Monday, April 21, 2014

Take it Up a Notch

There's perseverance and then, there's perseverity. Think high octane.
Nate IS perseverity.
photo by Bob Lefton

Talking with a friend recently about life's challenges and what is needed to get through it all. Go through that mucky, dark place come out shining.

After 2011, a challenging year to say the least. I received a second breast cancer diagnosis followed by surgery, chemo, radiation and in the midst of it all, my two sons were injured- one of them permanently. Nate was blinded in one eye. I- we, needed more than perseverance, we needed perseverity.
Maggie has perseverity too! She was getting in on the fun no matter what!
photo by Jessica Czerwin
My own word for using all of my energy to come back stronger and more centered.

My Koi Pond Series is a celebration of my perseverity. 

May 1-June 3, 2014. Mala Galleria,206 E. State St., Kennett Square, PA.

Own it, baby.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Top 10 in Kennett Square, PA

It's fun to be a tourist whether you are venturing to a new destination or revisiting your home town. The upcoming exhibition of my Koi Pond Series at Mala Galleria in Kennett Square, PA, from May 1- June 3, 2014 is a great opportunity to share with you new work, as well as my adopted home town. 

Top 10 Things to Do in Kennett Square, PA

1. Come to my Artist Reception on May 2, 2014, 6 -9 pm at Mala Galleria.  Owner Zvezdana "Stella" Stojanovic Scott has a great "eye" and exhibits local based as well as international artists.

2. Check out the studio and gallery of artist and friend Carol Lesher just around the corner. We met through our sons when I walked into her house to pick up Nate. I saw a yoga mat on the floor and a beautiful painting over her mantel (her work) and knew I had met a new friend.

Carol Lesher in front of her paintings at a recent evening of Art & Culture
at the Genesis Healthcare Building
3. Dinner at Lily Asian Cuisine- especially on Tuesday for their all you can eat sushi.

BONUS OFFER: Bring my exhibition card to Lily's, May 2nd, the night of my reception
and receive 10% off your dinner bill. 
Card front for exhibition at Mala Galleria, May 1-June 3, 2014

4. Wine tasting and live music on First and Third Fridays at Flickerwood Wine Tasting Room AND while you're there...
Owner and Chef Brett Hulbert of Portobellos with his partner Sandy visit Cathy of
The Mushroom Cap to order some mushrooms for their restaurant. 
5. Order dinner from Portabellos (did I mention that Kennett Square is the Mushroom Capital of The World?) The restaurant is across the street from Flickerwood and a server will deliver your food along with a linen table cloth, ceramic plates china and silver utensils.

6. Shop at Eco Boutique- the shop with a conscience, and often, an art show. I have shown my Walks thru Life: Shoe Portraits there.

7. Coffee at Talula's Table, a Kennett Square staple- or the newer and very hip Philter. Each with it's cool decor- and more art to see.

8. Nourish Juice Bar and Cafe at the Liberty Market. You will be able to sample a personal juice favorite at Mala Galleria for my Opening on May 2, thanks to owner/ entrepreneur Francine Covelli. (Thanksgiving, the best pumpkin pie I have ever tasted- the chocolate pie crust may have had something to do with that)
Juice guy Brendan Foster at Nourish at the Liberty Market. Love love love
his kale, carrot, apple, ginger juice!
9. George & Son's Seafood Market, also at Liberty Market. Always fresh- and friendly. 

10. La Michoacana Ice Cream- family owned and home made ice cream with intriguing as well as traditional flavors served with chocolate toppings, chili powder- or not.
Cool or hot, La Michoacana's got it... so yummy!
If you need to walk all this off, Longwood Gardens just up Route 1 never disappoints, and Anson B. Nixon Park is right down the street with their walking trails, disc golf, courts and fields and a stage for summer performances.
Spring at Longwood Gardens

Kennett Square is 1.1 square miles of history, culture, scenic beauty, hip downtown and wonderful people. To stay in the loop check out Historic Kennett Square for up to date happenings year round for cool things to see and do.

