For “Garden Art” we put out a call looking for Commonwheel Artists Co-op is seeking submissions for artwork with either a garden theme or be work that could be placed in a garden. We got 26 applications and accepted work from 20 artists.
We asked these artists some questions to help you get to know them a little better. Below are their responses to these questions:
1) In a short paragraph, tell us about yourself (How did you get interested in art, your art work/medium of choice, etc.).
2) With your art, tell us about your process. Walk us through the steps achieve one of your pieces. (Please provide photo of yourself working on piece if available).
3) What is your favorite piece accepted for this event? Why? (Please provide a photograph of the specific piece you are referring to).
4) What has inspired you to apply for this show?
5) Where can we find your work: website, social media, local galleries.
I enjoyed painting as a child in school and won awards, scholarships, etc. I picked it up again as an adult after the death of a close friend as a way to reconnect to life and beauty. I had seen some beautiful art shows here in town and wanted to connect to the feeling they conveyed. Then once I started painting, it was compelling, and I knew I wanted to continue.
I usually paint outdoors on location (plein air) or rarely if not possible due to location or size, work to incorporate the same freshness in my work. The feeling of being in a place adds to the experience and I believe shows in the finished piece.
Hard to pick a favorite, because with each one I'm learning and pushing the envelope. I guess my favorite is because of the place and connection, poppies in Ernest Blumenschein's garden in Taos is a magical and historical place. The rest also have special memories of time and place as well.
I like the theme of garden art, and after a season of nature's winter palette, am always excited to be able to share beautiful bright colors of the garden. Gardens are a place of peace for me, and connection to the earth, our home.
My work can be found at my website www.DebBartos.com, my Facebook page Deb Bartos Fine Art, also Wooglin's Deli in Colorado Springs and the Sangre de Cristo Three Peaks Gift Shop in Pueblo, CO
My grandmother was an artist and has been my inspiration to pursue art. At an early age. I began to appreciate nature as I was surrounded by her paintings of wildlife scenes that would cover her entire garage, basement and random objects around the house such as chairs and the refrigerator. Ever since a Geology professor took a group of students and I to the Badlands National Park in 2011, I have been fascinated with the way wind and water sculpts the land. I have worked with oils, watercolors and pencil drawings but recently have been enjoying the versatility of acrylics.
My process begins with a thick layer of color for the undertone. The blue sky comes next followed by a chalked-in red rock design. With a focus on the intense shadows, I mix deep purples for the darkest tone and gather a few shades of red. Using the gel medium retarder helps to slow down the drying process, which allows me to treat the paint like oils.
glad this one was chosen because it’s the first rock structure that makes you feel small on your drive into the park. As you approach South Gateway Rock, you realize how big these things are.
I fell in love with the contrast between red rocks and blue skies after moving to Colorado Springs in 2016. I do love gardening, but since I live so close to Garden of the Gods, I feel the need to show my admiration for these remarkable formations. Taking walks through such vast open spaces motivates me to express my interpretation of the landscape.
Facebook - @BenBiresArtwork
Instagram - @benbires37
Marsha CM Blasgen
My earliest memory of making art was illustrating and dictating a story at about 3 years old. I have worked as a commercial artist, designer, printmaker, landscape painter, scenic design and stage make-up artist. Also, I have been a public-school art teacher for a number of years. Now my main interest is painting.
Flowers are always a delight. I love looking at the blossoms in the morning sun, and I used photos for the acrylic paintings taken at that time. The two acrylic flower paintings are in-depth studies, more like portraits. Usually, I have a visual image in my head to launch my artwork from. This time, the two acrylics were painted as isolations of specific light against deep shadow. Colors were chosen as close to what I saw as I could translate into paint. Simplifying the composition and the content was important to me, allowing my focus to direct the audience’s focus more easily. The background was painted first, after the flowers were sketched in place in pencil. The flowers were then painted using the deeper saturated colors first. Lastly the edges are refined, and the brightest lit areas were finished.
