Saturday, July 16, 2016

Open Studios @ The Golden Foundation for the Arts, New Berlin NY July 14 2016

The Sam & Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts
237 Bell Rd. New Berlin NY 13411

To learn more about the Residency program and how to apply, visit

Don't forget Golden Artist Colors website, all sorts of cool things to keep you busy there:

So this month's visit had to be very brief with a second event at Kirkland Art Center that I had works in kicking off just after the open studios would be wrapping up. I also had another artist riding shotgun who needed to be back in Utica somewhat early and I did not get a chance to visit with all of the artists -- I hate barging in to conversations to give them the treatment, so my apologies for having to skedaddle rather abruptly but it's work, every minute goes for something nowadays. Recently landed a mural commission and when asked how excited I was the only thing I could think to say is that it has all the glamor of working as a landscaper but without the nice tan. I haven't been this pressed for time as long as I can recall but could not just sit at home with an Open Studios to go prowl for hot ideas. Here's what I saw. 

Artist Mark Flowers visiting with some of the multitude of art fanatics who turned up for the event, very robust turnout this month. As Mark's studio space was closest to the front of the facility he was probably engaged in conversation the most, and I owe him a beer for not getting a chance to say hello. Works out of a place called Mountain TEA Studios in Ashville North Carolina. From what I could gather looking at his website, artwork & studio space at the residency program Mark is a somewhat crazed genius who likes to surround himself with the trappings of art making, dig in and go at it with both hands nonstop until biological needs require a break in production with such annoying but necessary tasks as eating or sleeping. 

I am under the impression that all of the results shown below were executed during his residency and I missed more than half of what had been generated. When marveling over it with one of the other residents they offered that an artist comes to a place like this with literally inexhaustible resources crossed with a superb work environment and little else to have to do except put them to work. The result almost should be dozens and dozens of paintings, unless your purpose is more about evaluating specific properties of Golden's products like finding that perfectly mixed shade of black. "It would happen to you too", they reassured me. I'm game.

To find out more about Mark, his paintings and the studio he co-owns visit

Mark Flowers, and that's a whole show right there where I come from. Probably a weekend's worth of results for this guy. Incredible.

Mark Flowers, and I believe he is using a direct image transfer method for the figurative elements.

Mark Flowers

Mark Flowers. I've had nights like the one on top & mornings like the one on the bottom.

Mark Flowers

Yes. Exactly. Let me at this.

Mark Flowers. I like boats, been seeing a lot of them at the Residency program. Wonder what's up with that, and again my apologies for not getting to talk for a couple to try and figure it all out.

Owe you a beer, Bro.

Robin with her magnum-opus painting, combing both acrylics and oil, which I'd suspected by the sharpness of detail. And that was about the extent of our discussion on the technical aspects of painting, instead exchanging ideas about painting and it's relevance in the digital age. I especially enjoyed her ideas on referencing archaic textbooks for source material which when taken out of context becomes ... well, creepy. Or comical, whichever. Artists appropriate images all the time, we all use pretty much the same materials, and one could even successfully argue that there has not been a genuinely "original" painting made since Courbet took his paint box outside in the 1840s.

We recycle each others ideas with the ingenuity of the mind working the fingers adding uniqueness to the results.  Or failing at it, at which point you start another. Most of our completed artworks are "failures", since they reached a point where we had to stop painting lest whatever favorable qualities they may have be lost. That's when it's time to start another, not necessarily because the first one needs to be bettered, but because we simply need to paint to be complete as humans. The results are artifacts of that journey, an idea which appeals to me as a fledgeling gallerist. I rely on those artifacts to fill walls and artists like Robin to make sure they don't get stale.

Lots of great ideas to latch onto. I mean artwork to enjoy. 

More nonstop painting. It is very humbling as an artist to go to these things every month. I simply do not spend enough time working on my own creations.

Robin Tewes

Robin Tewes

Robin Tewes, detail. 

Robin Tewes, detail. 

Robin Tewes, and that's creepy.

Robin Tewes, with new works for her Men In Trouble series. We are, aren't we. Always.
And I can live with it.

Robin Tewes

Robin Tewes

Robin Tewes

Robin Tewes

This guy again. Turns out he is from a textbook on lifesaving techniques from the 1940s or whatever. That's how guys used to attire themselves to go swimming. No wonder he was in trouble.

Robin Tewes, and this reminded me of the collaged drawings with heavy text elements & lots of tape that I made in the late 90s making collaged drawings intended to look like tattered aged remnants pieced together by an archivist. Some of them were nice.

Robin Tewes

Robin Tewes. I think that was my favorite thing of hers that I saw.

Robin Tewes, and bingo. That's work.

Robin Tewes, detail ... kind of hot, actually.

Robin Tewes, detail. And yes, I need to paint more. I also need new brushes.

