Mia Bergeron show, July 5, 2013 at Robert Lange Studios (RLS) in Charleston, SC!

"Anarchist" by Mia Bergeron Image: RobertLangeStudios.com
“Anarchist” by Mia Bergeron
Image: RobertLangeStudios.com

S P E E C H L E S S.   I.   Am.   Speechless. It doesn’t happen often… It was difficult to come up with words to start this post. The detail in this face is amazing. The background is genius. The more abstract background makes this beautiful face pop. Mia Bergeron is the artist, and she is fabulous! Mia’s show opens July 5, 2013 at RLS (Robert Lange Studios) in Charleston, SC. This is Mia’s first solo show. Mia, I wish you much success, you certainly deserve it!

Here is information about the show as well as a question and answer interview from RLS… If you haven’t been to Robert Lange Studios I highly recommend it. It is cutting edge and so unique! Catch you back here tomorrow!

In her first solo show, Gradual Thaw, Mia Bergeron has created a series of paintings that will take viewers on a visual journey of what drives, motivates and inspires her creative process. 

Gradual Thaw Questions with the Artist:
1. What inspires you?
A lot of things inspire me. I’m drawn to everyday abstractions I see in nature… subtle variances in shades of lights and colors, big, unusual compositions. People are a huge source of inspiration for me, both strangers and close friends. 
2.What are three words that describe both you and your work?
Introspective, Experimental, Inquisitive.  (And some would say moody! Ha!)
3.When you look around your studio, what do you see?
A lot of paintings I have worked on and destroyed, and worked on again. I probably painted double the paintings I have in this exhibit, but destroyed half of them over the course of time.   And books. I’m addicted to art books. I have books that range in subjects from John Singer Sargent to the Alexander McQueen retrospective at the Metropolitan. I have little pieces of paper in all of these to remind me of ideas for paintings. I also have a huge amount of printed images in my studio…paintings of other peoples’ work, photos that inspire me, even scraps of textiles that remind me about a particular color harmony.
4.What project are you currently working on?
Mostly I’ve been working on paintings for my solo show at Robert Lange Studios, and a few paintings for a Women Painting Women show I will be involved with in September. 
5.What was the impelling force for the current subject matter and show?
 I think I’m in a natural evolution with my work. Mostly, I have been focused on two ideas for this show. One is to really dive into my fears as a painter, and my strengths. When I was in school in Italy, I was constantly told I was better at getting an effect than achieving details. This was said to me as a weakness I had in my painting skills. I was also told  I was a temperamental painter. For years, I thought these two “defects” would hurt my work. In the past year, I’ve really dug into making my vulnerabilities my strengths. I think it’s sort of creative problem solving and simply being curious. Instead of denying that I am a erratic painter and  that I like big, overall effects in a painting (like mood, for instance), I decided to accept those parts of me and even play them up in these paintings. I think the work looks like it could change at any moment, and the moods are very purposeful. The other idea I have been exploring with in my work is loss of information. The paintings in this show are the results of  a bunch of questions I had with paint. I will paint a model for days and days, then slowly start to erase parts of my painting, wiping out entire passages I have worked hard on,  making transitions that don’t exist. I will purposefully look to lose areas of a painting that I want to grow into something more. 
6.What do you hope people walk away from the show talking about?
I hope they ask questions. I’m not offering any real answers in my work, mostly just posing questions to the viewer. 
7. What do you think both visual and conceptually your strengths are as an artist?
Visually, I think I am strong in depicting light and mood. Conceptually, I think I am strong at looking at broader topics that relate to inner feelings. 
8. Can you talk about the title of your show, “Gradual Thaw”?
I picked this name because it represents both what happens in spring time, just before plant life blooms, but also as it relates to a mental state. I had all these rules for being a person, a painter, etc. I think I’m in a transitional stage of my life, as many people are, and some of those previous rules and ideas about myself, my work,  and my world are melting away to make room for new growth. A lot of the titles of paintings in this show refer to this evolution. 
9. How do you choose your models?
Most of the women I paint are artists. There’s this sense of understanding I find with them about poses and intentions.  It’s a bit of an unsaid symbiosis. I’m also a huge advocate of women artist visibility, so I think it is a natural choice for me to be drawn to creative females to paint. 
10. When do you call a piece finished? 
When it no longer seems to have any obvious needs. 

