Tag Archives: Clifton Springs NY

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Katherine Baca-Bielinis: Printmaker

Katherine’s artwork is on view in our juried exhibition “Small Works 2016”. Her work is available for purchase in our Online Gallery Shop:

I am often asked how a native of San Francisco ended up in Rochester, NY.  I reply, “It was fate!”  After earning a BA in Studio Art with a concentration in Printmaking from California State University at Long Beach, fate took me on a slow eastward journey across the country that eventually ended in Rochester – my home for the past 30 years.  Fate also steered me to R.I.T. where I received a Masters in Art Education. This resulted in a long, wonderful career teaching art in Rochester area schools.

After retiring, fate intervened once again.  It allowed me to finally focus my energies on my professional art career and led me back to printmaking – my true artistic passion.  I have directed my initial efforts towards learning non-toxic processes that afford me the ability to work in my home studio, as well as the Printmaking studio at R.I.T.  All forms of printmaking fascinate me.  My current efforts are primarily focused however on lithography and etching with an occasional departure to silkscreen. These methods enable me to draw, which is an essential part of my work.

My home studio.

My home studio.

My current imagery stems from a love of old world architecture and a desire to present the grandeur of the urban environment. In our hectic lives, full of distractions, it is often difficult to take a moment to enjoy the beauty around us. In my work, I hope to reconnect the viewer with the elegance and craftsmanship of these architectural features that were missed along the way.

My process usually begins with a photograph that I have taken – in this case,  “Casa Batllo”  in Barcelona at Antoni Gaudi’s architectural masterpiece.

Photo, Casa Batllo, Barcelona.

Photo, Casa Batllo, Barcelona.

A drawing is then developed from the photo.

Drawing for silkscreen "Casa Batllo", based on a photo  taken in Barcelona.

Drawing for silkscreen “Casa Batllo”

Silkscreen is a shape-based method, so the next step is to develop the color separations on tracing paper or vellum, always keeping in mind that overlapping colors will create additional colors.

Color separations on vellum.

Color separations on vellum.

Each separation is then transferred to a silkscreen using photo emulsion and a light exposure unit.  I use ink dispersions in a transparent base medium which allows for a subtle build up of colors, almost giving the appearance of watercolor.

Silkscreen with image transferred to emulsion.  This is now ready to print.

Silkscreen with image transferred to emulsion. This is now ready to print.

Each color builds upon the last until all colors have been printed. Below is the completed  silkscreen, currently on view at Main Street Arts Gallery, Small Works Exhibition.

Completed silkscreen, "Casa Batllo".

Completed silkscreen, “Casa Batllo”.

Additional works can currently be seen at the Mill Art Center and Gallery, ROCO and the Ink Shop.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Katherine’s work in our current exhibition “Small Works 2016” (juried by Bleu Cease, Executive Director/Curator of RoCo; exhibition runs through January 6th). Katherine’s work is available in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com. Visit her website at www.kcbaca.com.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by artist Richard Harvey.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Richard Harvey

Richard’s artwork is on view in our juried exhibition “Small Works 2016”. His work is available for purchase in our Online Gallery Shop:


ARTIST STATEMENT: As a figurative artist, I explore the psychological and emotive potential of the human face and figure in a contemporary expressionistic style. My work diversifies across a broad range of two and three-dimensional media including digital and mixed media collage, encaustic painting, digital photography, and mixed media figurative sculpture. My work often draws on both my graphic design background and my interest in primal expression found in ancient or indigenous cultural artifacts.

“Divided We Fall”, Mixed Media 3D Sculpture

I created a political figurative sculpture by bringing together found objects to reflect the fractured tone of our election and the need to heal divisions.  

Found Objects: a rusted tin 3D form used as the face; black coated split steel plate form for the body; 2 small torn, decorative USA flags; red and blue acrylic paint.: I painted a 12×12 inch wood panel white and glued one USA flag in strips to the panel beneath the black steel plate. I screwed the rusty face form to the panel through the side flanges and glued the second USA flag to the face form. I added red and blue acrylic paint to the eyes along with additional red and blue paint to the steel body form. I accented the body with white metal spray and lastly protected it with a coating of clear acrylic spray.

