Tags Posts tagged with "Artist of the Month"

Artist of the Month

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.

'Back Porch Pumpkin' by Al Candia

By Irene Ruddock

Artist’s statement:  I hope that my paintings create a deeper sense of the relationship between ourselves and the splendid world in which we live, and are moving through too quickly. — Al Candia

 

Al Candia

Al Candia, a Stony Brook resident, has been interested in art since childhood. He began painting seriously while teaching English at Commack High School, continuing his studies of art at Stony Brook University. His workshops and private study included courses with many noted artists, including Joseph Reboli. Candia has become an award-winning artist exhibiting extensively in galleries all over Long Island. Chosen as Honored Artist by the Setauket Artists in 2015, Candia is October’s Artist of the Month at The Long Island Museum.

Can you elaborate on your artist’s statement?

I concentrate on the immediate world around me. I try to avoid “grand” subjects and tend to focus on the common, ordinary things that I find meaningful, but that we are sometimes too busy to notice: a farm fence in an open field, ancient beach chairs frozen in the snow, a jetty marching down into the ocean, flowers stuck in an old bucket, a small pumpkin on the steps.

How did you learn to paint?

The most important teacher is “the doing.” I can’t tell you how many acres of canvas I went through to arrive at a level where I began to consider myself as an artist.

It has been said that your paintings ‘touch the heart’ and are soulful. Why do you think that is?

Perhaps by going through life so fast, people might secretly yearn for a simpler way of life. They may enjoy slowing down a bit to “take a breath” and see the ordinary and realize it can be extraordinary.

You were an English teacher for 36 years before becoming a full-time artist. How did teaching influence your work?

For me, there is wonderful connection between fine art and literature. Writers and poets deal very much in the creation of images. An image can haunt us, fill us with joy. It is what makes a written work alive and vivid. It is what made me want to become a painter. I would see something — a broken seashell, a window in the late afternoon shadows — that would move me deeply and would be heavy with meaning. I very much wanted to celebrate that in a painting.

‘Back Porch Pumpkin’ by Al Candia

How do you find inspiration for a painting?

Robert Frost said that a poem begins with a lump in the throat. He was talking, of course, about being moved or shaken by something — an idea, an experience, an object — that needs to be expressed. That is true for me also. Recently, I came across a pumpkin on the worn steps of a back porch. I was so taken with this simple object that hardly anyone would see. I thought of the person who placed it there out of a some personal gesture. I thought it would make a touching painting that reveals some small aspect of our humanity.

What is your method?

I usually begin with a bunch of photos. I take these back to my studio and begin to work up a drawing idea for the painting. This is an important step where you design the composition, simplify, arrange the elements, and begin to think of color and light. From there, I proceed as many oil painters do by washing the canvas with a thin mixture of warm color diluted with mineral spirits. Next I begin to lay in the large shapes. Essentially I am carrying on a dialogue with the canvas, finding out what is working and what is not.

Why have you chosen oil painting over other mediums?

I think the medium choose me. It somehow fits my personality. Oil painting is slow moving and deliberate. It often will take a few days to allow the painting to dry before moving on to the next step. During these intervals the painting is percolating in my brain, trying to make the painting as good as it possibly can be. I compare it to a child with a wind up toy, winding that toy as tight as possible in order to release it to its maximum effect.

What is the biggest difficulty you encounter in the creation of a painting?

After working with a painting for a couple weeks, you can lose the sense of it, you lose perspective. You can begin to doubt yourself: did I make all the right decisions, is the color just right, did I overwork it, does it still capture what you set out to do? At this time, for me, it is important to have honest feedback from others. My wife is an important part in keeping me on track.

‘Hydrangeas in a Bucket’ by Al Candia

After all that work and effort, it must be difficult to let a painting go.

Not at all. I love the entire process of painting from the initial moment of finding a subject, to creating a design, through the struggle of execution. And hopefully someone will come along and appreciate the painting enough to buy it and hang it in their home. For me that completes the cycle, and the painting begins its life.

Beside the Visitor’s Center at The Long Island Museum in October, where can we see your work?

