Monthly Archives: April 2013

The shared thoughts and artwork of Cynthia Morgan.

Cynthia is a visiting artist from Lowell, MA. Her work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.

Greek Isle

Q. What does Art mean to you?

Art to me is a relaxing way of expressing myself.

Q. Many of your paintings include water? Does that hold a specific meaning to you?

Water has so many different feelings to it. It s forever changing – calm and quiet to angry and fierce.

Nantucket Dream

Q. How long have you been an artist for?

I started painting 33 years ago but with a growing family, my painting took a hiatus for much of that time. I picked up a brush again a few years ago and realized how much I missed it and this past year I have made up for time lost.

Q. What role did art play in your life as a child?

Creativity was always encouraged in my family as I was growing up and I enjoyed doing crafts, writing poems, sewing and drawing. Both my mother and grandfather were artists also.

Mirrored Worlds I

Q. What role does your current surroundings play in your paintings?

Since moving to Lowell a little over a year ago, I’ve found a very artistic community. Everyone I’ve met has been very encouraging and helpful.

Q. How do you hope your paintings are interpreted?

I would like people to look at my paintings and remember a special time or place in their life.

Heart of the Lakes

Q. Do you have a favorite painting? Why does this piece hold an importance to you?

It s hard to call one painting my favorite. They all feel like they are such a part of me but if I had to choose one it would be  Nantucket Dreams . This was a picture my husband and I took on a special anniversary weekend . It was also the first painting I finished after moving to Lowell a little over a year ago.

Q. What is your current work about? What are you trying to explore and how has that evolved since you started?

Most of my artwork has been paintings of landscapes from pictures I love. I’m comfortable with this type of painting subject but recently I ve started to expand and push myself in a different area I consider  New Age . I m hoping it will be well accepted.

Beacon of LoveAutumn Tranquility

The shared thoughts and artwork of Beverly Hinckley.

Beverly is a visiting artist from Wakefield, MA. Her work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.

Beverly Hinckley _001

Q. What does Art mean to you?

Art means a freedom of expression from the soul. It allows me to respond to my emotions, events I am involved in, or sights I have witnessed in an expressive and non-regular way. I can play with color, fabric, texture and form to my heart’s content. Inspiration is all around me and everything stays fluid!
Q. How long have you been creating textile designs through quilting for? Did someone specifically teach you?
I have been creating textile designs that sometimes utilize found objects since I was a child. I always collected bits of nature at my summer home in Canada such as wood with appealing form, shells, fish bones, leaves and flower; or pieces of fabric or metal that had wonderful color and texture – to create collage. About 10 years ago I got into traditional quilting – but it was never free enough and far too repetitive – so I began to work in free-form design – clothes, art pieces, purses.
Beverly Hinckley _007
Q. What inspires your designs?
I get a lot of inspiration from my friends and family, and my dear quilting group, and recently the other artists of the new Mystic Art Gallery in Medford. I’m learning a lot from them. I am also influenced by the Impressionists and Ethnic forms. I recently moved to Wakefield near the lake and the many shapes and colors of water are inspirational. My garden is always an inspiration. It is beautiful in summer or winter and the constant changing landscapes are fabulous. I remember one morning it was frigid, but it had rained the night before. Just as the sun rose over the garden, the light was refracted into a million tiny rainbows. Inspiration!!
Beverly Hinckley _005
Q. What influences the fabrics and colors chosen in your quilt designs?
I have no formal art training, so my theory of color is simple: if I put any to colors together and they don’t make my stomach quiver – they work! Much of my work is simply playing with color, shape and layering. I do the same thing in my garden – I am constantly moving plants to create landscapes within the landscape so everywhere one looks there is a beautiful “scene”. I go to all the quilt shoes and museums to see what inspires other artists, collect photos and rip pictures and bits of astounding color from magazines or catalogs. Many times I sit and look through my collection to put ideas together in new ways.
 Beverly Hinckley _008
Q. What is your creative process? How long does each quilt take to complete?
My creative process varies with my idea. I think: I wonder how those forms would look together, and then I start pulling fabrics out of my myriad piles. I use a lot of hand painted batik fabric which includes beautiful shapes and designs that I incorporate into my layouts. I will put something together and then walk away for a couple of days – often to return and move everything around. I use my grandmother’s lace and crocheted pieces, buttons, bits of interesting metal and beads – really anything with an appealing shape or texture.
 Beverly Hinckley _006
Q. How do you relate to your artwork? Is it a reflection of your personality or mood when creating one?
I think textile is my unique art form in that it incorporates texture and minute variations of color or pattern that are natural in fabric. “Painting” with fabric is less stressful for me! But I recently discovered what I innately knew; that my work evolves with my mood. Many times I go back to a piece that didn’t please me and revisit the idea. A whole new piece evolves with my state of mind.
Beverly Hinckley _003
 Q. Is there anything else you would like to share?
I have been doing art shows for over 10 years – I started in Canada – and over time got the confidence to apply for shows around here. I do a lot of commission quilting – both regular patterns and those I create myself. As I explore and create, I continue to learn how much is truly possible. The whole process feeds my soul!
Beverly Hinckley _002

