Artist of the Month

‘In my paintings, I attempt capture a strong sense of place and a distinct light source in hopes of creating an atmosphere that goes beyond the physical and into the emotional realm.’

  Celeste Mauro

By Irene Ruddock

Artist Celeste Mauro with ‘Regatta,’ acrylic/collage

Celeste Mauro, a Northport resident, has earned art degrees from Adelphi University and Parson’s School of Design. She has been an avid watercolorist for over 30 years, but that didn’t stop her from experimenting with collage and mixed media that have enhanced her work. Mauro was a member of The Firefly Artists Gallery in Northport. Two years ago, she and fellow local artist, Demerise Perricone, launched a new art gallery in Northport: Gallery Sixty Seven. I was able to catch up with this busy lady recently to talk about her art and her new adventure!   

What motivates you to start the creative process?

The patterns and motifs found in nature inspire me to create an image that evokes intuitive feelings or sentiments rather than a realistic painting.

You have been known for your work in watercolor. What is it about watercolor that attracts you?

The transparent quality of watercolor allows the work to have an inner glow, almost as though lit from behind. I enjoy working with acrylic paint and mediums that offer translucency. Plus they are the best adhesive for collage.

Can you explain what collage is and how it enhances your work in watercolor and acrylic?

The word “collage” is derived from the French verb “coller” that means to glue. As a watercolorist, texture had to be “implied” through the use of various techniques. Working with acrylic paint, I can create actual texture by affixing unusual papers or materials to the canvas or by working with various textural acrylic mediums and sometimes “found-object” printing.

I alternate media and layer paint or printing over collage … then collage over that. The free-form shapes of torn paper add a sense of abstraction; the brushwork adds detail and the printing adds an element of surprise.

I see on your website, www.celestemauro.com, that you have a category called Back Stories. Can you explain what that is?

Many people are curious as to how artwork is created. This section provides the step-by-step process, shown with photos, which takes the mystery out of the process.

What did you learn from being a member of The Firefly Artists Gallery that has helped you in setting up Gallery Sixty Seven?

That experience has proved to be invaluable! Any artist who steps outside the comfort zone of their studio and into the retail business of selling art has much to learn! Establishing a professional identity, framing, pricing, marketing, salesmanship, doing commissions, creating reproductions, understanding “sale-ability” and handling finances are some of the skills needed.

Can you tell us about your new adventure? 

Gallery Sixty Seven, located at 67 Main St. in Northport, is a gallery as well as studio space, which makes it unique. Now as the owner and a Northport resident, I especially love that people from the community feel free to drop by to observe art being created or to browse the works in the gallery. Gallery Sixty Seven has a strong “Northport” feel to it! As local artists, we are inspired by the natural beauty of local sites and our clients appreciate that.

How did you choose the artists for your new gallery?

As a small gallery, we can represent but a handful of artists. All of the artists in the gallery have a distinctive style that sets them apart and yet their different styles play beautifully off one another. As lifelong artists, they each have a body of work that exemplifies their unique personal perspective. I also look for professionalism and a cooperative spirit in each artist.

Do you offer workshops? 

Yes! The gallery is looking to expand its offering of workshops since they were so successful last year. The instructors are the gallery artists who are experienced art teachers; our limited studio space allows for lots of personal attention … a winning combination. Our website, www.gallerysixtyseven.com, will provide information about our artists workshops, etc.

What exhibits are coming up?

Currently, we are showcasing large-format paintings in our BIG Show, which runs through the end of April. One special feature of this show is that there are “thumbnail” photos of all the paintings hanging in residential settings. This helps people to visualize how the work might look in their home! Everyone is welcome to visit Gallery Sixty Seven anytime!

By Irene Ruddock

‘My goal as an artist is to seek beauty and truth in my paintings and to find an element that viewers can relate to.’

  William Graf

William Graf is a fine artist, professional illustrator and instructor of drawing, oil, acrylic and watercolor painting at The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James, the Art League of Long Island and the National Art League of New York. His extensive art career began after completing his drawing and old master painting studies at the Art Students League of New York and in Florence, Italy, at the Cecil- Graves Studio. 

Graf continues to be commissioned for work as an illustrator for major publishing companies. One of his noteworthy commissions was for a mural depicting a scene of President Theodore Roosevelt’s children in the White House, which was painted to be displayed in the Museum of American History. 

Recently, I had a chance to chat with the Huntington resident about his journey from graphic design to the fine art world. 

 How would you describe your work? 

Having studied with realist art instructors in the states and in Florence, Italy, my work echoes the classical realist tradition. I paint simple images in life, hoping to bring a certain poetry to my artwork.

How has your painting evolved over the years? 

I feel that my painting has matured from photographic realism to a more naturalistic style all the while incorporating good realistic principles.

What do you feel has been the most gratifying about the art world? 

