Tag Archives: Drawing

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Colleen Buzzard

I’ve been making art since the 1980’s.  I began at Reed College in the ceramics studio in my spare time and eventually took some art courses at Boston University and Mass College of Art. When I moved to London, England I was making large scale ceramic installations but with the birth of my second child I made a sharp turn to drawing. I loved the immediacy of work on paper and a process that seemed to have a more direct connection to my thinking.

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One day walking into the studio I had the sensation of walking into my mind. That experience gave rise to a small immersive room I call the Language Lab. A collection of found objects, art works, and drawings create a mix of order and disorder, a place where I look for classification systems and explore the rules and rule-breaking that make language so malleable and expressive.

Language Lab detail

Language Lab detail

Language Lab detail

Language Lab detail

Thinking about language led to musings about how the mind works, about the nature of thinking itself. If we could visualize a train of thought, what would it look like?  Would it be an orderly pattern like a map or a series of tangles? As I worked on these questions by drawing on paper and walls, I felt an urgent need to bring my experiments off flat planes and into the architectural space of the studio. The mysterious threshold between 2D and 3D became an important and enduring focus in my work.

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I use a wide range of materials from ink and graphite to wire, tape, and steel wool. Where possible I like the supporting mechanisms for hanging the work to function also as part of the content of the pieces. Drawn lines morph into scaffolding and reach out toward us. I think of shadows, extant or drawn, as an important element (sometimes the major element) of many pieces. Drawing in space animates the work for me, making it responsive to changing light and air currents rather than capturing a frozen moment.

in the studio

While I work I often wonder what terms like “order,” “information,” and “random” really mean. It is surprising to me that systems are often a wild mix of order and disorder. It turns out that systems that lie on the edge between chaos and order are better able to incorporate diversity and evolve, and are therefore more robust.

studio table with notebook

A touchstone for me is an artwork by Luis Camnitzer called “Two Parallel Lines 1976-2010.” The textual part begins with: “Two parallel lines. The materialization of an abstraction. Line covering the horizon. A shadow of the horizon. Fragment of the curvature of the Earth. Axis of a corner. Narrative…” and ends with: “The slices’s slice. The superstition of territory. Instant defining a victim. Victim. The beginning of a self-portrait.”  (The full text and images can be found here.)

Origin of Matter

Origin of Matter

I like to think of grids, as well as knots, tangles, and scribbles as both mental and physical architecture. In the study of knot theory mathematicians have uncovered clues to the nature of DNA folding and other complex phenomena.

Untitled (dash line)

Untitled (dash line)

My work often circles back to the difference between matter and information.  Are they really two different things or is the distinction just an intellectual convenience?

Colleen Portrail 2017

You can see more of my work on my website at www.colleenbuzzard.com and on Instagram at colleenbuzzardart.


Colleen Buzzard is one of six artists featured in the Upstate New York Drawing Invitational at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s Artsy page. The Upstate New York Drawing Invitational runs through September 28, 2018.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Bill Stephens

I grew up in Lyons NY.  My high school art instructor, Norm Williams was a gifted artist/teacher who was instrumental in my development as an artist.

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Still Life, mixed media, college portfolio piece

On his recommendation, I applied to the prestigious Layton School of Art in Milwaukee WI. The school at that time was under the direction of Edmund Lewandowski, a contemporary of Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth. Layton’s innovative, strict core curriculum was based on design and provided me with a great foundation to build on. We were supported and encouraged by a gifted staff of working artist instructors.

Upon graduation, I was offered a teaching position at the new Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, NY, where I taught for two years. I received a Masters in Science of Teaching from RIT and taught art for forty years in the Webster CSD.

I had a very successful career, with numerous students receiving national awards and scholarships to leading art schools. Working as an artist alongside my students, sharing artistic successes and failures, I was a positive role model.

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Sketchbook pencil drawing

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Sketchbook pencil drawing

Printmaking, painting, drawing, mixed media and ceramic sculpture are disciplines I’ve explored.

My work is process driven and inspired by morning meditation, writing, memory and my imagination. Each piece is extemporaneously developed and contains open-ended symbols that encourage personal interpretation and reflection.

The house, window, and barn symbols have appeared in my work for many years.

House grid, series of paintings, acrylic on board

The Village, acrylic on paper

I am also exploring a series of drawings using abstract, organic form. The pen drawings in this show are cubist inspired and playful.