I will be exhibiting at the Setauket Neighborhood House in the 37th annual Setauket Artists exhibit from Oct. 22 to Nov. 20. People are always welcome to visit my studio by appointment. You can contact me by visiting my website at www.alcandia.com.

by -
0 431
'Johnston Canyon' by Ross Barbera

By Irene Ruddock

Ross Barbera, a graduate of Pratt Institute, is known for his representational acrylic paintings on canvas, watercolors on paper, original jewelry and digital and abstract art. Presently teaching at St. John’s University in the Art and Design Department in Queens where he was chairman for three years, Ross continues to win many juried awards and prestigious grants to pursue his prolific art career.

You were born and raised in Brooklyn, yet all of your paintings, and even much of your jewelry, are depictions of some aspect of the rural landscape. How did that come about?

I spent my summers at my family’s homes in Smithtown and Peakville, New York, and it was during these summers away from the city that I discovered the world of the natural landscape. They were welcome retreats from the city where everything was different: night times were cool, the air smelled clean. I was surrounded by deep forests, ponds and running streams. I was particularly attracted to the interplay of sunlight on flowing water. Nature became the primary inspiration for my paintings ever since then.

Much of your work is representational, yet you also paint in the abstract. What is your inspiration for your abstract work?

Although representational landscape painting has dominated my artistic direction, I discovered abstract, luminous worlds by observing pond surfaces and ice formations “close-up.” For me, this was the hidden world beyond the visible world that has provided the inspiration for my abstract paintings.

Water Lily Watercolor Pendant by Ross Barbera

You have an interesting process in watercolor painting that you teach in your classes and workshops. Can you tell us about this?

I have been experimenting with methods that enable me to retain the look of watercolor painting while achieving painted surfaces comparable in strength to acrylic on canvas; this eliminates the need to protect the painting by framing it behind glass. The first step in this process is to bind the watercolor paper to stretched canvas with a thick polymer gel medium. The finished watercolor painting is then protected with multiple layers of acrylic varnish, and for the top layer I apply a few coats of a removable UV protecting varnish.

Some of the background of your paintings have a stained glass effect — clean, clear, translucent and filled with saturated color. How do you achieve that?

I’ve always worked hard to give my paintings a quality of light, in the belief that good landscape painting needs to communicate a feeling of atmosphere; I never complete a painting until I feel it projects a strong quality of sunlight. Regarding my watercolor paintings, I believe the natural transparency of the watercolor medium contributes to a clean, translucent image. I do not apply watercolor paint with sable paint brushes. I predampen the color shape to be painted with a paint brush and clean water. Next, using needle dispenser bottles that have been filled with premixed watercolor to the consistency that I require for painting, I apply multiple colors into the predampened area, and I permit the colors to freely intermix and blend without working into them with a brush. This method of paint application results in clean, clear and beautifully translucent color shapes, and I believe the effect is further enhanced by the application of the final, protective layers of varnish.

‘Glacier’ by Ross Barbera

How does your digital work influence your art?

My wife Bonnie bought me my first tablet where I downloaded a drawing app. I was instantly addicted! I eventually downloaded a painting app and loved the convenience of digital plein air painting. Next, I began to export my digital paintings to my computer so I could continue to develop them in Photoshop. I restrict myself to basic brushes that come close to what I use in my acrylic on canvas paintings, and I do not use any effects or filters. I intend my digital paintings to be characterized by the same painterly quality that you would see in my paintings on canvas.

How did you become interested in creating jewelry? Can you describe how you incorporate your watercolors into your jewelry?

I started making jewelry when I was a graduate student at Pratt Institute. My early jewelry was created mostly in sterling, and I often incorporated enamels to add color. I am now using a wide range of different types of paper and wood and eventually discovered the limitless possibilities of building pendants, earrings, bracelets and hair pieces with layers of watercolor paper. I like building up layers on 140-pound Arches watercolor paper, and painting directly onto the surface with watercolor and acrylic paints. I coat the jewelry with multiple layers of acrylic varnish, and the final process involves heating the finished piece in an oven at 150°F, which hardens the varnish process.

What is the focus of your recent work?

