Sunday, November 1, 2009

Media Spotlight—Traditional Photography Artists

Jack McNeal—Photography

Jack McNeal
Jack has had a camera in his hand since the mid forties. He has gradually progressed from childhood snapshots to underwater photography using hand made underwater housings in the 50’s and 60’s. He then moved to medium format (2 1/4 x 2 1/4) black and white and eventually to large format (8x10 and 4x5) and finally to digital cameras.

Jack was a gold medalist at the Underwater Film Festival in Santa Monica both for Black and White Prints and Color Slides in 1959 and 1960 as well as the LA County Fair for Black and White prints.

More recently he has been in Juried Shows at San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay.

His current work involves extensive exploration of place and mood with digital cameras, including local shorelines as well as travel to Utah, Alaska and Okinawa.

Late Sun on the Rock © Jack McNeal
View North, Big Sur Coast © Jack McNeal

Alice Cahill—Photography

Alice Cahill
Alice Cahill is an award winning nature photographer. Her inspiration is the Earth – she is fascinated by it, and she believes in nature as a healing force and a refuge from the chaos of daily life.

Alice’s photographs have been published in many nature and photo magazines, including Outdoor California, Photographers Forum, Outdoor and Nature, and Oprah’s O Magazine.

Alice is a member of the North American Nature Photography Association and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.

Journey © Alice Cahill
Sunset Rock © Alice Cahill

Gregory Siragusa—Photography

Gregory Siragusa
Gregory Siragusa is a digital photographer, whose photographs capture a variety of subject matter representing nature, performance and architecture.

Greg presents his photographs to the viewer and marvels how the context of each image is interpreted.

Having relocated to the Central Coast approximately 15 years ago, Greg is traveling constantly, perpetually refining his focus on nature, architecture, music and mood.

Greg’s photos focus on subjects that are subtle or commonplace to grand in nature.

The Path © Greg Siragusa
Why © Greg Siragusa

James A. Crawford—Photography

James Crawford
James Crawford, an award winning artist, believes there is more to photography than looking through the camera and pressing the shutter. He says, “The camera is only part of the process. It’s where your creativity leads on the computer, or the darkroom. It is not a mere image, it is an extension of your whole self, your whole being, the sum of all your experiences and the influences of great artists you admire.” Crawford takes little pieces from everything and everyone, melts it into his vision and truth.

Crawford works in traditional film black & white, color, fine art photography and digital capture with computer enhancement using Adobe Photoshop CS3, Painter IX, Studio Artist and buZZ.X.

Crawford’s work also hangs in many private collections.

Untitled © James A. Crawford
Untitled © James A. Crawford

Charles Pruitt—Photography

Charles Pruitt
Charles Pruitt a resident of Arroyo Grande, California, began his love of photography over 40 years ago, utilizing a 35mm camera given to him as a gift.

Chuck earned a degree in photography and began to use digital photography in 2004. Subsequently, he took a new direction and began to print his photography onto canvas. These giclee reproductions are mounted onto canvas strecher bars and completed with a UV protective finish.

Goodpasture Bridge © Charles Pruitt
Mirror Lake © Charles Pruit

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Media Spotlight—Glass Artists 2009

Rod Baker—Glass Blowing

Meet Rod Baker... demonstrating how
hand blown glass is made.
Rod and his little friend demonstrate Rod’s
glass fusion kiln.

Rod Baker grew up on the Central Coast as a surfer and sailor. He is influenced by the tide pools and rich marine environment.

A wood craftsman by trade, he began with stained glass 30 years ago, later discovering the art of fusing. His love for glass brought him to Cal Poly located in San Luis Obispo, California, where he studied glass blowing. The colors and themes of his glass reflect the natural environments of the sea.

His skills include, glass fusing, torch worked marbles and jewelry, created in his Los Osos studio. All hand blown glass is done at his gallery in Florence Oregon. Each unique piece is individually hand crafted.

Cup and platter © Rod Baker

Karen Peterson—Stained Glass

Morro Rock © Karen Peterson
Imagine © Karen Peterson
Dream © Karen Peterson

Karen took her first stained glass class during the late 1970's completing several leaded projects in addition to small copper foil ones.

After earning a B.S. in Recreation Administration her interest in photography was rekindled by her father’s gift of his old Ziess Contaflex 35mm SLR. Karen put away her stained glass and pursued her interest in photography throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Although Karen's first love is photography, after a subsequent relocation to Morro Bay in 1999, she set up a small stained glass work area and began making her stained glass sun catchers.