The watercolor was painted when a Colorado spring frost hit my poppies at full bloom. I brought the poppies into the studio and just painted the character of the stems and their blooms quickly on dry watercolor paper After a quick, light pencil sketch of the shapes, I mixed the watercolors on pans, matching them to the real flowers. Then just painted the flowers.
Spring Dance is my favorite of the three in this exhibit. I saw them as dancing in the extremes of weather, their stems bending with the forces of warm sun and chilling frost. The fragile petals, so brilliant and fading quickly caused me to just paint and not think.
The theme is about one of my favorite things- plants. I like to exhibit in shows that celebrate living with and enjoying nature. Gardening has always been a part of my life, making this a fun exhibit to paint for.
MarshaCMBlasgen (facebook); Marsha Blasgen, (facebook); Beausarts (instagram)
I have always loved art and starting painting full time a few years ago. I started with watercolors and loved to see the colors mixing on the paper. Acrylics and alcohol ink are newer mediums for me. Each have beautiful color combinations to explore.
After deciding on the subject for a watercolor painting, briefly sketch layout, then Misket areas to remain white or a solid border if a background wash is used. Botanical style flower paintings may need many layers to express the minute details of the flowers.
My favorite piece is the tulip botanical. They are my favorite flower, and this was my first painting of tulips.
I was inspired to enter this show because of my love of gardens and flowers. Flowers come in such happy colors. I am always amazed at the beauty of nature and am inspired to try to capture it.
Currently show year-round at Febra’s, 2532 W Colorado Ave., in Old Colorado City. Also do various craft shows each fall, email for list of shows firstname.lastname@example.org
I have always loved playing in mud …and string mixing things as a child. I took pottery in college at Indiana University of PA., it was quite challenging to learn to center the pot on the wheel. Once I learned to center the clay I was hooked. I worked as a potter for Van Briggle for several years, where I learned to perfect my throwing skills. At Van Briggle we had several designs that included flower frogs and floral arranging. I loved the contrast of the ceramic vessel with the variety of clay colors.
I have developed my own Ikebana design. I enjoy the simplicity of the Ikebana floral arranging.
I throw each Ikebana on the wheel then Bisque fire each piece. I add the Dragonfly using a Bamboo brush, or each Ikebana is glazed in a solid color.
The Dragonfly pieces are my favorite, I like the combination of Dragonflies and Flowers.
m jo hart
Originally from St. Louis, I moved to Colorado in 2015 after receiving my MFA in Ceramics from Illinois State University. I have a B.A. in Visual Communications and have worked as an Art Director/Graphic Designer in the corporate sector, non-profit, and public/private design industries with over 38+ years. I consider myself both an artist and maker. I create highly decorative functional pottery along with sculptural work that primarily focuses on female issues.
During my time as a designer I sought out ways to create for myself and was reacquainted with clay, remembering the fun I had in the clay studio as an undergrad. For years I attended classes at a local pottery studio and began selling my work. Later in my life an opportunity to apply to graduate school presented itself and I fully immersed myself in a 3-year program where I discovered a passion for working with the figure in clay, primarily on female issues. Attending graduate school as an older student, I was confronted with many hurdles and I was presented with countless opportunity for evolving as an artist.
Today, I work as an artist/maker, leaving the corporate world in the dust and no longer having to be contained in a cubicle. Recently I began collaborating with my partner, combining his woodworking craft and my porcelain art. I teach workshops and private lessons in clay and other mediums and find the creative process at times more satisfying than the outcome. As a self-supporting artist my piggy bank is often not as full as it was, but I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.
Showing in “Garden Art” gives me an opportunity to stretch a little as an artist. I am making large ceramic flowers, birds and butterflies on metal stakes to place in the yard or display inside when the weather gets near freezing. Some are enlarged imitations of the real thing and others are fun imaginary creations. I have also collaborated with my partner in making the ceramic planters and he has made the colorful wood stands. They are bright, whimsical and something you won’t find at the garden store.
