Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Broadway, My Super Bowl…the Refrigerator.

I just opened a new box of crayons. Can you smell that? Yep. Next to them, I have a fire-engine red piece of construction paper. Can you feel it? Yep. These crayola crayonstwo powerful items have a promise that’s never broken –  to bond and create a one-of-a-kind reflective piece of life.  Just like the special bond between a parent and a child or your best friend in school who you can’t wait to see at recess.

When you move the crayons over the paper, the line always gets wider, just like Refrigerator Artour world, expanding and growing. As you start to mix colors, they form layers, like our memories with time. It starts to take form.  It’s often not what we expected….sometimes better, sometimes worse. But we created it and it’s permanent. It may be lucky enough to reach the ultimate stage, the Broadway of this special art form, known as the refrigerator. Or it might find its way across the world, and into the hands of Yolie Moreno.

Newtown Town Hall-Memorial-Panorama
This is one of many sections..

Yolie, friend and sculpture fan (inspired my Gaia series) is the creator and shepherd of the Newtown Documentation Project – a laborious, but awe-inspiring task of documenting (digitally)  an international collection of 200,000+ gifts, cards, letters  and artwork collected on behalf of the fallen souls of Sandy Hook.   As the photo documentation continues at the Newtown Town Hall, and her deadline fast approaching, Yolie makes a video pass.

For now, Yolie is focusing on her deadline and is still contemplating the home and destiny of almost a million megabytes of precious treasures.

Newtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook Memorial
“They are still with you. It will be alright.”

I was lucky enough to touch the raw, loving and caring collection of these creations today. A very heavy crayon mark for me. In my last post, I talked about the importance of living a balanced life…trying to… and to help, I suggested an expressive drawing exercise…a loud coach or a whispering mother. Maybe one of these creations can be it for you. I’m very certain Neely, Dario, Maya, Red, Avril, Hannah, Jennifer and Michael won’t mind. In fact, I think that’s what they wanted. Use them to make something more.
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Newtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook Memorial

Newtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook Memorial
“I know how you feel…I lost someone before…”
Newtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook Memorial
“I grew up on 12/14/12”

Newtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook Memorial

Healing Newtown Through the Power of the Arts is lead by a strong team – Newtown Cultural Arts Commission, who is supported by the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut and the Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA). To learn how you can help: http://www.healingnewtown.org

Thank you.
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine
“Living Life with Balance”

Newtown is your town. Newtown is everyone’s town. Moving forward with balance…

balance: 1. a state in which opposing forces harmonize; equilibrium.  2. mental equilibrium; mental health; calmness, a state of remaining clear-headed and unperturbed. 3.  awareness of both viewpoints or matters; neutrality; rationality; objectivity.

Simplicity is Complex Series-Agni Zotis
Simplicity is Complex Series-Agni Zotis

Some of the most complex pieces of artwork have balance – arranging elements so that no one part of a work overpowers, or seems heavier than any other part.

I live in Newtown, CT.  My three young daughters attend school in another district, in another state. When I talked to them about what happened in Newtown and why it happened, one word came to mind. It wasn’t evil.  It was balance – the importance of living our lives with balance. Balancing family, relationships, our jobs, careers, school, education, our physical and mental health, politics, religion and our environment….oh and some play time.

All of us, whether we’re a parent or not, live in Newtown or not, were greatly affected by what happened December 14, 2012. Yes, the community of Newtown has risen and rallied in model form.  They are labeled and seen as “strong.”  But Newtown is no different from your community.  If your community experienced a similar tragedy, you too would develop a volunteer task force, attend vigils and have the police forces of surrounding towns cover the Christmas shift for the emotionally and physically drained police officers forced to see this life-changing event up-close-and-personal.  Your town is Newtown and Newtown is everyone’s town.

Was the individual responsible for this abominable tragedy  living a balanced life?  Are you living a balanced life? I struggle every day. Most of us do. How can we learn from this tragedy?

Get a small piece of paper and a pencil. At the bottom of that piece of paper, write “balance.” Then emotionally put yourself in the shoes and in the house of aBalance surviving parent, brother, sister, friend, classmate or neighbor of a fallen Newtown soul.  Draw how that makes you feel. Aesthetics do not matter.  It can be a simple star, a cross, torn and ripped from the pressure of your pencil…doesn’t matter.  Put that piece of paper where you can see it every day. Put it on your dashboard, your bathroom mirror, your desk or next to your bed.   It’s a strong trigger and a poignant reminder of the importance of balance.

