Posts tagged Stilllife
Let Yourself Grow: Podcast Episode with Erika Lee Sears

On this episode, Kat has a fun and inspiring conversation with Erika Lee Sears. Erika is a self-taught oil painter who took the plunge to leave her corporate job in order to paint full time.

Learn about how to commit to a daily painting practice, get tips for painting while traveling, set up a perfect morning routine, balance family life and more!

Ekaterina Vanovskaya

Ekaterina Vanovskaya was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 and an MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2015. Ekaterina has exhibited nationally including New York City and Chicago. She completed the Artist in the Marketplace Program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts and recently participated in the Governors Island Art Fair, New York and the AIM Biennial at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Ekaterina has received the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant in 2017. Ekaterina teaches at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ and Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.


Pale, distressed figures inhabit my large-scale oil paintings. There are several repeating themes in the paintings: loneliness, nostalgia, longing, melancholia and a search for a sense of place. There are often figures depicted doing mundane tasks, or caught in a state of hesitation or fear, in forlorn atmospheres. A specific emotional longing translates into a painting.

I was born and spent my childhood in St. Petersburg, Russia and memorable childhood experiences frame the core of my work. These memories symbolize isolated experiences and therefore have a strong emotional impact. The physical places I no longer occupy and they do not exist in the same state, as when I knew them, all is imagined.

How does our past impact our emotions, responses and ways of being? These perceptions of our childhood inevitably define the way we live our lives today. Painting starts to serve as reconciliation with the self. It is as if I am painting about a secret that nobody else knows.

Natalie Dark

Born in Miami, FL, Natalie Dark works in a variety of mediums, though her current work is made exclusively in colored pencil. Natalie's attention to detail and precision requires a certain level of mindfulness, which lends itself to rich color and visual depth that results in finished pieces reminiscent of oil paintings created by 17th-century Dutch Masters.

As a theme, mindfulness is woven throughout her body of work in direct response to her environment and reflections on personal identity and cultural experience. As a Cuban-American woman in today's political climate, colored pencil provides a sense of stability and grounding that is necessary when living in a world that is in a constant state of flux.

Follow her on Instagram: @nataliedarkart.


Artist Statement

"Camino Oscuro," (or "Dark Journey," in English) is a foray into Natalie's experience as a newly married, Hispanic woman, who has lost a sense of obvious cultural identity in exchanging her maiden name, Delgado, for the more Americanized Dark.

Her subject matter is purposefully inviting, familiar, and comforting. It provides the viewer with an instant connection and, therefore, an opportunity for further exploration. It is a democratizing experience, where a seductive and comforting exterior hides a world of complexity, a history unexplored or understood by the viewer.

The Language of Painting: Podcast Interview With Artist Anna Valdez

In this episode of Art and Cocktails, Kat and Anna Valdez share a few drinks and dive into Anna's incredible journey as a painter. We chat about how her experiences in archeology and anthropology influenced her current work. Anna talks about her love of processes and rituals and explains the inspiration behind her beautiful paintings.

Born in 1985 in Sacramento, California, Anna Valdez’s interest in cultural formation and collective consciousness began in her hometown. Exposed from a young age to a uniquely Californian cultural milieu, her proclivity for collecting and crafting a poignant and meaningful visual vocabulary took root during time spent sharing in the traditions and environments of people within her community. Her fascination with the ways in which cultural identities intersect lead her to pursue a career in sociocultural anthropology.

It was on an archeological dig in Ireland that Valdez first discovered her skill for art making. Valdez was encouraged to keep a sketchbook of the site, creating scale drawings and maps. Visually reinterpreting these “abandoned sites” allowed Valdez to explore the connection between anthropological and artistic methods of cataloguing and record-keeping.

Today, working across painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, and digital media, Valdez examines the relationship between material and cultural identity. Valdez incorporates articles found in domestic spaces such as plants, textiles, vessels and keepsakes into her work as a method of storytelling.  Her colorful work invites the viewer to consider objects as emblematic of personal and collective experience, shifting between still life and portraiture. 