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Hive, pen on paper

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Village, pen on paper


Bill Stephens is one of six artists featured in the Upstate New York Drawing Invitational at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s Artsy page. The Upstate New York Drawing Invitational runs through September 28, 2018.

 

Meet the Artist in Residence: Dain Q. Gore

Dain Gore, artist in residence during the month of June 2018 at Main Street Arts, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Dain some questions about his work and studio practice:

Artist Dain Q. Gore

Artist Dain Q. Gore

Q: Tell us about your background.
I was born in Phoenix and live in Laveen, AZ. I have been there my whole life. I keep thinking what it would be like to move but in my travels I have yet to find a Goldilocks Zone for that (except maybe Japan). I have an MFA in painting (2009) and BFA in drawing (2000) from ASU. When I’m not making art for upcoming shows I like to perform puppetry at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater in the Puppet Slams.

Q: How long have you been making artwork?
I was just telling a friend that the only good days I really remember about grade school were when I could draw, especially when it was “rainy day schedule.” As a small kid, there really was nothing much else of significance for me than drawing and collecting action figures and video games. Socialization came much later in life.

"Histrionics of Medicine" by Dain Q. Gore

“Histrionics of Medicine” by Dain Q. Gore

Q: What was your experience like at art school?
I’ve also been talking about this a lot lately. My perspective now has been oddened, as peers are relating experiences that I simply did not have. For some reason I feel like I had some kind of plot armor, or that as I recall it, knew I could accept or reject anything tasked of me. This was best illustrated when a professor gave me a long list of corrections to my painting, followed by, “Or not…just keep painting!” This became a running joke at critiques but stuck from then on. This probably made the most sense of anything I ever learned in art school. Any kind of actual learning—not mimicking, not repeating–I think involves a moment where you simply have to do and stop thinking.

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“Tardinaut” by Dain Q. Gore

Q: Do you have a job other than making art?
I do! I am currently a faculty adjunct at South Mountain Community and Phoenix College. In addition, I have been substituting at Metro Arts, an arts-based high school in Phoenix. I’ve also been starting to do workshops based on some of my specific niche areas of interest in art, such at the Exquisite Corpse  and painting board gaming miniatures. I also perform puppetry, as mentioned above, which often intervenes into my exhibitions.

"Exquisite Corpse" by Dain Q. Gore

“Exquisite Corpse” pieces by Dain Q. Gore

Q: How would you describe your work?
My work is colorful, experimental, playful, image-ridden and fragile.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
My process very often involves turning on some music (I like art/prog rock) or Coast to Coast AM or an audiobook (currently trying to finish Snow Crash) to get started. I get out a piece of foam core and draw out a basic shape using a white China marker, paint directly onto the surface (sometimes with gesso or medium first).

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My goals were initially to experiment further, but now I have a list of several things I would like to play with that may still involve my process.

ArtClocky

“Art Clocky” by Dain Q. Gore

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have so many too pick just one: James Ensor, Philip Guston, Martin Wong, Wayne White. There are so many great ones on Instagram now, too. I would have to say James Ensor overall, though, because his life echoes his art so closely in such a surreal way and feels like an echo of my life and art, too.

Q: What type of music do you listen to?
As mentioned, music can be crucial to getting me out of my own head and on to painting surfaces. I love DEVO, Blue Oyster Cult, Oingo Boingo, Idiot Flesh (and its numerous incarnations), Father John Misty, Of Montreal, Talking Heads, Neon Indian, Stereolab, Adam and the Ants, Al Stewart…

"Avatar of Kek" by Dain Q. Gore

“Avatar of Kek” by Dain Q. Gore

Q: Do you collect anything?
I “used to” collect action figures. I have a hopeless fascination with them, and it certainly has influenced my aesthetic choices and being a puppeteer. I also collect (and sometimes actually paint) the aforementioned miniatures.

Q: What’s next for you?
As soon as I get back to AZ I have to start working on a Puppet Slam piece for GenCon, two shows I will be featured in at Eric Fischl Gallery in September and Fine Arts Complex in October, in addition to the monthly AZ Puppet Slams!

Q: Where else can we find you?
I can be found on Instagram @daintist and at www.daingore.com


Dain will be teaching two workshops during his residency at Main Street Arts. The first will take place on Saturday, June 16 from 12 to 3 pm and will focus on the Surrealist game of Exquisite Corpse—a spontaneous, group-collaborated creature where the only limit is your own imagination (see image above). Perfect for a group of friends! Sign up here.

