I like to describe my art as an experiment. It is always changing and evolving and I never stay exclusive to one medium. This comes from my very diverse background in art. Starting at a very young age, I began experimenting with pastels, color pencils, acrylics, and watercolor to draw whatever I saw and then throughout high school I practiced drawing portraits in pencil and charcoal. My professional degree in Graphic Design taught me computer digital drawing, map-making, and illustration techniques. For 20 years following I worked as a tattoo artist in Hollywood and Orange County and under the guidance of masters of the craft I perfected my skill in watercolor, painting designs or “flash” that decorated the walls of the shop. Now all of these rich and varied creative experiences inform my work here on the Central Coast – creating landscape and advertising illustrations that capture the magic of Paso Robles.
For the past several years now, I have been building up my portfolio with several projects. Sometimes I like to focus on pop culture to improve my composition and perspective techniques but other times I relax and work on my landscapes, color, and texture. I find it is best to change it up so as not to get burned out on one particular style. I choose my personal work and subjects based primarily on my familiarity with the subject and the challenge of the piece. I love to work on portraiture, especially celebrities because if they are off even a little your audience will notice it. Knowing this pushes me to get the likeness spot on; sometimes I will spend half the time it takes to work up a whole poster on just the faces alone. A personal goal I gave myself in 2018 was to have a dozen posters completed by the end of the year so I would have a solid portfolio to send to publishers, Hollywood art scouts, and comic book companies looking for talent. I was so committed to accomplishing this that I ended up with double the body of work I had planned on, with each piece better than the last.
With a never-ending supply of subject matter I tend to stick to my favorites. The movies and TV shows I grew up with allows me to map out the “story” and overall layout of the design easily. Placement of the main characters, emphasizing plot points, and funny little hints that other fans and I will understand. Of course, the occasional painting comes up that I do not know much about and that brings up a whole new challenge, which requires a little bit more research - thank goodness for Google! Maps and info-graphic illustrations have also been a way to exercise my artistic as well as my graphic design skills. To accomplish these lots of planning has to be done beforehand. Perspective and scale are also key to creating an effective illustration. Once the basic layout is final, the fun part begins. Adding creative touches like mountains and trees along the topographical features of a landscape is the most enjoyable of the procedure.
Recently I have been honored to create some amazing wine illustrations for local wineries and hospitality businesses. I feel this is a natural evolution of my art form: the combining of technical, historic, and general information in a piece of art gives me a whole new set of challenges and opens many new opportunities.
I would like to thank Studios on the Park for allowing me a platform to present my work; the past four months as a resident artist have been an amazing experience. I love the opportunity to be in front of the public and discus art and how it inspires us all. So far the fellow artists I have gotten to know really give me the urge to keep creating and pushing myself further. I can only hope that my work has done the same for them as well.
“Salve, posso farti un ritratto?” The man with a pipe in his mouth was brought out of his thoughts by the question of me taking a photo of him. He seemed perplexed by the idea, but kindly agreed after a moment. I was nervous as I brought the old Canon that I had borrowed from my sister-in-law to my face and took some poorly composed shots.
Feeling simultaneously satisfied and energized with nervous adrenaline by my uncharacteristic approach to a stranger, I sat next to the man. With ease, we discussed the day, the state of things in the world and the people around us. I was ecstatic that this stranger would open himself up in such a way to me. I got the feeling that both of us were analyzing and enjoying the world around us in our own way: one with a pipe, another with a camera.
In 2015 after returning to the Central Coast from Tennessee and after ending a long relationship, I found myself looking for adventure in my newfound freedom. I wanted to do all the things that are a challenge to pull off while paired with another person. Call me a millennial, but getting a full-time job was not on my list of things to do. I went backpacking in Europe.
I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to travel. My compassion for and knowledge of the world beyond our borders grew tremendously during this trip. My love for people unlike myself also grew. In addition, I happened to fall in love with an Italian.
I won’t bore you with all the sappy details of traveling back and forth over the Atlantic and trying to figure out a way to be together. The following year we got married and I found myself in the middle of a foreign country without the knowledge of the language yet, but with a curiosity about this new world around me that couldn’t be satisfied. It was then that I took up photography.
To me, the unexpected result I found to bringing a camera with me everywhere I went was the contrary of what you would expect. Instead of confining my eyes to viewing through the lens, I found myself in complete awareness of the world around me like never before. The man sitting on the fountain in the piazza-who is he waiting for? The woman in the cafe standing behind the counter-what does she think about her job? What does she enjoy doing? Photography became a way for me to connect with those around me and to help bring a piece of my experiences to those I cared about back in the States.
I think the greatest challenge that coming back to the Central Coast presents to me is the lack of stimulation of a new location, a different language or customs. It is easy to find inspiration on the streets of Naples or the gravesites in Sarajevo, but to shoot your hometown presents quite the challenge. The beauty of it is this: with these eyes now trained to be more curious and observant than before, I’ve found that I can experience the familiar with a freshness that I would have never found otherwise.
Hello! My name is Jordan Hockett, and I’m an artist! When I meet people for the first time and tell them what I do for a living, sometimes it feels like I’m in a support group apologizing for my career decisions. On several occasions, my parents were asked by colleagues and friends of theirs, “You actually paid for your son to go to art school?” For most people, it doesn’t seem like a real job. Most people just think of the stereotype of the starving artist.
