Category Archives: Meet Our Members

Member interviews

Meet Our Members – Tami Bitner

Tami Bitner - Mixed Media Art Group

Tami Bitner

Tami Bitner is a charter member of the Mixed Media Art Group. Whether she is using paint or wax, her goal is always to develop a rich surface that suggests a mysterious interplay between transparency, opacity, layering, and subtle textures. Read more about Tami and her work…

How did you get into this type of art?

I have always loved art, but while growing up never actually thought about being an artist.  I have always been fascinated by abstract and non-representational art and enjoy viewing those kinds of art more so than realism.  While painting realism in watercolor for several years, I was often at a loss over what to paint so I decided to try my hand at something non-representational.   It was very difficult at first to complete something passable, and frustrating to say the least.  For me, painting abstractly is much more of a challenge than painting realistically, but I think that is why it is so appealing to me.  You never know what you will end up with!  It is a conundrum of sorts – more liberating but at the same time challenging.  I am much more prolific now than I was when painting realism in part because I no longer fear the blank surface.

The great thing about it is if you don’t like something, you can always paint over it and the history only adds to the beauty and interest of the art!  I once read a quote that was very liberating for me – “We all have 1,000 bad paintings in us, so start painting.” Successful pieces will be few and far between, especially at first.  I had to learn to be okay with that.

Take Flight by Tami Bitner,  36" x 36" Mixed Media

Take Flight by Tami Bitner, 36″ x 36″ Mixed Media

Did you create art as a child?

As a child, I could usually be found doing something creative when I wasn’t playing outside, riding my bike, or swimming. I colored with crayons and markers a lot and played with play dough – even the homemade kind!  I loved the paint-by-number oil painting sets, drawing, doodling, and candle making.  I was also taught by my mother at a young age to crochet and sew.

As an artist we have many roles; which do you find to be the most rewarding and which the most challenging for you?

For me, the most rewarding aspect of being an artist is when someone I’ve never met before feels a connection to my work.  I love it when someone feels something about a piece rather than seeing something in it. .The most challenging aspect for me is the record keeping.  I would much rather be painting, so if I could have an art ‘secretary’, I would be very happy!

Hope by Tami Bitner, 24" x 24" Mixed Media

Hope by Tami Bitner, 24″ x 24″ Mixed Media

Why are you doing this type of work?

My early work experience and college education are both in accounting and information systems, both very left-brained pursuits.  I think this came naturally to me since I tend to be a bit of a Type-A personality and I have always liked working with numbers and things that had logical, concrete outcomes.  It had not occurred to me to pursue art until my first painting class taken on a whim turned out to be so much fun.  It was an afternoon acrylic workshop and the old Ben Franklin craft store.  I was hooked!

How do you begin a piece?

I love to build up a lot of layers of history in my work.  I begin an abstract piece by laying down a medium tone, neutral color to cover the entire canvas or wood so that when I scratch into the paint with various tools, I never get back to bare surface.  Next, while listening to some good music, I use different brushes, tools, techniques, and colors to make marks of all different shapes and sizes on the canvas.  After the piece dries, I will repeat this process several more times before I define areas of emphasis.

Inferno by Tami Bitner, 8" x 8" Encaustic Monotype

Inferno by Tami Bitner, 8″ x 8″ Encaustic Monotype

How do you know when a piece is finished?

Is an abstract ever finished?  It is more a sense of contentment that I feel when a piece reaches a point where I can’t think of anything else I would change about it.  When I reach that point I will hang the piece somewhere in my house where I will see it frequently.  After living with it for days or weeks, if nothing bothersome jumps out at me and I love looking at it, I will put my signature on it!  I tend to think of it more as moving on to the next project more so than ‘finishing’ a piece.

What are your favorite tools?

I have a variety of well-worn brushes that I love to work with even though many of them show a lot of wear and tear.  They become like old friends and seem to be the ones I always pick up first.  I also enjoy working with cheap foam brushes, Catalyst scraping tools, and really anything that will make an interesting mark in paint.