The second workshop, taking place on Saturday, June 23 from 12 to 3 pm, will give participants to create puppet-like paintings that Dain calls “INGs”. Somewhere between two-dimensional paintings and sculptures, these objects represent an element of play as well as a thoughtful approach to the layered sensibility of painting (see images above). Sign up here.

 

Meet the Artist in Residence: Marisa Boyd

Marisa Boyd, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the month of May 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Marisa some questions about her work and studio practice:

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Marisa Boyd

Q: Tell us about your background.
I am from Central Illinois, living in the town of Bloomington-Normal. I am originally from Channahon, IL which is near Joliet, IL. I moved to Bloomington-Normal in 2013 to attend college at Illinois State University for my BFA. Now that I am graduated, I enjoy reading a number of books I have laid out throughout my apartment and keeping a daily drawing practice. I spend my days walking throughout the downtown area of Bloomington and sharing an art studio with my best friend.

Q: How long have you been making artwork?
I have always been making art since I was a child. Moving forward into high school, I focused on more realism and narrative scenes. During the beginning of art school, my practice began to shift into abstraction. I went to Illinois State University for art school.

"Nothing Entirely Surprising" by Marisa Boyd

“Nothing Entirely Surprising” by Marisa Boyd

Q: What was your experience like at art school?
My experience was the most beautiful, busy, stressful part of my life that I have encountered so far. I have never not slept so much, staying up all hours of the night obsessing over the latest idea that popped into my brain.…which would word vomit to anyone I began talking to about art to in the hallway. I was similar to many former and current art students being willing to do anything to get further into their inquiry while simultaneously feeling like there was more that could be done. I still struggle with this today. Ultimately, I met incredible people and artists that have influenced me throughout my time at Illinois State University.

Q: Do you have a job other than making art?
I am a server at a farm to table restaurant called Anju Above in Bloomington, IL. On most days, I actually really enjoy my job!

Q: How would you describe your work?
I would describe it to be quiet with a hint of distress. I make simple drawings that are made with a micron pen. As well as shape cutouts that are made of wood, fiber board, paper, or fabric. I embrace simple gestures. My typical subject matter is abstract focusing on the “activity” of marks rather than an image.

Marisa Boyd

Marisa Boyd

 Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
For two years I have been developing a personal drawing practice that engages me to seek a space within myself. Creating “Closed Eye” drawings is meditative that focuses on silence and my ability to see, hear, and feel my surroundings. I wait for the after image behind my eyelids to disappear, then I seek out shapes and specific colors. My closed eye drawings are my primary source material for creating larger works out of plywood, fiberboard, paper, etc. I cut into the drawings to create a hole and have a whole shape remaining.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I tend to plan too much, I set far too many goals instead of focusing on one or two things to work on. I have had a sketchbook project in my mind for the past month that I can’t wait to get the time to complete. In addition, my goal is to create as many paper drawing/ paintings as possible. I hope to find some material that will speak to me in a way that urges me to use my jigsaw to cut it into a shape with beveled edges. I am bringing a collection of velvet fabrics that are waiting to be the covering of a shape or used as a atmospheric ground.

Work by Marisa Boyd

Work by Marisa Boyd

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
I call it my “sharp tool,” although I believe it is for printmaking. I stumbled upon it at the DickBlick outlet in Galesburg, IL. This tool lead me to a revelation with my work. I began to scratch lines into paper and tear it creating sharp openings. The lines became an outline for cutting out a shape around the contour of the drawing.

Q: Do you collect anything?
I collect a variety of objects. My rock collection began at an early age and I still have the same jar containing the rocks from when I was a child. I look at the ground often when I walk, which leads me to collecting natural objects and photographs of them with their surroundings. The strangest thing I collect is lint from when I dry my clothes in the dryer. I began doing this in the beginning of 2017 thinking about my body and what covers it. I held attachment to lint because of the various colors of fibers and the shape it makes.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
Eva Hesse is my favorite artist. Her approach to Abstract Expression inspires me to not reject that label. The artwork existed in that realm while also developing into something of its own. Her persistence is an inspiration to me. I love that she explored drawing, painting and sculpture. During the last five years of her life, she produced so many incredible works of art. I have traveled to the MoMA, Seattle Art Museum, and Milwaukee Art Museum to see her artwork in person.