The thing that gives me the most gratification in art is teaching people all that I have learned during my career. I love to impart my knowledge to students seeking to become better artists. I enjoy watching the progression when the practice of good drawing and painting come together, and the student has that “breakthrough moment.”  

In this diverse art career from graphics and design to illustration for major publishing companies, can you describe a turning point that lead you to pursue fine art? 

I’ve always kept my hand in fine art, continuing to paint landscapes, portrait commissions and still life while working as an illustrator. The crossover stemmed from the fact that most of my illustration work was figure oriented with landscape backgrounds, so, for me, it was a natural crossover. 

You still are actively commissioned by major publishing companies for illustration. What fine art qualities do you bring to this? 

Yes, I am still actively taking on commercial illustration projects, such as book cover design, illustration and children’s books. In my illustrations, I try to incorporate a higher aesthetic, whether it be in composition or drawing. I strive to make my illustration and fine art synonymous.

Your awards and scholarships are from prestigious organizations —The International Miniature Portrait Society, etc. Is there one award that is most meaningful to you?

There was one award that had a meaningful impact on my fine art career. A few years back, I painted a self-portrait and decided to show it at a juried portrait show at the Huntington Arts Council. Well, the judge was Kevin McEvoy, director of The Atelier at Flowerfield and he awarded the self-portrait “best in show!”

You now teach at The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James. Why did you choose to teach there? 

After winning that best of show award I was approached by Kevin McEvoy to consider a teaching position there. The timing was perfect. We both studied in Florence with the same instructor so our backgrounds were similar. What we teach is classical realism with emphasis on “sight size” drawing and painting. The type of study is in the tradition of the European atelier system where students can observe the techniques as demonstrated by the instructors. All levels of students are in my classes from beginners to professionals who wish to learn the old masters’ techniques of painting. 

What about your future excites or inspires you? 

I will be teaching a plein air workshop in Cortona, Italy, in June 2019. This will be a Tuscan landscape workshop with some portraiture.The following September I will teach a workshop in Maine where we will paint in various locations that Winslow Homer painted. Come join us! I am also looking forward to having a solo exhibit at the Barnes Gallery in Garden City in October. For details, visit my website at www.williamgraffineart.com.  

By Irene Ruddock 

‘Self Portrait,’ oil

Terence McManus is a retired social worker with a master’s degree from Adelphi University. A self-taught artist, he has participated in over 100 exhibits and juried competitions winning over 60 awards. He has had portraits exhibited at the Butler Institute of Art and at the Heckscher Museum. McManus is a signature member of both the Pastel Society of America and the Connecticut Pastel Society, and a member of the prestigious Salmagundi Club in NYC, as well as other art organizations across the country.

Recently, I was able to interview McManus at his studio.  

How did you decide to become an artist and, specifically, a portrait painter? 

I can’t remember not considering myself an artist. When I was in the first grade, I remember proudly telling people that I was an artist. And even as a young child, it was a person’s face that fascinated me and I copied faces from magazines. In high school I did posters of friends running for elections, in college I did portraits of my friends and their girlfriends, etc.

Was there someone who influenced you? 

When I was 10, I was thrilled to get my Jon Gnagy set of drawing instructions, but, seriously, I have not had any formal art training. The one art course that I took in college was a disaster because the instructor was an abstract artist and I was a Norman Rockwell fan! Instead, I have learned from books, videos, magazines and demonstrations and practice. 

Can you demystify the art of portraiture?

In painting a portrait, it is important to make sure the features are positioned correctly. I leave out details when starting a painting, except I paint the eyes in quickly. With the person looking back at me, I feel a connection with the subject. After I sketch in the positions, I apply the pastel or paint in the traditional manner, going from darks to lights. I frequently view the portrait backwards in a mirror to see the painting from a different perspective which helps to check on accuracy. Once the positions are correct, doing a portrait is not so different from doing a still life. You can use any color you wish, but you must have the values correct. Just look for the light and dark values, and like a puzzle, it would come together.

If you paint from photographs, what is the single most important thing that must be present in that photograph? 

I prefer to use my own photos since using the photos made by others is their vision, not mine. I look for how the light hits the face, creating drama and the feelings I wish to bring out in the painting.

In this increasingly image-conscious society, how do you compete with photographs and why are painting portraits different? 

A good photographer can capture real emotion, but most are just an image of the person for that second. A portrait artist usually tries to bring out the subject’s life experience. The artist can add or subtract or emphasize different aspects to reflect this. 

What is the hardest part about painting a portrait? 

It depends if I am painting for myself or for a commission. When it is for myself, I am trying to capture a feeling more than accuracy. With a commission, it is the exact likeness that is most important to the client, but I still aim to paint a good painting that can stand by itself.  

Do you like painting animals? 

I love painting animals. How can you not love those eyes looking at you? But like humans, aside from the eyes, their body language can convey much as well. 

