An Artist A Day 2013

An Artist A Day at Muse Art and DesignDuring the month of April 2013, we’ll be posting articles here about the 30+ Portland-area artists who will be working at Muse each day as part of our annual “An Artist A Day” event.  An Artist A Day provides the opportunity for the community to observe artists working in a variety of media and learn about artists’s techniques, creative processes, and materials.

The event is also a fundraiser to provide art supplies for classrooms.  The work that artists create will be shown at Muse through May and can be purchased by silent-auction bidding.  Funds raised will benefit Schoolhouse Supplies, the free store for teachers.

For archived articles from previous years, along with pictures of the artists at work and the art they created, click here.

See below for daily posts and pictures about each artist in April 2013:

An Artist A Day, 4/30/13: Maggie Maggio

Thanks to Addie Boswell for writing today’s post.

Maggie Maggio is a polymer clay artist. Many people are familiar with the Fimo and Sculpey brands used in elementary schools to make beads and ornaments. But professional artists have taken the medium to the next level, applying its unique surface to pottery, sculpture, and especially jewelry design. (See new techniques at polymerartarchive.com) Maggie was trained as an architect and worked as a fabric dyer before discovering polymer. Her designs, often applied to jewelry, are geometric and layered with hues of color inspired by nature.

Looking at the small designs may make you think of torn-paper landscapes or glass mosaics, but, as other Muse visitors will tell you, the process is completely unique, so I will detail it here
1) First she creates flat sheets of blended colors. Grabbing small balls of colored Primo clay, she smashes them together a little bit, then runs the mass repeatedly through a pasta maker. (When the pasta maker was introduced twenty years ago, it quickly became a primary tool for polymer artists — before that, all the work of stretching and mixing and flattening was done by hand. Maggie has an electric pasta maker at home which keeps her hands free, but used a quieter crank version in Muse.)
2) After getting a color blend and pattern she likes, Maggie lays the colored sheet onto thicker backings of black and white clay. (this is called “color washing” and is necessary to create an visible edge for the different color layers.) She tears these pieces up and re-layers them for that landscape feel, and then runs the layered sheet through the pasta maker again to flatten the edges. The finished pieces are about 3-5 inches square.
3) The colored tiles are now ready to be fired. After trimming the edges and flattening the clay once more, she will bake them in her dedicated convection oven at home for an hour.
4) Jewelry pieces are ready when cooled, very durable while still feeling springy and light. But for today’s piece, which is larger than she usually works, Maggie will arrange all the colored tiles mosaic style on the wooden board, glue them down with Sobo Glue, and add a clay border (as a sort of grouting) between the tiles.

Maggie’s more structural contemporary jewelry can be found at www.maggiemaggio.com. As she says, “These are art pieces, you’re not going to wear them to work.” Maggie also frequently teaches the medium, and recently returned from conferences in France and England. She credits the polymer art community with being very supportive and a great way to start learning more about this expanding art form.

Click on thumbnails below for larger pictures.

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An Artist A Day, 4/30/13: Sarah Fagan

Thanks to Addie Boswell for writing today’s post.

Sarah Fagan just returned from a month-long residency on a beautiful dude ranch in Wyoming, where she got to spend days painting and hiking, picking up interesting bones and other natural materials to apply to her art. Though it is hard to return to normal life, she enjoyed the thumbs-ups and interactions from customers at Muse. Her acrylic paintings are almost photo-real and feature hand-held tools and other small structural objects. Sarah says she was taking a bookbinding class and became more interested in the tools than the process. Though she also tried printmaking, she didn’t like that the final image was made by the printing press. The tangible nature of objects, and the sense of touch is important to her. She likes to get her hands involved in the process and prefers hard brushes and boards that function as objects more than surfaces. She also likes being able to feel the weight of the objects she paints, so starts by arranging and lighting them on a table, taking an aerial photograph to work from.

Sarah’s layering process helps explain the richness of color she gets, a luster that looks more like oil. She gessoes with black, then lays in a base color of something bright, in this case red. She glazes this with Golden gel, and then starts on the background and foreground objects. But she continues to glaze the layers and then scratch back in using a brillo pad or sandpaper to bring out the underlying shades that get “stuck in the nooks and crannies.” These thin layers bring out the glow. At home she uses Golden paints, but tried some M. Graham and others today and discovered some slightly different shades (Both Golden and M. Graham acrylics are available at Muse Art and Design).  She often splits her panels into segments or pairs, and in this case, three keys are paired with a small landscape at bottom. The simplicity of the composition brings out the lovely complexity of the objects themselves.  See more of Sarah’s work at www.sarahfagan.com.