The shared thoughts and artwork of Penelope Young.

Penelope is a local artist from Melrose, MA. Her work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.

Penelope Young_005

Q. How long have you been sewing?  Who taught you?

I have been sewing since I was twelve.  I have always loved fabric.  Before I learned to sew, I used to make Barbie clothes out of my mom’s left over fabric from her sewing projects.  It was always just cutting the fabric and wrapping it around the dolls.  I took Home Economics in middle school and that was the best.  I loved it.

Q.  What influences the colors and patterns you decide to use?

I am influenced by the world around me.

Penelope Young_001

Penelope Young_004Penelope Young_003Penelope Young_002

The shared thoughts and artwork of Tarja Cockell.

Tarja is a visiting artist from North Andover, MA. Her work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.

Tarja Cockelle_002

Q. What inspired you to work with silk as an artistic medium?

With silk colors merges smoothly, it is just like in watercolor painting. There are always some surprises, how the colors and patterns end up after the dyeing process and that inspires me.

 Q. What is your artistic process?

My work is about layers. I start with white silk, which I fold in different ways and dye with a shaped-resist shibori technique to form the patterns. After the dyeing process I create the composition of the piece from several different fabrics using layering techniques. This is when the concept of the image starts to emerge. Sometimes I enhance the shapes and the textures with additional stitching. My work is a process and the end result only presents itself after the layers of fabrics are in place. The final image and meaning are for the viewer to discover.

Tarja Cockelle_004

Q. Can you provide us some background regarding the silk used?

I mix different kinds of silks, which I hand-dye. For layering I use transparent silk organza to give dimension to my work.

Q. How would you describe your artistic style?

My work is contemporary. The motifs vary from abstract to representational. My images are suggestive and simplified just bringing up the essence of the forms.

Tarja Cockelle_001

Q. How is your artwork a reflection of you?

My artwork is affected by my Scandinavian roots. I studied textiles and design majoring in weaving in Finland. I am drawn to simplicity of the composition and design.

Q. What importance does your artwork hold in your life?

Textile arts have always been part of my life. I want to challenge myself to create work that shows beauty in nature and essential shapes of objects.

Tarja Cockelle_003

Q. What words of wisdom can you share with aspiring artists?

Work on art and in a media that excites and inspires you. Be true to yourself.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to share?

I will show my silk collages and hand-dyed scarves at Melrose Arts Festival. In April I also have a solo show with my woven and mixed media pieces at Concord Art Association Members Gallery.

Tarja Cockelle_005



The shared thoughts and artwork of Sue Colozzi.

Sue is a visiting artist from Reading, MA. Her work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.

Sue Colozzi_002

Q. Who taught you how to sew?

I’ve always loved fabrics.  After first learning to sew in a junior high school home economics class, my mom saw how much I enjoyed sewing and signed me up for additional lessons at the local Singer sewing machine shop nearby.  I knew I wanted to integrate my interest in art and textiles, so in college I earned a BFA in weaving. In one of my design classes I made a three dimensional quilt.  It had square patches representing grass and a river, and when you opened it, houses, trees, flowers, and bridges stuffed with foam rubber “popped up” on top of the squares.  That project really made me start thinking beyond the commercial patterns I had grown up with!  Since then I’ve either had jobs that involved sewing or as an educator, often incorporated sewing and textiles into my classroom.