"Divided We Fall" Mixed Media Sculpture

“Divided We Fall”
Mixed Media Sculpture

“Revealed”Digital Print with Encaustic Wax Over Painting, Enhanced Digital Print

“Revealed” was created in Photoshop Software on an iMac computer.  

Process: Before I begin to create imaging on my Mac computer, I first scan all the imaging elements into the computer before I assemble and collage the final print. These elements include digital photographs, drawings and other scanned objects used for special effects. One important process in Photoshop is called “layers”. These are separate pieces of art that float above one another, and I can work on each layer independently. When the image is completed I print the image on archival digital paper with an ink jet printer, and I over-paint the print with encaustic wax, and other media. Rather than making limited editions of one print, I create variants of pieces that interest me, thus each print becomes one of a kind. Main elements of the piece “Revealed” include a photograph taken in Holland showing layers of worn, deteriorating and peeling paper on a large public wall in which the subject matter was not wholly recognizable. The defaced image represents a visual expression of the psychological state of mind.

"Revealed" Enhanced Digital Print

Enhanced Digital Print

Richard Harvey's artwork in Small Works 2016

Richard Harvey’s artwork in Small Works 2016

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Richard’s work in our current exhibition “Small Works 2016” (juried by Bleu Cease, Executive Director/Curator of RoCo; exhibition runs through January 6th). Richard’s work is available in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by ceramic artist Rachel Donner.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Rachel Donner

Rachel’s cups are on view in our juried exhibition “The Cup, The Mug: A National Juried Exhibition of Drinking Vessels”. Her cups are available for purchase in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

I grew up in Taos, New Mexico and attended college at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado. Santa Fe, New Mexico has been my home for just one and a half years. I moved here from Cincinnati, Ohio where I had just done a yearlong artist residency at Core Clay. I was ready to get back to the southwest and move closer to family and friends. Though I took a job as an assistant to a local clay artist, I set up a studio and worked diligently in all of my spare time. By the end of December 2015 I was ready to take the leap and quit my job. As I write this, it is just about my one-year anniversary with “Rachel A. Donner Ceramics”.

Rachel Donner Ceramics

Rachel at work in her Santa Fe Studio.

The following is a brief description of my process:

Functional pottery is the primary art form I indulge in. Sketching, repetition, trial and error, and real world observation fuel my design choices for form, surface, and function of the pots I make. I use the potters wheel to form the pots and then decorate them during the leather hard stage. One of my favorite forms to make is cups. There is something infinitely satisfying about making cups. With every cup I make, despite the simplicity of a cup, I find new details, subtlety, and exploration within each one.

Rachel Donner Ceramics

tools for inlay

After throwing and trimming, the first layer of decoration is inlay. I use an xacto blade to make lines or hole punching tools in varied shapes (square, triangle, circle, or flower). Using Amaco Velvet Underglaze, I inlay color into the thin lines and wipe away the excess with a sponge.

Rachel Donner Ceramics

ready for color inlay

Rachel Donner Ceramics

inlay before the excess is wiped off

Rachel Donner Ceramics

craft punches for making paper stencils

Next comes the paper stencils. I cut out different basic geometric shapes with craft punches (made for scrapbookers) using plain, cheap printer paper. Dip these stencils in water and they adhere perfectly to leather hard clay. Then, I paint on the main color of underglaze over the stencils and after three coats, peel off the stencils and clean up the lines and foot of the piece. This completes the green stage. After bisque, each piece is coated in a translucent glaze and then fired in an electric kiln to cone 5.

Rachel Donner Ceramics

part way through the stencil removal

Rachel Donner Ceramics

a nearly finished bowl next to a pile of used paper stencils

I love clay because it is alive. Every step of the way you have to be there to take it through the process. To quote my artist statement, “Creating something out of clay is like healing a wound.” There is never ending mystery and growth when working with clay.

