Sophie Hansen

What initially captured your imagination about the medium you use?  Actually, I don’t use a ‘one-and-only’ medium. I would say that I mainly use acrylics and oils; however, I also have used watercolors, pencil, and crayon. Originally, I drew fanatically, with the archetypical 2HB pencil. I remember at one point I holed myself up in my room for hours on end, perfecting a realistic profile of a character’s face. That habit has carried on. I still spend 3-5 hours working on a single piece, when I have the time. I can lose almost a full day structuring one painting.

What types of things inspire you to create art?  Books, music, and my own imagination are motivations to create. Representing movement and life through art. When I hear a composition of sound, read, or even people-watch, I find myself constructing an imagined image, an interconnecting web of color, composition, and design derived from the external stimuli. I process the concept with other things I’ve thought or heard, and try to pull it all together into a single piece. I like seeing if I can “draw” viewers into a different universe. My artwork is an attempt to dramatize ideas and make them stand out as an oddity in a world of things already seen and known. 

What life experiences have helped to shape you as an artist? I was (and still am) homeschooled, which means I have a lot of free time to explore and research topics on my own. This freedom is great for creative ideas to grow and root themselves. My brother is a great musician, and his work inspires me to paint more--I might hear a mood through his playing, and then I'll  use it for idea-generating. I was also very fond of building fantastical worlds in my childhood, with my own characters, places, rules, etc. I revisit these worlds on occasion and use them as inspiration when I have nothing else of interest to use as subject matter.

Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion. Typically, I’ll have a scrap of thought in my head--a note in a song, an odd color, a curious design, or a character--and then tinker with it on paper. I’ll make a couple of small sketches, create texture, and lay down color; fooling around with it until I know what I want. I’ll flesh out the picture’s composition on another sheet, to edit and readjust. I use this as the ‘blueprint’ for the main work. Then, I’ll take a canvas or paper and carve out a form. After that, color is added. Each step is like a filter; the idea rehashes itself, over and over, to completion. Sometimes, the picture looks completely different from what I had in mind originally.

What plans do you have for the future direction of your art? In the future, I’m hoping to perfect my craft and technique in the various mediums mentioned above, especially pencil. I would like to delve more closely into graffiti-style art, as well as fantasy art--the design and brilliant color of those genres intrigue me. I enjoy learning about fiction illustrators and their pieces, and am working towards becoming a graphic designer or illustrator myself.

Alicia Reid

What initially captured your imagination about the medium you use? Acrylic paints, mediums, and gels are my current obsession. Texture fascinates me and I’m attracted to the tactile qualities of glass bead gel, light moulding paste, soft gel gloss, and fiber paste.

What types of things inspire you to create art? Travel, hiking, and other outdoor experiences often influence my work. I strive to be open to inspiration from any source…the sky, a movie, poetry, dreams.

What life experiences have helped to shape you as an artist? As a former instrumental music educator, nature education coordinator, and geography instructor, I’m connected to the art I create through these experiences.

Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion. After the initial idea for a piece, I’ll create a series of sketches, each more detailed. Lately I’ve also relied on value sketches to emphasize my placement of lights and darks. I usually paint in those darkest areas first, then identify areas to apply texture and text as the painting builds.

What plans do you have for the future direction of your art? My current work is much more connected to reality than is typical for me. I’ve an idea for a series of abstract minimalist seascapes, and sequence of map-related collage pieces linked to some of my favorite novels over the years.

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Brian Hartmann

I don't wait to get inspired by something, I just do it. I'm always taking pictures of places and things I come in contact with.  I get an idea in my head and I look for it.   

My choice of subject matter really varies.   The subject must have good form ,lots of color, and lead your eye around the piece. A well done piece tells a good story about that artist's life.  

Every since I could hold a crayon, I was always doodling. As I got older, my loving parents and family also encouraged me to do more. I took drawing and painting classes , ceramics, and even photographyin high school. I was introduced to watercolors my junior year.  Mrs. Worth was a patient woman but she keep challenging me to do more with this medium. That additional support from her helped me become the artist I am.

Before I start painting, I know what the finished product will look like when it's done.  I only have two dedicated days per week to work on pieces, so it can take up to three months for me to finish one.  I start in one spot and the brush tells me where to go next. I always try to paint what I see, not what I know. 

When I am done, I study the piece to see if I need to add more colors,  shadows or highlights. I have a couple of really trusting friends that get to look and tell me what they think before I show it to the public.

My paintings are a window to an inner world that no one has access to.  I want people to look at my work and have an "AHHHHA"  moment and make a personal connection.

I'm not sure where my art is headed next, but I look forward to the opportunities it leads me to.   Whatever lies ahead, I want to grow as a individual on a professional level while still enjoying what I do.      

