Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tetiana Zakharova - Artist of Distinction

Tetiana Zakharova is showing five pieces in Still Point Art Gallery's current exhibition, Still Point II, and she was named an Artist of Distinction. Her magnificent paintings offer nothing less than a gift to the viewer...a continuous presence of tranquility and peacefulness...offerings of inspiration and grace.

Pacific Sunset, Morning Blues, In a Tender Wrapping

Tetiana Zakharova was born in Ukraine, received her art education in Ukraine, and moved to Canada in 1996. She now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. I asked Zakharova to share some insights into her art and her life as an artist.

Christine Cote: Could you say something about the pieces you submitted for this show?

Tetiana Zakharova: I try to distill both drama and tranquility of natural landscapes by injecting fluidity, depth and emotion into each image.  My goal is to touch others emotionally and positively through my art; as well, to delve all the different ideas and scenery in my own mind, for my own enjoyment. 

CC: From where do you draw your inspiration for your work? How do go about creating a piece? What is your process?

TZ: I am amazed and inspired by the spectacular Pacific Northwest whenever I hike through the rain forest, watch each unique sunset over the ocean, or travel through the interior of British Columbia. Nature is plentiful in its gifts of beauty and I yearn to capture that perfect and blissful scene and transpose it onto canvas.

CC: Is there anything you want people to know about you or your work?

TZ: I observe the world around me and search for unique angles and unreal color combinations to create a disposition of nature in my paintings...a sort of mood that the paintings should bring to their audience. As I start each new painting, my heart leaps with joy as I fathom the beauty that is yet to emerge from my imagination. But beauty is subjective; therefore, I try to leave a segment of my art open to interpretation. Part of this can be seen in the near absence of clearly separating lines and boarders in my works. This allows the viewer to create these lines and is a vital part of my “disposition of nature” as it lets each individual’s unique mind create such lines and boarders and differently interpret the painting’s mood.

Pacific Sunset (36x48), oil on canvas, framed $2150
Morning Blues (48x24), oil on canvas, framed NFS
In a Tender Wrapping (24x48), oil on canvas, framed NFS

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
April 7, 2010

Elizabeth Patterson - Artist of Distinction

Elizabeth Patterson is an Artist of Distinction in Still Point Art Gallery's current show, Still Point II. Each of the three pieces she submitted for this exhibition is wonderful! Each is such a unique and original composition...who else has drawn both pattypan squash and zinnias on a lovely china plate? Each of Patterson's pieces is masterfully done...note the detail on the crocheted edging, the pizelles, and the zinnias...also note the artist's attention to light and shadow. Also, each of Patterson's pieces is beautiful and engaging to view...they seem poetic and musical as well as artistic...as if several muses visited the artist to inspire and sustain her creativity.

Zinnia, Parsley and Pattypan; Pizelle on a Pedestal; Waiting

Patterson was very generous in offering some insights into her art and her life as an artist. First, I asked her to say something about each of the pieces in the exhibition.
Zinnia, Parsley and Pattypan is one of my favorite types of still-life: one that features things from my garden and my home. I enjoy the process of choosing elements that have never been grouped together before, and this one was especially fun to do. The pattypan squash begged to be drawn, and there was quite a progression of potential partners tried out before this set-up was chosen. The final, pink, palette was a surprise, even to me!
In Pizzelle On A Pedestal, I am using familiar items. Two blue pitchers and an antique linen cloth with crocheted lace trim from my grandmother's collections are placed atop an old pedestal table. The 'pizzelle', Italian cookies similar to waffles, were made with my grandmother's pizzella iron. I liked how the cookies relate to the lace, and I liked the variety of textures: the softly rumpled cloth with weighty lace trim, shiny ceramics, and delicately crisp cookies. Having personal connections to my still life subjects turn these pieces literally into labors of love.
In the portrait, Waiting, my subject's posture and hands are as important as his face in portraying a likeness. This pose was completely natural, as he was waiting for me to finish setting up my camera. When I looked up and saw him, I just snapped a picture, even though I hadn't yet shut off my flash, as I intended. I didn't want to lose the moment! Sure enough, when I tried to recreate it with my choice of lighting, it simply was not as good. I loved playing up the luminosity of his skin and hair, while keeping other elements more simple.

Christine Cote: From where do you draw your inspiration for your work? How do go about creating a piece? What is your process?
I am constantly inspired by ordinary things that I see each day. You could say that I am bombarded with inspiration! From the way the morning light hits a vase on my dresser as I'm waking, to the bowls and utensils in my kitchen, to a bud or a leaf or a flower outside my door, to the faces I encounter, to the vegetables in the supermarket, inspiration is never-ending.