Rachel Donner Ceramics

cups by Rachel Donner

Rachel Donner Ceramics

cups by Rachel Donner

Rachel Donner Ceramics

detail of cups by Rachel Donner

Instagram is one of my favorite social media platforms and I use it regularly to show all parts of my process, even the failures (follow me @666_tinka). From beginning to end and everything in between, it’s really fun to share what is happening with your fellow makers in the sweet online clay community. I also have a website at www.racheladonner.com.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see two cups by Rachel Donner in our current exhibition “The Cup, The Mug: A National Juried Exhibition of Drinking Vessels” (juried by ceramic artist Peter Pincus, exhibition runs through January 6th). Rachel’s work is available in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by furniture maker Patrick Kana.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Chara Dow: Growth of a Sideboard

This table started the way many of my pieces start;  with a deadline and a vague idea.  I had purchased a beautiful, highly fingered slab of Flame Beech up in the Adirondacks a year before and the design grew out of the amount of life and movement flowing through the grain of the slab. I decided to make a sideboard so I could elevate the beech on top of a base which mirrored that organic form. For the legs I used Honey Locust from my collection. They were stripped down with a drawknife  and sanded to reveal their pink and yellow flesh, the angles of their wobbly knees and muscular hips.



After a lot of awkward arranging, re-arranging and turning each branch a dozen times I settled on a stance that called to me.  The legs were then numbered and angles marked. The four drawbored thru tenons were then cut and fit into the Beech. With rustic work even very traditional joinery likes this becomes extremely custom. Everything is done by eye, there are no exact formats or jigs to follow due to the nature of the organic form I’m working with. Each branch is different in size, shape and angle so the joint takes its own path to completion. Each of these joints is unique, with maple dowels running through and securing the pieces tightly into place.


img_0097After bracing each pair of legs with another locust branch I selected the material for the stretcher. I used Oriental Bittersweet Vine which is an invasive vine that chokes out many pockets of our beautiful native north eastern woods. I cut and pull it out of several local parks with permission. Shown here it is climbing in Corbett’s Glen Park before being cut. Once cut it is peeled and stored indoors where to dry.  I wanted to use the vines in the base because it was an ideal place to showcase the wild tangled way they grow and twist so perfectly around themselves, and anything that gets in their way on their path to the light.


The process is quiet and contemplative and  involves a lot of arranging, turning, clamping and then standing back and looking.  Taking it all apart and trying different vines. Each vine gets turned upside down and backwards, rejected and then re-invited until the lines and negative spaces feel balanced, strong and peaceful.  Then they are marked and slowly placed in one at time, shaking hands through coped joints with other vines and branches, creating more strength at every contact. I did not want to overwhelm any of the lines but give instead each vine the space it needed to display the unique path it had taken through space; the obstacles it wriggled around and overcame while growing.




I used chisels to carve the sharp right angles off the slab and bring it down to meet its asymmetrical base. Doing so created a highly tactile detail to run the finger tips along in passing. The slab had been air dried and has a subtle dish warp to it that I thoroughly enjoy and chose not to correct as I wanted to give a nod to the movement and growth in wood, a living material that never truly stops breathing and softly seething. Four hard maple bowtie keys were set into the slab to secure a crack running on the underside.


The chaotic messy shop space before it was deep cleaned for the finish to be applied.


 Multiple coats of a high quality durable oil based top coat were applied and the legs were additionally waxed and buffed. When the oil hits the Beech and Honey Locust all of the rich tones and deep figure pop and the warmth of the wood is radiated.


Before the opening I carved a Cherry serving spoon to accompany the turrine Richard provided for the show.




The rich natural lines of Richard Aerni’s ceramics married harmoniously with the sideboard. Here in the gallery it catches the natural light coming through the windows and casts wild shadows on the gallery floor. These materials may have been caught but they will never be tame.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Chara Dow’s furniture in our current exhibition “Setting the Table” (runs through November 25th). You can see more of Chara’s work online at www.charadowrusticworks.com.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by painter Cherry Rahn.

Meet the Artist in Residence: John Galan

John Galan is an artist in residence at Main Street Arts! He’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the months of September–October 2016 (you can stop by the gallery to see his studio and works in progress). We asked John a few questions about his artwork, life, and more:

Artist in residence John Galan

Artist in residence John Galan

Q: To start this off, tell us about your background.

A: Since I was a child I knew I wanted to become a professional artist. Twenty-six years later and I’m making that dream a reality. I graduated from California Lutheran University with a Bachelor’s in Art. Currently, I work as an instructor at a paint and sip studio called Pinot’s Palette. I also work from my art studio at home in Ventura County, California. As an emerging artist, my work has been featured in local galleries including the Museum of Ventura County. I recently embarked on a month long trip to Portugal (June 2016) painting the countryside while experimenting and developing my work.