Lastly, whether you’re a chef, auto mechanic, artist or surgeon.  It’s all about having the right tool. It can mean the difference between success and failure.  If you ask a US Marine what a gun is, he/she may look confused because he/she doesn’t use a gun as a tool; they use a “weapon.” If a Marine uses the term “gun,” they may find themselves doing 50 pushups with three Sergeants on their back.  An assault rifle is a weapon…not a gun.  A gun is what is used to hunt for food….sport. Is there sport in an assault weapon?  By design, none. Nor should it be.  It’s a specific tool, designed for a specific task, for a specific user.

As a young adult, eager to get my driver’s license, I can still remember that sobering moment when my father stated while I buckled my seat belt, ready for my first lesson.  “You’re in control of a two-ton weapon.” he said.  I suddenly lost my smile and quickly took my hands off the wheel.  I was required to take guided lessons, practice, classes, register and pass tests.  Although I passed, it was not a guarantee that I would not be injured or cause injury.  But I felt better, my father felt better and the car in front of me and behind probably felt better….safer.

Balance is the answer. But we need patience. It’s a process. We can’t transform ourselves overnight.  That would be like trying to run a marathon without Central Park-Paul Shampinetraining.  As humans, we resist change. Change takes work. A lot of work. It requires self-awareness, acknowledgement, desire and most importantly, patience.   That’s why we often get discouraged, quit and give up.  We regress back to our years of conditioned lives….years.  We’re trying to change years of long-lived repetitive behavior.   Adding to the struggle and challenge, we’re a society where immediate gratification just isn’t quick enough.  Ok, so there are two answers…patience and balance.

Healing Newtown Through the Power of the Arts is lead by a strong team – Newtown Cultural Arts Commission, who is supported by the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut and the Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA). To learn how you can help: http://www.healingnewtown.org

Thank you.
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine
“Living Life with Balance”

Spiritual Liberation – make Art, view Art, buy Art

Paul ShampineTop ten reasons why I shaved my head:

10.          Humility.
9.             Eliminates bed head.
8.             Vulnerability.
7.             Saves  $519.73 annually in haircuts and hair product.
6.             Empathy.
5.             Triathlon performance…saves  3.14 seconds off my run, 2.718 on my swim and  4.20 on my bike.
4.             Vanity.
3.             Fitting in with the other inmates.
2.             Cleansing.
1.             Spiritual Liberation.

If you’re less likely to shave your head to experience spiritual liberation, then make Art, view Art or buy Art.  Start now and view the Art of Mary Blum,  Sara Biersteker, Linda Bladen and Helena Hötzl.
Thank you.

Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Mary Blum, NYC
Summer Mary Blum 2012When did you first discover your creative talents?

In Kindergarten, a loaded brush, a bib and smile ear to ear for the praise from my teacher and classmates. . . a beginning. At 10 years old standing two feet away from the big Larry Poons dot painting at MoMA, my mother quiet on one side of me and my father standing on the other, I heard his soft voice say, “I don’t really think this is art”. I felt a slow running wave of shock moving from my feet to my now bulging eyes. How could my hero of information, a man who traveled Europe just to see the art, say something so completely illogical. I was stunned. I felt so confused and finally so angry! We had a well controlled argument in the Cafe. As I experienced the rest of our visit, blue dots still swimming in front of me, I realized, I was sort of like Larry Poons. Art didn’t have to be a particular thing. It just was. That day I gave myself permission to be an artist in “the Larry Poons sort of way”!

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. Selling my first piece, a glistening blue and gold leaf painting of a fish, was a thrill, not unlike the feeling that morning in Kindergarten. Selling pieces is a fascinating push pull. (I’ve signed my child up for sleep away camp, the morning comes—- his gleeful face and I think I might go a bit mad. Who’s idea was this? He’s going away). Am I taking too much money for the piece? Have I not set the price high enough? Should I have done the piece in the first place? Oh, my. Within the realm of good business sense, for me, the theme is letting go, and letting go some more. Letting go as I paint and as I offer to share a part of myself with the world.

