Artist Interviews

by Taylore Kelly

Beth Wittenberg

Q. Your pieces are very whimsical, light and energetic. The color is phenomenal and seems ultra intuitive. The bird theme is enticing. How do you bring your creatures to life?

A. I have no preconceived notions or ideas when starting a painting. I start with the white of the paper. I begin by laying colors down rapidly. I allow the paint to dry. Once the paint has dried I turn the paper in all directions and spend a good amount of time looking at the colors and shapes until I "see" something. I begin by making the first marks with a pen. One mark informs the next until the drawing is completed. My process is similar to looking at clouds and finding hidden creatures. I allow the colors and shapes to speak to me. I am always in a state of wonder when i see what is revealed. My process is very exciting for me because I never know what is going to show up. I hope the viewers have enjoyed the exhibition.

Bill Baber

Q. Your work has an extremely deep, calming and electric ambiance to them. They drew me right in and I wished I was there, at those places. It should be this way was a beautiful title. What did you mean by that title?

A. Most of my images bring together elements from many photographs. It should be this way is different in that it began and ended with a single photograph. I am always at a loss to explain how my images come to be. Most of my life is consumed with the search for clarity out of a sea of objective data. Creating these pieces allows me to go to a totally different place where things just happen. This piece happened to an image that began with considerable natural beauty. It moved from a place I experienced to a place the way it might be had the image come in a dream thus "It should be this way."

Wolfgang Ertl

Q. I noticed the title Reverie, was thematic in your work, and know that definition to be a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts. Your work actually drew me in and gave me a relaxed far away feeling. This happened before I read the title. Did you plan on engaging and drawing the viewer in or are these beautiful, colorful pieces about something else?

A. Thank you very much for your kind comments. Your observations concerning my “Reverie” series are certainly spot on. The abstract pastel “Reverie 5” reflects a calm and playful disposition and invites the viewer to enter and explore a world of colors, lines, and forms. While based on observing and experiencing real landscapes like my more representational paintings, the oil “Reverie” is an imaginary landscape. Like the pastel “Reverie 5” it can be seen as an “inner landscape,” perhaps a bit more enigmatic or mystical than the abstract pastel. Some of my artwork is consciously or subconsciously influenced by my lifelong engagement with literature, especially lyric poetry.

Sue Pretty

Q. Your work has a very tranquil quality about it. It definitely reminds me of pointillism. It seems one would have to have a lot of patience to work the way you do. It's beautiful and admirable. Noticing that one of the pieces is called "Balance" made sense to me, because your work felt very balanced.
Each one of your paintings has flowing clouds in them and a cup, what were you thinking about when these were created?

A. These pieces are part of my China Series. My grandmother emigrated from England. I have quite a collection of you china, even a tea set of Royal Dalton. The thread of the environment and its destruction and fragmentation has run through my work as an obsession for a number of years. I have trucks and heavy equipment destroying the landscape. Rather than bulldozing my message through (which is not always very well received) I thought I'd try to tackle this with humor and a lighter touch. I think the china makes a good jumping off point. Each piece of china in Balance has a different environment. The teapot has an underworld with brightly colored fish, another flamingos in the everglades, caribou on the tundra and the plate a snake in the grass. These fragile environments very precariously balanced. It also reflects in my personal life an effort to bring everything into balance. The painting Cup with a Desert Landscape on a Snake Table Cloth deals with are efforts to reduce nature’s beautiful landscapes into a item for sale just a decoration, not experienced firsthand and in danger. The painting Moose Cup With a Eurasian Milfoil Table Cloth looks at invasive plants and the destruction they cause. The Eurasian milfoil just one of the many plants. These plants are transported on the propellers of the boats to other bodies of water not infected. I’m not sure if the bright orange and yellow equipment bulldozing the landscape or the more playful china images are more effective in getting my point across. Multiple approaches reach hopefully more people.

Phillip Singer

Q. Where do your ideas come from? The relationship between the animals and their environment and each other is a force to be reckoned with! I found them so riveting and beautiful. What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can't live without when making art?

