I am happy to release this vivid pastel piece just in time for Valentine’s. Whether you are celebrating with a sweetie this year or not, none of us are immune to the rose-red charms of love. In this piece, I have included a rose in a unique vase which reflects the colors below, a parchment letter sealed with a ribbon, and an apple, displayed on luscious red fabric.
The medium is chalk pastel on paper, and the marks are crisp and deliberate, making this a clear and energetic piece.
“Tender Trio” is 14″ x 17″ inches and ships rolled gently and carefully protected in a tube. *Please note the framed image is a mockup and meant to represent how the piece could look if framed by the buyer.*
I am doing an online auction for this ORIGINAL piece! The bidding starts at $250 and ends on February 7th at midnight. If you would like to bid, please click here or scan the Q code below. Once you register, you will be able to make a bid and will be notified if at any point you are out bid, or if you won the piece at the end!
Scan this Q code with your camera app in your phone to register and place your bid!
Any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you asap!
Happy 2023! Although we are well on our way into 2023 now, I’ve been so busy this month rehabbing my new place (more on this later) that my updates have fallen to the wayside! Since it’s still January, I thought it would be a good idea to start the first missive of the new year off with a recap of the highlights of 2022, and hopes and plans for 2023!
JANUARY 2022: In the beginning of 2022 last year, much of my creative energy went into launching the Luminary Artist Academy, an intensive course for aspiring professional artists where I would come alongside students and coach them into a fully fledged art career over 6 months. This was an incredibly rewarding project, as I love making a difference in other’s lives in a positive way, and have gotten very positive feedback from students about how comprehensive the course is. I wrote and had much of the photographs for the course taken in Miami the month before during Art Basel, a very inspiring time. I still run this course for artists and will be relaunching it again in February 2023. MARCH-MAY 2022: In the early Spring months, I created two major works,Persephoneand Inner Realms. Persephone is centered around the myth of the same name originating from Ancient Greece, of the unwilling Queen of the Underworld whose arrival from the depths of the earth every Spring brings with is life to the land once again. I portrayed her in front of caves dripping with ice, her hair cascading down her shoulders and mimicking the frozen waterfalls behind her. She holds narcissus flowers, the first sign of Spring, and also brings them, as they spring up on the pathway where she walks. Persephone is a very interesting figure as she inhabits both light and dark, straddling the worlds of night and also of day and life. Although the Persephone original piece has been claimed, there are limited edition prints available.
My self portrait Inner Realms was inspired by looking at the portraits of women by Leonardo da Vinci. In particular, Portrait of Ginevra de Benci and of course, Mona Lisa, (particularly the hand gesture) were influences as I created this self portrait. It is oil on mounted linen, with 24 karat gold leaf accents, and contains symbols that resonate with me at the moment. My figure is clothed in white which is timeless throughout the ages, with a crown of flowers as an idea of queen of nature. Lavender is my favorite color, symbolizing spirituality and creativity. The rainbow adds magic and a promise of good things to come, and also is a nod to one of my favorite creative unions of animation and music, Disney’s original 1940 Fantasia set to Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. The Pegasus in the background, is an animal I have often dreamed of and feel is my spirit animal. The golden arrows represent an open heart. There is also a tangle of nature represented in the background, something as humans I believe we are all an integral part of, not separate.
MAY-JUNE 2022: In May to June, I organized and hosted a exhibition for artist Kathryn Kincaid called Every Petal through my Philadelphia based gallery, Era Contemporary. The exhibition was a smashing success! We also had a musical performance by Dallas Bardot at the event.
JULY 2022: In July, I left for France for the heavenly artist residency at Chateau Orquevaux! I was booked for two weeks at the residency, but spent an extra week in Paris soaking up the culture. For my week in Paris, I spent each day visiting sites that were off the beaten path, capturing paintings of the city from different angles.
Some of my most vivid memories from that week in Paris was staying across the street from the Lourve (in a very, very tiny place, but you know what they say about location!) , wandering the gardens under a full moon rising, painting the Eiffel Tower at dusk while crowds of people watched, visiting the Musee de la Romantique, meeting up with a friend and client from my teaching who lives in Paris, meeting up with an artist model (who modeled for Persephone and The White Deer) , visiting the old Paris opera house, and seeing an amazing classical ballet production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream!
I did several oil and watercolor paintings in Paris! I also had professional photos taken by Paris street photographer Natalie Gardot, which you can see below.