 Thank you to RLS for providing this information!


Featured Artist… Hollis Dunlap!

HollisDunlap Jay HD

Jay by Hollis Dunlap – {Image}

I love it when artists share other artists paintings on Facebook. It’s how I run across some of the most magnificent artists. I think its very cool when artists support each other. I think that’s fabulous! This is one of the most magnificent paintings (called a head shot? head study? portrait? Help me out here)! I love the light on the forehead and nose against the dark background, and the wispy eyebrow that you see a hint of on the other side, the light hitting his hair on the side the collar against the dark jacket… this painting POPS. Jay looks so noble and wise, these feeling all come across from this painting. Pretty cool how a painting can make you feel, or get a sense of the person who’s been painted! I will remember this painting for a long, long time!

Here’s a blip about Hollis from his website:

Born in northeastern Vermont in 1977, Hollis Dunlap is a painter living on the east coast of Connecticut in the USA. He paints modern paintings with a strong influence of old masters from Caravaggio to Vermeer. The color choices, brushwork, and compositions reflect the influences of various painters, from representational to more abstract in terms of composition and varying applications of paint. 

From a young age he has been interested in painting and drawing, inventing imaginary figures, landscapes, and other compositions in whatever media was available. When he reached the age of fourteen he began using oil paints, at first experimenting with still life. Encouraged by his high school art teacher, he began taking private oil painting lessons, studying the figure as well as painting landscapes on-site. During these years he augmented his school art classes with after-school figure drawing programs, developing his familiarity with the human form. At the same time he began to study the old masters extensively, copying many master drawings and paintings in an attempt to absorb some of the spirit of their work, as well as more specific technical lessons to be gained from these artists. His goal was to attempt to combine classical drawing in the style of Michelangelo with the subtle color and lighting of painters like Vermeer. After graduating from high school he went on to study at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, where he received extensive training in drawing and painting the human figure from life, as well as painting hundreds of landscapes on site over the course of four years. During his time at the Academy he received several noteworthy awards including winning the National Arts Club Student Show first prize for two consecutive years. Upon graduation he received the Stobart Fellowship, a grant to paint for a year and hold a solo show at the end of that time. 

Mr. Dunlap has a great appreciation for highly realist painting and sculpture, as well as a love of the open-air landscape painting. He enjoys the challenge of accurate drawing, as well as the beautiful transparent qualities of oil paint and spontaneous brushwork. He has been influenced by many different painters and techniques, and the qualities of color, drawing, and surface in his paintings reflect artists from Velasquez, to Edward Hopper, to Diebenkorn. Paint application is extremely important, and subtlety of color harmony is studied with careful attention to detail. In addition, the painting process and revisions add to the tactile qualities of the work, creating a painting surface with contrasting areas of thick and thinly applied paint. 

Over the past few years Mr. Dunlap has had several one person shows in New York and Boston, and has taught painting and drawing in several locations on the east coast, including the Lyme Art Association, Mystic Arts Center, and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts. He currently maintains a studio in Eastern Connecticut.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured Artist… Christina Hewson!

ChristinaHewson GreatDane CH

Great Dane portrait by Christina Hewson

Our Jack Russell “Charlie” likes to go shopping… we often walk behind the house to the shopping center and swing through Antiques of South Windermere, one of his favorite places to visit and then on to Dolittles dog store… Charlie loves to visit with them! On one of our adventures, a while back, we saw these AH-MAZING dog and horse portraits. Absolutely breathtaking… the black and white just added to their elegance. Artist Christina Hewson can really capture the essence of the animal. Each one is so unique and special! She will be at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo February 15-17, so be sure to look for her there!

