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.
As I compile the responses from the artists in our current show, “Mushrooms”, I feel as though my office in the back of our gallery space is in the middle of a forest. I am surrounded by the most beautiful representations of mushrooms and fungus. This open call show has brought in so many different types of artwork—pyrography, alcohol ink, fiber work, photography, paintings, pottery, glass work, and the list just goes on.
We have pieces from over 20 artists. Some of them have responded to a questionnaire about them, their artwork, and where you can find them and/or their artwork. But I’d like to introduce you first to the woman who made ALL of this possible.
Kelly Green is on of our co-op members and has coordinated shows for us in the past. This show is her 2019 effort.
I've been drawing and fascinated by art since I was very young. I really enjoy working in an endless variety of mediums from pen & ink drawings and painting on canvas to sculpting and customizing toys to photography and collage. Sometimes I use each on their own and sometimes they are all mixed up. It's very organized random chaos.
My process depends on the piece since I work with so many different mediums, and time plays a big role in how I proceed with each piece. I always have a bunch of different pieces and/or projects going on simultaneously which means making constant messes throughout the house. From randomness happening in my studio, to framing on the dining room table and multiple projects belonging to me and to my very creative daughter on every other surface available, the whole house can easily be overwhelmed by the creation process, and I am usually scrambling to try and keep the art messes under control.
I usually only paint, draw, or work on any detailed pieces when the house is completely quiet during the early hours before dawn. I cherish these rare meditative creative moments when the elegance and depth of silence can transform thought into spontaneous visual imagery.
I am super excited to be showing Bee and Butterfly Baths made out of recycled glass that I made with my amazing daughter Hali who is 8 years old and quite the artist herself already. She designed and stacked all of the glassware and I did all of the gluing. It was great fun, and they turned out really cool and beautiful.
I applied to Commonwheel for this gallery show after, (like most of my brilliant ideas), it was suggested to me by our super insightful Marketing Manager Juanita. A lot of my artwork actually has a lot of mushrooms in it for various reasons. I enjoy drawing, painting, and sculpting mushrooms because their shapes and colors are amazing, I find them an incredibly interesting and vast organism. Sometimes I just try to recreate them and sometimes they morph into Octopuses and/or hold symbolic meaning in my art. I thought it was a brilliantly fun idea to have a whole show dedicated to this amazing Fungus so I went for it.
I'm a proud member of Commonwheel Artist Co-op in Manitou Springs and Colorado Creative Co-op in Old Colorado City. I also have some art work available in the super groovy hippie and mushroom friendly Poppy Seed in Manitou Springs.
My website: http://www.flyvisions.com/
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellygreenhbaum/
I loved to paint as a child, and a career in the arts was the only choice I ever considered. My studies were in Textile Design, and I received a degree, LSIAD from Canterbury College of Art in 1975. I have always enjoyed creating patterns and was lucky to join the Hallmark team in Kansas City in the early eighties. My occupation as an Illustrator lasted for twenty-five years, most of them working as a freelance and licensing artist with major companies in the US. Presently, I am expressing my creativity in watercolor, as this allows me to work fast and in a spontaneous way. As I have retired from product design, I am able to devote my time to the pursuit of painting, which is a wonderful transition.
Lately I have taken on painting without a sketch or drawing on the paper. On the one hand this offers greater freedom; on the other hand, this requires a lot of concentration, as you can’t alter watercolor much. In this piece I started painting the mushrooms general shapes and added the detail later.
The piece I entered is called “Dancing Mushrooms”. I was trying to convey playfulness, while developing the many patterns that are present on mushrooms.
I happened to be working on this particular theme and saw that “Commonwheel" was having a show depicting mushrooms. What a fun moment of synergy!
My work can be found at www.beatricetrezevant.com, Trezevant Art on Facebook, beatrezevant on Instagram.
I am a collector of hobbies and a jack-of-all-trades. I’ve painted, knitted, crafted, and written stories since a child. In high school and college, I delved into the performing arts, becoming a Dance and English major and choreographed an entire musical as well as original dance pieces. After college I dabbled in professional modeling and got very involved in the medieval re-creation society (SCA), where I learned medieval sewing, embroidery, knitting, and weaving, as well as medieval dancing and singing. I enjoyed knitting sweaters and making costumes for my four children as I raised them. Later I started my mermaid swim tail business, opening my small factory here in Colorado Springs where I designed, sold and shipped mermaid swim tails all over the world for seven years. I even got to choreograph a mermaid dance/swim solo – a fascinating challenge. After closing my business in 2018, I transitioned to being a full-time novelist, and I’m also learning to spin my own yarn. I’ve also gotten into LARPing (live-action role playing) instead of medieval recreation, which is a great place for improv acting as well as costuming.
Above is my dryad character at my medieval-style LARP in winter, knitting a red cap in the round. I also spun the yarn to knit the medieval shawl you see here, with a turquoise crocheted edging.
I’m drawn to knitting strange and unusual pieces. I also long for the days of my youth when I traipsed through the woods for hours at a time. Mushrooms transport me to mysterious forests again. I’ve been working off a template with varying patterns for caps and stems, which I can mix and match. I’ve begun to experiment off of the pattern, creating unusual shapes to the stems – making them bulbous then diminish to very narrow stems.
For these pieces, I find special felting yarn. I knit the cap, then the stem. I use hot water and felt the pieces by rubbing them together – creating heat and friction. Once dry, I stuff and stitch them, matching a cap to a stem. I forage the woods for unusual weathered wood from nature, matching a mushroom to a piece of wood, then gluing the mushroom into just the right spot. Sometimes I take a single mushroom and tuck it into a plant, onto a homemade wreath, glue it onto a flat stone, etc.
I love Redcap Path. This piece of wood has many tiny little “paths” eaten into it, leading to this mushroom with the flat, curly cap. The redcap is one of the most beautiful mushrooms – standing out like a spot of joy in the dark forest.
I learned about the show from another writer/artist. I’ve been knitting these mushrooms for a while and am now getting requests for them as gifts, so I wanted to participate in this special call for mushrooms. This is the first time I’ve submitted and am selling my art!
My author website will be including knitting patterns and progress on my various projects: www.jerilynwinstead.com. I also post my work on my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/jerilynmermaid
Drawing and painting was a favorite activity for me as a child. Both of my parents were artists who met and fell in love as students at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, so looking back, I think they naturally supported and encouraged me. I learned so much from their constructive criticisms, which is so vital to the process. I also wanted to make them proud of me, so I tried really, really hard at getting better. My main focus was always drawing, but later on, I've taken an interest in alternate mediums and surfaces to include 2D & 3D. I enjoy making an ordinary object something beautiful and special.
The first step in my process is the idea or inspiration, and usually, I know right away if it's something I can turn into an actual piece or image. I think about it quite a bit before I actually start, like what colors I want to use, or how I want it positioned on the surface. With my salt lamp art, I sometimes try to find an image in the salt crystal itself, and then work the design into the natural shape of the lamp. Next, I prepare the surface by hand sanding. I begin with a light sketch and then apply darker and more permanent paints and layers. I use a Dremel tool to sharpen and create more detail. Then I finish up with several coats of sealer.
My favorite piece for this gallery showing is the salt lamp entitled, "Mushroom & Butterfly" due to its whimsical feel and vibrant colors. It makes me want to do a HapPy DaNce :)
When I saw the Commonwheel's call for artists with a mushroom theme, I had two pieces that I had already completed. I had an epiphany and got busy submitting my entry form! It's hard putting your work out there, but I'm so glad I did, as should every artist. I love seeing other artist's creativity and work so that inspired me to apply as well.
In the past, I've had my needle felting work in two shops; The Pink Tulip in Indianapolis and The HeArt Market in OCC, but currently you can find me on my Facebook page, Bittie's Shop, where I sometimes post videos while I'm working on the salt lamps or drawings.
I'm an avid "Pinner" and have a large variety of visual interests and boards on Pinterest, to include a "Fungi" board! Just search for "Bittie's Shop" and I should pop up.
I started an Etsy Shop about a year ago and add new pieces as often as I can. Here's my Etsy Shop address: www.bittiesshop.etsy.com.
If you like my work, please consider giving me a like and a follow on all of the above!
I am a self-trained artist. Art was a found blessing in my life. Growing up, drawing and painting was just a rainy-day activity when I couldn’t be outside. However, after many years of unexplained illness, I was diagnosed with the chronic disease Lupus in 1992. During the difficult times trying to get my disease under control, I struggled with significant cognitive loss. For several years, I lost the ability to read or write…. but drawing was my life jacket. Since then a simple means to express myself has become my identity and a growing business. I am an active volunteer with the Wake Forest Guild of Artists and currently serve on the Wake Forest Public Arts Commission. I live in Raleigh, NC with my husband, two teenagers, and far too many pets.
I often choose subject matter connected to nature because I love dramatizing saturated hues and shadowed forms. My unique mixed-media techniques are work intensive and use both de-constructive and building processes. Each canvas becomes its own anthology. I start with a slew of understudy paintings done on variety of papers and materials. Once I rearrange and set the patchwork of squares into a composition that will make a good foundation, I then overlay my intended image. This lends the work to have depth, texture, and just a tad randomness. The common thread for all of my work is the creativity joining representational, raw, tactile, and abstract elements.
My favorite piece accepted into Mushrooms is “Humbled”. The painting is a reproduction of a photo I took while hiking in the Keweenaw Peninsula, MI. The intention behind this painting is a juxtaposition of how we view our life span versus that of the everyday life cycles of nature. “Humbled” is the stage of life when we have reached our maturity and we gain gratitude for even the smallest of blessings. In this case, a battered, leaning tree was giving way to a rich golden stand of mushrooms.