I also made a comprehensive video about all my experiences in Paris, which you can watch here.
The city was breathtakingly beautiful, a true joy to experience and so beautiful that it was a bit of an out of body experience. Below are some photos from my week in Paris before my residency!
JULY 2022: In July, I continued my journey in France to Chateau Orquevaux! It was a long train ride to the northeast of France, and divine coincidence had it that I sat down on the train next to another artist bound for the residency as well! We had a lovely chat and were able to help each other with directions and our luggage.
The residency was truly incredible, and I was able to produce over 30 paintings and drawings there in 2 weeks. Watch my video about my time at the residency by clicking here.
Below is a journal entry from my time at the Chateau: I am sitting right now outside the Château, overlooking sparkling waters of the lily pond, my eye drifting over the undulating emerald hills where trees have taken route as evidence of the lush and life-giving landscape. Feathery queen ann’s lace dots the hillside, and purple bachelors button contrast their beauty and nod in time to the gentle breeze. I am fascinated by the colors of the pond, how it changes in depth and clarity shift into deeper and cooler colors. The white cows are grazing peacefully off in the distance, and swallows swoop and play over the fields. I hear the old church bells ringing to tell the time, as they have been ringing for hundreds of years here in the small town of Oquevaux. In the morning, I hear the roosters crow, and all throughout the day there is the sound of the rushing waterfall far in the distance. The wind grazes gently through the trees, rustling ever so softly and providing a cool feel on the skin. Behind me I hear the clink of dishes from the Château kitchen as the cooks prepare the meal for tonight. And all around me are the subtle sounds of nature… The chirping of birds, the hum of insects, the chatter of the ducks on the pond, and late at night when it storms, the thunder over the hillside.I started my journey from America by spending several days in Paris. Paris has its own kind of exhilaration, a major metropolis steeped in beauty and ancient history, anchored by a rebellious and tumultuous history, and elevated by its peoples love of the arts and incredible accomplishments. I felt the energy of Paris every day that I was there, and energy of pleasure and happiness, creativity and euphoria. But since arriving at the Château, I have experienced a different kind of euphoria: a euphoria of peace.It is a dream come true for many artists, to let all other responsibilities fall away and to spend time creating purely from your hearts impulse, for a time while being completely supported by your environment and community. I have never experienced this kind of thing so completely before in my life. While I made me a comparison to graduate school, this residency was a different animal. The difference is in the freedom, the care, and the reverence by which the artist here are treated. The thing that I have noticed and felt very tangibly every day here is how artists are desired and revered here for their creativity and their gifts to the world. Each one of us artists who are here during this two week residency have been treated with the highest honor, and encouragement, which has resulted in a freedom of expression that is completely uninhibited. I will take this experience with me for the rest of my life as a time where I have felt completely at home, appreciated, and unbelievably inspired.Each day of the week brought forth new magic and delightful surprises. From my studio window, I watched the different colors of the sky and the weather change, keeping in tune with the landscape and feeling my body circadian rhythm match that of the earth. Daily walks with the other artists led us to discover queens corners of the village, pathways past rolling sheep farms, and pristine gardens hidden away beside cottages. On a hot day, we may go swimming in the pond and let the cool mountain spring water heal our sun heated skin. And every evening, a spread of food fit for a king is set out for us and a gong is rung so that way we all may partake together and enjoy the delicious succulent food and each other’s company. The creative collaboration of so many different artists from different backgrounds is priceless. If you are ever created we stuck, discussing it with other educated and inspired individuals will be sure to give light to your artistic dilemma.In my own practice, I have been able to do about a dozen paintings so far, ranging from plein air works capturing the gorgeous landscape to imaginative sketches inspired by fairytales completed in my studio, to figure drawing sketches as myself and the other residents took turns modeling for each other. I am also working on a very large painting that I have really put my heart and soul into depicting a woman with her arms outstretched and golden rays coming out of each hand; she seems to be in a trance in a beautiful woodland, creativity pouring out of her hands. There are many layers to the meaning behind this painting, but I am enjoying the process of discovering it as I create it.I have also created a short dramatic and comedic film inspired by fairytales, as a collaboration with two of the other residents. It is called the “Princess and the Fox” and it was a playful delight to create! The château hosted a screening night for the film, and all of the residents watched after the film was complete. It was a moment of such honor and love, and so gratifying to hear the laughs, enjoyment and feedback from the residents as they watched our creation! You too can watch the film if you are curious, by clicking here or on the image below.I still have several days left at the Château, and am hard at work creating and finishing the work that I have begun here. It is truly one of the most magical and transformative experiences of my life being here and a place where my soul feels completely at peace. For those of you who want a deeper dive into my experience at the Château, you can watch my YouTube video I made about the first week by clicking here . And below, enjoy some photos from my experience there.