"Vital" by Marisa Boud

“Vital” by Marisa Boud

Q: What’s next for you?
Simply put…a road trip back to Illinois.

Q: Where else can we find you?
I can be found on Instagram @artsymars and at www.marisaboyd.com

Inside (or outside) the Artist’s Studio with Andy Reddout

Andy’s artwork is on view in “Sketchbooks: Genine Carvalheira-Gehman and Andy Reddout” in our second floor gallery. His work is available for purchase in our Online Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


Sketching in the back fields at The Apple Farm in Victor NY

Sketching in the back fields at The Apple Farm in Victor NY

I grew up in Victor NY, and attended Victor High School. After taking all of the art courses Victor had to offer I attended SUNY Cortland to become an art teacher. After realizing they threw out my major and didn’t tell me, I enrolled in their Studio Art program. During that time my printmaking professor introduced me to the graphic design program at RIT. The day after graduating from RIT I was fortunate enough to get my first job as an Art Director in the local advertising scene. I made TV commercials, ads, web sites, logos and billboards for international and local companies. After about eight years of working twelve hour days, weekends and holidays I needed a change. I eventually quit, got my Masters in Art Education from RIT (again), and became an art teacher. For the past 10 years I taught K-5 elementary art in Bloomfield NY, coached basketball, soccer and tennis. This past year I made the switch to Victor Senior High School where I teach Studio Art and Computer Generated Art. I also coach Modified Boys Basketball and Modified Boys Tennis.

Sketching at the Public Market, Rochester NY.

Sketching at the Public Market, Rochester NY.

I don’t want label myself as a “sketchbook artist” because it seems to take away from what I love to do which is capturing moments as I see them. If I don’t have my whole sketching kit with me–I can be found having a sketchbook and pen handy. I like to arrive early to doctor’s appointments and sketch the other patients, take an extra half an hour at Wegmans, or sit quietly in the corner of my favorite restaurant sketching away. I find I love layovers in airports since I started sketching–when people are engrossed in technology they make great models!

A majority of my drawings are made “en plein air” which is a term reserved for painting outdoors, or on-site. I will start and finish my drawings on-site and if my model moves, or a car parks in front of my subject–so be it!

A detail of my ever-expanding drawing kit.

A detail of my ever-expanding drawing kit.

Since I am drawing and painting on location my sketching tools have to be portable and reliable. I use a handful of different fountain pens filled with different colored inks–some of which are water-soluable and make for great effects. My watercolor kit contains 24 colors with emphasis on the primary colors (I have 9 different blues!) I have a few travel brushes, as well as some water brushes with water in the handles for quick painting. I rarely sketch in pencil first, but when I do I use some overpriced pencil I bought in Paris. My sketchbook choice took some twists and turns but after some amazing customer service and paper quality that can’t be beat, I use Stillman & Birn sketchbooks. I am a huge fan of their “Beta” paper which is an extra heavy weight paper ideal for watercolor and general abuse. I put all of this in my trusty Timbuk2 bag which has been to different countries, had coffee spilled in it, and pins pierced through the flap from where my sketches have taken me.

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When I started sketching I stayed away from people and anything people related. Instead, I focused a lot on objects and places. Whenever I attempted to sketch people they turned out like cartoon characters and lacked expression. So for a year I focused on sketching people only and failed over and over again. I even took a portrait drawing class trying to overcome my fear. So if you look back on my sketches in book #2–my people are very-remedial and limited in scope. And now I feel as if I can capture a person’s likeness and emotion light-years beyond where I was.

A sketch on the streets of Montefioralle, Italy

A sketch on the streets of Montefioralle, Italy

Sketching for me is a way to capture life’s moments in a more meaningful way than a snap of a camera. With all of my sketches–and with great detail–I can recall who I was with, the weather, our conversations–even what I was wearing that day. I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled to Europe and have sketched my way through the trips. A camera is an easy way to capture a moment and often a forgotten memento. But with my constant drawing these sketchbooks turn into prized possessions that tell a story. A recorded history. Moments in time. So as I progress, I’d just very simply like to continue to do what I am doing. Draw.

