Tag Archives: Rochester

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Adam LaPorta

In 2001 I was given a Pentax k1000 camera as a gift from my parents. It was a send off gift as I was headed to art school that year.

Little did I know that I would always be drawn to the lens.

Over the past eight months I have realized the gift I was given was too far removed from my life, and in January 2018 I stepped back into my role as an artist.


Artist Adam LaPorta

I wanted to reignite an idea I had from 2006. The idea related to my earlier macro works, which I always wanted to take it to an elevated level.

Capturing patterns and shape at macro and microscopic magnifications distorted the placement or recognition of something someone so commonly understood, to becoming unfamiliar with it.

Below are images shot from my years at the Cleveland Institute of Art, 2004 – 2006.


Earlier work by Adam LaPorta


Earlier work by Adam LaPorta


Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

I have always been intrigued by the repetitious and structured patterns life so beautifully creates. We pass by so many places/items daily and never think to give something a different look…a new perspective.


Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

In taking my process to an elevated level I began to explore life from new heights. Turning a path someone so commonly walks on, into something graphic and different, giving them a new perspective.


The artist getting a new perspective

What makes this process so exciting to me is the ability to remove our awareness of place, taking a viewer’s eye into patterns and shapes by abstracting space.

The surroundings of color, objects, weather, and seasons all play an important role influencing my canvas.


“Unknown #3″ by Adam LaPorta, included in the Land & Sea exhibition


There is still so much to learn about my process, especially finding out how different seasons will influence what I capture and why I want to capture an area.

Right now I am just grateful to be creating once again. I have many ideas I would like to bring to fruition. If I continue to be consistent with my work then my ideas will continue to consistently grow into stronger creations!

Adam LaPorta is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. His photographs “Unknown #1–3″ won a juror’s choice award. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Stacey Rowe

Painter Stacey Rowe, artist in residence during the month of April 2017, is working in one of our two studio spaces for the month. We asked her a few questions about her work, life, and more:

Stacey Rowe in her studio at Main Street Arts

Stacey Rowe in her studio at Main Street Arts

Q: Tell us about your background.

A: I moved from the Syracuse area to Rochester to attend college at Nazareth. I have a B.S. in Studio Art and an M.S. in Art Therapy. I think I started painting on canvas around the age of fourteen. I work as a freelance writer and public relations/ marketing consultant. I’m also the editor-at-large at (585) magazine. The flexibility allows me to do a residency like this.

Q: How would you describe your work?

A: I paint in acrylic and I’d describe my work as colorful, humorous, and often layered with symbolism.

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

A: I’m very cerebral about it. Meaning: I tend to think more than sketch when I’m planning a piece. I’ll jot down lists of ideas and go about researching. Then, I’ll sketch right on the canvas and start painting. There are usually one or two improvisational items that happen once I get into it, so it’s good that paint is such a forgiving medium!

Some of the Pantone People Series

Some of the Pantone People Series

Q: What are your goals for this residency?  

A: I currently have three pages of ideas for the Pantone People series. These are smaller square works (6” x 6”) typically featuring a celebrity with some sort of creative play on the Pantone color swatch name. I’d like to put a dent in that list and also work on some larger pieces that will feature some of the funny animal characters I have created. I’m also going to teach a workshop on April 15. We’re going to have fun!

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio? 

A: I’ve been using “The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver” for years and it really is the best. I once left paint on a relatively new brush overnight and this totally saved it. It’s also great for reshaping and conditioning brushes.

Q: Do you collect anything? 

A: Now that I’m older, I’m reducing my “Hoarders-Lite” tendencies. It’s tough because as an artsy person, it’s very easy to accumulate a lot of useless stuff! When I was a kid, I collected anything and everything – rocks, coins, different kinds of toys, and stuffed animals. I had a run on snowglobes for a bit. They’ve been in a few of my paintings. Since my father relocated, I only have one left and it’s kind of a relief. I still grab shells on beach trips and display them in a nice jar upon my return. I do have a few coins I’ve saved from my travels. I’d eventually like to see those in some form of jewelry. French Polynesian currency is particularly eye-catching.

"Goodbye Special Friend" is a painting I did for my graduate thesis in 2000. It features the only snowglobe I have left from the collection.

“Goodbye Special Friend” is a painting I did for my graduate thesis in 2000. It features the only snowglobe I have left from the collection.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why? 

