Functional to Abstract in Concord MA

September 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

White shino vase by Warren MacKenzie.

White shino vase with marks by Warren MacKenzie.

Visiting Concord, MA is always a treat with its quaint town square, a beautiful countryside, rich history and a bit of culture thrown in for good measure.  Being a tree-hugger, one of the first trips that I asked my parents to take me on was to Concord to walk around Walden Pond and envisioned myself following the footsteps of Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau.

On a recent trip I was thrilled to see an engaging exhibit in the Lacoste Gallery at 25 Main Street.  This little gallery features American crafts with a focus on ceramic artisans.

Warren MacKenzie American National Treasure at Lacoste Gallery.

Warren MacKenzie American National Treasure at Lacoste Gallery.

Their current exhibit has a vast array of pieces by well known potter Warren MacKenzie.  Warren considers himself a functional potter and produces about 5000 pieces per year.  He’s interested in forms, surface texture, gesture and perhaps decorative devices.  Warren’s work is collected by connoisseurs of pottery and found in the finest museums and considered to be a master by many.

Assortment of cups by Warren MacKenzie.

Assortment of cups by Warren MacKenzie.

Warren has been producing his work and teaching for over 65 years.  His pottery has been influenced by Bernard Leach of England, for whom he apprenticed, and Shoji Hamada.  His pieces reflect the Japanese sensibility of pureness and simplicity that takes years of dedication to perfect.

Large stoneware platter with iron drips.

Large stoneware platter with iron drips.

Warren’s pieces are sought after and coveted by many.  The Lacoste Gallery is the exclusive gallery for Warren’s work on the East Coast so don’t miss this special exhibit that runs through Sept 13, 2014.

Art Book Dept. at Albright Art.

Art Book Dept. at Albright Art.

While visiting Concord I always make a point to visit the Albright Art Gallery & Supplies downstairs at 32 Main Street.  Although I had recently made a pilgrimage to my favorite art supply stores in Cambridge and Boston I thought this little jewel had a better selection of new artist tools, paints, pastels, mediums and color choices.

Tiny store-massive selection.

Tiny store-massive selection.

Everything is well organized and a friendly staff to help out with all my questions.  If you’re looking to see that obscure paint color or ask about the newest water soluble oil paint medium-this is the place to go.

Candy store for artists...

Candy store for artists…

Find inspiration with new art supplies and acquire new friends for your paintbox.  Another benefit is there’s plenty of free parking (in the shade) around the corning in the town parking lot.

Paintings by Julie Vinette.

Paintings by Julie Vinette.

Surprise…  right in the next room over the Albright has a rotating art exhibit with engaging artwork like these beautiful paintings by artist Julie Vinette.

'Tidepool' by Julie Vinette.

‘Tidepool’ by Julie Vinette.

These high gloss oil and pencil on board are abstracts inspired by realism with a hint of Bernhard Richter.  This exhibit runs through Sept 28th with an artist reception on Sunday, Sept 14th, from 3 to 5 pm.  Seek out and find this art supply store + gallery for inspiration and professional tools of the trade.

Creative Process with Deborah Dancy

July 21, 2014 § Leave a comment


Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill.

It’s summer and no better time to take a trip to Cape Cod and gain some artistic knowledge while enjoying the sun and the sea.  The timing finally came together for me to make this dream come true and I was excited to be taking a Process: Meaning & Making workshop with Deborah Dancy at the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill.


My three collage sketches set the stage for the week.

Day one the assignment was to create a collage sketch from pieces of ephemera that Deborah had brought to get us jump-started.  Books, magazines, coloring books all for the taking along with a little image transfer to boot.  Our collages needed to be boiled down to only three to five pieces strategically designed to be the inspiration point for our finished pieces.


Alisha Keller and Trish Berube working in the studio.

Our afternoons were spent toiling away with the intention to play with materials and force ourselves into the uncomfortable unknown with our art projects.  Working with various pieces of papers, sticks, paints and tools like squeegees and paint rollers-anything was bound to happen.

Group therapy.

Group therapy.

Part of the process was connecting with the other workshop participants.  It was the group consensus that we all pushed the boundaries and created pieces that were surprisingly personal and unexpected.