I visited the Canadian Rockies with the intent of photographing the mountain glaciers and rivers for a new series of acrylic paintings that would be dedicated to the disappearing glaciers. I plan to continue in my effort to capture the diversity of the North American landscape in painting and will visit national parks throughout the United States and Canada for this purpose.

Where can we see your artwork?

I currently have an exhibit featuring my paintings and jewelry at the Comsewogue Public Library in Port Jefferson Station through the month of September. I also currently have a painting on exhibit in the juried show Colors of the Night at the Mills Pond House Gallery in St. James until Sept. 30. My paintings and jewelry can be viewed at any time by visiting www.rossbarbera.com, and my instructional videos can be found on my YouTube channel Realisticart. My jewelry can be purchased directly from my website, www.paperpendants.com.

Above, front and side view of ‘Topo Shift: MacIntyre Range, 2015.’ Its blue/white coloration is derived from winter hiking.

By Irene Ruddock

Winn Rea addresses environmental themes in her sculptures, installations, videos and works on paper. She has exhibited in galleries and museums, both nationally and internationally, being awarded many prestigious grants and awards. Presently, her work is being shown at the Heckscher Museum of Art in an exhibit aptly titled Earth Muse: Art and the Environment. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Rea about her latest venture.

Environmental Artist Winn Rea

The exhibit at the Heckscher describes its exhibit as ‘presenting the work of artists who view the earth as muse for contemplation of nature’s beauty and diversity.’ Can you tell us what works you are showing there?

At the Heckscher Museum you can see examples of my topographic relief paintings. They are based on my time in the Adirondack Mountains. I love going to the Adirondacks because I can unplug from the wired world and reconnect with nature.

How does your time in nature translate into your artwork?    

While hiking I “collect” shadows by photographing them. Back in the studio, I construct topographic reliefs based on U.S. Geological Survey maps of the area.  They are built out of 1/8-inch Russian birch plywood that I paint using colors and shadow patterns from the woods. People are fascinated because the reliefs are not solid, they are hollow like sea shells, and the shadow almost fools you into looking over your shoulder for the tree that cast it.

What other ways do you use art to express your interest in the environment?   

All of my works are a meditation on where I fit into the greater scheme of things on the planet. When I make videos, they are about the passage of time in the short term, like how the flow of water in a stream changes over the course of a day, or the long term — as in geologic time — which is explored in my works on paper that are made by evaporation.

In your works on paper, you say that you do not paint in the traditional sense, but tend to them as you would a garden. Can you explain what you mean by that?    

Well, it helps to know my process for the works on paper: first, I sculpt the paper, crinkling it into folds like mountain ranges. Then I flood the paper with pigment, which slowly evaporates leaving marks much like contour lines. So, in effect, instead of pushing pigments here or there with a brush, I work in synchrony with the natural process of evaporation. In gardening terms, I prepare the “soil” (sculpted paper), “water it” (pour pigments), and “harvest” the result — a three-dimensional painting on paper.

Above, ‘Topo-Shift- Upper Saranac Lake’

You are an associate professor of art at Long Island University C.W. Post. What do you wish to get across to your students about how art and the environment are related?

I want to give students confidence in their own creativity and help them cultivate their problem-solving skills through the design process. The reality is, their capacity to imagine and realize new, sustainable ways to thrive is the answer to our planet’s future.

In your world exhibitions, is there one country that you enjoyed the most?

I most enjoyed my travels to Korea especially to the tea farms in the mountains. Here the tea bushes are planted along contour lines that accentuate the form of the mountains. I felt most at home there.

Many artists are looking for longevity in their work, yet you describe much of your work as ‘temporal.’ Why?

I want people to enjoy my work and even collect it in order to have it in their lives, if it brings pleasure to them. But I am not interested in making a commodity.  I want my legacy to be longer lasting in terms of the way my work helps people to think about the world differently and to become more aware of the impact of their everyday choices on the planet.

Above, front and side view of ‘Topo Shift: Cliff Mountain, 2015.’

‘Falling Water’ appears to be one of your most influential and popular installation sculptures. What effect were you trying to achieve?   

In “Falling Water,” I made use of the sculptural and material qualities of our ubiquitous disposable water bottles. Cutting them on a curve releases the energy of a spiral. The clear plastic refracts the light, de-materializing the plastic. In a way, their beauty seduces us into ignoring their treachery — the needless use of petroleum products to package and transport a resource that we have as close as our tap.

