An Interview with Painter Wendy Westlake

Join an artist’s group.  Making art is a solitary endeavor so finding a group of like minded artists is vital.  Find a group specific to your medium, watercolor, pastels etc. and make an effort to get involved.  There are many opportunities for classes, workshops, and shows.  If you can’t find one then start your own.  Enter shows.  It may be intimidating but there is no better way to see how your work stands up to others than to put it out there.

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Interview with Photographer R.J. Kern

R.J. Kern brings a lighting kit and wellingtons with him into the field, giving the humble subjects of his pastoral photographs a luminescent quality as only an ‘animal fame maker’ could. In order to gain insight into his work, we’ve asked him to share a little about the process of capturing these remarkable images.

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Dim Reflections

We empower symbols through the beliefs and associations we assign to them. When we agree to give something a shared meaning, we are multiplying its gravity. Sometimes symbols can become so strong that it is irrelevant whether you accept them as true or not, their power exists independently of belief. Accordingly, large institutions are given their own gravitational mass through widely accepted social bargains, reinforced by cooperative norms and expressed through the adoption of codes and customs.

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Interview with Painter D.C. Ice

I adore working with scratchboard, which is a sturdy masonite board that has a layer of white clay on it. The clay is completely covered with black india ink. The first step is to create the razor blade drawing. Every line will show, even under paint, one can see grooves made with the blade. No erasing can ever be done. After I draw with a razor blade-like pen, I paint close up next to the line-work. After that paint dries, I seal the work with a high gloss topcoat so the scratchboard can no longer be marred. I like the odd mix of the clean, thin line quality of the drawing and the painterly application of paint.

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Signs and Symbols

As long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with Hermeticism and it’s iconic tradition of capturing mystical truth in highly symbolic imagery. As a kid, I’d look up everything I could at school and public libraries after the mystery traditions. I found friends who shared an interest in exceptions to the general historical narrative, lovers of the hidden fact, and the theoretical outlier. After a point, you learn to recognize your own, you can sense that someone has a relationship with the mysteries. There is a great American tradition around Masonry, the Golden Dawn and Neo-paganism just to name a few strands in the braid. It’s common knowledge, an open secret.

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Interview with Illustrator Dena Ann Adams

Using a sketchbook as a creative problem solving catch-all was one of the better habits that I was encouraged into in school. I try to be consistent about this, with varying degrees of consistency, but that’s fairly normal, I think. The way that my work evolves from this process is non-linear at times: the pages are rarely “studies” in a traditional way that get translated directly to another format. However, they definitely function as a kind of world-building for want of a better word. Layering, both visually, and conceptually, is critical to my work, and finds a natural home in the cut and paste, glue and reconfigure world of my journal.

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Interview with Jewelry Artist Kat Cole

It would seem obvious to directly translate some of my jewelry pieces into a larger scale, but it is more complicated than that. Making work about something monumental in the intimate scale of jewelry is one thing, but if the same form is just scaled up, there is the risk of it looking trite or doll house like. Not that that’s a bad thing, but not what I am going for. So the real challenge is to get the same feeling on a small scale as a large, which probably doesn’t mean just making it bigger.

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Interview with Painter Lindsey Ries

Well, everything starts with an idea, but it’s more organic and loose. I work from photographs mostly, a lot of the places I paint and what ends up being my main subject matter exist in places that are hours away so doing something plein air wouldn’t work. It isn’t my style anyway. Once I decide what photographs to use, I start drawing on my prepped panels. Panels work best with the brayers, and I prep the surfaces with tinted gesso so I have color to work with from the get go. I try to really enjoy painting and try to bring some happiness into the pieces themselves so I use peach, hot pink, or light blue gesso.

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Interview with Painter Ezra Siegel

I am not naïve, but I am self-trained. In my case, I majored in art history; I look at art all the time, everything from kid art all the way to art museums, but I am self-trained, and it makes a difference. Usually when you get an MFA, you’re being taught by people who are primarily teachers, not artists. It’s usually a much more theoretical education. I trained myself, but I did read over 300 books on how-to, not only how-to in terms of the medium, but also in terms of design, and what’s the difference between a good works of art and a bad work of art.

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