Tag Archives: Finger Lakes Art


Inside The Artist’s Studio with Meredith Mallwitz

The series of landscape paintings featured in the CULTIVATE exhibition is about the simple, unassuming beauty of the relationship between a horizon line, the light of an expansive sky and the changing mood of the day.

Inspiration for a painting

Inspiration image for “Canandaigua Light”

Inspiration for "Canandaigua Light"

Inspiration image  for “Canandaigua Light”

When I see a landscape that inspires me it can be because of the glow of the light coming through the clouds that happened very quickly and dramatically, the smell of the air as it moves across the land, the contrast of color in a field, or the rising mist coming over the horizon. I don’t paint to recreate what I saw, rather I paint to convey my sensory experience and bring that initial inspiring experience or moment to life.

"Canandaigua Light" in progress

“Canandaigua Light” in progress

"Canandaigua Light"

“Canandaigua Light” by Meredith Mallwitz

The landscape of the Finger Lakes region in particular has given me so much in terms of inspiration. I live in Canandaigua and even in our dark, gloomy days, I can have my breath taken away by the stunning beauty of the area. And when that happens, I don’t forget that image or that feeling.

My work starts from a photo or a sketch of the subject. I’ll start a painting from that, but the work takes on a much different identity once it comes into my art studio. That photo usually only serves the purpose in the initial stages of a painting. I work with acrylic paints, usually very diluted, soft layers that I build up very slowly to allow the paint to have some translucency to it, and allow the layers to glow and illuminate from beneath.

Inspiration image for "Canandaigua Lake"

Inspiration image for “Canandaigua Lake”

Inspiration image for "Canandaigua Lake"

Inspiration image for “Canandaigua Lake”

"Canandaigua Lake" by Meredith Mallwitz

“Canandaigua Lake” by Meredith Mallwitz

Two of my biggest art influences are William Turner, for his light and atmospheric technique, and Mark Rothko for the emotion behind those color relationships.

I am originally from Shortsville, NY where I grew up working in my family’s bar and restaurant, Buffalo Bills Family Restaurant & Tap Room. If there’s one thing that has been the most influential on my life, it would be that restaurant. It’s been in my family since I was 4 and has taught me a thing or two about the intrinsic value of good hard work. The great bonus of the business was meeting some remarkably inspiring, creative, and interesting people over the years starting from a very young age.

"Windswept" in progress

“Windswept” in progress

"Windswept" by Meredith Mallwitz

“Windswept” by Meredith Mallwitz

After I graduated high school I attended the Art Institute of Boston, California College of the Arts, and The Art Institute of Florence, Italy. I traveled to Egypt, Greece, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ireland. Right after college graduation I traveled the coast of Mexico for 6 months. Life was good and I was soaking up and loving every moment. But truth be told, I actually missed the Finger Lakes. I needed to see the world to realize how beautiful the Finger Lakes region truly is. I longed for the rolling hills, the farmland, the lakes. So, I moved back and rented an art studio above my parents restaurant. During the day I painted, and at night I was a bartender.

Viewer looking at "Windswept" in the CULTIVATE exhibition at Main Street Arts

Viewer looking at “Windswept” in the CULTIVATE exhibition at Main Street Arts

One day I hung a painting that was still wet on the wall at the restaurant because I wanted to get feedback. Two hours later a man saw it, loved it and bought it. That lit my fire and I started painting like a machine. My goal was a new piece or two every week. That was 2001 and my work has certainly evolved, but my fire, drive and passion to create has only grown bigger.

Meredith Mallwitz is one of eight gallery artists represented by Main Street Arts. She is featured in the exhibition CULTIVATE which runs April 7 through May 18, 2018. More information about Meredith and her work can be found on our website. View more pieces by Meredith Mallwitz on the gallery’s Artsy page.

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 Dennis Revitzky

Born and raised in northwestern Pennsylvania, I graduated from Gannon and Mercyhurst Colleges with a degree in art education
in 1969. I did graduate study in Fine Arts at SUNY Brockport and taught art for 33 years, most of that time in the Livonia, NY
school district. Along with teaching I was also a professional artist, and upon retirement I was able to devote more time to
my artwork,  mainly printmaking and painting.



I work from home, where I have my work studio and an office/storage room. The subjects of my art are primarily landscape and the figure. In working with landscape I am always aware of the beauty and essence of the place, and I want to convey the mysterious or spiritual elements of that place. I try to allude to something beyond the physical world we perceive; something we are a part of, but difficult to define or understand.

Strange Morning

In my paintings, I attempt to communicate this through a technique I developed which heavily emphasizes texture. I use modeling paste
and other materials on canvas and then apply an underpainting of a deep violet color over the textured surface. The painting is finished
in oils using brush and palette knife.