Who are your favorite artists?  The William Bouguereau exhibition at the small museum where I worked was magic. Everyday I met his porcelain figures, his surfaces miraculous painting. Narratives that told infinite stories.
So very powerful. Then there’s Joseph Albers, formal and minimal, often repetitive. Assuring color and form. Robert Rauschenberg‘s Combines. A stuffed goat with a tire around it. I only wish I could have been the tourist who sat on it. Unfortunately it had to be repaired. An extreme sport for the tourist and the restoration team. Louise Bourgeois with her visceral eccentricities. I wonder what it would be like to be Jean Basquiat for a day.  His brief and brilliant gushing of life and paint. Or Yayoi Kusama. Dots!!! So many artists inspire me. . . so many! And I’d like to think, the best is yet to come.

Artist: Mary Blum
Title: Summer
Medium: Mixed media metallic on canvas.
Dimensions: 36 ”x 24”
Website: http://www.maryblumstudio.com

Sara Biersteker, Venice Beach, CA
When did you first discover your creative talents? When my mom wanted me to clean the cat box when I was young, I would sulk in my room and draw a picture. These pictures were always the same. I would draw my mom as a massive queen in renaissance attire, sitting on a wooden throne. I would then draw myself very small and wearing rags. I would be sitting at the base of the throne with large tears that resembled bullets jutting out of my face. Once I had finished my drawing I would give it to my mom and run back to my room. Sometimes it worked and I wouldn’t have to clean the cat box. Sometimes it didn’t. I believe this is when I learned that visual representation has a great power to manipulate and therefore evoke strong emotion. Emotional responses to artwork give us, as artists, opportunities to experience our unadulterated selves. I believe that this process is the core of creativity.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. The first person to approach me about buying a painting was a tall woman from Topanga Canyon. She told me that the painting reminded her of her favorite book. The painting, a 36’’ x 36’’ acrylic on canvas, I had painted for my cousin’s graduation from Berkeley. The subject was our great grandfather as a youth atop a large horse. The photo I found had been taken in old Rancho Malibu somewhere in the 1880s. Though I needed the money badly, I wanted to give the painting to my cousin so that she would feel connected to her family. I declined the offer and proceeded to give my cousin the painting. I am glad it went to her because it was created for her. She recently sent me a picture of it hanging in her bedroom of her new apartment.

Who are your favorite artists?  The artists I love change with whatever mood I’m in. My mom used to say that when I would ask her what her favorite color was. It would make me so mad. But it’s true. One artist that will always be in the forefront of my mind, though, was my grandmother. She was an advertising artist for Bullock’s-Wilshire while it was still in business. While her body of work was marked by profound control of line, she was also talented with watercolor. There are a few California coast landscapes done on cold pressed paper that hang in my studio. My favorite piece, however, is a watercolor of an old Mexican scarecrow. For years I thought it was just a man with a cigar until I finally learned to actually look at what I was seeing.

Artist: Sara Biersteker
Title: Old Rancho Malibu
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 36 ”x 36”
Website: http://www.BierkstekerArt.com

Linda Bladen, Los Angeles, CA
Maria.Linda Bladen
When did you first discover your creative talents? My father was a professional artist in Chicago. Both my parents discovered that I could stay amused for hours with some paper and crayons. This began at a very early age – possibly around three years old. I was lucky to have my father around to validate me and encourage me. It shaped my identity as an artist from the beginning of my life.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. My biggest thrill was probably when I sold a piece before the show opened. The Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors was screening for new members and then showing the work at the La fond Gallery. It was exhilarating because I was accepted into the group and then discovered a red dot next to my piece when the doors opened. It had been purchased by the juror of the show.

Who are your favorite artists?  Since I grew up going to the Art Institute of Chicago, which holds the largest collection of French Impressionists and Post Impressionists outside of Paris… I will say I love Degas, Gauguin, Caillebotte, all of them really…  van Gogh is one of the greatest painters, Camille Claudel‘s sculpture, Corot – a great innovator, the American painter George Inness, Matisse, Constantin Brancusi, Isabel Bishop‘s character studies… too many to name.  Then going back a little… Georges de La Tour and then Velasquez, who started new ideas about painting, and inspired the great portrait painters like John Singer Sargent – “a painter’s painter”.