AUGUST 2022: After getting back from France in August, I began preparing for my solo show Preternatural on September 11th. During August, I framed work made in France, pre-sold work to collectors, and recovered from the trip!
SEPTEMBER 2022: The beginning of September included a beautiful editorial of my work published by Beautiful Bizarre Magazine. You can read it here!
On September 11th, the Tyler Arboretum and Era Contemporary hosted my exhibition Preternatural. It was a magical evening, with all of my recent work on display, a wonderful turnout, and yummy food and drinks. I also had a calming musical sound bath performance by Dallas Bardo, including harps, rainsticks, gongs and more. This exhibition has been my most successful to date, with most pieces selling in the collection. There are still a few originals left as well as prints, which you can browse here.
Below are pictures taken from the exhibition, most taken by James Van Cleaf.
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER: In early September, I took a breath after my exhibition and rested, shipping off the last of the pieces sold. Then, on October 15, I made an offer on a very cool 1950s stone ranch house along the Main Line of Philadelphia. It needed a lot of work, but it had great bones and a very zen-like feeling to the space. My offer was accepted! I had been looking for another place for several years after fixing up my 700-square foot, 100 year old rowhome in Manayunk. I wanted somewhere I could both live and work, with space to breathe. I began the process of getting my home ready for sale next…lots of donating things, organizing and giving away. It was a chance to go through everything and anything and start fresh!
In Late October, I went away with family for a week in Ireland. There I created several watercolors and had many adventures on the beautiful cliffs of Ireland, horsebackriding, and exploring old Irish castles! See below for a few pictures from Ireland.
NOVEMBER 2022: In November, I moved into my new 1950s stone ranch! The day after I moved in, I hosted an open house for my Manayunk rowhome, and it sold the first day. And due to a synchronicity beyond me, the realtor for the buyer happened to have collected a large piece of mine ten years ago, before I started keeping good records! She recognized my name and texted pictures of the piece in her kitchen! It was truly meant to be!
DECEMBER 2022: Closing for my Manayunk house to the new buyer! After closing, I began renovating my new place. It is an intensive process, and I’ve been at it for a month and a half. In that time, the carpets have been ripped up and replaced by pale, airy maple wood, the walls painted, new lighting installed, the kitchen updated and so much more. I am going with a “Parisian Zen” feel to the place, in calming neutral shades. My favorite part of the place is the sunroom where my plants are growing! And, the studio is coming along–a perfect workspace adjacent to the main living space! When things are a little more settled, I will share some before and after shots.
December also brought the opening reception for Legends of the Moon, a group exhibition I curated for Era Contemporary and hosted by Tyler Arboretum. It brought together many different artists work, all to be digitally catalogued and sent to the moon with the Lunar Codex, thanks to Samuel Peralta! It was a wonderful exhibition with a live harpist, food, hot cocoa, stargazing with astronomers and firepits to observe the moon right outside the show. Two of my own works were also included in the show, to be sent to the moon as well.
In 2022, I also had work included in the following group exhibitions: Salon de Refuses at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, 158th Annual Exhibition of Small Oil Paintings at the Philadelphia Sketch Club, The Art of the Flower at the Philadelphia Sketch Club, Animalia at Abend Gallery, Wonderland at the Art Effect Gallery, and Phillustration at the Philadelphia Sketch Club. I also completed numerous commissions for private clients.
It’s been an incredible year full of adventures, creativity and learning experiences! A lot of big things happened for me in 2022, like purchasing a home, going on my first artist residency, having work go to the moon, and having my most successful art show ever. I’m proud of what I have accomplished in 2022 and excited for 2023.
Speaking of which…what will 2023 bring?
