Thursday, September 3, 2015


2015 Participating Artist

Contemporary still life painter Karen Budan’s latest painting is a 30” x 24” oil painting on panel called “Operator.” She found this well-used pay phone in an antique shop in Mesa last fall. A one-of-a-kind treasure. Karen knew exactly what she was going to do with it… paint it! Pairing it with a coke bottle with straw and coins… and Viola!  

Painting still life’s allows Karen to create arrangements, adjust the lighting, and set the stage to transform everyday objects to extraordinary. Her painting style is realistic, almost photorealistic. Painting “Operator” brought back memories for Karen of a time when you saved your change in order to use the  pay phone for that emergency phone call you needed to make. Oh, how times have changed! We hope “Operator” brings back great memories for you as well.     

Karen Budan
Karen Budan Fine Art

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Meshing of Stone and Metal

2015 Participating Artist
Many of the techniques Donna Armstrong uses are a revival of ancient metal-working processes; reticulation, fusing, and chain maille have been used throughout history. She breathes new life into those processes and creates a contemporary, wearable piece of art; a special piece that is carefully crafted by human hands. Donna’s designs are influenced by many cultures and historical periods; always fashion forward but classic and simple yet unique.

As a jewelry artist each piece Donna creates is a part of her, but it also speaks to and becomes a part of the wearer, creating a connection that otherwise might not exist. “Those thoughts that I cannot put into words come to life in my jewelry,” she says.  

The jewelry Donna creates is crafted from the finest gemstones and precious metals. Every stone has been selected from her personal collection of gems obtained over a 30-year period from local sources as well as stones acquired in Oro Preto and other cities in Brazil.

Donna’s desire, through her creations, is to captivate your intrigue in these gorgeous gemstones and metals. She has hammered and torched the metals to emphasize their naturalistic beginnings and placed stones of superior quality and color, carefully, to compliment the meshing of stone and metal.

Donna Armstrong

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Paintings Are Like Kids

2015 Participating Artist

Suzie Black is an artist who creates abstract-expressionist works, which effortlessly blend the world of the material with the world of the spiritual. Her style is creative, colorful, fun and thought-provoking.

Suzie started painting at an early age when she snuck into the family studio and created her first work of art with oils. From that moment, she has pursued her love of art and color. Her works of art have been shown and sold in galleries across the United States.

“When I paint I endeavor to share my excitement about life,” Suzie said. “I hope my painting remind people of the unique and beautiful energy that’s inside them. My paintings are like kids to me and I send them out into the world to spread my smile.”

Suzie Black

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wherever You Go, There You Are Installation

  2015 Participating Artist

After many months of preparation, Kevin Caron’s monumental contemporary art sculpture titled “Wherever You Go, There You Are” was installed on July 28, 2015 in front of Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

On July 30, 2015, the sculpture was dedicated. Whitaker Center Board Chair Gary St. Hilaire, President & CEO of Capital BlueCross, introduced Kevin, who spoke briefly about his inspiration and creation of the sculpture. He was followed by Drs. Michael and Madlyn Hanes, Whitaker Center President and CEO, and Penn State Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses, respectively. Whitaker Center acquired Wherever You Go through the Hanes' generous support.

The 9-foot diameter steel sculpture continues Kevin's investigation into the confluence of geometric illusions and organic forms. The one-sided torus's rust surface contrasts with its segmented skin, which lays upon the sculpture's bones. Its rough exterior and endless rotation mirrors the complex simplicity of life's journey, in itself an illusion.

Kevin Caron
Kevin Caron Studios

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Art & Science of Deep Space

2015 Participating Artist

For many years, Kenneth Naiff has been interested in astrophotography, enjoying documentaries, books and movies about the universe. He is captivated by images of planets and deep-space objects.

With the availability of scientifically accurate astrophotographic hardware such as cameras, telescopes, and mounts as well as mathematically sophisticated software for controlling the equipment and for processing the digital images, Kenneth is able to capture high-resolution, deep-space images.

The digital data is collected under moonless, cloudless skies at remote Arizona locations. He travels to locations more than 100 miles away from Phoenix in order to capture faint, distant objects in the night sky. The conversion of this data to a work of art demands many hours of processing to optimize the clarity, color and hue of the deep-space objects.  

Kenneth Naiff
Dark Sky Images

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Creatures of her Imagination

2015 Participating Artist

Bronze sculptor Carol Ruff Franza was born into a family rich with composers, artists, and writers. Her talent was apparent at a very young age. Carol spent her childhood riding horses in Tennessee, playing piano, performing in the Southern Ballet and falling in love with visual arts. 

