A Gallery Full of "Whimsy"
We love when we get to showcase art by Manitou Art Center artists. This show features potters Madalyn Kae and Robin Scappaticci, sculptor and figure artist Nancy Morse, and printmaker Ramona Lapsley. Together they will fill our gallery space with whimsical and colorful art to delight the eye and the imagination.
I am a Colorado artist who is interested in many mediums. I love the abstract expression of clay and am fascinated by rhythm, repetition, and the movement of textures. I find the marriage of function, expression, and beauty to be very rewarding. I am passionate about portraiture and figurative work and study them in my sculpture, painting, and drawing. I have been studying the figure and portrait for almost thirty years, attending figure drawing groups whenever possible. Sometimes (not as many as one would hope) getting a drawing or painting that can be, in itself, a finished product, but often I use sketches to then work into sculptures. I am excited to have the opportunity with this show to pull all forms of my art together in one venue.
Recently, I have started spending more of my time on sculpture. Many years ago, I started a series of “Gargoyle Coat-hooks” inspired by my travels in Europe. I have once again returned to the image and function of these. I find humanity (in all forms) and therefore the representation of it in art beautiful and fascinating. And hope the viewing public can see that as well.
My work is expressive and indicative of the whimsy I see in the world around me. The creative process is like an expanded reality that is exciting, invigorating, and sometimes, in the most rewarding way, takes on a life of its own. For example, when a small unintended smudge or line in a drawing ends up being an important part of the finished piece.
Visitors are welcome at my studio in the Manitou Art Center backdoor studio and quite often my work can be found in shows there. My work can also be seen online at nancymorseart.com and at the Boulder Street Gallery at 206 North Tejon Street, in downtown Colorado Springs.
I have had a lot of fun creating my “Fabulous Flock” for the “Whimsy” show. Each porcelain bird is individually handmade and between 18 and 23 inches tall.
It is challenging to work with ceramic porcelain at such a large scale, especially when it involves body attachments such as wings and beaks. After much trial and error these fabulous creatures arrived, each with a distinctive personality!
I have been an artist since I was 8. The love of drawing and the encouragement of friends and family have motivated me to continue to draw, print, paint, and teach art. I have been printmaking for the last twenty years. I am fortunate to have access to the press and studio at the Manitou Art Center.
Making art is putting a visual image reflecting thoughts, interests, and experiences on paper or in another media. Art is a way of bringing something important to light for others to see and enjoy. Sometimes words just can't convey what ideas I want to bring forth.
I have been working with images of fish and more recently birds. Colorado sport fish have been an interest for a really long time and more recently I have been depicting birds found in my neighborhood and at my feeders. There is a fun almost whimsical nature both in fish, and fishing, as well as bird communities.
My linoleum prints start as sketches in my sketchbook from ideas or photos I've taken. I draw on the linoleum block with a sharpie and then carve out the white spaces. Using a brayer I apply a layer of black oil based ink on the block and then place paper on top. The image is transferred to the paper by pressing it thought the printing press. Later, water-based inks and colors are hand painted on the print.
I like elements of design like the grid, square, pattern and contrast so I work those into my design. I have to like the image as a black and white print and then most likely add color to it. To the viewer, those same things are appealing. I also want people to see fish differently perhaps as well as birds. I want people to interact with the idea that you don't have to go far to experience nature. Fish can be spotted in the Ruxton creek across the street from the studio and birds are right outside my window. Both require observation and appreciation.
I really like my newest print of the two woodpeckers. Although I have them perched on trees, it is really funny to watch them try to hang on to tube bird feeders.
My work can be viewed at the Manitou Art Center Print studio as well as the gift gallery at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, the Sangre De Cristo Art Center, and the Lapis gallery in Denver on Tennyson.
I grew up in the Hudson Valley in New York State. I took my first ceramics class in high school and fell in love with clay. I continued taking classes in college and ended up with a major and the idea of being a production potter, which did not work. After 25 years, I fell back in love after taking a summer class.
