Thursday, October 16, 2014

Did You Put Away Your Toys?

2014 Participating Artist
Artist Studio 33

“Did You Put Away Your Toys?” is Karen Budan’s latest painting to be completed. This 18”x 24” oil painting features another wonderful antique toy borrowed from her friend Lori and and her husband. She borrowed two of the trucks, one larger than the other, but this composition ended up calling for just the one. The larger one may yet star in a painting as Karen enjoyed painting this one. As she thought about the possible compositions, Karen found herself thinking of a little boy and the toys he would enjoy playing with along with the truck. She went to her ever-growing stash of still life objects and pulled out a set of old tinker toys and a jar of marbles. With  the addition of her wooden Pepsi crate to offer more placement options for the toys, the painting composition came to life.

Can you just hear the mother saying, “Did You Put Away Your Toys?”  

Karen Budan

Karen Budan Fine Art

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

We the People and the American Flag

2014 Participating Artist
Studio 29

This piece brings into relationship the Constitution of the United States and the many flags that represented this country since the British created the first one.

The background of “We the People” is a collage of the original handwritten Constitution, as well as the current amendments.  Under the flags I have added the dates in which they were in force.

This painting can be viewed under both a historical or a political light.  If the latter, a question may be posed as to “why a collage” and not the entire text (whole pages).  I will leave the answer to the viewer and his/her own perception and interpretation.  My role as an artist is to present the question.

The size of this piece is 86″H x 64″W for each of the two panels.  The third piece, above, is the current flag, measuring 30″W x 22″H.  The background, being a collage, is paper.  Each flag is done in Encaustics (hot wax), a 5000-year old technique originating in Greece, Rome and Egypt.  

Bela Fidel
Bela Fidel Fine Art 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Refined Rustic

2014 Participating Artist

Ken Ryan has always had a love of wood and woodworking, especially wood with character in the form of various grain patterns, knots, shapes and textures. His first wood projects were rooted in frugality: staining and varnishing naked furniture, as well as refinishing, refurbishing and/or re-purposing discarded or second hand furniture. 

Ken’s initial inspiration to begin building furniture came as a gift to his daughter, a large queen size, four poster log pine bed complete with an engraved headboard. He enjoys working with whatever Mother Nature offers – oak, cedar, juniper and ponderosa pine wood varieties. Ken draws from the creations of the early American furniture builders with their simple lines and seemingly crude but very solid construction techniques. Southwest designs, especially Native American artwork, petroglyphs and pictographs, Spanish and Mexican woods, shapes and colors, and their architecture also influence his furniture designs and construction.

Refined rustic is a good description of his work. What makes Ken’s artistic furniture unique are the simple flowing lines and intricate details and complex designs. To make a piece that is truly distinct, he utilizes one-of-a-kind log and wood pieces as the foundation and combines them with various joinery techniques, embracing the use of traditional joinery and featuring it prominently in his pieces rather than concealing it.

Ken Ryan
Draw Enterprise

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Nothing is out of Bounds

2014 Participating Artist

What started as a hobby quickly turned into a profession. Karen Ledin started doing mosaic art pieces and found working with mosaics felt very natural. This “hobby” began the process of nourishing and expanding her creative soul.

Gradually, she moved from using purchased tile pieces for projects to designing and creating her own individual mosaic tile pieces to then experimenting with glass. Karen’s completed glass art pieces are lighter weight, which is even more appealing to customers. She is currently working on projects using fusible glass. “To say I love working with glass would be an understatement,” Karen said. “Opening the kiln to a new piece is like unwrapping a new present every time. It is exciting to see what I created in my mind and initial design, transform into one beautiful piece of artwork.”

Her inspiration comes from every aspect of life. Since working with fused glass, nothing is out of bounds. She notices patterns everywhere she goes - on a shirt or in the carpet - something to inspire her. Karen values two things in her work – art and function. She wants everything to be beautiful enough to display but also sturdy enough to be functional. Her designs are more edgy, fun and contemporary, making the artwork very unique.

Karen Ledin

Friday, October 3, 2014

Always up for a Challenge

2014 Participating Artist

Elaine Waters is originally from Anchorage, Alaska, and took a leap of faith with her husband by moving to Arizona. She loves to paint with oils, acrylic and watercolor. However, her real love is teaching her painting skills to her classroom students. Elaine has been teaching oil painting for a number of years. She loves to see her students mature in their painting abilities and is thrilled to see them receive awards at local art exhibits.  

Elaine is a member of five Arizona art organizations and truly enjoys leading the critiquing sessions for two of the groups. Her paintings have received many awards in local exhibits. Never relying on the painting of “comfortable” art subjects, Elaine is always up for a challenge. “I firmly believe that we, as artists, should never be satisfied with less than our best at any time in our art career,” she says.   