Check out her website, it’s fabulous, she also has a blog, so give it a peek!

Here’s a blip about Christina from her website:

I was born in Charleston and raised 20 miles north of Charleston in Awendaw.  My personal interests include swimming, drawing, piano, math, and science.  I have been creating and selling oil and acrylic portraits since the age of fifteen.  It is the only job I have ever known.  My first year of college was devoted to the study of piano.  But, I missed having time for drawing, math, and science.  I enrolled in the College of Charleston where I studied all three.  It was at the College of Charleston where I discovered my love for ink and brush.  I paint portraits of animals and people in which I strive to capture the soul in as pure and simple a style as possible.  I prefer to paint in ink or acrylic.  I live in downtown Charleston where I feel privileged to practice my art.  I invite you to visit my website and blog where I record my artistic journey.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured Artist… Jeffrey Watts!

JeffreyWatts 2009 Facebook painting

Work by Jeffrey Watts via Jeffrey Watts Facebook (image from 2009)

Isn’t this fabulous? This amazing face depicting every hard earned wrinkle. It looks as if this person could walk right out of the painting. To top it off and make it even more spectacular is the way the white of the canvas shows through in the background. In my opinion that just adds to what makes it so utterly amazing! This was painted by artist Jeffrey Watts an artist that hails from California…

One more fabulous painting… entitled “Babushka”. Image from Jeff’s website:

Here’s a blip about Jeff from his website (which is also amazing… check it out!)… click HERE to read in it’s entirety!



Jeff WattsJeffrey R. Watts is a southern California native. Growing up in rural San Diego county with an artist father, Watts demonstrated an early aptitude for the visual arts. But it was competitive sports that held his interest as a teenager. After an injury cut short his budding career in professional cycling, Jeff turned his focus back to art, enrolling at the California Art Institute in Calabasas. Watts was soon asked to teach at the institute and began to work as an illustrator in the movie industry. However, Jeff’s goal to become an easel painter would draw him back to San Diego where he started a small life drawing and painting studio known as Watts Atelier of the Arts. ( www.wattsatelier.com ) Jeff’s aesthetic sensibilities have long drawn him to the figurative art of nineteenth century Europe and Russia. His Atelier allows him to work regularly from the live model, grounding his work in traditional principles. Recently, Jeff’s work has been compared to that of Nicolai Fechin, an influence he is quick to acknowledge. “I never tire of looking at the work of Nicolai Fechin” Watts says, “his work is the perfect combination of control and chaos.” In 2008 The Taos Art Museum and Fechin House honored Watts with a Solo Exhibition in the original Taos home and studio of Mr. Nicolai Fechin.

Jeff’s oil paintings have won numerous awards including First Place Portrait category and Second Place Landscape category from the Artist’s Magazine, two consecutive Second Place Awards at the Salon International Exhibition, an Honor Award and an Award of Exceptional Merit from the Portrait Society of America, 3 Awards of Excellence from Oil Painters of America and 3 Top 100 Awards from Arts for the Parks among others. Watts is a regualr participant in the prestigious Prix de West Invitational held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

Watts’s work has been featured in Southwest Art , American Artist, Art of the West, Western Art Collector, American Art Collector, Drawing and Workshop magazines. Jeffrey R. Watts is a Master Signature member of Oil Painters of America, a Signature Member of both the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association and the California Art Club, and holds membership in the Portrait Society of America.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured Artist… Romel de la Torre!

“Katie’s Mom” by Romel de la Torre

I think this is the nicest woman… look at her kind eyes and her gentle smile. She’s about to tell you everything is going to be ok… not to worry, right? You can almost hear the words about to come out of her mouth. I would like to know Katie’s mom! She is so detailed yet the background just makes her stand out that much more. I think this is an amazing painting! Romel de la Torre is definitely one talented artist, as you’ll soon read. What a gift! He’s got a great website, so check it out!

