Tag Archives: House and Home

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

Carmen

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

Press

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.

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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.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Susan Stuart: In the Details – Large-Scale Painting

In The Details - Susan Stuart - House and Home

Creating Large-Scale Paintings
By Artist Susan Stuart

GETTING STARTED
My process of working with oil paints begins with stretching a medium textured, unprimed, linen canvas onto a stretcher frame. This canvas is then primed with three coats of a sizing glue. This special glue is applied while hot and brushed onto the surface of the canvas to protect the fibers from the oils in the paint, which (over time) would actually disintegrate the fabric. Once dried, there is a roughness to the surface, which holds the oil paints and soft pastels.

In The Details - Susan Stuart - House and Home

UNIQUE TECHNIQUE POINTS
The dried sized canvas is as tight  as a drum and will withstand the pressure of applying the oil paint, the pressure of rubbing the soft pastel into the wet paint and the occasional rubbing of pumice into the wet paint, as well. Because the glue is clear and because I love the natural tone of the linen, I will sometimes leave some of the primed surface showing through.

In The Details - Susan Stuart - House and Home

SKETCHING
Once the canvas has been prepped, I begin to sketch. I either draw freehand directly onto the surface, or I may use a projector to project an image onto the canvas. The image is drawn using a soft pastel. Once an image has been drawn, I block in large areas of color. Following this, using the oil paint and a #2 round easel brush, I do a final contour line drawing on top of the pastel image. This then becomes the “bones” or underlying “structure” of the painting.

In The Details - Susan Stuart - House and Home

In The Details - Susan Stuart - House and Home

PAINTING
As I’m painting, I place the canvas on a horizontal surface, intentionally positioning the work so that the image is actually upside down. With the canvas positioned this way, I’m less conscious of the actual image, and, therefore, I am free to concentrate solely on the shapes and colors before me. While layering in details with the oils, the soft pastels will be intermixed with the wet paint to create subtle variations in color. Often I paint holding as many as 3 round easel brushes in my hand at one time. These multiple soft bristle brushes create an active surfaces of color and brush work.

In The Details - Susan Stuart - House and Home

Photo by Rob ONeil

THE SURPRISE
This initial stage of applying the paint is the most exciting for me as I don’t know the effects of the color and brush strokes until I set the painting right side-up in a vertical position on my studio wall. Then, stepping back to look at the work from a distance, I see the image for the first time. I will continue working on the painting in this manner until it requires to be positioned vertically. At that time, the canvas will remain in this traditional vertical position as I finish the work.

In The Details - Susan Stuart - House and Home

In The Details - Susan Stuart - House and Home


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Susan Stuart’s paintings in our current exhibition House and Home (runs through August 19). View her work online at www.susanstuart.com. Contact Susan at susan@susanstuart.com.

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

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Christopher Baker

Art means making choices: color, composition, subject, etc.  Since I adhere to no formal “rules” my painting process actually begins with my camera.  Following my collecting of images, I work in my studio in Weedsport, NY with a carefully established rhythm of photo, sketch, painted color study and final painting.  Following graduate work at Rochester Institute of Technology (MFA), I began painting professionally, first in oils and moving on to gouache.  Forty-five years later, I still feel humbled by this simple process and regard it as a key to occasional successes.

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If I have a consistent theme over many years of painting, it is “Light” and how it defines form and mood.  Working in gouache in a very traditional style has always been challenging to me.  Raised in Western New York, I still find limitless inspiration in our local landscapes and architecture, often making changes in light and shadow to emphasize details of importance.  I would hope that my audience is tempted to see things in a new way, and discover some surprises within my paintings.

When I’m painting well, I feel that I’m thinking with my hands.  I’m a firm believer that painting should look fresh and easy.

Painting appears to me as a map with roads going in all directions and with lots of choices as to where I should “go”.  After choosing a “my destination” or theme, I enjoy exploring a subject until it becomes too “predictable” to me.

Construction scenes have been a recurring theme for a number of years.  Not always seen as beautiful, I find the interplay of light over machines, land and figures both challenging and exciting. Additionally, the relationship of construction workers to heavy machinery is awesome. Drawing and perspective now play a key role in representing these subjects accurately.  The creative portion of my process comes during this drawing stage, as I have to make choices as to what to include or eliminate.  Next comes color and value studies allowing me to focus attention on what is most important.