Anna Valdez received her MFA in painting from Boston University in 2013. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States. Valdez’s work has been featured in Juxtapoz Magazine, New American Paintings,, and Daily Serving. Her work has recently been exhibited at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Masur Museum of Art, the Danforth Museum, Boston University Art Galleries, Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco, and Parts Gallery in Toronto Canada.

Anna's Work:

Recent Museum Exhibition at Crystal Bridges:

Anna's Instagram

Photos by Nora Lowinsky

A Celebration of the Slow Gaze: Interview with Polly Jones 

Polly Jones grew up in Plainview, Texas surrounded by a vast sky and parents who encouraged her love for art. She earned a BFA in painting at Abilene Christian University, which sparked a love for still life painting that has occupied much of the past thirty years of her life. She is grateful to share this journey with her husband, also an artist, and their creative and lovely daughter. They have spent many years in Tennessee, though the last dozen has been back in Abilene where Kenny teaches art at ACU. A full-time artist, Polly spends time painting in her sunny studio at home. Her award-winning work has been in numerous shows. She is a signature artist at The Center for Contemporary Arts and also has work on display at River Oaks Gallery in Abilene Frame and Arts. Outside of Abilene, her work is shown at Anne Irwin Fine Art in Atlanta, as well as Etsy and Ugallery online. 


My artistic process is to paint from life. It’s a celebration of the slow gaze, work that comes from a deep sense of gratitude and a longing to practice mindfulness. The still life setups are composed of what I find in my daily life—finding beauty, life, energy, and delight in ordinary everyday moments and objects. While painting, I incorporate paper that ranges from map fragments, ledger paper, hymns, poetry and to vintage Golden Encyclopedia pages for children. This is a way to include other voices and viewpoints into the image as well as a sense of nostalgia. Intense color, light, pattern, and texture are a focus that drives me on this creative journey. I often use polka dot grids as a way to refer to atoms, spirit, pixels, and all of the things that are hard to see that seem to pervade the physical world. 

Interview by Sarah Mills

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Your paintings have an extremely whimsical fun feel to them, how did you develop this style of painting?

I’m glad you respond to them in that manner because on a basic level I would love for the paintings to embody an attitude of positivity and gratefulness. There is satisfaction in domestic pleasures and I find that truly looking at small things is worthy of time and energy. This is a major impetus for my painting. Art making has been a journey of serious play and experimentation based on what I see. My painting style is the result of creating a problem and trying to find a resolution. It begins with a still life that I draw on a canvas. This initiates a process where I explore the relationship of colors and pattern by hanging them on the framework of the drawing. Most of my paintings involve constantly changing the colors within this framework. Additionally, I layer paint and collage materials in a process I find exhilarating. I have a visceral response to color that drives me to keep making art. 

The most common comment I have received from people over the years is that my paintings make them happy. I like that. Who doesn’t need a little happiness injected into their day (especially these days)? Ultimately, I think the whimsy comes from my interest in paradoxes. I hope that the work invites a sense of joyfulness and struggle intermingled - that’s what I mean by “serious play”. When looking at my paintings I hope the viewer senses the joy and struggle of the journey to find visual solutions. I consciously connect the work with the genre Vanitas which celebrates life while always aware of the inevitability of change and death. I paint flowers that die quickly, goldfish which were my first experiences as a child with death, and fruit which rot - all that are hidden in an extravagant, palpable skin.


Can you tell us about the use of polka dots in your work?

Polka dots worked their way into the paintings as a way to refer to an order I felt was in the universe. It is how I include a sense of spirituality that is a vital part of my life. It also refers to other things not visible. It makes me think of atoms, pixels, pollen, dust, light photons and molecules. When I draw what I see I anchor myself in the “now”. I have a desire to paint what I see as an exercise in mindfulness but also know that it’s never that simple. The visual is always complicated by memories and thoughts.