As she grew older she spent time at the Ringling School of Art, Atlanta School of Art, Loveland Academy, the Scottsdale Artists School and Richard MacDonald studio. Her education left an impressive mark on her development as a fine artist. While she’s equally adept at drawing and painting, it’s Carol’s work in bronze that occupies the majority of her time and garners the most attention. 

She creates bronze sculptures of wild cougars, wolves, horses and more – some life-size, some smaller – as well as bronze door-knockers. The door knockers take on a wide array of forms and patinas. They range from a coppery-colored Native American warrior to mythological-looking gold female busts.   

In 2005, Carol was selected to design a monument to mark the decade anniversary of Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale. Spirit of the Mountain is a symbol of students who are looking toward the future challenges in hopeful preparation just as the beast is, whose eyes are set on the mountains of Scottsdale.

Her highly textured and strongly sensitive works are not limited by reality; they are fluid impressions of life.  Carol’s artwork is diverse and constantly evolving. Her portfolio contains animals, figures and creatures of her imagination.

Carol Ruff Franza

Friday, August 14, 2015

Silversmithing Jewelry

2015 Participating Artist

Over ten years ago, Kim Fox left her 20-year career in computers and technology to go back to school to become a jewelry designer. She graduated from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and became a Gemologist.

Kim then attended classes for silversmithing and graduated from Revere’s Jewelry Technician Intensive. During that time she earned two international awards. A second place and finalist finish at the South Sea Pearl Consortium in Hong Kong and a first place finish in Lady’s Jewelry for the Bench Jewelers Design Contest.

Kim designs custom jewelry with individuals and other jewelry designers for their product lines. Her line of jewelry includes findings, clasps, earrings, bangles, rings and pendants. Her oval bangles are designed for easy on – easy off, minimal spinning, and folds into the arm when you rest your arm on a surface. Kim’s jewelry design is unique, yet affordable.

Kim Fox
928 632 0724

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Art of Bookmaking

2015 Participating Artist

As a young girl, Tess Mosko Scherer dreamt of a light-filled studio nestled in a picturesque landscape. She was born to be an artist. After a three-year journey in America with its national parks, small towns and bustling cities, her artwork flowed into one-of-a-kind and limited-edition artist books. These books are filled with poems, writings and images inspired by the inner and outer journey.

Bookmaking has been a part of Tess’ life since her early years. She loves to hold books, read books, pour over the illustrations. Since 2001, Tess has made over a thousand books. “The art of bookmaking is a beautiful choreography of paper, leather, book board, and linen thread,” said Tess. “It can be gentle – sewing, drawing, and folding, or violent – drilling, cutting, and tearing.”

The emphasis of her work is about expression – yours and hers. Through the creation of her journals, she creates a sacred space for a person to delve into their inner world. It is important to understand the complexities of the process and the distinction from industrialized books. Often the bindings are complex and three-dimensional. However, some are flat, which in that case, are best presented framed.

Tess’ “My Life Is An Open Book” series is an extension of her book art. These pieces start with a rendering on one or more repurposed tea bags. The bags are hand sewn onto hand-embossed paper with watercolor, pastel, colored pencil, and occasional metal leaf.    

Tess Mosko Scherer

Friday, August 7, 2015

Inspiration and Joy

2015 Participating Artist

Liliana Schuett is a visual artist and jewelry designer inspired by the special places she finds in unique patches of color and texture, layers of paint, sunlight sparkling on water, and the light of the Sonoran desert. Liliana is an artist and experienced arts educator providing instruction in painting, drawing, printmaking and jewelry design.

The play of light filtered through the water and breaking up the figure inspired her ‘Swimmers’ series of monotypes and paintings. The interaction of the various colors, textures and reflections of gemstones, pearls and metals provide inspiration and joy in her jewelry designs. Every piece is unique, timeless and lovingly created.   

The play of light filtered through the water and breaking up the figure inspired my "Swimmers" series of monotypes and paintings. The interaction of the various colors, textures and reflections of gemstones, pearls and metals provide inspiration and joy in my jewelry designs. Every piece is unique, timeless and lovingly created.
Liliana has worked as an arts administrator in California, Colorado and Arizona. Her work is in various collections including Johnson Wax Corporation; Racine, WI; Nitrogen Corporation; Milwaukee, WI; and Froedert Hospital, Wauwatosa, WI.

Liliana Schuett

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Artists Featured in Phoenix Home & Garden

2015 Participating Artists

Curt Mattson and Nancy McIntosh were featured in the August 2015 issue of Phoenix Home & Garden. Curt Mattson’s life as a cowboy and sculptor were featured in a 10-page spread.  He describes how his award-winning bronzes don’t just tell stories about the West , they make it come alive.

His passion is the world of the buckaroo and of horsemen and horsewomen, both contemporary and historic. This is his background, combined with the love of art and of training horses.  It is vitally important to him to leave a record of the buckaroo of today, and to tell the lives of the historic horseman of the West. 

Nancy McIntosh’s 80-inch-high steel and glass sculpture was also featured in this month’s issue of the magazine. Taking inspiration from shapes and tones of the desert, Nancy produces one-of-a-kind indoor/outdoor pieces using combinations of steel, glass, stone and wood.

Designing art came from the desire to work with her hands and make something herself instead of having others make it for her. She works with homeowners, landscape designers, interior designers, architects, and builders by creating visual pleasures for interior and exterior environments including glass and steel landscape lighting, steel screens and dividers, glass and steel sculptures, and custom steel structures.  

Grab your copy of the August issue of Phoenix Home & Garden!       

Curt Mattson

Nancy McIntosh

Friday, July 31, 2015

Evolution Continues

2015 Participating Artist

 Mary Lynch’s dream of becoming a ceramic sculptor began by returning to school at the age of 53 to discover the “world of art.” Five years later, she graduated with a BFA degree in Studio Art from Sam Houston State University.

She believes that “no matter what the age, one can grow and give.” Her studies and travels in Mexico and Italy added another layer of excitement for learning to see in a new way. 

Mary thought she would be a painter…..until she touched clay again. Her whole notion of expressive work took shape in the realization that she had to carve, cut out, and let her pieces breath.  The rhythm and movement of line became very important. The relationship between positive and negative space drew me in even more. And the idea of ‘spontaneous imagery’ resulted in surprised endings.

Mary’s work has developed around four major themes:  Nature, Bird’s Nest, Rock Forms, and Contemporary. Each style has evolved from observation and process, and the evolution continues.

Her work is currently featured on the 2015 Directory Cover.  

Mary Lynch

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Grand Landscape

2015 Participating Artist

Jerry Sieve has over 30 years of experience as a professional scenic/nature photographer/artist. Over 2,500 of his images have been published worldwide. His work can be found in various books, publications and calendars as well as in numerous corporate and private collections.

Jerry has taught over 50 workshops across the nation, and has acted as artist-in-residence at the high school and college level. In an age where his students almost exclusively shoot using digital cameras, Sieve remains loyal to his roots, shooting the vast majority of his work using a large format 4x5 inch film camera. "I don't have a problem necessarily with digital, but I'm all about producing artistic statements with my photos," he said.

When he’s not behind the camera, Jerry paints oil on canvas. His one-of-a-kind landscape/nature paintings mirror his iconic photographs. “Artists tend not to be verbal people, we express ourselves visually. There is a feeling that a certain area has, and needs to be expressed… it is the grand landscape.”

Jerry Sieve

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Water, Copper, and Turquoise

2015 Participating Artist

Born and raised in Arizona, artist Marjorie Risk has had an appreciation for the environmental diversity of the state in terms of habitat, elevation, plant life, etc. With a 24-year background in environmental resources, she has found that her art is inspired by the beauty of nature and some of our precious natural resources:  water, copper, and turquoise.

Marjorie created Same Moon Creations where she designs and creates unique, welded steel whimsical creatures, one-of-a-kind steel sculptures from salvaged metals, and steel landscape focal points with high-fired ceramic elements. Her work is a combination of handcrafted, high-fired ceramic with supporting metal structures or in many cases a stand-alone metal sculpture.

Her ceramic efforts focus on mirroring the beauty of copper and turquoise. “My work with metal centers on the organic appearance of rusted metal and various patinas possible when working with copper,” Marjorie said.  “I enjoy working with these mediums as every ceramic creation is different with a unique blend of glazes.”

Majorie Risk
Same Moon Creations

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Versatility of Metals

2015 Participating Artist

Kim Heath discovered he had a passion for metal, music and nature while growing up in Malibu, California. During his 25 year career in the movie industry as a rigging grip, he explored the versatility of metals. Kim revived his passion for working with metal and found that he wanted to show the inner beauty of metal by creating unique pieces of functional and non-functional art.

Each one of his pieces is individually designed cut, shaped, welded and heat colored by hand. Using only a torch as his paintbrush, he brings out all the brilliant color of the metals by using varying degrees of heat. No paints or dyes are ever used in the color process.

 “The challenge is to find just the right temperature to get the color I want. I like to make my pieces come alive by using the changing light, the metal’s natural colors and various techniques I have discovered,” Kim said.

Depending on the sculpture, Kim may add lights or other objects to highlight or enhance certain aspects of the piece. Several of his pieces have won awards and been on exhibit at the Westlake Village Art Guild in Westlake Village, California, and the Fine Arts Exhibition at the Del Mar Fair in Del Mar, California.

Kim Heath