Click on thumbnails below for larger pictures.

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An Artist A Day, 4/29/13: Chantel Greene

Thanks to Jolie Guillebeau for writing today’s post.

Chantel Greene is all about the space where art and science connect. Before she studied art, she was a Biology major in college. Then her art was mostly diagrams of dissections or microscope illustrations.

She’s enthusiastic about patterns in plant cells, or human anatomy diagrams. So when she began painting she worked to figure out ways to incorporate these things in to her encaustic work.

So she creates delicate detailed drawings that she layers in to the wax. She works quickly, because as she says,” I like to be done with the painting before I lose the momentum of the ideas.”

Chantel is eager to talk and share her work and passion for science and painting– stop by and see her piece at Muse, and see more of her work at www.chantelgreene.com

Click on thumbnails below for larger pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

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An Artist A Day, 4/28/13: Bonnie Meltzer

Thanks to Addie Boswell for writing today’s post.

Bonnie Meltzer gives true meaning to the term “mixed media.” Starting with uniquely-shaped bases (often plywood that she cuts with a jigsaw), she adds computer and instrument parts, hardware, paint, fibers, recyclables, and anything else she can find. Her storeroom at home is full of lots and lots of jars, holding small things like washers and rings — shiny is always a favorite. Originally a fiber artist, she often applies crocheted or woven yarn or wire in her pieces. She finds clothes more fascinating then nudes, and would crochet all day long if it wasn’t so hard on the body.

Her way of working is very organic, and a piece can start by simply spreading the materials out and “seeing what comes.” But for this piece, Bonnie completed a drawing at home and painted in the base colors before adding sewing thread, computer parts, beads, silver and gold fleck, and paper for texture. The skin of the figure is made from a moldable coppery sculpture base from Muse, and everything is attached using Golden gel and coarse modeling paste. This variety of textures gives the piece a lot of color and movement, and the effect is joyful. “I was thinking of Spring,” says Bonnie, and that is a good bet on how you will feel looking at this piece, right down to the sparkly shoes. See more of her exhibitions and commissions at bonniemeltzer.com.

Click on thumbnails below to see larger pictures.

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An Artist A Day, 4/27: Lisa Marie Sipe, encaustic with mixed media

Thanks to Jolie Guillebeau for writing today’s post.

Lisa has a natural blend of material and subject. Her encaustic work explores the effects of fire on a landscape.

Two years ago, a large forest fire hit the ranch where her husband grew up and she saw the changes that happened there. She was inspired to work around the concepts of the changing landscape.

Lisa is a Chicago native, but lived in Phoenix for seventeen years. She and her husband moved to Bend last June. Then last fall, the Pole Creek Fire in Sisters affected the area around her new home. She spent some time hiking around Sisters and collected pieces and photos from the areas affected by the fire. She used those in her work today.

Lisa’s work is a part of the permanent collection in the Scottsdale Museum of Art and is currently on display at the Tempe Center for the Arts. We’re thrilled that she joined us at Muse today.  You can see more of her work at lisamariesipe.com

Here’s a time-lapse video of Lisa creating her piece:

Click on thumbnails below for larger pictures.

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An Artist A Day, 4/26: Pam Nichols, encaustic

Pam has worked in a variety of media over the years, but when she discovered encaustic painting around seven years ago, she was hooked.  She especially likes the versatility of encaustic painting.  She likes being able to not only apply paint, but scrape and carve into the paint and to add other objects into her work.  She says she almost always incorporates some type of paper into her paintings, especially paper from sewing patterns.  Recently, she’s been using a lot of metal objects as well.

Pam has always been interested in working with metal.  Her grandfather was a welder, and when she was younger, she always thought she’d be a welder someday, too — either a welder or a greeting-card illustrator!.  Encaustic painting has allowed her to combine her art with metal.

Pam has a “rustatorium” in her back yard where she places metal pieces sprayed with vinegar and water and covered in plastic to allow them to rust.  She puts papers with the rusting metal and places the metal directly onto wax surfaces for a period of time so that the rust transfer onto the paper and into the wax.  Pam says she has always liked to use the color orange, so rust is a natural addition to her palette.

Pam created two pieces today, both using fabric patterns under the wax, but in different styles and color palettes.

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An Artist A Day, 4/25/13: Lesley Atlansky, gouache

Lesley’s art is informed by her background in geography.  Although not intended to be literal or representational of specific landscapes or settings, Lesley’s paintings are influenced by features and processes that shape geography.  When she was working on her Master’s degree in geography, she became fascinated by the forms and textures of mountains and began to explore how she could capture those textures, patterns, and shapes in her work.  At one time, Lesley started in the direction of representational drawing, thinking she would combine her scientific interests and art into scientific illustration and field drawing.  But she was more interested in interpreting expressive qualities than in portraying exact details.