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The moments of collage in your work are fantastic. When did you start using collage in your work? How do you feel this element adds to your work?
Thank you! I have been using collage for about 15 years, though at first sporadically. I like the surprise you get when coming in close to the work. I like the complexity that comes from looking at a painting of a pear and finding a fragment of a map of New York City. It has become a way to include or at least allude to voices outside of my limited viewpoint. Often times a subtle narrative evolves from my seemingly random choices of text and images. Below is a lexicon for some of my most used collage materials. 
Polka dots (see question 2)
Golden Book Encyclopedia (nostalgia for quantifiable knowledge and analog vs digital)
Maps (the world is bigger than my table)
Hymns (that gratitude thing)
Poetry (love)
Vintage Biology diagrams (fragility of life)


What are you currently working on? 

I’m planning several large still-life paintings for a group show in the fall. I recently did a bigger one and found the scale a fun challenge. In a fit of ambition, I just finagled the transport of some huge canvases to our home. Feeling a little crazy now because I don’t have a big studio or a great place to store them or a dependable way to transport them. Also, I’m feeling a bit of stage fright… probably always a good thing. I never want to become complacent.  


What is the best piece of advice you have been given over the course of your career? 

Early on, a professor told me not to worry about trends in art but pursue my personal vision. A lot of nonverbal advice sticks with me through memories of other artists’ work. Some of their paintings haunt me as well as drive me to do better. 


What is your favorite part of your creative process?

I love it when a painting takes a different direction from how I began and ends up as a total surprise. Even after all of my years of painting, I can’t predict what the combinations of the visual language will form when they come together. The challenge and fun of being open to the unpredictable is what keeps me painting.


How do you keep yourself motivated at times when you lack motivation?
My husband is a great supporter and encourager of my work. He is also an artist and we help keep each other going. We share a studio and just seeing him at work is energizing. Music helps too.

Also, I’ve developed the certainty that bad work is inevitable and I can’t let it keep me in a funk. The gift of a better painting is just around the corner if I work through it. The hope of better work is always pulling me forward.

And like most artists, deadlines keep me motivated. I do try to keep reasonable goals. Too many deadlines and I’m overwhelmed and less creative.

Studio Sundays: Emily Filler

Emily Filler's paintings walk the line between the real and the imaginary.  There is a sense of the familiar but also the feeling that you are falling into a dream - flowers act as a departure point to a world that dissolves into abstraction.

She weaves together painting, printmaking and photography in her ‘painterly collages’, bringing together panels of color, meticulous patterning and floral elements. Dense mark-making contrasts with airy clouds of transparent color and screen-printed florals reveal themselves from behind cut and torn paper and canvas. As these processes and elements interlace, they create a hybrid between representation and abstraction, the natural and supernatural.

Living in downtown Toronto, Filler is often influenced by her ritual walk to the studio, where she observes the landscape shift from bustling city life to contemplative residential neighborhoods. Exploring this contrast, the works playfully collate the images and textures from both worlds.

Emily Filler lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

b. 1982. Ottawa, Canada.

Painting Kindness: Interview With Diana Dzene

My passion for painting started long ago with painting over the basement walls of parents’ house in an attempt to copy old masters. I studied books and painters to soak up as much information and skills as I could and learned the art of oil painting on canvas (as basement walls are not something easily available wherever one goes). 

After a coincidental meeting with Russia-educated Valery Baida and his wife Maija Jakovich at their home studio in Latvia three years ago, I received a kind invitation to participate at plein air painting gatherings. Since then, I have been a regular participant. 

Because of time spent there, my head and heart was full of new knowledge and ideas. By autumn, I was a student at the University of the Arts in London, Central Saint Martins, learning about painting techniques and mixing colours with Rodger Gill. 

