Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Christopher Pilafian " The Open Gate"

I lived in an Old spanish house on a hill for eight years, until I got a call from my landlord saying he had broken up with lis girlfriend and needed to take the house for himself. I was going through a challenging time myself and the disruption of the forced move on short notice had an impact. at the same time, the usually pricey Santa Barbara housing market was peaking and had become daunting. Life's inevitable uncertainty and impermanence seemed heavy and dark.
Then a great place appeared: a spacious, light-filled loft in town, with ocean and mountain views. with this as my new home, I looked back and painted " the Open gate" as a memento of the joy I knew in the old house, a send-off to the past and a celebration of an auspicious beginning.
Shadows of trumpet vine, bougainvillea and palms mingle with the old brick of the front porch. I painted this from a photo. It is the most representational piece in a series around light and shadow.
Christopher Pilafian
Age: 56
"The Open Gate"
Acrylic on canvas 48" x 30"

Christopher Davis

I grew up about five miles from the ocean in Southern California, where to find snow you had to make an effort and make an effort we did from time to time. Then when I was in my twenties I lived in Minneapolis for a few years. Now this is a place where snow is a way of life and once it falls in November it’s on the ground until April. It was there that I learned that a sunny day does not necessarily mean a warm day, usually quite the opposite. I also learned the way snow changes the way we see and hear things, the way we experience the world, and the way it can challenge us in our daily activities. I now live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, which resides in a nice place between the constant summer of Southern California and the extreme winters of Minnesota. Here snow falls in winter but usually doesn’t stay on the ground for long. It stays just long enough to enjoy the beauty of its falling, to alter our landscape for a brief time and make usually easy routines a little more challenging. I especially love the way it dampens sound. This is one Southern California boy who has learned to love the seasons
Christopher Davis
Digital Photography
December 2008

N. Lacie Abell " Red Trees in Winter"

When in Doubt, Let it Out
A self-confessed 'Late Bloomer", I have brought much of my long past to my present, and artwork is no exception. The tricky part is leaving the baggage behind and pulling the treasures forward!
With a difficult childhood, I developed the bad habit of negative self-talk, reminding myself too often of how I had missed the mark, fell short of expectations and simply made "too many mistakes". I occasionally struggle with it still, but God has blessed me with the wisdom to recognize it. One of the advantages of age is that we can recognize this for what it is, and work with it, and, perhaps, turn it into an advantage.
The treasure I pulled forward in order to create this piece is a lifetime of "working around" challenges. My local color studies of this state park on the columbia River left me bored, so I decided to put doubt away and "let it out" by tweaking the palette, changing the paper and breaking a few rules.
Sometimes, in order to remain positive in life (or art, politics, music etc.) one has to break a few rules.
N. Lacie Abell
"Red Trees in winter"
Soft Pastel

Friday, July 3, 2009

Marty Rogers "Shadows and Old Roses"

This painting was done from a tiny thumbnail sketch I did many years ago and came across while looking through my sketch books of the years I have lived in the Pacific Northwest. I was challenged to give it a try with such a small amount of information, makes a couple of changes to make the piece work, and believe it did. As a result I can see the possibilities of doing more work from old notes and sketches.
Marty Rogers
Age 74 and 3/4
"Shadows and Old Roses"
Watercolor 19 x 22 framed
February, 2009

Leslie Stadnichuk "Wisdom"

In January, I was part of a short term missions team that visited Santa Rita in Guatemala, a community built underneath a bridge and home to the very poor. We were there to assist with a building project and provide some medical help. Word got out that we were there and people came from far and near. On the third morning, I saw a young girl in the distance assisting this woman who was her grandmother down the steep slope from the street level to the church/school/feeding station where we were working. I knew I was witnessing something extraordinary.
In spite of her age (94) and circumstances, she was in perfect health and had a peace and beauty about her that is rare. She gave us permission to photograph her and although many shots were taken, this candid one seemed to best capture her grace and wisdom.
I began with much fear and trepidation, wanting to do justice to the subject. Fear was quickly replaced with excitement as this dear lady began to appear on the paper. The experience was a delight from start to finish and God willing will be the first of many portraits for me.
Leslie Stadnichuk
Age: 52
Pastel 18" x 24"
March, 2009