For most of my pre-college life, I didn’t think being an artist was a viable career path. I thought I was going to become an architect or a commercial artist, working on add-campaigns and logos. I wanted that monthly paycheck. I was given some opportunities back in high school, to design posters for different events. I was good at it, but it drove me crazy. I quickly found out that I was far too self-centered to design things for other people. If you have ever had a three-hour meeting on what font to use, you will know what I mean.
Today, I am a fine artist that focuses on acrylic painting. I also make sculpture, textiles or whatever material I feel like using to create a piece of art. When it comes down to it, my previous career ambitions were too limiting for me. As a fine artist, my job is to observe the world I live in, interpret it and then produce a piece of art that depicts that world through my eyes and point of view. I’m one of those special, lucky people in this world, who loves what they do.
I’m currently a resident artist at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles, California. Each day, I get to come into my studio at the gallery, pick up a brush and express whatever makes sense to me at that time through my art. At Studios on the Park, I get to work alongside other phenomenal yet diverse artists who are expressing what and how they view the world. I don’t need to help someone else realize his or her dreams for how a logo should look anymore. I get to say what I want in my art and like-minded people appreciate it and sometimes buy it. I may not be rich, but I’m not starving either, and I am happy with the decisions I have made to become the person and the artist I am.
Poetry is a bottomless mine for finding subjects to turn into art. Recently I have been rereading Homer’s Odyssey for subject matter to use for my wood block prints and wood engravings. What I am most drawn to are not the major episodes like Odysseus’ passage between Scylla and Charybdis which is full of drama, movement, and danger with the threat of immanent death where Odysseus must choose between the certain death of some of his crew or the possible death of everyone on the ship.
Instead I am more interested in Odysseus’ homecoming. He had been gone for twenty years, ten years fighting on the plains of Troy and then ten more years on the wide ocean fighting to get home. And when he finally arrives in Ithaca he sees his old dog lying on a dung hill. It’s been twenty years that Odysseus has been gone but still the dog recognizes his master.
This is a scene I can most identify with. This is the dog who comes running to the door to greet me when I come home. This is all our dogs: warm, caring, and loving.
Of course not all my Odyssey prints are of such small, intimate scenes. One of my favorites is my print of Polyphemus, the cyclops who is the son of Poseidon. But the print does not illustrate Polyphemus bashing out the brains of Odysseus’ men or Odysseus putting out his eye. The print is an image of Polyphemus who seems to be looking in a mirror and wondering who will blind him, wondering who it will be since it could be anyone.
And of course I love the story of Proteus, the old man of the sea that Menelaus met on his way home from Troy. Proteus was another son of Poseidon and an oracle who would tell you anything you wanted to know if you could capture him and hold on to him because he could also change his shape into anything. And when Menelaus, on his home from Troy, tried to capture him Proteus turned himself into a lion and then a snake. When that didn’t work he turned himself into a tree and then into water. Still Menelaus held on and eventually Proteus was forced to tell him what Menelaus wanted to know.
The next print in the series will be a print of holy moly the plant found only half way down a steep cliff that Odysseus needed to prevent Circe from turning him into a beast like she had done to all his men.
I could spend years carving blocks and making prints based on The Odyssey, but I think after I’m finished with holy-moly I might turn to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales for my next set of prints or perhaps I’ll just walk out my back door and look for plants and animals living in my yard.
“Where do you get your inspiration?” That’s the question I hear most. My answer, “Where do I NOT find inspiration?” Nature, love, science, spirituality, dance, human nature, quantum physics, bodies, art and life. Everything I look at is a form of inspiration: sounds of nature speak to me, patterns in tree bark capture my attention, faces in stones jump out. When unleashed my imagination provides all I need to create for multiple lifetimes. In this lifetime I chose to be an artist; my entire life has been about creating in one form or another. As a child I painted, drew, crocheted, ice skated, danced, sang, twirled baton and made movies with my brothers and sisters. That lead to a BA in Dance and Theater Arts. My passion for movement and respect for the human body are threaded through much of the work I am creating at the moment. I go through periods as an artist and fall in love with either an art form or subject matter. We have a mad love affair and I create wildly and prolifically until my curious nature draws my attention in another direction. Maybe that is also why people ask, “Is this ALL your work?” The different styles and subjects boggle even me.
Beauty in all forms is something that soothes the soul. My travels around the world always land me in places of great inspiration. Staring at famous and not so famous works of art in the world’s most noted museums brings tears to my eyes and stirs feelings deep within my soul. I experience a profound connection with the artists who created them that supersedes time, place and medium. I understand the principles of entrainment and wish to surround myself with positive uplifting things. That is also why I wish to create art that uplifts and inspires people. The world is a very big place and on my journey through life I have discovered there are many spiritual and scientific techniques I could mix into artwork to help entrain people positively. I experiment and thread these concepts and theories into the work, all with positive intention through a variety of mediums. I grew up exposed to crystals and pyramids, meditation and mathematics. In fact, math and business were the focus of my college studies until I fell in love with dance. It is the one art form in which we are the soul product by which it is made.
Who knew my mathematics background would come into play as a necessary tool to help in the construction of many of the installation artworks I would create? I am referring to the current pyramid project, an eight-foot-tall 72’ pyramid made of quartz crystal, marble, jade, granite, citrine, kyanite both black and blue and tigers eye. The pyramid project was made possible in part with a grant from the Coastal Awakening Foundation. Research on the 72’ pyramid surfaced data that highlighted remarkable findings of healing and concentrated energy that serve to uplift body and mind. That was enough to get my creative juices flowing with the thought of amplifying the energy with quartz. The energy is great and there is lots of wonderful feedback. That puts a smile on my face - to see people FEEL the work. The pyramid is on display for people to try out at Studios on the Park at 1130 Pine Street in Paso Robles.