A year later, at a plein air gathering, I met an American-Latvian painter, John Delgalvis, who shared about his studies at Arts Student League of New York in the 70s: the academic approach, the atmosphere and history of the place, the people, and the ideas got to my heart quickly. After a half year, I was lucky to join the school for a course on oil painting and Anatomy and Drawing course with Peter Cox. Along with studies there in the beginning of this year, my tutor suggested I seek a space to exhibit my work. Five months after came the opportunity with Conception Arts organization to exhibit in Manhattan in November 2017. 

Aside from latest exhibition in NYC, I exhibit in my home country, Latvia, in castles and countryside manors and Riga Old Town. 

Since some time ago when a friend suggested I put my paintings online, my works have been purchased and placed in collections of art admirers in Latvia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Italy and Great Britain.


When did you first start painting? Share a little bit of your story with us. 

I started by painting over the basement walls of parents’ house, in an attempt to copy old masters. It led to painting on porcelain, fabric and other materials. After a while I wanted to know more, so got down to books, google, parents and painters to soak up as much information and skills I could to learn painting techniques on canvas (as basement walls are not something easily available wherever one goes:). In 2015 summer, I joined Latvian group of professional painters of various associations at one of the most known plain air gatherings in Vestiena, Latvia. Because of time spent there – head and heart full of new knowledge and ideas – by autumn I was a student at the University of the Arts in London – Central Saint Martins, learning about painting techniques with Rodger Gill. Year later I joined Art Student League of New York for Anatomy and Drawing course with Peter Cox. I put a great effort into being able to spend my vacations from work by studying art and painting at home in the evenings. I started by posting my paintings on Saatchi Art online gallery and after a successful sell there, I thought wow – that’s is a greatest feeling when someone recognizes or relates or likes what my inner world creates. That’s amazing! Joined Fine Arts America soon after and I’m very thankful for feedback from American painters and art lovers like me. Starting from year 2014 I was lucky to exhibit in castles and manors across Latvia and in 2015 March received an Excellence award at an international All Women 2015 art exhibition. In November 2017 was chosen among many to exhibit my work at the Conception Arts art exhibition in lower Manhattan, and now looking to participate in more exhibits I NYC, it is a great experience! I’m also a proud member of StartUpArt young artists’ platform in Latvia, providing opportunity to show and sell work of emerging painters.


We love how you transform daily objects and scenes to beautiful paintings. Tell us about what inspires you and how you choose what to paint. 

I’m inspired by acts of people. For example, my best portrait was done right after a friend called me and said she organized an exhibition for me, without me knowing about it. Or I was dating a man who very much liked the shape of cumulus clouds – I have two beautiful paintings of such clouds and I love the emotions it brought me. Or I made bright, elegant Mediterranean interior paintings after a friend surprised me by creating me a website – best surprise I’ve received recently. One can only be thankful.


What do you think your art is about?

It is about kindness. 

Describe an ideal day at the studio. Do you love to listen to music, have certain items or plants around you when you paint?

I paint at home in the evenings or weekends. I stay late or get up really early on Saturday and have a sketch before breakfast. Probably best time to paint is when it’s raining - most productive, and also - when I need to be somewhere else:) It’s terrible but I find myself often with a need to paint couple hours before I need to leave and then I’m late but I can’t stop, need to finish. 


What is a book, poem, film or piece of art that really moves you?

I have couple of paintings I remember seeing in art books when I was a child. And when traveling I visit museums, galleries and it is the most brilliant feeling of seeing the same childhood painting but it’s original, hanging somewhere right in from of me. It’s like meeting an old friend. And of course I look at other artists works. I have Pinterest profile with my own digital gallery collection - I can browse for hours and I never get sick of museums, galleries or paintings.


What is your favorite way to get inspired?

My favorite way is to see other painters work. It is amazing how people see and have skills to put what the see on a canvas. When I realized I see things differently, I tried learning to express them somehow. For long time I very much related to a meme with caption “DRAWING. Why you no come out as I imagined in my head?!” J Now I don’t have this problem.


What are you looking forward to artistically this year?