I might just like the shape or color of an object, or the texture of its surface, and try many different groupings and lighting to create a still life that shows the beauty that I see.

With portraits, though, I usually work from photographs that I take, one of the most important goals is to have a pose and expression that the subject could have actually sat for... comfortable, relaxed, and content.

I am working right now almost exclusively with colored pencil on Pastelbord (a sandpaper-like surfaced board). The pencils can be applied strongly, for a solid block of color, or more lightly in layers, giving an effect similar to glazing with paint. The sanded texture allows light colors to be applied on top of dark ones, and also gives me the choice of letting that texture show, or not.

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Artist's Statement

My work springs from the joy I find in beholding beauty. The beauty I am drawn to seems to invariably contain some common elements. Full and rounded organic shapes are always predominant, whether animal, vegetable, or mineral. Hence, a child's chubby cheek, a ripe tomato, and a plump vintage teapot are all very likely to catch my eye. Varied, transient fluctuations of light and color convey a sense of energy that I find irresistible. So, ordinary things such as time-worn objects and textiles, skin and hair touched by the sun, semi-transparent flower petals, or a simple glass of water offer worlds of possibilities to me.

Colored pencil on a sand-textured board is currently my media combination of choice. Unlike many colored pencil artists, my style is not photo-realistic, but more what might be called selective focus. I will very finely finish certain areas, where my eye wants to concentrate, and let other areas show their looser, sketchy pencil marks for what they are. A colored pencil piece can sometimes be mistaken for an oil or pastel painting, but I like to be able to see, on close inspection, that it is indeed done with colored pencil. When I see in my work: convincing surfaces on the selected forms, along with a real sense of the emotions which prompted me to create the piece, it is done.

Looking at my finished work, I still feel the little internal tugs of excitement that I felt as I began each one. It is a real joy, which is compounded when others feel it too.


Elizabeth Patterson is a lifelong artist who grew up in Burlington, Massachusetts. Her efforts were encouraged by her wonderful, creative family and an exceptional art department at Burlington High School.  She went on to study at Massachusetts College of Art and the University of Southern Maine.

Through the years, portraiture has been one constant for Elizabeth, having completed hundreds of likenesses in pencil, colored pencil, or pastel for happy clients all over New England and beyond. She has also done extensive illustration and design work, calling on her painting and drawing skills to create art for stationery, home decor products, and the catalog and print industries. As most of her work was commissioned or commercial, she decided in her fifties that it was time for her own art.

Now, Elizabeth enjoys interpreting the beauty, joy, and elegance she finds in her everyday world through her current favorite medium of colored pencil. Whether a gathering of objects called together as a still life, a glimpse of nature, the grace of a figure, or a unique face... she treats each subject as a loving portrait of a moment in time.

Elizabeth and her husband, Wayne, live in Hollis Center, Maine. They have three grown sons, and four grandchildren.

Zinnia, Parsley and Pattypan (20x20), colored pencil on pastelbord, framed $925
Pizelle on a Pedestal (23x27), colored pencil on pastelbord, framed $1950
Waiting (18x18), colored pencil on pastelbord, framed $825

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
April 7, 2010

Jerry P. Park - Artist of Distinction

After you've looked at Jerry Park's photographs for a while, you start to get a feeling that this is a guy who really enjoys living and also enjoys carrying his camera around to take pictures of where his life has taken him. I'm betting this is a guy who doesn't want to miss a photo opportunity...ever! Somehow, I imagine Park as someone who is insanely curious about what's over the next hill, enjoys traveling, has a keen eye for catching details, and has a pleasant and outgoing personality. I hope I'm right! It all comes through in his photographs...they are well composed...beautiful and expressive.  Park is showing eight photographs in Still Point Art Gallery's Still Point II exhibition; three are shown here.

Out of Tune, In Here Somewhere

Born in North Carolina, but loving Tennessee since moving there in 1986, Jerry Park's interest in photography began a long time ago. Since retiring a couple of years ago, Park is now spending a lot of his time behind his camera. And he couldn't be happier!

I asked Jerry Park to say some things about the photographs in the exhibition.