Here’s a blip about Romel from his website:

Born in Cebu City, Philippines in a community of artists, Romel de la Torre’s artistic interest started at a very young age. With the encouragement of his parents he began sketching the world around him. He started getting awards and recognition from school competitions and at age 10 appeared on TV after receiving a medal for his painting.

In the late 70’s Romel and his family migrated to the United States where he began going to museums studying and learning on his own; works of famous artists like Sargent, Sorolla, Fechin, Mucha, and the American Impressionists. The exposure to these masters’ paintings laid a strong foundation to his belief of what great art is.

He attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago, where he was awarded the President’s Foundation Award and the Union League Scholarship Award. After graduating with a fine arts concentration, Romel continued to paint in the Chicago area and joined The Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts, where he began painting with nationally renowned artist Richard Schmid and a community of other painters. It was a turning point of his creative and artistic career.

“My painting is the world, channeled through my eyes, through the prism of my own feeling, emotions and preferences. It is a unity of the visual world and the internal, abstraction and realism…” the artist’s says. A consummate artist in all media, Romel de la Torre is one of today’s most highly regarded artists. His figures, landscape, portraits, and still life paintings display unparalleled technical skill, fluid style, and thorough understanding of light, color, form and design.

The artist has been painting full time and currently instructs advanced painting and portraiture at The Palette and Chisel Academy on Fine Arts, Chicago. He is a signature member of the Oil Painters of America & the Portrait Society of America; his oils, pastels, watercolors, and portraits are housed in private collections throughout the United States and several foreign countries. His paintings have been published in The Artists Magazine, Southwest Art Magazine, U.S. Art Magazine and the American Art Collectors Magazine.

Among his most important honors is the Oil Painters of America National Exhibition/ Grand Prize and the Artists Magazine Portrait Artist of the Year. His most recent award includes; 2007 Raymar Fine Arts Competition, 2008 Gold Medal & the People’s Choice Award from the Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts Gold Medal show and one of the top finalist in the 2007 and 2008 International Portrait Competition given by the prestigeous Portrait Society of America. 

Artist’s statement:
“I find spiritual beauty in all the things that I paint. The innocence of a child’s face, the endlesss blue color of the sky, the smell of flowers in the garden, the sound of raindrops falling on the roof. These gives joy in my heart, inspiration, and gratitude…… of being an artist.”

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured Artist… Ignat Ignatov!

“Portrait of Alexy Steele”  by Ignat Ignatov

Ignat Ignatov can capture a persons soul in a painting. I go back to this painting every time… it’s captivating. He painted Alexy Steele, a Russian artist living in Los Angeles, CA. I love how the background is very loose, busy and calm all at the same time, there is a sense of urgency to it, and then the face, it looks as if he could step out of your computer screen and walk right into the room. Amazing!

You know how you hear of some people just being born with the talent to do certain things like sing… I believe Ignat has that talent with his painting… without a doubt! Here’s a blip about Ignat Ignatov from his WEBSITE:

Ignat Ignatov – (b. 1978) is a young artist with exemplary talent. His interpretation of the spirit of fine art saturates his paintings with a unique expressive richness. Although each new subject seems to dictate the style and approach, his paintings are always alive with color, light, texture, atmosphere, energy and emotion.

Ignatov was born in Veliko Tarnovo and grew up in Sevlievo, Bulgaria. At age thirteen, his promising talent in drawing, painting and sculpting gained him one of only thirty positions to the renowned School of Arts in Tryavna, Bulgaria. In the 5 years there, he established the foundation of his academic Art training. Following graduation in 1996, Ignatov was accepted into the University of Arts in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria where he studied under the demanding atelier approach to fine art. In 1997, using proceeds from the sale of his art, Ignatov financed his move to the United States and is now a U.S. citizen living in southern California. He then studied at the prestigious California Art Institute in Westlake Village, Associates in Art in Sherman Oaks and the American Animation Institute in North Hollywood. In 2005 Ignatov began teaching painting classes at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art.