I work on many projects at the same time. When my left brain is occupied, my right brain is free to play. I think that is why much of the artwork I create has so much going on. I find that when the left brain is trying to figure things out and occupied, the right brain engages and can be positively impacted by the beauty, positive messages and input provided. Who would have though all of this lived behind the mind of an artist? I suspect this depth lives behind all of our masks. I feel we are more the same than different. Art crosses the imagined borders that keep us apart.
I look forward to meeting you and learning about what inspires you. You can find me at Studios on the Park in Gallery #10, the Hunt Cellars tasting room and at DepriseBrescia.com.
Drew Mayerson can vividly recall the words of his mother: “You can’t make a living as a skier!” Even in his teens he knew that much. “And you can’t make a living as an artist either!” These were her words when Drew used to tell her of his dreams and aspirations. To Drew, it was the artist comment that hurt most because plenty of people make their living in the arts but his parents had something to prove. His older brother was to be a lawyer and they told Drew that he should choose a profession of equal stature…. if not a lawyer, then maybe a doctor or a dentist they said. At this point he was only 17. Drew believes that the gods shined on him when his brother rebelled and told his parents that he was going to become a songwriter and later a screenwriter. All of a sudden, the pressure was off… but their words had already been imprinted on his brain. Still needing a profession, he decided to choose the one science that allows a person to express their creativity, offers a decent salary, and gain a modicum of respect from parents and relatives: geology. It was outdoors like a skier and it was interpretive like an artist. Art could wait…. Drew’s career path was set.
By age 24 he had a job in geology and traveled the globe seeing the mountains and valleys of the west, the plains of North Dakota in the winter, and flying in a four-seater over the savannah of Sudan chasing herds of elephants and towers of giraffes, just like Out of Africa. He met and became friends with farmers and ranchers and tribesmen and tradespersons from all over the world. They say that if you want to impress somebody, find somebody that is impressionable. Bingo! He soaked it in and it is still in there.
It was during those years that Drew finally picked up a paintbrush, a canvas, and some oil paints. His first “masterpiece” was a 9”x12” painting of a stand of aspens on an Idaho hillside in the fall. His girlfriend at the time praised it profusely. “Looking back, it was pretty bad,” Mayerson says… but it was a start. Over the years he kept at it…. geologist during the day and painter at night and on weekends. Eventually Drew settled in Los Angeles where he grew up, married a beautiful woman, and had two girls. That was over 35 years ago and they are still hanging in there with grown kids who have careers of their own. So, in 2017 Drew hung up his map case for good and devoted himself fully to art.
Drew’s first painting inspiration came when he read about the early California Impressionists and soon after began seriously painting local landscapes. Over the years his paintings have evolved into cityscapes and now into some abstract and experimental paintings. While Drew works in oils almost exclusively, he has been known on occasion to complete a watercolor or acrylic or even a stone sculpture or two. To see his art for yourself, visit www.mayersonsonfineart.com or follow him on Instagram @drewmayersonfineart. Better yet, stop by Studios on the Park in downtown Paso Robles where Drew is finally getting to paint in Studio 3 and looks forward to meeting art lovers like you!
In 2007, I was going through a divorce and living in a small apartment in Long Beach, CA. I ran across a handful of art supplies that included some newsprint and charcoal. I also happened to run across a photo of a beautiful nude body in amazing light. It captured me and I wanted to try reproducing it with charcoal on newsprint. I went to work sitting on the floor with my newsprint and charcoal. As I worked, the usual artist’s critical voice came up. The feeling of disappointment rose up. “This isn’t working!” “Why am I wasting my time?” And then, another voice came in. That voice said, “Just keep working.” It sounded like a new voice. I followed it to see where it would take me.
I kept working on the piece and you know what? That piece came out well. It stunned me. I had to try another. And another and another. I was witness to the process of overriding the critic that would pop up. It just took that one time.
Now I do huge pieces with chalk pastel, along with smaller archival pieces. The process of criticism and negative talk still runs, but I ignore it for the most part and try to pay attention to the directives.
Allow me to explain.
It doesn’t feel like it’s me doing the work. Words fail me, but the closest I can come to an explanation would be to say that it feels like a spirit possession. Sometimes the directions I’m hearing to create the work are so fast that I can barely keep up with them; to add, remove or alter marks or to change something.
I think that’s why it’s difficult for me to take credit for doing the work sometimes…as it doesn’t feel like I did it. It feels like it came through me. See, when I’m on the ground at a street painting festival working on a giant pastel piece and then stand back and look at what is manifesting with the work, I’m always amazed myself. It’s still shocking. I just keep those feelings of amazement under wraps.
Right now, I am working on a piece that has the most incredible eyes. It’s a stunning piece. For me to be amazed by my own work would just seem weird, so I keep quiet. I work on pieces in my public studio space at Studios on the Park and talk to people when they come in, but if I were to say, “Isn’t that amazing?” about things on display on my wall, people would think I was a little (ahem) unusual.
There is always a question as to whether a piece is going to come out (since I’m not doing it). That’s what causes the drastic ups and downs throughout developing pieces. I’ll say something like “This isn’t working.” And feel slumpy and disappointed. Then I’ll keep working. Usually, the piece will start to come together and I’ll see it starting to work. This is otherwise known as “trusting the process.” When things are clearly working, I’m amazed, inspired and motivated. This is how work feeds on itself for me. The completion of something that works feeds me motivation to start the next piece.
