Category Archives: Artwork

Museums in my backyard

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I am a member of an artist group in Long Island City (where my studio is located) that meets monthly to support each other, discuss art and our artwork. Recently, our fearless leader (thank you, Phoebe) organized a field trip to two museums in Long Island City.  We started at the SculptureCenter at 44-19 Purves Street.  “SculptureCenter’s space was built as a trolley repair shop for the subway system in 1907, but never used as such. In the 1940’s, the building was used for the manufacture, assembly, and repair of derricks, hoist, and cranes, which the facade reflects with the original signage from that era”(1).  Most of the sculptures displayed were a little too avant-garde for my taste, but I loved the building space with its exposed original brick and steel construction.

Our second stop was at MoMA PS1, “an exhibition space that devotes its energy and resources to displaying the most experimental art in the world. A catalyst and an advocate for new ideas, discourses, and trends in contemporary art, MoMA PS1 actively pursues emerging artists, new genres, and adventurous new work by recognized artists in an effort to support innovation in contemporary art”.(2)  I found the artwork at MoMA PS1 to be more polished and the conceptions behind them better expressed, but still very experimental.  My favorite work, a brightly colored web by Escobedo Soliz Studio, was strung in the entrance courtyard.  “This woven canopy encourages visitors to slow down, potentially reframing how they interact not only with each other but also with the landscape and sky”. (3)  I relaxed outside with my art group at the museum’s cafe to enjoy this canopy, a cold beer, and some great conversation.

What museums, galleries, parks, and other sites are in your neighborhood that you’ve never explored?

(1) http://www.sculpture-center.org, (2) http://www.momaps1.org, (3) the information plaque in the courtyard.

 

 

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In the Realm of Dreams

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Bridging Our Differences Web
Please celebrate with me the opening reception of “In the Realm of Dreams”, a two women exhibition at the Front Street Gallery this Friday, May 13 from 6-9pm.
“In the Realm of Dreams” features the 4th annual Front Street Gallery juried group show winners. Kathy Ferguson & Tanya Kukucka. Kathy and Tanya were winners of our group show, “Blue,” and both artists credit the dream-state as a direct source of their works.
“Kathy Ferguson is mixed media artist from New York City. Like dreams and the imagination, her artwork is multi-layered. “In the magical interlude between sleep and awakening, my paintings are conceived.” Hand printed paper is the base for her landscapes; paint continues to build the basic framework. “Each addition informs the next, while I build, destroy, erase and repaint, layers peek through exposing glimpses of these earlier strata. The work may evolve beyond, but it is the dream that sustains me until I reach my new world.”
“In the Realm of Dreams”, opening Friday the 13th of May, 6-9pm, at Front Street Gallery, and runs from May 13 – July 8. http://www.frontstreetgallery.org.

“Arming” myself for a good time

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The “Armory” art fairs were held in New York City this weekend with both the Park Armory on the Upper East Side and the Armory Show on Piers 92 & 94.  “Armed” with an open mind to see the newest ideas in contemporary art, I headed over to the piers to check out the Armory Show.

Now in its 22nd year, The Armory Show is billed as “New York’s premier international art fair, showcasing over 200 galleries from around the world. The Armory Show combines access to high quality modern and contemporary art with a commitment to spotlighting new and emerging voices in the visual arts.” I gave myself both Friday and Saturday to see the shows as there was just too much to see in one day.  I found myself particularly drawn to the selections in the Modern Show (Pier 92) this year and even purchased a couple paintings by Darren Waterston from the DC Moore Gallery (see above).  I’ve shared some of my favorites from the Modern and the Contemporary Armory Shows below.

Janaina

Janaina Tschape, mixed media

Hard to believe, but I’d never heard of Janaina Tschäpe before the fair, though she’s been creating art for almost two decades.  Apparently I’m the only one as a long standing collector bought her work while I was standing there admiring it!

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John Grillo, oil on canvas

A beautiful example of John Grillo’s (who passed away in 2014 at the age of 97) colorful work.

Julian Martin

Julian Martin

Australian artist Julian Martin was having a good day as 14 of his 18 paintings on exhibit had already found new homes early on during the fair.