Oasis by Tami Bitner, 24" x 24" Mixed Media

Oasis by Tami Bitner, 24″ x 24″ Mixed Media

What is your favorite color?  And do you use it often in your work?

My favorite color in life and in art is black and can be found in every painting I do, even if it is a little dab added to another color just to tone it down a bit.  In my opinion, black makes everything on the canvas pop and it harmonizes with everything.  I prefer to mix my own black using strong shades of red, blue, and green.  In this way, I have the ability to make the black tend toward another color ever so subtly.  I think this makes a more interesting color than taking black straight out of a tube.

What do you want the viewer to see in your art?

I want the viewer not so much to see the art, but to feel the art.  Every artist leaves a bit of their heart and soul on every work and when that resonates with someone, it is very gratifying.  Sometimes it is the color palette or composition that draws someone in, other times it is the design, pattern or texture. It is different for everyone which is why I love non-representational art.  It allows the viewer to see what speaks to them.

What do you do differently from the way you were taught?

I break the ‘rules’. I am now comfortable enough with myself as an artist to be able to do this!  When I first started painting it was important for me to keep them in mind and try to follow them to a large extent.  I guess there was a bit of fear of being criticized by those with more experience than me.  I think it is important to understand the elements and principles of design and composition, but to me they are suggestions.  Aren’t some rules meant to be broken?

Shades of Grey II by Tami Bitner, 24" x 36" Mixed Media

Shades of Grey II by Tami Bitner, 24″ x 36″ Mixed Media

Describe your dream studio or creative space:

My dream studio would be somewhere in the Caribbean and would have a well designed contemporary yet comfortable minimalist gallery space in the front room – very neat and tidy, but would connect to a large, wide-open work space with high, large windows all around.  One side would face the ocean and the other side would face the mountains.  There would be paint spattered about on the walls and floors with words of inspiration and motivation written all around.  Plenty of wall space would be necessary to have multiple, large pieces in progress at the same time.  It would also have separate areas for both encaustic and cold wax to remain set-up all the time and it would have every color made by Golden from liquids to heavy body.

What is your favorite piece of your own work?

My favorite piece of my own work is an encaustic on a 16” x 16” cradled birch panel entitled Ride, Captain Ride.  It represents a loose interpretation of a single wave and is done in many shades of blue and teal with some black and white as well.  It has generated a lot of interest when I have had it out in shows and has won several awards, but I haven’t been able to part with it yet.  I often paint loose beach scenes and waves that I love, but this one is special for some reason.

Where do you hope to be five years from now with your art?   

Five years from now, I hope to be pursuing art on a full-time basis and working on larger pieces in encaustic and cold wax and oil as well.  I just completed a 4’ x 5’ commissioned piece in oil that was so much fun to do.  Until this piece, 48” x 48” was the largest size I’ve worked on.  It is very fun and energizing to have so much surface to paint on, especially on a non-representational piece.  In contrast though, I still occasionally like to paint realistic watercolor miniatures in the 2” x 3” range.  It is a completely different feeling and thought process to transition from one style to the other but I think it is what keeps me from getting bored!

Tami is currently an exhibiting artist at the Gallery@Second, 608 N 2nd St, Harrisburg, PA 17101 and she will be at the Lititz Outdoor Fine Art Show on July 26th.  She is also opening a studio at The Millworks in midtown Harrisburg this fall.

You can see more of Tami’s work on her website http://www.tamibitner.com and at Mixed Media Art Group.

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet Our Members – Susan Davitti Darling

Susan Davitti Darling

Susan Davitti Darling

Susan Davitti Darling is the next artist in our Meet Our Members interview series. Susan lives in Maytown PA and is employed by Elizabethtown College. She is an avid watercolor, mixed media and collage artist. We always enjoy Susan’s fun, bright, whimsical and extraordinary art work!

Read on to find out more about Susan’s work and studio life:

What initially sparked your interest in ART?