As I’m planning out my year, I try to leave room for the spontaneous opportunities that inevitably cross my path. But beyond leaving room for flexibility, there are many exciting things I hope to do in 2023! I have a few secret goals I’m not allowing out of the bag yet, but here are a few things already on the calendar:
In March, an artist residency in a Scotland manor house. Relaunching the Luminary Artist Academy. In the summer, another artist residency in France at a different location! In the fall, a group show for Era Contemporary, and also an artist retreat I will be hosting in my new home. In late fall, perhaps a solo show around a new body of work made this year!
More details to come of course, as the year unfolds! Thank you as always for your part in my creative career, I am so thankful for your invaluable contribution of time, attention and support.
Today, I woke up in the land of fairies, leprechauns and enchantment, surrounded by the emerald green of Ireland. I am here exploring this mystical island for the next few days, seeing castles and the wild rocky cliffs of the coastline, haunted manors and tale-as-old-as-time libraries full of ancient books. I am already in love with the verdant landscape, wild horses and patchwork of green farms that I saw on my way in.
I promise I will write more this week as my adventure unfolds, but for now I wanted to let you know that I will be creating five (5) artworks while I am here in Ireland this week. They will be small works, 6″ x 8″, using ink and watercolor, similar in style to my piece above (“The Brave Adventuress”, 2019). The subject matter will range from castles to mythical creatures to verdant, textured landscapes!
This week has been one of renewed inspiration and creativity! I’ve experienced the magic and wild beauty of Ireland, and my time here is not over yet. I’m excited to share with you a short video I made documenting the first three days of my trip, including the creation of one of my Irish Mystery Paintings and a windy, beautiful trip to the coast! Click here or on the image above to share in the experience.
As with the French Mystery Paintings before, those who purchase an Emerald Isle Mystery Painting will receive a private email a few days after my trip (the week of October 22nd) with pictures of the pieces I made. Then, collectors will have the chance to respond and claim which piece they would like, first come first serve.
I have two available works that will be on display in The New Pre-Raphaelites: Illumination, curated by Kerry Dunn through Era Contemporary Gallery. This is a huge group exhibition with over 40 artworks and 26 artists participating!
Era Contemporary Gallery is proud to announce a new partner in this year’s virtual exhibition of The New Pre-Raphaelites: Illumination! The Delaware Museum of Art, which is home to one of the largest collections of original Pre-Raphaelite art in America, is now involved!
The Delaware Museum of Art will be promoting the show as well as the director of the museum, Molly Giordano, spoke at the virtual opening where I have 2 of my artworks on display.
Now in its second year, “The New Pre-Raphaelites” is a group exhibition organized by Era Contemporary Gallery. This year, we add “Illumination” to inspire artists to interpret their contemporary vision of the original Pre-Raphaelites. This group exhibition includes the following artists:
Adina Yoon, Alayne Sahar, Aleksandra Katargina, Ariane Kamps, Ana Sanchez, Benjamin Shamback, Brenda Robson, Bryan Willette, Cecelia Cox, Colleen Smith, Cornelia Hernes, Courtney Scheingraber, Cristy Dunn, Danielle Rackowski, David Heshmatpour, Fred Wessel, Ilana Ellis, Jessica Libor, Jonathan MacGregor, Julianne Jonker, Kathleen Carr, Kerry Dunn, Leah Mitchell, Lisa Hendrickson, Lorenzo Narciso, Luis Alvarez Roure, Maria Christina Jimenez, Morgan Dummitt, Nancy Bea Miller, Sharon Pomales Tousey, Terra Chapman, Victoria Koursaros, and Zara Kand
Illumination has many meanings, but for this exhibition the artists interpret the word Illumination as it inspires their work. Illumination may refer to the awakening of one’s own personal insights, a spiritual transformation, or a historical reference to the illuminated manuscripts found in ancient holy texts during the Medieval Dark Ages, spanning 400-1400 BC. These ideas were also used as inspiration by the original pre-Raphaelites, a self-titled group of English artists during the mid 1800s to early 1900s that wanted to paint the natural world and heartfelt stories that included myth, legend, magic, and faith. This is the second iteration of The New Pre-Raphaelites exhibitions hosted by Era Contemporary Gallery.
Illumination in art history originally refers to the use of gold or silver leaf to embellish a page in a book, so that the words literally appear illuminated by changing light. The practice usually involved the painting in brilliant colors, elaborate designs and miniature illustrations. The work for this show may refer to the sudden burst of creativity and inspiration, a decision in life that leads to great insight, a transformative experience, and also the aesthetic choices that embrace gold leaf, and glowing, spiritual, or magical imagery.
