interviewed by Juanita Canzoneri
So what is it that you do?
How is that different from what our other member, Teri Rowan, does?
I do landscape, wildlife, nature photography, and it’s not digitally enhanced in any way. So I just try to capture the image as my eye sees it. The only enhancement I do is so that I can match the finished image with what my eyes saw when I took it.
You’re working with a digital camera, so, in essence, all photography today, unless it’s film, is digital.
When did you start doing photography?
When we lived in Indiana, I started taking pictures of barns, trees, and some of the landscape. This was in the late 1990’s. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I knew I liked it. And when we moved to Colorado in 2004, I was completely inspired by the scenery here. We had an RV so we did a lot of camping and hiking and we would go to these amazing places and I really had an interest in trying to capture those images.
So, on my 40th birthday my husband bought me a “real camera”.
What did you have up to that point?
Just little point and shoots that I’d been using. But he got me a digital SLR Sony camera. So I started taking pictures like crazy. And for me, I’m entirely self-taught with photography. I’ve taken a few classes here and there since I’ve done this professionally with art shows, but for me it’s been a lot of trial and error. I had one grizzly bear in the Tetons I took over 500 pictures of and probably only saved a couple of them. But it’s been a matter of me learning how to set my camera settings, an my aperture setting speed and how do those work together, and what are the effects I get when I change those things to take an image. I still take a lot of shots of everything I shoot because the lighting is different in every second.
Because I take so many photos, I tend to spend a lot of time editing and I do see that as part of the art of this process. Sometimes what my eye sees and what I take in through the lens, when I pull it up on my computer it doesn’t look like what I thought I saw. So that’s part of the image manipulation in a slight way, not overworked. I don’t want to work my images so much that the become not what you would see in nature. My ultimate goal is for it to look real and I want to capture images in nature that other people might not be able, or privileged, to see.
I’ve learned a lot along the way how to work the camera to get the image that you want.
What is this camera you have here?
This is a Canon EOS 5D. It’s my first full-frame camera. A full frame allows me to take a very large image.
How many lenses do you have?
For the 2 Sony’s I have interchangeable lenses. I probably have 8 lenses for them. For this Canon I have 3 that I work with primarily. Mostly I shoot with my 50mm-80mm for landscapes. I have another that allows me to do extreme closeups for wildlife and a macro that I use for closeup images.
And I have tripods and remote-control devices.
When did you move from hobbyist to professional?
Shortly after my husband gave me the “real camera”, which was about 10 years ago, I put my images on zenfolio which is a formatted website for photographers. I thought I would throw some images up there and see what responses I got from people—and not just my mom who loves everything I do.
So I put the website together and put it out to everyone I knew on social media and the responses I got back were somewhat overwhelming. I thought people would say, “oh, these are nice.” But the adjectives people were using to describe the images floored me. In some cases, it almost brought me to tears. And I thought, “well, maybe I can do something with this.”
My first attempt at doing something was thinking “I have to get a tent if I’m going to do shows and I need to get panels to hang the pieces on.” And I found a lady who had 4 pro panels, which are usually $120 each, and she was selling them all for $100. I thought that seemed like a sign.
I got a tent for a good price and everything started to click. But the first thing I did was an art show in Woodland Park at the high school, a craft show, and I was in the cafetorium and the gentleman across from me was selling bed sheets and I quickly realized I was in the wrong place.
I sold some things there and my first official art show was at America the Beautiful park in a 3-day show with torrential rains. In those 3 days I had $1,200 in sales and I was over the moon. Reinforced by that experience I signed up for a few more shows and it’s just continued on. This will be my 8th summer doing art shows.
How many do you typically do a year?
Since I work full-time, I was doing 7-8 a summer and now I do about 5. It’s hard to work all week, do an art show, work a full week, and do another art show. So, this summer I’ve cut back to the fewest I’ve done and part of that is having the opportunity to be in Commonwheel. This is a new avenue for me and it’s been great.
The work you would store up and sell in a festival you’re putting out and selling all year long.
I was in some galleries apart from Commonwheel. I’m part of the Colorado Creative Co-op in Old Colorado City. I’ve been there for years. I also had work in various places in Woodland Park when we lived up there and I’m still part of the Mountain Arts group up there.
