Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Gift as Unique as Your Grad

Maggie and I are making the most of these hot sunny days hanging on the lanai while I work on my latest Shoe Portrait commission- a graduation present for a son who is a world traveler and has the kicks to prove it.
Sketch for painting
Graphite on paper
5" x 5"
The sneakers are a work of art themselves and the painting is looking really good.
Can't show you yet- the client gets to see it first!

I work from the shoes directly- not photos.
Took these outside to take advantage of the beautiful weather and the clear bright light.

Turned the top of this side table into my palette- works perfectly!
Looking for a one of a kind gift for your one of a kind grad? Commission your own Shoe Portrait, here's how.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Trading Joy- Artist as Collector

Georgia based artist Malena Bisanti- Wall is this week's guest blogger for our Artist as Collector Series
Encaustic on cradled board
7" H x 5" W x 1.5" D
I met Jenni Horne many years ago and I’ve always admired her work.  

We were both showing at an art show and she asked if I’d be interested in trading – of course I was!  I couldn’t decide between several pieces and she gave me a good piece of advice:  go with my instinct.  It was really helpful and I now share this with my customers who can’t decide when purchasing my work.

A few years later, we were both at another show.  I went to purchase her “Joy” piece and we ended up trading again.  I now have two of her pieces and I’m looking forward to acquiring a third to complete my collection.

I was drawn to this piece because I love encaustic work, as well as the whimsical, colorful style of Jenni’s art.  I also really enjoy reading her blog – she makes you feel like you’re part of her process, her life, and her life as an artist.  

Malena Bisanti- Wall  is a ceramic and mixed media artist living in Marietta, Georgia.  Her playful objects and sculptures are often inspired by the words of others.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bringing it to the Classroom

Wrapping up the week with images from recent printmaking workshops with students in New Jersey through Young Audiences of NJ/EP (YANJ/EP).
Relief stamp (right) with print

We began by looking at logos and symbols from popular culture, Chinese characters, Underground Railroad, and West African Adhinkra story cloths.

Unique personal logo

We talk about positive/negative space creating dynamic relationships and how repeated designs create patterns.

The Process:
Working on 3" square pieces of cut mat boards and foam adhesive shapes they create their own personal logo and stamp.

The printing process for these is a simple 3 step...

1. Color the foam pieces with washable markers.

2. Damp- the stamps are pressed lightly onto baby wipes or a damp sponge

3. Stamp- onto paper with finger tip pressure onto the paper.

Awesome, simple... and fun!
Relief Stamp Print
I love coming into a classroom and helping students learn new skills and discover how creative they can be with just one simple printmaking workshop. This week the school I was in a school no longer has art so the kids really appreciated the opportunity to be creative.

Want to get fired up about the lack of creativity in our schools, listen to this great TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson.

Afterward, many of the students told me how much they loved the workshop. One young girl exclaimed to me-

"This was the best day ever!"

Bring it on, bring it in.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Full Moon Full Circle- Artist as Collector

Margaret Almon is this week's guest blogger for our Artist as Collector Series.
Walnut Hollow,
Ephraim Faience Pottery Tile,
6x6" ceramic, c. 2001

My husband and I had finished touring The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, Morris Plains, NJ, when we found this tile on a wooden shelf in the gift shop.

The moon caught my eye, luminous through the tree branches.  Picking up the tile, the weight like a book, a volume of wonders.  The glaze drizzled over the sides, and the back was rough earthenware, with a potter's mark imprinted in the curving shape of a tree.

Every year my husband and I celebrate the anniversary of our first kiss, on the first full moon of April, and this tile resonated.  The moon was both revealed and hidden behind the tree.  The other trees are raised from the surface, and make a curtain to either side.   The variegation in the green glaze enchanted me, as did the contrasting sky, moon and trunk, each like a small pool of glaze.

I was beginning to recognize my love of creating art as something relevant to my life, and knowing someone had made this tile was inspiring.  Though the work is evocative of the Arts and Crafts movement, the company began in 1996.  Several years later, my mother and stepfather moved to Ephraim, WI, and only now did I discover that one of the original founders of the pottery had family from Ephraim.

The tile has moved with us several times, and reminds me of how art can connect with the soul.