My father was a professional photographer and he encouraged me to take
photographs. I had access to cameras and a makeshift darkroom. When I was in
High School, I attended a Saturday morning drawing classes at Rhode Island
School of Design. Art is so much fun and I liked all of it, from batik and block
printing, to collage and painting. I earned a college degree in art as an adult, at
Millersville University. I feel very fortunate that I had that opportunity.

Blue Strip Still Life by Susan Davitti Darling

Blue Strip Still Life by Susan Davitti Darling, 24″ x 36″ watercolor

Where does your creative nature come from?

My creative nature comes from curiosity. I like to try things and see how things
work and how they look.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from all over the place. If I don’t feel inspired on a
particular day, I still work. To Quote Hank Aaron, “Always keep swinging.
Whether you are in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the
only thing to do is keep swinging.” Art keeps me going. It makes me happy.

As an artist we have many roles; which do you find to be the most rewarding and which the most challenging for you?

The hardest part of being an artist is the business part. Excel spreadsheets can
put me into a trance. What I love the MOST about being an artist is the actual
work/play of creation.

Cortona's Secret Moon by Susan Davitti Darling

Cortona’s Secret Moon by Susan Davitti Darling, 24″ x 24″ mixed media

What are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about sharing what I know with other people. I love to encourage
others to follow their heart into art. Art is good for you! I don’t care if you ever
went to art class or college, art is a birthright. As human beings we have a
creative nature and it is good to access that.

How do you begin a piece?

Beginning a painting is a very random act for me. I work intuitively and I start out
with getting rid of the blank canvas in a big way. Sometimes I will draw on the
white canvas and paint over the drawn lines, creating what I call a history to my
background. My work is abstract in nature, so I let the shifting color harmony and
line work speak for me.

mixed media collage by Susan Davitti Darling

mixed media collage by Susan Davitti Darling

What is your favorite color? And do you use it often in your work?

My favorite color right now is purple. That can change. I have been known to be
enamored with orange, periwinkle and blue gray. Color is very important in my
work, whether it is subdued or vibrant. It speaks volumes.

What dream supply would you purchase if money were no issue?

My dream supply would be a flat file. I have NO room for such an item. I would
like a place to store large paper and finished unframed artwork.

What message do you want to convey to the viewer through your work?

Most of the time people see things in my art that have nothing to do with
why or how it was made and I am fine with that. I think we all do that on some
level. I find myself attracted by bright color and childlike shapes. I like art to pop
right off the wall. Other times I am drawn by the exact opposite. My hope is that
people can feel the joy that is inherent in the creation.

Circle Series IV by Susan Davitti Darling

Circle Series IV by Susan Davitti Darling, 15″ x 15″ mixed media

Who are your favorite famous artists?

        • Louise Nevelson 
        • Alexander Calder 
        • Paul Klee
        • Mark Chagall 
        • Marisol Escobar 
        • Mary Cassatt 

Where do you create your art?

I have studio in the attic of my house. It is finished off with skylights, and the
light is GREAT!

What can always be found in your work space?

You can always find a big mess in my studio along with works in progress!
There is always MUSIC playing. My cat hangs out there with me.

Your Perfect Touch by Susan Davitti Darling

Your Perfect Touch by Susan Davitti Darling,  5″ x 7″ mixed media painting

How has your work evolved over the years?

My work has evolved in that I studied Commercial Art at Millersville University,
and my fine art is almost exclusively abstract. I have worked commercially and
still enjoy the challenge of doing so. Nissley Vineyards has my artwork on six
labels. My favorite piece of artwork is a collage titled “Spirit Wagon”. I created it for a
dear friend when she when she was diagnosed with cancer. It is full of color and
happiness that defined our relationship. Cancer could not diminish Sheri’s spirit
and this art is testimony to that.

Susan Davitti Darling will be participating in a 2 person exhibit at Lynden Gallery, 117 South Market Street, Elizabethtown, PA 717-367-9236. The exhibit opens in July and runs thru September, 2014. There will be an opening reception at the gallery on July 11th from 6pm – 9:00pm.