About the curator:
The guest curator for this exhibition is Philadelphia artist Kerry Dunn. Kerry is part of a movement of new masters that has sought to reclaim the methodologies of the old masters, almost completely lost during the 20th century. This movement is in large part due to the atelier system, small studio schools each led by a master painter, that have been on the rise since the mid 90s around the world. Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, is one of these such schools; where Kerry studied between 2003–2008 with renowned portrait painter Nelson Shanks. Kerry now teaches at the school. Kerry’s work is firmly rooted in the academic traditions of painting from life as practiced by the old masters. Kerry feels most drawn to the art of portrait painting where characters are cast upon a stage and narrative is inevitable; and, the ever elusive challenge of creating a master work.
Artwork from left to right on banner image: Left, by Luis Alvarez Roure, center, by Danielle Rackowski, and right, by Adina Yoon. All pieces in the exhibition are for sale including these three. Please email email@example.com for inquiries.
My piece “Transformation” will be exhibited in the November 4th through December 31st 5th Annual National Juried Exhibition selected by Juror Peter Trippi, Editor in Chief at Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art. I am beyond honored and thrilled to be exhibiting in this beautiful space with some amazing artists! “Transformation” is an original oil on canvas, 72″ x 36″ inch gallery wrapped painting that is available. If you are interested in acquiring the original, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can connect you to the museum.
Thank you so much for coming along this journey with me! It is a very exciting year as I begin to show in museums and I am excited to take you along with me!
As my collectors, this means for you that every time I show in museums, the value of my art grows as my work gains more publicity and notoriety. Every time I exhibit in museums, your investment that you have made in my career continues to grow. Thank you to every one of you!
I’m so thrilled to share with you that two of my works, “Wild Things” and “The White Deer,” have been included in the 2021 Iridescence exhibition curated by Bradley Sumrall at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum. About Iridescence, from the museum:
“Iridescence is found throughout the natural world, on butterfly wings, fish scales, bird features, and also in man-made materials such as paint, fabric, and plastic. A captivating sight, iridescence is still being studied by scientists today who seek to further understand the interaction between light, movement, and microscopic structures that is responsible for iridescence. Similarly, artists are exploring iridescence to discover new ways to incorporate the rainbow-like phenomenon into their work. “
The shimmering colors and use of gold and silver leaf in my pieces above show an iridescent fantasia.
This is a gorgeous exhibition and you can see the rest of the show online here!
One of my biggest desires this year and going forward is to be in more museum shows, so this was amazing to hear!
These two pieces in the museum show are available for collecting. Please email me at email@example.com if you would be interested in either piece!
Summer is going by swimmingly, and I am soaking up as much time outside as possible! That means lots of plein air painting. I am excited to share two new paintings that are available, Soft Sea and The Inn at Cape May. Soft Sea is part of the new Era Contemporary Gallery group online exhibition, Summer Love! I am thrilled to be exhibiting with such fabulous artists. Soft Sea original is available for purchase on my website here. I am also making hand signed, open edition prints of this piece, available to order here.
The other new piece available is called The Inn at Cape May, and is a portrait of a hotel of the same name. I visited Cape May with another artist friend this month and we explored the coastal town. The Inn is a dramatic, historic presence within the Victorian beach town. In the fall of 1894, William H. Church, a contractor and builder, of West Cape May, began work on a 60-room boarding house at the foot of Ocean Street opposite the Star Villas, one of the most delightful locations on the beachfront. This was the Inn at Cape May. It is full of beauty and eccentricities in its design, both interior and exterior, and captured my imagination. I am sure it has seen many things! It is available for purchase on my website here.
I have also re-opened my shop, new and improved! To celebrate this, please use the code JULY to take 15% off anything you like, code good until midnight, July 22nd.
I’m thrilled to be partnering with the nonprofit One Tree Planted to help reforest the Amazon Rainforest. A portion of all paid ticket sales and art sales for WILDLOVE will be donated to plant trees! WILDLOVE is a collection of new paintings depicting the wildness and romance of nature present all around us, and within us.A portion of all ticket sales and artwork sales will be donated to plant hundreds of trees in the Amazon Rainforest through the nonprofit One Tree Planted, to honor and give back to our connection with nature. Each collector will receive a certificate after the show detailing what trees were planted because of their purchase!