I have applied for couple juried exhibitions I hope to get into, fingers crossed. And honestly I hope to sell more paintings to have new ones to paint. I have Gulliver plans, I love to be in motion all the time - hopefully it takes me somewhere good!


Capturing Domestic Life: Interview with Mychaelyn Michalec

Born in 1977, Michalec is an artist who lives and works in Dayton, OH. 

My work focuses on domestic life in a convergence of abstract and the figure. The dichotomy of the family is emotional closeness yet frequently, missed connections. My paintings often show members of my family staring at their devices, huddling together but watching TV, eating dinner around a table but involved in thought. Painting for me is a way of both embracing and resisting domestic life. Motherhood is like a love affair. We fall in love, we fantasize, and it is all so perfect. Then we see the reality, and feel guilty. 

Abstraction and the figure compete for attention in my work just as being an artist and a mother compete for attention in real life. Waiting at the Verizon store, watching TV, eating dinner—what is lasting among seemingly mundane experiences? The memories are intimate yet universal, influential yet forgotten.

“Love is paying attention”
— Fairfield Porter 
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When did you first begin exploring domestic spaces and modern relationships in your work? 

I stepped back from my studio practice for about 12 years to focus on raising a family.  When I started to make work again, I thought about how I filled that creative void. That is when I started exploring the ideals of home and family life in my work. For me, there has always been a conflict between not having a career and being a parent, because our society is so fixated on what you do as a reflection of your worth. Painting for me is a way of both embracing and resisting domestic life. Motherhood is like a love affair. We fall in love, we fantasize, and it is all so perfect. Then we see the reality, and feel guilty.

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There is something poetic and sentimental about finding beauty in the mundane moments through art. What do you hope the viewer takes away from your current paintings?
I don’t think that family dynamics have changed that much, but I do think the way that they are portrayed has changed. In an era of curated Facebook feeds highlighting the best in family life, I hope to show a more realistic depiction of domesticity - though what I do show is still warped and twisted through my own filter and shaky-handed sketches. There is more of a need for the real in this life and less #liveauthentic. The importance of the mundane and the seemingly uninteresting is that - it is wherein most of our life experiences come from. Narrative work is so open to interpretation. Standing back and listening to others' interpretation is often an interesting way to analyze the observer. 

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How has your studio practice challenged the way you think about our homes, relationships and the introduction of technology in your own life? 

I think the cell phone is the television of my parent's generation. My parent's generation fretted over access to it, time spent in front of it, and the content of what was being shown. They thought it would be the ruin of my generation. While it was not, I don't want to be either dismissive or alarmist about technology in our own lives. I think screens are pervasive, an unstoppable force, and yet there has always been a sort of disconnect between families or relationships in general. That is nothing new, nor was it new as I was growing up, though the scapegoat has changed.

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What do you love to do when you are not in the studio?
I am a normal person; I do normal things. I run out to pick up a 12 pack of root beer for the boy's student council meeting due this afternoon, or a container of air-dry clay for the girl's landforms projects due in a week. I shop on the internet and take the dog for a walk. I make at least three trips to the grocery store a week. Sometimes I meet friends for coffee.

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Where does the imagery and references for your paintings come from?

The images come from my own life. I frequently sneak out my phone and try to covertly capture what is going on in our own lives. It is important to me that most of these moments are captured without my family being aware. With the advent of the digital camera, it is so easy to edit our lives.  Photos can be disregarded without a second thought; I try to capture what most people would disregard or not even bother to take.


What are a few of your favorite artists and influences?
Three artists whose work I am most interested in are Honoré Sharrer, David Humphrey, and Brian Harte. I love Sharrer's use of color and her complex narratives. I recently fell in love with her paintings, and her color schemes have influenced my work. I find David Humphrey's work interesting. He has a lot to say about the human condition and society. His use of humor and drawing is very engaging. I love the work of Irish artist Brian Harte. He also captures domestic life. I find his male perspective of the subject especially interesting.  Another big influence for me is the short stories of Raymond Carver and Lydia Davis.  Their narratives and the dialogues of their characters are a big influence on my work and how I title things.