You can view more of Susan’s work on the Mixed Media Art Group website.

Meet Our Members – Ann Lawson

After a bit of a hiatus, we are continuing with the Meet Our Members Interviews. First up for this year is Ann Lawson. Ann is a charter member of Mixed Media Art Group, and we just love her sweet, kind and cheerful nature. Her abstract mixed media art is colorful and always strikingly interesting.  Read on to find out more about Ann’s work and her creative habits…

Ann Lawson HeadshotHow did you get into this type of art?

The answer to this question is a bit comical in nature.  About five years ago this summer, I was invited to a fellow artist/friend’s open house.  She had a rock garden, and asked her guests to paint a rock for her garden.  Of course, I declined at the notion because I didn’t think she would want a rock painted by me.  However, she insisted, so I painted the rock.  My friend was so delighted by my painting that she got out her camera and actually started taking pictures!  I laughed because I thought she was simply being cheeky, but she was very happy w/ the results and encouraged me to join her in taking one of my Mother’s art classes.  I thought heavily about this because I had never painted anything except during those mandatory art classes in middle high school.  So I went to my first art class in the fall of 2009, and literally fall in love all over again every time I pick up a paintbrush.

Kaleidoscope by Ann Lawson, 27x34 Mixed Media--Acrylic, Charcoal and Pastels

“Kaleidoscope” by Ann Lawson, 27 x 34 Mixed Media–Acrylic, Charcoal and Pastels

Where does your creative nature come from?

I have always been very creative.  As a child and teenager, I did counted cross-stitch, wrote poetry, made latch hook rugs, and starting cooking at a very young age. Today, I am constantly creating, whether it’s painting canvasses, making one of my own culinary creations or adding to my garden.  I can only deduce that my creative nature comes from my family, a/k/a, the ole’ gene pool.  My mother, Linda Benton McCloskey, used to dabble in realistic art when raising her family, and today she is an accomplished artist who teaches workshops and classes all over the East Coast.  She has won countless awards and accolades.  Adding to that, a few years ago we found out that Thomas Hart Benton is an uncle on the maternal side of the family!   We were happy to find out why we both like to paint so much.

What are your favorite things about your work?

This is a loaded question because I could go on for days answering it.  For starters, my first favorite thing is probably picking my color palette.  Color is the ultimate treat to me; it motivates, inspires and moves me.  I am literally drawn to color–its saturation, contrasts, translucency, and the ability for the paint to be mixed with other paint and bear new colors.  I named my first solo art show “The Language of Color” due to my love for color.  Another favorite thing about my work is the feelings that a finished piece can convey.  A painting can go from three shapes into an explosion of lines, colors and light.  It amazes me at times how paint can impart such feelings of emotion from both the creator and the audience.

Out of Africa by Ann Lawson, 12x12 Acrylic  Mixed Media with Eggshell

“Out of Africa” by Ann Lawson, 12 x 12 Acrylic Mixed Media with Eggshell

Why are you doing this type of work?

I don’t really call this work because it’s more of a hobby, not a profession.  Or as I like to say, I have a full-time job that pays the bills, but my calling is in my paintbrushes.  Painting literally brings me satisfaction, peace and joy.  When I am finished with a painting, it’s almost as if it takes on a life of its own; they become my children in a strange sense of the word.  When I sell a painting, I am absolutely elated, but a part of me goes with each and every one of them I sell.  I hope to one day retire and paint full-time while teaching and traveling meeting other artists along the way.  Now that is what I would call a “joyful retirement.”

Is there any time of the day that you find you are the most creative?

Considering I work full-time during the day, I truly have no choice but to create in the evenings and on the weekends.  However, I do find that I am truly more creative in the daylight hours.  I love to go outdoors on my deck to paint on a beautiful, yet non-windy day.  The sunshine beckons me to go outside, and when I’m alone with my paints, beautiful things seem to emerge.  I love to put my headphones on and dance with the music and my paintbrushes.

