Portland Open Studios artists at Milwaukie First Friday

Here’s a chance to see Community 8 artists before the Tour. They are showing at the Milwaukie First Friday event at Milwaukie City Hall this First Friday, in coordination with the Milwaukie Arts Council.  Check it out

Portland Open Studios will also have a booth there, so be sure to stop by to say hi!

I hear there’s an 8×8 show going on in the space next door, as well as a music stage and vendors across the street. Sounds like a great way to spend Friday night, September 1.

We have word from Chris Haberman that it’s going to be the biggest First Friday yet with lots of events at local businesses and events for charity happening.

To find out more about Portland Open Studios, click here.

First Thursday at Blick

Come meet Portland Open Studios’ highest scoring artists and watch them demo their work during the September 7th First Thursday art walk.  From 5-7 pm, at Blick Art Supplies, 1115 NW Glisan in the Pearl.

You’ll meet our top scoring artists – woodcarver Sam Hingston and emerging artist/painter Dane Eisenbart – and see works displayed from our artist-community leaders from around the city:  Sara Swink, Susan Harrington, Kelly Williams and Chas Martin.

Folks can also pick up the $15 Open Studios tour guide at the Gallery and start to plan their tours of the studios they want to visit in the fall. The show will be up throughout the month of September.

PDX-CSA: All About Connection

By Kit Carlton

Art enthusiasts, collectors and artists alike, mark your calendar! Sept. 17th  is the last official date to choose an exclusive work from one of the artists participating in our creative program: Portland’s Community Supported Art (PDX-CSA)

PDX-CSA is currently in its fourth season, but began when cofounders Jason Kappus and Kristin Thiel wanted to find a more organic way for the public to interact with the local art scene. The two came up with the idea to introduce a program akin to CSA associations – but instead of farm to kitchen table, PDX-CSA delivers from the artist’s studio to you. This program provides patrons a chance to draw back the curtain on the artistic process by allowing them to select either a paired or individual project to fund, watch the projects progress and upon completion receive specially made art that they in a sense have had a hand in producing. This program is mutually beneficial for both artist and consumer because, as Kappus states, “By pre-purchasing artwork a buyer is saying that they have faith in the artist and their vision, which is a powerful gift to offer. [It] allows the artists to get paid for the effort of making the artwork and the freedom to experiment and push themselves. On the buyer’s side pre-purchasing the artwork means that they get the unique experience of following the journey of their artwork from concept to completion. Our feedback from Collectors so far has been that it’s a rewarding experience, one that connects them to the artists and their creative processes in a way they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

This demystification of the artistic process is essentially what drove Elise Wagner, part innovator and part alchemist, to participate in this year’s PDX-CSA event. Elise takes her cues from the natural world and the realm of science and creates stunning collagraphs from a technique she pioneered:  “People are curious. It’s important to satisfy the curiosity of art loving people; then you make a better connection overall. If your ideas are interesting to them you want to connect with them too because then you can have a dialogue about the work. As artists we’re mostly isolated in our studio and are just ‘going through the motions’ of our practice. We don’t realize someone would be very interested in the technical, esoteric and the inspirational aspects of the process. But if they could come together in a way where you are not talking too much about one or the other and how they work together to make a whole; well, that’s where alchemy happens.”

Click here to see Elise in action   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZWaMda-Tpg&feature=youtu.be 

For Kirista Trask, vibrant abstractionist and tenth generation Oregonian, her involvement with PDX-CSA came about from the struggle to explain the potent symbolism embedded in her abstractions in a way that easily translates to the Portlander experience. “It’s weird to say what you are trying to do and how it is tied to memories – that it is autobiographical. That it is a representation of a moment or a place. How do I expand from there to physically move my space out into PDX? For this project I’m taking my travel art-kit/easel and getting out into the heart of Portland to express the kinds of places that symbolize this city. Not just our beautiful parks, but places that epitomize Portland. For example, Voodoo Doughnuts makes a powerful visual symbolization – that fluorescent pink and bright color palette.”