What are you working on now?   

I am working on a series of small topographic reliefs that include bodies of water.  I am curious about bathometry (contours of the earth under water) and am exploring that margin between land and sea.

Do you have another exhibit coming up?  

Yes, I have works hanging at Gallery 46 in Lake Placid.  As part of the visual arts extension of the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, it is a great location for people to see my work in the context of the land that inspires it.

Can you tell us about your philosophy of life that influences your art?   

The philosophy behind my work can be traced back to time spent hiking with my dad as a young girl.  I loved the smell of the decaying leaves and movement of air amongst the trees. (I think of it now as the woods breathing.) My dad taught me to read the contours of the land while on the trail; back home he showed me where we had hiked on a 3-D topographic map. My dad also taught me about the natural cycle of things, of how the decay of one body feeds the life of another. This informs all my life’s work!

Winn Rea’s work is on exhibit at the Heckscher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington through July 30. For more information, visit her website at www.winnrea.com.

by -
0 473
'Exodus' by Terence Netter

By Irene Ruddock

Terence Netter

Terence Netter, who divides his time between Setauket and Saint-Georges-sur-Cher, France, has had an illustrious career that includes teaching, painting and wide-ranging administrative work in the arts. Locally, he is known for his achievements as the first director of the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, and, of course, for the visionary power of his paintings. Honored recently for these contributions by Gallery North, Netter is referred to as a “community treasure.”

As Staller Center director for 19 years, what was your vision for the center?

My goal was to make the center a major showcase for the arts. I am delighted to see how it has grown under the present leadership continuing to ever expand this goal.

What inspired you to evolve into painting landscapes in a minimalist style?

I changed my style of paintings to do works which evoke a sense of peace. When I moved to France, I became a practitioner and devotee of Zen Mediation which is an ancient technique of emptying one’s mind of distractions to enter a zone of peace. It calms your spirit so that you feel at one with the universe. My present painting process is a form of this meditation, and my newer paintings are an indication of this change. I call them “Zenscapes.”

 

‘Sunrise at Low Tide’ by Terence Netter

As a Christian, how do you reconcile Christianity and Zen Meditation?

The tradition of Christianity includes meditation. I was imbued with this through my study with the Jesuits. I find that both are traditions of finding peace in this ever more contentious and noisy world. Prayer and meditation are both ways of searching for the great mysteries of life and both have led me to paint in a peaceful manner.

How are art and religion entwined?

They are very much alike. The great philosopher Hegel said that art is the sensuous expression of the visual, and religion is the imaginative. Art and religion are two different forms of expressing the fact that the human spirit continues to evolve toward the infinite.

You often speak of achieving peace in your paintings. How do you define peace?

St. Thomas Aquinas says that “Peace is the tranquility of order.”

I’ve noticed that you often have the sun or moon in your paintings. What is the significance?

It’s the circle of life. The sun represents male power as exemplified by the god Apollo while the moon is represented by the goddess Venus. If you really want the answer to that, you will have to speak with my psychiatrist!

You also describe yourself as a teacher. What is your goal as a teacher?

I feel more complete as a person in the act of teaching. It is, for me, a way of growing. I teach in order to learn. I want to show students that life is an adventure in an unknown country — it is a “vision quest.” My goal as a teacher is to inspire young minds to open up, remove prejudices, and to set people on the path to finding truth. I encourage the study of the great thinkers who have influenced me such Hegel, Rahner, Kant and Chardin, to inspire the reflection necessary for growth. To grow, you have to be plugged into the spirit of the times — the Zeitgeist!

In your lectures, you talk about the search for the meaning of art through the centuries. What is your definition of the meaning of art?

I believe that art is nature reborn through the free consciousness of the human spirit. Artists create a new world for people to enter. Art is the visual expression of that infinitely evolving human spirit which is why each generation has to create their own vision of art.

Why did you choose the Loire Valley for your second home?