Artist: Linda Bladen
Title: Maria
Medium: Oil on wood panel
Dimensions: 32 ”x 48”
Website: http://lindabladenart.com

Helena Hötzl, Alingsas, Sweden
When did you first discover your creative talents? I always used to paint and draw and worked several years as a make up artist painting faces. One day I got an email from a man at Saatchi gallery in London telling me that they liked my website and thru them I was invited to participate in a Scandinavian exhibit with the best contemporary artist in Budapest, Hungary.  That was when I realized that I actually had an creative talent in me.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. I had done a piece with women with trench coats that I went to a gallery to ask them to frame it for me.  The man at the gallery looked at it and asked me who had done it? I was very shy and remember looking at the floor telling him that I did that one.  He bought it as fast as I can remember telling me how great it was.  I started to realize that maybe other people would like to buy my art too.

Who are your favorite artists?  I love Gustav Klimt. My favorite. At an exhibit I had a man told me I had some similarities of Modigliani. Never though about him but starting to like him more and more. There are so many good artist out their today.

Artist: Helena Hötzl
Title: The lady in the red dress
Medium: Acrylic/kohl and pearl liquid
Dimensions: 100 x 70 cm
Website: http://www.helenahotzl.com

Lighting strikes Mark Demos at the Fountain Art Fair! A very delayed report….but I have a note from my Doctor.

Not-So-Patient: Paul ShampineDear Art World, Please excuse Paul’s tardiness as he has suffered a comminuted Fx of the radius and humerus with magna angulation.  Cause: Stendhal Syndrome. 

Click here…

As a teenager I experimented with gravity, performing stunts beyond any “stupid” or “don’t try this at home” reality TV show. And over the past fifteen years, I’ve bread-spread layers of my epidermis at breakneck speeds on the earth’s crust motoXing, mountain biking, trail running and even a downtown Boston motorcycle spill…all without skeletal carnage. So why would a plodding minus zero mph bike accident shatter my elbow in a thousand-piece single-shade puzzle? A Buddhist Miss Ko2 - Nurse Takashi Murakami would say it was for a reason….maybe if I mack truck grillcontinued my trip I would have eaten Mack grill? OR, I wouldn’t have met the radiologist that will soon be my third wife? “No Paul,” that throaty parental voice echoed, “you’re old.”

What makes me feel young, innocent, fresh and alive? The work of Mark Demos. As I strolled around this year’s Fountain Art Fair, a wide-eyed boy in a store of porn and fuzzy wet dreams (sorry that’s the Oxy talking), I was surreptitiously drawn to Mark’s booth – close encounter-like, pulled by back-lit cryptic swaths Mark Demosof color found only in Pantone’s secret basement.  “Over the last few years I’ve added light to my art for a dream affect.  Strange how these paintings have become so cathartic that they make me feel like its a new life every day.”  Mark explains.  He attributes his supernatural palette wizardry to a negative personal incident  “wrong place, wrong time,” but for me, his work must come from a deeper encounter from within.

FAF-Mark DemosAs an exhibitor at the 2012 Fountain Art Fair, can you share your experience from your perspective? Showing at Fountain was a great experience… showing in that historic venue (69th Regiment Armory-68 Lexington Avenue and 25th Street) was exciting to see mine and others’ works in such an inspiring context.  I thought my spot was great too because when you walked in you’d see my booth glowing all the way at the end of the space.  I enjoyed time spent and speaking with exhibitors, gallerists, & art lovers at Fountain.  The event was organized and still had the laid back Fountain feel but all involved stepped it up and made this event a blast to be part of.

Mark DemosAll great artist strive to evolve, try new mediums, methods and test their creativity.  What inspired the incorporation of light with your work?  I was inspired to incorporate light once I felt my paintings became more like memories of a memory so it was dreamy.  I added light for the dream affect.  I love how the light adds dimension and more life to my works!  Some people prefer no light… the paintings are meant to be seen in 3 ways/moods.  The pieces can be viewed front light- with no back illumination front light and illuminating and in the dark illuminated.