I’m lucky to have support from family and friends in this adventure. It feels like a constant unmasking journey. Maybe that’s why I don’t care so much about travel. That since of amazement and wonder seem to live right here.
Lury Norris is a resident artist at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles where she exhibits her pencil and charcoal portraits and other still life. She teaches classes and workshops throughout San Luis Obispo County. She is also a seasoned street painter and has participated and continues to participate in street painting festivals throughout the country.
For ten hours each week, artist Helen K Davie can be found at Studios on the Park, 1130 Pine Street, in Paso Robles. She enjoys greeting locals and tourists who visit from around our state, our country, and the world. She says, “I love finding out where people are from, why they are here, and what they do. We share stories, I answer questions about my work, and also about the art of my studio partners, Bob Simola, and Betty Wick. As we talk we make a connection. I’m energized by the interaction. Although I have a studio at home, this is where I get most of my work done. I always bring in something to work on. Visitors often watch me as I’m creating a piece, and many will comment that they wish they could find the time to pursue an artistic project. I tell them, you will never FIND the time, you have to MAKE it.”
Studios on the Park is a space filled with separate studios housing a variety of artists working in different mediums providing an atmosphere of inspiration, learning, and sharing. Add in the monthly change of shows in the center atrium of the building and you have what Helen calls “an opportunity for cross-pollination.”
She also credits the encouragement she receives from monthly meetings with a painting group called ARTCENCO, and another group, The Kiddie Writers, composed of Children’s and Young Adult authors to stoke her creative fires. “We have forged strong friendships, and by connecting on a regular basis we stay focused and productive. We show our paintings, or read our work, then offer and receive constructive criticism. It is an incredible benefit and demonstration of support.”
Helen’s first career is illustrating children’s books. She has had more than a dozen published with Random House, Little, Brown, Orchard Books, and HarperCollins. One of her early books, The Star Maiden, written by Barbara Juster Esbensen, was awarded the 1988 Minnesota Children’s Book of the Year and remained in print for over 16 years. Now she has added a second career- exploring creativity and having fun.
About 12 years ago a friend invited her to attend a meeting of the Central Coast Printmakers, a group affiliated with the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. She replied, “I don’t do printmaking,” and her friend answered, ‘That doesn’t matter– we eat well.’ So, Helen went to the meeting. The congenial Printmakers shared an array of their tasty homemade snacks. They talked about plans to put together a cookbook of appetizer recipes that would be illustrated with 4” x 4” prints. Helen came up with a design, then carved out a linoleum block to make a print of one of her cats, Cory, seated with little squares flying around him to go along with her recipe for Cory’s Spinach Squares. Helen had so much fun and she was hooked.
Helen’s prints are now in private collections internationally. Here at Studios, you’ll find dozens of her original linocut prints on the walls as well as signed copies of some of the children’s books she’s illustrated for sale.
When asked about the making the transition from illustrations done primarily in watercolor to printmaking, Helen says, “The analogy that I use is that musicians often play more than one instrument. Changing mediums is like changing instruments. It’s an excellent way to re-awaken your creative powers. Instead of falling back on the easy or the tried-and-true, a new medium requires me to think about how to use it in the best way to convey my ideas. Recently I’ve been using watercolor crayons along with gouache (opaque watercolor). The crayons take me back to being 5 years old and I feel free to play! I’d like to encourage everyone to try new things, to explore and expand their creativity.”
For those who need a jumpstart, Helen highly recommends the book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. Gilbert writes, “A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself.”
Helen invites you to stop by Studios on the Park, chat with the artists, view their work, and come away feeling inspired.
When you first view a canvas made by Dean Crawford Jr., you naturally assume that you are looking at a painting but in reality, it is a digitally enhanced photograph!
In his career as a Graphic Designer and Photographer, Dean applied his graphic skills to the development of individual study units, logos and trademarks, brochures, booklets and many related graphic arts projects. The use of photography and images was a daily requirement. Dean’s career was in Education, both Community College and at the University levels in California.
In 2007, Dean retired from Cal Poly State University after 37 years of state service. Finally he had reached a time in his life to develop new skills with his artist’s eye. He picked up a camera again, but this time it was a digital camera. Dean decided to try to mix his graphic design knowledge and skills with the new digital photography images he had been shooting. To make this combination work, he had to explore many products and software to blend them together successfully.
The experiment was born!
So started the search for a good and effective photo editing software. Dean selected Photoshop and began playing with its features on his digital images. By using PS and experimenting with colors, textures, cropping, contrast, Dean started to develop the mix of media he was looking for. It became clear that additional filters were needed to finish that mix for that desired enhancement. With his selection of several special effects filters and many more hours of experimenting, his images began to come alive!
Shortly thereafter, using his computer like a paint palette, he developed the look and style he was hoping for in his photography. He set up a home printing studio and office and began to show his new images to the public achieving the full circle of photography that he desired. By sharing with local shows at the Cal Poly State University, city offices, Studios on the Park, PRAA (Paso Robles Art Association), local wineries, city libraries and many local businesses, his photography took off!
Finally, Dean wanted to find an outlet or location to show and sell his work. In January 2017, Dean was able to open his studio in Paso Robles. He asked his friend and fellow photographer, Deb Hofstetter, to join him in the studio experience. They both decided that the best location and best galleries in the county were at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles. Dean and Deb opened Studio 4, right in the heart of the downtown. Since then, their studio has been enjoyed both by the local community as well as tourists from around the world. Their show changes monthly so ‘fresh’ digital art is always on display.
