Up Close

 Lynn Wartski
One of my favorite parts of our yearly featured artist shows at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts occurs at the beginning of the day we install.  It starts with each of us unpacking and un-crating the work that we have produced.  What happens at that point is a mixture of art and magic in itself. Somehow, art by three separate artists in solitary studios starts to tell a harmonious story.
This year, I have the honor to show my art doll figures along side the sculptural paintings of Linda Carmel, and the textile creations of Alice Levinson. There is a level of complexity in the work of all three artists that truly invites the view to take a look “Up Close”. Obviously, it is a natural fit for a sculptor like me who creates art doll figures.  The scale and level of detail of my work invites the viewer in.  I want you to notice that one piece has purple shoelaces, or that another is actually holding a small file to sharpen the spear she holds. You will find many similar discoveries within Alice and Linda’s work as well.
My dolls for this show are all quite different.  The only real common feature this year is an increased used of paperclay as my medium of choice for the heads and hands of my figures.  I have in the past retained a tie to my earlier sculpture work in metals by always including some amount of copper in each piece.  This year, I decided to free myself from that constraint.  The end result is nine figures each with their own completely different story to tell, and each tale told with materials that make sense for that piece alone.  I guess that now I must fully refer to my work as mixed media sculpture.  I invite you to come in to the Hillsborough Gallery this month, and take a close look at each, and see what they say to you.

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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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


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.



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.
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.
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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ART from shows

Our Art is….

art doll balloon webLynn Wartski

The art doll sculptures I have created for this year’s feature show stretch beyond  interesting little characters. I worked to push gesture and movement to hopefully capture each figure in a moment of a narrative. My hope  is that the viewer finds him or herself wondering what is going on with each individual, or what will be occurring in the very next moment,

The piece I chose for the postcard image for the show, “Balloon”, is a good example of this extension with narrative. A small figure with pigtails is stretching on tiptoe while grasping the end of a balloon string. Is she in the process of loosing her grasp? I she running along with a breeze? Perhaps it is a magically strong balloon that will carry her away? I guess the answer resides with each viewer.

I have also continued my experimentation with new materials and media incorporation into  my art dolls. Though I know that I never would want to fully step away from the copper that has become a trademark of my work, I have enjoyed playing with other materials as the main component of a piece with the metal in a supporting role.

art doll media w

My piece titled “Media” is an example of play and experimentation with materials. Though she still began with a copper face that I hand hammered, the rest of her creation took a number of detours. I shaped her torso, skirt top, neck, and one of her shins from wood. Her head and one arm are paperclay over an armature, and her hair is hand cut parchment. Lastly, her multiple mixed media arms and legs are articulated with joints rather than my usual bendable padded wire frame.

One piece that nicely brings together both the elements of narrative and expanding media is “Paper Alice”. My version of Alice in Wonderland steps out of a story that many already know. I based this art doll on pen and ink illustrations from a classic edition of the book.I fully sculpted her head and arms from paperclay, and metal is found only in her accessories and details. Images and favorite quotes from the tale are worked into her clothing and on her base, and she has a wig made of strips of parchment paper.

art doll paper alice webI thoroughly enjoy creating these art doll figures, and even more, people’s reactions to them.


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Our Art Is…

May postcard RGB

Exploring What Art Is At The Hillsborough Gallery Of Arts

Three very different artists are featured this month at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. Painters Pat Merriman and Eduardo Lapetina and sculptor Lynn Wartski present their newest work in a show they call OUR ART IS…..
Pat Merriman, a founding member of the gallery, says “When I paint it is always with my favorite themes…this time I have revisited Koi on long 10”x30” panels that allow them to swim up or downstream. ” They shine with glints of gold, unusual colors and playful acrylic textures. There will also be one or two Hillsborough or NC scenes, and I am honoring my love of cooking by painting vegetables, fruits, and cooking scenes from my kitchen.”

Eduardo Lapetina paints large colorful canvases. Describing his creative method, Lapetina says “I strive to produce paintings that exhibit the powerful emotions embodied in the process. That is much more important to me than making images that are necessarily pleasing or objectively beautiful. An image arrived at through such a slow, deliberative set of processes appears fresh and immediate by maintaining spontaneity at every turn. The destination is unknown until I finally get there.”

Lynn Wartski adds whimsy to the show with the unique doll sculptures for which she is increasingly well-known. Says Wartski “My art doll sculptures test the limits of expression that can be achieved with unconventional material choices of forged copper, and other metal work, for faces, hands, and various elements of design. The result is a collection of pieces with a cohesive sculptural style despite the incorporation of widely varied materials and experimentation. The dolls I have been working on for this year’s show have an additional dimension beyond capturing gesture and interesting costuming. With these sculptures I introduce more of an element of narrative into each piece. I’ve worked to capture a moment of movement, or the figure caught somewhere mid-stride. I hope the viewer finds him or herself looking at that single captured static moment and wondering or imagining what the next moment would hold.”


Please join us for the Opening Reception
Friday May29th


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Art All Around

artallaroundEach year the members of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts has a group show. We decide on a title at our end of year retreat and slip the show in before we begin our monthly Featured Artists shows.  This year Ali thought of the title Art All Around and it’s a lucky thing because we are doing some reconstruction where the work was supposed to hang so now it is literally Art All Around…the gallery. Each one is labeled and easy to find.

Please come join us for our opening reception  the last Friday in January.


Opening Reception

January 30


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