Since I integrate multiple elements into each work, I find it challenging to pick out appropriate call of entries. However, my creative heart was so happy to see Mushrooms! I see beauty in the unexpected…. So, I had mushroom art! Thank you for this opportunity.
Wake Forest, NC : Southern Suds & Gifts 213 S.White Street Wake Forest, NC 27587
My love for art started when I took Introduction to Art in high school, winning Second Place in a student art show with my very first painting. Being poor, I relied on teaching myself but would take college courses or private lessons as I could afford them. I mostly focused on acrylic painting but eventually added airbrush in 2008 and oils in 2009 (I had briefly worked with them in 1987). I’ve been doing murals since 1995. I’ve loved charcoal and graphite since high school, and I began working with pastel chalk in 2012 and colored pencils in 2014. I’ve been sewing since middle school and created “Bearing My Soul” Custom Teddy Bears in 2009. I’ve been whittling since 1992. My sister introduced me to pyrography in 2015, and I’ve been on fire for it ever since! (See what I did there?) It is very difficult for me to choose a favorite medium, which is why my art business is called “Stephanie’s Smorgasbord,” because I offer a little bit of everything.
When I am working on a painting, I will picture the layout in my mind for days, weeks, sometimes longer. I gather several reference photos before I get started, then sketch the layout in my sketch book, then onto the canvas, erasing and redrawing many times until I am satisfied with the composition. Unlike many artists, I don’t like to “prime” my canvas—I prefer to work on a white background. I put down basic shapes and colors, quickly working my way around the canvas (acrylic has a fast drying time!) building up layers until the canvas is covered, most likely redrawing many objects that got covered up in the initial stages. Once I am satisfied with the background, I break out the small brushes to work on the fine details and foreground objects. I believe I have one of the most unconventional methods of painting on the planet! Most artists mix their paint on their palettes, then apply it to their canvas. I do that to an extent, but for the most part, I mix my colors directly on the canvas, adding layers until l I get the details right. Even as I go through the painting process, I may change many of the objects based on shape, color, or size until I settle on what looks good. Once finished, I let it rest for several days, then look at it with “new eyes” to see if I need to tweak any additional details that I hadn’t previously done during the process.
My favorite piece for this show is “Fungi Fiesta” (credit for the title goes to my son Christopher Merchant). My 24”x48” acrylic painting of a forest scene with shafts of sunlight and mushrooms in the foreground. I birthed the concept when I was temporarily living in Maryland, which is when my obsession of mushrooms and appreciation of the forest began. I never realized how many different mushrooms there were! I spent hours photographing them and adding them to my Instagram feed (stepmercjohn), where I followed many other mushroom enthusiasts (machelspencephoto, yellowelanor, jill_bliss, and freymanbg are some faves!). I dreamed of doing a large painting for myself and began collecting reference photos, but it wasn’t until I moved back to Colorado in 2018 that I got serious about putting it all together. I bought a canvas but was so busy that it sat in my closet for over 6 months until my friend Carole Morrison (“Off the Leash Art”) sent me the link to Commonwheel’s Call for Artists. This was the kick in the pants I needed to get started! If it sells, I get to create another one! If it doesn’t, it’ll look fantastic in my new art studio! The painting took almost 80 hours to complete, and I loved every single mushroom I painted!
My obsession with mushrooms inspired to apply for this show! I have mushroom jewelry, mushroom embroidery, mushroom pillows, mushroom art, mushroom wreaths, mushroom knick knacks, mushroom keychain, mushroom fabric, mushroom kitchen canisters, trivets, salt & pepper shakers, coffee mugs … the list goes on! Of all the things I have ever collected, my mushroom collection is the largest! (Hmmm … I may have a serious problem here!) I am so grateful to Carole Morrison for sending me the Call for Artists link—she said, “This is right up your alley!” I felt like the show was created “just for me,” but I know there are many others who love mushrooms as much as I do!
Facebook Business: Owner, Stephanie’s Smorgasbord
Facebook Personal: Stephanie Merchant
Instagram: stepmercjohnart, stepmercjohnart
I have always loved drawing and painting, but it wasn’t until I retired that I had the time for it. It was then that I started taking classes for certification in Botanical Illustration at the Denver Botanic Gardens. I discovered within myself a curiosity, love and wonder at the complexity of a plant’s structure and found that I wanted to record all that!
Botanical Illustration is a precise form of art. It requires accuracy which can only be achieved by studying the plant where it is growing, measuring it, counting its components and noting their arrangement. Only then do I start to make preliminary sketches. I try to capture, not only the plant’s beauty, but also the accuracy of its make-up. This can result in several messy sketches! When I am pleased with a composition which shows as much detail as possible, I will make a contour drawing from it, showing only the outlines, by tracing the sketch. On a separate trace, I will make a value study, which shows only the shadows and varying degrees of shade. I will then transfer the contour drawing on to a clean, final piece of paper. I will set that aside, while I try to match the colors of the plant and mix up batches to use while I’m painting. Then the fun part starts, setting the plant in front of me, referring to my value study and my sketches, I start to paint – exactly what I see - with all its lovely details!
I only have one piece in this exhibition “Sarcodon imbricatus”, or the scaly hedgehog mushroom. I remember doing the preliminary sketches, while sitting under a tree, getting a slightly damp behind, in the mountains! Fun memories!
I have loved looking at all the exhibitions that have come and gone in the back gallery at Commonwheel. I have been interested in showing one of my pieces, but this is the first time I felt there was a “fit”.
My work is displayed at the Commonwheel Co-op and I have my own web-site at smithwickbotanicals.com
I recently moved from Delaware to Colorado Springs to pursue my photography career. I got my first DSLR camera in 2010 and have loved taking photos since. My junior year of college I officially declared my major as photography and dove in head first. Landscape, nature, and wildlife photography have always been my "jam" as I like to say. Photography gives me a means to find myself. Sometimes it takes getting lost to be found. Even at the most remote locations, in solitude, as long as I am camera in hand, I’ve never felt lost or alone, in fact those are the moments in which I feel most alive. Photography completes me in a way nothing else can. I have been taking small steps to further my career since moving to Colorado and I could not be more excited to see what the future holds.
First and foremost, I have to venture out into nature. Mother Nature is the ultimate artist and her inspiration is endless. I guess Photography is a bit of a different process than most mediums. I keep my eyes peeled at all times, constantly looking for interesting compositions (hint, they’re everywhere) but other times they jump out and smack me in the face. That’s one of the great things about Colorado, almost everywhere you look is picturesque. When I see a composition I like, I line it up through my lens to see how it translates through the camera. If I like it, I’ll go ahead and click the shutter. The editing process is a huge part of photography. I’m not big on Photoshop. I use Lightroom to adjust saturation, contrast, and highlights/shadows if needed. I like to bring out the bright, warm tones in a photo.
My favorite piece accepted for this show is Chanterelles. I just love the contrast between the green and the orange. I also love how the composition of it leads your eye from mushroom to mushroom. When I look at my photos I am always taken back to the moment I took it. This one was taken while I was hiking through the Great Smoky Mountains. I am back in the lush, mountainous, serene forest and it makes me feel at peace again.
This question is a bit ironic to me in this context. I was never big on mushrooms until I went on my road trip around the country last summer. Mushrooms are such a unique and diverse plant and I did not realize this until my trip. Traveling around the whole country I found countless different kinds and ever since I have loved mushrooms, so when I saw this mushroom-themed show, I knew I had to be a part of it! I am very excited to see the rest of the art on display.
While in high school, my art class took several field trips to the Appalachian Center for Craft. From the first visit, I knew that I wanted to study at the Craft Center. It’s beautiful location and amazing facilities was the best place for me to pursue art. I graduated from the Appalachian Center for Craft in December 2017. I graduated with a BFA in Ceramics and a minor in Social & Behavioral Science. I’m currently the Gallery Manager at the Craft Center and I also teach ceramics to high school students through the Appalachian Center for Craft’s Focus on Fine Craft Program.
My forms are thrown on the potter’s wheel and then altered and pinched to leave my own touch, documenting my relationship to each vessel. I paint quick, expressive imagery using Amaco Underglazes, inspired by my perception of environments I’ve encountered in my life. I carve through my imagery to reveal my terracotta clay body beneath, providing contrast in each piece. This process is called sgraffito. My pots are then bisque fired to Cone 08 (1728 degrees), glazed in a clear glaze, and then fired again to Cone 3 (2106 degrees).
I enjoyed making my Mushroom Bud Vase! It’s different than what I usually make! I came across the call for entry for this show on Instagram and I thought it would be a fun show to enter!
Galleries: Appalachian Center for Craft Retail Gallery, Smithville, TN
Julia L. Wright
My love of Nature and being outdoors has been part of my life as far back as I can remember. Creating art in many forms has been the basis of my life starting with theatre when I built sets and directed others in High School and college. After college, I created fiber-based crafts that often incorporated found objects. For about 20 years, I traveled to art shows, participated in RenFests and showed in many galleries. Feathers have always been part of my art creations and that evolved into my creating feather masks, earrings, hairclips and pendants.
I have taken thousands of photographs on my hikes and in many gardens. About seven years ago I started using my realistic nature and other photos to illustrate my books and journals. And more recently, I began to use my realistic photographs to create different types of decks of cards for children and adults. Original versions of my photographic Nature-based images are just one way I express my love of Nature. Mushrooms have often been subjects of those photos in late summer and early fall when the pop up out of the Earth to delight folks that look closely at the ground.