Letchworth in Spring

My linocuts are more expressionistic. They are original, hand-pulled prints, usually made in small editions. The color prints are made
with only one or two linoleum blocks which are cut away and printed using the reduction method. Some of the colors may be printed
using a stencil technique. In recent years I’ve also been creating linocut monoprints. All my linocuts are made with oil-base inks on
Rives lightweight paper and are printed by hand using a wooden spoon.


Pompeii Landscape XI

I am a member of the Society of American Graphic Artists, the Boston Printmakers, and Rochester Contemporary. More of my artwork may be seen at the Mill Art Center, Honeoye Falls, and at various places around the internet.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Dennis’s artwork in our current exhibition, Fifty Landscapes (runs through May 13). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by painter Phyllis Bryce Ely.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Phyllis Bryce Ely: A Landscape Revisited

A Landscape Revisited: Onaping Falls, Canada

For this “Fifty Landscapes” blog I’ve chosen to share my experience painting “Onaping Falls, Canada” included in this exhibit. This oil painting is an example of how I often paint landscapes multiple times, first en plein air and then again in the studio using my plein air works, sketches, photographs, and memories as references. In all cases, painting from nature is satisfying.

Onaping Falls is near Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. It is known as the “A.Y. Jackson Lookout” in recognition of The Group of Seven founding member Alexander Young Jackson and his 1953 painting “Spring on the Onaping River.” Soon after his death in 1974 the painting was stolen from a school and it hasn’t been recovered.

As a Group of Seven fan, I wanted to visit and paint at the spot when I was up in Sudbury in 2008 for a curling event (yes, curling). My husband and I found the falls, I got out my painting gear and he went fishing.

Phyllis painting in Canada

Phyllis painting in Canada 2008

The Onaping River drops four or five times at this spot. I love the twist and turning action of each drop and the stands of trees witnessing the force of the water as it meets the massive boulders at the base. The colors of the trees and rock on either side of the water are vibrant.

Onaping Falls take one: Plein Air

Onaping Falls, pastel, 2008

Onaping Falls, pastel, 2008

This is my small plein air pastel painting from that day. I worked on Wallis white paper and laid in a quick underpainting using Createx pure liquid pigments to establish my values and color temperatures; you can see some of the underpainting peeking through the pastel surface. Next, I worked with pastels to develop and finish the piece. Because of time and changing weather, that was a fast but satisfying painting session in a special place. I left happy to have been able to sit in that spot for a while, and I had a fresh little painting to show for it.

Onaping Falls take two: Studio

Onaping Falls, Canada, oil, 2014

Onaping Falls, Canada, oil, 2014

I continued to be drawn to the image and energy of Onaping Falls and in 2014 decided to explore the image further as a studio painting. This time I worked much larger in oil using my pastel painting and my memories about the place as references.

Revisiting this landscape in my studio allowed me to indulge in a lingering, almost meditative painting process. Working in oils in a larger format (30×40”) gave me a new scale and medium to explore this scene. I enjoyed moving the paint and working at a slower pace with no concern for changing conditions or time. In the studio, I could define many more major and minor shapes–and develop relationships among those shapes–throughout the painting. (The grouping of trees on the left of the falls feels like a choir to me. I can imagine them singing loudly.) Compared to my pastel painting, this palette is more subtle and nuanced.

Painting the same landscape at different times in different ways keeps me energized. My plein air painting is bold, fresh, and urgent. My studio piece is slow, lingering, and meditative. Both of these paintings take a journey through an exciting place and share my story of how it felt to be there.

Take three?

I am probably not finished painting Onaping Falls. I have recently been working with encaustic wax and would like to revisit this landscape using that medium. I think working with the wax–building, painting, fusing, and scraping away–will give me a more tactile experience with this compelling scene.

Ironically, as I write this on April 5, I just saw a Facebook post from the McMichael Canadian Art Collection remembering A.Y. Jackson on the anniversary of his death on this day in 1974. This must be a good day to be thinking about Onaping Falls.

P.S. for my curling friends…Did you know Onaping Falls was a location in the movie “Men with Brooms”? I will have to somehow work that into my curling art.

More info on Onaping Falls: Onaping Falls

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Phyllis’s artwork in our current exhibition, Fifty Landscapes (runs through May 13). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by Kari Ganoung Ruiz.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Kari Ganoung Ruiz: Small Bits

I’m back! Thank you Main Street Arts for inviting me to offer my thoughts in another blog entry; this one corresponding with the opening of the Fifty Landscapes exhibit which includes 4 of my paintings.