Elaine Waters

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Freedom from Constraints

2014 Participating Artist

Pat Cain is an artist from the Midwest creating abstract/non-objective paintings and collages using oil, acrylic, watercolor, watercolor crayons and organic materials. Her landscapes of lakes, fields, farms, orchards, vineyards, mountains and deserts, and her figures are “impressions” of Michigan and Arizona places and people she has experienced.

Pat's non-representational and landscape paintings are inspired by her environment and life experiences. Her surroundings subconsciously influence the light, shapes, color, textures and compositions she chooses. 

For Pat, abstract painting is the ultimate freedom, freedom from the constraints of other more representational compositions. She begins with some lines and colors or adhere material such as paper to the canvas and from there the work evolves. Pat has done watercolor, acrylic and oil abstract paintings. Each medium has its own characteristics which affect the outcome. 

As a human being, the figure holds a certain innate fascination for her. Pat is drawn to all the moods one can project in the face and figure. “It’s about finding their unique character as it reveals itself to you. It goes beyond the surface features,” she says. 

Much of Pat's work is commissioned. She is represented by Bella Galleria and The Blue Heron Gallery in northern Michigan and Art One Gallery in Scottsdale.  

Pat Cain

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Perfect Inspiration

2014 Participating Artist

Steve Stento painted his first watercolor in 1995 and has been enthralled with the medium ever since. Steve’s primary color is to capture scenes of timeless beauty. His current body of work reflects the sights he encountered during a month long trip to Italy and a trip to the south of France. Steve finds the warm, vibrant scenes of life near the Mediterranean to be the perfect inspiration.

“Italy and France are places where art, history, and beauty are so pervasive in daily life that one’s creative soul cannot help but be stirred,” he said.

A native of Virginia, Steve studied drawing and design at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond before settling in Arizona. His work has been featured in The Artist’s Magazine, International Artist magazine, as well as Splash 7 and Splash 8, compilation books of today’s best watercolors.  

Steve Stento

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An Old Soul

2014 Participating Artist

At an early age, Eddie Sparr gravitated towards collecting and recreating his collected pieces as works of art. Scrounging is what his family would call it. Throughout his life and travels, he scrounged and collected. Eddie attended college at the University of Northern Colorado where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in graphic arts. This is where he learned to fine tune his graphic representation, which is very similar to his style of fine art; a collaboration of individual pieces to make a concise descriptive.

All of his artworks are compounded of found objects, mostly that of which are discarded. He partakes in much pleasure when he finds a discarded object that has character or a unique style. Many of the objects in his pieces were discovered from walking the railroad tracks. He would walk on an average day, three sometimes five miles. The pieces he would find all had a story at one time. Other objects that interest Eddie are that of decades past.

An old soul is how many of Eddie’s friends and family would describe him. Even his works of art which are futuristic in its subject matter have an aged distinction about them. His steampunk series is an obvious example of this, but actually his numanity and paperskin series, have parts in them that are not plastic, rather more of the industrial age like steel and other metals; more indicative of parts and materials primarily used in the 30’s.

Currently, Eddie’s inspiration follows the evolution of his simbots with providing them human emotions and skin, as shown in his paperskin series. In addition to creating playful works, he is also experimenting on shaping steel mesh and providing skin in the form of a hard coat that he invented, (which appears to have the characteristics of plaster, but not as heavy when dry). The art of invention and re-invention primarily make up his style. Eddie pushes the boundaries in art, and one day is driven to spread this approach within his community.

Eddie Sparr

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Timeless Quality

2014 Participating Artist

Maia Leisz found her own voice at an early age. An art teacher in high school once criticized her because everything she created looked like it was done by her. Believing that this was the whole point, Maia took it as a compliment. She went on to attend the Marchutz School of Painting and Drawing in Aix-en-Provence in the South of France. Not only did this provide an amazing opportunity to grow artistically, but she also made wonderful friends who became like family and greatly influenced her life.

Maia has lived in such varied places as the San Francisco Bay area, France, Northern Italy and England. She continues to travel and draws much of her inspiration from this. Maia’s art has, at the same time, both a strong energy and a very peaceful effect on the viewer. This seeming contradiction is what draws many to it and makes it stand out.

Her objective is to create art that has a timeless quality and will outlast any current fad or gimmick. Good artwork is comfortable in any environment. “I feel quite strongly that in a world in which many of our possessions are transitory, our art should be something that speaks of who we are,” states Maia. “It should tell the story our lives and be something that we hand down to future generations.” The overall purpose of her work is to make people happy and enrich their lives.   

Maia Leisz
Bella Vita Studios

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


2014 Participating Artist

As the daughter of a watercolorist and a photographer, Lucy Dickens spent most of her childhood exploring the outdoors. She has had the opportunity to travel to some of the most beautiful places in the world. These experiences have instilled in her a great appreciation for nature and the beauty all around us, along with a passion for capturing these experiences on paper and canvas.