I make pots for the joy of it. I love everything about it—working with the clay to form the piece, deciding what laces to use, thinking about and adding color, firing, and opening the kiln hoping for a successful outcome—even glazing has become enjoyable.
Making art is about joy. It has been many years since I have thought that I could make a living at it. It takes way too long for me to make a finished piece. It is something that I do for myself. I love going to the studio and working. It is time that is completely mine. I love it when people appreciate what I make.
I have used lace for about 10 years in in my work to create patterns and texture, and it makes a way to add color that works for me. Two years ago, I made a few flowers, and I had thought I would like to make more but never took the time. This show called “Whimsy” gave me the opportunity.
Water Flower was the first piece that I made for this show, where, for me, form and color came together.
My work is in 45 Degree at 2528 W Colorado Ave in Colorado Springs. https://www.45degreegallery.com/
Women in Clay
by Leti Wesolowski, contributor
Opening reception Friday June 16, 5-8pm
Show ends July 17
“Women in Clay” is a show celebrating visual art created by women bonded over more than love for mud. Community through creative expression strengthens our world in the most challenging of times. The artists gathered for this gallery show include potters/ceramicists Madalyn Kae, Brenda Hadnagy, Deb Crowley, Linda Ross, Carroll D. Hightower, Robin Scappaticci, Harriet Lee and oil painter Jean Cuchiaro.
Each one has created new works for this show. Some are inspired by nature, tropical places, textures, or new processes. Others are inspired by personal events like a new puppy or their flower garden. Join us for this much-anticipated Summer show. Opening reception is June 16th from 5pm to 8pm as part of the Manitou Springs 3rd Friday Art Walk.
Harriet Lee has been a sculptor for 30 years working in many different mediums. During her extensive career, she did a number of large public art sculptures, but more recently she has found herself wanting to explore smaller and intimate pieces. “Clay is a wonderful material that can be used in a lot of different ways,” she explains. “This last year I have been playing around with pieces using a variety of processes and it's been fun.” For this exhibit, she has worked on two techniques for the love of graphic black/white patterns: carving lidded pots out of blocks of clay and the application of “naked” raku firing on hand-built pieces.
Note: Naked raku is a type of raku firing in which a slip is applied to the pottery before firing, then it chips off revealing a black crackle pattern.
About ten years ago, shortly after retirement, Linda Ross took a class at Bemis School of Arts and immediately she fell head over heels with clay. “I quickly discovered my pieces gave me a voice I'd never experienced before. Needless to say, I was inspired!!!” she says. For this show, she is exploring sculpting the human figure and the uses of glazes and non-traditional finishes. Inspired by tropical places and soft Summer breezes, her favorite piece and the one that “feels exotic” to her, is a stylized hand with a whimsical henna tattoo.
Robin Scappaticci started out in college as a computer science major but took an art elective and fell in love. She graduated with a BA in studio art with a focus in ceramics planning to be a production potter. However, after a few years working in a co-op studio in Lynn, MA, long hours, no money, and many other reasons, she lost her love for clay.
About ten years ago, she was reintroduced to clay when a friend invited her to take a Summer class, taught by Rui Hagen. Today she is creating functional work, whether wheel-thrown or hand-built, and she is using lace to create texture. “Lace, with its delicate quality and the many different patterns, gives me (the texture that I always loved). I like the idea of taking something old and creating something new from it,” she explains. Robin’s favorite pieces on this show are her cups. Her true joy comes after they are finished, when “I am able to hold them, warmed with something inside,” she says. Find more of her artwork at 45degreegallery.com in Old Colorado City.
Deb Crowley took a wheel throwing class about five years ago and has loved working with clay since then. Her primary inspiration are shapes and colors found in nature—an aqua summer sky, the green Spring foliage, the vibrant oranges of sunsets, the curves found on the creek behind her house.