In your view, what is the magical element that makes for a great portrait painting?

It is the intensity of the emotion that comes across and how well it is done, regardless of the style that makes for an interesting and unique portrait. 

Are there any portrait artists’ work that you feel personally drawn toward?

I love Rembrandt for his dramatic use of light, John Singer Sargent and Thomas Eakins for their realistic but painterly portraits, Alice Neel for her unique expressive style and Burton Silverman for his outstanding portraits.

If you could paint a portrait of anyone, whom would that be? 

Alexander the Great! Educated by Aristotle, king at 20, ruler of most of the world by 30. What strength and determination would his face reveal!

How can you be contacted for commissions?  

I may be reached by email at mcmfam99@optonline.net. 

All images courtesy of Terence McManus

'Birches on a Slope'

By Irene Ruddock 

Shain Bard

Shain Bard is an oil painter who has been in numerous gallery exhibitions, one woman shows, and has her work in many private and corporate collections. She is the recipient of many awards in juried exhibitions for her paintings, which have been described as “luminous, poetic, and powerful.” Her education includes a Master’s of Fine Arts from Lehman College. Bard currently teaches painting and drawing at the Art League of Long Island.   

I was recently invited to the artist’s Huntington studio where she shared her philosophy of life and her art.

What does art mean to you?

To me, art is really whatever is created out of following your passion in life, and which expresses your deepest feelings in a truthful, exciting and unique way. In a sense, we become our art. I also see the word “artist” as a verb … simply someone who is creating art in the moment.

I see that you are known for your paintings of birches. Why do they have a special appeal to you? 

I think all artists gravitate toward particular things in the world which they feel a special connection to. For example, Van Gogh painted sunflowers, Cezanne apples, Monet water lilies. For me, one of my recurring “leitmotifs” seems to be for birches. I fell in love with birches when I was a child at camp, and didn’t like it when we had a project of making canoes out of birch bark. I wanted the birches to be left alone and not be cut up, LOL! 

I just love the soft white skin/bark, and the black markings on the trees speak a certain “language” to me. I found them fascinating. I didn’t start painting birches, though, until I moved to Long Island and took a picture of a birch tree and was so happy painting that bark and its markings, that it was almost magical to me.

What is most important to you in creating your art? 

‘Birches Blushing’

I think what’s most important to me is simply seeking a truthful moment in nature, when all the elements work together to form a moment of clarity and beauty, like all the instruments in an orchestra playing together to make a beautiful piece of music.

Can you explain your fascination with the play of light often seen in your work?  

As I create my compositions, I view light as the conductor and I am a conduit of that light as exemplified by my painting “Light Spilling Down the Street.” This painting won the Award of Excellence in the juried show at the Art League of Long Island titled It’s All About the Light. I feel that light takes me on a beautiful journey which we artists are so lucky to be traveling on.  

How do you share your art? 

Well, I love teaching and interacting with my students. Last year, I had an art fundraiser for Hurricane Harvey victims who were left with nothing, and, along with a few artist friends, raised a good amount of money, all of which went directly to Houston. I also donated several paintings for another fundraiser for Puerto Rico. I was never so happy for all those painting sales in my life, knowing that not only was it an honor to have people want to own my paintings, but that the money went to people who needed it more than me. It was definitely a win-win situation and felt so good.

Where is your work shown? 

Right now, I am represented by Gallery 67, 67 Main Street, Northport. My latest exhibit is at the Roslyn Village Gallery, 1374 Old Northern Blvd, Roslyn, which will continue until Oct. 20. I have also been invited to the Setauket Artist Exhibition at the Setauket Neighborhood House from Oct. 28 to Nov. 19. I can be contacted at shainbard@yahoo.com.

‘Birches on a Slope’

Dialogue with Birches

My trees and I

we’re on the same page

in art history book

of accidental couplings

you’ve taught me so much

in whispers of your secrets

because you know that I’m all ears

to your magical markings

that tell me of your wounds

and battle scars

your triumphs and delights

like adolescent love’s carvings

in rudimentary hearts

tattoed across your thin white skin

that like my own never grew thick

to protect from the users

liars and abusers

who would love to see you cut down

your markings speak

without bossy know-it-all words

that define and box us in

with no room left for growth

hope imagination and think they

can tell us how to see

the unspeakable gift of art

you so stunningly offer me

— Shain Bard

One of Rick Mundy’s Adirondack paintings, ‘These Mountains 1'

By Irene Ruddock 

Rick Mundy is an award-winning watercolor artist who specializes in realistic paintings of Long Island, the Adirondacks, the Caribbean Islands, New York City, Africa and Alaska. He is noted as being one of the top art businesses on Long Island and has been published in Art Business News, The New York Times, Boater’s Digest and the Encyclopedia of Living Artists.