A: It’s so hard to pick just one here. I love Gustav Klimt for his gorgeous pattern work and all of that gold leaf. I love Andy Warhol for his pop sensibility. I love Frida Kahlo for her ability to tell a story through imagery. And, of course, there’s the king of color – Henri Matisse.

Q: Who are your favorite local artists? 

A: I was incredibly happy that my college painting and illustration professor, Kathy Calderwood, had a show at RoCo last spring. It was great to see so many of her new paintings in a show. Lately, I’ve been interested in the work of Edie Small (Edith Lunt Small). She had a very intriguing piece in the RoCo member show in December. I’m always interested in what Sarah Rutherford and Andrea Durfee are doing because they are such incredibly skilled and powerful artists. I like what Shawn Dunwoody has done with street art and neighborhood beautification the past several years. He has fantastic energy and an ability to engage young artists and the general public. I’m also drawn to some abstract artists because their work is so different from my own – Brian O’Neill (who also does hyper-realistic work), Nate Hodge, and Bill Judkins – to name a few.

Nena Sanchez Gallery in Curaçao

Nena Sanchez Gallery in Curaçao

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork? 

A: Anytime I travel, I seem to wind up in a museum. I also love seeing the street art in other countries. Aside from the obvious choice (France), one of my favorite art destinations was Curaçao. In addition to the Kura Hulanda Slave Museum, I visited the Nena Sanchez and Serena Janet Israel galleries. The art community is very strong there. The architecture, floating market, and beach drinks aren’t too shabby, either!

Inside my studio at Main Street Arts

Inside my studio at Main Street Arts

Q: What advice would you give to other artists? 

A: There are going to be people who tell you to grow up and get a real job. Don’t listen to that noise. Yes, find something to pay your bills, but don’t give up on your passion.

Q: Who inspires you and why? 

A: I consider myself to be pretty fortunate that a very strong, intelligent, creative, and independent mother raised me. Naturally, I’m drawn to likeminded individuals. Many people inspire me and I’m very lucky to know such a diverse group of creatives in both my personal and professional life.

Q: How do you promote your artwork? 

A: I look for show opportunities and I use social media (primarily Instagram and my personal Facebook account) to get the word out. I’m often following up with people (a.k.a. nagging them) who express interest in a piece after a show comes down. I’m also planning on getting an Etsy or some kind of online shop going soon. I set an account up years ago but never had the time to figure it all out.

Stacey Rowe working in her studio at Main Street Arts as Snappy the turtle supervises.

Stacey Rowe working in her studio at Main Street Arts as Snappy the turtle supervises.

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork? 

A: I will listen to pretty much anything except country, but I have to be careful that it’s not too funky – I’ll get distracted and won’t get anything done!

Q: What’s next for you? 

I’m working on getting some work in a few galleries outside of New York because I have family in Florida and several friends who have moved out of state. I figure it might make for a good excuse to visit!

Q: Where else can we find you?

A: My websiteTwitter & Instagram

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. Housing is available. Submissions are reviewed and residencies awarded quarterly. Upcoming deadline: May 31, 2017 for a residency in July, August, September 2017.


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:

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.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Stacey Rowe

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

I started teaching myself how to paint while on a family vacation during the summer between eighth and ninth grade. I primarily painted landscapes on canvas in acrylic, but occasionally dabbled with oils and painting on other surfaces. While I always took art classes in school, the class times were never long enough to really get into a project. So, I wound up doing a lot of painting outside of class at my kitchen table and out in the garage during summer months.

Snowglobes Painting

Snowglobes 1997. One of my earlier works from Nazareth College – won the Poster Award and was featured on the annual student show poster.

I grew up in Liverpool, New York (just outside of Syracuse), and moved to Rochester to attend school at Nazareth College, where I was a studio art major and psychology minor. During my freshman year, I contemplated switching my major to English, which is pretty ironic considering that the bulk of what I do today is working as a writer and independent marketing consultant. At that time, I had no interest in teaching art or English, so my mother (a former third grade teacher) encouraged me to stick with the art therapy career plan. I concentrated my art efforts in painting, illustration, and printmaking and then entered what is now Nazareth’s Creative Arts Therapy graduate program immediately after finishing my undergraduate degree.

While in my first year of graduate school, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away a year later – about a month before graduation. I surprisingly managed to finish my thesis and graduate on time, which is what she wanted. Since she was one of my biggest supporters, I really struggled with painting after she died. I entered one show later that year, and other than a couple of craft projects (mostly unfinished), I basically took a hiatus for almost fifteen years and focused on other things, including making a career change from art therapy to marketing and public relations.