Birds of Paradise by Ann Lawson, Ink on paper

“Birds of Paradise” by Ann Lawson

What patterns emerge in your work?

I’m an aficionado of circles!  All types of circles—big, small, narrow, wide, long, short, tall, etc.  I always try to put at least one circle in all my paintings, but most of them yield far more than one.  They may be hard to spot as I do strictly abstract work, but they are there.  If I have to pick a “pattern,” I would probably say I do a lot of organic work these days.  When I first started painting, I did more geometric work—lots of squares and line work.  Now my paintings are harder to define and more organic in nature.

What are your favorite tools?

Ah, tools, aren’t they grand?!  To narrow it down to my a few favorites, it would have to be my paintbrushes, my brayer, squeegees, rug catchers, skewers, pastels, charcoal, graphite, and on and on and on.  I realize a few of those are technically called “supplies” but I can’t live without them.  Oh, and lest I forget, my hands and eyes!

Sundance by Ann Lawson, Mixed Media on canvas

“Sundance” by Ann Lawson, Mixed Media

What is your favorite color? And do you use it often in your work? 

My favorite color is probably spring green.  It is a bright, cheery, almost (but not quite) neon green that you see in fresh grass and on blooming trees at the very first sight of spring.  It’s absolutely gorgeous and makes everything look fresh, bright and alive.  The color contrasts beautifully with any other color I choose.  I use it sparingly because it is a very bright color, but during the spring and summer, I use it more often because it’s so refreshing.

If I am allowed to have two favorite colors, my second favorite would be black.  Black is very grounding and neutralizing to a palette. It makes the colors around it up almost jump off the canvas.  It’s calming, yet bold, and can be mixed with any other color to darken that other color.  By adding a little or a lot, you will end up with a vast number of colors to choose from.  Black is a necessary color in each and every painting regardless of the artist, medium or content of the painting.

What do you want people to take away with them from your art?

It is my hope that my works take you to different places each and every time you look at one of my pieces.  To me, the beauty of abstract art is that each piece is interpreted differently by the observer.  Through color, lines and shapes, my works have one goal in mind:  to arouse the viewer to come back again and again.

Blue Moon by Ann Lawson, 54 x 75 Acrylic and Pastel on canvas

“Blue Moon” by Ann Lawson, 54 x 75 Acrylic and Pastel on canvas

Who are your favorite famous artists?

Some of my heavy influences are many of the modern and post-modern expressionist artists of the 60′s and 70′s, primarily Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Jane Plum and Mark Rothko.  Although she may not be famous, by far my biggest inspiration is my Mother, who is an accomplished artist herself and continues to motivate me beyond belief.

What can always be found in your work space?

There are quite a few favorite items found in my make-shift studio in my humble home.  For starters, I like to keep a variety of canvasses in different sizes and depths.  I generally work on 3-4 pieces at a time because I like to allow each layer to dry while working on another.  I also keep plenty of tools on hand.  I generally paint more with tools than paintbrushes.  I use forks, spatulas, napkin rings, match box cars, squeegees, chopsticks, salt, lids, and bark, anything that will add texture and/or give me a different stroke on the canvas than a brush can do.  I find that people are more drawn to these paintings due to the variety they see in the painting itself.

"Cotton Candy" by Ann Lawson, 24 x 30 Acrylic on canvas

“Cotton Candy” by Ann Lawson, 24 x 30 Acrylic on canvas

How do you share your art with the world?

I have several ways of sharing.  I have a website:  www.annlawsonart.com, where I continually add my shows, exhibits and new works.  I show and share my art at galleries, restaurants, and art schools.  I take art classes at a local level which gives me the opportunity to meet new artists, new techniques and the opportunity to grow as an artist.  I also meet regularly with this wonderful art group adeptly named “Mixed Media Art Group a/k/a M&M” where I am exposed to a variety of wonderfully, multi-talented artists whom share their artwork and techniques at each monthly meeting.

My paintings are also hanging in my office which is located in a public building where individuals from all walks are able to view my works.  I am a very lucky gal!

