The Art of Giving

holiday-rgbEach holiday season the members of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts transform the gallery to showcase original ornaments and hand-made gifts. The gallery’s 21 members work in a variety of media, providing a wide array of art and fine craft for holiday shoppers.

The glass art includes hand-blown vessels, ornaments, solar lights, paperweights, and jewelry. Fiber art on display includes framed collage quilts and hand dyed stitched cloth, knitted scarves; and fabric handbags. The jewelry in the show covers a variety of styles and techniques, from copper and bronze to sterling and fine silver necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings, some with gold accents and stones.  Visitors will also find metal sculpture, pottery, turned wood, enamels, and carved ironwood with turquoise and silver inlay. Fine art photography, oil and acrylic painting, encaustics, scratchboard, and mixed media work festively surround the three dimensional pieces on pedestals.

Explore the wonderful art exhibited at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts to find a special gift for that special person.

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Preview of the Orange County Studio Tour

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Go Figure

Marcy Lansman

Many of these paintings express my nostalgia for a kind of childhood play that seems rare today, nostalgia for a time when children ran around outdoors uncoached and unscheduled. I’m intrigued by the excitement and collaboration that emerges from that kind of play. Below is a painting of one young boy pouring water on another. I love the combination of concentration and curiosity on the pourer’s face

my-turn-for-blog

This and several other paintings are based on fifty-year old photos of my sons. I’ve solicited candid photos from friends and family, but often what I get back are smiling faces looking straight into the camera. So I’ve taken to lurking around public playgrounds with my camera, concerned that some parent will suspect I’m up to no good. My friends assure me that at my age I don’t need to worry, but I keep a “bio-card” in my pocket just to prove I’m a legitimate artist.

For the painting below, I photographed a group of girls cooking up a witches brew of moss and leaves at the bottom of a slide. (I’ve transformed the slide into a kettle.) No one was urging them on or encouraging them to be creative. I watched them for fifteen minutes charmed by their obliviousness and intensity.

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Many of my paintings are labeled “ mixed media” because of a technique I use to create the surface. I put down layers of various kinds of rice paper and gesso, producing a random pattern. Then I use layers of watery acrylic paint to create the image. Since paper and gesso take the paint differently, the surface varies in texture and color. This technique is one way of avoiding the “plasticky” look of acrylic paint, making acrylic paint look a little like watercolor.

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Go Figure

Lynn Wartski
A big part of the joy of creating art can come in experiencing the reactions of others.  I enjoy watching people in the gallery approach my figure sculptures for a closer look.  They have the exact opposite effect of an expansive painting where a step back will get the best view. Their scale as art dolls requires the viewer to approach, crouch down, and perhaps walk around. It is in this intimate proximity that each piece can reveal all the little surprises and details I have worked in to the final design. It is rewarding to have those who appreciate my work take note and tell me and others what they see there.
cello_secrets_wartski
I experienced several of these moments at the opening reception of Go Figure!  One woman viewing my piece “Cello”, asked if I had myself played the instrument.  I replied that I had not, and asked what had made her ask.  She said that she had played the cello, and that I nailed not just the posture of the figure, but that her hand, wrist, and finger positions were spot on.  I told her that I had in fact spent time pouring over images of cellists for that exact reason.
A couple was looking quite carefully at “Getting Lift”.  The husband asked his wife to walk this way to see the stitching on her helmet, just as the wife told him to come to the back so that he could see how I had laced the wings on to her back.  They both told me that it truly appeared that she was just about to take off from her base, and inquired what the key chained to her belt unlocked.
Others remarked that they didn’t truly appreciate “Secrets” until they were able to get up real close and see the expression on her face, or the fact that her boots just happened to match the fabric of her dress bodice. Of “Lacing III”, one viewer told me that she could really see the dancer’s concentration to her task.
A number of people told me that they could place themselves right in the moment I tried to capture with “Sunshine on a Cloudy Day”.  They all noted the joy and freedom of the figure despite the weather she was probably experiencing.
sunshine_-wartski
Perhaps most rewarding, were the comments that surrounded the show Go Figure! itself. Most saying that beyond the obvious connection of human figures, that there was a brightness and strength of spirit that tied all of the artists work together.
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Go Figure

Domain” is part of a series of paintings using hooped skirts as a metaphor for the constrictions society places on women. In this piece, I wanted to depict a woman’s life as defined by her home, which becomes the empire over which she has control.

Before starting, I decided to use the old masters’ palette of colors – Yellow Ochre, Payne’s Grey, and Burnt Umber – to which I added Mars Black and Titanium White.

I covered the entire canvas in a thin layer of modeling paste and then fashioned the skirt and figure with another layer. I built up the background with more modeling paste. Next, I drew the scene that I imagined going on under the skirt with pencil and began painting. I painted the surfaces where I applied the second layer of texture brown and then wiped away the excess, exposing the “thumbprint” of the painting.

in-progress-1

I moved through the rooms from left to right, using masking tape to help me keep the architectural lines straight. In the ballroom, I decided to apply modeling paste to the pillars and the drapes to give them more dimension. Later I added texure to the chandelier too.