In her bio for An Artist A Day, Lesley wrote that she “likes to think of her work as geography run amok. She takes her eye for the physical landscape and shapes it into surreal pieces that reflect on nature and the universe. Lesley uses gouache in diverse ways, from thin washes to smudges straight from the tube, and applies wax paper to create unpredictable patterns.”  It was fascinating to watch her piece develop today.  She used masking fluid to draw fine jagged lines that would become the white lines that define and separate contrasting blues and golds.  She frequently laid wax paper over the wet paint to make the gouache dry unevenly as it soaked into the surface of the watercolor paper.  See more of Lesley’s work at lesleyatlansky.com

Click on thumbnails below for larger pictures.

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An Artist A Day, 4/25/13: Jenna Lechner, mixed media

Jenna worked on a number of pieces today in ink, watercolor, and a variety of drawing media.  She experimented with Strathmore Gray Toned Paper, using mostly black and white and exploring a range of styles.  Jenna currently works as an illustrator and has a degree and background in printmaking.  Her experience in both of these areas was evident in her process today.  Like a printmaker, Jenna’s work is very process oriented.  She works out her ideas by creating a lot of pieces.  She thinks things through and makes decisions by actively engaging with her media and seeing where the process leads her.

Jenna drew and painted a variety of landscapes and bridge scenes along before deciding to focus on a series of text pieces to display for An Artist A Day.  Jenna has always been interested in the use of text as a graphic element.  She especially likes decorative lettering and hand painted signs.  She likes to refer to a lot of visuals in books and photos to get ideas  from styles and layouts  to use in her own work.  You can see more of Jenna’s work in a variety of media at jennalechner.weebly.com

Click on thumbnails below to see larger pictures.

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An Artist A Day, 4/24/13: Linda Robertson Womack, encaustic

Thanks to Jolie Guillebeau for writing today’s post.

Linda Robertson Womack was once afraid of painting. She studied art at Humboldt State University, but focused on photography and never took a painting class. But years ago, in an attempt to do something new with her images, she began putting wax on top of her photos. From there, she quickly moved more and more to painting with wax, or encaustic. Now she rarely uses photos in her work and is known for her paintings.

A native of Hawaii, Linda turns to encaustic as a way to “bring back the color” especially during gray Portland winters. She finds that her paintings are often brighter and more colorful in the winter, and less chromatic in the summer.

A natural teacher, Linda loves to answer questions.  Her students were eagerly stopping by all day as she painted. She’s also not afraid to use whatever is on hand. Early in the day, she didn’t have water in her work area, so she diluted her India ink with a few drops of soda. As she says, “Wax is so forgiving, you can almost undo anything, so you don’t have to be afraid.”  Linda used india ink on the surface of some of her wax layers today.  She recalled that she first incorporated India ink into her paintings a few years ago when she was creating an encaustic painting at Muse Art and Design for An Artist A Day.  Someone who had come to watch asked her if India ink would work on wax.  Her response was, “Let’s try it and see!”  She like the result and added a new material to her toolkit.

Linda’s classes fill quickly, but she has a few coming up soon. You can find more details at www.embracingencaustic.com. And of course, don’t forget to stop by Muse Art and Design to see her finished painting!

Click on thumbnails below to see larger pictures.

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An Artist A Day, 4/23/13: Dana Henderson, oil

Thanks to Jolie Guillebeau for writing today’s post.

Dana Henderson doesn’t have an easy answer. When you ask him where he’s from, he looks a little puzzled for a second then says, “Well I was born in Spain, but then we moved to Germany when I was two, and then Kansas…” As someone who struggles with answering that question myself, I immediately understood his dilemma.

However, he’s been in Portland for the last four years, and he finds himself very comfortable here. “Which makes me uncomfortable,” he says with a grimace. Trained in Boston, he also works as an illustrator and a portrait artist. Most of his work “has to have a face in it to keep me engaged all the way through.”

He enjoys the surreal, and this painting is no exception.  He’s always looking for a way to create a double-take for viewers.  Dana’s process involves working out an image as a drawing first to establish a composition and values, then building gradual layers of thin paint to translate the image to a finished painting.  In addition to his work in oils, Dana is an accomplished digital illustrator.  See more of his paintings and illustration at dana-illustration.com

Click on thumbnails below for larger pictures.

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