Out of Tune
My son-in-law knows I like to shoot abandoned places.  He put me onto the old high school, which was closed in 1999. Strangely, all kinds of things were just left against the elements, vandals, and time, including this piano in the school auditorium. As I was setting up my tripod for the shot, an owl came screeching out of the door behind the keyboard, over my head and out a broken window on the other side. I went back a year later to find that the roof had collapsed, burying the piano, seats, stage, and all forever. A short time later, somebody burned it to the ground. Sad.

In Here Somewhere
Hatch has been making posters (you know, the kind you used to see a lot of tacked up on telephone poles advertising gospel sings and wrestling matches…) for 140 years. The store, located on Broadway,
is a treat to visit. We were graciously allowed to go behind the counter and shoot all the one-of-a-kind nooks and crannies.  I'm sure the boss knows exactly where everything is on this desk….

Vieux Carre Palette
Spicy food. Raucous, jazzy noise. Humidity so thick you have to change clothes a couple of times a day to remain socially pleasing. The French Quarter. Wild, historic, vibrant, sensuous. You may or may not line up with everything about this storied village.  But, the color…oh, the colors. Rich, varied, warm, saturated, peeling. The residents tend to live life in eternal celebration, and the colors reflect their joy of life. This is old New Orleans.

Christine Cote: From where do you draw inspiration for your  work?

Jerry Park: Basically, the beauty all around me. There is good in abundance everywhere, if we just go at it with a sense of expectancy, of  believing it is there. The way an arc intersects a straight line. A tree  silhouetted against a ruined warehouse wall. Sun rays breaking through on the back end of a spring storm. I am also inspired by the greats in our field of passion. Ansel Adams has had a tremendous effect on my work at this point.

Christine Cote: What do  you most like to photograph?

Jerry Park: My favorite state to shoot is Utah. The canyons, colors, rivers amassed in the southern third of that state challenge me to find a fresh way to project this incomparable place. Currently, a project that has the juices flowing involves unusual work spaces. Places that most of us never see. The scenes "behind the counter." And, the messier, the better. These are places where real people do real work, untouched by relentless corporate rules designed to mold everyone into bland sameness. Places like a tire recapper, carseat re-upholsterer, cabinet maker, florist, auto repair shop, luthier (a what?), a two-chair barbershop...  I'm up to around 20 of these now and have another dozen or so on my list.  Great fun and I'm meeting fascinating people in these mostly family (in some cases, multi-generational) businesses that form the sinews and tendons of American commerce.

Christine Cote: How do go about creating a piece? What is your behind-the-camera process? What is your postproduction process?

Jerry Park: I rarely set out with an image in mind. Rather, I drive or walk around places  that are interesting to me. Then I just let it happen. I look all around the image in the viewfinder to see what is of interest throughout the picture. My images are often busy, with lots of  details. I'm thinking "story" all the time. What is necessary within the borders of the box to tell the story without making it too obvious?  How will this real object translate to two dimensions only? I strive to get a main story with other peripheral vignettes. I  want to finish with an image that immediately evokes some emotion, but that will also provide something new every time it is viewed. With much of my work dealing with multiple exposures of a scene, I often use an HDR software package to combine the light  values. Occasionally, I do this through layers and masks in  Photoshop.  Eventually, I wind up in Photoshop regardless, where I  typically will isolate tiny parts of the overall work for selection and editing.  An average number of individual layers  for me in a finished work is 50-60. I make my own prints on an Epson 3800 and do much of my own framing.

Christine Cote: Is there anything you want people to know about you or your work?

Jerry Park: Any artist, I believe, must create constantly, even if no one ever sees their work. The core of our satisfaction must come from our own experiencing. However, I do feel pressed to share whatever  talents I've been given with others. This is the only way community happens. This is how people live well.  There is a reason I have these talents, and it is not to keep them hidden. So, my hope is that the viewer of my work is a little better off after seeing one of my  pieces than they were before. If I've been able to do that, I'm good to  go.

Out of Tune (18x12), digital photograph, unframed $375
Vieux Carre Palette (12x18), digital photograph, unframed $375
In Here Somewhere (18x12), digital photograph, unframed $375

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
April 7, 2010

Heike Ludewig - Artist of Distinction

The idea behind Still Point Art Gallery's current exhibition - Still Point II - is to explore things that artists, through their art, choose to hold still. Heike Ludewig, one of the show's Artists of Distinction, paints people. Her work fits so well into this exhibition. A woman and child playing with a dog...a group of women talking while a small dog sniffs the ground...a young person swimming...all of these activities painted, captured, and held still. Ludewig uses her medium brilliantly. With her expert drawing skills and brush technique, the figures in each painting seem caught in the midst of movement. The viewer perceives this movement, motion, activity. Yet, the scene is perfectly still. Ludewig has captured that microsecond of stillness.