A. Thanks for contacting me. I’m flattered and I’m glad you like the work. I am always asked “where do my ideas come from?” Whats funny is I mentally shrug my shoulders when people ask that question and think to myself. …. Ummm “I don’t know” However when I see other peoples work I think, “Where the heck did they get that idea from?”.. So I do understand why people ask. I really don’t have a surefire process for my ideas. They are a mix of so many of the artists I’ve admired since my school days. Surreal artists, my mentor Marvin Mattelson, and Illustrators I’ve loved. But we’re also bombarded with imagery every day. I’m always playing with images in my mind. So If I see something I like… an animal or a plant, I just play with it in my mind and on the drawing pad until I get a juxtaposition that intrigues me. Sometimes it’s quick and sometimes its not. The quick ideas are few and far between. Is there something I can’t live without when making my art? Yes, GOOD BRUSHES! I have many many brushes. Old brushes get used to create textures. Some brushes are stiff, some are soft but when I get towards the finish I need good brushes that hold their shape.

Victoria Elbroch

Q. There are times when a subject has trouble coming to life but clearly this is not the case with your beautiful theme of trees. They have a real mysterious quality to them. How has your style changed over the years?

A. I have always drawn trees but started with line etchings from sketches and now use many mediums from ink to dry pigments. I used to render each twig but am starting to let the viewer fill in what is not complete, adding to the mystery. Thank you for a great question!

Brian Cartier

Q. Your work of art in the show really draws you in with the energy of what appears to be a Phoenix like creature? The title Evolat is latin for "to fly"? Is this correct? What was your creative process when creating this painting?

A. Evolat is indeed a Phoenix, and was commissioned by a local woman who has since become a very close and special friend. The piece is actually very special to me, as the timing of her reaching out to ask me to create it, was just as I was beginning to 'rise out of the ashes' myself after a failed attempt of starting my own business, which I had literally put everything I had into. It was one of my first commissions of 2015, which has been my most successful year as an Artist thus far (2016 is certainly building off of that momentum). So the piece itself is representative of having to sometimes reach your lowest lows, to experience your highest highs. If you look very closely, within the wings, you'll find the quote "Alis volat propriis" which is a favorite of the client, along with her love of the fictitious bird and triumphs in her own life challenges, ultimately her inspiration to commission the piece. Another reason this piece is also special to me, is because I had actually attempted to paint one a few years ago, and was so unsatisfied with it that I covered over it, and had always been wanting to try again, it's rare that a custom commission is something your excited to create. This piece was certainly a challenge, I achieved the affect of the fire by using different smudging techniques and washing out areas with very diluted paint. This particular piece of art was created from a place of found solace after experiencing one of the most challenging times in my life (so far), and I wanted to challenge myself to achieve something in this painting that I previously could not.

Sam Paolini

Q. Your creatures all seem so dynamic and happy and alive. Very energetic and bold! Is there a work of art you have done that you are particularly proud of? If so why?

A. My creatures are happy because I was not when I made them. It's like a kind of therapy; I force the smile out with bubbly cheery critters and they can cheer me up, and hopefully cheer up other people too. I also imagined the dark cold winter approaching, and because I get depressed in the winter, I thought everyone could use a little brightening up when they drive through downtown. So far its worked for me! I am most proud of the public artwork that I've done. It's such an honor to be featured in a place that anyone can see my art without having to seek it out, walk through a door, or pay a fee. My mural at the Dover Skatepark was my #1, but now it's definitely the Children's Museum!

Fleur Palau

Q. I must ask if you have bunnies? There seems to be a theme in your paintings with these furry creatures. These two paintings show such a strong character in each and every one of their faces. What is it about Rabbits/Bunnies that inspires you so much? They are beautiful, I love them!

A. About what inspires me about my's really impossible to explain. The mystery of it leads me to include them in my work either as the main subject or as an antidote. Sometimes they are a vehicle for pure fantasy and sometimes just an element of wild nature as a contrast to the human. But if I were to figure it all out and explain it what purpose would that serve? Only to flatten out and limit the possibilities for myself and the viewer.
So that's my paultry answer. I really don't know!

Marina Forbes

Q. The texture in your paintings is quite vivid and draws the viewer in. Is there an element of art you enjoy working with the most?

A. For me, my creative work is always joyful and rewarding. I have a “Russian soul,” and my art is infused with my heritage and my unique perspective on the world around me. In my contemporary work, I integrate traditional themes with the freedom and exuberance of new artistic forms. My contemporary work is always well researched and filled with diverse traditional themes and styles combined with the freedom and exuberance of Constructivist forms. My ultimate goal is always to satisfy my creative impulse by producing lasting works of great imagination, strength, universality, dignity and spirituality.