And I still have my website. It has changed over the years and I have to go take photos off every so often because I have so many. It gets refreshed because I realized it’s not good to have thousands of images for people to pick from, that’s too overwhelming.
You put your images on a variety of formats—plaques, metal, canvas, matted prints, coasters, and cards.
On the web site I tell people to go look and then tell me what they want, what size, and I can customize what people are looking for.
I outsource the printing of my images because I believe printing is, in itself, an art form. I will do some printing of my matted prints, but I even outsource a lot of those. And to have the size printers you need for a large format is a huge investment.
You’ve started putting images in salvaged windows. Tell me about that.
For a long time I had the idea stirring in my head. It would be so cool to get an image that was like looking through a window. I didn’t want to carry glass around, so I looked at getting the images printed on plexiglass but didn’t like the look.
When I had some down time this past winter, I did some research and found a bunch of antique windows on Craigslist and Marketplace. I picked up a few initially. I wanted them to have a distressed look and what was fun about that whole process was that it was something different for me. I’m taking wood and sanding it, painting it, sealing it, and trying to figure out what to do with the hardware. It became a whole new aesthetic for me. For the image itself I still have it outsourced but when it comes back, I need to mount it into the window.
I custom size the images based on the windows. I take the glass out of all of them along with the glazing and the glazer’s points. It’s been interesting and fun. And now I have so many windows and my husband is thinking I may have gone overboard with them. I have 15 finished now and they’ll go to art shows with me this summer if they don’t make it into Commonwheel.
You mentioned that you work full time. What do you do?
I support a project management software. It allows me to work from home so the dogs are happy, and I can usually swing my schedule to take off early on Fridays in the summer to go set up for art shows. My photography is the opposite of what I do for work, so it is a release for me. And this is the thing that I know is my passion—shooting the photos—because I can lose all sense of time, surroundings, and space entirely when I do this. It feeds my soul.
I named my business “His Beautiful Canvas.” I’ve had a lot of people ask why not “her beautiful canvas” since I’m a woman, and I explain that the canvas is God’s. I believe God paints this picture, this image, and I’m privileged to take it in and share it. And sometimes I share it with people who can’t ever see those places. There’s something about it that’s special.
There have been a lot of art shows where a customer and I are both in tears because of what they see in my photo and tell me about how it affects them. When it came time to name my business, I was jogging by myself while we were camping at Lake Granby and I heard the name while I was praying. It’s been wonderfully rewarding connecting with others around these images.
You joined Commonwheel when?
It’s been a year now, and it has been wonderful to connect with others who understand the idea of “feeding your soul”, even though we do it in different ways. It’s nice to be with others who get that.
We set out to surround Valentines Day and the idea of “love” with a show that will encompass the whole month of February. We put out an open call to artists to submit images of their art that finished the phrase “Love and . . .” and had over a dozen artists respond. Their work is as varied as their answers to the 3 questions we recently posed to them:
1. What prompted the art you submitted for this gallery show? What was your inspiration?
2. How long have you been working with the type of art you submitted?
3. Tell us a little about yourself.
1. What prompted the art you submitted for this gallery show? What was your inspiration?
“Love and finding the perfect partner” is my painting of two sea otters from the Carmel area of California.
I also submitted a painting of owls. They are all babies and best friends. “Love and your best friends.” This was painted with a batik method of watercolor on rice paper.
2. How long have you been working with the type of art you submitted? 10 years
3. Tell us a little about yourself. I'm a retired from 20 plus years in Newspaper Marketing in three newspapers all over the West. I started in sculpture but turned to watercolor. I love the medium.
1. The inspiration for my painting was a photo I took of my 5-year-old grandson and his best friends at his birthday party.
2. I have been doing pastels for many years but seldom do people.
3. I am an 82-year-old artist that works in pastel and oil primarily. I also do some tapestry weaving.
1. My inspiration was a long-term love interest and the understanding of myself and others that I have derived/am deriving from the experience.
2. I have been making oil paintings on wood panels for about ten years, and I have been making drawings on antique music paper for about 7 years.