When did you first discover your creative talents?  I first discovered my creative talents when I was a young child wearing a garbage bag, playing with my kitchen sink… my mother would give me food coloring and a bunch of clear jars and glasses and I’d mix the colors with the running water. I’d watch the colors move, change hues and form. I’d be hypnotized and play with the sink all day. I’ve since changed medium but feel the same can be told about what I do in my studio every day.

FAF-Mark DemosFor an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  My first piece of art I sold was quite memorable because I hadn’t sold to anyone and had tons of work stockpiled in my rent stabilized apt. I was recommended by a friend to do the office of a financial company on Water St. in lower Manhattan. I met her connection and gave him 4 pictures of my work I printed 10 mins before the meeting. We met on the Union Square steps and the meeting was brief. He later called me and asked how much work I had… I told him. He later stopped by and bought ALL of my work. This gave me enough to rent my first art studio- what a stroke of good fortune. I’m so grateful to still have the luxury of an art studio today.

Who are your favorite artists? When it comes to favorite artists Richter is high on the list. Gerhard Richter has inspired me every time I view his work… online to recently at the Tate. His use of color and expression through abstraction cannot be matched. I also love Rothko because when I was a kid I thought ” I could do that”. I was wrong. His paintings glow and shake like no other and dark to light they will always shake us up with good and bad mood swings. My third on today’s list of favorite artists will finish with Adolph Gottlieb who creates gorgeously designed circles. I am obsessed with the motion of circles and to find Gottlieb later in life, makes me feel like we have something in common with one of the greats!

Since the show? I’ve been painting outside on my roof and will be showing works on my roof so when you’re on the Brooklyn Bridge you can see a piece.  I recently found a new work space way downtown lower Manhattan and it’s big so I look forward to working there.  I have a few galleries interested in my work one on the LES and the other in CT.  Hope to do a solo show soon.

Visit Mark Demos:  http://www.markdemosstudio.com

Thanks Mark.
Paul ShampinePaul Shampine

NYC Fountain Art Fair proves Albert was wrong, E=fA²f

Maybe hold off on changing the textbooks.  Professor Einstein was on to something…

Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of Fountain Arts Fair - NYCcompassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.(A. Einstein 1954).

As a first-timer of the Fountain Art Fair, the event was a perfect setting to fulfill Albert’s advice.  Go once and you’re a lifer as attendance reflected.

It was unlike any creative event I’ve attended.  BUT, I’m not going to disrespect the pulsing soul and ramble on about my thoughts and experiences or flood this with imagery…just go.  Trust me…just go.  It’s a true bucket list for any art lover, art collector or anyone wanting to continue or start  Albert’s pilgrimage.

The Fountain Art Fair continues through Sunday March 11.  For more info: http://www.fountainartfair.com

Paul ShampineJust a peek.  Ian Ross (http://ianrossart.com) and Lindsay Carron (http://lindsaycarron.com) infusing the mood onsite.
Ian Ross - Fountain Arts FairLindsay Carron - Fountain Arts Fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you.
Best regards, Paul
Paul Shampine

Accidental Inspiration?

Kathleen Kaller succinctly states that her “work is derived from life’s drifting REVELATION-Kathleen Kallerinspiration.”  As a study of nature, I couldn’t agree more. It’s the sum of the whole―a collection that makes up the matrix of our souls.

I had a spell of this enigmatic “inspiration” this V-Day. Simply, I made a necklace.  A fun project, but a bit risky for a gift.  I always feel like a child when IPaul Shampine present a new artistic concept…a little boy approaching his mother with a precious object behind his back….hoping…waiting…

Ultimately, I just want create to have others “feel” that same inner spiritual feeling.  It’s when you actually feel your soul.  An unbalanced but comfortable place. That tightness in your chest when you feel happiness, anger, proudly, lonely, excited, guilt, joy and…..inspiration.

I’m always asked the unanswerable…what inspired this?

Paul ShampineHope these guys do it for you…did it for me…
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine


Eleanor Rahim

Surface to Air-Eleanor Rahim


When did you first discover your creative talents? I think it was around the age of six. My mom gave me a painting by numbers set and I did a pretty good job! Teachers at school started asking me to paint the windows at Christmas and do various decorating jobs around the classrooms. Yes, I think I knew quite early on that I had a talent. However, none of my family were artistic so I didn’t grow up with a great awareness of art or have any idea what to do with my talent!