A few years ago, I “fell down a rabbit hole of creativity” and began using my Nature photos to create abstract, kaleidoscopic and mandala style images by taking a little part of a Nature photo and playing with it in Photoshop. Two of these styles of images can be seen in this show.
When I am sitting at my computer, I get totally lost in the process and my imagination can run pretty wild thinking about how to take the images I captured and create something totally unique and fun or hone in a specific element found in a photograph, such as a mushroom. It uplifts my spirit to honor the beauty of the amazing places I get to hike and glorify Nature in various artful ways.
All art involves an artist taking up some media and transforming it into a new form or image that comes from their vision and imagination. I try to transform what most people see as ordinary into something extraordinary with a unique way of seeing the world.
Working in my feather studio or on a computer or taking photos on my hikes always has my creative juices flowing. I am constantly looking for some new way to use the images I captured in the wilderness or a garden to create a bit of awe and wonder when someone sees the finished art.
So, my favorite piece in this show is the one that I played with and abstracted. “Meet Me at the Vortex By the Orange Mushrooms” is my favorite image I submitted to this show. It incorporates bits of bark to look like a couple of adventurers thinking of stepping into another realm. A group of brilliantly orange mushrooms marks the place for them to meet and contemplate where they might go next.
Nature is my most powerful inspiration. When hiking or passing a beautiful garden, I often stop to take in the amazingly beautiful natural creations that surround me. A driftwood stump or a rock formation or some fungi popping up out of the ground can be as enticing to my eye as a beautiful wildflower. Each one makes my heart sing and my spirit soar with joy when I take the time to really look at the beauty others pass by each day without noticing it.
I have a great respect for the pristine areas found in our surrounding mountains. And I have respect for folks that hunt for edible mushrooms in a consciously sustainable way. The often share this fun adventure with friends and family members to increase awareness of what Nature offers to us on many levels. So glad to be part of a show that celebrates this often-misunderstood types of flora. I have the hope when people view photos expressing the beauty of Nature, the might become a bit more aware how they can take actions to keep where they travel as pristine as when they arrived and look closely at some fun fungi that may be overlooked for their less showy aspect than wildflowers exhibit.
Stores/Galleries: Commonwheel Artists Co-op
Manitou Art Center in the First Amendment Gallery
My books are also on Amazon under the brand name of HieroGraphics Books.
I’ve dabbled in many artistic media, but I’ve found that fused glass is the one that gives me the most joy. I love experimenting, and particularly enjoy creating 3-D pieces in the kiln. This requires a number of firings at varying temperatures, all taking between 9-20 hours, with 4 or 5 hours of cool-down time. My inspiration comes from nature, including both the mountains and the sea. I have been working in fused glass for over 14 years, I have four kilns, and have taken over every inch of available space in my house and garage for my studio!
I create the components of my pieces individually, which requires cutting glass, finishing the edges, and firing to create each one. Then they are fired flat in the kiln, fired again together to create the piece, and fired slowly a final time to drape over a form which creates a 3-D piece.
My favorite piece for the Mushrooms exhibit is my Mushroom Luminary. The idea for this piece has been brewing in my mind since I first heard about the exhibit. It turned out just as I imagined it, and I’m very pleased with the result.
I’ve loved mushrooms since I was first introduced to Alice in Wonderland as a child, so I was thrilled when I heard the theme for this exhibit!
My work can be found on my Facebook page, LoLo’s Paloozas (www.facebook.com/LoLosPaloozas/), and is currently sold in the Strictly Guffey Gallery in Guffey, Colorado. I exhibit at many other venues in the Colorado Springs area including the MAC, the Modbo, Cottonwood Center for the Arts, and others.
I have been making glass art for 25 years. Inspirations for me come from everything around me. I look for interesting patterns, textures, and colors from nature and try to depict those inspirations in glass.
For this mushroom show, I have made some really fun lampworked glass mushroom beads which have been strung for necklaces. The process for making a glass mushroom starts by melting a pencil thin rod of glass in a torch. I then wind the hot glass onto a mandrel and squish the glass into the form of the top of the mushroom. The stem of the mushroom (a bit of a rod of glass) is then delicately placed on the underside of the mushroom top. Once I’m happy with the form, I anneal the glass, cooling it slowly over time. This annealing process assures that the glass is molecularly sound, and the glass mushroom will be just as beautiful in 10 years as it is now.
All of the mushrooms that I have made for this show are favorites for me in different ways. I have made a variety of styles of mushrooms for this show, and each is very unique!
I was inspired to apply for this show because I’m a “fun guy”!
My work can be found at The SideDoor Gallery in Old Colorado City, The Poppy Seed in Manitou Springs, and Commonwheel Artist Coop at which I am a member.
I dabbled in just about every media before discovering pyrography, also known as wood burning. I was drawn to the arts because it’s a language I can understand. As a deaf individual, I connect to the details of the visual world. My art is largely inspired by my passions. I adore animals, nature, science, and I also don’t mind smelling like campfire!
Pyrography has been around for centuries. It’s an age-old technique where a heated metal pen is used to burn wood. Each burn begins with selecting a wood slice and studying its character – the knots, grain, texture, and size. Next, I practice design ideas in my sketchbook. When satisfied, I draw in pencil the base sketch to the wood slice. I use a Razertip (10 amp detailed burning system) to burn the wood slice. The detail of each burn is achieved using a variety of wire tips and a range of heat settings. Each burn is unique because each wood slice is unique, which in turn affects how the wood is burned. My favorite part of my process is burning – it’s a slow, smoky art. I also love mixing my medias, after burning I will add watercolors or dried flowers to the wood slice.
Deciding which piece is my favorite is a tough choice – I really enjoyed burning complex mushroom gills in some of my other pieces. However, I would have to say “Moon Shrooms” is my favorite. I loved playing with rocky and smooth textures to bring imagination to life.
Mushrooms are such a fun subject matter – they are imperfectly perfect. Nature’s reminder that flaws are beautiful. I was also inspired by Commonwheel’s charm and cooperative mission: community.
On social media you can find my art by searching Woodstove Studios. Woodstove Studios started in my childhood home which was built in the late 1700s. My warmest family memories are gathered around our wood stove. Wood and wood burning will always smell like home.
Etsy Shop: Woodstove Studios
I enrolled in my first pottery class in 1975, I have not put clay down since. I love that I can take this malleable material, "clay" and move, manipulate, and form creative pieces to oneself and hopefully to many others!
I've been throwing mushrooms on the wheel for 8 years. I made these unique to this show, as they are "salt fired". A process where, when the kiln reaches 2400 F you add rock salt which instantly vaporizes and glazes the pieces with salt vapor. The finished piece has an "orange peel" texture, and an earthen or woodland appearance
My favorite piece for this show is the tall spiral mushroom that has the orange peel texture and some movement.
I wanted to participate in the show to see the public reaction to something unique.
My work is available at Hunter Wolff Gallery - 2510 West Colorado Avenue www.hunterwolffgallery.com
I work primarily in acrylics and my favorite subjects are florals, landscapes, fall scenes, animals, (especially lions and cows), mountains, abstracts, and now "mushrooms".
Both paintings* accepted for this show were inspired by a hike on the Pancake Rock trail 10 years ago during the height of the mushroom growing season. I had taken several photos and selected 2 that I very much enjoyed because of their location, natural color, texture of their surroundings and light. Creating new paintings for this show was a challenge as I had never done a mushroom before, and I remember still the excitement of finding these lovely shapes of nature that were so unique and fun to look at, almost playful.
I applied because I like the challenge of a new theme for me and knowing the colors of the forest floor and colorful mushrooms would complement my style. I hoped I could give the subject new life and style on canvas.
I sometimes post my work on Facebook. I currently have 2 paintings at First Pres. Downtown and 3 locations that are part of the "Art Aloud" art and poetry shows: Hooked on Books (downtown on Bijou), Academy Art and Frame, and Pikes Peak Market Place on E. Pikes Peak.
*I would say this is my favorite of the 2 because I experimented with more variety of color and the angle was harder to work with. The variety of colors are a more Impressionistic landscape.
Michael Ryder graduated from Metro State in Denver with a focus on large acrylic or resin paintings. Having spent a lot of time with some Navajo silversmiths he switched to jewelry, but presently enjoys both painting and silver work. Paint application is very important to achieve the effect he’s looking for.
Interview by Juanita Canzoneri
Deb Hager joined Commonwheel about the same time as the floods hit Manitou Springs in 2013. She had been in Green Horse Gallery in Manitou Springs prior to applying to the co-op.
As a child Deb was always playing in the dirt around her home. The neighborhood of Penn Hills outside Pittsburgh, PA was under construction so there were dirt piles everywhere. “I had the most gracious mom. I’d be out playing in the dirt, making swimming pools for my Barbies. And when it was time to come in for lunch, she’d just hose us off, we’d eat lunch, and then we’d go back out to the dirt piles.”
Deb attended Indiana University in Pennsylvania as an art major. Her passions were for drawing and painting. When she had to take a 3-D class she took a clay class and wasn’t very happy about it. “I kept practicing and practicing, and I was the worst one in my class,” Deb says. “Everyone else was centering (their wheel-thrown pots), but me.”