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Cityscapes hold great fascination for me.  The colors, contrast and constant movement in these construction sites are challenging and an afford me the opportunity to explore the detail and freshness of the moment.  Keeping the image fresh and not overworking a subject is an essential element in these paintings.  Maintaining the lively feel for the site, while giving it the appearance of strict organization is much like painting itself.

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In contrast to the lively interplay of figures, machines and the busy city, I also enjoy the solitude of interiors and the peaceful feel contained therein. For example, a simple stairway to my former studio might seem fairly mundane, but with the drama of flooding light from above, for me, the subject comes to life.

Over the years of painting, I have become increasingly aware of the abstract qualities of my subject, as opposed to the detail.  I often begin a painting with a 4” brush to establish lights and darks, eliminating all detail until the values are “right”.  I’m striving for an incomplete gesture, including only the elements necessary to the subject.

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Doorways, windows…any subject where light can flood an interior and give life and form to its contents.  Keeping interiors “fresh” has always been a challenge to me.  Like painting a still life, an interior study seldom moves, leaving me “too much time” to study and find the smallest detail.

Of particular interest to me recently, has been graffiti.  I find that the freshness of its application fairly amazing, and along with its vibrant colors present a lively commentary to the otherwise “quiet” environment.  The life left behind and the application of paint beats like the pulse of the artist to me.  To “reproduce” these images on paper, and with the conscious use of perspective and light, is a great challenge to me.  I feel that it’s really a matter of “play”, not necessarily having a predetermined outcome…maybe like the graffiti artists?

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…and of course railroad cars!

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Stop by Main Street Arts to see Christopher Baker’s paintings in our current exhibition House and Home (runs through August 19). View his work online at paintingsbychrisbaker.com.

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

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Dale Klein

My studio at the Hungerford Building and my etching press

My studio at the Hungerford Building and my etching press

My name is Dale Klein and I am a printmaker and painter. I was born in Buffalo and live and work in Rochester, NY. For 25 years I was a clinical social worker, but I have always been interested in the arts. In 2002 I went back to school and earned a BS in studio art from Nazareth in 2006. In 2010 I received an MFA from Rutgers. I moved back to Rochester in 2011 and have a studio in the Hungerford Building. I also teach at the Creative Workshop at the Memorial Art Gallery.

Lawnmower and Afghan, Aquatint, 18"x12" 2006

Lawnmower and Afghan, Aquatint, 18″x12″ 2006

At Nazareth I was drawn to printmaking because it involves a combination of process and creativity. One of my favorite processes is aquatint, which is how I get the tones in my etchings. This is a process in which I start out with a metal plate (zinc or copper) and progressively dip it into a corrosive acid or salt to etch the plate. The plate is then inked, wiped and printed. I also do  relief (woodcut and linocut), monoprints, and collagraphs.

Chain Link Fence, Aquatint, 18"x12" 2015

Chain Link Fence, Aquatint, 18″x12″ 2015

A sense of the place is essential to my work. My primary interest is in the post-industrial landscape in Western New York State. I see it as a metaphor for the entropy that is inevitable in our world. I am influenced by the Precisionist painters of the early 20th century, Charles Sheeler, Ralston Crawford, and Charles Demuth. There is an irony in their optimism about the industrial revolution that has left us in the developed world with so much detritus, which I find both melancholic and beautiful. I tend to work on the boundary of realism and abstraction. I like the viewer to bring their own preconceptions to the work.

Underpass II Aquatint and Collage 18"x12" 2015

Underpass II Aquatint and Collage 18″x12″ 2015

At Rutgers, I was encouraged to paint and now I paint also. I find that my painting informs my printmaking and vice versa. I have painted in oils for the last few years, but lately have experimented with acrylics. I paint on canvas and wood panels.

Untitled Oil on Canvas 72"x57" 2009

Untitled Oil on Canvas 72″x57″ 2009

Composition I Acrylic on Canvas 36"x48" 2016

Composition I Acrylic on Canvas 36″x48″ 2016

Besides the House and Home exhibit at Main Street Arts I have a piece in the show Echoes of the Past at the University Gallery at RIT, up until August 12. My studio is open most First Fridays, the Hungerford building, 1115 East Main St., Studio 250, 6-9 PM. Please come and visit.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Dale Klein’s prints in our current exhibition House and Home (runs through August 19). View her work online at www.dalekleinart.com and follow her on Instagram @daleklein7.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by sculptor Andrea Scofield Olmstead.