I recently visited Mundy’s Setauket studio to get a sneak peak of the artist’s upcoming exhibit featuring 60 watercolor paintings at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River. An artist reception is scheduled for Sept. 2 and again on Sept. 23 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. 

I am amazed by the vast variety and creativity of your portfolio. How do you think of all these ideas? 

Painting is a celebration of the creative spirit and all that is beautiful in nature. As a teacher of biology, I learned more about nature, which is a recurring theme in my paintings. It is fun and exciting and I can’t stop myself once I get an idea! I like to paint in themes and in a series, and I most often do a diptych or a triptych. 

When did you first decide to become an artist and was there an artist who encouraged you? 

I enjoyed art since I was a child being inspired by John Nagy and winning a few contests, but later I apprenticed with the watercolorist Andrew Stasky who encouraged me to paint in transparent watercolor — where the light travels through many layers of paint to the viewer creating a fresh, clean painting.

‘These Mountains 111’ by Rick Mundy

Your new exhibit sounds stunning with a 360º view of the Adirondacks that includes a series of eight paintings. What is it about the mountains that attracts you so?

 I was an outdoor guide licensed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for decades. The Adirondacks possess the calm of a woodland pond, the roar of a gorge in the spring and have ever-changing personalities from season to season. I know practically every trail in the mountains — its waterfalls, rocks and special ledges to stop for lunch! I enjoy going higher and deeper into the mountain where, in my mind, I compose the essence of the scene I want to paint — moving water, rocks, wildlife. I don’t photograph or sketch much; instead I develop the ideas in my mind so that these paintings are not actual places —they are created in my painting.

How has your extensive mountain climbing influenced your philosophy of life in other ways? 

I feel that nature feeds the soul. Being at one with nature, not fearful, but calm with the knowledge of the beauty that nature can deliver. Knowing Mother Nature is in charge and respecting her vastness. She will show you great things, but she is in charge. 

‘Royal Adornments’ by Rick Mundy

You are showing three rooms of paintings — Long Island, Adirondacks and the third titled ‘Well, … certainly different.’ Can you give us a hint about that? 

The Long Island paintings are all about the special beauty of the island’s beaches, boatyards, barrier islands, etc. In the last room, I exhibit my African collection including royal hair combs, animal skins and beading; my tropical mosaics, which look like Tiffany glass; my floral Gingko paintings; and some cityscapes.

What kind of presentation are you planning at your art receptions?

I am going to show examples of sketches and notes that I worked from, even the ones that didn’t deliver the look I wanted. It will show how the Adirondack paintings, which took two and a half years to complete, finally evolved.

What would you like the viewer to take away from this exhibit? 

I would like people to see in my paintings something in nature that they may have missed or wish to experience. I especially want to share with the viewers all the beauty I have witnessed. 

View Rick Mundy’s exhibit at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum, 440 Montauk Highway, Great River from Aug. 30 to Sept. 30. The arboretum is open Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For parking fees and restaurant information visit www.BayardCuttingArboretum.com. Visit Rick Mundy’s website at www.rickmundywatercolors.com.

All images courtesy of Rick Mundy

‘Dutch Plate and Tulips,' watercolor

Artist Statement:

’ My goal is to design a watercolor that is an exciting, moving feast that celebrates my heritage. I paint objects that have deep personal meaning, attempting to push the medium by layering colors so the painting is saturated with richness, depth and clarity.’   Eleanor Meier

By Irene Ruddock

Eleanor Meier

Setauket artist Eleanor Tyndall Meier is a contemporary realist still life painter. A former art educator, her work has been published in the New York Times, New Art International and Splash: Watercolor Discoveries. Meier has received many awards in juried exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, and she is a signature member of the Baltimore Watercolor Society as well as exhibiting with the Rhode Island, Houston and Adirondack Watercolor Societies.

A former president of the Catherine Lorillard Art Club, Meier is currently on the advisory council at Gallery North and the steering committee of The Long Island Museum’s LIMarts, where she was chosen to be August’s 2018 Artist of the Month at the museum’s Visitors Center.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Meier as she prepares to move her art studio to Centerport.

You have a breathtaking array of awards and accomplishments. What do you consider your most meaningful? 

After retiring from a career of teaching art to high school students, many of whom are dear friends today, I had the opportunity to paint and make art a daily activity, to exhibit and to develop friendships with other committed artists. Using skills developed as a teacher I now find a special fulfillment in planning research trips to galleries, colleges, museums and other art centers.

How do you design your compositions? 

‘Kimono and Apples,’ watercolor

I paint large still life tableaux that are filled with treasured objects arranged on patterned and textured fabrics. The images consist of solid forms that reflect shifting nuances with webs of shadow. Using themes such as kimonos, Delft china, silver Revere bowls, cups and saucers, colored glass, white objects — whatever deeply moves me and excites the mind’s eye. I try to design the arrangements so that the painting will be infused with a sense of myth, mystery and magic. 

How do you choose the objects for your paintings? 