In the course of establishing for his own “artistic roots”, Ignatov was influenced by Nicolai Fechin, John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn and Joaquin Sorolla. Ignatov’s work includes figures, portraits, still lifes, and landscapes. His goal is to continue to develop his ability to express the anatomy and form as well as color and composition in terms of the artistic disciplines employed by the Old Masters.

Ignat Ignatov is a Signature Member of the California Art Club.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured Artist… Hiu Lai Chong!

“In the Studio” by Hiu Lai Chong

Hiu Lai Chong’s work is absolutely amazing. Her plein air pieces are fabulous, so loose and airy, where you feel as if you’re there. The paintings she does of people captures their very essence. I have not met this artist (yet)! and by the title of this piece “In the Studio” it makes me wonder if this is a self portrait? It’s gorgeous. I bow to those of you who can paint people… I think it’s a talent that not a lot of us were meant to have. To be able to capture that person in a painting is breathtaking! Hiu Lai Chong has a wonderful website, check it out! She participates in a lot of the plein air events, that information is also on her website!

A blip about the artist from her website:

Hiu Lai Chong finds her painting inspiration at local marinas and shorelines along the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. She loves painting from life and enjoys using vivid colors and sensitive brush strokes to express mood and feeling in her work. 

 She received her early art training in Hong Kong at the Jockey Club Ti-I College, and earned her Associate in Applied Science degree from Navarro College and her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with the Fellowship Award. She continued her art education through various workshops and classes at The Art League in Alexandria, Virginia and around the country.

 Today she focuses on landscape, portrait and figure painting, enjoying the beauty that all of nature offers. She is a member of the Portrait Society of America, Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists, a member of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters, Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painter Association,  and the Chinese Culture and Art League. Her paintings have won awards and been shown in museums around the country including the Academy Art Museum (MD), Coos Art Museum (OR), the Biggs Museum of American Art (DE), the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts (MD), and the Buffalo Naval Park Museum (NY) and AnHui Museum in China.


 John Singer Sargent, Rembrandt van Rijn, Chao Shao-an, Richard Schmid, David Leffel, and Nelson Shank’s Studio Incamminati. Robert Liberace, Rick Weaver, Danni Dawson, Ted Reed, Sara Poly, Ross Merrill, and Ed Ahlstrom, Sandra Dowd, Tom Sale.

I love it when artists mention others artist who inspired them! Read more about Hiu Lai Chong here

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Image from Hiu Lau Chong’s website!

Artist to watch… Aleksander Titovits!

Image: EllaRichardson.com

Aleksander Titovits. A Russian artist with such talent. This is an artist that we’ve been following for quite some time now. His snow scenes intrigue me… maybe because I grew up in Michigan, with snow, and for the past 22 years have lived where you can literally count the snowflakes… his snow scenes make you feel as if YOU. ARE. THERE. I love the warmth in this one, that perfect golden light that makes everything look just right. Aptly named WARM EVENING, this painting is another example of the talent that exudes from Titovits. In Charleston his work is shown at the Ella Richardson Gallery. In Austin, Tx his work is shown at the Gallery Shoal Creek, they have a nice bio on Aleksander, very interesting (click HERE to read).

Something I learned while researching for this post… Did you know that Aleksander was commissioned to paint Laura Bush’s portrait for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery? Click HERE to read a fabulous article about the unveiling…

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Portrait of Andrew Wyeth sells for $2.4 million

Image: ArtDaily.com

This 1969 painting “Portrait of Andrew Wyeth” , by his son Jamie Wyeth sold for $2.4 million at an auction that benefitted the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. The auction was December 2010, so this isn’t late breaking news, but then again, I’m not CNN… 🙂

Interesting story, and I’m sure the Farnsworth Art Museum appreciates it! Now THAT’S a cool place!

Catch you back here tomorrow!