Q: How would you describe your work?

A: The art I create is a personal reflection of my life. I like to depict symbolic stories of past memories in order to trigger the viewers subconscious. Most work focuses on the human figure in the landscape. I believe that there is an inextricable connection between humankind and nature which transcends cognitive thought to a level of what some might call spirituality. I paint alla prima using vibrant high chroma hues to add a contemporary element to a traditional form of realism. Other work involves a strong influence in pattern and design in order to capture the viewers interest.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?

A: The process of creating a work of art is equally as important to the final product. New ideas, can come from everyday life. Constant inspirations include: nature, family, portraits, and music. I like to depict moments I find spiritually fulfilling. One of the largest influences is music. Whenever I’m painting in the studio I listen to specific songs in order to evoke a specific mood which I can then translate to the bare canvas. I use the traditional medium of oil paint to create contemporary surrealistic paintings.

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.

A: The paintings I intend to produce at Main Street Arts Residency reflect many underlying themes and motifs influenced by geographical location, seasons, and culture. I intend to continue a series of portraits I started in Portugal of this year. The paintings are based off of immediate family and how seasons can describe an individuals personality.

I am most exited about painting outdoors because this will be the first time I get to experience Autumn. I intend to explore the surrounding community of Clifton Springs

A plein air painting of John's residency housing in Clifton Springs, NY

A plein air painting of John’s residency housing in Clifton Springs, NY

John plein air painting at the Foster Cottage Museum

John plein air painting at the Foster Cottage Museum in Clifton Springs, NY

Q: What’s next for you?

A: There is so much I want to do. A priority involves creating an art show back at home showcasing all the new work from this year. I would also like to continue traveling to other artists residencies as well as go back to school for my masters in painting.

Q: Where can we find you?

A: Website: www.johngalan.com | Instagram: @johngalanart | Email: johngalanart@gmail.com

Are you an artist looking for new opportunities? Apply for a residency at Main Street Arts! Artists in residence will have 24-hour access to a large studio on our second floor (with great natural light), the option to show work in the gallery, and the opportunity to teach paid workshops. Submissions are reviewed and awarded on an ongoing basis.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jerry Alonzo: Learning New Stuff

Feeling energized, having just returned from two weeks in Colorado at Anderson Ranch Arts Center.  I drove out from Geneseo, NY and caught up with friends along the way.

James and Gail

James and Gail

I went there to spend time with a sculptor whose work I greatly admire, James Surls.

The course was “Critical Dialog in Sculpture”  which is exactly what the six of us did most of the time.  I’ll remember James’ intro on day one.  It was intended to quickly dispatch the let’s learn from the master mentality and did.  It went something like this “It makes no difference how we as artists got into this sculpture studio; front door, back door or bathroom window.  We are all here, all artists, so let’s get to work.”  We talked about our work, his work and each others’.  What we do, why and how we do it, and what’s next.

With Melissa and Richard

With Melissa and Richard

In the off hours my classmates (all of whom worked in metal) moved various projects forward.

Gail and Joyce


Being a wood guy in a metals studio, it took me a few days to figure out how to benefit from all the metal working expertise  around me.  The studio coordinator taught me the basics of cutting steel with a plasma torch and how to press it into a bowl form.

Plasma torch


While I’m used to coaxing and persuading wood to do certain things,  I found that torch cutting with lots of sparks flying and pressing (way too gentle a word) steel into submission was a lot of fun.  I completed a quick piece I called “Offering and Receiving”.

Offering and Receiving

Offering and Receiving

I brought home to my studio a larger 12″ bowl with only a vague plan for it.  A few days after returning to Geneseo I was thinking about a friend who is ill and how a jolly piece might serve as a spirit lifter.  I decided to make this bowl into a table into which words of greeting, good wishes and encouragement could be collected and shared.  I  plan to donate it to an auction supporting medical research in my friends honor.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Jerry Alonzo’s sculptures in our current exhibition House and Home (runs through August 19). View his work online at www.jerryalonzo.com

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by painter Susan Stuart.