Three, Water II

Street VII

 As an Artist of Distinction, I asked Heike Ludewig to tell me some things about her art and her life as an artist. Ludewig lives in Germany, and her primary language is German. Putting her thoughts down in English took her some time, but I am most grateful to her for her efforts. 
I have been painting pictures since I was a little girl. When I finished school I went to the academy of art in Düsseldorf, where I studied painting and education. Today I work a few hours a week as a teacher of fine art in a school in Düsseldorf, and I do my work as an artist. I am married and I have two children - an 8- and a 12-year old.

I strive to show a special atmosphere in each of my paintings. I like to have contrasts in a piece, such as slow/fast, thick oil color/smooth acrylic color, light/shadow. I think contrasts make a piece pleasing and exciting for the viewer. I also like to see the brushstroke.

I often paint my pictures from photographs that I take, so I am very familiar with the subjects of my paintings. But the painting is not an exact replica of the photograph; there is often only one aspect of the photo in the painting. I paint only the part that interests me...nothing else.
The people in my paintings are not shown as individuals with their own faces. The people are shown with a certain pose, but the faces are not at all naturalistic. This way the viewer has the chance to think about the person or scene in an abstract way with his or her own associations and emotions.

As far as materials are concerned, what I use depends on the expression I want to achieve. After some experimentation, I now like using a spray technique using acrylic on backgrounds, which gives a floating and alive feel to the background. I then paint with oil over that, often making it so that the viewer can see the brushstroke...see the "making of" the painting. I very much like that look. Smaller pieces are painted on wood, and larger pieces are done on canvas or linen.

Last year I was very ill for a long time. The illness left me with no doubt that I have to paint. For me art is something that works with my emotions. Every painting I do is an experience and a mirror of the moment.

Three (9x12), acrylic and oil on wood, $950
Street VII (43x20), oil on canvas, $2300
Water II (9x12), acrylic and oil on wood, $950

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
April 7, 2010

Still Point Art Gallery Opens Still Point II - April 7 - June 8, 2010

Still Point Art Gallery opens its second annual exhibition focused on exploring those things that artists, through art, hold still - Still Point II. The online exhibition will be a featured show through June 8, 2010.
One way of thinking about visual art is that the artist finds or discovers something - be it inside or outside of the artist - and, through art, holds it still. A photographer captures a moment in time with a click of the shutter and that moment is locked in stillness. A painter paints a scene using oils on canvas and that scene exists forever in a motionless state. A sculptor molds and shapes details of a human body, and that body stands frozen...never to age...never to change.
Pizelle on a Pedestal, Ocean, Vieux Carre Palette

Roughly forty artists were selected to show over one hundred works of art. Four artists of distinction were chosen - Heiki Ludewig, a painter from Germany; Jerry P. Park, a photography from Tennessee; Elizabeth A. Patterson, a pencil artist from Maine; and Tetiana Zakharova, a painter from Canada. Be sure to see their work in the gallery and read about them in other blog entries.

Pizelle on a Pedestal by Elizabeth A. Patterson (23x27) colored pencil on pastelbord, framed $1950
Ocean by Jody Hewitt (10x10) encaustic on wood panel, $300
Vieux Carre Palette by Jerry P. Park (12c18) digital photograph, framed $375

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
April 7, 2010

Friday, April 02, 2010

Final Thoughts on Geometric Abstraction

Still Point Art Gallery's Geometric Abstraction closes April 6, 2010, so only a few days remain to see this amazing online exhibition. Shape, design, structure, line, angle, color...it's all here. It's worth a visit. 

100 Buttons by Susan Gainen, (9x6) watercolor, framed $450
Composition Study by Lisa Brugger, (19x13) digital print, not framed $300
Twister by Mani Narayan, (24x36) acrylic on canvas, $3500

I always hope that people who view the exhibitions in my online gallery enjoy the fabulous fine art and, perhaps, see something just a bit beyond the art. There is a reason for selecting art on the basis of a theme and carefully choosing the pieces that will show together on a particular page. I'm creating an exhibition that not only best presents each individual piece of art, but also attempts to be something as an entire exhibition. I hope that viewers see that aspect of Still Point Art Gallery.