You can see Kirista at work here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hxPRfGHumk&authuser=0 

While PDX-CSA aims to bridge the gap between the artistic community and the general public, at the nucleus of this program lies the reality that creating and experience is what truthfully informs our human condition and connects us all. It’s all about connection. Perhaps this is why Samyak Yamauchi, intuitive painter and constructor of whimsically imagined-worlds, best embodies this spirit of PDX-CSA through her daily practice of creating: “I just love the magic of it. How you have nothing and then you have something. It just happens. I love the mystery in it. I love how I don’t know what is going to happen. I love how in the studio, in any situation I guess, you always get to start over. If I don’t like something in my life or a painting, I can change it, get rid of it or do something else. I love that. I love how the creative process is just life. I just love it. There is no separation.”

Watch Sam in action here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKJoZmPxIZw&feature=youtu.be 

To get more information on this year’s artists, and lend your support and patronage, go to www.pdx-csa.com.

Introducing Artist No. 26 – David Castle

I love the way all of our artists come to their profession in very unique ways. David Castle shares some of his journey. “My early grade school years were spent in a Denver suburb long enough ago that students had ample access to art and music classes, so my interest began quite early. I even have a piece of my 3rd grade art hanging in my studio and get comments on it from visitors!

“My family left the city for a southern farm when I was still in grade school – so began years of working hard with my hands to build, repair, grow and harvest. I believe this experience instilled a need to continue working with my hands into my adult years, so making art was a ‘softer’ and more ‘gentle’ way of keeping my hands going after the farm experience was left behind. I’m also inspired – and motivated – by the process of making art itself. So, I feed a need within to make things by constantly experimenting and painting. I do this for myself and will surely make more art in my lifetime than I could possibly share with the world.”

David is currently working on a series of Pacific Rains paintings, inspired by the rains and coast of the Pacific Northwest and, particularly, the northern Oregon coast. “I often work from photographs I’ve taken over the years of coastal areas and still have much work to do as I explore this vast source of inspiration. I’m also honing my skills and perfecting my method of mixing oil paints and metallic watercolors successfully. But I have more experimenting to do to get the results I’m looking for, so work on this continues.”

If you visit his studio during this fall’s Portland open Studios tour, David will introduce you to the unique process of mixing oil and metallic watercolors that he developed for his abstractions. “I’ll also be describing my various sources of inspiration, such as the Oregon coast, and how I use these sources to envision, and then paint, my unique abstractions.”

Being an artist is technically David’s second career. “My first love and career was technology and I worked in that arena for nearly 15 years before my interest in keeping up faded. Finally, I was laid off from my last corporate job and took a year off to decide what to do next. During this time I tried my artwork out at a few local art festivals and got immediate, positive feedback… so began my second career as a full-time artist – partly motivated by the desire to NOT go back into the corporate world of technology. The experience of making art, getting feedback from people on that art, selling art, winning awards – all keeps me going in this second career of mine.”

David paints abstractions infused with unexpectedly rich and vivid colors. His art is inspired by the variety of mountain and urban terrain he has explored throughout his extensive travels in North America and his years of living, working and traveling throughout Europe during his former career as a computer scientist. He draws from his exposure to the colors and shapes of these very different places as he combines paper, brush, oil and water, color, air, surface tension and gravity to create each painting.

David also has a unique art background. “I’ve learned from various artists over the years and spent countless hours experimenting in my studio to develop my own vision and style. My first ‘real’ art class was in Brussels, Belgium where I lived and worked as a computer consultant in the early 1990’s. There was an artist who held weekend art classes in her studio in the building where I lived, so I decided to take one. The artist spoke only a little English (and I spoke only a little French), so it was a true introduction to art and painting, as we mainly made art instead of talking a lot. Since that class, I’ve taken many art classes from admired artists over the years – mainly to expand my experimental nature and technique inventory.”