3. I am a self-taught artist, native to Colorado Springs. I love exploring different artistic styles and different mediums, which seem non-cohesive at the outset, but will eventually coalesce into a cohesive body of work. Sometimes it takes years for the pieces to fit themselves into place.
hear we go, from out of the blue, as deep as a metaphorical mirror, hello to you
...scents of inspiration, vintage two 'n' too!
paint with words, left to right, love of 'rite, soft and tight, 'rythmatic of script sculpture
the big picture plus...
in the oddest place, in the artist place
tonight, turning 'rite up yore alley in left field, oceanic mountainous clouds
the roof of you're cellar
from thirty-four into approximately seventy... thirty six years in a wilderness of golden would essence 'n' petrified woulds,
pondering the deeper significance of invisible by day in sight of night...
...retired after 19 years at CMHS, 2005
taught seniors psychology, sociology, gradually becoming psychosocial movement of hearty heady
grew up in NYC, came thru Ellis Island at the age of one, 1949
MA applied Economics, QC ... finished doctorate course work at SUNY at Stony Brook in theoretical Economics
hitched from London to Jerusalem, nine weeks
receiving teaching assistantships at both institutions
ten years of in tense karate training, 3 national team kata awards, junior instructor
invited to train in Japan, JKA for a summer
Columbia University for graduate work, a year of Sports Psychology, NLP
taught at NY Institute of Technology, Queensboro CC, George Washington HS (math)
thank you, dream well
Suzi’s work is described as “Love and Health and Beauty”
1. I was prompted to enter this gallery show because I create porcelain essential oil necklaces, which celebrate the heart and love. They are worn with love of self because they have a purpose. The necklaces are infused with thieves oil to promote good health, well-being and self-care. The necklaces are given with love to show affection for the recipient. They are beautiful and have the bonus of keeping the wearer feeling well. Whether giving the essential oil necklace as a gift or gifting it to yourself, you are showing love and joy.
2. I have been a ceramic artist since my first pottery class in 1973. Clay hooked me and I won’t let go. It is a sensuous media and brings me joy to work with it. I create my pieces by hand, fire it in a kiln then decorate each piece, making each ceramic creation a work of love.
3. I studied ceramics the first time I went to college in the 70’s. I had a minor degree in art and have always worked in it. I married, had a family and needed something to give us health insurance and to work towards a retirement so I joined the U.S. Navy in 1990. Fast forward twenty-three years and I had earned a retirement. My family was grown and I was a disabled veteran, though not enough to keep me from doing art. I took my G.I. Bill and went back to college, this time earning my Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in ceramics. I have been happily creating with clay since.
1. My Love of Nature and seeing how disrespectful people have become when caring for the environment in recent years, the quote about who this planet belongs to has been posted around my home for a long time. The photograph I took of a man holding his child pointing off into the distance/future sitting on the grass became something to play with digitally and place them in a more nature filled setting. This image then seemed to be the perfect illustration for that quote.
The other images were inspired by Shawn Gallaway's song "I Choose Love" that I have listened to for many years. The idea of the choice between Love or Fear; or Peace and War; Sunshine or a Storm; Laughter or Tears . . . the answer to all those questions is "I Choose Love." The pairing of dragonflies or black swans or a Squirrel with its hand on its heart inside a heart illustrates that choice for me.
2. I have been taking photos on my hikes or in gardens for most of my adult life. Started using them in wall art about 2 years ago and in my books for about 5 years. Sometimes I use them as they naturally appear, other times I play with them more in Photoshop to give them a more abstract or painted look.
3. I have had a respect and love of the natural world all of my life and became involved in the arts when I worked behind the scenes in theater in High School. In College I started working with fibers and going to art festivals and selling in galleries. I am mostly known for my feather masks and jewelry pieces. I began writing books about 5 years ago and they needed illustrations. Most of them are illustrated with my photographs, some I do find elsewhere. The photographic digital art was an easy progression to another level of art to play in with my Nature photos. Using them as they appear naturally works sometimes, but I "fell down a rabbit hole of creativity" and began to manipulate them in a graphic program in ways to add interest. Some feel like you are looking through a kaleidoscope or at a mandala, others are purely abstractions and all invite you to look deeper to find fantastic forms or creatures within each picture. The ones in this show have some manipulation to gain the effect of the focus creature offering love in some form or another to each other or the viewer.