One day she was so frustrated with her progress the professor found her crying in her clay. He was able to show her where she had been getting stuck and, with that guidance, she just took off. “Because it didn’t come easy to me, because I had to work so hard at it” she says, “I kind of fell in love with it.” Once she learned wheel throwing, she became mesmerized by the whole process. “You have this nothing lump and then you make this something that people are using.”
Deb’s husband, Denver, was in the military and wherever they were stationed she would teach classes in ceramic shops and teach art lessons just to keep her hand in it. When they moved to Colorado in 1995, she became a wheel-throwing potter at Van Briggle. That’s where she began developing her own style of work. Until then her pots were plain and undecorated.
In 2007 their youngest child was a senior in high school. Denver mentioned to Deb that she had money from the military to use to go back to school herself. While looking for schools she attended the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) convention for the first time. At that convention she fell in love with soda firing and knew at that point she needed leave Van Briggle and go back to school.
While she was training her replacement at Van Briggle, she learned about the ceramic program at Colorado State University in Pueblo. One of the courses of study they teach is soda fired ceramics. So that was where she decided to go.
But her fear of the computer hindered her from enrolling. So, Denver called the college and had one of the professors talk her through the enrollment process. Denver then helped her with her military paperwork and financial forms while her children taught Deb basic computer skills. So just getting her into college was a family affair. And they did it all in less than 6 months. “It was one of the greatest gifts of my life. It did things for me that I would never have believed It could do for me.”
While working with the other students she realized what she wanted to do was draw and paint on her pots. She enjoyed drawing and painting for years and wanted to add that to her pottery. And she noticed another student scratching into his pots, and she added sgrafitto (incised or scratched lines) to her designs.
One of Deb’s long-standing designs is her dragonfly pottery. She adds the dragonflies, always in pairs, to the raw pottery pieces before they are bisque fired using black underglaze and a bamboo brush. She has the design down to 7 strokes per dragonfly—the 4 wings, the body, and the 2 eyes. She hasn’t varied her technique because it takes her back to her early love of calligraphy.
Once the piece is bisque fired, she puts a wax resist on the dragonflies and glazes the piece. In the final firing the wax resist burns off and the dragonfly texture stands in contrast to the gloss of the glazed surface.
Deb makes her own glazes and enjoys the excitement and mystery of mixing the tactile ingredients that will become colors and textures on her finished work. “There are so many talented potters in this area. I realized I needed to make glazes that are different from everyone else’s.” She’s worked hard to steer her color palette so that it is unique to her work.
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/
by Juanita Canzoneri
I interviewed Helen Smithwick in her studio on the west side of Colorado Springs. Large windows looked out at Pikes Peak through bare spring tree branches from the homes across the street.
Helen is a botanical illustrator, which means she makes illustrations of plants and flowers. Animals have crept in from time to time, but that’s technically not botanical.
She received her certification in this through the School of Botanical Art and Illustration in Denver, graduating with honors in 2013. Helen attended this school because she always enjoyed art and never had any piece of paper to prove that she could do it. “It kind of seemed cool to have a little piece of paper,” she says.
She spent the first few years after receiving certification exhibiting her work in shows. It’s fun to get dressed up and go to an opening every so often, but that wanes after a bit. She applied to Commonwheel last February to “see if I could sell anything.”
“I’m enjoying Commonwheel,” Helen states. “I love the people. I’ve met the neatest people—different, eccentric, wonderful, kind. They’ve been just amazing. When I had to go to Australia for a family emergency, everyone just jumped up and pitched in to cover my shifts and help out.”
Helen has a lovely British accent, having grown up in the south of England, near Winchester. She met her husband, Bob, in West Africa while she was teaching in the British equivalent of Peace Corps. They were both in a tiny village on the coast of Ghana.
They moved to Colorado when they were first married and started a family.
“I’ve drawn all my life. I was the kid sitting in the corner doodling around my notes. You’re told as a young person that art isn’t something to pursue, but I always did it on the side. My kids would laugh when they could come across a stack of my old drawings and exclaim that they didn’t know I would do this.”
“When I retired a very good friend of mine told me about the Botanical School and said it was exactly what I would need, so we started taking classes together. She dropped out but I continued. You get to a point where you’ve taken half the classes and you think, I might as well finish this. “
Most people achieve their certification in two or three years. Helen took three years.
The nice thing about botanical drawings is that your subjects are just outside the door. Helen prefers to work from live specimens, which means she sometimes must work very quickly, keeping the plants in the refrigerator. She’ll work 8-hour days on a drawing, taking 2-3 days to complete a piece to make sure the plant lasts.
This proves to be a problem in winter when the plants are dormant. She keeps a stash of dried plants in the corner of her studio, “but those get boring so I will work from photographs. I do not like doing that because I feel a photograph distorts. But I’ll do it because sometimes in the winter you want to work on something other than a dried specimen.”
Coming from England where you “just throw a seed in the ground and it grows” she hasn’t found gardening in Colorado to be one of her favorite things. Her husband prefers to garden. “Here, I discovered, you have to actually water things. I love to get my hands in the soil and mess around in it but, no, I’m not a very good gardener.”
“People give me plants. I borrow them, I go out and find a lot of wild flowers.” It’s good to have friends who garden. “I’m shameless. One year my Shasta Daisies didn’t do well, and Bob and I were out walking and passed a house with beautiful daisies. I just went up and knocked on the front door and asked if they would mind if I took some of their plants to draw them. They said I could, so I did.”
Because of her School of Botanical Arts training Helen works in a variety of media—graphite, carbon dust, watercolor, pen and ink, watercolor pencil, colored pencil on Mylar. Her favorites are watercolor and watercolor pencil.
We asked the four artists in this gallery show several questions:
Tell us about why/how you got into art.
What does making art mean to you?
What has inspired you for this show?
Walk us through the your creative process.
What emotions/reactions/thoughts do you want your work to bring?
What is your favorite piece for sale at this event?
Where can we find your work: website, social media, local stores.
Here are their responses.
I’ve been painting all my adult life and as a child I loved to draw, much to the consternation of teachers who found it hard to get me to concentrate on lessons. From a coal mining town in Pennsylvania my parents moved us to Manhattan, New York City when I was sixteen. I attended the Art Students’ League in New York for four years and my first professional art exhibit took place at the prestigious Salmagundi Club where I was one of the first women artists elected to membership. After moving to Colorado in 1983 I continued to study with artists whose work I admired while having representation in galleries in Santa Fe, Taos and Colorado. My work began to earn awards at national exhibits, and I was inducted into the Master Circle in the International Association of Pastel Societies.
My work, whether in oils or pastels is my pathway to exploration and expression of the environment as I experience it. It has been my passion for most of my life and continues to be so. This exhibit in oils includes some of my tree series paintings which has preoccupied me for some years as well as abstractions which are more recent works. Although the tree series may be considered referential, I feel they are close to abstractions in that I take great liberties with nature in composition, color and visual interpretation. Expression through vibrant color combinations intrigues me and is present in all my paintings, no matter the genre.
My hope is to engage the viewer, if just for a moment, and communicate the sense of excitement and connectivity I felt in its creation.
While working as a health care professional for many years, I have had many affairs with different arts and crafts. I was always on the lookout for the one that would captivate and challenge me—my one true love that would balance out my very left-brained, non-creative profession.
I’ve found all this and more with glass, and along with my newly empty nest, I’m experiencing a Renaissance.
My current body of work includes small glass mosaic pieces (light switch covers) and fused glass work utilizing recycled glass (tempered glass shelving and automobile glass). I love the green aspect of using “glass with a past”. They take on a life and Renaissance of their own.
Each piece is individually designed in my Colorado studio with special attention to color, flow, and functionality.
Whether I’m working on a mosaic piece, or trusting the kiln gods with a fused glass creation, I am learning to appreciate the magic and alchemy that transform a simple material into a glorious piece of art.
I enjoyed being part of the Recycled Art show that Commonwheel had a year ago. So, when the opportunity arose to get into another show I jumped at it. This is a beautiful gallery, all the artists I met were welcoming and professional.
My favorite work right now is the fused glass. All the objects are made from recycled glass, some of which I pull from dumpsters while on walks around my neighborhood, some of which magically appears on my front porch as my neighbors all know what I do. The green pieces are from the rear window of a car. I use so much of that glass that I now go to a junk yard in Denver with a sledge hammer when I need to replenish my stock. Other types of glass I use are shower doors and glass shelving. All of this glass would end up in a landfill if I hadn't "rescued" it. We, as a society, simply throw too much stuff away.
I hope viewers of my work will be surprised and delighted to see what can be made from glass that is typically thought of as trash.
My website: IndigoMesaGlassworks.com
My facebook: Indigo Mesa Glassworks
I am a member of Shadow Mountain Gallery (also an artist-owned gallery) in Evergreen, Colorado.
I have always been interested in art, in elementary school I was the kid who was drawing instead of doing my work. I flirted with becoming a commercial artist or graphic designer, but being a musician won. My initial medium was drawing, either pencil or pen and ink, but once I got the opportunity to use a potters’ wheel I was instantly in love with clay. I have been a hobby potter for nearly thirty years, it’s an obsession.
Creativity is my drug of choice, whether it’s making music or making art. Art is my solace, my therapy, my expression of living in the moment.
I have been exploring clay saggar firing for the past couple of years. I’m intrigued by the element of chance of atmospheric firings. There is no possibility of duplication, there’s no way to plan how the gasses in the kiln will color the clay. I love that spontaneity and randomness. It’s an artistic expression of Carpe Diem. Every time I open the kiln it’s like Christmas.