When you get to a certain point in your career, you want to elevate your work. What are some ways that you can do this without having to rely on anyone else?
How can you elevate your work on your own? Is it possible?
Absolutely. Here are a few of my tips to elevate your work.
1. Context is everything! You should have a professional website with a white background and modern, simple fonts that mimics the look of a gallery. You don’t want anything distracting from your beautiful work! Get rid of any old work on your website, distracting logos, or “fancy” colors! Coco Chanel said it best: “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”
2. Take anything that you aren’t really proud of out of your résumé. You just want to put your best foot forward. If you’ve been published in any press or one any awards those things should also be front and center! When exhibit in your work in public, make sure it is aligned with a gallery or institution that you are proud to be a part of. Also, when you go to the opening, always have your business cards on hand so that you can make connections with people who would possibly by your work. You could even schedule a studio visit with people who like your painting!
3. Do a social media audit. This is especially true for Instagram, go through your feed and delete anything that you are not extremely proud of. There’s also the option to archive the post so that you can still have it for later but it makes it private. Do you want a seamless, professional experience sprinkle through with some of your personal moments in the studio and inspiration!
4. Aggressively apply to opportunities. When you make time each week to apply to, say, five opportunities, some of those opportunities are bound to work out! I definitely suggest entering exhibitions in your area and even throughout the country as you build your art career. You can find these opportunities at sites like http://www.callforentry.org.
5. A very important thing to do is to take great photographs. You need to be able to document your work so that you’re able to have it for your own records, as well as make prints of it of a very high-quality if you would like to down the line. If you sell the piece, then you don’t want to be in a situation when all you have is an iPhone photo! You can buy or rent a good camera, hire an art photographer, OR take your pieces to be scanned at a printer!
6. Continue to improve your work and increase your consistency in quality and presentation. Do you want to be known for a recognizable style and theme. If this is a challenge for you you may consider my affordable course that targets this, Discovering Your Artistic Voice.
7. Revisit your artist statement, and rewrite it if necessary! Make sure it reflects the current body of work that you are working on and then it is clear and powerful.
These are just a few suggestions that you can use to start up leveling your online and in person artistic presence in the art world! The main idea is to elevate everything that your artwork touches… Make sure the way you document your work, present it, and talk about it reflect your love and honor for the work that you are presenting.
These are just a few suggestions that you can use to start up leveling your online and in person artistic presence in the art world! The main idea is to elevate everything that your artwork touches… Make sure the way you document your work, present it, and talk about it reflect your love and honor for the work that you are presenting.
I’m honored that my work has been featured recently in the March 11 issue of the Times Herald! I also wanted to encourage you that if you are an artist, YOU TOO can start to get press for your artwork. To start to get press, I like to guide artists to:
1. Proactively seek out press by cultivating relationships with publications and writers 2. Determine what you would like to get press for– an event, an exhibit, or a topic 3. Gather together into a press release for your news worthy topic, including pictures of your pieces, you, and your angle on the topic. 4. Address your press release to individual writers at the news outlets you’d like to be featured in! 5. Follow up twice.
In the comprehensive course I am creating for contemporary realist feminine artist, the Luminary Artist Academy, we go deep into this and the details of each step. To sign up for the waitlist, click here.
And now, the article from the Times Herald! Since it’s a little hard to read the scans, here is the article:
Artists found creative outlets and frustration during pandemic
By M. English
For MediaNews Group
PLYMOUTH >> As they look back from the one-year mark, local artists say COVID- 19 has affected their work in a variety of ways.
Plymouth Meeting painter Susannah Hart Thomer says art has allowed her to focus on “something positive and wonderful during this terrible time.”
“For me…it fills the time with the happiness and luxury of creating, developing and spending hours of time sitting on the floor doing my watercolor paintings…,” Thomer says. “Even if I…don’t quite like the way the painting’s developing, it doesn’t matter. I just start over. It’s a delight to go into my studio in the morning and be surrounded by art (and) discuss my paintings with friends by emailing my work to get their knowledgeable views and opinions of it.”
Ambler’s Lynn Hoffmann has found “more time to reflect” and experiment with new techniques and materials in her Hand and Wheel Pottery studio. For example, “materials other than clay to make larger outdoor sculptures that don’t require clay or a kiln.”