For me, the theme “Love and…” immediately brought to mind—fabric! Fabric presents endless possibilities of color, pattern, texture, as well as cultural connections and family, personal and emotional ties. Fabric communicates, even without words.
I have been sewing for nearly 50 years, beginning with outdoor equipment kits and homemaking items. I am a past president of Piecing Partners Quilt Guild in Colorado Springs, and have participated in a number of shows through the years. I gravitate toward simple fabric combinations, in hopes of taking advantage of the materials to create something both pleasing and useful.
I grew up in Boulder, and graduated from Colorado College (1972). I worked in a clinical psychology office for many years, while my husband owned a construction company. We have two grown daughters and two grandsons, and have lived on Colorado Springs’ west side for over four decades.
I find the activity of designing and creating sewn items to be stimulating and calming at the same time – also addictive! Thanks for the opportunity to share some of my creations with you.
1. Being new to Colorado, I wanted to show my gratitude for our surrounding scenery here at the Front Range. Taking walks through these open spaces in nature is my inspiration. I fell in love with the contrast between the bold colors of the red rocks clashing against Colorado’s blue skies.
2. Within the last year, I have found an appreciation for the versatility of acrylics.
I began painting with oils almost a decade ago and for many years, I used watercolors to capture my traveling experiences into landscape paintings. This approach involves a gel medium retarder that slows down the drying process allowing me to treat parts of the painting like oils.
3. I grew up in a small town in Western Pennsylvania and spent most of my childhood exploring the outdoors. I attended Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a BFA in 2014. Three years prior, while in college, a collaborative camping trip with the Art and Geology Departments changed everything for me when we drove across the country in a van to South Dakota’s Badlands National Park. Traveling out West a total of four times since visiting the Badlands convinced me to move before my roots became too deep. During the summer of 2016, halfway in my twenties, I left home with my other half, Liv, and moved to Colorado Springs. After the first month of getting settled, we found our first dog to adopt, Fin. They make my life a whole lot better. I enjoy listening to music with a good beer and great company. You might see me at the dog park or at a local pub.
1. The photographs that I entered were part of the final project in the Photography II course at CSU-Pueblo. Students were required to enter 3 juried exhibitions, so when I found the information on "Love and....", I thought it would be a great way to show individual work. Art is all around us, but we pass by it every day without noticing because we don't stop, look up, look around, or take the time to appreciate the details and creations around us.
2. This is my second semester college course in photography, so I am new to this art form.
3. I was born in San Diego, California, and moved to Pueblo in 2000 at the age of five. I live with my parents and two dogs, and family is very important to me. I have always enjoyed drawing and have the dream to work in the animation industry. I am pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from CSU-Pueblo and enjoy learning and experiencing the various art forms. My favorite art form is drawing, but I have also enjoyed the courses in painting and ceramics. I also enjoy movies, Gundam models, Anime, and Marvel comics.
Laura Miller Maddox
Love and Reflection (digital photography on canvas)
My are is a meditation presented within a 2-dimensional space. Each digital image I create embodies a unique energy guided through the camera’s lens. “Love and Reflection” evokes memories of a lived past transcending time and space. I believe such memories become treasures of the heart.
Artist’s Reception, Friday, July 21, 5-8 pm
July 21- August 14, 2017
by Leti Wesolowski, contributor
Dan and Kathleen Krucoff, a husband and wife duo, are Commonwheel’s guest artists for the month of July. Dan is a photographer and Kathleen is a metalsmith and jeweler. They have longed to do a joint show featuring both their artwork.
Dan came up with the idea for “Immersion” to allow them to relay their love of the water-infused sights in Colorado and other areas they have visited through their respective media.
For this show Dan’s work consists of digital landscape photography with water as a central theme. From drops on leaves to ocean vistas, along with roaring waterfalls to still pools, he explores water in its natural forms. His goal is to leave the viewer with the feeling of being in these remarkable, inspiring places. He is focusing primarily on areas around the Pikes Peak region, but is also including subjects from other parts of the state and country.