My ceramic work can be found at Commonwheel Artist Co-Op and I can be reached at my email address; email@example.com and my Instagram is @johartart.
I love the immediacy of the clay, the physical nature of the work, and the mind-body connection. I can go into the studio with a new idea and try it out right way. Whether it’s a new throwing technique, a slab idea, or making beads, I can start working out the problems right away. The versatility of clay lets me express my various interests. I have several running themes in my art that I explore. I prefer to work in small series or batches, exploring the theme, then returning to it later when inspiration has struck again. This keeps my work fresh and unique, and I always get a surprise when I open the kiln!
The pieces in this show were made with flowers from my garden. I used a rolling pin to impress them into the clay. I like to think of them as botanical prints. I stain the flower imprint to make them stand out then fire them in a kiln. I love the mica clay because it gives some flower "bling".
I like all the pieces created for this show.
The call for this show was directly related to the kind of pottery I like to make.
fb and instagram: Spinning Star Studio
Green Horse Gallery
Colorado Fine Artworks
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
Cottonwood Center for the Arts
I’ve been an artist all my life, and professionally for over 30 years as an Illustrator and Graphic Designer. I was the Senior Illustrator at the Air Force Academy for 17 years until 2013 where I was able to use my traditional painting skills, as well as digital illustration and graphic design. My greatest desire, however, was to devote my entire time to oil painting, especially landscapes and cityscapes.
My painting process is very methodical owing to my experience as a commercial illustrator. At this time, I am strictly a studio artist, as the level of detail in my work requires extensive time. I used photo reference, but my rule is that I only use photos that I take of places I experience first-hand. My painting approach is traditional, first “blocking in” the canvas totally, then incrementally building up the detail.
One piece was accepted for this show, but I did enjoy painting the scene. It’s a combination of nature and man-made subjects.
The garden theme was a good fit for some of my best pieces and it serves to introduce my work to the Commonwheel Gallery and their patrons.
My website is Hureau-art.com and my Facebook name is Christopher Hureau Art. At this time, I have over a dozen original paintings in the Gold Hills Mesa Gallery. Prints of my original art can be purchased through my website and can also be found at the Garden of the Gods Trading Post and the Air Force Academy Gift Shop. I also exhibit works at numerous shows throughout the year. Last year these included the Mueller State Park Show and the Florissant Fossil Beds National Park Show, as well as the Colorado College Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair.
I have been an artist my whole life. I am from Chicagoland where my grandmother, Florence Keller, was an artist, gave art lessons and let us kids have free reign of her studio. She most often painted watercolors outdoors in our yard, at lakes, and area forest preserves, and that is how I learned to paint. My day job is a librarian at the West Custer County Library in Westcliffe.
I have no steadfast rules for how I begin. Sometimes I start with ink, sometimes with paint. I got past any pencil sketching a long time ago and jump right in with ink and paint. I lay out the background and start to add the details. Each scene presents itself in its own way. My most comfortable scenario is painting outdoors, rural or urban landscapes and cityscapes - I like both. I am most comfortable with plein air competitions when those come around, and I can squeeze them into my schedule.
The piece accepted for this show was done in the studio. Last fall I had a bumper crop of gorgeous Calendula, my kitchen was full of flower heads for oils and salves, and I could not resist painting it.
Calendula was a larger piece than I usually do and sat unfinished all this time. I was inspired to finish it because of this show. Thanks for that.
I currently have art at Greenstone Artworks, 110 Main Street, Westcliffe, CO 81252. I also regularly show at 3rd St. Gallery, 59000 N. Hwy 69, Westcliffe, CO 81252 and The Bell Tower, 201 E. 2nd St., Florence, CO 81226. I have a Facebook page - just me, Jacqueline Keller.
It all began in the backyard with a recipe book for mud pies when I was five years old. I would bring home raw clay from dry river beds and let the book be my starting point for the most inedible mud pies you’ve ever seen. Then there were doll lamp shades made from cupcake liners, spools, and pipe cleaners. I’ve always had to keep my hands busy.