I have been intrigued by bottles for many years and have been trying to perfect the form. I was inspired many years ago by a poster in our community studio of wood fired bottles. When I discovered the saggar firing technique it was a perfect combination. The "saggar" is pot made of clay that the piece to be fired sits inside of. I wrap old guitar strings around the piece to create dark lines. Then inside that saggar I put various combustible materials that will create chemical gasses that will color the piece. Some of the materials I will put in the saggar are wood chips, horse manure, plant food, coffee grounds, salt, all sorts of things. A big part of the fun is playing mad scientist, throwing various things in the saggar to see what they do. One happy accident was when the guitar string melted onto the piece, I loved the look and now I try to make that happen. The saggar is then put into the kiln and fired to about 1700 degrees.
I want people to see beauty, to see spontaneity. To enjoy the moment that was captured by the clay when they look at my work.
My favorite piece for this show is this bottle (see below). I love it. The form is beautiful, the colors have depth and variety. This is a perfect coming together of chance and skill.
My facebook page is the best place: https://www.facebook.com/PotteryByJosie/
I am also on Instagram as fiddlequick.
I am a member of the Aurora Potters’ Guild, my work can be found at their bi annual sale.
I have always been an artist, but when I started college, I did not think it a viable major; yet took a painting or drawing course every semester. I had switched majors three times, until as a sophomore my art professor asked what in the world I was doing – and that for heavens sake I should be majoring in art, and not only that, they needed me! It’s pretty seductive to feel needed, and that’s where I was happiest, so I switched majors one last time.
Making art is not only a way of expressing my world–but also being part of the creative force. One of my colleagues talks about being a Maker, which is profound, yet so basic!
The original concept for this exhibit focused on a variety of media and abstraction, hence, “Eclectic Expressions.” Despite advice from professionals and gallerists to stay with a single theme, there was always a new path to explore and more than one tempting choice to make. I often consider Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” And I wonder. . . Yet, life is exciting, and thus should be one’s work. It’s not just a journey – but real trip!
I start with my sketchbook, in plein air, and/or photos, or sometimes with memories so distant they can only be rendered as abstraction, i.e., Sand and Sea. At times research is needed: i.e., dragonflies don’t pose.
I want the person looking at my work to find Connection. The viewer brings his/her own story to a work of art.
My favorite piece of work for this show is RED. Aside from the universal emotion of the color red, and the universal symbolism of the spiral, it was just plain fun to focus on mixing so many varieties of a single color - which is essentially the only thing I needed to think about during the painting process.
My artwork can be found at Commonwheel Artists Co-op, Manitou Springs CO; BLUECANYONART, and SOUTHWINDS Gallery, Monument CO
Interview by Juanita Canzoneri
I interviewed Frank and Ginny Maiolo, our March Artists of the Month, in their home studio.
Frank and Ginny named their studio Monument Moon because they live in Monument, Colorado and Ginny has been enamored by the moon all her life.
Frank and Jenny are jewelers. They design and create jewelry from silver or copper with gemstones and precious semi-precious stones. They make rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants, sometimes dog tags.
Most of their work is done with hot connections using solder and flux. They use an acetylene air torch for silver soldering. They have been rock hounds their entire lives and have a large collection of stones in their studio.
Ginny and Frank retired from corporate America seven years ago and decided to have fun with the rest of their lives. They had both been managers for software development groups at FedEx. One of the women worked for Ginny made jewelry and Ginny asked if this woman would give her a class.
She came home from the class and left all of her class instructions on the table and went shopping. When she came back home Frank had already made two pair of earrings.
They had no idea they wanted to work in metal. Frank read through the instructions Ginny had left behind and decided it looked like fun. Being a little more familiar with tools he helped with those. “I was afraid of the torch,” Ginny confessed. “it was a little still a little unnerving at times, but Frank is really good with the torch.”
I asked the question I typically ask silversmiths: how many hammers do you have? They start counting and come up with 17. They’d have more but the hammers they like are really expensive. Then I point out a large hammer under the table, giving a final count of 18.
They use a rolling mill as much as hammers for texture and have another tool with a texture attachment.
I asked Frank how he came to start his line of Camino jewelry. In 2015 they decided to would do the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain, a 500-mile-walk through Spain on the Santiago de Compostela.
After they got home, they realized most of the commemorative jewelry they had seen on the trip was made in China. So, Frank came up with a couple designs for pendants, rings, earrings, and bracelets and has been selling those now for a couple of years through our Monument Moon site, Etsy, and Amazon handmade. The pieces can also be found in Camino Marketplace on Facebook.
Frank and Ginny started their business while in their sixties and it's flourishing. “So often we think it's too late. I'm retired and there’s nothing more I can do,” Ginny says. “But it's never too late! When I retired Frank got me this card and I framed it and put it in my studio. ‘There will come a time when you think everything is finished, but that will be the beginning.’ And it's so true. this has changed our entire life.”
They’ve always been interested in art. Ginny paints and they've always been an advocate of the Arts. They travel the world going to Art Museums and so it's always been an interest. “I thought I would stick with painting,” Ginny says, “but I wasn't that good at it. I enjoy it, and it's fun, and I still do it. But jewelry just resonated with both of us it was just so completely us, using the things that we've always loved. Having been in the corporate world all of our professional careers this was something where we just reinvented ourselves.”
Frank has an MBA project management, undergraduate business information. Ginny has an undergrad in psychology which has helped her deal with group dynamics. She taught in the corporate world as well as managed and comments, “you'd be surprised how often we use that in the world of artists. Group dynamics are pretty similar no matter what group you're in.”
But Commonwheel has been a freeing experience for them both. They had rigid corporate standards in software development, which is something that really turns software developers off because they want to have their own thing. Now they can do anything they want and can experiment, and play, and don't have to worry about it.
For the newly retired or those who want to expand their creative life the recommend taking classes anywhere you can find them.
“Explore,” says Ginny “I never thought I would get into jewelry making. I enjoyed it, I love buying it, but I would always look at it and think well I could make that. And then I started making jewelry and it's a lot harder than I thought. Explore. Play. Don’t be too ready to say you can't do something.”
Whatever you learn will often carry over into other areas. Looking at the different types of art that Commonwheel carries and that they do you will find they all draw on the same art concepts: the rule of threes, asymmetry, and so on. Everyone has creativity whether it's in music, writing, art, even thinking—which basically starts at all.
Ginny and Frank have two completely different design methods. Ginny has a basket of ideas in her space. When there were wildfires near their home a few years ago, this basket is one of the things their daughter took to keep safe. The basket contains her ideas, drawings, names, etc. “I keep it by me at night when Frank's watching TV and jot down ideas. I have a basketful of paper and pencils and I'm designing,” Ginny says.
Frank says he designs at the bench. He doesn't do any drawings. He just sits down with his raw materials and it grows. Usually he's picked a stone out of their collection first and does a lot of designing in his head.
Franks calls is designs simplistic elegance and Ginny says she gets way too into a piece and has to figure out where to stop. So, she ends up with some designs that she can't finish without showing it to Frank and say “now what do I do?”
But they do definitely help each other with the design and with the technical aspects. “I'm so afraid I'm going to melt something” says Ginny about fusing. “I don't want it to melt and Frank is so totally comfortable with that torch. He knows it intimately.”
In addition to Commonwheel Artists Co-op and our Labor Day Festival the Maiolo’s sell at Front Range Open Studios. This will be their seventh year. There are currently 16 artists in Monument that are part of the weekend event in September.
Interview by Juanita Canzoneri. Photographs by Juanita Canzoneri and Teri Rowan.
Jon joined Commonwheel as a jeweler in 2018 and has made himself indispensable to our Jury/Display committee. I went to his home/studio to interview him for this article.
He is our Artist of the Month for February 2019. All his work is on sale at 10% off through the month.
So, what is it that you do?
I'm a silversmith.
And how did you get into that?
I've often admired I've long admired Southwestern jewelry and wanted to learn some of those basic techniques. But I didn't want to try and duplicate the designs that the Indians used, I wanted to do my own designs. So I took a couple classes of some of the basic techniques. That was about 25 years ago and I've been kind of self-taught since then.
What did you do before you took up silversmithing?
Lots—small animal veterinarian for 20 years, then my wife and I owned a bird feeding store which gradually transitioned into a bookstore.
Yeah, I’m a birder. We sold that and the next thing was a B&B with some rental cabins here in Manitou. I most recently we had the kitchen store then the economy changed, and we retired from that.
Now I have more time to spend on my silversmithing.
Where do you get your silver?
Most of it I get from Santa Fe jewelry supply. I get sheets and wire. They come in an incredible variety.
Speaking of working with a commodity, right now it's not too bad but the price has been pretty high in the past. While I've been working with it can remember $5 an ounce and as high as $40 an ounce. Right now it's at $15, so not bad.
What part of the country did you grow up in?
I was born in DC but grew up in Colorado in Wheat Ridge. Went to school in Boulder for a few years got a degree in Zoology, then 4 years in Fort Collins for veterinary medicine. Now I'm in a career that I never have to retire from and enjoy a lot.
So when you started silversmithing did you take classes from somebody locally?
Yeah Suzanne Lindquist was giving a 3-day class for kids at the Business of Art Center (now the Manitou Art Center). I called them up and asked if they would take an adult in that class and they said, I guess. Do you have anybody signed up yet? They said, no. What's the minimum number of people you need? 3. So I recruited a neighbor and somebody else to take it. We started by working on overlay, which is a technique that I still use and some basic forming.