Introducing Artist No. 79 – Diane Russell

For as long as I can remember, I have been drawing and painting people. I began my professional career as a fashion illustrator, and over time my art has evolved towards portraiture. I have always found the human face, with its limitless expres-sions, fascinating, and I love the challenge of bringing those expressions to life in my portraits.

My paintings and drawings are a reflection of my own experiences and a tribute to all of the people who have touched my life. My inspiration comes from the people I meet, and the musicians that I photograph. Working in oil, my paintings evolve gradually, taking many layers of paint to complete. My charcoal drawings also evolve gradually, building up over time. The portrait process is a shared experience between myself and my subject, and by the time I’m finished, I feel as though I’ve made a deep connection with my subject. This to me is the essence of portraiture… to reach beyond the photograph and bring my subject to life. When the portrait be-gins to breathe, I know I have achieved my goal.

Portrait work has become, without a doubt, the most meaningful and rewarding work I’ve ever done. I can’t imagine doing anything else, and I feel that without art, my life would not make sense. I hope to always continue to grow as an artist, and make a positive impact in the world around me by virtue of the art I create.

I’m looking forward to the upcoming Portland Open Studios tour, because I love showing visitors my painting and drawing process. I will be working on both a portrait painting and a charcoal drawing, and my palette will be on display for all to see. Since I use no solvents of any kind, people are always surprised by the pleas-ant smell of linseed oil and paint… no fumes!

Introducing Artist No. 76 – Shannon Carlson

Like many artists, Shannon Carlson spent much of her childhood drawing from imagination. “I guess you could say I was always trying to draw my daydreams. Best case, I still do.”

Shannon is a process oriented painter. “The biggest change to my creative process happened when I became comfortable with my own voice, trusted my intuition and came to value where my process is taking me. I’m still on the way to where I’m going as a painter, so, with any luck, my creative process will keep changing and my work will change too.”

I found Shannon’s response to my question about reactions to her work unusual and interesting. “Because my work can have some themes of environmentalism, I occasionally get someone who wants to challenge the meaning of my work, but I welcome any discussions. I enjoy talking to people.”

Best advice:

“Embrace failure as an artist. I still try to remember to let myself fail spectacularly!”

Shannon has some great fun in store for you if you visit her studio this October. “I’m hoping I can get our visitors to pick up a paintbrush and take part in making their own marks on my work. I have always loved collaborative art and responding to the ideas of others. This will, hopefully, make the stop more memorable for visitors and give me a start on my next painting.”

Introducing Artist No. 43 – Susan Kuznitsky

Susan Kuznitsky believes that as an artist she is also an historian. “When I am out painting local scenes on location I feel I am capturing a moment in time that will never happen again. I often find myself painting older landmarks when I go to another town to paint. Some of the structures will probably be gone in the years to come so I feel that I have documented it in a painting that will last a long time. I also do portraits which capture a child or pet or someone’s house in a moment of time that will never exist again. There is such beauty all around us every day. And I feel it is my responsibility to paint it and share it.

“The teaching aspect is also something I feel strongly about. If I can inspire someone to create and reach their own artistic goals, well how cool is that? I am going to be starting a Saturday morning class at OSA (Oregon Society of Artists) where I have been teaching a Wednesday morning class for the past two years. The Saturday class will be open for ages 13 and up. I am working on a grant with help from an OSA board member for scholarship money for underprivileged teens to be able to have art lessons. I am hoping this will make a difference in some small way.”

She started her art journey as a teenager; “a teenager getting into some not such good things as teenagers will do. My mother wisely saw that I was constantly drawing and signed me up at a local art studio for lessons and it totally re-directed my energy and focus and I have never looked back.”

During this year’s Portland Open Studios tour, Susan will be showing her work along with several other artists at OSA. “It will be a very fun place to tour. I will be showing and selling paintings in pastels and oils of all sizes and price points. I will have a couple pieces in progress that I will be working on during the tour where visitors can see the different stages of development. I will also have note cards of the artwork of some of the kids I have taught in the past years to hopefully inspire some younger artists.”