I work with window glass, fusible glass, fabric, yarn, wire, clay, most anything that is laying around in the studio. The mushrooms are made from window glass or fusible glass attached to PVC. The glass is cut to the proper diameter, decorated with glass powders and frit, then fired in the kiln just long enough to make everything stick together. Then the mold is put into the kiln with the glass ready for draping. It always seems like magic when opening the lid for the final time.
I hate to play favorites; the honey bee magnets are my current favorite. Honey bees are important to our food supply and they make me smile. The magnets will hold up at least 2 sheets of paper.
I’ve long known of the devoted customer base that Commonwheel has. Hopefully the customers will come to love my varied artwork.
In my jewelry art I started using small objects that could be repurposed, using them as a central theme of my jewelry art. My husband, a native of Colorado Springs, is a lover of the wild, an avid hiker, and my best supplier of metal, scraps, pieces of wood, broken glass and aged rusted objects. He finds new possibilities everywhere he goes and brings home lots of things. It so happens that some pieces that my husband brings home are too large to hang on necks or ears!! So, I started making larger pieces experimenting with a lot of different media.
My pieces combine a variety of media, depending on the inspiration I find in the objects with which I start. I add glass beads, wire wrapping, other metal findings. The results are interesting and unique, and no two pieces are exactly the same.
My favorite piece for this show is the Insulator Art – Blue in Blue. I had this painted piece of 2 by 4 for a long time sitting at a corner of my studio. I always like the color of it and the way it was peeling and aged. I love insulators – the thick glass, the slightly different shapes, the many colors and materials. My husband found in his grandpa’s many storages a box full of insulators. And in the box, a blue one the same tone as the piece of wood! From then it was easy! My inspiration came from the color and wanting to use the insulators as vases for small plants. I also used a piece of barb wire I had saved for a next piece of jewelry, but it was too large.
This show’s call for artists was published at the time when I had 2 pieces for my outside patio in the works – so I thought it was a “sign” and applied to the show.
I currently do not have any larger piece on my website or Etsy store; I have not been able to maintain a stock inventory!
Website – www.jewelrybymana.com
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/jewelrybymana
Etsy store - https://www.etsy.com/shop/JewelrybyMana
Kuttlefish store - https://kuttlefish.com/shops/jewelrybymana
Art has been a natural and important part of who I am ever since I could hold a crayon. Pretty early on, in high school, I felt a connection to watercolor, which has been my one and only medium for over 45 years.
My representational work starts with photographs I take. I look for unique moments when everyday objects or scenes are captured in just the right light and composition. The “unforgiving” nature of watercolor (no do-overs!) means that I spend a lot of time planning the composition and thinking “ten steps ahead” before putting brush to paper. Being self-taught, I take an intuitive approach to the painting process, rather than follow more traditional procedures.
My favorite piece in the “Garden Art” show is “Columbines”, because it has the most “movement”. Of all the paintings I’ve done of flowers, it reminds me the most of “dancing”, and somehow gives me a sense of having a “magical” quality that I love!
I was inspired to apply for this show in particular, because close-ups of flowers has been the primary focus of my work for the past two years. Flowers are my “thing”. I recently found this quote by Georgia O’Keefe: “I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.”
My work can be found online at peakradar.com (Visual Artists’ Profiles), and at themountainartists.org., and also will be exhibited at these locations:
May 1 – June 1, 2018
Art on the Mesa Gallery at Gold Hill Mesa, 142 South Raven Mine Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80906
May 1 – July 1, 2018
The Gallery at Rampart Range Library, 218 E. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, CO 80863
May 12 – June 27, 2018
Colorado Watercolor Society State Watercolor Exhibition, 21c Library, Pikes Peak Library District, 1175 Chapel Hills Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
May 29 - June 22, 2018
Palmer Lake Art Group “Color Splash” Show, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Hwy. 105, Palmer Lake, CO
July 1 – Aug 1, 2018
The Eichman Gallery at Park State Bank, 710 West US Hwy 24, Woodland Park, CO 80863
Aug. 4 – 5, 2018
Mountain Arts Festival, Woodland Park, CO 80863
“As a child, I was preoccupied with drawing and dreaming. My dreamscapes have always been dominated by the wonder of shapes, something that remains a big part of my work.”