Captured on a sketchcrawl through Rochester, NY

Captured on a sketchcrawl through Rochester, NY

I get a lot of my inspiration from other artists that are sketching on location. Finding UrbanSketchers.org has changed the world of sketching for me. There are numerous links to artists, techniques and tools. You can get lost in there for days! I will be attending their UrbanSketchers Symposium this July in Chicago. Every year they pick a different city and this year is finally back in the states. I will have the chance to meet–and take classes from–a few of the “urban sketching all stars” that I look up to. Meeting and talking with other artists is a major influence and part of what makes this process so fun.

Sketching at the Cajun Jam at Coffee Connections

Sketching at the Cajun Jam at Coffee Connections

I attempt to maintain a blog of my work and travels: reddout.blogspot.com but Instagram (areddout) has made it more enjoyable to post art work and interact with other artists. With Instagram I’ve been able to meet other artists I admire, and actually got to go sketch with two of them while visiting Barcelona!


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Andy’s artwork in “Sketchbooks: Genine Carvalheira-Gehman and Andy Reddout” in our second floor gallery from  February 25–March 31, 2017. Visit his website at www.reddout.blogspot.com and follow Andy on Instagram @areddout.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by photographer Jenn Libby.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Anne Muntges

Anne’s artwork is on view in “Trying to Understand the World: Artwork by Anne Muntges and Sylvia Taylor”. The exhibition runs from January 14 2017–February 17, 2017. Her work is available for purchase in our Online Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


Anne Muntges Artist Extraordinaire

I am obsessed with drawing. I doodle, make marks, and slap line after line down on paper and board. Drawing is the way in which I see the world and understand myself within it.

Stop

In general, when developing work, I have focus on the home as a theme. In earlier works this would mean recreating the space I physically occupied. Often that meant reflecting upon houses I lived in through drawings that explored the possibilities of what was and what could be. In Buffalo, where I began these works, it was easy to find crazy ornate homes to explore and occupy. My life was interior, and I spent a lot of time indoors. The work was fitting to the place I found myself in!

Im at McDonalds

That definition has grown over the last year or two though, as I have found myself traveling more for residencies and projects. My practice was also greatly impacted by moving to Brooklyn in January of 2016. Rather than finding myself in a constant indoor space to reflect in, like I had in Buffalo, I wander around and explore.

NYC_Fuck You Police Box

The drawings for the show Trying to Understand the World are a reflection of me figuring out my new home. These drawings helped me to understand the space I live in more closely than I ever could have imagined.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see “Trying to Understand the World: Artwork by Anne Muntges and Sylvia Taylor”. The exhibition runs through February 17, 2017. Anne’s work is available for purchase in our online shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com. Visit Anne’s website at www.annemuntges.com.

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

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Megan Armstrong

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


Artist Statement:
A line is a critical tool for communication – whether compositionally visual or textual, a line connected to another line creates a navigational thread to follow – this thread can be woven in and out as a form of coded language – the duplicity of a line is directly linked to the formation and understanding of words – whether drawn or written, a line can develop into structures, systems, labels, and powerful (perhaps dangerous) associations – associations spur emotional, factual, and fallible interpretations and translations – lines act as evidence of human thought – definitions, synonyms, organizations – lines slide back and forth to create new relationships, pairings, combinations, composites, connections – the limitlessness of the line is linked with it’s limitations – through repetitive, compulsive exploration and manipulation of lines I investigate notions of normalcy by examining the narrative lines between fiction and reality.

Through practical and emotional research of a specific system – mental illness and the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Version 5 (DSM-V) – I create artwork that translates the coded language within the system, as well as the individual experiences that are left out of the clinical translation of human behavior. When a system and it’s coding logic is laboriously translated into didactic lines that weave in and out, attempting individuality, but ultimately creating controlled chaos, the complexity and ambiguity of a convoluted system remains.  

Work in Progress

Megan Armstrong in her studio drawing lines for a work in progress.

For the past three years my work has focused on the exploration of lines, as a form of communication, translation, and investigation of systems and mark-making. While the width and style of the line remains consistent in each drawing, it is important that every endeavor is a challenge, whether in content or form.

Artist Studio

Megan Armstrong’s home studio.

This past summer I moved to Rochester, NY, and set up a temporary artist studio in my home. The second I step into the house I am reminded of the art I have made in the past, current pieces, and the type of work I would like to attempt in the future.