 

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After I completed the scene under the skirt I began on the figure. I wanted her dress to have the look of polished stone, as if the woman has become a part of her home.

I played with different colors for the background, finally settling on shades of Sienna that I highlighted with Ochre and Gold to mimic the sky that you can see through the windows. I then echoed the texture and pattern of the background in the walls of the ballroom.

in-progress-3

I tried several different versions of the headdress and finally chose to add some hair to frame her face and a pendant to connect the hues of the background with those below the skirt.

Domain” was complete.

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With thanks to my husband, Harold Carmel for documenting this process.

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Go Figure

linda and Marcy and Lynn

Linda Carmel is a painter who creates richly textured canvases that focus on the experience of women today. She writes, “The paintings in Go Figure! explore the transition from girlhood to womanhood where outer appearance becomes circumscribed and the carefree girl is hidden.”

In this series she has used the hooped skirt as a metaphor for how women worked within these confines to find autonomy.  She explains, “When girls enter womanhood, both historically and culturally, there are often confining restrictions of dress and behavior that apply.  In times and places where women were unable to voice their opinions, they embroidered their thoughts onto household fabrics and clothing. I have incorporated these unspoken words into many of my new paintings.”

Carmel adds, “Women’s fashion has come a long way from the era of the hoop skirt, but women are still forced to dress the part and hide elements of themselves in order to shatter the remains of the glass ceiling.”

 

Lynn Wartski’s imaginative sculptures portray the human body as art dolls.  Wartski states, “This medium allows me to explore and play with a wide variety of materials and techniques yet still maintain visual cohesion. Inspiration for these small scale figures comes from places both common and unexpected. I delve into the worlds of art, literature, mythology, legend, everyday life.” Lynn uses a variety of materials in her mixed media dolls, but it is her use of metal that links these dolls to her earlier work.

Wartski adds, “For Go Figure!, I have continued to concentrate on gesture and expression.  Though there is no one theme that unifies all my sculptures, there is the intent for each to represent a moment within some narrative. My hope is that the viewer will be drawn into the small details of each doll and hopefully enter into the story she may have to tell.”

 

Marcy Lansman writes of her new work for Go Figure!: “Many of these paintings express my nostalgia for a kind of childhood play that seems rare today, nostalgia for a time when children ran around outdoors uncoached and unscheduled.  I’m intrigued by the excitement and collaboration that emerges from that kind of spontaneity. Several paintings are based on fifty-year old photos of my sons.  I’ve solicited candid photos from friends and family, but often what I get back are smiling faces looking straight into the camera.  So for new subject matter, I’ve taken to photographing children in local public playgrounds.”

Opening Reception

Friday, September 30

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Dreaming in Color

Sky is Bluer Thank the SeaAlice Levinson

TEXTILE can be a confusing label for a piece of artwork. It truly is an umbrella term which encompasses a wide range of work from quilts to weavings, from fashion to tapestries. Each of these categories of textile is identified by the manner in which the cloth and/or fiber is assembled (e.g., sewn, woven, or quilted). When I started work with textiles,I was drawn to the texture, handof cloth. I worked with cloth I sourced from stores, scrap, or vintage collections. My interest was to use it to assemble visually interesting compositions.

Most often these compositions also had a thread of narrative at their core.

The more I worked, the more I encountered a variety of fabrics, the more I came to appreciate the role pattern and color played as I assembled my compositions.

Alice'e Stash

My stash of acquired fabric grew. My facility with needle and thread increased. All was good. Then one day I watched a demonstration of cloth dying and a new door opened for me, I was entering the world of surface design, yet another sub-category that falls within the rubric of textile. The hallmark of surface design is the manipulation of the surface of cloth through the application of techniques and substances to create a unique textile.

My facination with the process led, to the first of several workshops to learn

to dye cloth. I learned to prepare carefully the dye concentrates and then begin the magic of turning white cloth to any and every hue. Initially I was limited by my lack of experience and expertise in managing the dying process. As someone once said, practice makes perfect.Well, in my case, practice has made good enough!It was a heady experience to create my own rainbow stash of fabric. From early efforts with muslin and cotton sheeting, I progressed to working with embossed and textured cotton,linen, wool, velvet and silk. Each particular fabric takes the dye in its own way and each has its own particular texture. More learning,hs led to more variety with which to work. In the time to follow I have learned to use the dyes to paint and screenprint my fabrics adding pattern to the elements of color and texture. The cloth that emerges from my wet (dye) studio has become the primary inspiration for my current work which are featured in the exhibit, DREAMING IN COLOR. The use of surface design techniques leads my work to be process driven. This encourages experimentation and sponteneity in my working and results in a liveliness and sense of organic movement in the resulting works. I hope you will visit the exhibit and consider the many steps that have resulted in the works you see.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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ART from shows