Gretchen Rohde "Ware Walk Pond"

This beaver pond off the White River in North Central Washington has been a favorite painting spot since my first visit there in 2001. In 2004 it was officially named Ware Walk Pond, after a local longtime resident of the area, Mary Ware, who discovered the pond in the 1940's. Mary Ware and her husband John were full time residents of the Lake Wenatchee area, John being the USFS Ranger through the 1950's until John's death in 1995. When Mary died in 2007, I made a visit to the pond and found the pond drained dry. This painting was done in June of 2009, and I was so thrilled to see all the water back in the pond ( thanks to the local beaver population).
What a perfect day to paint - the water back in Mary's pond, the sun out the birds singing and the great feeling of pushing oil paint around.
Gretchen Rohde
Age: 60
"Ware Walk Pond"
Oil on panel 12" x 9"
June, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Robyn Williamson "Haiku Michelle"

During a workshop taught by artist Dawn Emerson, I decided to join in and try my hand at drawing the figure. It had been 39 years since I worked from the model. I didn't have any supplies or an easel, but Dawn graciously offered to share her pastels. I found a piece of foam board and propped it up against a folding chair and got down on my knees. There was only time remaining for 3 short poses. I have used the model, Michelle Wolff, for several figure sessions at the La Conner Art Workshops over the years and I admire not only her beauty and grace, but her professionalism. Now to actually be drawing her was a different experience. I considered the first pose a warm up and hit my stride with the second... with great regret that I did not choose to use good paper. With the last pose I knew only that I wanted to emphasis Michelle's beautiful neck. I finished this drawing in a few minutes and spent the remainder of the pose thinking...adding the final touches after Michelle had stepped down.
For me, painting with my friend Dawn, painting a friend Michelle, and painting with new friends in the workshop was truly a "Paint a Positive Picture" moment. I had traveled, for a short time, to the "zone" and was reminded that, although I rarely have the opportunity to make art, I still am an artist... and I get to be one for the rest of my life.
Robyn Williamson
Age: 58
"Haiku Michelle"
Pastel on BFK 22x30
April, 2009

Sharon Eckhardt " Trees on June Morning"

I painted this based on a photo I took on a warm morning driving around the farmland of Skagit Valley earlier in the week before a class with Teresa Saia. Something caught my eye about the group of trees and I knew immediately this was what I wanted to paint. I've been painting the past four years and always wanted to do landscapes, but trees were problematic and scary and I was always getting frustrated. Think, for me, the turning point was in a class with Susan Ogilvie last year, she said to simplify the shapes and not try and draw everything I see, and it finally clicked in my head how to do it. So now, I feel pretty comfortable painting landscapes. I love painting just the impressions of a forest or a clump of trees, and then gently and gradually laying down the warm and cool colors on top to give the feeling of volume and depth and light. Then, the deepest darks in the shadows really are fun to put in last.
Sharon Eckhardt
Age: 51
"Trees on June Morning"
Pastel on La Carte paper 12x19
June 2009

Robert H Lafond "D&R Canal from path across from It's Nutts Restaurant"

The painting I selected, done in late Spring, is a view of the canal that flows at the end of the street where I live in New Jersey. I walk along the canal almost daily, watching the water levels, feeding the ducks, picking up trash and following the cycle of the seasons. When I walk along the canal or the nearby Delaware river, by the fields or in the woods, when I look in the back yards, or down the streets, I am often filled by the fullness of what I see to the point of bursting. I usually feel this same way when looking at art in museums and galleries. I am compelled to respond creatively.
I paint to reenact and reestablish the intimacy I feel with the visible world. I paint small pictures to emphasize the intimacy. I paint to reconnect to the artistic aspirations of my grandfather and my mother, and to connect again with other artists, past and present. I paint to see anew and I look intently because I paint. I paint to share what excited my sight, and for others to see in my best work what motivated me to make it.
Often we spend an inordinate amount of our lives grasping for what is beyond us while neglecting or rejecting what has been given to us, until we gain the insight to open our eyes.
Frederick Franck wrote"...only if one sees one becomes harmless to all beings!" He writes about an inevitability of seeing, an inevitability of compassion and humanity that can come from the seeing and intimacy of painting, that leads to the right relationship to others and the world.
Robert H Lafond
Age: 62
"D&R Canal from the path across from It's Nutts Restaurant"
Soft Pastel 8 x 10
June, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rodricia Tilley "Crows Over the Corn"