The paintings of Centennial artist Marla Sullivan, who studied with Milton Glaser at the School of Visual Arts in New York and later earned a BFA from Metropolitan State College of Denver, are a mix of representational and impressionistic techniques that convey an energy that is irrepressible. Her whimsical Universal Villages series is painted on cedar shake roof shingles. The long, narrow planks feature dynamic brushwork and incorporate decorative paper, tile, glass, and found objects.
“My Universal Villages series is my tribute to enchantment and color. I want my viewers to have fun with a piece, to feel lighter when they experience what I have created, and to reflect on all that is good in life. My art is reasonably priced, so collectors can enjoy a fun, original work of art in their home.”
My education is in philosophy, BA Lake Forest College. Early on when I was finishing my studies as a young mother I took a few art classes. For years I concentrated on watercolor but after moving from Wisconsin to Colorado I became enamored with pastel. It was then that spontaneity became characteristic of my style. The piece I entered is not a good example of my usual style. But I love color and the way it is possible with the stroke of a pastel stick. Recently I renewed my acquaintance with oil and the pallet knife is usually the instrument of choice.
I'm represented by the galleries: Fare Bella in Manitou and Boulder Street in Springs. And right now, am showing at the Hanson Gallery at Cottonwood. My work is on Fineartamerica, Artpal and Faso.
Am a member of Colorado Spring Art Guild and a signature member of Pikes Peak Pastel Society.
My name is Joan Tucker. I have lived in Colorado Springs for 21 years. I have loved art all my life. I started by painting ceramics and then tole painting. I am pretty much self-taught. Nothing ever came naturally, but I love to paint. Art is my therapy. My inspiration comes from nature and travel pictures. I have found that I love painting old buildings in nature. I prefer acrylic paints because it's easier to fix my mistakes. I tried for this show to see if anyone else thought I could paint even a little. I don't have any social media.
I got interested in jewelry making by chance while trying to find something to fill my spare time. Back then I was going to college to get certified as architectural drafter and working full time. Still I found time to take a few art classes and practiced some basic jewelry techniques to adorn myself.
It didn’t take long for friends and coworkers to ask me to make special orders for them, so eventually I got busy making jewelry, I quit my full-time job and I started my own small business.
Drawing and painting have come naturally since I was young. My father introduced me to oil painting when I was 11, and soon after gave me a camera that I took everywhere. My mom taught me knitting and crochet and I embroidered my cloths and made friendship bracelets. In my teen years I kept painting, and pencil drawing-- landscapes, pet portraits and Christmas cards for my family. I dabbed in many other crafts and participated at art shows and competitions.
Jewelry making has been a learning experience and quite an amazing journey these past 14 years. I had played with a variety of techniques, including silversmithing, but I always enjoyed wire wrapping the most. Today you can explore my collection, all one-of-a-kind and entirely made by me using mostly wire wrapping in silver, gold and copper, in combination with crochet, macramé, braiding, and metal forging techniques.
Although the design I made for this show uses wire, is not technically wire wrapping, it is more wire “twisting,” in which beads are attached and spaced twisting sections of wire and creating branches. This is one technique I played with long time ago and now I am discovering it again with fresh eyes.
Each show brings the possibility to explore new ideas, so for the “Garden Art” show I wanted to bring a little bit of Mother Nature into my jewelry creating something resembling a blooming tree in Spring. For my favorite piece I picked golden pearls, seed beads, and crystals in a beige palette, and although simple and delicate, I tried to create an organic and flowing design. The pendant is as asymmetrical as a cherry branch tree would be, and the necklace is finished with soft silk thread spaced with gold beads and gold findings. You’ll find both the necklace and earrings are 3 dimensional, lightweight and a beautiful set to wear on any occasion.