As a photographer, Dean has won and received numerous first place awards and special merits of excellence for his images in this county and beyond. He is also a lifetime member of the PRAA.
Dean and his wife Robin travel each year throughout the Pacific West, Canada and the Southwestern states of our country to photograph the great sights and National Parks in those states.
Dean also teaches 4 times a year ‘Location Shooting’ classes through the Adult Education Program of Paso Robles. For more information, contract Centennial Park and Recreation Services at 805-237-3988.
You can reach Dean by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View Dean’s work at Studios on the Park, Studio 4, 1130 Pine Street, Paso Robles, CA 93446
You’re invited to the Art After Dark Paso opening art reception of Veterans’ Voices II at Studios on the Park on March 2 from 6 to 9 pm. Bring your toe-tapping shoes as veteran DJ Ed Morris will again rock the house. Come back throughout the month to enjoy and support the veterans who’ve supported us. Every branch of service is represented, with viewpoints as varied as each participating veteran. Our intention is for veterans to visually share thoughts, feelings and ideas. Can we foster understanding and respect for each other through art? The exhibition runs March 2 – 31, 2019.
As program director and curator, I’m grateful for support from the California Arts Council and for the team of dedicated veterans, artists and like-minded volunteers who helped in presenting this important art exhibition and all of the workshops along the way.
The first Veterans’ Voices evolved from a 2017 Paso Robles town hall meeting with Congressman Salud Carbajal. We listened to veterans speak about their challenges: securing housing, recovering from PTSD, balancing mental health, difficulties receiving benefits and more. Feeling compelled to take action; I initiated the Veterans’ Voices art program in 2017. People put their lives on the line for us. Now they need our support.
Other artists volunteered along with me to provide a year of art immersion for veterans and their families. The art experiences culminated in a month-long exhibition of veterans’ art in January 2018 at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles. Veterans visually expressed themselves in safe ways thru creative journaling sessions and art immersion activities. In leading the art sessions, we listened, experienced healthy dialogue via the art experiences, heard one another and built friendships.
In its second year, Veterans’ Voices II is abundant with heartfelt artworks, new and evolving stories, interesting participants and surprises. Remarkable friendships surfaced. We were fortunate to listen as two Paso Robles residents told stories of their active engagement in the Paso Peace Community and WWII. Dick Bloomquist was a WWII Air Force pilot, when Hart Junge, was a youngster living in Dresden, Germany. Look for their story and artworks as we celebrate Mr. Junge’s 81st and Mr. Bloomquist’s 102nd birthdays, during Veterans’ Voices II opening night reception.
Where does Peace Literacy place in a Veterans’ Voices art exhibition? Paul K. Chappell, West Point graduate, Iraq War veteran, and former army captain shows why people need to be as well trained in waging peace, as soldiers are in waging war. We’re fortunate to have Paul return during the exhibition on March 23rd, 10 am to Noon for a FREE presentation. Email me at Deprise585@gmail.com to reserve your spot, space is limited.
Then meet LTC Gregory Arenas, now retired. He was the co-curator for the first Veterans’ Voices in 2018 and continues as the program’s military advisor. In his active retirement, Greg is working with falconry and podcasting. Come see the birds of prey and find out how birds and veterans help each other. Check the Studios online calendar at www.StudiosOnThePark.org for the VFI falconry meet and greet March 23th from 1 to 3 pm.
Continuing this journey of building bridges through art is a privilege. Friendships grow with open dialogue around life, love, war, help, healing, trust and letting go of trauma. We have monthly collaborations with veterans’ organizations, bronze casting sessions for veterans from VetArt.org, Veterans’ Outreach events with face and rock painting at SLO Thursday night farmer’s market and Cuesta College Veteran Resource Fair, and facilitate art sessions for veterans and their families. The Veterans’ Voices II art exhibition is part of a year of impactful programming.
Come to Veterans’ Voices II. If you would like to support the next round of Veterans’ Voices, you can! Work begins June 2019. Kindly send your tax-deductible donations to Arts Obispo 1123 Mill St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 Designate - VIA, Veterans’ Voices 2019-2020 matching funds reserve. Or contact me, the curator and program director, Deprise Brescia at Deprise585@gmail.com.
We’re all connected. When we help others, we help ourselves.
Some of my colorful abstract art is at Peachy Canyon's tasting room at 1480 North Bethel Road, Templeton.
Hours are 10 am - 5 pm daily and my art will be up during Zin Fest.
“Life is an adventure and photography is the adventure of a dream.” Deborah “Deb” Hofstetter’s artistic adventure began as a small child with a crayon in her pocket. She recalls those few times she stood facing a wall as punishment for a childhood slight and remembers seeing images in the texture on the walls and feeling inclined to bring life to that image. A few years later she drew cartoons and framed them in egg carton tops, which she glued on her bedroom walls. Shortly thereafter her father gave her a camera and suggested a new art form. Today Deb is still using images and textures and creating a new art form: digital art.
Deb speaks regularly on the subject of digital art and its immersion into the art world. It all begins with a photograph and a vision. Many painters take photographs then paint their rendition to create art. Photographers use equipment, technical training in both camera operations and post-production skills and their vision to produce artwork. With the introduction of computers and advanced processing software photographers are now able to take their images to a new level. Instead of using wet paint and brushes they use paint and brushes in software. They can merge several pictures together. Deb uses layers and masks in both her artwork production and her technically precise product photography. The use of technology has opened up a world of new adventures for all artists.