As Kathleen began to develop new works for this show, she sought and found stones that represent water to her. Some pieces incorporate lush green Ocean Jaspers with emerald and gold accents that remind her of ocean waves. Other stones such as Leland Blue or Larimar evoke images of ponds and tranquil lakes. Kathleen has employed a variety of metalsmithing techniques such as Chasing and Repoussé to create seashells, and texturing to create sandy backgrounds in her works.
Celebrate with the artists at our opening reception on Friday July 21 at our Creekside Gallery from 5 to 8 pm, as part of the Manitou Springs ArtWalk.
This show will be on display and for sale until August 14.
When Kathleen and Dan were discussing the possibility of doing a joint show, the theme “Immersion” came from him. He thought that both of them could create art work representing water elements. For Dan, it was a great opportunity to share his digital photography and work in partnership with his wife. For Kathleen, an opportunity to incorporate to her work stones that signified water to her and enhance their natural
Dan, How did you get interested in photography?
I started in photography in my teens. I was inspired by my mother and her father, who both were interested in photography as well. In addition, my father’s love of the outdoors and wilderness helped push me towards landscapes.
What does making art mean to you?
Making art for me is about sharing a part of my life with others. Whether it is faraway places that I visit or just sharing the experience of something close by and familiar, it is always a small piece of myself that I have the benefit of showing.
What has inspired your artwork for this show?
As a landscape photographer inspiration is all around me. I always see it that God has done all the hard work and I get the privilege of getting to bring that to others. The water theme of this show ties into this, not only as a subject itself, but also as one of the primary forces that shape the landscapes around us.
What intentions or emotions do you want to express in your artwork?
The intent of “Immersion” for me is to both use water as a focal point of each image and to communicate the feeling of being there. The power and sound that come from a waterfall, or the sense of scale from looking out at the ocean, or the quiet solitude in a still reflective pool, all elicit different feelings to the viewer.
What is your favorite piece at this show and why?
My favorite piece is “Garden of the Gods Reflection”. It is my favorite because it shows how you can always find something new in locations you have been many times before. It was a bit off the beaten path and it was just so peaceful that morning with the refection of the rock formations in the pool of water from rain the night before. This image was done using the technique of High Dynamic Range (HDR). This is where multiple photos are taken at different exposures and combined to be able to show the darkest and lightest parts of the scene in all their detail.
What is your proudest achievement as a photographer?
I consider my proudest achievement as an artist to be anytime someone decides to make one of my photos a part of their home.
Where else can we find your artwork?
Currently you can see more of my work on my website: www.sufferingfomexposure.com and on my Facebook page: facebook.com/sufferingfromexposure
Kathleen, tell us about yourself.
I’ve always been involved creating art. I dabbled with oil painting and fell in love with doing stained glass. Then, in 2007, I started to experiment with fused glass. I would wire wrap the glass cabochons I made. Through those pieces, I met a metalsmith who said she could take my work to the next level. In 2008, I took lessons from her and things just sort of grew from that.
It’s important to me to continue to learn and grow as an artist. Living where I do, I have had the good fortune to take a number of workshops from masters in their field, which has helped my work to improve.
What does making art mean to you?
Being an artist is an essential part of who I am. It is as important to my life as breathing is. I am able to express myself through my work. I have always loved working with my hands; metalwork provides some of the fulfillment I seek in my life.
Where does your inspiration comes from?
My work is very organic because I am heavily influenced by nature. My dad did landscape work so he would take me with him on some of his jobs. I learned an appreciation for plants and trees by observing his care of them. He would explain their importance and I think that instilled a lot of my love for the unique beauty I find in leaves, bark, anything organic.
Are you exploring a new theme for this show?
Yes, I definitely explored a new theme for this show. Initially I thought the bulk of my work would be in Chasing & Repoussé. However, I discovered that I could use stones like fossilized coral and sand dollars, among others to convey meaning. I decided to add little touches of gold and faceted gemstones to emphasize the beauty of the natural stones. I even created some new earrings that signify waves to me. They are lightweight and sort of shimmer like water in the light.