Nomenclature, 2016, Ink and graphite drawing on paper, 36"H x 42"W

Nomenclature, 2016, Ink and graphite drawing on paper, 36″H x 42″W

Hanging above my makeshift drawing table is Nomenclature, a drawing I started at the Byrdcliffe Artist Residency in Woodstock, New York in 2015, and completed in 2016. The drawing is created by individual ink lines woven together. The background was laboriously hand-drawn, erased, and re-worked in graphite.

A Reductionistic Anachronism, 2016, Ink drawings on paper, Eighteen individual 12"H x 12"W drawings

A Reductionistic Anachronism, 2016, Ink drawings on paper, Eighteen individual 12″H x 12″W drawings

Resting on the drawing table is a work in progress titled A Reductionistic Anachronism. This piece was started with the simple and necessary idea of individual drawings building and creating a larger drawing. I was in the process of moving and had packed up all of my larger works and tools, except for my micron pens. I began working on a 12″ x 12″ drawing with the intention that it would connect to another, and another, and another… In a grouping of 18 drawings as shown it measures a total of 36″H x 72″. This drawing will continue to grow indefinitely.

The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language (106), 2016, Ink drawing on paper, 12"H x 12"W

The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language (106), 2016, Ink drawing on paper, 12″H x 12″W

The drawing shown above was created for the Small Works 2016 Exhibit at Main Street Arts. I challenged myself to take content I had previously worked on in a large scale, to the restricted dimensions of 12″H x 12″W. The drawing created for Small Works 2016, which won the Director’s Choice Award, features 106 lines total, signifying the amount of mental disorders defined by the first version of the DSM. The piece is an iteration of a drawing I created for my MFA Thesis at San Francisco Institute of Art, title The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language for Communication (pictured below). The entire drawing includes 394 hand-drawn ink lines, depicting the number of current codes for diagnosing mental illness, as categorized by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Version 5 (DSM-V). These pieces were created line by line, and each line is numbered, with a clear beginning and end. This means that you can follow one line in it’s entirety. In both drawings there seems to be a clear form, although abstract, when viewed from a distance. The closer you get to the drawings, the easier it is to see the distinctions between each line, the connections and interactions, as well as the varying paths traveled. Each line is completely unique and wholly individual, yet viewed on the same page and in the same space, they begin to seem the same and it is more difficult to clearly define them as separate.

The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language for Communication, 2016, Ink drawing on paper, 48"H x 48"W

The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language for Communication, 2016, Ink drawing on paper, 48″H x 48″W

Line Theory, 2015, ink drawings on paper, artist book, 7" x 8.5" x .5"

Line Theory, 2015, ink drawings on paper, artist book, 7″ x 8.5″ x .5″

Line Theory is a hand-drawn and hand-written artist book I created in collaboration with photographer Brian Dean, who beautifully hand-bound each book. Each page features a “chapter” and corresponding line drawing. The book holds 28 complete chapters (original poetry) and line drawings (the drawings grow from one line to twenty-eight lines). Line Theory is a limited edition of six, and each book in the edition features completely different drawings.


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

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

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.

James2

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.

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James3

James4

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.

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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.

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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 Lana Grauer

My studio is the great outdoors.  Standing alone in a forest or meadow in the warm morning sun behind my easel is my favorite way to start a day and a new painting. I have a number of favorite places near my home in Mamaroneck, NY including Otter Creek and The Marshlands Conservancy.  However the best scenery and inspiration for me is found in the Finger Lakes. I am a pastel landscape painter.  Here I am painting near a vineyard on Keuka Lake with my dog, Annie. Tip #1  Don’t ever tie your dog to your easel while you are painting.

Plein air painting with my dog, Annie

Plein air painting with my dog, Annie

My paintings are about 80% complete when I leave my painting location and head home.  The remaining 20% is called the resolution phase which involves critiquing the composition and tweaking color values. This typically involves me sitting in a chair in my studio and staring at the painting for about 10 minutes until the weak areas become apparent to me.  Most of the time I can improve a painting by adding more drama by exaggerating the value differences. If I am troubled by a larger area I will use a stiff brush and brush off the area outside.  Most of the pastel will come off the paper and I can proceed on a different path with that part of the painting.  Lastly I refer to my Check Off List.

Lana Grauer, "White Cliffs", pastel on paper, 17" x 14", 2015.

Lana Grauer, “White Cliffs”, pastel on paper, 17″ x 14″, 2015.