I was born and grew up in this decidedly rural and remote Pennsylvania county.  I returned over three decades ago to raise a family and set up my studio here.  Despite my background and roots, I often feel quite at odds with the politics and aesthetics sensibilities of my neighbors; some of whom toss trash on the sides of the scenic back roads where I  love to paint.  Often I set up my easel near farmland and do not see another soul during the brief couple of hours I am there working.  I enjoy this solitude and peace.  I also enjoy the times that the farmer stops his or her pickup truck and takes a moment from their busy schedule to admire my painting...or occasionally to tell me that I "forgot" to include some detail or other...or to invite me to see the fabulous view from the top of the silo!  Those times I realize that we have different ways of working, but we both have a love of the land.  we can both appreciate the new willow leaves, the approaching rain clouds and a pink sunset.  we share a life that keeps us out of doors looking around and sniffing the wind.  the landscape is or common bond.
Rodrica Tilley
Age: 62
Crows Over the Corn
Pastel 12 x 16
MArch 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Susan Ogilvie "Old Growth"

I had an opportunity last summer to visit Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland while conducting a pastel workshop.  We were spread out painting, enjoying the beauty of the place -
but there were periodic discussions of what had taken place there.  I found a wonderful old farm house with an assortment of other structures and very large trees.  After painting a demo of the out-buildings, I realized that the field behind me had been the site of one of the bloodiest battles at Antietam.  My thoughts about the farm I had been painting began to turn from activity and farm work, to sadness and loss.  I returned to the farmhouse  with my sketchbook, and decided to find some compositions that made me feel a sense of connection, family and peace.  "Old Growth" was painted about a month later from the sketches I had made that day.  Looking at my sketchbook brought back much of what I felt that day, and allowed me to find a way to convey a sense of unity and completeness with the farmhouse and the old tree.  Cheerful.  In a small way, I was able to create my own sense of place - which uplifted me.
Susan Ogilvie
Age: 59
"Old Growth"
Pastel on panel 24" x 12"
June 2008

Jean Sullivan "Steve and Henry"

I painted this as a Christmas present for my husband's and my cousin, Steve.  I had taken a drawing class last summer and got interested in portraiture, but had done nothing with it for 
months.  We exchange names in our extended family of relatives and friends and I made a deal with the person who made the slips so that I would get Steve's name.  I had taken a photo of Steve and Henry, which I liked quite a bit and thought would make a good painting.  then, when I started on the painting I began to lose confidence.   I spent days sketching and trying to get a good likeness.  I almost gave up, and told myself I could just get Steve a book or CD or something if the painting didn't work out.  Finally, I deliberately told Margaret, Steve's wife, what I was doing.  I knew once I told her, I wouldn't be so likely to bag it.  The painting took about three weeks to finish.  It was during the snow storms just before and after Christmas.  Paul, my husband was home on vacation and told me to just concentrate on the painting; he'd take care of everything else.  He came out to my studio daily and gave me lots of encouragement.  At some point I decided it was going to be okay.  It wasn't until after New Year's day that I finally convinced myself to take the painting off the easel and frame it.  The tears on Steve's eyes when he saw the painting told me all I needed to know.  It was a real turning point for me.  It was the first time I felt I had been able to translate a strong emotion into my art. It gave me the motivation to keep exploring and challenging ,myself.  And it taught me that I had a lot to learn about color.
Jean Sullivan
Age: 68
"Steve and Henry"
Soft Pastel 14" x 20"
December 2008-January 2009