As nature awakens after its winter slumbering, so to does the painter feel the pull of nicer weather.  Spring is an excellent time to gather thoughts about the why and the where; to put together a map and plan as a guide throughout this plein air season.

When I started on this journey, I didn’t have a clear view of what to paint. I only knew that it was super important to paint from life; to step out of the artificially lit studio and experience nature in person. People said “paint what you know”, so I went back home to the family farm.

Shady Recess 8"x10" oil on panel, one of my very first plein air paintings!

Shady Recess 8″x10″ oil on panel, one of my very first plein air paintings!

As the painting season progressed, I got out in nature with all my gear as much as possible; attempting to capture a wide range of subjects. The big vista, a little outdoor vignette of a scene; where was I heading? Then this happened:

a pivotal moment while painting in the Adirondacks... The Flume Rocks 8"x8" oil on panel

a pivotal moment while painting in the Adirondacks… The Flume Rocks 8″x8″ oil on panel

During the 2014 Adirondack Plein Air Festival, I went to paint the Wilmington Flume, a series of awesome waterfalls along the Ausable River. I spent a while at the location, attempting to figure out how to capture it. The day was getting long and in frustration, I turned my little cardboard viewfinder away from the big scene. Suddenly, this group of boulders snapped into focus; I found my painting! At this moment I found my raison d’etre: to explore the beautiful intricacies of light and shadow in the small bits of a greater scene and find the essence of the place and moment. I was hooked!

Painting on Oak Island, Waterloo NY during the Memorial Day festivities. Photo by Lisa Duprey

Painting on Oak Island, Waterloo NY during the Memorial Day festivities. Photo by Lisa Duprey

This has continued to be the focus of my plein air and studio work. Sometimes I’ll get caught up in the majesty of a giant vista, but I’ve found that the magic is really in the subtlety of the zoomed-in scene for my work.

The big vista at Frederic Church's Olana in Hudson, NY

The big vista at Frederic Church’s Olana in Hudson, NY

At Olana in Hudson NY, I was caught by this view from the Bell Tower where Church would paint and have visitors view the sunset with him. The house and the entire property was designed by Frederic Church to take in the grand vistas of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. (uh, awesome!) I decided to tightly crop the view and turn my panel vertically. This piece is included in the exhibit:

A Quiet Sunset 8"x10" oil on panel

A Quiet Sunset 8″x10″ oil on panel

Well, that will do it for now… it’s time to get out and paint!

Follow along with Kari’s painting adventures at KariGanoungRuiz.com and her new blog GoPaintOutside. Stop by Main Street Arts to see Kari’s paintings in our current exhibition, Fifty Landscapes (runs through May 13). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by needle felt artist Victoria Connors.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Victoria Connors: Fiber Art

Growing up in the Finger Lakes, the regional terrain has shown me the peace and beauty of nature. I have always enjoyed the process of creating, using landscape and surrealism as my main passions for expression.

I was first introduced to fiber arts and needle felting in June 2014 while volunteering in Rochester.  I saw an inspiring felting demonstration, and from there I began creating my own needle felt paintings and pushing myself to new limits with this medium.


Needle felting is the process of taking wool and slight stabbing it with felting needles to make felt. I first lay down the dyed wool into the design I want over a piece of prefelt (often wet felted wool), then with the felting needles I begin to slight stab and push the wool down in the felt which flattens it.


I use layers of wool and wet felting to give more dimension to my pieces. My  fiber art creations combine the skills I’ve learned from oil landscape painting and creating felt hats.


These different techniques have led me to use fiber as a painting medium that combines texture in 2-D and 3-D dimensional forms, giving my arts its own unique appearance.


I’m inspired by the landscapes in my local community, mostly scenes from Cayuga, Seneca, and Canandaigua Lake. Hay bales, country atmospheres and my own life experiences, have all influenced my artwork.

winter hay bales, lodi

Nature is my center and capturing the beauty of nature is my mediation. I do as much of my landscape outside in the very environment that I am capturing. I plan to keep pushing my boundaries of needle felting by doing more large scale felts that highlight 3-d relief aspects with striking details.

Follow Victoria’s artwork on Facebook. Stop by Main Street Arts to see her artwork in our current exhibition, Fifty Landscapes (runs through May 13). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by KaKeART Collaborations.

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.

Inside the Artists Studio with Constance Mauro: Celtic Impression by Three

Studio view. "Working at The Press"

Studio view. “Working at The Press”

I was born and raised in Rochester NY and spent my childhood in the suburb of Wester. I attended Nazareth College and received a degree in studio art with a minor in Psychology. I then worked briefly in a retail buying office after which I retuned to school to earn my teaching certification. In retrosecpt, this was not the best decision since schools were making cut backs in arts programs. Taking a totally different path, I became the Executive Director of a Labor Management group. I am currently focusing on making art in my studio in The Hungerford Building.

