Tag Archives: Small Works 2015

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

Hello fellow art lovers -

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

Welcome to the studio!

Welcome to the studio!

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

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

Here’s our subject:

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

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

STEP 1: SKETCH IT OUT
You don’t want to put a lot of detail in here. Keep in mind that this isn’t a drawing, you’re just setting up for your painting. Think light pencil strokes.

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STEP 2: THE WASH
Where is the lightest point of your subject? In this case, it’s the highlight on the persimmon. I left a couple highlights on the juniper berries as well. Everything else is darker, right? So paint everything else! Choose a neutral color, and bring your paint all the way to the edges of the paper.

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STEP 3: ESTABLISH YOUR VALUES
This step gives your subject a little body. Choose another (perhaps complementary) neutral color, and loosely block in the shadows and midtones. A lot of detail is not needed.

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STEP 4: ADD IN YOUR COLOR
Ok, now you have your subject defined. It’s time to put the color in! Add a little color into the back and foreground too. Keep your palette simple – limit yourself to just a few colors.

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

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ABOUT THE ARTIST

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

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

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


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

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

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

Studio

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

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

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

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

Obsessive Detail

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

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

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

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

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

Showing Scale

Head and hand of a new sculpture in progress.

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

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

Shirt and Garters

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

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

Brown Bess Musket

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

Canoe Interior Detail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taughannock Falls, painted on location spring 2015. Private collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Bob Conge: mostly before

Bob_Conge_small

I grew up in a rural area of upstate New York that afforded me many years to explore the farms and woodlands surrounding our home and record my findings with pencil and paint. Later moving to the city of Rochester N Y,  I discovered a whole other world of Universities, Museums, galleries, theater, libraries, and the like.

Upon graduating from Syracuse University with an MFA in painting, I taught in the Art schools of S U and RIT for a few years, followed by a freelance illustration career that financed my personal work in painting and printmaking.

Call for entries poster illustration

Call for entries poster illustration

Brighten The Vision Poster

Brighten The Vision Poster

Editorial magazine illustration.

Editorial magazine illustration.

Print Ad illustration in the Wall St. Journal

Print Ad illustration in the Wall St. Journal

Park Avenue Festival Poster

Park Avenue Festival Poster

Promotional Poster for Plaseebo.net

Promotional Poster for Plaseebo.net

Print Ad for NPR

Print Ad for NPR

Product illustration

Product illustration

Over the years I have worked in a wide range of mediums  in both my commercial and personal work. In 2005 I closed my illustration studio in order to devote all my time to personal work. From that point on I have explored various directions in sculpture.

Home

Home

In 1995 my wife Sue and I moved to a rural area in the hills of Springwater N Y.

Main studio.

Main studio.

My main studio is located in a 19th century 2 story carriage house a few yards from the house. I am here 7 days a week often till 5 AM, as I prefer working the quiet hours.

Main studio 2nd floor

Main studio 2nd floor

Main studio 2nd floor

Main studio 2nd floor

Main studio 1st floor

Main studio 1st floor

I also have a wood shop and spray paint booth in the basement.

WOOD SHOP

In the past year and a half I have also begun working in a larger scale and now have an additional work space in the barn.

Barn sculpture work shop.

Barn sculpture work shop.

Part 2 will cover the period from 2005 to the present.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see three of Bob Conge’s sculptures in our current exhibition, Small Works 2015. View more of his artwork at www.bobconge.com.

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

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Robert S. Hunter: Artists Books, Digital Prints, and other Emphera

RSHunter_Book Artist and PrintmakerI’ve been making Art since I was a little boy growing up in New Jersey. My first installation piece was a wall of dinosaur drawings I put up in my bedroom at the age of 7 years old. My interest in Art continued through adolescence resulting in a Bachelor of Science degree from James Madison University with a major in Art and a Master’s degree in Studio Art also from James Madison University. During the first five years after receiving my Master’s degree I was a practicing artist but then as a favor to a friend I agreed to substitute as a high school Art Teacher while my friend recovered from an auto accident. As a substitute teacher I discovered that I enjoyed the energy of the classroom and consequently I returned to James Madison University to complete all the classes necessary to become a certified Secondary Art Educator. My first teaching position was at Colonial Beach High School in Colonial Beach, Virginia and that is where I remained for 32 years. Three years ago I retired from teaching to resume being a full time artist and quickly discovered my home study/studio was too small to accommodate my present needs, so I had a studio built behind my house and that is where I now make all of my artwork.

Studio Image _OPT  Studio  Work-Space


As an artist I believe I should employ the tools and techniques of my chosen medium to convey intention as well as to engage the viewer’s eye. A piece of art should be interesting to look at and should provide something to think about. Both of these purposes are important to me while I am creating an image. As I explore an idea I enjoy combining representational subjects with abstraction to expand the possibilities of visual expression. My prints contain narrative components but also invite comparisons and contrasts of the subject with other abstract elements in the composition. Sometimes these combinations are allegorical and sometimes they are purely visual. I encourage observers to come to their own conclusions and I favor loose associations over structured symbolism.

A Question of Balance              “A Question of Balance”, Archival Pigment Print , 7.5″ x 7.5″

Texture (both visual and conceptual) is important to me as I find variations in each create a more interesting visual and intellectual experience. The digital print processes which I use to create my images provide unique opportunities to manipulate size, texture, color, and transparency that are unavailable in any other print medium. Sometimes I combine traditional and digital printing techniques to produce my work. My images are printed using archival inks on 100% Cotton Rag Somerset Paper and generally are produced in an edition of ten prints.

The Race_Entry Image                        “The Race”, Archival Pigment Print , 6.5″ x 11.5″


Recently I have begun to hand bind my prints to create Artist Books which provide an extended dialogue of content which is not possible in a single print.  Contemporary artists are always employing new forms of media in unexpected ways and the idea of “The Book as Art” is certainly a prime example. The book has been transformed into an aesthetic object to be appreciated for more than its informational or literary content. Some of my books are fairly straight forward narrative structures containing images and a story which I have  created. Others are a combination of a container form and a book form,resulting in a Three Dimensional / Two Dimensional Hybrid.

ENTRY-1_B-EarthWindFire_RSHunterText-EarthWindFire_RSHunter           “Earth, Wind, and Fire”, Sculptural Artist Book , 12.5″ x 4.5″ x 4.5″

In these Sculptural Artist Books multiple aspects of craft, spatial presence, narrative content, and expressive imagery are employed. I’ve found that I enjoy the complexity of these projects and currently I’m working on several ideas which will continue the exploration of this format.

A-Visit-to-Grandmothers-House_RSHunterText-Visit-to-Grandmothers-House_RSHunter   “A Visit to Grandmother’s House”, Sculptural Artist Book , 10″ x 8″ x 8″


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Robert Hunter’s printmaking in our current exhibition, “Small Works 2015 – A National Juried Exhibition” and view more of his artwork at www.roberthunterart.com

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by printmaker and encaustic artist Constance Mauro.