Sandy Byers "Waking Up"

The blessings of each day are not always obvious unless they are the very first thing one looks for when opening your heart's eyes in the morning.  Already being blessed with health and a perfect family seems enough for any one person.  For me, when you add to that the joy of rubbing pastel dust between my fingers, and the sound of the pastel gliding across a sanded surface, that cup begins to spill over onto everything.  this pastel painting of Camano Island, the morning view from my studio on the east side of Whidbey Island, is just one more reason I can't help but put on my happy face when I open my eyes in the morning.  From where I stand, each day is a day to look forward to and that makes my smile
Sandy Byers
Age: 53
"Waking up"
Soft Pastel 11"x 14"
November 2008

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Loriann Signori "Hope and Longing"

After spending two weeks with this beautiful field, including time spent talking the men with the big lawn mowers from mowing it down, I had an idea.  I took all my small paintings back to the studio to begin a big studio painting.  For me, a studio painting is a very different experience from a plein air painting.  The concept is strong and the image is no longer present.  It really is an entirely different process.  
This one was for my Mom who died ten years ago.  I began this painting on her birthday.  Her favorite arias played in the background.  When I first had the idea, I thought it would be about the emotion of 'longing'.  Longing for my Mom's presence.  But, leave it to 'hope'.  Out of the Pandora's box she jumped again and inserted herself into the painting.  So now it is about hope...hope for the future and the beauty of the past.  I guess that is the human state.
Loriann Signori
Age 52
"Hope and Longing"
Pastel and Oil on board 21" x 28"
August,  2008

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Margo Spellman "Improvisation 1"

'I painted this on a Saturday afternoon listening and dancing to King Sunny Ade, who always makes me happy.  I had a blast!  It was part of a series of samples I was developing in preparation for teaching a group of volunteer parents who are joining me this month in teaching a local grade school about abstract expressionism and the work of Kandinsky.  I had to show them what the process would be, and simplify it enough to work for kids ages 6 and up.  I taught my first class last week to about 40 first graders and it brought me such joy to be with them for those precious 75 minutes.  Next week I tackle my nephew's 3rd grade class and can't wait to see what happens
Margo Spellman
"Improvisation  1"
Watercolor and Oil bar on Paper 9" x 12"
January, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Brittani Faulkes "Dusk"

"This pastel is a creation of the imagination.  I live in a climate with a grey, rainy and seemingly endless winter.  It is a very positive experience to visualize our coastal landscape in a Spring and Summer setting!  I end up feeling optimistic and energized and look forward to sunny days ahead when I can leave the studio and return to Plein Air Painting."
Brittani Faulkes
Age: 50
Soft Pastel, 24" x 18"
February, 2009

Bill McEnroe "Heliotrope"

" ...I began writing free form prose poetry about my paintings a couple of summers ago.  The process seems to solidify my raison d' etre for making paintings.  It began with a series that
had as a theme BC Art or Cave Man Art, and I thought it would be interesting if I could use one art form - words - to explain another art form - paint.
Heliotrope, daughter of the village smithy,
one of many,
-all named above their caste-
was a child of another time.

A nonconformist, and a drop-out
  In a heart beat
    She would vanish into nature
      exploring wild, majestic places,
        seldom seen and never tamed.

Her greatest joy was to disrobe, run there naked, unafraid,
    luxuriating in the heat of summer's sun,
        an illicit lover's touch upon her teen age skin.

One day she saw a bear.......

Bill McEnroe
Age: 87
Soft Pastel, 20" x 20"
October 19, 2008

Dawn Emerson "Behind the Veil"

"This painting was inspired by a recent trip to India.  A young woman was sitting on the ground in the shadow of the wall of her home  after just finishing her washing.  Upon seeing me she raised her veil to cover her face, and that simple gesture became the focus of this painting."
Dawn Emerson
Age: 53
'Behind the Veil"
Soft Pastel on Rives BFK, 15" x 23"
January 9, 2009