And then the next year she was doing a class at the Pikes Peak Community College and I took a semester there, and then another one again the next year and learned more techniques. She was an instructor that really emphasized learning design as opposed to just techniques, so we got along really well. I learned a lot from her.
After that it's just looking at jewelry, and there's a lot to look at. Jerry Scavezze,a gallery owner in Salida, he just sold his store. I was talking to him when he closed, and he said there's so many techniques out there you can't learn them all. You have to pick one and just go with it. I said yeah, my techniques are hammering and sawing, very basic stuff. Kind of goes along with the really simple designs I do.
How many hammers do you have?
About a dozen, I suppose.
Only a dozen?
Maybe it's more than that. some of them I inherited from my grandfather and father. One was grandfather was a blacksmith and the other the mechanic and I was the only boy in the family, so I've got a garage full of tools that I've inherited. I modified some of these for forming or texturing or rounding.
It sounds like you've got metal in your history with your grandfather being a blacksmith.
And my dad was a mechanical engineer. he worked on cars a lot was a handy guy that did a lot of things.
So what types of silver work do you do?
I like texturing. You have to be in the zone to do it. You start making marks and you have to just start and be consistent. Ideally you hit every spot once and make it consistent because of the reflectivity of silver because of the reflectivity of silver reflective substance where is when it's all dimpled and shiny like that it just blames and sparkles.
I really like copper as well, but I have problems with the perceived value of copper. You can spend two hours on a copper piece, and the same on a silver piece, and there would be no comparison in what you could get for them. It also has to do with so many kinds and availability of silver you have sheets and wire and I'll get different thicknesses and shapes—square, round, half-round, flat. It's a head start on all of the shapes you trying to accomplish.
I work with an anvil on a stump--standard jewelry studio stuff. I do a lot of work on that. I have different anvils too. One is actually a part of a railroad my dad had, and what's cool about that is if you hammer a piece of metal on it gets a sandy texture.
Where are you selling other than Commonwheel?
Arati gallery, Green Horse Gallery. I was in Santa Fe for twenty-odd years.
This is a truly beautiful show that has been assembled. We have work by 24 Front Range artists in this juried show and wow, what a mix of work. The members who hang our gallery shows were very excited to see all of this art.
We asked these artists four questions:
1) In a short paragraph, tell us about yourself.
2) What does making art mean to you?
3) What has inspired you for this show?
4) Where can we find your work: website, social media, local stores.
Below are their responses.
I have always been told that I have an "eye for photography". I purchased my first Canon DSLR in 2010 and have been studying digital photography on my own ever since, with the help of a few inspiring hands-on workshops. My other passion is studying wildlife behavior. So naturally my "focus" is wildlife and nature photography. A year ago, I moved to Colorado where I have begun to expand my focus to the majestic Rocky Mountains, fascinating wildlife and beautiful flora of this area.
I love being in Nature and capturing it's beauty so I can share my visual images with others.
Flowing water in the high desert is not as plentiful as in other part of the country that I have lived in. Any chance I get, I capture its smoothing flow and am excited to shear my images in this show.
Here is where you can find my images:
Facebook: Alan Boucher Photography
Local Store: Bella Art & Frame
My grandmother was an artist with an appreciation for the environment. Growing up around her creative influences pushed me to pursue art at a young age. It started with just a pencil, then I continued with color throughout high school and graduated from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania with a BFA. I have been painting for about 10 years, focusing on landscapes and environmental awareness.
I like telling stories with a visual platform for the viewer to understand my interpretation of environmental issues. These statements will hopefully plant a seed to make people think more about their impact.
My love for the ocean. These two paintings are directed towards our acidic oceans bleaching coral reefs, our plastic problem and overall pollution to our lakes and rivers, which eventually lead to the ocean. We all live downstream!
"Sometimes I spend hours applying paint on a canvas before I feel Like I'm painting". Hedy DuCharme
Painting for me pure is relaxation and a challenge mentally and spiritually. My soul needs to create and express itself to be content and alive. It's a wonderful feeling to be totally absorbed in creating something from the mind and heart, even if it doesn't become a "best ever" creation.
My interest in art began in High School back in the 60's. It was the first time I was exposed to art: drawing, color, paints, clay, ink drawing, and learning to see.
I went on to study art and art history at Michigan State University and graduated with a BFA. I went on to teach art for 5 years. In high school and college I learned that I was most interested in painting. I love working and creating with color.
My favorite period of art is the Impressionists with their loose brushwork, textured paint, nature themes, natural light, and creating their own interpretation of a theme or scene.
For the past 10 years I have had much time to devote to painting more confidently, regularly, and with a more sincere passion then I previously had.
I was a docent at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center for 13 years. I had the opportunity to be immersed in great art not just locally but in museums around the country on docent organized trips. The ongoing training in the docent program kept me engaged with art principles and theory on a regular basis, which kept me learning, and discussing art on a regular basis.
During this time I became more inspired to create my own work and appreciate the art of many local artists. I had to challenge myself to enter juried and non-juried shows to expand my abilities, to be challenged by new themes, and to become part of the local artists community. Traveling to the great museums in Europe has been a huge inspiration to see some of the greatest art, architecture and artists from all over the world.
Many of my paintings are created from photos I have taken around Colorado, New Mexico, Europe, from my garden and gardens I have visited.
Submitting paintings for this "Water" themed show was a good challenge because water is such an important part of our everyday life, we can't live without it. And we enjoy water visually in the mountains—lakes, streams, waterfalls, ponds, and rain. We enjoy swimming in water, fishing, snorkeling in oceans, and walking a beach. There is life in water. We see reflections in water.
Water is many colors and no color making it a challenge to create on a 2-dimensional surface. I wanted to expand my use of using a sponge instead of a brush to create softer lines, layers of colors, and smooth edges, and more use of my hands than a paintbrush allows.
To see some of my paintings and current shows I'm exhibiting in I post them on my Facebook Page under Hedy DuCharme.
Locally I have exhibited at Cottonwood Center for the Arts, The former Colorado Springs Fine Art Center (docent show), Chapel of our Savior, Academy Art and Frame,, First Presbyterian Church, Discovery Church, The Bridge Gallery, and currently The Little Wine Barrel.
I’ve had a love for photographing nature since childhood. While attending church camp in the summer, instead of coming home with pictures of new friends and fun times, the whole role of film would be filled with chipmunks and forested area. The passion has always been there, but it wasn’t until around 2005 that I decided to start sharing my work. There is beauty all around us, and I want to share God’s masterpieces with others.
To me, making art means being able to share something unique with others. I want the viewer to feel that they are in the photograph ~ that they can feel the cold, or smell the flower, or touch the tree.
Water is a powerful force on different levels. Whether it's the vastness of an ocean, or the intense momentum of a waterfall, they can equally make one feel like they're a minute part of our universe.
You can find my work at Facebook.com/ANobleTouchPhotography
Julia L. Wright
My love of Nature and being outdoors has been part of my life as far back as I can remember. Creating art in many forms has been the basis of my life starting with theatre when I built sets and directed others in High School and college. I created fiber-based crafts ranging from macramé plant hangers or unique wall pieces that included found objects and woven elements. Feathers have always been part of my art creations. Mandala style feather wall hangings evolved into my creating feather masks. Creating those masks still is very fun! Creating earrings, hairclips and pendants was a natural progression to ways to create artful accessories using feathers and found objects.
I have taken thousands of photographs on my hikes and in many gardens. About six years ago I started using my realistic nature and other photos to illustrate my books and journals. And more recently, I began to use my realistic photographs to create different types of decks of cards for children and adults.
Three years ago, I “fell down a rabbit hole of creativity” and began using my Nature photos to create abstract, kaleidoscopic and mandala style images by taking a little part of a Nature photo and playing with it in PhotoShop. Currently these can only be seen online. Original versions of my photographic Nature-based images can be seen in this show and express my love of Nature.
When I am in my studio or sitting at my computer, I get totally lost in the process and my imagination can run pretty wild thinking about how to take the images I captured and create something totally unique and fun or hone in a specific element found in a photograph, such as water. It uplifts my spirit to honor the beauty of the amazing places I get to hike and glorify Nature in various artful ways.
Working in my feather studio or on a computer or taking photos on my hikes always has my creative juices flowing. I am constantly looking for some new way to use the materials at hand to create a bit of awe and wonder when someone sees the finished art.
Nature is my most powerful inspiration. When hiking or passing a beautiful garden, I often stop to take in the amazingly beautiful natural creations that surround me. A driftwood stump or a rock formation or a bit of moss can be as enticing to my eye as a beautiful wildflower. The reflection of a mountain or rock formation or clouds in water can stop me in my tracks to look deeper into that fleeting image. Each one makes my heart sing and my spirit soar with joy when I take the time to really look at the beauty others pass by each day without noticing it.
The normal concept of a photograph is a translation or transformation of a scene onto a two-dimensional surface, and most photographers leave it at that. Back on my computer, I become immersed in the process of creating something new and visionary from what I saw to create a unique view and transform that image into an artistic composition.
Some of my photos get used as they were taken, or maybe have sections highlighted. Other times, the process of transformation starts when I notice some interesting element in a section of a Nature photograph. Then I will start to transform that photograph by modifying a section of the image in such a way that it becomes something totally new and uniquely changed from its original shape.
The idea of using my Nature photos for card decks for children came from seeing too many instances of how little respect people have for the natural world and can only hope that by showing how beautiful and fragile wildflowers can be starting with a card game that might inspire more kids to get out and search for them and find other reasons to respect their natural surroundings.