Stacey Rowe On the Side Expo RoCo

Stacey Rowe with two of the three pieces she created for On the Side Expo in 2015

In 2015, there was an opportunity to present work at Rochester Contemporary Arts Center for a Rochester Advertising Federation show called On the Side Expo. I had quite a few older paintings in storage, but for the first time in years, I had a strong desire to create new work. Worried that I would likely be rusty, I still managed to pull off three new paintings and even sold one of them a couple months later. These paintings were very similar to the style I developed in college studying under Kathleen Calderwood, where I focused on color, symbolism, Jungian archetypes, and mythology. I’d say my style is very influenced by the Expressionists, but I’ve also been a longtime fan of Klimt, Matisse, Kahlo, and Warhol.

No Hot Dogs Snappy the Turtle

No Hot Dogs 2015
Snappy the turtle’s debut appearance at the 2015 On the Side Expo

I’ve always had an interest in juxtaposing everyday life with fantasy – giving animals or inanimate objects humorous and human-like qualities. The end result is often surreal and the scenes are laden with symbolism. I get much of my inspiration from my own life events, notable places and people, and pop culture. Some of the old characters (like the cheeky monkeys) have reappeared in my newer works; and a new, temperamental critter named Snappy emerged and gained some traction. Buoyed by the positive response, I decided to keep it going.

Impostor Syndrome RoCo RAF Connect

Impostor Syndrome from On the Side Expo 2016

While Snappy the turtle continues to pop up in my larger works, I’ve spent the past year exploring something more “pop art” influenced – the Pantone Series. What started as a 6×6 exhibit piece featuring the Instagram-famous The Fat Jewish evolved into a series of other famous people. Each is positioned against a Pantone chip backdrop in a color that represents something about that person. Two of these pieces are currently in the Small Works show at Main Street Arts. Most recently, I was asked to complete something holiday-themed for Cohber Printing based on the blue color they use in their logo and branding guidelines: Pantone 300 C. Naturally, I chose to depict Elvis Presley in “Pantone 300 C Blue Christmas.” The image will eventually be turned into holiday cards. In the series of pictures below, you can see how I go about creating one of these pieces.

I think the most challenging part of creating art is finding the time and space to do it, particularly when you have another occupation and aren’t a full-time “working artist” in a studio. Much like in my younger years, I still paint out of my kitchen – some things just never change! In the same vein, I don’t think my style has changed that much despite the fifteen-year break, but I’m probably focusing on different ideas than those of my “twenty-something” self. I feel very fortunate and grateful that I’m back doing something I’m passionate about and that I’ve been given these opportunities to show my work and meet other artists and makers in the community.

Snappy Baby Yoga

Snappy Baby 2016 – Snappy’s latest adventure involves going to yoga class

Kitchen Studio

I’m still painting in a corner of my kitchen – but pretty soon that mixer will be helping me make some holiday cookie art!

Those interested in connecting can find me on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or via my website. Stay tuned for new folks popping up in the Pantone Series and more!

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

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

Call for Artists: 16th Annual Art Sale Benefiting Bethany House

Artists, are you looking for a way to do some good with your art? Consider donating your artwork to the 16th Annual Art Sale benefiting Bethany House!
The University of Rochester’s American Medical Women’s Association is hosting their 16th Annual Art Sale benefiting Bethany House, an emergency shelter for women and children. They’re seeking donations of art, gift cards, gift baskets, services, and more. Everything will be sold or auctioned with proceeds going to Bethany House. They are asking for donations to be received by Thanksgiving.
Work can be sent to:
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 601
Rochester, NY 14642
We will also be collecting artwork at Main Street Arts to deliver for donation! Stop by the gallery by Friday, November 18th with your donation and we’ll bring the work in for you. Please attach a business card or informational sheet with your name and contact information to your work, along with the suggested value of the item.
Click here for more information: Donation Request

Combining Monoprint and Collagraph with Barbara McPhail

Print by Barbara McPhail

Print by Barbara McPhail

Combining Monoprint and Collagraph with Barbara McPhail

In this four session course, you will combine two printmaking techniques (monoprint and collagraph) to make expressive original prints. A variety of materials are used along with printmaking inks to create a unique image. No experience is required, all materials are provided. Call, email, or stop in to the gallery to sign up today!