Margaret Almon is a mosaic artist, living in a one-bedroom-two-studio-rowhouse in Lansdale, PA with her husband Wayne Stratz, and together they are Nutmeg Designs.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Painting of Someday

Philadelphia area artist, Katee Boyle is this week's guest blogger for our Artist as Collector Series.

Abstract Swirls
Water color on paper
18 x 24"
©2013Jag Deshpande
collection of Katee Boyle

I have been graced with a painting titled Abstract Swirls by Jag Deshpande.  This framed watercolor on paper hangs in my house situated between two windows that face East
and welcomes the morning sun before the rest of my home sees the light of day.

Each day starts with passing by this painting and not one day has gone by where I
have not stopped, even for the briefest of moments, to be thankful for it's beauty. To me, this piece of art is delicate and dreamy and strong and powerful in one full swoop.

Somedays, the transparent yet vivid marks from this water color serve as a gentle light that is guided by a map of thoughts. It is a sense of direction that reminds me a story of the past, a
guide for a road to travel in the future.

Somedays, the gentle movement of the artist's strokes creates a calming dance in my soul before the frantic morning activity of my children has me spinning off balance.

Somedays, the paint swirling in delicate circles creates a sound that breathes life on to the surface of the paper; marks moving gently across my wall, a full orchestra of uncluttered
Somedays, I simply stand back and enjoy the beauty of it's colors and the spectrum of strokes from the artists tools. For me, it is stopping to smell the roses.

I don't expect to ever know the artist's perspective on what he painted and why and quite frankly, I have never thought that important about art. I am of the opinion that it is not my business,
nor anyone else's why an artist creates. If a piece of art commands just one reaction, it is beauty, it has meaning. I read a comment that Jag wrote about his work and it really made my smile,
"I have been enjoying abstract for the last few years. It is very easy for common folks to find faults in realistic painting, not so with abstract. They just don't say anything".

Jag's work is alive, non-discriminately waiting for the viewer to discover what it means to them.

Katee Boyle is an artist, illustrator and co- founder of BizziGirlsa Social Marketing organization in Southern Chester County that supports local causes and businesses. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Bunny in the Basement

Acrylic, pastel on canvas
44" x 30"
photo by Joe Solem Photograph
I've been away from home for a while and when I come back I realize that I left my rabbit in the basement without food or water the whole time. Fearing what I would find, I race down the steps and look all around.  Relieved, I see my rabbit- a little worse for wear, but alive.  It seems my bunny in the basement foraged for food and water and somehow survived- despite my neglect.

I wake up in the middle of the night and realize that it wasn't the first time I had this dream, or a very similar version of it. I decided I better write it down but don't want to turn on the light. So I wrote it in the dark. completely.

and as I am writing I am thinking what could it mean?  I did have a pet bunny (a few) and my most recent, Thunder, did live in my basement, which in this house, is where one of my studios is.

But then I had my aha! moment.  I haven't been down there in a while. My studio. I've been busy teaching, volunteering for this and that, and lots of other family stuff. 

I have been working on some new paintings- upstairs, but downstairs is really my main work space. Where I draw, work on my sculptures out of wire and handmade paper, experiment, and have my etching press. 

It's like my laboratory-away from it all.

and I miss being there.  According to dream interpretation.comA basement represents your deep unconscious mind and instinct, and rabbits- "To see a rabbit in your dream signifies luck, magical power, and success."

Any dream is open to interpretation, but I think this means I need to "feed" my creativity, no matter how busy I get. Make the time.

We need to pay attention to not only what/who we are responsible for, but what takes care of us; we need to trust our instinct and pay attention to what is important to us, to who we are.

Have you fed your bunny in the basement?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thoughtful Energy on Her Walls