Karen has been creating her stained glass sun catchers for Gallery at Marina Square during the last three years now.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Media Spotlight—Jewelry Artists 2009

Deb Festa—Jewelry

Everyone wants to know why I started making rosaries. So here goes... Last year I took a trip back to Italy to visit our cousins. I wanted to bring them all (27 cousins) a gift that didn’t take up a lot of room in my suitcase, so I decided to learn to make rosaries. I started to make them months before the trip.

I really got hooked on making them. Friends would come to visit me and loved the rosaries, because there were different. I had a lot of sales right on the spot from my friends who wanted to give them as gifts. I have always loved the feel of real stones. My family’s hobby when I was a little girl was rock hounding. We took many trips to the desert and different place to hunt for rocks. I learned at a young age just how the earth give us beautiful gifts in stones. That is why I try to make most of my rosaries out of semi-precious stones.

Some stones that I use are agate, amethyst, aventurine, aquamarine, blood stone, acarnelian, chrsocolla, coral, fluorite, garnet, gold stone, labradorite, howlite, jasper, lapis, malachite, obsidian, onyx, pearls, rhodonite, shells, sodalite, tigereye, turquoise, quartz and unakite to name a few. After I had such a good response about my rosaries, I then started selling them in the gallery. Since I am Catholic and I do say the Rosary, I made myself one for every day of the week. When I was a small child, before I became Catholic I always wanted my own rosary beads, because my cousins were Catholic and they had rosary beads. The beads were so beautiful. So there you have it, forty years later I started to make rosaries. You never know when a seed is planted in your head.

Deb's Rosaries

Hope Myers—Jewelry

Hope Myers is an award-winning artist who paints watercolors and makes one-of-a-kind jewelry in her “An Artist’s Garden” studio in Los Osos, California. She began to work with art forms as a child and continued her interests through a B.A. degree in Wisconsin with a minor in Art History.

Her primary medium is transparent watercolor. Using vibrant colors in sometimes unusual combinations; in clean and at times simple settings, she emphasizes her love for the beauty
of living things and outdoor scenes that can brighten our lives.

Hope’s jewelry, with the many colors, textures and sizes, lend a wide array of choices from fun pieces to elegant pearls, glass beads, Swarovski crystal and other semi precious stones.

Sandy Christey—Jewelry

Inspired by her love of nature and cultures, Sandy uses natural elements, semi precious stones, shells, etc.

Sandy enjoys incorporating pendants and pieces from various cultures from around the world, Tibet, China, Malaysia, and Africa.

She refers to her jewelry as, “Healing Art Jewelry,” with a belief that putting together design and stones from various cultures into one piece, she envisions World Peace. In addition, the gems are thought to have healing properties.

As a retired nurse, Sandy continues to participate in healing herself and others.

Gay McNeal—Jewelry

Gay’s love of textiles and the fiber arts started when her mother taught her to sew when she was ten years old.

Gay received a BA in Art with an emphasis in Interior and Textile Design from C.S.U. Long Beach. She continues to take classes in order to explore and experiment with all aspects of the fiber arts.

Gay possesses an appreciation of the multifaceted role that fiber has played in the art and material cultures of many ethnic societies, and her creative high comes from the actual process of trying out the multitude of techniques, both old and new available to textile artists today.

Gay's Pins

Friday, August 7, 2009

Media Spotlight—Pen & Ink, Colored Pencil, and Pastel Artists 2009

George Asdel—Colored Pencil

George, working in his studio
George Asdel at a workshop
Dancing With Friends © George Asdel
Bear Art © George Asdel
Curious Fish © George Asdel
Dream and the Tiger © George Asdel

George advises utilizing the very best materials. Cheap or student grade materials can be very frustrating and give poor results. Start with small pieces, especially with pencils or pen and ink. Miniatures can give you confidence to try larger pieces.

George was influenced by Albrecht Durer, an amazing German painter, printmaker and draughtsman. Other influences were Rockwell Kent, who did the woodcuts for Paul Bunyan and many other old books,  and M. C. Escher's wild and crazy drawings. George had a studio/gallery in Brigus, Newfoundland, where Kent also had a studio during the 1920's.

Linda Bench—Colored Pencil

Canyon View © Linda Bench
Sunflowers © Linda Bench
California Poppies © Linda Bench

Linda Bench learned to appreciate art growing up. Her father supplied plenty of art materials and she was exposed to varied art forms as a child. Therefore it comes as no surprise, with this kind of influence, that Linda would become an artist.

Linda, a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona, earned her BS degree in Landscape Architecture Design.

Linda fell in love with, professional quality, soft, thick leaded, Prismacolor pencils. She appreciates quiet tranquil moments, whereby she can put the outside world on hold and focus completely on her art work. Linda begins her drawing with a light coat of pigment, then builds and blends 8 to 10 layers of color over her subject through completion. While working with pencils her hands gently warm the lead, making the color spread in thick, even coats.