"Icy Hot" by Ann Lawson, 24 x 30 Mixed media on paper

“Icy Hot” by Ann Lawson, 24 x 30 Mixed media on paper

What are your goals for the future of your art? 

While I am still working my desk job, my current goals are to continue to take art classes, in a variety of forms and mediums, so I can continue to blossom as an artist and perhaps even get certified to teach someday.  After retirement, I hope to have a studio big enough to teach classes and travel during down time to workshops throughout the country meeting new artists along the way.  I want to soak up as much as I can because the art world is a very big world indeed.

Ann is currently exhibiting her art at Burick Center for Wellness and Health, 2005 Technology Parkway, Suite 350, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050, 717-730-5000, through April 25, 2014 and April 5 -30 at The Garden Gallery/Haverstick Studios and Gallery, 10 North Hanover Street, Carlisle, PA  17013, 717-249-1721 with an opening reception on April 5.

View more of Ann’s work on Mixed Media Art Group website.

Judy Kelly in Harrisburg Magazine

Robots2012_003Our congratulations go out to M & M member, Judy Kelly who was recently featured in the Gallery Space section of the March, 2013 issue of Harrisburg Magazine. Judy, aka “Robot Girl” was interviewed by Scott Campbell for her whimsical assemblages that resemble miniature robots. Judy is a charter member of the Mixed Media Art Group and exhibits her work regularly with the group.

You can read the online article by clicking here and see more of Judy’s robot assemblages on the Mixed Media Art Group website.

Meet Our Members: Joan Maguire

Joan Maguire

Joan Maguire

How do you describe yourself as an artist?

I call myself a Saturday artist.  Working full time limits when I can paint.  I am always thirsty to learn new techniques. As an artist you tend to see beyond the common.  When you look at a field of corn you see the shapes of the stalks, how they line up in the field, how the shadows play, the darkness toward the roots and how the light plays off the husks.

Where do you create your art?

I create most of my art in my mind – color, forms, shapes, feelings – until it just has to come out on to paper.  The first major piece I did, and what got me started into serious painting, was a field of poppies named “Field of Dreams”.  For many years I thought about how I could paint a field of poppies that were not your typical red field.  I wanted to capture the feelings, smell, and texture of the petal against the coarseness of the leaves and pods. Then one day, about nine years ago it just “came out”.  The first original sold and the second, “Field of Dreams II” is now my signature piece.

Field of Dreams II by Joan Maguire

Field of Dreams II by Joan Maguire

I have a small dream studio on Beech Island, located on Lake Frederic on the Susquehanna, directly across from TMI!  Surrounded by water, beautiful Herons, butterflies, flowers and ferns makes it a lovely place to paint.  During the winter months I live in Hershey and paint and frame at my home. Whenever I travel I carry my brushes and camera.

Joan's garden view on Beech Island

Joan’s garden view on Beech Island

What is your favorite medium?

All my life I did some type of art or craft but I always came back to watercolor.  I put all my projects away and try to keep watercolor my priority.  I did take an oil painting class and really like that medium.  I think I will make that my secondary medium in a few years.  I did several abstracts in oil that have sold… which is encouraging!

What are your favorite tools?

My eraser is my most favorite tool.  Seriously, I panic if I don’t have it when I am working on a sketch or painting.  I also use a metal gadget designed by Terry Madden that allows me to create thin veins in petals and leaves or large flat scrapes to form rocky areas while your paint is still wet.  High quality paint, paper and brushes are a must. You paint with what you can afford, but it is better to have a small amount of high quality products then a large amount of lesser quality tools.   I use Arches 140 lb cold press block for small paintings and Arches 300 lb for larger paintings.  The heavier paper allows you to create texture, make corrections and remove color without damaging the surface.

What motivates you to be creative?

It is like when your body craves orange juice, my mind craves to create.  Otherwise I might be summoned by an amazing orchid calling my name to take it home and paint it.

Orchid by Joan Maguire

Orchid by Joan Maguire

Can you describe your medium and style?