Mandala--art in the round
by Leti Wesolowski
We put out a call for mandala-related art and our local artists stepped up to the challenge. The “Mandala” show currently in our gallery is the result.
17 artists brought in mandala-related art from diverse points of views and inspiration—from patterns of nature, symbols from different cultures, colors, and the practice of centering and meditation. The works explore multiple medias but all embody the concept of “mandala”: fused glass; watercolor; digital photography; bronze, silver, and copper; precious metal clays; mixed media; stained glass; laser-cut wood; hand stamped clay; polymer clay; engraved terracotta; vinyl records; color pencil drawings; and more.
We invite you to contemplate mandalas made by local artists and discover which one evokes feelings of peace, balance, unity and strength that resonate with you. Let them work their magic on your life and allow your mind to wander into the beauty of mandalas.
“Mandala” comes from a Sanskrit word that means “circle or disc”.
In art, mandala is often a symbolic pattern usually in the form of a circle within a square divided into four symmetric sections containing a unifying center from which geometric shapes and symbols radiate outwards.
“The mandala is an archetypal image whose occurrence is attested throughout the ages. It signifies the wholeness of the Self.” —Carl G. Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections
Embraced by many religions and cultures around the world, a mandala represents wholeness and the connection between inner self and outer reality.
“In Christianity, there are a number of sacred images and ritual invocations that use the circular shape to connect the spiritual realm with the earthly realm”, says figurative sculptor Marica Hefti. “The placement of divine beings, angelic figures, and holy personages at crucial positions within the circular (stained glass) windows (of Christian cathedrals) establishes the powerful storyline of Christian beliefs”.
Hindus were one of the first people to use mandalas as spiritual tools. Native Americans use mandalas as shields of good luck, prosperity, wealth and happiness. Buddhist monks create sand mandalas, a process that takes days to create, then sweep it and pour it into a river, to symbolize the never-ending cycle of life.
“A concept of new beginnings, forms of life itself” says Tracey Eastland when asked to explain what a mandala means to him.
Mandala is used in spiritual practices as a focal point for meditation, self-awareness, and healing.
For digital photographer Teri Rowan, a mandala is “meant to inspire meditation and introspection” or can be admired for just its beauty.
Metalsmith Kathleen Krucoff thinks a mandala is “a beautiful symbol to convey positive messages of encouragement and support”.
In art, mandala has become a generic term for any diagram, chart, or geometric pattern that represents the center of the universe, metaphysically or symbolically.
For Jewelry artist Connie Lorig, a mandala represents “a complex dance between unity and diversity, between the parts and the whole.”
For artist Sheila Hewlett, mandala means the continuity of life.
Commonwheel artist Julia Wright takes pictures of nature during her hikes and then edit them on her computer to create hypnotic mandalas.
Designing a mandala is a unique personal experience in which the individual lets the creative mind to run free and find the symphony of shapes, colors and patterns to represent their unique sense of self and view of reality.
Sculptor m.jo hart says “mandalas represent the process and meditation involved in creating her work”, which is focused on women’s issues, unique stories and experiences.
Mandalas can be created by individuals to symbolize their journeys through life, their state of mind or to tell their personal story.
Some of our artists got inspired by Celtic art, such as lampwork artists Jon Murray and Amanda Shotts who incorporate in their mandala barrettes “a circular pattern that has no beginning and no ending, signifying infinity of love!”
Or Glass artist Sabine Wachs who “was drawn to the Celtic spiral mandalas used as symbols of the sun powering all life”.
Jeweler Mary Cowdery got inspired by the yin-yang symbol, repetition and balance.
Artist Ray Jordan loves bright whimsical colors. His biggest inspiration is combining bright colors with his love of painting, drawing and cutting wood.
Kendrick Cowdery has a strong desire to maintain peace in his life. His handmade mandala lamp is built on mat board using a laser cutter and colorful translucent paper.