Share a favorite quote or piece of advice. 

"Love is paying attention"- Fairfield Porter 

"We never look at just one thing; we are always looking at the relationship between things and ourselves"  -John Berger

Constructed Environments by Jeremy Miranda

We love the way you create dream-like scenes by combining the landscape and interior. When did you initially get inspired to paint these images?

Thank you. That was a series I did back a few years back. At the time, I was interested in memory/time and trying to construct spacial environments that gave the sense of those things folding into themselves. I worked in that vein for a few years, panning for gold, and then honestly one day I walked into the studio and it all just looked like someone else’s work. I'm not sure why, but it just didn't fit anymore, which is great. I like moments like that in the studio, because they signal that you're being honest with yourself and that something exciting and new is about to happen. From there, I switched back to acrylic paint and began to revisit past ideas and ways of working that I actually felt ready for.   

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When did you first decide that you wanted to be an artist?

Growing up, I always was in love with drawing and thought I’d be a children's book illustrator or something like that, but I owe it to a handful of artists from my hometown (Sue McNally, Luke Randall, Tom Deininger) for exposing me to the idea of being an artist with a studio practice. They were awesome teachers and were nice enough to let a high school kid visit their studios, which were these big mill spaces with paintings and sculptures everywhere, and I was just completely hooked from there. Tom took me on as his assistant when I was a junior in high school, while he was in the midst of working on a solo museum show, so that really gave me an intense and intimate view into the daily life of an artist.  

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Tell us about your process. How does each painting come about from reference to execution? 

Pretty much everything is invented. If a painting is too mapped out, I get immediately bored. So, the only references I use are some pretty ugly, grubby sketches I make in the early morning.  I usually have a handful of paintings going so I can balance them against each other, and I’d really describe the process as intuitive, or maybe trial and error is a little more accurate. 


What advice would you give other painters for breaking through barriers and trying something new in their work?

I would refer them to Diebenkorn's "Notes to myself on beginning a painting" (provided below):

Notes to myself on beginning a painting

1. Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.

2. The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued – except as a stimulus for further moves.

3. DO search.

4. Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.

5. Don’t “discover” a subject – of any kind.

6. Somehow don’t be bored but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.

7. Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.

8. Keep thinking about Pollyanna.

9. Tolerate chaos.

10. Be careful only in a perverse way.

What are some of your favorite things to read, watch or listen to that inspire your work?

I guess kind of everything? I haven't finished a book since our son was born, but I was working my way through all of Michael Chabon's books (whom I find very inspiring). But honestly, anything that's well made makes me want to make things in response.   


Tell us about some of your other interests aside from art-making.

It’s not a super interesting list. Hiking, gardening, cooking, those kinds of things. I’ve been playing guitar since I was very young, but it’s all self-taught and not proper in anyway.  Honestly, I'm interested in anything that gets me out of the studio for a bit.  If you asked me to go play golf in the rain, I’d be pretty excited to do that.  

Do you have a daily ritual?

I do. My wife and I split the week up watching our kid, so when it’s my work day I get up at 7:00, make a pot of coffee and talk with my good friend Tom on the phone for half an hour (which we've been doing for about 15 years).  When I get into the studio, I spend the first hour making very loose drawings. The drawings are what I end up making the paintings from, so it’s important that they're made right away when the images are fresh in my mind.  From there, I'm usually juggling a few paintings that are all in various stages of completion. Also, I listen to the same 2 albums on rotation all day. I'm hoping I'm not the only one who does this, because it feels pretty weird. But I can't paint in silence, and podcasts and spotify are too stimulating and tend to pull me out of the work. So I just repeat an album I like until it becomes this rhythmic, meditative, white noise. 

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What would you say your paintings are about and how do you want the viewer to feel when they experience them?