Childhood/Hemp Rope by Tung Sheng-Ho (30x30) oil on canvas, $3500
Colored Squares by Sara Williams (16x20) photography, framed $500
Warp by Ione Citrin (21x 25) acrylic on canvas, framed $1000

I've said before that I was drawn to do this particular exhibition because I like geometry...I like the orderliness that geometry brings to our world...it seemed that it would be an interesting and fun exhibition. Then, as the art submissions began to come in, I learned that my view of geometric art had been a bit narrow. What had I missed? Where had I been? I almost could not believe the incredibly creative ways that artists incorporate geometric shapes into their art.

Construction/Deconstruction by Elissa Burr (detail) ceramic, $400
sq6p by Bob Solete (20x20) digital print, not framed $200
Construction/Deconstruction by Elissa Burr (detail) ceramic, $400

I try to take something away from each exhibition at my gallery. This exhibition made me examine the nature of preconceived ideas, definitions, and views. Where had my definition of geometric art come from? How can I/we be sure that we keep ourselves always ready to push the boundaries of our views? If we do, we might discover something really amazing.

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
April 2, 2010

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Paintings of Mark Nutt - Inseparability of Life and Painting

I was drawn immediately to the paintings of Mark Nutt, who has three pieces showing in Still Point Art Gallery's THE Painting Exhibition. My being pulls in the direction of abstract art, anyway, and I am also fascinated with color...not that I prefer pieces with lots of color...but I like to see what artists do with color...or the lack of color. Mark's lavish use of a strong red in Promise and Fulmination asked me to pay attention. So I did and soon noticed some things I really loved. The strong red is just a tease...there are lots of other colors present in the paintings...green, orange, blue, purple, and more.  They are so well blended...one color just moves or flows right into the next...and the sense of movement, motion, flow, and vitality in these paintings is amazing. The way Nutt uses color and applies color creates palpable motion and energy on the canvas.

I asked Mark Nutt about his work as an artist and the pieces showing in THE Painting Exhibition, and he had quite a lot to say. It is no wonder there is such energy on his canvas... there is so much going on in front of the canvas.

Mark Nutt the Artist--
Creativity flows within me like a Roman tub faucet that cannot be shut off. It always has. Once I decided to paint for a living I focused that energy acutely and realized the spiritual benefit and nature of channeling that energy into painting—for me and others.

Collective life experience—living positively through impact of spirituality, Reiki, film, literature, food, art, nature, world travel, twindom and community building while surviving corporate America, cancer, coming out as a gay man following childhood clergy sexual abuse and through it all celebrating family—influences my work engaging myriad emotions. It's this varied emotional connection that draws individuals to my work.

Vivid color and radiant light create dynamic movement rich with wistful detail and ever-increasing depth—revealing truly intuitive painting. Spirit energy manifests while open vision permeates. Plein air landscapes emphasize luminous skies creating an ethereal feel. Composition, sculpture, art history and theatre design provide structure.
Why the medium of oil on canvas?
The feel, handling and lush quality of oils allows me to paint with verve and ease. Slow oxidation "dries" oils over longer periods of time allows touch-ups later, but more importantly continual mixing and blending of color. Stretched canvas accepts oils beautifully while providing a flexible ground on which to paint to really work the paint with brushes and palette knives—much more that acrylics ever allowed me. While I do paint with watercolors and/or oils when traveling or summer excursions, my preference firmly remains with oils. Freer expression propels the final durable product.
The inseparability of life and painting--
Painting fuels my life force. Yes, I find my creativity flowing in multiple directions. As a the Master Scenic Artist for Penobscot Theatre In Bangor, Maine and infusing various community and personal projects with stimulating design and artistic flair I rarely stop creating. But in my studio it's about painting abstraction—focused and unfettered. I breathe paintings to life. It's as if they emerge from my inner core being. One person described my process as the Universe using me as a medium or channel to create works that stimulate and heal. I agree. The energy that people sense in my work flows from within me and the Universe.

That's why I must paint. It heals me and others experiencing my work—particularly in person. The connection proves life-giving. Whatever my emotional state when entering the studio—once I paint my process heals me. I always leave refreshed and energized. It soothes, comforts, relaxes, energizes, stimulates and pushes me forward in my life journey like the air I breathe. Since I began truly painting for myself, the act and I have been inseparable.

My creativity melds spirituality with expressionism in painting. I paint because I must—to heal myself and those stimulated by my work.

Promise (24x12), oil on canvas, $1175
Fulmination (24x12), oil on canvas, $1175

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
April 1, 2010