I use objects that have been passed from generation to generation, objects that have the potential for significance because of past association. They may be grand or humble, glistening or tarnished, but they must animate the surface, breathing energy and vigor into my compositions. 

Is there another art form that you enjoy? 

Since the human figure is one of the most enduring themes in the visual arts, I find that drawing from the live model inspires all my artistic endeavors. I find it is a needed exercise to sharpen the vision, improve eye-hand coordination and to energize the right side of the brain.

Are there artists from whom you draw your inspiration? 

I admire the works of Dine, Demuth, O’Keefe, Rothko, Beal and Freckleton. I have studied Dine’s work, noting that he selects an object that has meaning to him, uses it and transforms it into an exciting icon. I am drawn to the richness and luminous color in Rothko’s paintings, the use of the diagonal in the exciting compositions of Beal and Freckelton, the delicacy of a Demuth apple and the singular focus as found in an O’Keefe flower. I also attend galleries, studios and museums in New York City, Houston, Italy and Geneva — wherever in the world I travel.

Can you tell us about the Catherine Lorillard Art Club?

‘Cups and Plates,’ watercolor

The organization is a 130-year-old organization of women artists started by a bequest from Catherine Lorillard Wolfe, who was the only female on the board of founders of the Metropolitan Museum. The club exhibits yearly at the National Arts Club and the Salmagundi Club, attracting world class women artists. As an artist working alone, I find that being involved with this prestigious art organization has given me the opportunity to befriend many dedicated professionals and to share ideas which stimulate the creative process.

You are on the steering committee for LIMarts, an art group associated with The Long Island Museum. What can you tell us about that? 

Working with the innovative Neil Watson, executive director of the museum, has been fun. His interest in giving Long Island artists opportunities to exhibit their work has been exciting and inspiring. I am honored to have been chosen to be Artist of the Month and will be exhibiting at The Long Island Museum’s Visitor Center, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook through the month of August.

Soon you will be moving to Centerport. What will you miss most about this area?

I will always be involved in this area. The Three Villages and surrounding towns have become a vibrant area for art on Long Island. The many museums, galleries and artist studios have all raised the presence of art, making it an important center for art exhibits, art talks and art education. It is an exciting community in which to live and I am happy to have a small part in its new presence on the art map of Long Island. 

As a leader in the art world, what has art meant to you over the years? 

Art has always been my life and passion. I now have the time to paint every day, to exhibit, to work on various art-related committees, to plan art trips to the city and other venues. It makes life happy and fulfilling.

Turquoise vessel with coordinating wooden lid

Artist statement: ’ When I was a young man, I decided I would prefer to have some sort of pastoral life.  Working in my home pottery studio, “my island of calm, amidst the insanity of Long Island,” has afforded me some of the serenity I was seeking.’    Russell Pulick

By Irene Ruddock

Russell Pulick has been creating fine stoneware pottery for 45 years. He has been an instructor and studio manager at the Art League of Long Island for the past 18 years. Along with fellow potters, Russell recently celebrated the opening of a new clay studio and gallery in St. James called The Brick Clay Studio & Gallery where he is the studio manager and technical advisor. His beautiful pottery can now be found on four continents. 

How did you become interested in pottery?

 I took computer programming in college. I also took a pottery class and I was hooked! I wound up getting in trouble for arriving late to my programming classes and all covered in clay!  

 What are the properties of clay that you like?  

I love the plasticity of clay. It is this quality that can make it so much fun to work with. You can take clay anywhere, as long as you do it carefully. You are limited only by your imagination.

Starting from the initial idea, can you walk us through the process of creating a piece?  

The clay is first wedged (kneaded) to remove all air pockets. The next step, for a wheel “thrown” piece, is centering the clay. This is one of the most difficult and important steps. If the clay is not centered, a symmetrical vessel cannot be created. The clay is then shaped by hand, with the aid of a few specialty tools. Each piece needs additional work, such as trimming, adding handles or covers, or texturing. The pottery must then be completely dried, bisque fired, glazed and then glaze fired. I use brown, speckled stoneware clay and fire to 2232 degrees in an electric kiln. 

What is your method for glazing? 

Turquoise fluted tea pot

I make all the glazes myself, using recipes I have compiled by combining various minerals, chemicals and water. Different chemicals create specific colors and textures. Most pieces are dipped into a vat of glaze.

How do you decide on the design for each piece?

In general, I do not do surface decoration, so I try to make graceful, voluptuous shapes that are pleasing to the eye. Then I add a simple, beautiful glaze on the surface. This becomes my sole decoration on the piece.

What qualities make a great ceramic piece? 

For me, a graceful, elegant form makes a great piece.

What do you regard as more importantan esthetically pleasing piece or one that has practical function?

While all my pottery is functional, I still consider the aesthetic value to be most important, but of course form follows function. 