Sue Colozzi_001

Q. What inspires the images that you choose to capture on the quilts?

I’m originally from Milwaukee.  When I first came to Boston in the 70s to visit a friend I knew this area would become my home.  I loved Boston’s brownstones and different neighborhoods.  I loved being near the ocean. When I started quilting, I chose my favorite places in Boston – the Public Garden, Haymarket, and most important to me – the skyline of Back Bay.  Every time I took the Red Line to Cambridge I made sure I sat on the side of the train that would allow me to look across the river and see that view.  In addition, I’ve spent many vacations in Provincetown, and while walking through the town I have been easily inspired by unusual and colorful gardens, like the ones I portrayed in Provincetown Garden and Commercial Street Coleus.

 Q. How large are the quilts typically and is commissioned/custom quilts available?

My quilts range in size from 12” square to 43” x 29”, with most being in the middle of those two sizes.  I choose subjects that particularly interest me and have not yet completed any commissioned work.

Sue Colozzi_005

Q. What is your creative process? How long does one take to complete?

When I come upon a site I like, I take several photographs of it and sometimes find additional views online.  I draw a rough sketch of my scene, combining the different photographic views into one portrait that contains the important elements I want to illustrate. I strive to portray the scene as realistically as possible, finding fabrics and threads that mimic the actual subjects and accurately convey what I see.  In making the quilts, I start with the scene background, and layer by layer build the foreground.  I use fusible webbing to initially attach each fabric piece to my background and then later add stitched borders and details.  The quilts average around 40 hours of design and sewing time, with even the small quilts taking up to 20 hours to make.

Sue Colozzi_003

Q. What influences the specific fabrics and patterns used to interpret the landscape/scenery?

I enjoy looking for the “perfect” fabric to represent a building, flower, leaf, or even vegetable!  Texture, color, luster, transparency – they’re all important qualities that contribute to just the “right” fabric choice.  In both of my Boston Skyline quilts, I found a fantastic fabric to illustrate the Prudential Center!  It was a pale blue chiffon with silver and white threads creating grid lines. The Prudential Tower has several floors that are darker in color than the rest of the building, so I placed narrow strips of gray fabric behind the chiffon to provide the change in shading.  In making Boston Public Garden in Springtime, I first tried making the tree blossoms using floral stitches on my machine, but they just didn’t create the effect I wanted.  Wandering through a fabric store I saw a bridal lace that looked exactly like the blossoms – it was so exciting!  So far I’ve been using commercial fabrics, but I want to try painting fabrics to achieve the exact color and shading I see in my subjects.

Sue Colozzi_006

 Q. You noted that you started creating these pieces only three years ago. What inspired you?

I taught fifth grade until three years ago.  Teaching left me little time to spend on my art, so once I retired I’ve been able to devote as much time as I want to creating quilts.  Many years ago it was common to find small quilts in oversized embroidery hoops depicting a scene.  I’ve wanted to play with that concept for a long time but not be restricted by a hoop.

Q. How has your art developed who you are as an individual?

I can teach a child how to sew, but art helps me take that child’s idea and create our own pattern and directions to make that child’s idea.  I can visualize what I would like a costume to look like, but art allows me to use my skills to create that costume as I pictured it.  I can admire a pretty view, but art enables me to make it my own out of fabric and thread.   Art gives me the confidence to personalize what I see and create what I imagine.

Sue Colozzi_004

Q. What advice would you give to other emerging artist?

It’s so important to find other people who are supportive of your work.  Try to find local organizations that will help you connect to other artists.  I was sewing on my own until I joined a local quilting guild.  There I met people who understood what I was doing and referred me to other organizations (like Melrose Arts). Other artists can give you feedback and encouragement as your work goes through natural transitions.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to share?

The Melrose Arts Festival will be my first chance to try to sell my quilts.  I’m thrilled to be a part of the Festival!

The shared thoughts and artwork of Paige Wallis.

Paige is a visiting artist from Malden, MA. Her work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.

Paige Wallis_003Q. What does Art mean to you?

With my personal work, I’m mostly just celebrating the beauty I find in the world, from the natural to the man-made and the confluence between the two. But Art means so much more to me then that; I think that Art as a whole is a distillation of the human experience.