My books have very practical advice and have come from my own experiences and based on creating a more sustainable art festival and natural solutions for health. And I recently updated my tree squirrel book and created a new one about ground squirrels in which I express my love of squirrels and teach children a bit about them.
My journals are based on specific themes, but they are not just “blank books”. They have practical advice in the introductions and some photographs related to the journal’s subject. Each one has prompts for a person to fill in the blanks relating to that prompt and can be used to write down their thoughts and have pages to sketch on or color designs in some of the books.
All art involves an artist taking up some media and transforming it into a new form or image that comes from their vision and imagination. I try to transform what most people see as ordinary into something extraordinary with a unique way of seeing the world.
Often when hiking, I, Julia, stop to take some time to look at a bit of Nature. Sometimes it is a part of a tree; maybe a root, a stump or a burl. Looking towards the ground I may spy a uniquely shaped mushroom or flower that catches my eye. Sometimes moss growing on a tree or on a rock causes me to stop to look closer at a section of it. So I take a photograph.
Reflections seen in water have always captured my imagination. I am often surprised when I look at a photograph on the computer to see a reflection of clouds or shoreline plants that create a lovely addition to the landscape that I was seeking to capture.
I have a great respect for the pristine waters that flow down from mountains in rivers and creeks and form ponds and lakes I discover along hiking trails. It saddens me to see trash collecting in them and have never understood why if someone can carry in a heavier item, when it is empty, they can’t carry it back out . . . I am always careful to be sure the area I visit is not burdened with any items I bring in and pack them out myself. I have the hope when people view photos expressing the beauty of Nature, the might become a bit more aware how they can take actions to keep where they travel as pristine as when they arrived.
My work can be found at:
Manitou Art Center in the First Amendment Gallery
My books are also on Amazon under the name of HieroGraphics Books.
kj becker is a manitou springs-based artists with a unique set of skills and over 22 years of combined experience in the areas where there are deficiencies in the social system for the expressive arts and how we connect with marginalized populations, such as, military veterans, sexual assault survivors, and differently-abled folks. kj has been an artist all her life and received a bfa in studio art and psychology from the university of illinois in 2007 after 5 years of active duty in the air force as a mental health technician. kj went on to manage the arts of life in chicago and then worked for the va doing expressive art peer support. today KJ is a full-time professional artist.
for kj, artmaking is all about the process. having physical disabilities and ptsd from her time in the air force, kj has found the physicality of artmaking is most beneficial compared to traditional therapies and medications that are commonly prescribed.
"adored" is an artistic expression of kj falling in love with her partner in the summer of 2018. contrary to previous works that were more about the physicality of the art piece, rather than concept, kj is just starting to explore what her "story" is, as she has felt invisible for decades.
current residency at art111, the manitou art center, library 21c, and a solo show in april 2019 at goatpatch brewery
As with all life-changing shifts, I did not come to art gracefully or willingly. I received a channeled message in Jan. 2014 that I would be used as a conduit to create paintings that contained energetic messages designed to benefit humanity's evolution and that these messages would be embedded into the paint. The messages themselves would draw the people to them that needed those frequencies. My instruction was to "hold the brush and wait." I experienced tremendous discomfort and frustration in this process. It was 18 months before anything started to happen, before I felt any "click" while moving color on canvas or wood. I disliked almost everything I painted during this time. The one thing that made a difference, and that kept me squarely in the instruction, holding the brush while seemingly nothing occurred, was an earlier experience with receiving an internal intuitive message that also made no sense and was in direct opposition to my lifestyle, yet brought forth an outcome for me that consisted of success and happiness beyond my wildest dreams. At some time early on in this extremely stuttery, cranky-producing painting process, some dragon shapes started to appear in the paint that I had not created myself. They insisted on being seen and on being painted. They are in charge of this energetic process and bring joy to these paintings and to me.
The painting "Transformation: The Fire/Water Dance" is a channel or portal for balance. During the floods after the Waldo Canyon fire, I often thought about how what we perceive as an extreme negative event might just be the exact thing that brings about perfect balance. The dance of fire and water in our particular geography is ancient and, I believe, directly impacts our consciousness, even if we are unaware of these effects. Our fiery moments tend to consume us. Our watery moments bring forth more fluidity in our moment to moment living. We are integral to our landscapes and our landscapes continuously offer us their blessings, even when they come disguised as catastrophe.
The dragons and I are eternally grateful for all opportunities to express, fulfill, and serve as conduits for any who are drawn to the energetic gifts of the galactic light art paintings.
Paintings can be viewed at http://www.galacticlightart.com and at Movement Arts Community Studio, 525 E Fountain Blvd, Ste. 150, Co Spgs: http://www.movementartscs.com.
Like many people, I had to wait until I retired to begin exploring my artistic abilities. Luckily I was able to retire early, and after experimenting with many media, including clay, mixed media, alcohol ink, jewelry, etc., I found my true passion in fused glass. I enjoy experimenting, and particularly enjoy creating 3-D pieces in the kiln. This requires a number of firings at varying temperatures, all taking between 9-20 hours, with 4 or 5 hours of cool-down time. My inspiration comes from nature, including both the mountains and the sea, having lived near the beach in Florida for 12 years. I have been working in fused glass for 14 years, I have three kilns, and have taken over every inch of available space in my house and garage for my studio! I’m looking forward to adding a fourth, larger kiln to my collection so that I can create taller and larger pieces.
Creating art is the most important thing I do. It makes me feel like I am contributing something of value, and it brings me much happiness, both in the process of creating and in the end result.
As stated above, the sea is a huge source of inspiration. All of the colors found at the sea shore are my favorites, and the beautiful colors of art glass lend themselves perfectly to this theme. I try capture the whimsy and movement of the sea, so I can remind people of how they feel when they are on the shore and in the water.
My work can be found on my Facebook page, LoLo’s Paloozas (www.facebook.com/LoLosPaloozas/), and is currently sold in the Strictly Guffey Gallery in Guffey, Colorado. I exhibit at many other venues in the Colorado Springs area including the MAC, the Modbo, Cottonwood Center for the Arts, and others.
These works represent a technique I discovered quite on accident over a year ago but have only more recently started to create actual pieces. I use a variety of surface material and then combine water and tissue paper to create texture and color. I control the color and design for any piece. They are then finished using a high gloss urethane. The water adds a fluid and abstract nature to the works that changes the color, light and perspective for the viewer.
I grew up in an artistic family and have always been drawn to creating, designing and working with color and pigments. My father was an interior designer and I learned much of the foundation of my knowledge in textiles and design from him when I was growing up. I later attended Denver University where I studied Interior Design and the Instituto Allende in Mexico where I studied the fine arts and sculpture. As an adult I studied French Interior Design and French Culinary Arts in Paris.
I have lived in the Cascade area now for over 35 years permanently. These last 5 years I have enjoyed studying and experimenting with many different mediums, creating my own, directly from plant-based pigment. I photograph natural color from food, flowers and birds. And study light. The only element that creates color. I cook. And eat. And enjoy life, from a different perspective these days. And always creating. And designing.
You can see more of my design work by visiting my website at: DeramusDesigns.houzz.com linkedin.com
Rhonda Van Pelt
I grew up in an artistic family: my dad worked in wood and my mom painted. I earned my bachelor’s degree in art (painting emphasis) in 1980 at the University of Southern Colorado, where I studied with Lew Tilley, Robert Wands, Ed Sajbel and Orlin Helgoe. I’ve been a working artist ever since and have combined that with my love of writing to work as a graphic designer and as a journalist with various publications.
For me, a day without being creative is a wasted day. I am excited and inspired by nature, other artists’ work and simply walking down a street and being observant.
I love the patterns I see in nature. I manipulated photos I took at Monument Valley Park to make them abstract and then, for the first time, had my photos printed on metal. I think it’s especially appropriate and effective for this subject matter.
I mostly show at the Manitou Art Center and Academy Art & Frame Co., but in March, I will also have a solo exhibit in Colorado Springs City Hall. Also see: rhondashouseofcreativity.shutterfly.com.
As a child I was always making stuff with no concern about whether or not it was art. I simply enjoyed it. Born and raised in central California, I attended Fresno State College (BA Degree and General Secondary Teaching Credential), followed by graduate work at the University of California at Berkeley (MA Degree with Specialty in painting). Further studies were undertaken at the University of California at Los Angeles, the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and overseas at the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts in Salzburg, Austria.
Before moving to Colorado Springs in 1995, I spent 29 years as an art teacher with the Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Germany and Belgium. Extensive travel, including photo safaris to East Africa and scuba diving trips to the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Hawaii have been rich sources of inspiration for my art, which has appeared in local, national, and international shows.
Here in Colorado, I was a studio artist at the Manitou Art Center for 4 years, a member of the Commonwheel Artists Co-op for 10 years, and taught ceramics part-time for 12 years at Pikes Peak Community College. Now I enjoy working in my own studio at home.
Art, in whatever form it might take, is something that I must do, and I’ll keep doing it as long as I’m able.
Fifteen of the most exciting years of my life were spent as a scuba diver, exploring the undersea world in such faraway places as the Mediterranean, The Caribbean, and the Red Sea, as well as the Indian Ocean and the Hawaiian Pacific. It was like entering another world of coral reefs teeming with life beneath the surface of the water, and with an underwater camera was able to capture some of it on film.