Is there a favorite type of piece that you like to design?   

Ceramic vessel with wood lid

I love making containers. I also love wood so it just seemed to make sense to incorporate the two. So for the last dozen years or so, I have been making wood covers for my clay vessels. 

What or who has influenced you in your artistry? 

I have been influenced by Chinese and Japanese pottery. I admired the work of Shoji Hamada, known as a national treasure in Japan. I also admired the English potter Bernard Leach. When I started to do pottery 45 years ago, there was no internet and the local libraries had only a few books. The books are where I learned about Hamada and Leach. I fell in love with their simple and elegant work.  

I see that you participate in many craft shows. What are some upcoming shows where one can purchase your work? 

I will be exhibiting at the Montauk Historical Society on July 15 and 16 and Aug. 12 and 13. On Sept. 2 and 3, I will be at the Montauk Lions Club and on Aug. 25 I will be at the Art and Craft Fair in Shelter Island. Lastly, on Sept. 24, my pottery will be shown at the West Islip Country Fair. A list of future shows are on my website, www.pulickpottery.com where pottery can be purchased directly.  

Where can someone take classes with you?

Cobalt Blue Jar with turned wood (Goncalo Alves) cover

I teach at the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills. Classes are open to beginners as well as those more experienced with clay. We have a wonderful group of students and everyone has a great time as they learn how to make pottery. You may sign up for my classes at www.artleagueli.org.

Is there one piece of advice that you could give your students and others interested in pursuing pottery as an art form?  

I want them to know that anyone can learn pottery; it requires only patience and tenacity. I call it stick-to-ittiveness! 

What else would you like readers to know about you?  

Besides teaching, I also repair kilns and perform basic preventive maintenance for dozens of schools, universities and private clients. 

Tell us about your latest adventure. 

I am very excited to be a part of the new studio and gallery, The Brick Clay Studio & Gallery, 2 Flowerfield, Suites 57 and 60, St. James. It is a wonderful place for learning, creating and selling ceramics. Please check out our website at www.thebrickstudio.org. Setting up this new studio has been a wonderful adventure and all are welcome to stop by to see what we are all about! 

'Fulfillment'

Artist statement:  ‘My process melds classic photography with digital energy,                                               creating a medium I call interpretive photography’ — Mac Titmus

By Irene Ruddock

Mac Titmus

Mac Titmus is a photographer whose work melds classic photography with evolving digital art. He graduated from Adelphi University with a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in education/psychology. After a career in education, he retired to pursue his lifelong passion for photography. Titmus has won dozens of awards with his work appearing on magazine covers as well as being a distinguished judge. He is a leader in the art world and is currently vice-president of the North Shore Art Guild. He resides in Coram with his wife Mary, whom he calls his “best friend.”  

You describe your photography as ‘interpretative photography.’ Can you elaborate on that?  

“Interpretative photography” is a medium that pushes photography in an exciting new direction: one that defies rules and ignores the limitations of in-camera photography. It takes advantage of and explores the evolving techniques of the digital medium. The result is a fluid art form that merges proven old-school photography with the revolution of new-age photography.

What motivated you to begin to expand from the traditional view of photography to the more interpretive digital work?

When the desktop computer became available, I found I had a natural programing ability and quickly merged the two. Digital photography allows me to create what I once spent hours trying to produce in the darkroom. 

‘Think Pink’

What methods do you use?  

My methods are really the same as most two-dimensional artists, the only difference is substance. Digital art is created on transparent canvas layers on a computer rather than paper or canvas. The tools and the artistic instincts are the same: the use of pens, brushes, canvas, color, motion, balance and light. 

You have said that you combine motion and color with energy, which makes for an exciting experience for the viewer. Why is this combination important to your art? 

 I naturally see emotions as color and use it as a language expressing passion, fear, anger, joy or sadness. This reveals itself as shades from vibrant to subdued in my photographs. 

What is the single most important thing about your photography that makes it stand out among others?  

Without a doubt it would be my strong use of color to express emotion. I use colors as both harmony and conflict, hoping to bring out unaware emotions in people. 

‘On the Street’

You have so many incredible awards. Is there one that stands out as a favorite accomplishment?  

Every award is a wonderful validation, but without a doubt, my first-place award in the Wounded Warriors Benefit at Hutchins Gallery was a highlight. Not only was it an honor to be asked to participate, but it was also the first time my photography was recognized with a first-place award in the category of art, not photography.  

Who has been your strongest artistic influence?    

Having a literary background, I find my strongest influences are the images painted in imagination by the literary works of Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau, Cummings, Beckett and Bach. However, my primary visual art inspirations have always been the works of Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali and Claude Monet.

Your art is now on scarves and articles of clothing.  How did that start?  