Q. What inspires you to paint?

Light. Color. Texture. The challenge of filtering what I see through my eyes, brain, nerves, muscles and fingertips onto a two dimensional surface. I think I was born hard-wired to be an artist of some sort. One of my earliest memories is of when I was very small and used to suck my thumb, I would stroke my face with my index finger and imagine it was a paintbrush.

Paige Wallis_001

Q.  At the Melrose Arts Festival you will be exhibiting your “Peppers” Series. Can you share some background and the source of inspiration behind this project?

Actually, it all began because I was participating in my first Melrose Arts Festival in 2010! I had decided to work much smaller than usual as I could price smaller pieces more affordably as well as get more new paintings done for my display. The Pearl Art Supply in Central Square was going out of business and I scored twelve small tile frames at a great price that were perfect for 5” x 5” canvas panels. Since they were square, I decided to photograph various fruits in my daughter’s colorful wooden stacking/nesting boxes as series of ‘boxed still life’. It was/is my attempt to create a trompe l’oeil effect so that anyone viewing the paintings might feel as if they could reach into them and pick up the object depicted. They turned out so well and got such a good response that I thought it would be fun to do a new Boxed Still Life series every year. I did a second series in 2011 featuring flowers, but  didn’t get around to doing one in 2012 as I focused on doing my larger urban landscape watercolors (and having my second child). I’ve always loved looking at the big assortment of peppers on display in the produce section at my grocery store, so that’s how I chose the subject of my third series. The peppers were a lot of fun to do because there is such a great variety in their shapes, colors and textures. My Boxed Still Life project is ongoing so there will be more to come!

Paige Wallis_004

 Q. If your paintings could talk what would they say?

“Buy me!” ha!

Q. How would you describe your artistic style?

I’m definitely primarily a realist. But while my watercolors are always pretty earth and worldly, my acrylics tend to be ‘heightend’ and idealized versions of reality, more slick and less gritty.

Paige Wallis_002

Q. What is your creative process?

Most of the time, something will just catch my eye. I drive by the candlepin bowling alley in Malden (the subject of Open Lanes) all the time and am fascinated by the character of it’s cool retro and weathered look. So one day I went down there with my camera and shot it from all different angles. Then I reviewed the images at home on my computer until I found the one that spoke to me the most.

Q. What importance does art hold in your life?

Painting is very important to me. It’s my own personal form of meditation.

Q. What role did art play in your life as a child?

I didn’t have much in the way of art education at school as a little kid, but my parents are very creative people, especially my mother, and they both encouraged me in my artistic endeavors. One time I decided to make shoes out of paper lunch sacks and then insisted on wearing them to visit my father at his office prompting his boss to jokingly ask if they were paying him enough, heh.

Then when I was thirteen I was encouraged by my mother and my art teacher to audition for an arts based high school where I ended up being accepted as a visual arts major. It was around that time that my eyes were really opened to all that art is and can be.

Q. What words of wisdom would you share with aspiring artists?

A true artist is always seeking ways to grow and improve and that requires getting out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to fail. Seek out people who will give you constructive criticism and learn from it.

The shared thoughts and artwork of Ose Manheim.

Ose is a visiting artist from Malden, MA. Her work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.

Ose Manheim_001

Q. What art means to me?

Art has several meanings to me. Visual art can express beauty or be an expression from the subconscious like another language. It can be used to show reality and relay a message. I believe that art is an essential part of my life.

In my photography I try to show parts of nature to inspire awe and gratitude for how i.e. leaves contribute oxygen so that life can exist and if it wasn’t for the bees how could we grow our produce? I believe that getting more acquainted with some of nature’s processes it may lead to a better stewardship.

Ose Manheim_003

Q. What inspires the photographs you decide to capture?

I look for beauty wherever I am. It touches me to see a little plant grow in a crack of asphalt or a weed with bright yellow flowers grow in the sand or on a rock.

I am also inspired by different shapes or “designs” in nature or in manmade structures.

Q. Is there a particular time of day you prefer to photograph during?

I prefer the early morning or late afternoon light. It can be magical. The slanted angel of the sun enhances a scene and gives leaves and petals a translucent quality.

Ose Manheim_004

Q. What influenced me to become a photographer?

In my retirement I photographed more than before. After a while family and friends encouraged me to “do something” with my images. I entered three pictures in a juried small works show about seven years ago. Since then I have had several exhibits and open studios.