Inroducing Artist No. 90 – Sherri Aytche

Sherri Aytche found her way to clay soon after moving to Portland from New York City. “I am a city girl, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I found working with clay to be a bridge to connect me to my new West Coast residence. An education major focused on counseling, clay became a metaphor for life for me. As a clinical specialist, I found myself making vessels and containers to symbolically hold the stories and experiences that we hold inside and sometimes choose to share with the world. I enjoy creating ‘safe’ spaces, whether it’s a vase to hold a beautiful bouquet, or functional dinnerware plates, bowls, and cups to hold memories and experiences. I am drawn to natural colors and simple shapes influenced by culture – earthy, handmade, rustic, elements in contemporary form. Each piece is unique and imperfect which speaks of the human touch.

“I am currently working on a series of wall tiles inspired by African cloth, particularly mud cloth and kuba cloth patterns. I love texture and patterns and while African cloth can sometimes be very busy, I can take an idea or a piece of the pattern and express my cultural heritage in a simple and contemporary way.”

In response to my inquiry about public response to her work, she replied “I was at an event and an artist whose work I admired but had not met, looked at a wall piece and then did a double take and asked me if it was clay? I said yes, and he said “Wow, it’s really nice to see you do that, a simple slab with a simple design, really elegant” completely unexpected.”

If you want to meet Sherri, watch her mold a piece of clay, and maybe pick up a vessel to hold your story, be sure to stop by her studio in October during the Portland Open Studios tour this fall.

Introducing Artist No. 21 – Anna Lancaster

Anna Lancaster has been creating art since she was 6 or 7 when her dad and brother started teaching her to draw in grade school. She was self-taught until 1993 when she starting taking lessons from a retired portrait artist, Carol Stone. She’s taken workshops with Scott Christenson, Eric Jacobsen, Eric Bowman, Jennifer Diehl, Za Vue and Thomas Jefferson Kitts. “Being so incredibly right brained, painting and drawing have been the only things I feel that I have really done well, all of my life.”

Anna paints from live observation, starting with a 5×7 or 6×8 achromatic thumbnail in oil, taking 30 to 45 minutes to establish a value and shape design, then executing the painting in color. She is studying design to help her compose more design driven paintings. She’s also been painting daily for the past five months. She creates Plein Air Landscapes, Portrait/Figure and Still Life paintings.

I asked Anna what role the artist plays in society? I loved her answer. “Encouraging people in profoundly discouraging and tragic times. Rejoicing with them in times of blessing. Working to try to help them see the loving face of God”.

Anna has been busy this summer. She participated in the Little Gems exhibit for Washington Plein air painters, the Art and Culture Showcase in Washington County, and received a second place in Tualatin’s 2017 Annual ArtSplash Show. She was also written up in Oregon Art Beat’s feature ‘Pacific Northwest Plein Air Invites Painters to Get Outside’.

If you visit Anna during the PDXOS tour this fall, you will see her painting ‘Alla Prima” which means painting wet over wet. “I was trained in the traditional indirect painting of layers with a high contrast underpainting. I learned the Alla Prima method to be able to paint en plein air quickly from live observation.”

A message from our President

Hey everyone, we’re almost three months away from our annual event!

It was great to see so many people turn out for our Preview event at Oregon Society of Artists on July 28. Tim Mahoney and his staff were wonderful hosts, and we are very happy to be collaborating with them. Look for future events in their lovely space. Thank You OSA!

This month we’ll see our 2017 Guides on the shelves at New Seasons a little earlier than normal. We also have new venues selling guides – Check out our full list here. If your business is interested in stocking our Guides, please contact Ali Schlicting, our Distribution manager.

We’re always looking for volunteers and future board members. We’d love to meet you and help you get to know our organization from the inside out. If you have talent and experience in sales, marketing, working in a mentorship program,  or other outreach projects, please contact us

Stay cool Portland! Visit a gallery, museum, or art opening near you.