Sisters Maddie Goldman and Ellen Hirst were an inspiration to us all.

Sisters Maddie Goldman and Ellen Hirsch  were an inspiration to us all.

Deborah Dancy would give us focus and direction in the morning sessions by cutting our pieces, adding things and making comments.   In the afternoons we were busy figuring out what she told us.  By midweek things were moving along at a fevered pitch.

Deborah Dancy critiques Trish Berubes art pieces.

Deborah Dancy critiques Trish Berubes art pieces.

By the last day of our workshop the group had pulled together enough work for a critique and Deborah gave each of us a thoughtful commentary and direction.  The outcome was extraordinary in the vastly different and unique pieces that were created.

Ellen Hirsch with her final pieces.

Ellen Hirsch with her final pieces.

By the end of our workshop we all felt challenged and excited about new possibilities for the future.  The cat was out of the bag and we would never be the same again.

My final creation.

My final creation.

Each day I worked on a new painting collage based on the sketches that I designed earlier in the week.  When it was time for my final critique I told Deborah that I felt like I wanted to work bigger.  She promptly had my four pieces, with one upside down, tacked up together on the barn door to make one large collage that would measure 44″ x 60″.   I’m inspired.  Thanks Deborah.

The Boston Distillery

June 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

Artist Heather Paterson inside sound sculpture.

Artist Heather Patterson inside sound sculpture.

One of Boston’s hidden artistic enclaves is the The Distillery that’s filled with creative businesses, artisans and businesses.  There’s a cutting edge vibe that’s refreshing and inspiring.  On a recent trip I was fortunate to meet some of the artists that have their studios within this converted rum distillery building.  It was a surprise to run into artist Heather Patterson who was checking out this Sound Sculpture by Derek Hoffend.  Heather was one of four artists that I collaborated with for the Synergies:  New Gallery Artist Expo earlier this year at the So. Shore Art Center.  Heather-you make a great model…  I’m just saying.

Derek Hoffend Sound Sculpture artist.

Derek Hoffend Sound Sculpture artist.

Derek’s sculpture’s have a zen-like effect in that the sounds are soothing and meditative and the vibrations reach into the core of your physical being.  Definitely recommended to experience his creations in person.

Artist Vanessa Irzyk

Artist Vanessa Irzyk

Vanessa Irzyk has her studio in The Distillery and her work is vibrant and contemporary.  She has developed a technique of cutting paper and sandwiching the designs behind plexiglass.

Vanessa's work space.

Vanessa’s work space.

Creativity at work…  Vanessa’s work space is a collage of everything that goes onto her artwork.  This is where it all happens.


Here are a few of Vanessa’s finished pieces.  Upbeat and fun, free and yet very intricate.

Finding inspiration locally in Boston at the Distillery where this space is charged with new ideas and artists who are ready to share their ideas and techniques.  It’s definitely worth the time to venture to their Open Studios or visit the Main Gallery.  The Distillery is located at 516 East Second Street in South Boston, MA 02127.  Hours are from 9 am to 5 pm-Monday thru Saturday.

Coastal Printmaker Invitational Exhibit

June 13, 2014 § Leave a comment


Monotype by Ann Conte.

It was back in 2007 that Bob and Elaine Cunniff organized the Coastal Printmakers and now our most recent Coastal Printmaker Invitational Exhibit has over 60 original prints all hanging at the South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, MA.   This is one of the exhibit spaces managed by the South Shore Art Center.

Monotypes by Ellen Harris.

Monotypes by Ellen Harris.

Within the exhibit are an array of creative and thought provoking pieces.  Several of the prints are monotypes which lend themselves to a painterly style that merges abstraction and realism.

Monotypes by Patricia Berube.

Monotypes by Patricia Berube.

While hanging the exhibit I was able to sneak in a couple of shots.  These three monotypes by Trish Berube are gorgeously organic with a looseness of texture and incredible details.

Collographs by Joan Hausrath.

Collographs by Joan Hausrath.