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. Following on from your first question, my education and career went in the direction of graphic design and illustration. I started as a fine artist only four years ago when I moved from London to New York and discovered the Art Students League. I entered a painting in the class concours and won a Red Dot award. The show was open to the public and a man contacted me to ask if he could see more of my work. I really didn’t have many paintings to show him but he fell in love with a piece called Calm at Present, 40 x 30 inches, acrylic on canvas. He immediately wrote a check for my asking price. Having been in business for many years with design, I always got a kick out of sealing a deal. However, this was different. When I paint, I paint for myself. My thoughts and emotions all go into the painting. It is very personal. Suddenly, I found someone who understood my work, it resonated with him and he had to have it. It was the most exhilarating feeling and I shall never forget that day, or the collector! I still get excited when I sell a painting and I love to hear how a painting makes the owner feel. I’m fascinated by what people read into my work and the effect it has on their emotions.

Who are your favorite artists?  Well my list keeps growing but I’ll throw out a few, in no particular order of preference: Claude Monet for being the ‘father of abstract expressionism’ as my tutor and also one of my favorite artists, Ronnie Landfield, told me. Gerhardt Richter for his use of color, texture and subtlety. I recently saw his fabulous retrospective in London at Tate Modern. John Singer Sargent, especially his male nudes. Peter Paul Rubens for his anatomical studies, Egon Schiele for his use of line, Pablo Picasso for his sketches, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Ilya Repin, Hans Holbein, Johannes Vermeer, Diego Velázquez, Joan Mitchell, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul Jenkins, Clyfford Still, Norman Bluhm…..oh it goes on and on.

Artist: Eleanor Rahim
Title: Surface to Air
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 48 ”x 72”
Website: http://eleanorrahim.com

Ali Gallagher
Astral Dust-Ali Gallagher



When did you first discover your creative talents? Like most children I enjoyed painting and drawing when I was young. As a teenager I realized the feeling of sweet positive release while creating and knew I needed to maintain this flow throughout my life.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. The first time I sold work to a stranger I remember the feeling of curiosity as to where the piece would live in a space I had never seen. It was warming to think that they felt a strong enough connection to want to house the piece in their personal sanctuary. I remember they wrote a check and I just kept rereading their name and was so thankful that someone I had never met before was in support of the artwork.

Who are your favorite artists? William Blake, Kathe Kollwitz, Margaret Macdonald, Swoon, Shona Heath, J.M.W. Turner, so many!!! The process of creating is more important than the outcome but these prophets definitely stand out to me.

Artist: Ali Gallagher
Title: Astral Dust
Medium: Oil on wood.
Dimensions: 18”x18”
Website: http://www.aligallaghercreations.com
Blog: http://aligallagher.wordpress.com

Karen Duckles
Hula Hoop-Karen Duckles

When did you first discover your creative talents? I think I first discovered my creative urge when I was a kid.  My mom had art supplies around and she helped me paint a seascape.  I was just fascinated with painting and making things look how they do in real life.  I remember becoming obsessed with painting rocks and making them look three dimensional with light and shadows.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. I sold the first piece I can remember when I was in high school.  It was a landscape, and a friend of mine bought it.  He chose that one because he said he thought it looked like it took a long time to make.  I think I got about ten dollars for that.

Who are your favorite artists?  One of my favorite artists is Mondrian.  I love how his paintings are so precise, and yet so human at the same time.  They are so elemental, and really quite complex.  Another artist I just love is MorandiHis paintings have a wonderful stillness, just being.  The colors are so soft and subtle, just lovely.

Artist: Karen Duckles
Title: Hula Hoop
Medium: Oil on cavas
Dimensions: 37”x63”
Website: http://karenduckles.com

Michelle Oppenheimer
Untitled-Michelle Oppenheimer
When did you first discover your creative talents? I first discovered my creative talents when I was a child but it really blossomed when I was in school studying to become a Doctor of Oriental medicine. That was about thirteen years ago. I painted for a study break. Acupuncture school was arduous for me. I found a serenity when I painted.  I started with water color. I love how water color bleeds and how delicate it is.  I rarely showed anyone what I was painting. I was incredibly shy and vulnerable about my art. I have no formal training and felt insecure about it. My husband encouraged me to continue with it. Explore with different materials and sizes.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. I sold my first painting to a dear friend almost twelve years ago.
It has been one of those paintings that I have never grown tired of.
My friend is an art collector and I was incredibly honored he bought it.
He bought it for 300.00 dollars and it has been one of the most asked about
paintings on my website.