Gabriel de la Mora

Gabriel de la Mora

From a distance, I thought this work of Gabriel de la Mora‘s (this photo is half of a mirrored diptych) was created from carved wood panels. However, it was actually created from the soles of tennis shoes!  I love all the different patterns.

“Art On Paper” Exhibition in NYC

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Tomas Vu, mixed media on wood panel

It was a big art week in New York City.  Ok, there is generally dozens of art exhibitions every week in the Big Apple, but this week featured some of the biggest art fairs of the year with the Armory Show at Pier 92/94 and the Park Avenue Armory on the Upper East Side.  Additionally, one show you might not know is the “Art on Paper” art fair down on Pier 36.  I headed down to the Lower East Side to check it out.  As an artist who uses collage paper in her work, I have a special love for art created on paper and/or with paper.  This exhibition didn’t disappoint.  Here are a few of my favorite pieces from this year’s show.

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Thomas McNickel, oil on paper

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Mersuka Dopazo and Teresa Calderon, mixed media on canvas

Henry Jackson, mixed media on paper

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Riitta Klint, Collaged Yupo paper

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Rex Ray, Lithograph of 18 colors

Checking out the street art in Berlin

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I just returned from almost a week in Berlin, Germany.  Having never been to Berlin before, I was really interested in viewing the street art scene I had heard so much about. Much of Berlin’s street art scene started at the East Side Gallery, a mile-long section of the Berlin Wall painted in 1990 by over 100 artists from across the globe. But the street art didn’t stop there and has spread all over Berlin onto hundreds of other walls and surfaces.  Below, I’ve shared a few of my favorites.  Sadly, taggers (those non-artists that choose to scrawl their initials on any and every surface) have defaced much of the street art by tagging over the top of it.  Of course, many people think that the nature of street art is its impermanence and that layering one person’s work over another’s is part of the process.  Personally, I don’t consider that art…or at least not good art.  Sadly, the last picture is also a common site in Berlin.  Which side of the argument do you fall on?

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Alice Pasquin

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Thierry Noir

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Berlin Wall

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Berlin Wall “Escape”

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A common sight in Berlin

Finished Commissioned Painting

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Almost two months ago, I started a painting commission and I wanted to share the process with you.  After getting approval on the basic composition from some simple sketches, I worked up two small studies with very different color directions.

 

The client picked the orange study but he wanted more orange, less red on the bottom, wasn’t fond of some of the black, and eliminated any ink “doodles”.  Armed with a better idea of my client’s taste, I began work on a larger canvas.  Here are several stages the painting went through along the way, incorporating the changes and preferences of the client’s each time.  As my process incorporates many layers of paint and hand-printed collage paper, adding more layers only enhanced the final painting by adding depth, texture, and complexity.

 

Though the final painting loosely resembles the original study, it took on a life of its own through the collaborative process to its finish.  It was really fun to work together to create a painting we are both happy with.

Avalanche HDAvalanche, mixed media, 36″ x 36″

 

How to paint a commission

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How does an artist go about painting a commissioned painting?  Every artist is different but I’d like to share how I go about it.  I recently got a commission from a collector of mine and I thought I would share the process with you over several blog posts.

To start, I needed an idea of which type of painting style of mine he liked best, the painting size he had in mind, and the color palette he envisioned.  He also sent me photographs of the other artworks in his home that would be within sight of the painting I was creating.

I started by sketching out some rough compositional ideas in small thumbnails (3″ x 3″).  Next, I picked my favorite composition and transferred the same sketch onto a couple sheets of Bristol board.  Then I painted two small studies with different color palettes based on the colors the collector was interested in.  You can see how I went dark and dramatic in one painting, and hot and bright in the other.  These are very small studies (6″ x 6″) and they are just to get some early feedback on preferences, likes and dislikes before moving forward onto the next phase.  Then I emailed the sketches to the client who gave me some valuable input to move forward with.  Check back and you’ll see which sketch he liked best when I post the next phase.