Joan Hausrath has included some of her collographs that have a primitive and tribal theme with a skill of printmaking that lends itself to her subject matter.  Joan is offering a Collograph and Monoprint Workshop this July at the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset, MA.  I’m a fan!

Monotypes on paper with fabric imprint by Roxane Hynek.

Monotypes on paper with fabric imprint by Roxane Hynek.

These intriguing pieces by Roxane Hynek are mesmerizing and beautiful in their simplicity.

The wall of Black & White prints.

The wall of Black & White prints.

In the downstairs hallway the Coastal Printmakers Exhibit continues with a wall filled with black and white prints by accomplished printmakers Susan Denniston, Michele Meister, Amy Geyer and more.

Larry Guilmette, Esther Maschio and Joan Drescher working on hanging the exhibit.

Larry Guilmette, Esther Maschio and Joan Drescher working on hanging the exhibit.

Thanks to all the Coastal Printmakers, the So. Shore Art Center, the So. Shore Conservatory and all our volunteers that made this exhibit possible.  This is a printmaking exhibit not to be missed with several fine art prints that are the efforts of local artists.  All of the pieces are originals and available for purchase through the So. Shore Art Center.  The best way to appreciate art is to see it in person.

This exhibit runs through September 30th, 2014 and is located at the So. Shore Conservatory at 1 Conservatory Drive in Hingham, MA  02043.

Hours:  Monday – Thursday, 9:00 am – 9:00 pm,
Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm,
Saturday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Footprints in the Garden

May 7, 2014 § 1 Comment

Monotype by Ellen Harris

Monotype by Ellen Harris.

Spring has finally arrived on the South Shore of Massachusetts and Coastal Printmakers are celebrating with a new exhibit entitled Footprints in the Garden on view thru May 28, 2014 at the James Library and Art Center at 24 West Street Norwell, MA.  All unique and original prints have a 12″ x 12″ image area (foot prints-get it?) and were created specifically for this themed show that is inspired by nature.

Monotype by Anita Franks

Monotype by Anita Franks.

Each piece in the exhibit depicts the character and creativity of the artist such as the above monotype by Anita Franks who is inspired by artists such as Authur Dove and Wassily Kandinsky.  Although this piece is abstract it suggests nature from the smallest life force of a single cell to the vibrancy and power of the sun.

Water Garden

Monotype entitled ‘Water Garden’ by Esther Maschio.

Esther Maschio is the printmaker who is the driving force behind Coastal Printmakers.  She has taught printmaking at the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset, MA for 20+ years and continues to inspire and encourage artists of all skill levels.  Her studio classes are consistently popular with many of her students attending year after year.

Collagraph by Jane Johnston.

Collagraph with embroidery by Jane Johnston.

Jane Johnston is a collagraph expert.  She uses a variety of materials to construct her prints that range from fabrics to fragments of drywall tape to just about anything she can get her hands on.   Her pieces are thoughtfully constructed and are a balance of mechanical genius and organic madness.

The Footprints in the Garden exhibit will continue thru May 28th and will be part of the Books in Bloom fundraiser that takes place this Friday, May 9th, at the James Library and Art Center.  Three floors of spectacular floral displays interpreting books, light fare, cash bar, light music and more.

Looking for a fun Mother’s Day outing this weekend?  Bring Mom to the Books in Bloom Open House this Saturday, May 10th, from 10 -1 p.m.  Stop by and enjoy three floors of 25 spectacular floral displays depicting books. Details at Free.

The Departed

March 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Keystone and Plaza-acrylic on panels by Sarah Walker.

Keystone and Plaza-acrylic on panels by Sarah Walker.

OK-it’s Boston so we can all relate to ‘The Departed‘ but at the Distillery Gallery in the South End it takes on a new meaning as the current exhibit has a collection of works by artists that previously were members of their artists community that have, well, departed.  Whenever I’ve been lucky enough to stop by the Distillery Arts Building I’m always impressed with the creativity and diverse art and artists that sift thru here.


Untitled Series What Do I Get? Oil & acetate on panel by Monica Nydam.

In this current exhibit that runs through April 7, 2014 the spirits of the departed artists are pulled together for a diverse array of styles and mediums that all have a very contemporary voice.  Each piece is unique to the individual artists and yet the artworks pull together as a cohesive body of work.