I went there when I was young and decided to take my wife Therese to visit on our 30th anniversary. We bought a little farmhouse and that is where I now do most of my painting. There I was inspired to paint the French Perspectives series and others that express “emotions recollected in tranquility.” My paintings have been described as capturing that special light and perfumed air of the Loire Valley.

You have mentioned that you spend time writing in France. Can you share with our readers what you are writing?

Yes, I am writing my memoirs!

Where can we see your art?

In Setauket, I am exhibiting my selected works at Gallery North (90 North Country Road, Setauket) until June 17 and in New York City I am represented by the Woodward Gallery. I am especially honored to be in many museums and private collections in the States and in Europe.

What do you want the viewer to feel or see when they view your paintings?

I want the viewer’s mind and eye to take a walk beyond the here and now. I hope that they experience that there is more beyond the horizon — the possibility of existence beyond the reach of our senses, even though we can’t see it. Most of all, I wish that they sense the deep peace that I am trying to evoke in my paintings.

by -
1 1192
'Grateful' by Lana Ballot

By Irene Ruddock

Lana Ballot, a signature member of the Pastel Society of America is known for her stunning seascapes and coastal scenes, one of which just won first place (‘Grateful’) in The Art Guild of Port Washington Juried Exhibition “America.” Here, she shares her views on her art with us.

What is your heritage and how has it affected your art?

Lana Ballot

I was born in Siberia, Russia, but most of my childhood was spent in Kyrgyzstan, in the south of the former Soviet Union. We lived near a resort area with a large beautiful lake (the second largest mountain lake in the world), beaches and distant mountain views. I remember watching how the lake changes colors depending on the weather, or how the setting sun colors the mountain peaks golden and pink. There I started paying close attention to colors in nature and I’m sure that’s why now, as an artist, I’m so attracted to landscape and seascape as my main subjects.

Where did you study?

It was clear since I was a child that I had some artistic ability, but there were no art schools where we lived. After I came to the United States, I felt that I was given a chance to start over and do what I really love. I enrolled as a studio arts major at Stony Brook and spent years immersed in drawing, painting and learning art history.

Why do you prefer to work with pastels?

‘Sayville Vines’ by Lana Ballot

Pastels are a perfect medium that fits so well in a contemporary lifestyle — it does not require much space or use of any toxic solvents and it’s very portable, which makes it perfect for painting outdoors. Pastels are made of pure powdered pigment that is held together with very little binder, so they have the highest color concentration than any other artist’ medium. The colors in paintings made with pastels will stay brilliant and fresh for centuries!

Where do you teach?

I was fortunate to have been invited to join the group of talented artists teaching at The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James. Currently, I offer two classes — a studio Pastel Painting class on Tuesday evenings and a Plein Air with Pastels class on Friday mornings. In addition to these ongoing classes, I teach workshops that are usually focused on a specific subject, like Painting Seascapes with Pastels from Aug. 18 to 20. This June, I’m teaching a week-long Plein Air workshop in Tuscany, Italy — a dream destination for a landscape painter!

‘Stony Brook Sunset’ by Lana Ballot

Tell me about your Tuscany workshop. Can people still sign up for it?

Yes, there’s still time to sign up. This is a painting vacation from June 17 to 24. The group will be staying in a villa in Tuscany, near the beautiful town of Cortona, the filming location for the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun.” Learning in a relaxed atmosphere in a gorgeous setting, while enjoying Italian food and wine will be a wonderful experience.

Do you have a favorite place to paint on Long Island?

Smith Point Beach in Shirley and Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai are my go-to places for seascapes and coastal subjects. It does not matter how many times I’ve walked through the dunes or by the water, I’ll find something new and exciting, because the light is never quite the same. I’m also fortunate to live near the beautiful village of Stony Brook, where I’ve painted in different seasons and weather, and where I’m bringing my plein air students during this spring semester.

Why do you like painting en plein air?

There’s no substitute for learning about color for a landscape artist than to paint outside en plein air. Besides, it’s just great to be immersed in my subject, with all senses engaged.

‘Snow in Cedar Beach Dunes’ by Lana Ballot

Who is your favorite artist?

[John Singer] Sargent is one of the biggest influences on my work for his sense of color and expressive brushwork.

If you had to choose one word to describe your art, what would that be?