Years ago I started painting very tight and detailed and wanted to let loose and have a freer style.  I would watch Terry Madden on WITF every Sunday morning – right before Bob Ross! I took one of his workshops which allowed me to open up and have a looser style.

Many people think watercolor is a hard medium to work with but you can use muted, soft tones or heavy intense colors.  They can flow freely or be controlled – depending on the amount of water you use and your style.  Watercolor is very portable and dries fast.  The convenience makes it easy to work with.

My style of art brings me joy, a smile, a moment away from myself.  It is my hope that my paintings bring the same happiness to those who own and view my art.  Most of my work doesn’t make you think; rather it lets your mind drift to a fun or calm place.

I have been playing with Yupo – which is plastic instead of paper.  The paint sits on top, swirls and pools.  When it dries you can paint on top or wipe off areas you don’t like.  It forces me to paint with a fun free spirit despite myself!

A floral painting on Yupp by Joan Maguire

A floral painting on Yupo by Joan Maguire

Describe your dream studio or creative space:

I do have some nice spaces to paint, but lately I have been thinking about making a 10 X 10-foot space in my basement where the floor, walls and ceiling are covered in a heavy plastic.  I would hang paper and canvas all over the space and then just start wildly creating – painting them all at the same time to a good music beat.

Do you have a favorite technique that you use a lot in your work?

A tooth brush (dedicated to painting I might add) can give you great texture when spritzed for sand, highlighting or adding a little metallic glitz to finish a picture.  Salt, both fine table salt and course Kosher are not only good on your food!  I often use a little on a painting as it will add interest after it absorbs the color and feathers the spot.  When I paint a sky I do a blue wash and then blot out the color, creating wonderful fluffy images. Occasionally I will use a sea sponge to give texture to foliage.

Key Largo by Joan Maguire

Key Largo by Joan Maguire

How did you get into this type of art?

Somewhere along the way I thought, or was told, that watercolor was the hardest medium to work with.  (I grew up having to drive a stick shift before I was allowed to drive an automatic) So I think that is why I started with watercolor.  I don’t have that philosophy anymore but there is so much more I need to learn and try with this medium that I want to keep with it.

My Aunt Marion (MEL) Fetterolf is a watercolor artist of national acclaim.  I probably was influenced over the years with her work and chose the medium because of her.

What are your favorite things about your work?

The feeling that you get when you look at it.  I want my art to take the viewer away, into the scene or feeling, to have a few minutes of calm from their hectic day.

Hibiscus by Joan Maguire

Hibiscus by Joan Maguire

What artists do you relate to?

Growing up in Chester County Andrew and Jamie Wyeth were big influences.  I took a few classes at the Art Association of Harrisburg by David Lenker who also painted in that style.  My father, Eugene Liesau, started oil painting later in his life.  He did beautiful still-life oils.   Some people have said my work has some similarity Georgia O’Keefe.    I love the cleanness, bright color and form that she used.

What are your goals for the future of your art?

When I decided I was going to be an artist and sell my work I established goals.  These started out by joining art organizations, entering competitions and exhibiting in galleries.  My next phase was to establish an internet presence which culminated with my own web site at www.Joanmaguireart.com  Here, buyers of certain prints get a chance to win the original painting after a set number are sold.

My five year goal is to expand my gallery presence outside of the local area, grow my internet business and to continue to learn and grow as an artist.

I also take picture of all my steps of painting.  During one of our Mixed Media meetings it was suggested I use this process to create eBooks.  Look for them in the future!

Joan' Maguire's future ebook in progress.

Joan’ Maguire’s future ebook in progress.

Joan Maguire's painting process in her ebook.

Joan Maguire’s painting process in her ebook.