For this show, each work is unique with its own flaws and qualities, not perfectly symmetrical. “I love the way porcelain...finds its own shape and flow in the firings,” she says. Her pieces are glazed on the inside, making her work functional but raw on the outside, exposing the natural color and feel of the porcelain, a texture she calls “naked.” Her favorite pieces with this technique are the little wish cups, colorful and bright on the inside and nude on the outside. They are all unique and can be used as rice cups, espresso glass, toothpick holder, etc.
Artist Brenda Hadnagy has been making art since she was a little girl. In third grade, she decided to be an Art teacher, so she did! She got her BFA from the University of Utah and taught Art for many years. She took her first pottery class at 16 and it was instant love. Ever since, she has worked in many formats from sculpture to everyday tableware, trying to bring an intimacy and emotional connection through her art to her viewers. She loves to experiment with different techniques and glazes. “I find carving into clay and creating a tactile third dimension to my work to be very satisfying. I like to tell a story about how I am feeling through my work,” she explains.
Her work for this show includes a few functional pieces carved using scrafitto technique, creating a bold look in black and white, as well as a trio of sculptural pieces called the “Yoga” figures, where she experimented with playful poses to make you smile. Find more of Brenda’s work at commonwheel.com
Note: Scraffito is a decorative pottery technique created by scratching through a surface to reveal a layer of contrasting color underneath.
A native of Brooklyn, NY, Carroll Dorrell-Hightower moved to Colorado Springs 22 year ago. She learned pottery at the Senior Center and she has been enjoying pottery for the last eleven years. For this show, she has created hand-built functional small dishes and sushi plates with her glazes being the focal point of her work. “I see my pieces as lovable, beautiful, and pleasing to the eye,” she says. “Making…functional pottery pieces means a lot to me. I know that my pottery can be used just about every day,” she adds. You can find her artwork at Cottonwood Center for the Arts and at 45degreegallery.com
Potter Madalyn Kae discovered her passion for clay over 40 years ago. Most of her work is sculptural but for this show she made an exception. “I love to do work that makes people smile, whimsical, sometimes fanciful,” she says. For this show she made functional pottery such as plates and bowls inspired by a puppy she rescued last year. “My new puppy is a tri-color border collie and she is a pistol, always making us laugh...This small ball of joy has grown into a 45-pound best friend,” she adds. She decided to express their friendship through her dog series.
When the artists of “Women in Clay” approached Colorado oil painter Jean Cuchiaro to paint flowers as a colorful backdrop to their clay creations, she felt honored by their challenge. “I've always had a creative spirit, eager to come up with or try different methods of communicating my appreciation and wonder about all the colors, patterns and characters in my surroundings,” she explains. An avid gardener, Jean loves to paint flowers as well as landscapes, farm animals, birds and wildlife.
Her paintings for this show represent all the wonder and delight to be found in and around a Summer garden in Colorado, with colors that vibrate in the sunlight through transparent petals and leaves, such as “Pink Dahlia” (Oil, 24”x36”) “Morning Glories” (Oil, 36”x24”) and “Pink Poppy” (Oil, 20”x30”).
Her favorite work on this show is the “Tulip,” (Oil 24” x 30”) because “the striking composition and range of values makes it almost a beautiful abstraction of nature.” Along with it, she has included a large collection of “Posies” (Oil, 4”x4”) and four 12”x12” oil paintings depicting a poppy, a morning glory, a sunflower and a petunia.
She also added succulents to the mix. This collection is called “Succulents for a Brown Thumb,” all deep floating frames measuring 4”x4”x2.5”. The reason, Jean explains, is that “I have become intrigued with all the diversity in colors and patterns… as a gardener, I really appreciate that they are drought tolerant and extremely easy to grow in the Colorado landscape...and because I want to add these to my garden now also!” she says.
Find Jean’s artwork on her website Jeancuchiaro.com, at Commonwheel in Manitou Springs, on commonwheel.com, and at Squash Blossom gallery in Old Colorado City.
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