Meet the Artist in Residence: James Mikhel Emerson

James Mikhel Emerson is an artist in residence at Main Street Arts! He’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the month of August 2016 (you can stop by the gallery to see his studio and work in progress). We asked James a few questions about his artwork, life, and more:

Artist in residence James Mikhel Emerson

Artist in residence James Mikhel Emerson in his studio at Main Street Arts

Q: Where are you from?

A: I’m from a real small town called Candler, in the heartland. It’s actually an unincorporated borough, just like one that I passed real close to Clifton Springs.

"The Totem Can Project" by James Mikhel Emerson

“The Totem Can Project” by James Mikhel Emerson

Q: How long have you been making artwork?

A: I’ve been making art my whole life. Both of my parents were artist craftsmen, so I started very early in clay and paint. Later, I moved to New York City and studied traditional drawing, painting, and advanced mixed media at the Art Students League in Manhattan.


Q: How would you describe your work? What is your preferred medium and your typical subject matter?

A: Primitive Surrealism is a term I like. I work with concepts and styles that extend across generations; things that humans can relate to regardless of time and place.

Somebody else just asked me what my preferred medium is, and I’ve been thinking about it. It’s sculpture when coupled with drawing and painting. I usually draw to absorb and explore different styles, and then sort of port that over into sculptures through a lot of different means.




Q: Do you collect artwork?

A: I do, very occasionally. I have a couple of very cool prints, a coke bottle, some small stone objects, and a wooden piece of a new alphabet created by a great artist, Esteban Patiño. I also have a small collection of artwork that I found around NYC over the years, which was created by #FAF and #FreeArtsMovement artists. Some of it’s good stuff.

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?

A: Good question. My favorite places are anywhere art doesn’t normally occur, so outside of galleries, museums, etc. I have participated in the #FAF as I mentioned before, and have left a bunch of small sculptures in public places for people to find and to hold, so I get a kick when I find other artists doing that as well.

A recent public sculpture by James in Riverside Park South in Manhattan

A recent public sculpture by James in Riverside Park South in Manhattan

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.

A: Right now I am working on a new series of paintings and sculptures which use old visual language to present contemporary life. I’m using a bunch of styles to create contemporary symbols and representational imagery with which to talk about the world we live in.



Q: What advice would you give to other artists?

A: Seek the deeper function of art. Ask “What does art do for us humans, why do we keep creating it?” It is a question that is as old as us and is absolutely relevant today. See how far you can go to find your answer.

Q: What’s next for you? 

A: I think I’m gonna drive over to New York to the Wassaic Project. There are some folks over there that I’m hoping to see.


Q: Where else can we find you?

A: You can see more of my artwork at www.jamesmikhel.com. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @JamesMikhel.

Sign up for a Social Media for Artists Workshop with James Mikhel Emerson! In this workshop, James will discuss different social media platforms and strategies for creating platform-specific content. Increase your reach and get your work in front of collectors, galleries, and more! Saturday, August 20, 2016 from 12-3pm. $25 per person. Call, email, or stop in to sign up today.

Are you an artist looking for new opportunities? Apply for a residency at Main Street Arts! Artists in residence will have 24-hour access to a large studio on our second floor (with great natural light), the option to show work in the gallery, and the opportunity to teach paid workshops. Submissions are reviewed and awarded on an ongoing basis.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Emily Falco: Creating a Watercolor Still-Life in 5 Steps

Hello fellow art lovers -

It’s a warm, rainy, December evening here in Ithaca; not too typical of western New York this time of year! It’s this type of inclement weather that for me, forecasts a painting night.

Welcome to the studio!

Welcome to the studio!

For my introductory post, I wanted to give you readers out there a little more than an “about the artist” spiel. So here is a quick tutorial to describe one of my favorite painting techniques; in this case, to create a simple still life in just a few steps.

I work almost solely in watercolor, a medium that folks often tell me is “the most unforgiving,” or “the hardest.” I beg to differ – I’ve had a lot of practice, no doubt, but you can turn all the “cons” of watercolor into “pros” with time, patience and technique. There are difficulties with every type of painting, sculpture, what have you. That being said, I hope that if you are interested in painting with watercolor, but intimidated to work with it, that this tutorial might give you a fresh perspective, allowing you to delve into water paint in a whole new way.

