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.

You can also follow the upcoming event on Facebook.