Lana’s Check Off List

  1. Are the colors in the foreground of greater intensity than the background?
  2. Is the back ground neutral enough?
  3. Are the edges sharp in the foreground and blurred in the background?
  4. What is my point of interest?
  5. Is the eye drawn back into the painting?
  6. Are there sufficient differences in value?

Here are some photos of my studio.  Notice the flat drawers for storing paper and work in progress. The vertical slots are great for storing framed pieces. I converted a closet into shelf space for storing frames, shipping boxes and my plein air backpack.

Grauer Studio

Grauer Studio

Studio #2

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Lana’s artwork in our current exhibition, Fifty Landscapes (runs through May 13). View her work online at www.lanagrauer.com. Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by painter Lanna Pejovic.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jean K Stephens

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The foundation for my artwork was laid in childhood–a mix of nature and art.  Growing up in Gates, a rural suburb of Rochester, New York, I spent hours out of doors climbing trees, playing in fields and streams, my home surrounded by my Mother’s flower gardens.  I loved to color and was a happy girl with a new coloring book and a fresh box of Crayola crayons.  I would carefully shade and layer colors while “staying inside the lines” to create realistic pictures.  An early drawing tool was in my hand and a love of nature was in my soul.

I attended Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY earning a BFA in printmaking and painting.  A Masters in Art Education gave me the taste for teaching and I worked briefly in public school.  I enjoyed teaching printmaking and figure drawing and contributing graphic design to Allofus Art Workshop, a community workshop in Rochester in the early 1980’s.

Along the way, I worked as a freelance graphic artist designing catalogs and brochures and illustrating greeting cards and calendars for local and national clients.

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My concentration for the last twenty five years has been fine art.  From study with Tom Insalaco, Tom Buechner, John Whalley, and Carol Marine I have gained valuable knowledge in painting techniques and approaches to subject matter.  My paintings have been selected for national juried exhibitions and are included in private and corporate collections, notably Canandaigua National Bank branches.

View From Bald Hill, oil on canvas

View From Bald Hill, oil on canvas

My representational oil landscapes have been inspired by the rolling hills of the NYS Southern Tier and Finger Lakes, the seasonal changes of the farmlands around my home in Honeoye Falls and the rocky coast of Maine, all of which suggest a feminine form.

Blue Edge, oil on canvas

Blue Edge, oil on canvas

JEANONROCKS  I frequently create plein air studies, and take photos, which provide valuable reference for completing a larger studio painting.

In my still life drawings and paintings found natural forms are placed upon discarded man made surfaces inviting examination of the relationship to what both man and nature leave behind.  Once I’ve selected objects to work with I arrange and light them, a process that can take several hours and often reveals something unexpected.

set up for Blessing

set up for Blessing

Drawing and oil painting entitled Blessed

Drawing and oil painting entitled Blessed

I make thumbnail sketches and a finished value drawing.  The drawing is then transferred to canvas or panel with a grid, where a grisaille begins the painting process.  I use a limited palette of M Graham oil paint in warm and cool primary colors and white to complete the oil painting, applying “pieces of color” to render form.

CPENCILS1For my colored pencil drawings I favor Canson Mi Tientes colored paper and Prismacolor pencils which I use to build up layers of color and value.

Whether I’m painting in the field or in my studio, the solitude I experience is soothing and meditative.  This is the grace of being an artist, to lose oneself in the act of creating.  When that good flow exists, the paintings seem to paint themselves and the harmony within shows on the canvas.

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I am continually amazed at the beauty that comes through my hand from the marriage of my heart and the spirit of nature.  To be able to express this unique vision is a privileged gift I offer to the world.  My hope is that these drawings and paintings provide a place for the viewer to stop, take a deep breath, savor some of nature’s peace and find a stillness within.

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Works Road Studio classroom

I offer instruction in colored pencil drawing and oil painting in my Works Road Studio.  Using still life as subject, students sharpen their observation skills, focus on establishing strong compositions and learn to render form in color.

Denis McLaughlin painting

Denis McLaughlin painting

My students are encouraged to develop their own personal style.  I provide a nurturing atmosphere, gently guiding artistic growth in technique and expression.  Students receive plenty of individual attention, instructive demonstrations and critique.  The warm camaraderie among the students makes it safe to ask questions and take risks.

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For more information on Jean K Stephens’s artwork and classes visit her website at www.jeankstephens.com. Stop by Main Street Arts to see her painting “Open House” in our current juried exhibition, Structurally Speaking.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by Ithaca artist Chris Oliver.