Here’s our subject:

To celebrate the seasons of both coasts, I've chosen a persimmon and a sprig of juniper.

To celebrate the seasons of both coasts, I’ve chosen a persimmon and a sprig of juniper.

You don’t want to put a lot of detail in here. Keep in mind that this isn’t a drawing, you’re just setting up for your painting. Think light pencil strokes.


Where is the lightest point of your subject? In this case, it’s the highlight on the persimmon. I left a couple highlights on the juniper berries as well. Everything else is darker, right? So paint everything else! Choose a neutral color, and bring your paint all the way to the edges of the paper.


This step gives your subject a little body. Choose another (perhaps complementary) neutral color, and loosely block in the shadows and midtones. A lot of detail is not needed.


Ok, now you have your subject defined. It’s time to put the color in! Add a little color into the back and foreground too. Keep your palette simple – limit yourself to just a few colors.


Now that your subject is colored, you need to finish it off with the darkest value. This will make it pop! Add a little texture, color the background a bit more, etc. Voila! You have a little painting, in just 5 steps.



Emily Falco is an artist nationally recognized for the romantic quality portrayed in her watercolor representations of everyday perspectives. In this early stage of her career, she has lived and painted throughout New York State, from New York City through the Hudson Valley to the Adirondack Mountains and into Ithaca where she currently resides.

Falco’s work has garnered national attention as a featured artist in American Artist Watercolor magazine, and on NBC’s Martha Stewart Live television program.  Since 2008, Falco has continuously exhibited her work in solo, joint and group shows, including a recent solo exhibition at Cornell University. She holds a B.F.A. from The Cooper Union School of Art in New York City.

For more information please visit: http://emilyfalco.com/

Stop by Main Street Arts to see two of Emily Falco’s watercolor paintings in our current exhibition, Small Works 2015 (one of which was an award winning piece!). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by fabric sculptor & collage artist Jody MacDonald.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Jody MacDonald: Connection is Key

Hello, my name is Jody.  Welcome to my studio!


My work space – there is a big, beautiful window where I’m standing that provides the most fantastic natural light to work by.

First, let me share a few biographical tidbits to put my work into context:

  •  When I was a child I liked to engage in role-play, often as animals and insects.
  • I attended the famed bealart program in London, ON, Canada (1986-89), double-majoring in textiles and printmaking.
  • I received my undergrad diploma from Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design (Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1996) where I focused on sculpture, performance, and installation.
  • It took me 15 years to obtain the academic credits required for my BFA in Visual Arts from Emily Carr University in Vancouver. I was only able to take one class per semester, so that’s what I did.  Never let life be an obstacle to attaining your goals!
  • In July of 2014 I moved my home and studio practice from Vancouver to Long Island City, NY.
  • I still like to engage in role-play, though now it is mostly through my artwork.

For the past 12 years I’ve been an object maker, creating textile-based, figurative sculptures and drawings that challenge concepts of identity, stereotype, social power dynamics, and the perception of “genuine” vs. “imitation”. I relish dark humor, always work in multiples, and I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to craftsmanship and detail.

Obsessive Detail

(L) Detail of a British Military Coat from Wardrobe (1755) – 3/16″ custom crafted buttons and those tiny buttonholes are functional. (R) Detail of mini skinny jeans, new work in progress – approx. 4″ wide (I did make the hangers, but the teeny clothespins were a cherished find).

A common element in my artwork that makes it readily distinguishable is the use of my face in every piece, either as a collaged component in works-on-paper or as a photo transfer on fabric in sculptural pieces.

(L) Detail from a work-on-paper in the Survival Games series. (R) Detail from Jurassic Measures, a textile sculpture from the Will The Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up? series.

There are many reasons why an artist might choose to use themselves in their work, such as convenience or legal issues. The reason I use my face? To communicate that I am imperfectly implicated in the issues that I point a critical finger at. We’re all in it together ;-)

Much of my work is created in a diminutive scale – figures stand about 20” tall and drawings are generally 15” x 22” or smaller. I do this to gently coax the viewer closer to the work where they will discover subtle details and develop an intimate connection with the piece.

Showing Scale

Head and hand of a new sculpture in progress.

Ultimately, connection is what being an artist is all about for me – making an emotional or intellectual connection with another person… oh, and making tiny things.