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Gifting Art to People You Hardly Know

For the client who gave you an excellent business referral, or for your spouse’s third cousin (twice removed) who’s getting married next month, wading in a sea of art can be overwhelming.  How do you pick something out that is memorable, genuine, and personal for someone you hardly know?  

Deciding WHAT you are trying to convey is always a great place to start.  Are you expressing gratitude, friendship, appreciation, or celebration?  Once you define the tone you’re ready to delve deeper!

DEFINE THE PURPOSE FOR THE ART

  • Do they like functional objects or decorative ones, or both? 
  • What kind of space do they have to work with in their home or office?    
  • How might the piece be displayed…on the wall, an easel, a shelf?

LOOK FOR CLUES

  • What is their décor style? contemporary, rustic, shabby chic?
  • Do they have a favorite color? 
  • What are their interests?  Gardening?  Fishing?  Cooking?

THINK OUTSIDE THE OBVIOUS

Just because someone loves commercial fishing doesn’t mean you need to buy them a 3-foot sculpture of a sturgeon!  Here are a few examples of how to translate your observations into something a little less literal:    

  • For someone passionate about environmental issues, consider repurposed art, such as a pair of earrings forged from a piece of recycled roofing copper;
  • Someone who is expressive or fashion-forward would love a uniquely designed scarf that can’t be purchased from any major retail store;
  • A food-lover or frequent entertainer might enjoy a fused glass serving bowl that generates a lot of interest and conversation from his or her guests;
  • And that guy who loves to fish?  Consider a nautical painting, a sculpture made from driftwood, or a bar of homemade soap to keep in the tacklebox. 

TIPS:

  • Try to avoid buying art without seeing it in person first.  Things can look very different in a photograph or JPEG, and you can’t always pick up on nuances or textures the way you can in person.
  • If you receive artist information or documentation with the piece you’re purchasing, remember to give that with the art.  Even if the recipient doesn’t want to someday sell the art, s/he will feel much more connected to it by knowing more about the artist.

Gifting is a lot like art—it’s so much more than just a physical exchange.  It’s an expression and way to communicate without words. 

The gift recipient in your life is sure to be honored by the thought and time you put into finding unique artwork.   Gifts that have meaning are the best kind to receive—and also to give! 

 
Masks: An Evolving, Artful Perspective

How can masks inspire us?  

Across most cultures, masks depict mystery.  They are a cryptic expression, an artistic intention, glorified for all to see.  Essentially, regardless of their cultural context or purpose, a mask is a means of concealing one’s identity and assuming a different one.

The act of masking ourselves translates fluently into the art of imagination, or of transcendence.  Creating a mask is one way to celebrate the co-creation of life.  Our definition of self, and therefore our outlook, evolves with each new experience.

Just as the mask is born at the hands of its creator, creativity can be developed and nurtured in our lives.  Anything we do to perpetuate the art of imagination helps us embrace and celebrate this evolving creation of self into our lives and the world around us.   Here are a few simple ways to nurture this new perspective in your life!  

Be Brave

"Creating and then wearing a mask allows us to expose parts of ourselves we are not usually willing to embrace in everyday life."  --Nicole Burns, Art Therapist

OK, so we can’t exactly wear a Venetian Mask to the grocery store, or to work—at least not without unintended consequences.  However, we can live expressively through an artistic prop! 

Wear a statement piece, such as a vibrant scarf or an otherwise unique piece of wearable art.  By stretching just beyond your everyday comfort zone, you can embrace something dormant and feel just a little more alive!   

 

Repurpose the Ordinary

The above mask was made out of plastic bottles.  Part of living a more artful life is seeing the artistic possibilities of everyday objects.  It’s the small bits and pieces of thought and color and that weave into the fabric of an artful existence.  

In order to transcend our ordinary lives into something extraordinary, we must approach it with new eyes.  Only then can we channel our intentions into something more profound.  

Collect Small Moments

As you journey through each day, watch for small findings that give you joy, a living collection of items with which you can design quiet moments of intention. 

Imagine you are decorating a mask with artifacts that represent the past, present, or future YOU.  If you are watching for these small moments throughout your everyday life, you will start to experience things differently—more artfully!

 

Be Anonymous

Whether it be a walk in the woods or just people-watching at the mall, find time to revel in the freedom of not being known, seen, or accountable to anyone. 

Some of our most creative thoughts or deepest desires can only be accessed under the cloak of anonymity when we don’t have to regard how others feel or consider their needs.   

Fail to Disclose

 "You need to get in touch with that inner monologue to be able to express it. It's hard to find   that inner creative voice if you're ... not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting."       --American existential  psychologist Rollo May

There is an artistry to not overstating things, to leaving some things to the imagination.  For many artistic people, solitude is essential for letting seeds of thought and intention grow into creative expression.