“It really has been kind of nice to think and dream way out of my normal box but sad to not see others as much in the beginning,” Hoffmann says. “After I experiment with new things, I bring them to my students, who love seeing new things. (It) feels really good to be so open to new ideas and let possibilities enter into existence. For me, nothing is worse than repeating the same things over and over. I love to experiment and learn.”
Despite her cheerful outlook, Thomer acknowledged “the seeming foreverness” of the pandemic, and others shared parallel sentiments.
Conshohocken Ar t League’s Eileen McDonnell recalls a quick visit to CAL’s studio at Mary Wood Park House last November as “truly surreal…something out of a dystopian novel.”
“The children’s paintings were still splayed on the tables… some chairs askew, some paint containers scattered near each student’s work,” McDonnell says. “Reference books for that project were still opened. Everything was covered in a light dust, some cobwebs here and there, some new water damage cracking the ceiling, insanely quiet. It was as if some bomb had dropped and left everything in suspended animation.”
Zoom picked up some of the slack, but the format wasn’t a universal remedy for CAL’s usual in-person classes, especially live model sessions when “the lighting and three dimensional quality of working from life was distorted by the lens and arbitrary camera angle of the instructor,” the local painter says.
One positive, McDonnell notes, “the pockets of adult artist groups who now meet each week online to share their personal projects…no pressure, just sharing inspiration, contacts, techniques, material sources (and) art news.”
Initially, the pandemic stopped Whitemarsh Art Center’s Charlotte Lindley Martin in her tracks.
“March 13, 2020 – Lockdown – I stopped making art,” Martin remembers.
She returned to “the studio energized and engaged” in May when she and fellow WAC staffer Matt Courtney began making ceramic hand-building videos for online tutorials.
“We were educating from afar, and the result was our students were creating art,” Martin says. “Inspired by my granddaughter, I made videos for children. Next came live Zoom classes. Planning a weekly lesson making templates, trying out forms, finding inspiration for them, putting them on Pinterest and testing underglazes using mason stains.”
All of which increased her “knowledge base” and allowed Martin to learn “alongside my students.” As part of that: “I am gratefully using the new-found knowledge garnered by teaching and experimenting… making small sculptures, taking risks and embracing the changes. In my isolation, I am making art that is for me.”
Fellow WAC ar tist Jeanine Pennell also learned to adjust after her “entire calendar of art fairs and shows was wiped clean.”
“I had nothing to look forward to, but I knew I needed to continue to create,” Pennell says. “I decided to focus on creating a single body of work that had its own theme, sort of my own thesis… (and) set out to create a minimum of seven pieces that at some future time would be shown together. I missed travel the most, so I aimed my focus in that direction and began a series I entitled ‘Absurd Travel.’ Long stretches in the studio have afforded me the freedom to try new techniques and create larger pieces.”
Pondering the pandemic’s “impact on millions of quarantined individuals” as well as the concept of “the selfie as a self-portrait” during physical isolation inspired Greater Norristown Art League painter Jessica Libor’s stylized portraits of women.
“I was particularly inspired to do this series because of the impact on millions of quarantined individuals,” Libor says. “With nowhere to go socially, how do we as individuals still express our creative personalities through our styling? Does it still matter to get dressed up if no one will see you? How does creating a selfie with your cell phone mimic the process of creating a work of art? Many things are the same: Choosing the elements, composition, lighting, colors and subject matter.”
In the end, “in many ways, the selfie and the self-portrait are the same thing: The artist’s version of themselves that they want to reveal to the world. Through blending fantasy and reality, they can be perceived as who they aspire to be. How does creating an idealized fantasy world surrounding you create relief psychologically? Is it escapism or creativity?”
At first, GNAL’s Betz Green viewed quarantine as “an unexpected treat to be able to spend endless hours in the studio.”
“Well, that sense of euphoria lasted a couple of weeks,” Green says. “Then, reality set in. I was working in a vacuum with no museums, no art shows, no art classes, no friends. Production fell off drastically for a few months until the world slowly began to once again open up, presenting opportunities and other people. The pandemic itself does not influence my work. I do not allow it to enter my studio space or my head space when in the studio.”
I’m honored to be a part of this thoughtful article about artists during the pandemic. This week, I am simply continuing to work on my new art for WILDLOVE, the upcoming exhibit in May! To register for that, click here.
Lastly, I am hosting a virtual Wine and Watercolor social instructed paint along this Sunday, and I’d love it if you joined me! Click here or the image below to register!