Several artists took it as a chance to explore new themes and materials, such as mosaic artist Juanita Canzoneri who jumped at the opportunity to play with alcohol inks and raid her stash of stained glass. She found that, during the process, mos of her work reminded her of an art form from her childhood in eastern Pennsylvania.
Others worked in new themes with their primary media, such as potter Jennifer Hanson who creates mandalas on her clay dishes with different hand stamps.
Or illustrator and mixed media artist Kelly Green who finds that vinyl albums automatically lend themselves to the mandala format.
Creating a mandala can be an enriching personal experience. To draw a mandala, one starts by “drawing the circle, setting an intention, centering through a meditation, usually start at the “bindu” sacred center and follow inspiration that comes” explains Mandala instructor Anne Roe. She sees mandalas “as “windows to the soul”, sacred circles and opportunities for the soulful self to express authentically”.
Sometimes mandalas are created to evoke feelings of peace and contentment on the observer. Kathleen Krucoff, for example, wanted her pieces to “help the wearer feel empowered” focusing in tranquility and strength. Ray Jordan wanted to “bring a smile to the art viewer mind and make them think”.
by Juanita Canzoneri
Welcome to an ongoing blog about how to sell your artwork through Commonwheel Artists Co-op. This timely tip is brought to you by our annual Holiday Market.
Option 1—Holiday Market!
Submit work to for our Holiday Market jury. This year it will take place on September 12 and we are accepting samples of your actual work, along with the Jury Form and Jury Fee of $10 on September 10, 11, and 12 from 10 am to 6 pm daily.
Jury Forms and information are available at commonwheel.com/holiday-market.html .
by Juanita Canzoneri
Jo Gaston grew up on a farm in southwest Missouri. Grandparents on both her mother's and father's side lived on farms nearby. Some of her earliest memories are of vegetable and flower gardens and of the livestock.
Jo creates watercolors of the ranch and garden subjects she has known since childhood. The realistic details of her paintings make her subjects easily recognizable as she uses light and color freely to intensify her impressions of the inherent abstract forms.
Attractive forms, textures, and colors are present and waiting to be recognized in many of her subjects especially in vegetables, flowers and Western tack. Although, she admits she finds that turning them into art is hard work. She has to choose thoughtfully, stand close, observe carefully, and work within the fundamentals of artistic composition.
The intricate shapes and glowing colors of vegetables and flowers appeal to her. She uses saturated, vibrant pigments to dramatize their form and texture. She finds an endless variety of form, texture, and light and color in vegetables and flowers. From warm, rich browns to bright, whimsical pinks, purples, and blues, her palette grows with each painting. Form, texture, light, and color are there waiting in most of her subjects, but composition and value are the most important elements in her work. She combines and positions her subjects to achieve the strongest visual effect. Her goal is always a composition that intrigues and rewards the viewer, and dramatizes the features that originally interested her to the subject.
For the pieces in “Botanical Expressions” Jo begins a painting by selecting a subject with strong, interesting design elements. Prominent colors and light levels also direct her choices. The hibiscus blossom that is a subject of Kathleen’s jewelry and her watercolor painting attracted her with exactly those desirable design elements: colors, and light levels.
Having chosen a subject, she does several drawings until she has an outline that reads well, one with a clear center of interest and a combination of shapes and lines that will guide a viewer into, and out of, the eventual painting. Then she adds shading to help with decisions about the direction and intensity of light and shadow. These decisions about values are critical because with transparent watercolor one cannot go back to lighten something that’s too dark.
When she’s sure of basic shapes and light levels, she does a color study by blocking in principal colors. Those blocks of color tell her for the first time whether the light, color, and shape will come together well. Going from the color study to the final painting takes hours of attention to shading, texture, and detail—using multiple layers of transparent watercolor to get the right balance of darkness and light, adding intricate details to emphasize texture and bring out important features.
That sounds like a lot of work for a single hibiscus blossom, doesn’t it? Kathleen and I agree that what we create does take plenty of effort and time, but somehow work doesn’t seem the right term for what we do. We take delight in the creating of our jewelry and paintings, and we very much hope you’ll enjoy seeing the results.