Now that I no longer dive, I can relive those fabulous adventures by scanning a few of the many slides I’ve collected. Each has a story to tell. These old photos can be reworked and improved by enlarging, cropping, repositioning, and enhancing in various ways. The possibilities are endless. My goal is that these pictures have artistic value and are more than just snapshots. For me, a clay artist, this is an exciting new creative adventure into another medium that I’m happy to share with you, the viewer. I hope you enjoy these pictures.
My ceramic work and photos can be seen by appointment at my home studio in Colorado Springs. I can be contacted by phone at 719/592-0984 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, I have a few ceramic pieces in Commonwheel’s online store at www.commonwheel.com.
I recently moved from Delaware to Colorado Springs to pursue my photography career. I got my first DSLR camera when I was 18 and have loved taking photos since. My junior year of college I officially declared my major as photography and dove in head first. Landscape, nature, and wildlife photography have always been my "jam" as I like to say. I have been taking small steps to further my career since moving to Colorado and I could not be more excited to see what the future holds.
To me, making art means I get to show the world the way I see and feel it. One of my favorite things about photography is that no one else sees the world exactly like I do or feels exactly what I felt in the moment that I create a photograph. It is fulfilling and profound to create something that makes you happy no matter how simple, or complex, it may be.
Being from Delaware I grew up surrounded by water - ponds, lakes, the bay, and the ocean. It has been a common subject of my photography since I first started out 8 years ago. There is a huge draw to water for me, whether its capturing a reflection on a still lake, or the rushing waters of a river.
Instagram: @ amyshortphoto
Gallery: Colorado Creative Co-Op in Old Colorado City
I've been drawing and painting as long as I can remember! I was the "artistic" kid in my family, even in elementary school. I majored in graphic design in college and worked in that field for 20 years. Although I took some painting classes in college, I'm mostly self-taught. Throughout my teens and adult years, even when working full time as a commercial art, I continued to paint - always in watercolors. I started showing and selling my work in local and regional art festivals about 15 years ago. I feel that my artwork enjoyed a significant "growth spurt" in quantity and quality a few years ago when I was able to devote more time to painting.
To me, making art is one way that I interpret the world that I experience, and one way that I "archive" an experience in a tangible form. Art is a recording of my experience and an invitation for the viewer to share that experience.
I was inspired to start painting water scenes because, frankly, it was a challenge, and I like to take on painting "challenges" especially when others comment "oh, that's SO hard to paint!". I'm especially drawn to interpret and portray local water scenes in my paintings, because water is so precious and so scarce here. I painted the 'Blue Mesa Reservoir" scenes from photos I took there on a cold, very windy day. The rocks and whitecaps made me feel like I was at the ocean, and I tried to capture that feeling.
I belong to the Mountain Artists in Woodland Park, the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society, and the Western Colorado Watercolor Society. My work can be viewed on the Mountain Artists website, and in various exhibits that they sponsor in Woodland Park, including the Mountain Arts Festival.
A 1998 graduate from the Colorado Institute of Art, I found my love for photography at an early age through the appreciation of geometric angles and in 2013 evolved to underwater photography...
Underwater photography should take you to another realm, a world that people can experience through my imagery.
Challenged by the unpredictable element of water and weightless gravity, the outcome produces some of the most visually unique images - human forms unlike any found on land, free flowing of fabric, no worry hair and an unearthed world that is created.
I am Underwater Conceptual Photographer
I have always had a love for the water from the sound to touch to even the smell. When I see underwater imagery there is a kind of purity and freedom. By putting people into an environment that human life is not generally pictured, a whole new world of imagination can be created. There is such natural beauty within the source of water. We are surrounded by water internally and externally and combining the two shows the strength that water is composed of and how it truly is a source of life. Water can be interpreted in many ways, it is up to the audience to decide what they see and how it moves them. I love the unpredictability of the outcome, both for myself, the subject and the audience.
I was motivated to take my photography further upon moving to this beautiful state of CO from the Midwest. I am a self-taught photographer and have been taking photos professionally for 7 years now but photographing as a non-professional for years & years prior. I work full time in corporate America but photography is my passion and the pastime in which I lose all sense of my surroundings and time. I can completely submerge myself into the act of photographing and love to spend a day doing nothing but shooting.
Making my art is an opportunity to capture, with a lens, & share the extreme beauty I see in this world, painted all around me. My hope is to inspire others in some way or to give others the chance to see something they may not ever have the opportunity to see with their own two eyes.
My inspiration for this show was the amazing beauty of Grand Exuma Island in the Bahamas. I saw water in colors I had never seen before and every where I turned were spectacular landscapes and amazing sea life.
You can find my work in the Commonwheel Co-op Gallery in Manitou Springs, in the Colorado Creative Co-op in Old Colorado City, and online at http://tinarodholm.zenfolio.com. You can also follow me on Instagram @hisbeautifulcanvas and on Facebook at "His Beautiful Canvas"
My art is in photography, from shooting to processing, framing and printing. I can't call it a career since I did that in the electronics field, and am retired. My quest is to take decent pictures and process them with an intent to capture the beauty or other fascination that was observed at the moment each was taken. I am highlighting the third dimension by distorting the print in various ways. I have been at this now for six years.
My great pleasure is in seeing the printed image “come to life” as I do my work. Sometimes the added value is amazing, other times perhaps marginal, but I am inspired after working with each one to continue making them “better”. It means a lot to me when others can see and enjoy my finished work.
I keep looking for opportunities to display my pictures and since I have some that fit into the category of “Water in the High Desert” there was no hesitation to enter. I was pleased to have two accepted. In fact, those two were a new design I just began, using a 5”X7” Shadow Box frame to display a couple of my 3-dimensional ideas. It allows me to use a distance gradient on the print (it is slanted back toward the rear of the picture) as well as a form of embossing the surface to further emphasize that phenomenon.
I have a lot of pictures on Fine Art America, but you won't see any 3-D on the website since that part of the process takes place on the print. email@example.com I have entered my work previously at Commonwheel for the “Autumn Colors” event, at Tri-Lakes Monochrome Photography gallery and at the Academy Art and Frame Gallery where one photo placed second and another got honorable mention in their Miniatures event.
To promote my work further, I have rented a hallway room at Cottonwood Center for the Arts for the months of March and May and will also have work on display at Boulder Street Gallery and Framing during the month of April, 2019. I registered my photo business as Richard's Photo Craft in Colorado, working in my home. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lance writes, I was first attracted to ceramics because of the joy I saw in the making. I delighted in the knowledge gained from the past through the discovery of vessels or shards. I enjoy problem solving and seeking answers to complex questions of which the creation of ceramic objects lends itself. I begin my creative process with the rhythmic wedging of stoneware clay as I contemplate the series of forms to come. Through a blend of concentration and relaxation I find harmony in the forming, decorating and the finishing of each piece. My wheel thrown forms are carved, dried, bisque fired, glazed and finally glaze fired in a Raku kiln or high-fire kiln. In the process of creating my decorative vessels, I seek traditional form upon which I may draw a line or create line with a variety of methods. The intention is to provoke a tactile and visual intimacy and allow for contemplation. The concepts start with my heart and are created with my hands; passing to the viewer, this concept hopefully passes from their hands to their heart.
I have been an artist potter for over 40 years now. My primary means of forming is throwing on the potter’s wheel. I received my BFA in Ceramics at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas under Piero Fenci and my MA and MFA in ceramics at the University of Dallas under Dan Hammett. My first semester in clay was in the Spring of 1978 which was primarily hand building. In the summer, I became friends with the graduate students and they taught me the basics of throwing on a wheel. When the Fall class started, my instructor asked if anyone wanted to learn to throw. He asked if I wanted to try and I said sure. I hopped on the wheel and proceeded to throw a cylinder to his astonishment. I then told him about learning from the graduate students.
Both of my ceramics instructors were graduates of Alfred University in New York under Val Cushing and not only taught me a love of the material but also much of the more technical aspects of clay, glaze and firing. They also inspired me to continue my knowledge of ceramics through collaboration, workshops, reading and of course now, the internet.
After graduate school, I moved to Carlsbad, California and opened a studio gallery and worked part time for a production potter. I moved on to Seattle, Washington and taught classes at Seattle Central Community College and Seward Park Arts Studio. The art fair scene was quite strong in Washington state and I participated and many art fairs. After 10 years in Seattle, I decided to move back to Texas and made a stopover in Colorado Springs, but never left. I found Down to Earth Pottery and worked for them as a production potter for a year or so. Art fairs at the time were quite strong in Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico and I attended many an art fair for a number of years. I applied to become a member of Commonwheel Artists Coop in 2006. In 2007 I became a ceramics instructor at Pikes Peak Community College and after quickly growing the department, I was offered a permanent position as a faculty member and the head of the department, a position I still hold to this day. In 2009 I set up a studio at Cottonwood Center for the Arts and remain there to this day. Occasionally, I offer private lessons in my studio to beginning and advanced students.
Aside from the art fairs, I began marketing my ceramic objects online in 1995. A few years ago, I quit the art fairs entirely and focused on online sales. I sell through Etsy, Handmade at Amazon, and through the Artful Home. A number of other sales come from my studio, social media and networking.
My work can be found online at:
Lance Timco on Artful Home
Timco Art Pottery on Etsy
Timco Art Pottery on Handmade at Amazon
Timco Art Pottery on Squareup Market
Colorado galleries that carry my work:
Commonwheel Artists Co-op
102 Cañon Avenue
Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Spirits in the Wind Gallery
1211 Washington Ave.
Golden, CO 80401
Rock Run Gallery
95 South Main Street
Buena Vista, CO 81211
Timco Art Pottery on social media: