Featured Artist… Dan Graziano!

DanGraziano FastAndFrench Sylvan

There is a great little restaurant in town called Fast and French… they also go by Gaulart & Maliclet French Café (and G&M for those of us who can’t pronounce it). It’s a favorite by locals and tourists alike. It’s tucked away on Broad Street and the food is as fabulous as the atmosphere. If you’ve been there before you will recognize this painting done by artist Dan Graziano. He captured it perfectly! (Something to peruse… Fast & French’s MENU)!

While Dan was in Charleston he painted some fabulous paintings. Dan is represented by the Sylvan Gallery… pop in, say hello and take a look! So many fabulous paintings… I’m just going to tease you with one! If you don’t live in the area (darn it!) check out the SYLVAN GALLERY website!

Here’s a blip about Dan from his website:

Dan Graziano’s artistic vision began taking shape in the 60’s, during America’s explosive political, cultural and artistic awakening.  His first formal training focused on advertising and illustration, but a career opportunity in architecture and urban planning altered his original direction.

When he returned to painting, he was drawn to the rich complexity of the urban landscape – inspired by Edward Hopper and other urbanist painters. As an accomplished blues guitarist (his other great passion), he found the city streets, time worn buildings and multiple layers of decay and repair a visual parallel to the spirit and culture of the music.

During a brief residency on the East Coast, his paintings quickly evolved from inner city streets to expanses of fields, farm houses and other pastoral and “Americana” subjects. It was here that he began showing his work in galleries and juried events while deepening his involvement in plein air painting. He continued his art education through workshops with Ken Auster, Randall Sexton and Tim Horn.

He now makes Castine, Maine his home – capturing rugged coastlines, historic villages and picturesque landscapes from New England to the low country of South Carolina.

“I paint the places and environments I find interesting in my everyday life. I look for unique compositions which involve dramatic contrasts of light, shadow and perspective. I continue to be intrigued by the urban landscapes of inner cities – their active streets, time worn buildings and multiple layers of decay, renewal and adaptation – that proudly display the effects of age and use, which I see as testaments to strength, character and authenticity in contrast with modern society’s demand for newness, imitation, disposability and easy duplication. I am also drawn to the unique natural beauty of New England, encompassing its historic towns, picturesque harbors and enduring maritime legacy.  My work is influenced by the American realists such as Eakins, Sargent, Hopper and the three generations of Wyeths”.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured Artist… Shirley Novak!

ShirleyNovak PurePaletteZinnias SG

NOTE: Yep, it’s me again, making changes to the way this blog looks…  

Well now that we’ve had a tease of warm weather I’m loving all these bright happy flower paintings! Not that we go lacking for sunshine in the winter, but these are just so happy! I love Shirley’s use of color, how each compliments the next so nicely. Bright, happy and they feel as if they’re moving… dancing perhaps!

Shirley shows her work here in Charleston, SC at the Sylvan Gallery, so if you’re in the area be sure to stop by and check it out, otherwise her website is fantastic!

Read a blip about Shirley from her website, (I LOVE the Calvin Coolidge quote below, ha ha), what a fabulous write up… I love this!

Dscn0350.jpg (726764 bytes)Sometimes I think of myself as Shirley Poppy Seed.  I love to harvest poppy seed, their seed pods are like a salt shaker and one of my childhood joys was shaking poppy seed out of their pods.  I am still a child in this way, last year I harvested about three pounds of Shirley Poppy seeds, that is approximately three million seeds.  I love to share my seeds with fellow gardeners.  As I am writing this it is late May and my first Shirley Poppies are bursting into bloom.  The Iceland Poppies start their bloom in mid April and bloom best in cooler weather, but will bloom from April thru November.  Deadheading is the necessary element in continuing their bloom for so many months.I guess I have always been “garden mad” as the British say.  As a child I loved to go to the nursery to buy plants and then bring them home, and create a flower bed and then water it to death.  So painting flowers is just natural to my being.  Color, intense and delicate color harmony, has always moved me emotionally.  My love of flowers and love of color are the passions that drove me to be come a painter.  Like Claude Monet said  ” I  perhaps owe it to flowers for having become a painter”.  Since childhood the voice has been loud and clear telling me I must paint.a flock of poppies.jpg (109074 bytes)I painted regularly thru most of my youth and young adulthood, and less often during my daughter Natalie’s childhood.  In the early 1990’s I could finally focus on my need to paint.  I took several painting workshops and knew that I could become a professional if I worked persistently and patiently.  This quote from Calvin Coolidge speaks to this…”Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”alley_hollyhocks-ouray.jpg (73335 bytes)By the mid 1990’s I was ready to risk everything in order to make painting my life.  In 1996 I left my life in California and headed to Colorado to study with one of my workshop teachers, Len Chmiel.  I sold a terrific house in a pastoral setting with ponds, creek, 100 yr old trees and views of the White Mountains.  I lightened my load of material objects by 2/3, shed my old skin, stepped outside of myself, let go of the outcome and let the universe handle the details of my future.    This was January of ’96, I arrived in Denver in a snow storm.  I moved into an apartment and enrolled in classes at the Art Students League with a firm belief I would be OK.  I must have taken this quote from Thoreau to heart; “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams… live the life you’ve imagined”.  Joseph Campbell’s words also gave me confidence during this transitional period of my life.  Especially these; “Follow your bliss and doors will open for you”.  During these years many doors were opened to me, many opportunities and amazing people came into my life.During the next year I studied with Len Chmiel on a private basis, and also took classes at the Art Students League with Mark Daily.  Mark Daily taught his classes to “paint what you love, and let your work become known for this”.  For me it was easy to know what I should paint, loving flowers and color all my life.  I’ve always been drawn to country gardens and the old fashioned flowers, and decided I had to learn to paint them.In August of ’96 I took an outdoor painting workshop in Aspen, Colorado.  This is where I met my husband Ralph Oberg.  Ralph is a very successful landscape and wildlife artist.  We had so much in common, we discovered very quickly spending lots of time together was easy, comfortable and natural.  Ralph has spent his life hiking and painting the Rocky  Mountains west and has a deep love of the wilderness.  During the first two years of our time together we made numerous painting trips to most of his favorite mountain ranges.  I loved getting to know his world and seeing so much of the western United States, and getting to paint my way through it.  We were married in December of 1997 and the next year in May we bought property in southwestern Colorado and built a house and studio.  I have been double digging flower beds at every opportunity since.  The last three years have been spent building our garden.  Ralph has constructed rose arbors, and laid our rock walks and terraces out of Blue Stone, while I have been building the soil structure in our numerous flower beds and filling them with perennials.  I have really worked hard and this year it is starting to feel like an established garden.We had a garden cottage built for me to paint in and use as a potting shed.  We designed her after some of the adorable New England cottages we saw on a recent trip through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine,  We named her ‘Poppy Cottage’,  she makes a great garden studio.I love reading about the passion Claude Monet had for his garden.  Pissarro and Van Gogh were also avid gardeners.  My garden gives me great joy and countless ideas for paintings.  Each year I let nature have her way and let seedlings sprout in new places and in combinations I wouldn’t have thought of.  There are always delightful surprises in every corner of my garden.What I try to do with paint is recreate the joy I experience in my subjects; the flowers that I grow, and the wildflowers in mountain meadows.  This quote from Joseph Campbell, “The function of art is to reveal the radiance running through all things”, suggests why I have such strong emotional responses to our natural world.I took plenty of time to develop my process and my way with paint so that I could ‘sing my own song’.  I wanted to honor these quotes I happened across “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are” and” What I do is me, for that I came”.  This was frightening much of the way and still is at times.  Something inside of me keeps telling me to stay on this path.  When I am at the easel I try to let the experience happen without forcing anything, and without judgment or negativity.  Painting is a huge gift to my life.  I love to encourage friends to give it a try, I believe we are all creative at our core.  I love helping friends reconnect with their inner child and helping them experience the gift that painting is to me. Click HERE to read more!Catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured Artist… Robert Norieka!

“Lobster Buoys” by Robert Norieka – Image: Sylvan Gallery

I love Robert Norieka’s style… loose and dramatic. His colors… intense… in a very good way. I LOVE the color of that little shed and how the buoys really stand out and make a statement. What really makes this painting stand out is how a good part of it is in the shade and the rest in the sun. The part in the sun is so colorful. This is such a fantastic painting done by an artist who can paint watercolor, acrylic and oil (i’m sure there’s more he does, but that’s what we saw the other day at the Sylvan Gallery in Wiscasset, Maine).

If you’re in the Wiscasset area, I urge you to pop in Sylvan Gallery and take a peek! Then run down to TREATS for some… TREATS!  Hee hee…

Here’s a blip about Robert from the Sylvan Gallery (Wiscasset, Maine) website:

Robert is a graduate of Paier School of Art and has been a professional artist for thirty-five years. His passion for art is matched by a natural talent to paint a wide variety of subjects, highlighted by expressive coastal scenes, intimate woodland pictorials and seasonal treks through the countryside. He has been inspired by the many pleasurable memories of his boyhood; which was spent joyfully fishing, and catching turtles and frogs.

A prominent national award winning artist and illustrator, Robert’s paintings hang in both corporate and private collections throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. His painting Catfish and Turtles is in the permanent collection of the New Britain Museum of American Art. He is represented in numerous galleries and teaches and lectures throughout New England. He has illustrated magazine editorials and seven books. He is an elected member of the National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic, the Salmagundi Club, the Lyme Art Association, the Connecticut Watercolor Society, the Connecticut Plein Air Painters Society, the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts and he is a signature member of the New England Watercolor Society.

So far in 2012 Robert Noreika has already won two significant awards including the Robert Sanstrom Prize – $5,000 and GOLD MEDAL, at the National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic, and the Second Prize Award at the National Open Show of the New England Watercolor Society. Awards in 2011 include a first award in the New England Watercolor Society’s regional show at the Attleboro Museum as well as awards at the Salmagundi Show in NYC and from the New Haven Paint and Clay Club.

Noreika is a featured artist in 100 Artists of New England published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd. in 2010.

And through October 29, 2012…

A New Exhibition at Sylvan Gallery 
“Bold Impressions”
The Paintings of Robert Noreika
September 28th – October 29th

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured Artist… William Berra!

This piece caught my eye. Artist William (Bill) Berra uses a stunning mix of color and light. I stop in my tracks at that warm golden light, with just enough of the sun hitting the landscape to make it so interesting.The light is so radiant and warm, the strokes loose and deliberate. All the great shadows from the cloudy day. THE. CLOUDS. WHOA! Amazing how light is peeking through. Very nice. I was happy to find that Bill Berra’s work is right here in Charleston, SC at the Sylvan Gallery. So if you’re in town… stop by and check it out! This painting is nothing short of amazing, click to enlarge (at least I know I can with my MAC)… hopefully all computers can??

Here’s a blip about Bill from the Sylvan Gallery website:

William Berra was raised in York, Pennsylvania and studied art there at the York Academy before moving on to the Maryland Institute of Fine Arts in Baltimore.  He left his formal training in favor of a nomadic life-style that carried him all across the country seeking subject matter for his plein-air paintings.  A winter storm stranded him in Santa Fe and he has made it his home ever since.  But the spirit of wanderlust still calls as he travels the world extensively in search of new material to paint.

William’s training as a “plein-air” painter is evident in the loose spontaneity of his pieces although he now does a great deal of his painting in the studio using his travel photographs as reference material.  His ability to make the viewer feel “oh, I’ve been there” has made him one of the most widely collected young artists in the country.

William’s work has been featured at many fine galleries throughout the country.  His work has also been exhibited at the Albuquerque Museum, at the Artists of America show in Denver, the Carmel Plein Air Competition and the Americana Museum in El Paso.  He was also the subject of an extensive article in a recent issue of Southwest Art.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Artist to watch… John Austin Hanna!

It Never Gets Old by John Austin Hanna

This painting reminds me of my dad… doing what he loves, fly fishing. You can feel the movement of the water, hear the rushing water around the rocks, FEEL the coldness of the water. Fabulous! This painting is at the Sylvan Gallery in Charleston, SC. If you get a chance pop in, say Hi, and check it out!

Here’s a blip about the artist from the Sylvan Gallery’s website:

Impressionist painter, John Austin Hanna, is a native Texan who lives and works in the quaint art and antique oriented community of Fredericksburg.  His work encompasses a broad range of subject matter from still-lifes, to portraits, to landscapes and images of rural and country life captured in a moment of time.  His artistic discipline was finely tuned while working as a commercial illustrator in New York and Dallas until tired of the hectic life of big city living he moved to the smaller community of Fredericksburg to concentrate on his painting career. Hanna says, “Throughout my childhood, I was always drawing and dreaming of becoming a ‘real’ artist.  I finally decided that I had to pursue that dream.”

John’s canvases are saturated with light and color, some depicting a large-scale scene while others focus on such images as a small section of a fence or wildflowers on the bank of a stream. He is constantly searching for “all things great or small” to portray in his work.

Articles about this talented young artist have appeared in publications such as Southwest Art and Art Talk.

Great job John!
Catch you back here tomorrow!

Artist to watch… Rhett Thurman…

Image: TheSylvanGallery.com

Rhett Thurman. I love her paintings, so full of color and life! After meeting Rhett and speaking to her you will walk away knowing that you just spoke to a true southern lady. She is soft spoken and kind. To watch her paint is a treat. She usually participates in the paint out in Charleston in November. Her work is at the Sylvan Gallery on King Street. Pop in and say hello if you get a chance, you’ll be glad you did!

Catch you back here tomorrow… if you get a chance, check out my photo blog at http://almostdailypic.wordpress.com!