I have a handful of different series going on right now and each one is about something a little different. I have series going of shelters (I guess you could call them cabins really) which are, on one level, about the play of interior vs exterior and space and light, but they're also about how the making of art is its own kind of shelter or insular world one occupies. I have another series of studio interiors with fictional "works in progress" which are my version of a self-portrait. But sometimes I don't know what something is about.  I have a group of these sink paintings, one of which is the largest painting in my studio right now, and I feel compelled to make them, but I really am not sure what they're about. All in all, I’m equally concerned with the content as I am with the physical surface, and I spend a lot of time thinking about paint handling and line quality and texture.  My hope is that the balance of those things creates an immersive experience for someone viewing the work.      

What would you say you are most proud of up to this point?

The fact that I'm still painting. 

Tristan Pigott

The work of artist Tristan Pigott cleverly plays with color and composition, giving natural objects like a houseplant or a head of lettuce outlandish hues. He radically transforms an ordinary space by subtly changing smaller details, creating an air of strangeness and even silliness. The artist often adds elements of humor to draw the viewer’s attention to different aspects of the composition, and perhaps to also draw attention to the more bizarre qualities of our own lives. 

Pigott’s paintings often experiment with image of images, such as those present behind the many screens in our lives. In one painting, we see an image of flowers next to an image of the same flowers behind a laptop screen. In another paintings, we see an image of a painting that contains a figure from a different painting by the artist. This bringing together of images shines light on the continuing distorting of what is real and what is not.  

Cob Gallery describes the people in Pigott’s as those who are “attuned to the way that self-image is constantly chopped up, repackaged and beamed back at us through the wires and lenses of modern culture; the way that identity is always on ‘exhibition’, long before an artist gets involved.” 

Tristan Pigott is currently based in London, where his recent solo exhibition Juicy Bits was recently shown at Cob Gallery this past summer. 



Kari-Lise Alexander

Kari-Lise Alexander paints photo-realistic, stunning women engulfed in wet, textural scenes of dripping flowers, butterflies and cloth. These women are often submerged into water, which forms an interesting glow of reflections surrounded with floating hair and pedals like an aura around these individuals. Not an easy subject to paint, water fills Alexander’s compositions creating hyperreal, fractured colour and light. In her most recent body of work, water appears to be dripping from the canvas, magnifying and manipulating the organic elements found in her paintings. Deep hues of magentas and violets once held within the confines of the flowers pedals now dissolve and run together as they drip down the composition. The women in her paintings then become saturated in these vivid, organic colours found in nature. The immersive quality that the element of water exemplifies in Alexander's work pulls the viewer within the frame, into and under these worlds of water.

Her website explains, “Kari-Lise Alexander’s work is rooted in the old folklore of her Scandinavian heritage as well as inspired by her home in the Pacific Northwest. Her style captures the unique qualities of both her heritage and her home.” 

Living in the rainy city of Seattle, Washington no doubt inspires her dripping, rain-filled paintings. Kari-Lise Alexander’s highly detailed paintings can be found in galleries around the world, as she is represented internationally. Prints of her beautifully drenched paintings are also available online.

Glory Day Loflin

Glory Day Loflin is a first generation South Carolinian currently living and working in Greenville, SC. Raised on Southern hymns and several acres of woods, she is a lover of projects and prompts, using her surroundings and experiences to generate work in a variety of mediums. At The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City, she was introduced to alternate modes of thinking and ways of making through the School of Art and the School of Architecture. Glory uses her drawings to fuse her observations of the South with larger questions of her own. Her art practice involves following this initial study in drawing with work in sculpture and painting.

Carolina Elizabeth

I was born in Honduras, but since I was 8 years-old I have called Oklahoma my home. 
Creating things has been my passion since I can remember. In fact, one of my aunts in Honduras still has a tiny toilet I made out of match boxes and a doll which created out of corn husks both at the age of five. 