Solitude 1b

Q. A number of your photographs focuses on reflections. Whether a reflection is on the surface of water or a building, what is the beauty you see with in it?

The theme of reflection is more than visual to me. It has a spiritual connotation reminding me of being mindful and reflecting on my actions.

One fascinating part of sunlight is the reflection it creates on different shiny surfaces. Several of my images are reflections on water. Autumn is the best season when the various fall hues are mirrored on the water surface and form interesting patterns.

Other effects are formed when light hits shiny materials such as metal or glass. Images are often distorted then which produce an interesting effect.

Ose Manheim_002

Q. What role did art play in your life as a child?

I grew up in Europe where art has a priority. As a child it was mostly ballet and music.

My mother was an artist and took me to museums. I grew in my interest in the visual art with the years and tried many different media. Ceramics, sketching and writing poetry.

I enjoyed photography which today is the art I turn to. For me it is a process and much to learn. The other aspect is the interesting and nice people I have met by getting involved in the arts in my city, Malden.

The shared thoughts and artwork of Leslie DiDomenico.

Leslie is a local artist from Melrose, MA. Her work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.


Q. How long have you been painting?

I have always enjoyed making art as a child but High School sparked my passion for painting. I started taking art classes. My father is artistic and he showed me some of the work he did. He also had a set of oil paints, which I experimented with. My first painting was a bowl of fruit. In my senior year of high school, the art room was my second home, which inspired me to go to art school. I attended Montserrat College of Art and graduated with a BFA with a concentration in Illustration. My love for landscapes evolved in my experience there. I studied abroad in Viterbo, Italy. This was where I discovered myself as a landscape artist. Since then, I have gotten a Master’s degree in Art Education from Lesley University and have been teaching at St. Joseph’s School in Medford. I continue to paint landscapes in my free time.


Q. What inspires your work and the images you decide to capture?

I have many paintings of places I have been to. My usual process is to capture the photos myself and use them as reference to paint from. I am also inspired by pictures in books or online. Once in a while, I will imagine a place in my mind but I typically like having a visual. Also, I have done  work on-site outdoors, but dealing with environmental conditions can be very distracting.

Q. How would you describe the style of your artwork?

I would describe my style as expressive, colorful, textural, emotional,  and sometimes mysterious.


Q. What is your artistic process?

I find a comfortable painting spot indoors. I must put on music to contribute to going into my “painting zone”. I use water-based oil paints. I begin by  using one color mixed with water. I set up a line drawing with that color. I then begin to fill in areas with that one color to create shapes. The color  chosen is always significant to the colors I wish to use overall. I then fill in all the shapes with the appropriate colors of choice with paint and water.  After, I go over the areas or shapes with lights and darks with thicker paint (water based oil paint mixed with stand oil). I make physical texture with the paint and create the feeling of texture for natural elements such as; trees, grass, etc as well.

Q. What do you hope to communicate through your paintings?

I want to share my experiences and my interpretations of nature but also I want people to create their own connections when viewing my work.  Familiarity and memories may emerge or there might just be a love for a beautiful place.


Q. How have your paintings transformed over the years?

I started painting with oil paints in art school but switched to water-based oil paints after graduation for health purposes. I have also grown a  passion for trees over time. Some of my recent work highlights trees as  opposed to a full landscape.

Q. What importance does your work hold in your life? What advice would you give to other emerging artists?

It’s a meditating and soothing experience. I am able to go into a “painting zone” and enter into my own world. It makes me happy! I tell my students to believe in themselves and to always follow their passion. Never give up!


Q. What is your current work about? What are you trying to explore and how has that evolved since you started?

Trees have become more of a focus in my work. I find them interesting. I  appreciate their growth and their impact on survival. I am very drawn to  branches. I can get lost watching them move, twist, and turn about. The  trees in my work can be natural in color but sometimes will change according to the mood of the piece or the mood of me.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to share?

Sometimes the illustration side of me emerges. I make calendars, cards, tote bags, mugs and other retail items with my paintings printed on them  during the holiday season.


The shared thoughts and artwork of Becky Maung.

Becky is a visiting artist. Her work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.