Feeling Blue?  I know just the place for you

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Feeling Blue?  I know just the place for you

The color blue evokes serenity, spirituality, infinity.  Lay back and look at heaven.  The 5th chakra:  the throat, voice and self-expression.  Deep blues: singing, listening.  Sea and shadow.  Blue symbolizes the Virgin Mary.  Krishna has blue skin.  Fifty-three percent of the world’s flags have blue.  It’s the color most commonly used in corporate identities.  Miles Davis was kind of blue.  What kind of blue are you?

Harbor Town, mixed media on cradled panel, 32″ x 32″, $1800

This painting was inspired by the Boston Harbor which I lived near a few years ago.  The water is made from many layers of translucent mulberry paper which I painted all these wonderful shades of blue.

“BLUE” Exhibition at the Front Street Gallery

I am exhibition my painting title “Harbor Town” in the BLUE exhibition at the Front Street Gallery in Patterson, New York. The show opened on October 18 and runs through December 6.  The gallery has extended hours on October 24 & 25 as part of the ArtEast Open Studio Tour.

See a BLUE slide show at the gallery website http://frontstreetgallery.org.  Front Street Gallery is at 21 Front Street in Patterson, New York, across the street from the Metro North train Station.

Featuring Gretchen Hoffman Abene, Patrick J. Cicalo, Shelley Dell, Andrew Dines, Ken Dreyfack, Kathy Ferguson, Matt Frieburghaus, Sarah K. Gray, Nicole Hughes, Annette Jaret, Lise Kjaer, Sassoon Kosian, Galina Krasskova, Tanya Kukucka, Pamela Lambros, Hannah Raine Brenner-Leonard, Alex Lindquist, Amanda Lynne, Eugene Posolli, Karen Schaffel, Ilona Sirman, Jane Soodalter, Fran Traina, Meaghan Troup, Rosanne Walsh, Dayna Wenzel, Joann Zwolski.

You’ve got mail!

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In my last blog post, I talked about how to best manage my two studios.  One idea was to invest in duplicates of my most used tools. Some of these tools are my Gelli Arts printing plate and Speedball brayers so I purchased a second set yesterday.  I wanted to play with my new tools but not worry too much about the final outcome so I decided to decorate envelopes.  If I didn’t like the way they turned out, I could always use them to pay my bills with.

I started out by cutting 3″ Post-It notes in half and sticking them to the center front of the envelopes.  That preserved the address white space.

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Next I got out my Gelli plate, brayers, acrylic paints and stencils (some hand cut, others purchased from Stencil Girl Products).  I started by adding some paint to the Gelli plate and then rolling it out into a smooth layer using a brayer.  I placed the envelope face down on the plate, placed a clean piece of scrap paper on top and rolled a clean brayer over all of it to transfer the paint.  I cleaned the plate and then added a second paint color to the plate.  This time after rolling on the paint, I laid a stencil over the paint and then placed the envelope on top (and the scrap paper) and rolled the clean brayer over it all.  This left an interesting pattern as the top layer with the first paint layer showing through the stencil gaps.  I sometimes printed a third stencil layer as well.  I repeated the process on the back of the envelopes.

Finally, I pulled out my paints and markers (I use Copic MarkersZig Writer and Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens) to doodle and add some details.  Voila!  Some fun, usable envelopes.

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The Back Side of the Envelopes

Are you ready for Father’s Day?

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Father’s day is coming up this weekend! If you are struggling to find a great gift you can make, here’s a fun last minute idea.  Either buy new tools for “Dad” or just use the one’s he already owns.  It’s simple and only requires a few simple supplies.  Since my dad lives across the country, I used my own claw and tack hammers to demonstrate.  (Dad, if you’re reading this, I’m happy to paint all your hammers for you!)

Step One:  Light sand the wooden handle of the hammer to remove any varnish top coat and scuff up the surface for better paint adhesion.

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Step Two:  If you have primer or gesso available, coat the handle with two coats.  These coats will keep the colorful top layers from peeling or chipping off from use.

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Step Three:  Pull out the acrylic paints and go to town.  Have fun and use bright colors and simple shapes in your design.  If you don’t like it the first time, just paint over it until you have a design you like.

Step Four:  Optional: Finish with a coat or two of varnish to seal and protect your artwork.  Voila!  It’s that easy to create a fast and fun gift for Dad this Sunday.

Supplies

  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer or Gesso
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Varnish (optional)