People have been telling me for years that my designs would make beautiful scarves, but the problem has been finding a manufacturer that would produce them for a reasonable price. I finally found a manufacturer that reproduces my work on material as I created it. Every scarf is a reflection of me and is unique for its design and vibrancy. In addition to scarves I’ve been experimenting with a line of kimono wraps and yoga leggings. All of my “Wearable ART” can be purchased through Sidewalk Alley Art in Mount Sinai. 

‘Shadow World’

How did you become director for Artists United in the Fight for Cancer?’

Breast cancer is very personal to those that have survived it or lost a friend or family member, as I have. My hope was that by bringing artists together we could be a force to make people more aware of the importance of early detection. We initiated a yearly event for Mather Hospital and the Village of Port Jefferson called Paint Port Pink. I also organized a benefit for the Fortunato Breast Health Center at Mather Hospital as well as an art benefit titled, Through the Eyes of a Child. This benefit raised $20,000 for the art therapy program at Stony Brook University.

Do you feel that photography doesn’t get the respect in the art world that it should? If so, do you know the reason why?  

Absolutely, especially digital photography because its legitimacy as a fine art is often questioned. Many galleries are still hesitant to include digital artists, although they admit its appeal and potential audience. They hesitate embracing it as they are uncertain they can adequately explain its process. The result leaves digital artists floundering for a position in the art community.

Do you have any exhibits coming up?  

Currently I have a solo show at the Clovis Point Winery in Jamesport through April 23 with an artist reception on Saturday, April 21 from 2 to 4 p.m. During the months of April, May and June I’m exhibiting several pieces in joint shows at The Alex Ferrone Gallery in Cutchogue, The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook (LIMarts) and at Expressions Gallery in the Stony Brook Holiday Inn Express. If you can’t attend those exhibits you may see my work online at www.karynmannixcontempary.com of East Hampton or through my website, www.augustusmac.com.

This article was updated on May 3.

'Chickens,' etching with Chine-collé
‘Bluejay,’ etching with Chine-collé

‘I draw inspiration from the familiar in nature. My etchings are a close inspection that reveal a whimsical character, and my landscapes portray scenes for which I feel a deep nostalgia.’

— Karen Kemp

 

Karen Kemp

By Irene Ruddock

A native of Long Island, artist Karen Kemp recently moved back from Boston, where she maintained a studio for 10 years. She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and at the University of New Hampshire where she earned a degree in art history and has received numerous awards for her work in painting and etching. Her artwork is collected worldwide in private and corporate art collections. I recently had the opportunity to interview Kemp and welcome her back to the Island.

Why did you decide to move back to Long Island from city life in Boston?

There are many reasons for moving back, but one huge reason is that I wanted a home where I could have a larger studio space and a yard for gardening. And being closer to my parents was a big factor too!

What did you miss most about Long Island in the years that you were away?

I missed the open farmlands of the North Fork, the proximity of the shoreline and the marshy inlets of the Long Island. They inspire me to do more plein air painting.

‘Two Boats,’ oil on watercolor paper

I see that you were trained in Italy. What was that experience like?

It was a living fantasy! Shortly after graduating from college, I saved up enough money to live and study in Italy at a school for fresco painting, a process of painting on a freshly applied, damp surface with water-based pigments. I do few frescoes these days, but the process of layering and building up color all continue to inform my work today.

Did you study art conservation?

Yes, in Italy and also in New York City where I spent time apprenticing at a painting conservation studio from which I developed an appreciation for using archival materials.

Some have said that your landscapes in oil have a peaceful feeling to them. How would you describe them, and how are they different from other oil painters?

I try not to make an exact replication. I say that my paintings are representational, but not realistic. I attempt to evoke a calm mood, a setting or a sort of dreamscape. I am very sentimental about Long Island, and perhaps that comes out in the painting. My oil paintings are different from many painters because I paint on gessoed watercolor paper or matt board, which is easy to prepare and transport.

‘Mousewatch,’ etching with Chine-collé

You also are known for your etchings, which have been described as having a whimsical charm to them. Would you explain what etching is to people who may not be familiar with that art form?

Etching is one of the oldest methods of printmaking dating back to the 15th century. It is a technique involving a metal surface such as zinc or copper, and an acid-biting material that “eats” or “etches” into the surface creating a design or image. To print, ink is rubbed into the etched lines, and, with paper, it is run through a press. The image is then transferred to the paper, but in the reverse form. It is much more involved, but this is a simple version.

The background of your etchings often have what is called Chine-collé? Can you tell us about that technique?

Traditionally Chine-collé was used to create a tonal background for an etching using thin tissue or rice paper. The paper and the printing of the etching are run through the press together to create the finished image. Through experimenting, I have updated the technique using origami and patterned papers to achieve a colorful background for my subjects.

Your mother is the much-admired artist Flo Kemp. How has she influenced you growing up? 