Disco Sampler-Tyvek home wrap, thread by Andrew Mowbray.

The Distillery has been operating for more than 20 years and has been a hot bed of an artists community inside a 19th century former rum distillery building.  If it’s in Boston you can best bet there’s a history lesson to be learned.  Anyway, The Distillery Building touts that it has housed nationally and internationally acclaimed artists and artisans.


Collage on boards by Maria LaCreta.

Each piece in the exhibit is thought provoking and engaging.  Whether it be the subject matter, compositions, color usage or the technical aspects of the pieces.


Letterpress monoprint by Mike Dacey and silkscreen posters by James Weinberg.

Visit The Departed exhibit while there’s still time…  The gallery is open weekdays from (around) 8am through (at least) 6pm, and by appointment. They are located in The Distillery building at 516 E 2nd Street in South Boston, MA 02127.

Art in the Coldest Season

February 28, 2014 § 2 Comments

Transparent watercolor by Irena Roman.

Transparent watercolor by Irena Roman.

Winter 2013/2014 on the South Shore of Massachusetts has been extra snowy and brutally cold with strong winds that never seem to die down.  The colors of the landscapes are paired down to a monochromatic palette of browns, grays, whites and moody blues.  It gives a totally different perspective on the environment in comparison with the overabundance of color in the warmer months.  Being a New Englander, I’ve learned to value the stark and cold scenery that gives way to the subtleties of beauty.

As an appreciator of all things local, I recently visited the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, MA, to see the Duxbury Art Association Annual Winter Juried Show and a painting exhibit by artist Robert Neuman.  Both of the exhibits were inspirational and worth the trip to this small, coastal South Shore town in the frigid weather.

The First Place Winner for Watercolors in the Juried Show is the above painting entitled Shadow by Scituate artist Irena Roman. It was a standout piece with its hyper realism of lemons on glass that showcase a phenomenal skill in the use of watercolors as a medium.  The painting is an intricate depiction of light reflecting on the subjects of glass and lemons that evokes a clean and crisp feeling along with a unique composition that is striking.

Duxbury Art Association Annual Winter Juried Show.

Duxbury Art Association Annual Winter Juried Show.

The Annual Juried Winter Show has a good balance of a variety of mediums with a visual cohesiveness.  The exhibit features 70+ works of art that were culled from over 500 submissions.  This exhibit runs thru April 27th, 2014.

Print by Peter VanDingstee.

Print by Peter VanDingstee.

This fish print entitled Bug Light Striper by Peter VanDingstee was beautifully executed and had a freshness to it and had me wondering about the process.  The print is large and detailed down to the minutest scale.  Calling all anglers-you’ll love this one!

Trish Berube with Mixed Media piece.

Trish Berube with Mixed Media piece.

This thought provoking piece by Patricia Berube was awarded Second Place in the Mixed Media category.  It has a combination of drawing and photo transfer techniques that lead the viewer to a story about the passage of childhood.  Trish has won Best of Show in the 2013 and 2012 Duxbury Art Association Winter Juried Exhibits.

'Destruction of Affections' by Lisa Flynn.

‘Destruction of Affections’ by Lisa Flynn.

This figurative piece by Lisa Flynn reminds me of the distorted compositions of Francis Bacon.  It’s a standout drawing that caught my eye every time I walked by with its complexity and simplicity all in one.  Lisa is the Art Gallery Coordinator at the James Library & Center for the Arts in Norwell, MA.

'Eye Pennies' photograph by Lauren Engley.

‘Eye Pennies’ photograph by Lauren Engley.

This beautiful photograph by Lauren Engley drew me in with its softness and textures.  It is reminiscent of the well-known photographer, Jerry Uelsmann, who manipulates black & white photographs with multiple imagery.

Although the Duxbury Annual Winter Juried Show has artwork with a vast range of colors, in the end, I realized that I was drawn to the more wintry, simplistic palettes that somehow resonated and evoked the starkness of the season.  Winter is a time to be introspective and thoughtful.  Enjoy the season.


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