Becky Maung_002

Q. How did you learn to create art through string? How did it evolve?

I was first inspired to create art using string after seeing a 3 foot 3D string sculpture in an office lobby in Cambridge.  The design appeared to flow; it looked simple with point to point straight lines creating curves and direction.  My first 3D string art project was 20 feet long, made from 12 – 2X4’s and over 300 feet of EL wire.  It was my second art installation at Burning Man in Nevada.  I then began to work on smaller 2D art using card stock and colorful, shimmering threads.  At first the designs were simple string art shapes that became more complex by incorporating several simple string art shapes into one design.  I also hand sew designs into shapes inspired by nature – like trees, snowflakes and stars.

Becky Maung_003

Q. What types of materials do you use to create your designs?

My 2D string art is mostly created using thread sewn to cardstock.  I also use EL wire sewn to canvas.

Q. What is El Wire? And how do you incorporate it into your designs?

Put simply electroluminescent wire (EL wire, neon wire or glow wire) is battery powered string that lights up.  It is a copper wire core with phosphor and a colored PVC coating that is flexible enough to be bent, but not folded, into shapes.  When lit in the dark it glows presenting colorful images and designs.

Becky Maung_001

Q.  Some of your designs appear to glow, how is this possible?

EL wire is used in many of my clothing designs and a some of my 2D string designs.  The EL wire is shaped and battery powered.

Q.  Are your designs created organically while working or are the patterns mapped out in advance?

The designs always begin on paper.  I will sketch out a picture, shape or geometric design and can draw it many times over to figure out how to portray it using straight lines – a single straight line or intersecting straight lines or crossing straight lines.  I then transfer the design to the paper

Becky Maung_004

The shared thoughts and artwork of Jeff Ventola.

Jeff is a visiting artist from Danville, NH. His work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.

Q. What does Art mean to you?

Art is my life and I didn’t realize that until I resumed in 2008. I’m sad I let it get away as long as I did, but I’m happy because it has given me motivation that I did not have before. It showed me something about myself…something about my character. It showed me how important it is to stay with something that means so much to you…never let anything take you from it. Painting is my way to express what I am feeling…It’s a part of my soul, it’s who I am and that’s what I try to put in every stroke…a part of me.

Q. What inspires you to paint?

My instructor is very inspirational…her passion for the arts drives me to want to be better. She is a phenomenal artist who is also the person responsible for getting back into painting. I get my inspiration from many different places….Different subjects inspire me…beaches, clouds and beautiful sunsets.

Q. In your bio you mention that you had once taken a 15 year break from your artwork. How did that break influence the art you create today? Are your current paintings consistent with your earlier work?

It’s actually more like 18 years…I stopped in 1991 to do other things and in 2008 my good friend who is also my instructor said to me “you’re so talented, what are you doing?” From that day, I ordered  oil paints and pastels, enrolled in her class, and have never looked back.

That hiatus opened my eyes to how much I love art and enjoy sharing it with other people.

My current work is completely different than my earlier work. Not just in subject, but medium. I was an illustrator and I painted with water color primarily still life now I paint only with oil and pastel mostly landscapes.

Technically i’ve only been painting since 2008…I’d love to know where I’d be had I not left for so long.

Q. What is your creative process?

My creative process begins with finding a subject that inspires me…once found, I decide which medium would suit it best and which one I feel could execute best for the subject. Once a decision is made to go with pastel or oil, I will either tone my canvas or do a quick local color block in regardless of the medium. With oil, I primarily paint on linen and build my layers thin to thick. With pastel I will lightly layer the pastel usually on Kitty Wallis sanded paper. This paper is similar to sand paper and can accept aproximately 25 layers of pastel. Once the tooth is filled you are able to really push the pastel around and achieve a very painterly affect with the pastel. I try to use Terry Ludwig or Diane Townsend pastels. When I paint with oils, I will work on a section, bring it up to one level and move on to the next section bringing it up to a similar level while not finishing the section completely. This takes much more time, but gives you much more control while painting. Once the painting is complete, I frame my own artwork and hang it in my studio or submit to an upcoming show!

Q. As artists, what do you think drives us to capture what we see?

I’m driven by the challenge of trying to paint something I feel will be difficult for me. It’s much more gratifying knowing you’ve completed a painting that was a challenge to begin with. For example…I often struggle with clouds so I I know if I paint clouds and they look satisfactory then it’s a wonderful feeling in the end.