Who are your favorite artists?
I love Rothko.  I love Franz Kline. I love Ed Moses.
All three continue to inspire me on an incredibly deep level.

Artist: Michelle Oppenheimer
Title: Untitled
Medium: Mixed media on paper
Dimensions: 50”x50”
Website: http://michelleoppenheimer.com


10,000 hours

I recently asked a friends nine year-old daughter (Lily) how lacrosse was going.  “It’s a lot of fun, but I’m having a hard time catching the ball.”  Instantly the self appointed expert gene flared and I caught myself lecturing on the importance of “practice.” Practice or punishment in a K-6 thesaurus play book. Continuing, I stuttered with inspiration that I read somewhere that it takes 10,000 hours to become an “expert” (Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell). Her eyes widened and her voice calmly whispered “cool.”  Confused, I thought…did she think I said dollars…not hours…like if you practice, I’ll give you $10,000?  Lily ran off and grabbed her lacrosse stick and darted outside.  I just gave her a 10,000 hour license to have fun.  Need one?

Paul ShampineCheck out these license holders that are great with their stick…
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine


Jennifer Weiss

Dog Run-Jennifer Weiss

When did you first discover your creative talents? I think it was in the 3rd grade. Another student and I would perform these one on one drawing contests and the other students would be the judges (I’m not sure where the teacher was while this was going on). I was told early on that I had some talent, but it took me a very long time to really believe it; as I got older I realized I had to create in some way in order to stay sane. At times I would make paintings or drawings that I’d feel very good about, but it would often be followed by intense doubt and insecurity. It wasn’t until my early thirties, when a professor who I really respected told me I was talented did I actually begin to believe that I might have something worth pursuing. From then on I felt more of a commitment to my work and things really started to grow from that point.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. The first work I ever sold was a group of eight small 8×10″ paintings of coffee cups with a narrative theme. It happened during an open studio weekend in Red Hook where I used to live and work. A couple came in and purchased the entire series altogether for $400 for the eight paintings. I hadn’t expected anyone would really buy a painting from me, and so it came as a total surprise. Fearful they’d change their mind I threw out the first price that came to me. I miss those paintings…

Who are your favorite artists?  Some of my favorite artists include Terry Winters, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Herbert Brandl, and Willem De Kooning.

Artist: Jennifer Weiss
Title: Dog Run
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 72”x72”
Website: http://www.jenweiss.com

Cat Tesla
Endless & Outside of the Box

When did you first discover your creative talents? When I was 3 or 4 years old I made a birthday card for my grandmother using paint and collage, complete with a Hallmark® crown on the back (in goldenrod Crayola®, of course). Since then I’ve been drawing, painting, or making something. I believe it’s who I am part of my genetic code so to say.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  Honestly, I don’t remember my first sale! What I do remember is the last day of an art show about 7 years ago when a lady approached me asking about my “Outside of the Box” series. She really liked the work and said she had a wall that she measured and thought that she needed 50 paintings from this series for the spot she had in mind. I replied by saying you mean 15, right? No, she said. Fifty. Five-oh.” I thought she was pulling my leg. She asked me to come to her home after the show to see the space and bring whatever I had left.

My husband was with me and we were on the fence whether to go. She was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. It was very hot. We told her we’d call when we were all packed up. Once we got everything packed up, we figured “why not? Off we went.  It was beautiful. It was big. It was unbelievable!  The wall space was perfect for 50 “Outside of the Box” paintings. She purchased the 15 I had and commissioned me for the other 35.

Life is full of challenges, surprises, and joy. I’ll never forget this experience and how it taught me to be open and to believe that anything is possible. You just never know how God will bless you. I’m grateful for every day as an artist. For me, painting is the most life-affirming thing to do.

Who are your favorite artists?  William Turner, Jackson Pollock, and Georgia O’Keefe.

