Art of the Week: Fancy Nancy

Jen Walls
Fort Lauderdale Branch
Fancy Nancy
Mixed Media on Aquaboard
www.jenwalls.weebly.com

 

Mixed-media artist and mark-maker, Jen Walls, is often inspired by mythology, folklore and stories of indigenous peoples. Self-taught, her art is the result of disciplined studio time, a regimen of exploratory and experimental projects and a good dose of magic. Her whimsical characters invite the viewer to explore the transformative nature of fairytales…entering the woods at night, conquering our fears and emerging on the other side as stronger, more compassionate versions of ourselves.

 

Jen considers storytelling to be the primary finishing medium in art. Her workshops explore personal storytelling and archetypes, along with a bit of quirky whimsy.

 

Unconventional materials are part of Jen’s standard repertoire, including wood reclaimed from scrap heaps and dumpsters as supports. Her preferred tools are paper towels, old credit cards and fingers, though she will occasionally use an actual paint brush. Her works consist of many layers of watercolor, acrylic, ink and paper. Hand- printed papers are part of the “clothing” of her whimsical characters.

 

Her first collaborative book, Blue Wild, was published in 2016, and features paintings “illustrated” by the haiku poetry of kindred spirit and writer Mary W. Cox. She was a featured artist in the 2017 book 100 Love Notes by author Hyong Yi.

 

Jen writes an introspective (and sometimes humorous) blog piece to accompany each new work of art, allowing a peek into the thought process and methods of every creation. An advocate for doodling in the classroom, the waiting room and the board room, she lives in Florida with her husband, son and assorted mischievous wildlife.

 

Art of the Week: Reflection

Diana Kaye Obe
Pensacola FL Branch
Reflection
Charcoal on tan paper
www.dianakayeart.com

Reflection is a tribute to the original peoples who populated our land for many generations.  These ancestors greeted Europeans stepping down from huge sailing ships into the “New World” centuries prior.  A wide variety of native cultures still continue to contribute dance, song, art, and culture throughout the great land of America.

Lost in her reflections, this Crow woman seems demure, serious, and thought-filled in her poise.  A hint of sadness upon her face captivated me and I wanted to record her on her wooden seat, by drawing with a piece of the earth, a charcoal medium, to convey and capture, at the very least, a depth of nature in which the native peoples of this country lived closely for centuries.  I strive to honor her customs and beauty.

Diana Kaye Obe

 

Art of the Week: The Glory of Aaron

Vivian Bergenthal
Connecticut Branch
The Glory of Aaron
Mixed-Media

Enamored of the landscape as subject matter, my reactions can be likened to a dance. The formula for each dance lies in the following symbiosis:  the give and take of rhythms, the sense of contrasts in color, shape and texture, and the compositions seen through the naked eye in combination with that of a camera lens. The ability to work successfully with mixed media has enabled me to achieve a kind of immediacy in my work. That I have been able to translate my initial responses to whatever images inspired me, to my handling of a variety of appropriate techniques has brought me great satisfaction.

 

Oftentimes, I find the world with all its uncertainties encroaching insistently upon the peaceful aura of a special moment in time that I am enjoying. Responding with my innermost being, an overwhelming desire to avenge injustice takes precedence over the concept of “beauty for beauty’s sake.”

 

Being involved in the arts is a blessing, for within the very process of creating art, transformation on various levels for both the artist and onlooker must occur. To be an open conduit for inspiration has always been my primary goal. The words of Ralph Waldo Emerson continue to resonate within me: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared with what lies within us.”

 

Art of the Week: Angels in the Garden

Polly Curran
Sarasota, Florida Branch


Angels In the Garden
Photography, 16 x 20
Pollycurranphotography.zenfolio.com

Polly Curran is an award-winning nature photographer. “The natural beauty of each individual leaf or flower becomes a work of art through the camera”. Their natural beauty gives a strong sense of intimacy in even the smallest things.

Curran photographs flowers, trees, butterflies and other garden friends. Her approach is founded on the cultural art of Ikebana and Haiku poetry; having studied these for many years while living in Japan. By using simple stroke lines and off-centered presentation, she creates work that captivates the eye.

“I try to bring out the best feature of a flower, leaf or tree to capture the soul of the image. For ‘Angels in the Garden,’ when I saw this image in the camera it was an emotional experience. Here was the beautiful orchid in the middle of unfurling it’s petals. Afterward, I created a Haiku poem to go along with it.

Angels in the Garden
Wings unfold in Nature’s beauty.
A flower blooms

This is my new focus – Haiku Photography. As I view deeply into a unique flower searching for the light, the space, the angle which elevates the image, I feel a sense of excitement when I find the ‘look’ I know is there.”

 

Art of the Week: The Violin-Cello Players

Susanne Schuenke
North East Florida Branch
The Violin-Cello Players, 1994
oil on canvas; (also available as a 48-colored serigraph)

ARTIST STATEMENT
… to play their score, to master the instrument, to perform life …
Seven different approaches on how to play music are depicted by this view of part of the orchestra, a detail of the bigger picture – the symphony. The vivid wood colors of the instruments dominate over the subdued black dresses and they are embedded in the swirls and movements of sheer music. The players’ portraits are very individualistic and characteristic of ways of mastering the task. The black haired lady in the center is totally involved and dedicated to performing her best. Her colleague in the front row, more experienced, disciplines her cello in a controlled but independent way. The young girl to the left struggles with difficulties, while the man 
in front of her represents a more individualistic style.
 The couple at the far right are quite the opposite; both using the same style, even the same position. Playing the same from their youth until their retirement age seems boring.
 And the one with the walnut brown instrument? Why he does not play? Is he pausing, unsure of the score, unwilling to obey the conductor, criticizing the choice? Or is it simply not his turn yet?