Looking forward to seeing you on May 2, from 6-9 p.m. at Mala Galleria
206 East State St., Kennett Square, PA. 202.591.6548

For more information or any questions please contact me at
732.241.0359 or

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sounds of Spring with an Invitation

April. Doesn't that have a lovely sound to it?  Conjures up images of daffodils and other signs of new life.
Signs of Life II
encaustic on birch
14" x 14"
Speaking of sounds and new life one sure sign of spring here is the high pitched other wordly mating sounds of the frogs in our pond. The first couple of years here I had no idea what that non stop whirring was, but then again it took me two years to figure out that the street in our neighborhood called Delpa is because half the street is in Delaware, the other in PA. duh. 

Yesterday I had the opportunity to get up close and personal for one of the apparently very hormonal residents of our pond. 

So the guy with the bulge under his mouth is the one making the noise and yet
check out the couple near by... is he the look out?

After listening to this for countless hours of intimate experiences all times of day and night we realized, that we need to move. just kidding- I have an exhibition coming up, these guys INSPIRE me!

Koi Pond Series at Mala Galleria in Kennett Square, PA. May 1- June 3, 2014
Artist Reception: First Friday, May 2, 2014 from 6-9 pm.

Please join us!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What Makes a Great Workshop?

The opportunity to teach or to take a workshop can be an integral part of your practice as an artist.
Each role is a way to strengthen, develop or gain new skills, network, and meet interesting people.

So what makes a great workshop? 
Participants at my Encaustic Workshop at DCAD
It comes down to the experience and, the take away.

The experience:  Is it a safe and positive experience for both the teacher and the students? 
Is everyone engaged, supported, as well as, challenged? 

Here are 3 steps to ensuring a great workshop- on both ends.

1. Be prepared.  
Teacher: Clear realistic goals and intentions for the time and space allotted. 
If this is a new venue for you have you checked out the space or asked about a sink,               work tables, ventilation, etc?  Do you need a smart board or any other media available? Have you sent a list of materials to your students so they know what they need to bring?
Students: Have you received/reviewed the materials you need to bring?  Are you wearing the right clothing? Do you need gloves, steel tipped shoes, whatever???? Lunch, snacks? (that's always high on my list)
More shots from Encaustic Workshop at DCAD
2. Be Organized.
Teacher: I keep (at least) two Materials/Supply Lists on my computer:
1. What I need to bring for the various workshops I teach- Monotype, Altered Books, Encaustic, Image Transfer, these can be edited or adapted for any upcoming opportunity that may present itself and 
2. What I'd like my students to bring. 
If the workshop has a materials fee, have you clarified and confirmed with the hosting organization who is responsible for picking these materials up? If it is you, save your receipts so you can get reimbursed!

Do you have your handouts prepared? Students love handouts (me included) to review what was covered, refresh and have a handy list of resources. 

Students: Do you have a way to transport your supplies? Even if it's not on the list, it's always a good idea to have on hand pencil, permanent marker, note paper, scissors or utility knife and an apron. 

Linda Merry adding encaustic to her water based oil painting

3. Expectations
This speaks to both the experience and the take away.

Teacher: What are your expectations for the workshop? your students'? This is where having a syllabus to handout is helpful.  You are clear on what you need to cover... history, safety, logistics, and skills. Any or all of the above.

Usually you would not know your students' expectations ahead of time so that's why during my introduction I give an overview of what the workshop will cover. Then when I have them introduce themselves I ask them what their experience is with the medium or topic, and what they would like to get out of the class. This is important. If their expectations are unrealistic best to address that in the beginning.   (Many years ago I taught a series of Monotype and Collograph Workshops and halfway through a participant was not happy with what she created. She left the workshop, her work behind, never to be seen again. Turns out that she wanted to create something to match her sofa- and her collograph was a bit too abstract and uncontrollable for her abilities) 

Student: What is it you hope to learn from this class?  Are you willing to experiment and be engaged in the process or are you looking for something to hang over your sofa or put on your coffee table?  If so, please let your instructor know! 
Encaustic, graphite powder, image transfer on birch panel
©Laurel Redefer

The take away: What have you learned and how can you integrate new systems or techniques into your studio or teaching practice? And... something to show that demonstrates the new skill you have learned! 
Colleen McCarthy and her piece
Encaustic, oil pastel, image transfer on cradled board