Step out of your comfort zone and feel the exhilaration of trying something new. Explore the possible creative ways of displaying and enjoying your beloved jewelry pieces by integrating diverse artistic mediums. You might find that an exotic pendant can be displayed in your home on an interesting wall art piece when it is not hanging around your neck. A gorgeous ring or bracelet may have a place to rest in a small shadow box that has a poem or haiku specifically written for the piece of personal adornment. A painting can become three dimensional when adding another artistic component. The possibilities are endless. Can you visualize a wonderful piece of pottery embellished with a removable piece of jewelry
"Dare to Express"
Opening Reception Friday, April 15, 5—8 pm
April 15 to May 16, 2016
Commonwheel Artists Co-op invites you to free yourself from your comfort zone and open yourself to creativity!
We’re offering a place to explore new ideas in personal adornment and innovative home décor items, providing a sensory delight for our art loving customers. Why not display an exotic pendant on a beautiful ceramic sculpture when it is not hanging around your neck? Why not showcase a gorgeous ring or bracelet in an evocative shadow box? Why not exhibit a dazzling showpiece within an embellished painting?
Our next gallery show, “Dare to Express,” will playfully provide you with interesting ways to incorporate wearable art into your home décor and innovative displays to showcase your beloved jewelry pieces.
On April 15th join us for our gallery opening reception and get a chance to meet in person the creative masterminds behind this one-of-a-kind show, while tasting hors d'oeuvres and enjoying Colorado Bluegrass music.
Gallery Show featuring Sculpture and Paintings by David Caricato
Opening Reception March 18, 5-8 pm
Show runs through April 11. Regular store hours are 10 am-6 pm daily.
Article and photographs by Juanita Canzoneri
David Caricato has been making art for over 40 of his nearly 70 years. Most of that time he worked with sculptural forms in wood and other natural materials. His early work uses long gourds as a base for the pieces he calls “Earth Dancers” which include design elements from southwest First Nations tribes. He began incorporating raven masks worked in the northwest First Nations style as a humorous juxtaposition of ideas.
The raven masks, as well as other mask styles, have by now found their way into many other sculptures that don’t incorporate the “Earth Dancer” shapes.
With the most recent change in the economy he diversified to making small figural paintings in acrylics. He can sell the paintings at a lower price point since they come together quicker than his larger sculptures do. But ever the dyed-in-the-wool wood worker he hand-carves many of the frames for his paintings.
For his paintings he works with a limited number of models, over several years. Pointing to one painting he told me, “I’ve worked with her over 3 boyfriends and breakups. I think the guy she’s with now will be a keeper.” The pieces that come from these modelling sessions are collaborative. He might have an idea for where he wants to start, or the model may want to try something. The sessions are photographed and then both he and the model look at the photos and make changes.
With his paintings, which are typically no more than 6”-8” tall, his studio is the kitchen island or in his living room. He had a studio in an outbuilding on his property that’s more conducive to his sculptural work, with a tool bench and dust catchment system he works year round. Pulling out a piece he’s working on he explained some of the woods he worked with created dust that was quite dangerous to inhale.
David’s goal with his art is to push buttons and find where the boundaries are. He is making the type of art that he wants and is a self-diagnosed wood hoarder. His figural art deals with the human form, including many nudes. Getting the musculature correct is highly important to him, even with his smallest canvases. This gives his paintings and sculptures a realistic quality. But the humor in his art lends a charm and warmth to that realism. And there are times when David expresses his political views in a very tongue-in-cheek way with his work.
David is a Pueblo native with two undergraduate degrees, one in Graphic Design and one in Industrial Arts/Woodworking. He has been showing galleries throughout the Southwest, Washington state, Florida, and New York. He recently had a one-man show of the same name at the Sangre de Christo Art Center and has received numerous awards, including Best in Show and First Place in Sculpture at the Colorado State Fair Art Show.