Saturdays 12–3pm: November 7, 14, 21, and December 5
$100 for four sessions

Print by Barbara McPhail

Print by Barbara McPhail

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Elizabeth Durand

I have taught printmaking at RIT and at numerous workshops around the country. Presently I am teaching at St. John Fisher College and during the summer at the Artist’s Association on Nantucket.

Printmaker Elizabeth Durand

Printmaker Elizabeth Durand

In my home studio my concentration is on traditional etchings and unique collagraph monoprints.  The subject matter is the landscape, both regionally and from my travels abroad.

As a printmaker I use both traditional and innovative techniques in my etchings, collagraphs and monoprints.  Each of these original graphic arts methods is used to achieve a particular effect.  Etched lines are bitten into a zinc or copper plate with acid wherever the artist has drawn through an acid proof resist.  Ink is pressed into these lines and then wiped from the topmost surface of the plate.  Dampened paper is placed over the plate and it is turned through an etching press.  Each time another impression is pulled, the plate must be re-inked and wiped.  Fine line work, detail and a variety of tone and texture are best achieved through the etching techniques of direct bite, soft ground transfer and aquatint.  The etching technique of embossing creates a raised impression on the print.

Inking the plate

Inking the plate

Wiping the plate

Wiping the plate

Dampened paper is placed over the plate

Dampened paper is placed over the plate

The plate is sent through the printing press

The plate is turned through the etching press

The paper is lifted to reveal a fine impression

The paper is lifted to reveal a fine impression

Broader textures, large color fields and greater scale characterize my collagraph prints.  This is an additive process wherein a plate is developed by building up textures on the surface of a plastic or masonite plate.  The plates can be easily shaped or cut and inked both on the intaglio and relief surfaces.  An image can be composed of several segments inked separately and reassembled on the press for printing.  In the large unique pieces the image is composed sequentially by overprinting various plates on one paper and then adding elements by direct stenciling.  The result is a one of a kind monoprint collagraph. Monoprints, sometimes called the painterly print, are impressions taken from a surface that has been inked and printed only once.  Techniques of brushwork, drawing and stencil can all be incorporated into a monoprint.  Successive layers of ink add subtlety and variety to these unique original works.

The collagraph monoprint process

The collagraph monoprint process

The collagraph monoprint process

The collagraph monoprint process

The collagraph monoprint process

The collagraph monoprint process

The collagraph monoprint process

The collagraph monoprint process

The collagraph monoprint process

The collagraph monoprint process

The collagraph monoprint process

The collagraph monoprint process

The collagraph monoprint process

The collagraph monoprint process

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Elizabeth Durand’s printmaking 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 Ellie Honl.

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.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Zach Dietl: Defining Your Space

Wear Flannel EverydayMy name is Zach Dietl. I’m a painter and sculptor, born and raised in Rochester New York. Currently I’m showing downstairs in Structurally Speaking as well as Upstairs at Main Street Arts in the Self-Portrait Invitational. This is my first blog post with Main Street Arts and I’m excited to share some of the thoughts and processes behind my work.

With a bend and a twist, it turns into this

Translation, Steel, 52″ x 23″ x 18″. 2014.

My background is in painting and sculpture. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from SUNY Geneseo where I focused on oil painting, metal fabrication, and mold making. I recently finished my Masters of Fine Arts at Rochester Institute of Technology, where I extended my practice to include Metal Casting.

My work is an attempt to explore, organize, and define the complexity of the world around us. While making Translation, I was interested in the work of analytic philosophers such as Bertrand Russell and Gottlob Frege, who attempted to use logic and math to explain the natural world. Translation is a geometric form which captures a simple movement. I started by welding tines to a length of 1/2 square steel. I then simultaneously bent and twist the middle of the square steel to transform the flat object into a graceful form.

Amplifier, Steel, 24" x 24" x 24"

Amplifier, Steel, 24″ x 24″ x 24″. 2014

Translation does not tell a story, or refer to other objects. It is an object of pure geometry which focuses on form, proportion, and movement, and material. These simple qualities are defined and presented as evident truths, without commentary or question.

For more information on Zach Dietl you can visit his Behance site at www.behance.net/Zachdietl. Stop by the gallery to see his work in our current exhibition Structurally Speaking and in our Self-Portrait Invitational.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by laser cut jewelry artist Kelly Nye.