Karolyn Alexander
 

What initially captured your imagination about the medium you use?   

The versatility of acrylic paint is very appealing to me. I enjoy the opportunity to use a wide variety of tools to apply the paint both opaquely and transparently. Texture and pattern are easily created with acrylic paint and the quick drying time is a benefit to my style of painting.

What types of things inspire you to create art?

Often times I am inspired simply by an unusual or vibrant color. I also find visual stimulation in many everyday sights that I tend to see as simplified shapes and exaggerated value patterns. The music that I play in the studio while creating art inspires my mark making and brushstrokes.

What life experiences have helped to shape you as an artist?

My appreciation of art began as a child when my father, Richard Kettwig, introduced me to artists such as van Gogh, Renoir, and Monet. As an adult, I find visiting museums and galleries to see actual works of art to be an important part of being a visual artist.  

Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion.

I generally start an abstract painting with an intuitive practice of mark making and random paint application. From there I enjoy veiling some parts and completely covering other parts to create a more cohesive composition. I may also add more marks at this point. The third stage, for me, is to consider the elements and principles of design, decide what needs to be done, and move toward completion of the painting. This third stage sometimes happens very easily and other times it requires considerable problem solving.

What plans do you have for the future direction of your art?

I love painting abstracts because it is challenging. I want to continue to explore and experiment with acrylic paints, mediums and the variety of mark making tools that I use. If I produce a painting that I love, I am a happy artist!

To learn more about Karolyn's exhibition at Raven's Wish, CLICK HERE.


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Robert Witzack
Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

What initially captured your imagination about the medium you use?

There was  a small wooden paint box around the house that belonged to my father. It had small tubes of old oil paint with wonderful colors, and though he had passed away when I was quite young, my mother and other family members told me how he had loved to draw and paint. Perhaps in the beginning my painting was seeking an experience of my father.

What types of things inspire you to create art?

I am inspired by what has the power or the magic to evoke a sense of passion whether it be beauty, grace, or mystery. It could be in the form of a human face or an old car. It could be an object of reverence. It doesn't have to be beautiful. It could be worn and weathered; for instance, "a face that history practiced on" as the words go from a song in Brecht's "Three Penny Opera" or a in a ruin that one can feel is full of stories, or an object that has touched or been touched by many lives.  

What life experiences have helped to shape you as an artist?

Foremost, the guidance and  encouragement of my teachers. Mrs Spicer in second grade, Father Lenahan in High School and Professor Scwalbach at U-Rock among several others. A field trip to the Chicago Art Institute. I have spent many solitary hours communing among rusted out cars in auto salvage yards- sketching. I have made pilgrimages to the Shrines of the Holy Land, and much later in life, spent a week in Paris.

Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion.

The process has evolved over many years. I have worked primarily in oils and have painted both realistic and abstract; both from my own inspiration and from a desire to re-create much admired works of personal art heroes. The work might have begun with an idea or sketch of my own devising or from a reproduced photo of a masterpiece. In the case of the former, the image gradually emerges into something that could hardly be imagined at the beginning stages. In the later, I started working from an illustration or two that I might find in an art history book. In that instance I already know what I want to achieve. It is the challenge to create a work which I see as my own homage to the original (whether- a Raphael or an Edward Hopper). It might be as exact as I can make it or a composite version that I have set out to do.

What plans do you have for the future direction of your art?

I plan to work, in future, with greater reliance on my inner guide for inspiration. I want to explore the spirit that brings us together as conscious beings. I want to look for illumination in  the mystery and wonder of what is universal and the work will seek to pay homage to that. I anticipate this as returning full circle.

To learn more about Robert's exhibition, CLICK HERE.

Jack Zellner

What initially captured your imagination about the medium you use?

I have worked in many mediums, but acrylic allows the artist to explore ones visual image on the canvas. The opaque and fast drying qualities of this medium lets the artist compose and react to the image with creative and many time unexpected results.

What types of things inspire you to create art?

Nature is a great motivator as well as the work of other artists.

What life experiences have helped to shape you as an artist?

My grandfather, an artist who attended the Royal School of Art in
Netherlands, taught me to draw and paint from the age of five. He would set up two canvases in the back yard of his Green Bay studio and we would create images. My professional life included art, design and
teaching which has always given me opportunities to explore new ways to push the visual image.

Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion.

I approach the blank canvas as an adventure — with no expectations. I selfishly enjoy the quiet introspection
of my intuitive self as an image is created on the canvas. Lines become spaces, areas become colors, groups of visual activities become composition. Its kind of wonderful.

To learn more about Jack's exhibition at Raven's Wish, click here.

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.

Visit Alicia's Online Store

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.      

CLICK HERE to view biography and online gallery.

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!