Deb is not one to focus her creativity on just one form of photography. “Diversity keeps it interesting and helps me grow” she states. She loves it all. Deb enjoys watching the light change and finding subjects or putting subjects in just the right light to capture the natural beauty be it people, animals, or any object. Deb built a studio at home in which she controls the light. She says she’s a bit of a physics geek and enjoys its challenges. In a studio she can ‘see’ with more intensity and clarity. Deb has become a bit of a perfectionist as she builds her wine bottle and splash clientele. Her new studio skills have helped to elevate her photography skills in all areas.
Color plays an important role in Deb’s world. She likes bright and warm colors for most of her artwork. She likes photographing old objects and especially the rust and textures found on old vehicles. She uses these textures to create a certain look or evoke an emotion. Antiques, yard art and simple compositions are found in her art inventory. She shares, “One of my favorite photos is of a stallion. I was shooting the Paso Robles Pioneer Day Parade as it unfolded. In the early morning hours I heard the pounding hooves and loud snorts of a horse and hurried to the arena to find a trainer working with a beautiful stallion. I was awestruck by the rippling muscles and pure energy as he kicked up the sand and stomped powerfully around the ring. In post processing I removed the horse from a distracting background, made a cutout on a dark background and blended a rusty red texture into the photo. It exemplified everything I felt. I call it ‘Fire and Fury.’”
While Deb continues her Studio 4 partnership with Dean Crawford Jr. at Studios on the Park, she also shows at local venues such as Odyssey Cafe, Kennedy Nautilus Fitness Center, Peachy Canyon, Castoro Cellars and Le Vigne Wineries. Deb’s portrait work, commercial photography and art can be viewed at her website: www.ccprophoto.com. Deb’s work has been published in several regional publications. “It’s been a breakout year for me” she remarked.
Studios on the Park features an artist in their window each month. Look for December’s display this year as Deb unveils her new wine “Splash” art! Deb loves being a part of the art community and is thankful for the many opportunities her residency at Studios provides.
Her close friend Cheryl McKinney adds, “Debbie Hofstetter is someone I have known for over 36 years. I watched her go from a girl with a job, to a mom on a mission, to a woman with a passion and an eye for beauty! It has been truly amazing watching her develop in a relatively short period of time into a brilliant artist!” Nan Reyner adds, “I met Debbie back in the 70’s. Deb has always been ambitious and worked hard through good and challenging tines for her family and her principles. I love that she’s given herself the gift of expressing herself through her photography and artwork. She has so much to share. I am happy she’s found her creative outlet.”
Ultimately, Deb is driven. “I see images in my mind, beautiful visions that I am challenged to learn how to capture and create. If I must learn a new skill then I get on with it. There is no end to this adventure, just new and creative art!” Deb now works exclusively on her passion – photography – and she continues to grow.
Hellie was born with a sliver paintbrush in her hand, soon graduating to a mural brush, painting sets for Pioneer Players’ Stage Productions. At seventy, she became a violinist, delighting her family with recitals of “Happy Birthday” in Japanese. Inspired by foreign artists, she spent several seasons painting en plein air in France, escaping her glassblowing addiction. Lately, Hellie has enjoyed being with her fellow artists at Studios on the Park, where her creations are displayed.
EXPERIMENTATION by Hellie Blythe
Years ago I learned a lesson:
Not all oils are made by Wesson
Olive oil, though sometimes bitter,
Subs for butter and leaves us fitter.
But, if I wish to paint with oil,
Linseed’s best, and doesn’t spoil.
When I add it to my paint,
(And, doing so without restraint),
It will make the mixture runny,
Pothead portraits might look funny.
Paint that seeks a lower level
Tends to be friend or ‘tis the devil!
Portraits done by Francis Bacon
Were so weird they left us shaken.
When his oil faces slid,
An eye fell south without its lid!
Mixing too much oil with pigment
Makes the form a slippery figment,
But keeping mixtures a smidgen thicker
Lets us recognize objects quicker
Who needs those chins upon the floor?
Or drooping noses, ears, and more?
To answer that, without ado,
The simple fact is this: I do
For instance: painting the humble fish,
Under the water, or on a dish,
I find he appears artistically better
Wearing a shrunken woolen sweater,
I’d give him some wavy human hair,
Depict him in lacy under ware,
Build him lidded, glowing eyes;
Cauliflower ears to complete the disguise.
Art ages dawn with new-found gimmicks
We artists are only a bunch of mimics
Of what is seen, or thought, or heard
And I prefer to keep it absurd.
PISTACHIO TABLEAUX by Hellie Blythe
I’m thankful for all you cigar smokers,
And for world-wide Pistachio Brokers,
And Basketball Teams whose championship means
A display case to belay finger-pokers.
Cigar boxes are excellent stages
For professions that’re often outrageous.
Professional Swells made from pistachio shells
Protected by basketball cages.
My paintings are born from my doodles,
Whether Potheads or Cinnamon Streusels,
From a place upstairs in my noodle,
That sorts the whole kit and caboodle.
To put pots on heads is a breeze,
Far easier than portraying Trees!
Painting outdoors can result in bad sores,
From sun, rain, mosquitoes, and freeze.
I paint in my studio, Friends,
In spite of some popular trends.
When you’re an artist, it’s certainly smartest
To practice those skills away from the hills
Stay inside, as this artist recommends!
Rembrandt spent years with his brushes,
Indoors, not out in bulrushes.
He practiced his skills far from the hills.