Color! That is what most people would mention when they speak about my work. It’s also the brilliant color that is found in, and is so special about, my preferred painting medium — pastels.

Where can we see your work and learn more about your teaching and the workshops?

Visit my website at www.lanaballot.com or call me at 262-347-1176. You may also register for my classes or workshops at The Atelier in St. James by calling 631-250-9009 or by visiting their website, www.atelieratflowerfield.org.

'Avalon Garden' by Sungsook Setton

By Irene Ruddock

Sungsook Setton of Setauket is a watercolor and ink artist whose work bridges East and West and has brought her international recognition. She has exhibited in Canada, Korea, Taiwan, England and the United States. Setton twice won Best in Show at the National Juried Exhibition by the Sumi-e Society of America.

Quote: ‘My work, based on East Asian brush painting and Western artistic innovation, can be seen as expressive abstraction, allowing me to harness the spirit of qi.’

When did you begin painting?

Sungsook Setton

From an early age, I was always drawn to art and painted in the traditional western style. However, I began East Asian water and ink brush painting while revisiting Korea searching for my roots. I studied with Chinese and Korean masters who had me practice one stroke at a time for a month until it was perfect. They taught me that, just as musicians play scales and dancers practice steps, watercolor-ink painters practice the basic strokes to prepare for more intricate work. This began my personal journey to meld traditions of eastern and western art into my art.

What is the most important lesson you learned from your teachers?

One of the most important lessons is to achieve tranquility while you paint. Becoming one with the brush is an essential meditative experience that leads to tranquility. Tranquility then leads to qi, which leads to the transcendence necessary for painting.

Can you tell us more about qi?

It is a life force or energy flow. It is a central Chinese principle — the harmony of yin and yang.

‘Flatiron Building’ by Sungsook Setton

What else influences your art?

The most influential classic book for the Chinese water-ink artist is the Qing Dynasty reference “Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden,” which teaches that polished skills lead to a deeper understanding of the wonders of nature. While engaged in painting landscape, it’s almost a spiritual nutrition for me. Surrounded by nature, my mind is calm and clear, and I can focus on my subject. I then use suggestions in my brushwork to interpret forms in their simplest state. By paring back, I hope to reveal and capture the qi of nature. Brush painting represents the perfect meeting between the qi of the artist and the qi of nature.

What is your best advice for people viewing your work?

When viewing the paintings, look also for the empty spaces as well as the positive spaces. The nonpainted area, called ying, is there to allow you to breathe deeply and to grow and to achieve peace.

You have just written a beautiful book titled “The Spirit of the Brush.” Can you explain why you chose the title?

My brush has taken me on a spiritual journey. With my brush, I feel that I am not only a painter, but a dancer and a musician. I sing songs with my brush and dance with it. It is the goal of every watercolor painter to become one with the brush, so the title “The Spirit of the Brush” is fitting for me.

‘West Meadow Beach’ by Sungsook Setton

Tell me more about the book.

It is a story of my personal journey. It is also a book that teaches others how to achieve water-ink paintings by providing information on brush and paper materials. It is a guide for learning how to incorporate this art form into their own unique work — finding their own path, or dao, to where their brush will lead them.

When you say that you sing songs with your brush, how has that transpired?

I’ve spent a lot of time depicting music in my paintings over the years. I was invited to participate in a multimedia performance Brush Voice. During the performance, my abstract expressionist paintings were projected onto a large screen while the Ardesco group played the music at the Wang Center at Stony Brook University. After that, I have done live performances with a jazz musician.

What is your best advice for artists?

My advice for artists is to remember that nature always has new things to teach you!.

Where can we view your paintings and purchase your new book?

Come visit me at my art studio at 22 Mud Road in Setauket where I also teach. I am exhibiting my paintings at the Art League of Long Island with the Long Island Sumi-e Society member show from April 22 to May 7. The exhibition is called The Fragrance of Ink. “The Spirit of the Brush” is coming out in June and may be preordered on Amazon today — bring it to my studio for signing! Book signing schedules will be announced soon! You may contact me at sungsooksetton@gmail.com or www.sungsooksetton.com.

Social

9,190FansLike
1,097FollowersFollow
33SubscribersSubscribe