My mom, master etcher that she is, taught me quite a bit about etching, and we still spend time in the studio together. I lived and breathed her work for so long, it naturally manifests itself in my work too. Mom has always encouraged and supported me along the way, providing me with etching advice and giving me business advice too.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to develop my paintings and etchings even further. In responding to your questions, I’ve learned a few things about myself that I hadn’t stepped back to consider. I realize how much I enjoy processes and techniques, and how much they inform the style of my work. These will continue to influence the evolution and progression of my art.

What galleries represent your work?

Danette Koke Fine Art in NYC, who has carried my work for almost 20 years, Radius Gallery in Montana and Ogunquit Museum in Maine. I also show yearly at the Gallery North Outdoor Show and with the Setauket Artists. You may view my work and order etchings or landscapes at www.karenkemp.com.

'Long Winter Shadows'

By Irene Ruddock

Jane McGraw Teubner

Artist statement: ’Painting with pastels captures light in nature with a brilliance and mystery that takes me on a journey to the creative process!’

Jane McGraw Teubner is a Master Pastelist in the Pastel Society of America, as well as a Master Circle Recipient from the International Association of Pastel Societies. She is on the board of directors of the Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, which exhibits each year in the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park in New York City and is a Resident Artist of the famed Salmagundi Art Club, also located in the city. Recently her painting was on the cover of PleinAir Magazine, an international art journal devoted to outdoor painting. McGraw Teubner, who resides in East Northport with her husband Rich, recently answered some questions about her art.

Why are you drawn to pastels? 

I am drawn to pastels because of the immediacy, vibrancy and permanence of the colors. Originally, I worked in oils but I was working full time, with limited time to paint. The paint would dry out on my palette and I was lazy about cleaning my brushes. When I discovered pastels about 30 years ago, it was the perfect medium for a busy person. They are already dry, no mixing of colors, no chemicals, no brush cleaning! The effects you can achieve with pastels are not matched by any other medium.

Can you describe your process for painting a pastel?

‘Autumn Splendor’

 

It is an incremental approach. I start each painting with a small study of the composition. If that works, I go to the next step to create a value-based underpainting, usually with one or two colors to achieve the correct lights and darks. If I am pleased with that, I continue on to placing colors.

Where do you like to paint?

I love painting outdoors. I do a lot of studio work too, but that studio work is heavily influenced by working directly from nature. You cannot duplicate the colors of nature with a camera. The lights are usually too light and the darks too dark. My “go-to” place is Sunken Meadow State Park.

What is it about an ordinary scene that you can transform into an extraordinary painting? 

I try to put magic into my paintings. When someone looks at my work, I’d like them to say “How did she do that?” I like to take a scene and put something personal into it, my own vision and atmosphere. I use a limited color palette that helps enhance the serenity of my work.

I know that you teach pastel classes in your studio, as well as at the Teaching Studios of Art in Oyster Bay. What is the most important thing you can teach your students? 

I teach my students to not be afraid to fail, that you learn more from your mistakes than your successes.

Are there any secrets that you can share about your process?

‘Lavendar Field’

Yes, when I am working in front of an easel, I am living in the present, appreciating every moment, not wanting to be anywhere else. I consider that to be one of the secrets to a good painting or a good life — being mindful of what you are doing. I not only get a true sense of accomplishment for the finished product, but even more from the journey that took me there.

How can someone who is not able to come to a workshop with you learn about your process?

A few years ago I made a DVD with American Artist Magazine, which is available through www.northlightshop.com. It was filmed in Colorado and it’s about creating a painting outdoors.

One of your paintings landed on the Oct./Nov. cover of Plein Air Magazine along with an extensive article. What was that experience like?

It was very exciting to have been chosen to be interviewed for the magazine, but to get on the cover was a special gift I never imagined that would happen. It was a matter of being prepared for the opportunity and luck. Steven Doherty, the editor, chose one of my paintings from my website and submitted it to the publisher, along with three other artists’ work. That’s where the luck came in when Eric Rhoads picked mine.

After winning so many national and local awards, is there one award that you consider your most memorable?

‘Tidal Wash’

I received the Gold Medal of Honor for Pastels and Drawing from the Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club a few years ago. It was a national juried show with artists participating from all over the country and it was my first national award. I have also received two awards from the Plein Air Easton competition. Just the process of getting accepted into the most well-respected plein air show in the country is an honor, with hundreds of people applying for just 50 spots, but to win an award is an outstanding accomplishment.

Where can we see your work?

People are welcome to see my newest work, upcoming exhibits and latest painting adventures by visiting my website, which is www.janemcgrawteubner.com. I am represented on Long Island at the William Ris Gallery East in Jamesport.

Are any of your hobbies related to painting? 

Running has been my main form of exercise for over 35 years. Learning to paint is like training for a marathon. Each single step is important. Running taught me to take baby steps and have patience with my painting. With much practice, you will get better.

Social

9,417FansLike
0FollowersFollow
1,151FollowersFollow
33SubscribersSubscribe