Although on occasion I’ve used found objects in my pieces, I make 98% of the miniature clothing and accessories you see in my artwork.

Shirt and Garters

(L) Detail of wolf figure in Chestnut Complex (Slim Shady series). (R) Detail of one of the lingerie outfits for Favorite Ways With Pheasant (Slim Shady series).

I LOVE the challenge of trying to replicate an Oxford shirt, a garter belt, a Brown Bess musket, or a canoe in 1/4 scale.

Brown Bess Musket

Detail of the Brown Bess musket from Wardrobe (1755), part of the Slim Shady series.

Canoe Interior Detail

Detail – interior of the large, 4 foot canoe from Chestnut Complex (Slim Shady series). The ribs and planking are made out of wood veneer.

There’s so much more I’d like to share with you – here are a couple of ways we can connect:

Visit my website/blog to see more of my art and learn more about my process: jodymacdonald.ca. Follow my Facebook page to see sneak peeks of works-in-progress and general art musings a couple of times per week. Thanks for visiting!

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Jody MacDonald’s artwork in our current exhibition, Small Works 2015. Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by Finger Lakes painter Kari Ganoung Ruiz.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Kari Ganoung Ruiz: En Plein Air

I’m Kari Ganoung Ruiz, and my studio is the great outdoors!

Painting near Saranac Lake, NY August 2015. Photo by Dave Martin

Painting near Saranac Lake, NY August 2015. Photo by Dave Martin

My husband Diego Ruiz and I currently live in Union Springs, NY on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. I grew up in Interlaken, NY near the Finger Lakes National Forest, setting the stage early for my deep appreciation of the natural landscape. I was always drawing as a kid; filling up as many sketchbooks as I could get my hands on. Fortunately, many of my teachers up through high school were creative and excited about teaching and learning, no matter the subject; helping me keep my mind open to an alternate career path such as “artist”!

I attended Ashland University in Ohio, graduating in 1998 with a Bachelors of Science in Fine Art. My husband and I were married in 2000 and we decided to make the Finger Lakes Region our home; searching for a community to develop our studio. We opened Copperesque in 2007, a boutique picture framing and stained glass studio here in Union Springs .

Taughannock Falls, painted on location spring 2015. Private collection

Taughannock Falls, painted on location spring 2015. 6″x8″ Private collection

Within the last 3 years I’ve become increasingly excited about painting outside directly from life, taking part in plein air festivals throughout New York state and beyond. One of Diego’s artistic passions is stereo photography; currently working on his 5th and 6th 3D books! Both of our endeavors involve travel, so in the fall of 2014 we decided to move our shop from storefront to cyberspace to free the constraints on our time and location.

Painting near the Ventura Pier in CA during The Representational Art Conference 2015. Photo courtesy BritBrat Studio

Painting near the Ventura Pier in California during The Representational Art Conference 2015. Photo courtesy BritBrat Studio

The Lifeguard Tower, 8"x8"... the piece I was working on in the picture above!

The Lifeguard Tower, 8″x8″… the piece I was working on in the picture above!

I’m currently painting in oils and concentrating on the landscape. Many of my paintings are completed outside in one session; trying to capture more than a likeness of the place, but the essence of what made it speak to me. Studying through painting outside has taught me a great deal in the last few years about the science of the natural world. Something new is learned each plein air session, even if that something is what the air feels like right before being drenched by a sudden rainstorm!  I do have a studio in which work progresses on commissioned paintings and larger or more detailed work not easily done outside. It’s a small, upstairs room in our home where I can work in relative quiet. Painting outside in winter is an interesting challenge, and the subtle color shifts of the snow are seductive, but it’s great to have a warm studio to come back to!

Painted during the Adirondack Plein Air Festivals... one of my favorite experience painting outside this year! 11"x14", available

Painted during the Adirondack Plein Air Festival… one of my favorite experiences painting outside this year! 11″x14″, available

You can see many of my paintings at our Pop-up Gallery in Aurora, New York this December 1-31st, and always online at kariganoungruiz.com. I have also just started a blog, so please follow along on my adventures: Go Paint Outside!

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Kari Ganoung Ruiz’s paintings in our current exhibition, Small Works 2015 (including a juror’s choice award winning piece!)

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by Rochester artist Bob Conge.