(Inside, near a toilet that flushes)
Painting people who never showed blushes.
Wilbanks Studio is home to two artists; partners in life who became partners in Wilbanks Inc., an award winning advertising/marketing consultancy active in Arizona for over 3 decades. Drawn to the incredible beauty and active lifestyle of the Central Coast, Ken and Stephanie have “re-careered” from building brands in commercial art to working with their hands in fine art.
Ken Wilbanks is a wood sculptor. The draw to return to sculpture was irresistible, as his degree in advertising design had been enhanced by an emphasis in sculpture. He draws his influence from organic shapes that occur in nature as well as shapes from the built environment. He remarked, "The sheer joy of taking a grinder to laminated plywood to explore the hidden contours has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. What is revealed is frequently quite surprising. The key element to ending up with something lasting is simply learning when to stop.”
He works in wood, most often with baltic birch plywood, a construction material more commonly used for high-end cabinet interiors. Other times, he uses a dyed birch veneer plywood, custom made by hand in a variety of color ways using environmentally safe adhesives. His process is a bit unusual—individual blocks are cut from sheet goods, glued into layers of substantial thicknesses, then shaped via grinding tools. Sanding the layers provide endless possibilities for visual variety and texture. Finally, a satin finish is applied via multiple layers, with sanding between each coat. The final sculpture is finished with several applications of hand burnished wax.
Ken is a member of the Central Coast Sculptors Group. He has shown his work at Studios on the Park, The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, the SLOMA Phantom Pop Up Gallery and in Art Center Morro Bay.
Stephanie Wilbanks creates kilnformed fine art glass. While still working in the hectic environment of marketing and advertising, Stephanie began to take classes in kilnformed glass. Classes turned into more classes followed by expos, seminars and exhibitions. She loved the science, physics and technical craft of fusing glass with all of its requisite restrictions. Now she spends countless hours of studio time, reveling each morning in opening the kiln to see if the glass behaved as she intended. She shared, “Kilnformed glass celebrates the drama of light and color. Fusing glass combines creativity with technical nuances of chemistry and physics. My background in marketing and music gives a foundation to each concept. Marketing informs the balance while music inspires the harmony of color and line.”
Kilnformed glass art is also called kiln glass or warm glass. Unlike blown glass, stained glass or flamed glass, kiln glass is cut and arranged cold on a table, then heated and slowly cooled in a kiln for several hours to a full day. The glasses soften, fuse together and assume the shape of whatever surface they're resting upon or within, such as a flat kiln shelf, curved mold or casting mold. The specially formulated glass may include compatible sheets, rods, bits or powders. Techniques draw from traditional art methods including drawing and painting, to printmaking and sculpture. Most designs require two or more sessions in the kiln to obtain texture and the final desired effects, making each a unique piece of art. Every day in the glass studio brings an opportunity to explore new ideas using inspiring colors of glass in an endlessly interesting journey.
Stephanie is an Associate Artist at Studios on the Park and a member of Arts Obispo, the Central Coast Sculptors Group, the Central Coast Craftmakers and the Paso Robles Art Association. She has shown her work at Studios on the Park, The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, the SLOMA Phantom Pop Up Gallery, Art Center Morro Bay, Open Studios by Arts Obispo, the Paso Robles Library, Cal Poly, local wineries as well as in the Resort at Port Ludlow in Washington.
Being a creative couple has its advantages. While a spouse can be supportive, a creative spouse is invaluable. Creative consultations are always available. There is full support and understanding of the time, processes, materials and deadlines required to create a new artwork. Each looks for opportunities to show their art and both monitor submission deadlines. Even the search for a new home was prioritized first on having enough space for two art studios, then on the house itself.
“We seldom collaborate, but confer and critique intermittently. It helps to have a visual person, whose work you respect, review your work and offer a suggestion. Sometimes the most helpful comment is simply to stop—you have finished.”
Anne Laddon began creating limited edition silkscreen prints in the early 1970s as a founding artist at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia. Moving to the east coast with a Californian’s sense of color and light, her work was graphic, colorful, and strong. She had a studio/gallery there for ten years developing a collection of silkscreens some described as ‘pop’. These were hand-pulled with many stenciled layers, up to 45 separate colors, and took four to six weeks to complete. Her subjects ranged from typewriters, to juke boxes, to cameras, and bicycles.
In 1981 Anne spent a month travelling in Japan, inspiring her to create a life size self portrait as an American tourist. In those days she took her trusty Nikon everywhere and included it in the piece, along with Japanese paper designs, a postcard home, and her name in Japanese characters.
Once she moved to the Central Coast in the mid 1980s thousands of these prints and posters were stored away at the family ranch and forgotten. Until a few months ago! A recent internet encounter with this 1981 silkscreen image, and friends’ questions about it, reminded Anne of that trip to Japan and the self-portrait it inspired. … created almost 40 years ago! This original piece and others from that era can be viewed in her Paso Robles studio.
Anne began oil painting in the early 1990s focusing on oils and later on pastels, each process informing the other. Working with these mediums are much more direct and less labor intensive than the lengthy process required for the creation of her multiple layered silkscreens. In addition her passion for the Central Coast can be seen in the direct and fresh paintings done “en plein air”.
Last summer Anne discovered the dramatic beauty of the coastline along the Point Buchon Trail in Los Osos and has created several paintings from her hikes along the trail. Some are available as they were created; others have been expanded and developed more deeply in her studio.
However, it’s easy to see her passion for color and design in her numerous paintings of the central coast, which can be seen in her studio at Studios on the Park, downtown Paso Robles or on her website at www.AnneLaddon.com.