Artist: Cat Tesla
Title: Endless, 48″x48″, acrylic on canvas – Outside of the Box, 10″x10″/ea, mixed media on birch
Website: http://artbycat.com

Brooke Harker
Taxi 213-Brooke Harker

When did you first discover your creative talents? I grew up in a very creative home…so if I wasn’t putting on a show, making clothing for my troll collection or hosting dance contests between my sister and I (I always judged and won them too…which she never questioned), I was watching my mom paint…I began attending university art classes with her when I was seven, sitting next to her easel. When she worked on her art homework, I got to participate on a parallel project for me, and she taught me about what she was learning. I don’t remember ever not making things.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  I was probably five years old painting on rocks from the driveway with my best friend Ashley and trying to sell them for 5 cents each. It was a solid business plan, except we set our table of merchandise at the top of her winding driveway in the woods, private property with no food traffic or passing cars…and then we waited. Where were all the people? Didn’t they see our sign at the bottom of the driveway, “Rocks for Sale” with an arrow? Eventually we moved the rocks to the bottom of the hill, but were still shocked that nobody stopped to buy rocks that were hand painted for only 5 cents!  I’m telling this story…because it is possible that a rock sold before we gave up and started making hors d’oeuvres of graham cracker, frosting and marshmallows and delivering them door to door to our neighbors.

The first offer to buy one of my paintings came when I was 10. My elementary school had an art show in the evening, I wasn’t there but my teacher, Mrs. Smart, let me know that a man who collected children’s art wanted to buy my painting. I don’t remember now if I sold him the painting or held onto it…but I didn’t see it in the years that followed… I mainly remember the turmoil of deciding whether to sell it or not…The offer was for $50. I was shocked. The painting itself was from a class study of Matisse. We took turns posing for the class and painting Matisse inspired backgrounds. I was the only student to paint the boy modeling purple. I gave no explanations at the time. Perhaps the idea seemed original or abstract, but in truth I didn’t want to be racist. I had learned on Martin Luther King Jr Day not to pay attention to a persons skin color, and now I was about to paint Eric, the only African American boy in my class…If I chose brown paint…it would have meant I saw his skin color and I surely didn’t want to be racist…so I made him purple…but I still felt odd about the choice. Again another possible first sale…I for sure remember selling a painting of elephants when I was in high school to my elementary school guidance counselor.

Who are your favorite artists?  Rachael McCampbellChris ZambonRoderick SmithChuck Guppert, Paul GarveyMichael FlohrAshley HaganGregg Chadwick,Wendy MorrisMike Brouse, Carolyn ColeDaphne StammerGabrielle PoolRimi Yang,  James VerbickyClaudia Concha PereaBobby Logic, Charles Crossley, Hilary TaubMolly CourcelleMichael SituJean-Michel BasquiatPicasso, Renoir.

Artist: Brooke Harker
Title: Taxi 213
Medium: Japanese ink, oil and acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 36″ x 48″
Website: http://www.brookeharker.com

Kellie Thomas-Walker
The Invited-Kellie Thomas-Walker

When did you first discover your creative talents? I was brought up with a love for art originating from my artist mother. I dabbled here and there between creative writing, poetry, never centering on a creative outlet. Then, after many obstacles and many heartbreaks I started to take up sketching.  My threshold to cross which brought me into my world of colors, lines, and beauty was the progression of becoming a mother to my four daughters.  One day my mother set me in front of a canvas, with unlimited paint, brushes-and let me go. That day I found myself, and the world around me has forever changed.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  My most treasured piece I sold was a commission piece to our dear friends.  They gave me a color pallet to run off of, and gave me complete free artistic reign.  Three panels, reaching close to 10 ft across came to known as “New Jerusalem”. I poured my soul into that piece. It was where I started prayer to God in my work. A constant connection to Him.

Who are your favorite artists?  Without a doubt my all time favorite is my mother, Diane Heesen. She is such an amazing woman, and diverse in her artistic nature. My other favorites are Osnat Tzadoc, and Salvador Dali. Dali is a definite influence in my charcoal/pen drawings.

Artist: Kellie Thomas-Walker
Title: The Invited
Medium: Acrylic on canvas.
Dimensions: 48”x48”
Website: http://kelliewalkerabstractartist.blogspot.com/