Excellent! An instant colleague, will keep in touch. And you know, this has me thinking about trying a bleach job on the hair for the rest of the summer. Tired of sweating out the violet every other week. Go Klaus Kinski for a while, learn how to sneer and start wearing a scarf or something. Just as long as it doesn't make me look like Dolph Lundgren.

Ella with one of her incredible paintings, this in oil and it stopped me dead in my tracks. It's all about that table there in the foreground and I made sure we had a little talk about it. Might seem like a minor point compared to the execution, but I routinely include a table with fascinating items on top of it in my interior pieces. Small round tables like the one I had as a kid in the TV room used to populate my 2012 - 2014 landscapes along with roughly rendered trees, folding tables and soup cans. So seeing another artist so specifically using a table as a device in her painting made me want to know what it's function was, other than just demonstrating a grasp of perspective.

I won't tell you her answer, promised I'd keep it to myself, and hope that by suggesting the question viewers will look deeper for their own meaning or reason. The reason or purpose to create art for others to see is to evoke the question "What is it?" and I don't want to spoil the fun for anybody. But what I can reveal is that both of us use our tables as a metaphor related to domestic life and to demonstrate finesse with materials in depicting space. Work the rest of it out on your own.

For more of Ella's mesmerizing paintings and fiber creations visit

Ella Amitay Sadovsky, huge thing and Jerome Witkin would be pleased.

Ella Amitay Sadovsky, detail. I liked how she used the purple against the green & made the soldiers look like an endless line of ants receding into the distance.

Ella Amitay Sadovsky. Another magnum opus painting, massively gorgeous thing, and Mark Greenwald would be pleased.

Ella Amitay Sadovsky. Massive embroidery just slavered under what looked like six gallons of glistening glossy acrylic gel and I believe some paint as well -- took a few to recognize the blue borders as painters tape. Wondered if maybe these were collages at first but Ella is as known for these fiber creations as her paintings. Brought them to experiment with using the Golden's product and arrived at a new method to pursue with them crossing the disciplines of fiber arts with painting.

Ella Amitay Sadovsky. Wish I'd asked more about these but was thoroughly distracted by the table.

Ella Amitay Sadovsky. Didn't think to ask about these but enjoyed seeing them. Like a halfway point between organic fiber creations and glistening paintings.

Ella Amitay Sadovsky

Ella Amitay Sadovsky, and I love the irregular edges. Enough with squared off frames, unless that's what you need for your effect as with Mark's work.

What do you mean, "Sometimes a table is just a table ..." 

BUSTED! Caught these two looking at my door painting/drawing hanging there to the right but by the time I got my camera out they'd turned around. Not making it up! And I gotta get someone to shoot me a decent picture of that sometime, hoist a guy up there on a trapeze harness or something with a camera. Swing him around while he snaps pix, would try it myself but am afraid of heights. Which is probably why I never became an astronaut. Well, that and my math sucked.

Artist Jenna North and our mutual hero Leigh Yardley, who did her own turn on the program's swings last spring -- Click here for a blog post on that visit, she kept busy. Leigh's artistic visions continue to make me want more from my own efforts and I am eager to have the distinction of featuring her work in one of my shows someday. And Jenna was in town working on a massive, highly complex installation project that has been a mission of hers for a couple years now.  I won't pretend to understand even half of it, but we also used her visit as an opportunity to have a two person show of our work -- something I'd wanted since 2013 -- at The Dev in Utica. Our very enjoyable (if humid) opening had just been the evening before, we were both exhausted but determined to make the Open Studios scene, and the KAC opening ... More on the Dev show soon, plus so many other things. Need to catch up on it all and what a great summer. Just sort of happened.

To learn more about Jenna's installation project & the myriad of her other artistic activities visit

Artist Beth Post! Who saved my bacon a few times at the Big Ol' Print event at Munson Williams Proctor Institute in Utica week before last. We were on reciprocal teams working the linen that the inked blocks were printed onto by being pressed under a full-sized steamroller (!!) and I missed my mark a couple times due to the pace we needed to keep. Beth & a few others had my back, nobody got squished into a pancake, the prints were amazing! and we be bloggin about that next Yo.

Beth's website, and she her art rules too ya know.

With artist & painting instructor Ashley Marie Bartlet! who made the epic drive from Syracuse to be present so she could meet the artists, see their work and learn about how they used the Golden Artist Colors materials. Ashley has helped me coordinate & hang two shows at The Tech Garden in Syracuse and that's the kind of spirit I look for in people when thinking of whom to work with. Kind of a lucky guy here and I know it. You betcha.

Sure enough, Ashley also has a web nook showing her marvelous paintings including some I had the pleasure to feature in my Tech Garden shows:

Off to Kirkland Art Center for the Just Add Water II event, which we managed to do in 37 minutes flat. I believe we may have even crashed the wrong party without actually intending to ... :D 

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