Q. What do you hope to share through your artwork?

I’m a very private person…I hope my art allows people to see who I am and that there is a side of me that they may find simple and intriguing. My art reflects who I am and allows me to express what I’m about. I am very intense and wear my heart and emotions on my sleeve. I put a lot of that in my art by using dark colors, hard strokes, and sometimes contrasted with soft strokes and simple subjects.

Q. When painting, what is the most important element of the piece that you concentrate on?

I try hard to concentrate on the values of my subject matter. If your values are incorrect it can throw the whole painting off from start to finish.

Q. Your portfolio consists of oil and pastel works; what influences your choice in technique on a given day?

When I resumed painting I purchased a set of oil paints and a set of pastels and truly had no idea what I was doing. My first oil painting was an apple which ironically sold at last years Melrose Arts Festival and to this day is one of my favorites….I’ll never forget it….it had TONS of paint on it, it was a small 6×8 and literally took 5 weeks to dry! Pastels are much easier for a life style on the go…you can leave them out, grab a stick, throw a splash of color on your canvas and run out the door. There is no paint mixing, cleaning brushes or harsh odors.

Today when I look at a subject many things come in to consideration…from what size would work best, to how much time do I have, also where my confidence level is with each medium relating to the subject, which medium do I feel will benefit the subject matter and allow me to produce a high quality piece…literally down to do I have the right color pastels or material in either medium.

The subject matter will also dictate how I approach the painting once I decide which medium to paint with. Does it require an underpainting, what type of texture do I want the finished painting to have.

For example, I have a much easier time creating clouds in pastel than I do with oil paints. You don’t have the color control in pastel as you do in oil. Oil paintings take me much longer because I still have much to learn regarding paint mixing and medium.

I try to work on a painting in each medium at the same time. They both compliment each other if you continue to paint with the same technique in mind…paint shapes, values and color. When you follow this fundamental you see things in one medium you didn’t necessarily see in the other which in turn helps you become a more well rounded painter.

I try to paint with an impressionistic style with a hint of realism. This gives me a little more freedom with my strokes, but still allows me to keep some detail which I really enjoy.

Q. What is the experience of painting in “plain air”?

Outdoors and painting…what’s not to love! I really enjoy it, but it is very challenging and very different from painting in a studio or from a photograph or still life. The light changes so dramatically so there is no room for second guessing what you see. You’ve got to be very sure of your colors and values and have the confidence to put the stroke down and move on to the next.

I’ve only been plein air painting about a dozen times and they have all been wonderful learning experiences. Last year I sold a painting right off the easel while painting outdoors in Amesbury!

Q. What role did art play in your life as a child?

This is where I developed a love for creativity. It shaped me at a very young age. It showed me it was ok to be different…to express myself artistically was something I was always comfortable doing. It showed me it was ok to to be proud of everything you do. I played sports, and many other things, but when I was done I couldn’t wait to come in and draw, make something out of an milk carton, color, model with clay…anything I could get my hands on. Ironically painting was one of the things I did the least of.

Q. What words of wisdom would you give to an artist that hasn’t picked up his/her paint brushes in a while?

Don’t be afraid…Don’t let anyone or anything drive you away from something that is truly a part of you. Being away from my artistic side for so long has left a void in my life, I can never get back. One of the only regrets in life I have.

Q. What is your current work about? What are you trying to explore and how has that evolved since you started?

My current work reflects the things I love. From figures to animals, boats to cars I do anything that looks challenging and will help improve my skills. For example…one of my goals this year was to get my oil painting on the same level as my pastel work. Currently I feel I’ve achieved that. More specifically I wanted to refine my cloud painting ability. I’ve liked them, but never loved them…they are so challenging…always moving…so many shapes, color temperatures, values…just beautiful…they deserved to be captured accurately. I’m still working on that, but am in a much better place now than I was six months ago.

I look at some of my early paintings and I am VERY proud of my progress in five years. When I began painting in 2008, I relied mostly on instinct I’ve come so far and learned so much. There is so much more to painting than just putting a stroke on canvas…so much to think about, so much to absorb…I take class two days a week and I continue to learn. I’m driven to succeed and have the passion and motivation to get better. As long as I have that I feel I will continue to grow.