From an early age, Lucy was drawn to the incredible work of the great masters, especially the Hudson River Valley painters, such as Thomas Cole and Fredric Church. Studying these artists; their handling of oil paints and mastery of atmosphere and light, along with capturing a sense of the divine influences her work today.

Lucy paints landscapes because she’s drawn to moments that take her breath away. It’s those moments of beauty that cause her to feel, to reflect, and to give thanks; a scene that has a power, placidity and intensity that draws her in. There is a story in these segments of time, and therefore, a story in all her paintings. Lucy is a Fine Art Storyteller.

She mostly enjoys painting a series from her travel journeys, bringing viewers along on this journey with her through painting images and her written “story” accompanying each painting. Lucy strives to evoke feelings of serenity and grace, a scene to transport you to another place and time exploring the mystery within, to capture memories, and those fleeting moments of beauty.

Lucy Dickens

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Celebrating Women and Children

2014 Participating Artist

Bronze sculptor Paula Yates settled in Arizona in the early 1970s. After a long career in the banking industry, she discovered a love for creating sculptures in clay. Paula left the security of the corporate world to pursue her dream of becoming an artist. Her passion for creating in clay is the force that fuels her work.

Paula's art celebrates women and children. Her women reflect a calm spirit with graceful movement.  The children are delightfully at play. "Happy" is a word often used to describe her figures.  Paula’s sculptures communicate a joyous celebration of life.

Inspiration comes to her in many forms. A magical childhood is reflected in her playful children and the women come from the adored mother, sister, daughters, aunts and many friends who have touched Paula’s life with joy.

Her bronze sculptures have been featured in galleries and her collectors include individuals, corporations and museums throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. She has received numerous awards of excellence in juried shows.

Paula Yates
Paula Yates Sculpture Studio

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Centers around the Stone

2014 Participating Artist

Cynthia made the decision to leave 30 years of the corporate world behind and enter the unknown to realize her dream of becoming a successful artist in metalsmithing. While living in Boston, she began taking evening courses at Massachusetts College of Art in metalsmithing. Her fascination for unusual stones, fossils and minerals prompted her desire to take this direction. As her creativity unfolded, her passion to fulfill her new destiny grew. 

The evolution in her life and art has brought together a full, rich canvas of experiences making her life today joyful, creative and spiritual. Experiencing the natural surroundings of Arizona, she uses castings from elements of the desert, or creates similar textures in silver and gold. Integrating traditional metalsmithing techniques with textile techniques became a way to express her designs in a more ethereal manner. 

Cynthia’s design process centers around the stone.  “Sometimes the stone may command a more elaborate setting to tell its story. However, there are times it’s really all about the beauty of the stone itself, and therefore, is presented with simplicity and elegance,” she says. Her design process is intuitive and spontaneous and has evolved along with her skills to create unique and memorable one-of-a-kind work.

Over the years, Cynthia has become a successful, award-winning artist and has exhibited in prestigious, nationally juried shows from New York City, Baltimore and Philadelphia, to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Cynthia Downs-Apodaca

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Art of Life

2014 Participating Artist

Betsy Halford is a self-taught, mixed media, assemblage artist. Her art incorporates found and repurposed materials making each piece unique. In addition to the found materials used in her art, she also includes oils, acrylics and/or wax.

Inspiration for her artwork comes from her life. Many of Betsy’s pieces are inspired by personal experiences, dreams and/or meditations, memories both real and imagined, as well as reactions to societal or global issues.

She have been collecting the materials for her artwork all of her life. Betsy started collecting these materials “treasures” as a small child growing up in South Carolina where she was influenced by her parents who were both passionate collectors. She continues to gather treasures everywhere she travels - from back roads to the city streets. Betsy keeps an open mind when looking for items that others have disposed of with the intent of transforming them into something wonderful.

Betsy Halford
Monkey Girl

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Global Era Sculptor

2014 Participating Artist

Born in Zimbabwe, stone sculptor Gedion Nyanhongo was born into an artistic family. He was influenced from a young age by his father, Claud Nyanhongo, a prominent artist among the "first generation" sculptors (the pioneers of the Shona Sculpture movement that began in the late 1950s). "I used to watch my father sculpt when I grew up, and although I was young, I remember loving it and knowing that it was what I wanted to do," says Gedion. After an apprenticeship with the internationally acclaimed sculptor Joseph Ndandarika, he embarked on a solo career in 1988.

Geidon has transformed everyday life into the enduring values that can help us all thrive in the global era of the 21st century through his sculpture. He celebrates love especially family love and the spiritual power it provides to promote peace in his art. His sculptures are made from enduring Opal Stone, Springstone and Zimbabwe (Nyanga) Stone.

Gedion has since exhibited his works in solo and group exhibitions at numerous venues around the world, including: England, France, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, South Africa, United States, and Zimbabwe. Two of his works are featured in a collection on permanent display at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and a Zebra in the Phoenix Zoo.

Gedion Nyanhongo
480 255-4184