Linda recommends, “For even, smooth color and better control of pigment, utilize Prismacolor Pencils in moderate temperatures. Anything over ninety degrees tends to allow the soft leads to melt.”

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Media Spotlight—Watercolor Artists 2009

Ardella “Jo” Swanberg—Watercolor

Of all the media she has studied, Ardella loves watercolor best. She started using watercolor when she was a freshman in high school and the art teacher told the class, "Well, it takes twenty years to become proficient with watercolor." Ardella thought at that moment, "I better get started!"

© Ardella “Jo” Swanberg

Ardella is intrigued with watercolor because of the brightness of the colors and the way they mix on the paper, which she says, “is an entirely different effect from any other medium.” She finds drawing to be an important part of painting, and she draws to explore the design of a painting or to record a moment.

© Ardella “Jo” Swanberg

Ardella has experimented with print making, oil painting and weaving but she always comes back to watercolor. The past few years she has been making and altering books and using oils, acrylics and goauche.

According to Ardella, “I paint because I have to. Some people have to write, build things, repair cars, surf, run or garden. I have to create paintings. So as long as I am doing it, I try to do it well.”

© Ardella “Jo” Swanberg

Deb Festa—Watercolor

Deb Festa’s watercolor and acrylic paintings are filled with bold, bright color. Deb is inspired by the beauty of California’s Central Coast...

Poppies on Highway 46 © Deb Festa

Portovenere Italy © Deb Festa

...and Yosemite, Hawaii, and the California Missions.

When asked where she likes to paint, Deb shared that she generally paints in her studio in Los Osos, California. “My studio has six windows, which give me perfect light. It is as if I were painting outside.” Deb also stated that for her, “painting is a very spiritual experience” – as a result, Deb prefers to paint alone and in total quiet.

Deb’s favorite brushes are not watercolor brushes but acrylic brushes that she uses for both Watercolor and Acrylic painting.

Deb teaches aspiring artists and gives watercolor and acrylic painting demonstrations to local groups.

When asked to share a shortcut or tip, Deb replied, “A shortcut for me would be painting from my photos that I have taken over the years. I don’t paint from memory. I sometimes use many photos for one painting. When I am painting flowers, I have fresh flowers from out of my garden or from farmers market that I look at while I am painting. I can use one flower to paint a whole painting, by moving the flower in different directions.

Deb’s favorite master of all times is Michelangelo, “The David, Pieta and the Sistine Chapel are so moving. The energy that is felt when you step into St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is amazing. I have been very blessed to visit Italy and stand next to these beautiful creations.”

Pt. Pino Lighthouse, Onterey, CA © Deb Festa

Hope Myers—Watercolor

After taking art classes filled with still-lifes and figure painting, Hope branched out and started painting florals. Hope had so much fun with the color she decided to do the same with boats, landscapes, and just about everything her brush touches.

Hope’s paintings are infused with color, and for Hope, “Color is the most important part of a painting.”

© Hope Myers

Hope gives art demonstrations to share her colorful technique to local art associations and groups.

These days, Hope paints whatever catches her eye - as long as she can play with the color a bit!

© Hope Myers

When asked about inspiration, Hope said, “Monet’s rich color, use influenced me, along with Titan and Michaelangelo. And I was lucky enough to take three classes with Robert Reynolds. His color use is definitely more subtle than mine, but he is my favorite watercolorist.”

© Hope Myers

Susan Wood—Watercolor

When painting watercolor paintings, Susan’s goal is to achieve the quality and essence of her subject without getting exactingly realistic.

Whale Rock Reservoir © Susan Wood

Susan especially loves to paint in places that are quiet and out of the way, where she can “feel nature around me, hear birds, or water, or trees or grass blowing in the breeze. If there’s something to smell, that’s even better, like the scent of flowers or pine. Any place that engages as many senses as possible is best, a place whose aliveness elicits my own aliveness, and whose calmness elicits my own calmness.”

Towards Morro Bay © Susan Wood

Fortunately, Susan lives in a place where it is not difficult to find such a place, we have many scenic and winding roads that are not heavily traveled. She likes going on Old Creek Road, or Santa Rosa Creek Road. Occasionally she will hike in somewhere, but says, “that’s a lot of work, and I am often too lazy to lug my equipment.”

Afternoon Road © Susan Wood

Susan loves watercolor that is spontaneous and loose, that shows a beautiful quality of light and transparency—like in the paintings of Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, John Singer Sargent, and Joseph Turner to name a few.

Beachwalk 3 © Susan Wood