Birches (monoprint)

Birches (monoprint)

I began making art as a child, greatly influenced by my Grandmother, an oil painter.  I recall helping at the Clothesline Arts Festival at the MAG when work was literally hung on clotheslines.  My family has always supported my interest in art, and they sent me to art camp during school breaks.

At Nazareth College my main focus was photography and printmaking.

Although I have always had a studio space in my home.  In 1990  I became serious about my art and returned to classes to hone my drawing skills.  At RIT I persued printmaking with a focus on monoprint.

O'Brian's Co. Galway (pencil drawing)

O’Brian’s Co. Galway (pencil drawing)

Monoprints are created by appling thin layers of ink (Akua Kolor) to a plexiglass plate. One color is applied at a time. Areas of the plate are blocked out using textures, ripped paper, or stencils. The image is then transfered to paper using an etching press. This allows me to retain white space and preserve color later in the process. Images evolve with each application of color. I don’t work from drawings or photographs. I let the work lead me. Because of this, creating a body of work with specific themes is a challenge.

Eclipses (encaustic)

Eclipses (encaustic)

I have recently taken an interest in encaustic painting. The images are created on birch substrates using hot wax.  Elements of collage and transfers are incorporated into the images.

You can see more of Constance’s work online at www.constancemauro.com. Stop by Main Street Arts to see her encaustics and prints in our current exhibition, “Celtic Impressions by Three: Seen and Unseen Ireland“.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by printmaker Elizabeth Durand.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Tom Kredo: In the Basement

I was born in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest of four with two  sisters and a brother. When I was only 5 my father died, and my stay at home mother became the household breadwinner. I was too young to have many memories of my father, but I was told he had a darkroom in the basement. I have a handful of his photos that he developed of my oldest sister. So when my mother gave me a Kodak Brownie camera and later an Instamatic camera, it must have been under the influence of my father that I became intrigued with making print images from a little box.

Tom Kredo, "Winter View", 2015

Tom Kredo, “Winter View”, 2015

I had plans to apply to RIT to major in Photography after graduating with my Bachelor of Arts degree. I did not. I got a more practical Management degree. Photography was pushed to the side to focus on a career in business, and then later, raising my daughter. Although I always had a darkroom in the basement, I only used it to document my life and the lives of those around me (just like Dad!). The art side of Photography lay dormant until I remarried and finished raising my daughter. It has since seeped back into my life a little bit more every year. Now that I’m retired, I have the ability to pick up where I left off 40 years ago, albeit in a computer transformed world.

My formal art training is replaced by reading art theory books, taking classes in drawing and art, and visiting art galleries. I recently took a talking tour of the Memorial Art Gallery with my BFA friend, while pondering the question “What is Art”? I use the internet every day to help me with post processing techniques and learn from professional photographers. It’s an amazing time we live in.

Pencil drawing from art class

Pencil drawing from art class

Today, the darkroom equipment in my basement is long gone, replaced by my Canon printer, my home assembled PC, my Craftsman workbench table, my mat cutter, and my paper cutter. Although the photographic process has changed, I’m still in the basement.

I cut my own mats with a Logan 450 mat cutter which I find to be a challenge. Precision is everything and it reminds me of wrestling with carpentry projects. You just can’t be off by ¼ inch and have it look good. I recycle a lot of mat paper.

I have a decent HP monitor that can be calibrated, unlike many of the less expensive models. Calibration is important because I want the print to look like the image I see on my computer. I use a Spyder calibration tool about once a month. It attaches to my monitor via suction cups, and I run a software program that instructs me to make changes to my monitor settings. It works nicely as I can see what I print.

Tom Kredo, "Leaf Lines", 2013

Tom Kredo, “Leaf Lines”, 2013

I print my own images using a Canon Pro-100 printer using Canon paper.   I’ve started refilling my own cartridges with bulk ink, which costs a fraction of the manufacturer’s ink. The Pro-100 has been a workhorse for me.

I assemble my own frames by buying in bulk. The challenge here is keeping small bits of dust from getting on the mat under the glass. Using a combination of canned air, cotton gloves, gum erasers and micro fiber cloths, I eventually get the framed photo dust and dirt free!

On the software side, I rent Photoshop/Lightroom from Adobe for a monthly fee. I also use Google’s EFX plug-in tools that seamlessly work the Adobe products. Together, these three tools are what I use to process about 95% of all my photos.

You can see more of Tom’s photography on Flickr. Stop by to see two of his pieces in our current juried exhibition, Structurally Speaking.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by printmaker Ellie Honl.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jean K Stephens


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.