What intentions or thoughts do you want to express in your jewelry?
The goal with any of my pieces is to create something as unique as the wearer. Just as no two leaves are alike, neither are any two of my pieces. I strive to create one of a kind, wearable art.
A little bit of me is embedded into each of my works. I tend to make each piece as if it was meant for me… I work to ‘listen’ to a stone so I am guided to create (what) is destined to become.
What is your favorite piece at this show and why?
It’s hard to pick just one. I have to say the turquoise pendant that I call “Ocean Blue” is my favorite. It blends all the elements that came together as I worked on the pieces for “Immersion.” Tranquil light blue in the turquoise, a flush set Sapphire and then gold accents. This one even has a gold bezel around that luscious turquoise. Rich, sand like texture reminds me of a day at the ocean.
What’s next for you?
I have tentative plans to go to Florence, Italy next year and take another Chasing & Repoussé workshop from the Italian Master Fabrizio Acquafresca. That would be a dream come true.
One of the many things my preparations for the exhibit taught me was to be prepared for change. I am so grateful to see the growth in my work and as an artist. It has been wonderful to collaborate with my husband Dan as he is one of my biggest fans and supporters. I feel very blessed.
Where else can we find your artwork?
My work is carried at Boulder Arts and Crafts in Boulder, CO and also at Luma at the Broadmoor here in Colorado Springs.
My website: http://www.kathleenkrucoff.com
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KathleenKrucoffArtJewelry/
And my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kathleenkrucoff/
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by Leti Wesolowski
After retiring from teaching for 31 years, Sonny pursued the art of photography. In an effort to continually improve his work he took many workshops from renowned contemporary photographers such as Galen Rowell, John Shaw, George Lepp, John Fielder, and David Middleton.
Sonny’s photography encompasses both traditional and non-traditional views of our surroundings and his travels around the world, always looking for the perfect light that the eye sees, not just what the camera captures, or a viewpoint that others might miss as we hurry through life.
How did you get interested in photography?
I was the Historian for my college fraternity and had to make a scrapbook of photos for the year and the photos were never as good as I thought they should be-I wanted to get better. Then for a college graduation gift my Mom paid for several courses of photography at The Center of the Eye Photography School in Aspen, Colorado. That's when I fell in love with CO and photography too.
Where do you get inspiration? Are there certain times of the year of certain places where you feel more creative?
In Colorado, basically all you have to do is look out the window to find inspiration. We live in such a beautiful state. Inspiration is everywhere.
We heard your favorite time of day to photograph landscape is at sunrise and sunset. Would you tell us what is it that you look for on a landscape/scenery? What is the visual effect or emotion you look for capturing?
I look for a special composition that stands out because of the lighting upon it whether it be a grand landscape or a close up of an aspen leaf with dew drops on it.
What part of the process you enjoy the most?
The most enjoyable part of photography for me is to see a finished photograph come out exactly the way that I had envisioned it to. When I first started, my photographs did not live up to what I was seeing, but after much practice and several courses (and better equipment) the photographs are much improved.
We've seen an amazing portfolio of photographs from your world travels—Africa, Japan, Nepal—where you dabbed into a multitude of photographic genres besides landscape: portrait, wildlife, architectural. Which genre(s) is/are your favorite? Which one you enjoy the most? Which one is the most challenging?
My favorite genre is still landscape photography, but probably the most challenging for me is taking portraits of the people I see on my travels.
What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement was getting published in Outdoor Photographer Magazine for a Favorite Places article that I wrote and provided the photo for!
What is your best seller and where was it taken?
Picking my best seller is difficult, but would come from one of three: "Truly Colorado", "Sky Dancer" or "Aspens and Mist" triptych -all taken in CO.
What's next for you?
I would like to visit Antelope Canyon this year, maybe even take a seminar there. I have seen some incredible photography from that location.
The best place to purchase Sonny's photos would be at Commonwheel Artist's Co-op in Manitou Springs, CO. Visit the shop to get 10% off all purchases of Sonny’s photography this month.
You can find examples of his work here and at imagekind