By resisting the temptation to over-engage, we give our thoughts time to germinate. These conscious retreats can fuel our everyday lives with a richer existence, which is the driving purpose behind living a more artful life!  

Historical Perspective:

  • A brief review of the history of masks reveals that, in Europe alone, they have served as a means of either expressing something unpalatable, or transcending one’s experience to something extraordinary.
  • The Masquerade Ball began as part of Europe’s carnival season in the 14th and 15th centuries
  • Villagers started using them to welcome kings and queens arriving in their city
  • Venetian aristocracy then started using masks for anonymity during carnival celebrations, which consisted of decadence, gluttony and a large amount of lust 
  • In 18th Century England, the “night of sin” was transformed into a pompous fashion frenzy that graced some of the finest ball rooms in the world
  •  In 1771, Sweden’s king Gustav III was assassinated during a masquerade ball when a disgruntled, masked nobleman “do-si-doed” close enough to him on the dance floor to serve the fatal blow. After that, the masquerade ball was associated with an ultimate night of risk, inspiring operas and plays alike

A Conspiracy of Ravens

There’s a conspiracy emerging at Raven’s Wish Gallery.  From September 2nd through October 3rd, with every visitor to the gallery, the intrigue builds.

Since a group of ravens is called a "conspiracy", we thought it would be appropriate this month to briefly explore some of the attributes commonly associated with these majestic birds. 

Behind the Conspiracy

Many birds are described with delightful or noble collective nouns such as a “charm of finches” or a “parliament of owls,” but a group of ravens is called a conspiracy. How might ravens have earned such a mysterious and secretive term?

The Raven

Clever, cunning, fun-loving, smart, and often witty, ravens have long intrigued scientists and other researchers into explaining their behavior.

Many observers consider ravens to be equal in intelligence to the canids (wolves, coyotes, and dogs).

Ravens have been seen using sticks to extract insects from logs, placing walnuts in front of car tires, and collecting scraps of paper to use as a rake.

Folklore/Mythology

Revered as creators of earth, moon, sun, and stars, ravens are also portrayed as tricksters and cheaters.

Ravens have been used to symbolize death, danger, and wisdom and it is hard to imagine another animal more associated with myth and mystery. 

In Welsh Mythology

The raven is a portent of death. Witches and sorcerers were thought to transform into ravens to evade capture. 

In Tlingit (Alaska) Mythology

The raven is well-respected because it survived the great flood of ancient times by sticking his bill into the sky ceiling and hanging there until the waters receded. 

At Raven's Wish

Now through October 3rd, stop by the gallery to make a monetary donation to a local animal rescue organization.  In turn, you'll have the opportunity to add to the conspiracy. Plus, for each donation, you’ll receive a 10% OFF coupon valid at Raven’s Wish Gallery through the month of October.

Saturday, October 4th

On Saturday, October 4th at 10 am the conspiracy will be revealed and the raven art installation you helped create will be uncovered for all to see. 


An Artful Porch

Now that summer is officially here, the porch is again our “outdoor living rm”--a wonderful place to retreat, gather, relax, and enjoy friends and family.  Why not make this space an extension of your home and create an artful oasis?

Many traditional artworks are not intended to withstand radical variations in temperature and could fade or mildew over time. Yet, most of us are familiar wth some of the wonderful standby options, such as metal art that repels moisture and gains character over time.  Here are some other ideas for adding an artistic flare to an otherwise ordinary porch space!

Natural Finds

Preserve memories by featuring your collections from special hikes or vacations on the walls of your porch.  The balance of linear and organic lines creates visual interest, and the neutral color palette offers a timeless elegance to the space.

Curtains

Drop-cloth patio curtains add privacy, shade, and elegant design.  In some situations, curtains can even be a great solution for cost-effectively hiding those less-than-artful areas of your porch. Choose a more sheer fabric for the feel of curtains billowing in the wind.  

Go Vinyl!

Many museums offer award-winning fine art banners--these work well as a weather-safe way to give your porch an artful flare. 

Think Tiles!

Take one of your favorite photographs or  a treasured piece of children's art and have it professionally transferred onto tile! This allows you to add a vibrant, personal touch to your porch without subjecting the art to the elements.

alex_art.jpg

An artful porch does not require elaborate design skills.  All you need are a couple of distinct pieces and the use of color in an intentional, artful way.  Also, consider using an interesting mix of fabrics and textures.  This is an opportunity for you to take design risks you may be reluctant to take inside your home. So have fun, and create bold moments.  Be brave!  BE INSPIRED!

Inspiration Gallery