A few years later, and I was using my mom's curtains (small surprise to her when she arrived from work) to create Cabbage Patch doll clothes. So, my parents and I always knew I would be an artist. 

I received my BFA from UCO in Edmond, where my focus was sculpture, primarily metalsmith. 
It wasn't until I was 35 years-old that I decided to teach myself classical painting techniques. With a small set of oil paints, a cigar box and some old hardware which I used to fashion my very first pochade box, along with a couple of books and the internet and I was off. I haven't stopped since. 

Since that very tiny matchbox toilet, my work (ceramics, metals, paintings, etc.) seem to be small scale works--some may even consider them miniatures. Maybe it's my 4'11" stature that has dictated the things that attract me. I'm not sure, but I have no desire to create large works in any medium. So, my paintings are up to 11"x11", but most are only 5"x7" or so. 

I'm honored by collectors of my work in several countries around the world, mostly due to the internet. It's been seven years now since I first began to paint in oils and I am still learning and fighting with painting while being inspired by all the small things around me--everything from the fashion books and antiques I collect to the flowers in my yard and the honeycomb in our beehives. 

In college I told a professor that I just wanted to make pretty things. He said "that is the worst way to describe an artwork." I let him know that I believe pretty things have power. A small flower can make a person smile, a tiny ring can mean devotion. On the other hand, pretty things (mostly jewelry and art) have been the cause of lost freedoms for some and war for others. There is a lot of power in pretty things. 

I would love to say my work has some deep meaning of love lost, the purpose of life, or some important political statement, but that's not the case. My obsession with all things pretty and small, keeps me painting.

Magyn Reed Darmstaedter Merrick 

Magyn Merrick is a painter and collage artist living in Memphis, Tn. She shares space with the love of her life, her dog, Grizzly, as well as her husband (who is alright, too.)

My work, like many artists' work, explores the artifice of images that have become the vernacular of our daily lives. I am consumed by the use of apps like Instagram and Pinterest and have to constantly remind myself that even the floral arrangements presented, though seemingly effortless, took hours of professional styling. They are not real life.

It is hard not to wonder why my home doesn't look a certain way; why I can't put together an outfit and stand with a devil-may-care attitude in some obscure back ally-way for god know's how many photographs; why even the plated food I make is not Instagram-worthy, rather than serving it's actual purpose of providing nourishment. Despite the many positive applications, social media has the potential to address, mostly I am anxious and sometimes angry. Sometimes, too, I laugh, because who hasn't suffered an extreme Pinterest fail? (I'm looking at you, T-Rex cake.)

The images I paint are alluring, but they are certainly not realistic. They serve to highlight the distortions of this non-reality of which we are bombarded, the all too beautiful and mesmerizing advertising of self that we have become accustomed to.

Leslie Graff

Leslie Graff holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Brigham Young University. While Leslie explores a variety of series, her acrylic paintings are unified by a shared theme-- the complexity of human experience. Her work explores identity, relationships, connection, influence, and specifically the intangibles of thought and emotion. She is fascinated by personal narratives, interactions within a culture, and the intimacy of the mind. Her work has been exhibited in shows across the country, including recent solo exhibits at the Danforth Art Museum, ArtsWorcester and Lawrence Academy. Her work is frequently displayed in museums, universities, and galleries and is held in many private collections. Her work has been featured in books, magazines, and blogs including a profile on, Boston Globe, and Worcester Magazine. She lives in Sutton, MA with her husband and three sons.

My Just Desserts series uses homemade baked goods, as an object through which to explore personal experience and provide social commentary. To create this series, each cake or pie is made from scratch, staged, photographed, and then painted, often using midcentury domestic artifacts. While these foods may appear sentimental, appealing, or comforting, the titles invite engagement on a deeper metaphorical level. In drawing parallels with human experience, the works explore deeper issues ranging from body image, time/resource allocation, gender inequity/opportunity disparity, post-modern viewpoints, and identity. My work is influenced by mid-century lifestyle illustration and pop art.