One day at my previous job at an upholstery shop, a customer asked what colors of fabric we had. When asked if they had something particular in mind, they responded with beige or tan. I couldn’t believe that given almost unlimited possibilities of different vibrant colors and energetic patterns and prints, they wanted beige. Today I’m lucky enough to put all of my focus into art. I am currently a resident artist at Studios on the Park, the non-profit art center in Paso Robles. Color is the main tool I use to express myself in my art.
I am currently an abstract artist that works in textile, sculpture and acrylics, but I primarily focus on acrylic painting. My art is full of color. Many of the colors of paint I use when I begin a painting are straight out of the tube or jar. They are pure and vibrant. The paint is not dulled-down by mixing colors together. I do use browns and greys in my work because they are good a good contrast and help my other brighter colors stand out more. They are like the straight man in a vaudeville comedy duo.
Different colors have different associations for different people. I exploit those associations to create a mood in a piece of art. For example, most people that see my art seem to love the pieces that are primarily blue. Blue is calming. At least in many parts of the United States, people associate it with things like the sky and water. I use blue with these kinds of associations in mind, but I also use it to create urban night scenes, along with purples and blacks to depict darker scenarios. I also love using warm colors like red, orange, and yellow. These colors have associations with anger, aggression, lust, blood, fire, and let’s not forget that any cartoon of the devil will probably be red in color. All of this is true, but warm colors can also stand for passion, energy and love, to name a few.
I’ve been called weird, obnoxious, loud, colorful and complex. All of this is true of my abstract art as well. Life is too interesting and art is too important to be boring. I hope after seeing the sometimes extreme use of color in my art, people will leave with a smile. I’d like to think that my work is about fun and, for the most part, cheerful. My art can also be complex, much like the world I take inspiration from. I also like that different people can interpret my work in different ways and see things in it that even I didn’t when creating it. Abstract art opens the door for open discussion. My art is debatable not only for the imagery used, but because the colors’ meaning can change due to the viewer’s background and life experiences. At the end of the day, I’m having fun trying to add a little color to how people see the world.
By Toni Bouman
It’s common knowledge that arts and music programs have been increasingly cut out of our children’s education due to budget restrictions. It’s also well known among parents and teachers that children engaged in music, theater or art programs also have higher achievement scores in both math and reading.
What many people do not factor into the merits of art and music programs are the hidden benefits and rewards that you can’t put a dollar value on. Not only are children “having fun” when they participate in art, music or theater classes, they are learning about other cultures and how other people live, work and play. As a by-product they are also receiving instruction in history, geography, mathematics, and science.
I have long held the opinion that if children are taught art history in addition to their core subjects, not only will they excel more readily in those core subjects, but they will have a deeper sense of connection and understanding about other people in other parts of the world.
If a child is “having fun” in a class, aren’t they more likely to learn to love learning? If more children truly enjoyed going to school, it’s a safe bet that more children would finish high school and go on to college. Statistics show that finishing secondary school and college directly affects a person’s ability to rise out of poverty. More importantly and most significantly, a child experiencing art and music is actually discovering who they are and who they want to become.
Being taught art and music gives a child a profound sense of accomplishment and self-worth. It can teach them discipline as well. A child who feels good about himself is much more likely to perform well in school, ask questions as they learn and interacts well with others socially. Giving a young person the ability to find a way to express themselves is one step forward to more balanced, productive and happy adults in our future who can solve the issues facing our world.
Toni Bouman is an Associate Artist at Studios on the Park
Studios on the Park’s Kids Art Smart program provides free, hands-on art classes and experiences with K-6 grade schoolchildren from throughout the North County.
"In the tradition of Turner and Cezanne, painter David Kreitzer's love of nature, fantasy, and the human form, propels him to create exquisitely detailed, mood-invoking landscapes, figures, and striking still life floral studies in a variety of mediums.”
A full time artist since he received his Master’s in Painting at San Jose State University in 1967. David grew up as the son of a Lutheran minister who, due to his job, moved his family frequently throughout the Nebraska countryside. His works are in the collections of Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, Hirschhorn Foundation, Revlon Coporation, Olga Corporation, Barnes-Hind Corporation, Sinclair Paints, Lloyd's Bank, Cargill Corporation, and the San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Minnesota Museums. Private collectors include Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, Ray Bradbury, Mary Tyler Moore, Michael Douglas, Pepe Romero, Quinn Martin, Raymond Burr, Robert and Linda Takken, and Donald Simon.
Kreitzer has exhibited his work in numerous one-man shows across the country, starting with Maxwell Galleries in San Francisco in 1967, and mostly recently a most successful and acclaimed one man show in Seattle in conjunction with the Seattle Opera Ring Festival. He has also been represented by galleries in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, Carmel, Dallas, and Seattle.
Mr. Kreitzer executed two covers for Atlantic Magazine, and was featured artist in American Artist Magazine and the book "The Sacred Landscape.” He has been listed for many years in "Who's Who in American Art," "Who's Who in California," and "Who's Who in America." His "Tristan and Isolde" and "Siegfried" posters, commissioned by Seattle Opera in 1981, are still collected world wide. Commissions include covers American Artist Magazine, and the Performing Arts Magazine of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. He resides on the California coast with his wife, celebrated opera singer Jacalyn Kreitzer, and has a son, Anatol, married, and both scientists with two young daughters, and a daughter, Frederica, a computer engineer, marketing specialist, chorus member, and blogger in the Bay area.”