Click the link to enjoy a short 30 second video of Susanne’s work:
www.susanneschuenke.com/videos
or go to her website to view more of her work or make a purchase:
www.susanneschuenke.com

 

Art of the Week: Hawaiian Fishes All The Way Down

Lucy Arnold
Golden Gate Marin Branch

“Hawaiian Fishes All the way Down

Watercolor

Hawaiian Fish ID chart

Skin diving makes me feel like I’m flying slowly over an unbelievably beautiful, alien world. Tropical fish are simply amazing in their variety of gorgeous colors, so they are irresistible as painting subjects. I chose to represent only Hawaiian fishes in this watercolor, since I’ve only been diving in Hawaiian waters. Many are long-time favorites of mine, while others are found at depths below my reach. The trick was making a composition of only fish, with no background water showing. Thus, these Hawaiian Fishes do go all the way down!

You may be interested in seeing more of Lucy Arnold’s work by visiting: lucyarnold.com

facebook.com/lucyarnoldartist

and the branch website: www.goldengatemarinart.org

 

Art of the Week: Summer Dunes II

Mary Lou Griffin
Diamond State Branch

Summer Dunes II

Pastel, 12” X 16”

Mary Lou Griffin is inspired by the nature she sees around herself in the beautiful back roads of the Delaware Valley and along the shoreline of the rivers, reservoirs and bays along the East Coast. Most of her work tends to be landscapes. High chroma color, as well as the drama created by high contrast, are important aspects of Griffin’s work. Pastel is her medium of choice although she also works in oils and acrylic.

Of her process, Griffin says,

“I tend to paint quickly so I can pick up a color and use it with no mixing required. I spend a long time thinking about the painting, about what and how I want to say with it before I start. When I have a clearer picture of what I want to do, I dive in and become absorbed with it. I cannot paint a bit and walk away. I tend to work in long stretches until I am happy with what is there. It is at that time I will let it rest and come back to it a day or so later with fresh eyes. There will always be some minor adjustments before I am happy with the result. “

You may see more of her work at http://marylougriffin.com.

 

Art of the Week: Ray Walls Dune Shack

Kathryn Kleekamp
Cape Cod Branch

Ray Walls Dune Shack.
Oil on Canvas

 

Members of our Cape Cod Branch of NLAPW enjoyed a fall trip to the beautiful Provincelands at the outer tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Kathryn Kleekamp was inspired to create this painting as a result of what she calls “that magical afternoon”. Of her work, Kleekamp says:

“This is a painting of Ray Walls Dune Shack, one of seventeen ‘shacks.’ These primitive and defiant structures, battered by ocean winds and the elements, have long provided a refuge for artists and writers who seek to be surrounded by the natural world. The shacks are maintained by their original owners or their families, but two shacks are available via lottery to lucky artists or writers who apply for one week residencies.”

You will find more examples of Kathryn Kleekamp’s work at www.SandwichArt.com 

 

Art of the Week: Dancers

Mara Viksnins

Pensacola Branch

Dancers

16” X 20” Acrylic

 

 

Mara Viksnins received her art degree from the University of West Florida twenty years ago. It has always been her belief that one needs to strive forward by creating new and exciting works.

 

Recently, she has rediscovered old works and given them new life. One work was a mixed media piece called “Dancers 1,” which was juried into/first displayed in an earlier NLAPW Biennial. The Pensacola Branch published an art and poetry book called Nobis: Making Others See in 2016 and used that work for the cover.

 

Now, fast forward to a call to artists for a juried show called “Digital Schmigital.” Obviously, this show required a digital work. Viksnins had never entered a digital show, so she challenged herself to create a digital representation of “Dancers.” She was honored to have her digital representation accepted into the show:

 

 

Viknins quotes Henry Ward Beecher in explaining the moral of this story: “Don’t forget those old works that set you on fire the first time! ‘Home should be an oratorio of the memory, singing to all our afterlife melodies and harmonies of old remembered joy.’”

 


Attention Pen Women! We’d love to see your best work for possible publication as Art of the Week. Please review the general submission guidelines on our web site and send only one work per email as a low resolution file. Put Art of the Week Submission in the subject line and provide the information seen in the posts (title/medium/name/branch). Your submission may then be made to Darlene Yeager-Torre at arteditor@nlapw.org. Thank you!

 

Art of the Week: Dark Woman

Dorothy Atkins

Santa Clara County Branch NLAPW

Dark Woman

Acrylic, 18” x 22”

 

Dorothy Atkins comes from a family of wonderful story tellers and has been creating her own stories with words and color since she was a child. Her grandmother would often tell her “to not only look but to see.” Self taught, Atkins has mainly concentrated her efforts in acrylics and oils but has recently taken up watercolors too.

 

Atkins is inspired by her colorful dreams of the people and places that left an impression on her. “Being surrounded by a lifetime of wonderful, intelligent, courageous, beautiful, strong and gentle women, Dark Woman presented herself to me in different forms. I painted her because I had to.”

 

Several of her paintings have won awards and are in the homes of collectors around the world.

 


Attention Pen Women! We’d love to see your best work for possible publication as Art of the Week. Please review the general submission guidelines on our web site and send only one work per email as a low resolution file. Put Art of the Week Submission in the subject line and provide the information seen in the posts (title/medium/name/branch). Your submission may then be made to Darlene Yeager-Torre at arteditor@nlapw.org. Thank you!