  • Canadian artist, Kati Bujna is this week's guest blogger for our Artist as Collector Series.
    Centropolis IV
    acrylic on canvas
    24" x 30"
    Collection of Kati Bujna
    I met Rob Stock at the Haliburton School of The Arts (HSTA) last September, 2012, where we were classmates.  Drawn to Rob’s easy-going and articulate nature,  I soon came to learn more about and admire Rob through the course of our art classes together. His thoughtful approach to his work left an incredibly rich etching on my soul. 
    During figure drawing class he used bold, thick, angular strokes where mine were softer and more fluid. During painting exercises, his palette held a select few colors while mine had many. Rob’s work takes command of my eyes, mind and heart. He makes me ponder, think, and ask questions. 
    As the viewer, I like that process - a lot.
    I purchased this painting from Rob. It is part of his Centropolis SeriesSimply, it makes me feel lightening bolts. I am energized by the thought-provoking concept that Rob depicts through his bold execution of acrylic paint to make his marks.  I am reminded each time I walk past it that we are responsible for our relationship to the planet we live on, to each other, and that there are consequences to our choices.  I like that it makes me think and feel at the same time. 
    The painting's impression engages my mind each time I look at it. With this painting, Rob’s thoughtful energy lives in my home.  
    Based in Ontario, Canada, Kati Bujna is a painter and photographer. The upcoming “Synapses” art exhibition and sale presented by Kati Bujna Fine Art Studio, runs from June 21-23, 2013 at the CEI Main Gallery and will highlight the works of Rob Stock and Kati Bujna’s tree and urban imagery using multi-media. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Where We Left Off

All Hung Up was a partial tour of Beneath the Surface, my exhibition at the Siegel JCC ArtSpace in Wilmington, DE, up through May 9, 2013.  Here are some more images to wet your appetite. (pun intended, sorry!)
Where we left off...
photos by Dain Simons
 Suspension is the large work on paper on the far end of the wall shown above, using graphite with accents of pastel,  I captured the shadows of my hanging net sculptures over spray painted stencils.
Suspension, 2012
Acrylic, spray paint, graphite, pastel on paper
48" x 96"
photo by Dain Simons

Here are more images of the work as we continue over to the facing wall.
Beneath the Surface at the Siegel JCC ArtSpace
Photo by Dain Simons 
From far left above, starting with Fishing.            and far right above- Beneath the Surface
                                                                         Be Still My Heart- sculpture of
                                                                         wire, paper pulp, encaustic and collage.
Fishing, 2012
Acrylic on canvas
30" x 40"
(Now!) Private Collection
photo by Dain Simons
moving along to this newest pair in the exhibition- the title of each are from lines from Derek Wolcott's poem Love After Love.
Give Back Your Heart, 2013
Acrylic, collage, spray paint on canvas
16" x 20"
photo by Dain Simons Photography
To the Stranger that has Loved You, 2013
Acrylic, spray paint on canvas
16" x 20"
photo by Dain Simons Photography
with Frenzy between them!
Frenzy, 2012
Acrylic, spray paint on canvas
30" x 40"
photo by Dain Simons Photography
There you have it... private tours and studio visits are welcome.
For more info contact me at

Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Clue to the Past - Artist as Collector

Emily Artinian is this week's guest blogger for our Artist as Collector Series.
©William Campbell, 
pencil on paper, 21” x 40”
date unknown, c. 1955

This pencil drawing is of my grandparents (left) with my father as a young man (third from left). They’re hard at work behind the counter of the corner grocery they owned and ran for 20+ years in the Lansdowne section of Philadelphia, PA,  on Plumstead Avenue, in what was then a predominantly Armenian neighborhood. 

The drawing is signed by one William Campbell, who I believe is this fellow:
I have never tracked that down for sure – I would love through this blog series to find out more

I was born after the store closed and so have no personal memories of it.  I also did not know my grandparents very well, and for both reasons this drawing is priceless to me. I especially love the chunky, clunky phone, and the brand names on the shelves that have faded into time past: RINSO, MONTCO, DUZ – sitting alongside some that haven’t: TIDE and SPAM. 

The relationship between him and my grandparents is a mystery, but I like to think this may have been a commission for a young artist, and I like the way that reverberates with this grocery store eventually evolving into a space for art.

For years, this hung by my father’s desk in the real estate company he owned in western Chester County, PA, and now it hangs at Street Road, the art space my husband and I founded two years ago.

 I like to think of these businesses as a kind of chain;  an evolution of one family business, shape shifting over time – meat and eggs, a two-bed two-bath, an oil painting... The focus may change but there are many constants, especially the way in which a business is a social nexus and an endless creative possibility. 

Emily Artinian, based in Wilmington, DE and Chicago, Illinois  makes artist’s books and text based art, primarily exploring literature and storytelling. She is the co-founder and Director of Street Road in Western Chester County, PA, and was until recently a Senior Lecturer at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London where she headed the Contextual Studies / Theory programme for the college's 400+ Foundation students.