See more of Joan Maguire’s art here. Read more interviews about Mixed Media Art Group members on this site and visit our website for more information about members, exhibits, and workshops. www.mixedmediaartgroup.com

Meet Our Members: Lynn Kennedy

Lynn Kennedy

Lynn Kennedy-Putt

Lynn Kennedy-Putt is a forever-growing Mixed Media Artist who thrives on new art form experimentation and exploring new mediums.  She started her education at the York Academy of Art later transferring to and graduating from Antonelli Institute. For the next twenty years, she worked at several advertising agencies where she advanced to an Art Director position.  Upon the birth of her first child, she left the ad agency and began working part time as a freelance artist.  While she enjoyed the freedom and rewards of being her own boss, the majority of her work still involved the use of computer graphics and she longed for the days of experiencing her work through her hands.  Having been a long time member of the Art Association of Harrisburg, she learned of an abstract art class offered by Linda Benton-McCloskey.  Lynn found her new passion.

Lynn has participated in the Harrisburg Cow parade and Kitefest events through the Whitaker Center and has won numerous awards over the years.  She is married with two school age children.

How do you describe yourself as an artist?

I am an experimental artist.  I am ever changing and growing in my painting.  I love trying new mediums and techniques.

Where do you create your art?

I create art in my basement.  My husband finished our basement several years ago and I have a room that I can leave the paints and everything else out.  YES, it is messy!

"Intense" by Lynn Kennedy

“Intense” by Lynn Kennedy-Putt

What is your favorite medium?

Being a mixed media artist, it is hard to pick out one medium of choice, because I love experimenting with so many.  One of the most versatile mediums I use is acrylic paints.  There are so many possibilities you can do with them.  I also like that they dry fast!

What are your favorite tools?

My hands are my favorite tools! I always have to have my hands in the paint.  My fingerprints are on all my paintings.

What motivates you to be creative?

Going to museums and art shows motivates me to be creative.  Seeing other creations, and being around creative people really inspires me.

Can you describe your medium and style?

The mixed media artist that I am, I love using a variety of different mediums and styles. I love abstracts, portraits and collage.

Describe your dream studio or creative space:

I feel I have my dream space.   Just having a room that I can create art in and not worry about how messy things get is my dream space.  Of course, it could always be a little bigger and more organized.

Do you have a favorite technique that you use a lot in your work?

I love texture and metallics.   I always seem to put one or both into a painting.  I try not to think too much when starting a painting or else it would take me a while before I start one.

"Drifting Away" by Lynn Kennedy

“Drifting Away” by Lynn Kennedy-Putt

How did you get into this type of art?

When my daughter was 12, I wanted to bond with her.  I knew she liked abstract paintings from taking her to museums.  I thought it would be fun to take an art class together. I signed us up for a mixed media class that Linda Benton McCloskey taught.  My daughter won first place in the student show at the Art Association of Harrisburg.  My daughter and I tend to argue when we paint together.  I have come to realize that arguing is bonding with her.  We bond a lot!  I enjoy doing art with her.  It has brought us closer.  She has a good eye for composition and design. I ask her opinion about my paintings and she makes good suggestions.

What are your favorite things about your work?

I like never knowing what the final painting is going to look like until it is finished.  I like being pleasantly surprised!

"Fulfilment" by Lynn Kennedy

“Fulfillment” by Lynn Kennedy-Putt

What artists do you relate to?

I seem to go to impressionist and modern paintings when in a museum. Gustav Klimt, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent and Chidi Okaye are some of my favorite artists.

What are your goals for the future of your art?

Goals for the future are to paint a little every day…or at least once a week.  Being a graphic artist for the past twenty some years I want to paint for myself and not for others.

Read more about Mixed Media Art Group by visiting our website: www.mixedmediaartgroup.com

Meet Our Members: Sue Blosser

Sue Blosser

Here is the second of the Meet Our Members posts. We’d like to introduce Sue Blosser, photographer extraordinaire. Sue is one of our quieter members, but she is very expressive with her photographic talent.

Sue continues to inspire us with her detailed view of the natural world. She is an amazing photographer who pushes the limits of “looking into” what we all take for granted. We hope you enjoy Sue’s interview and work.

Meet Sue Blosser:

How do you describe yourself as a photographer? 

My philosophy as a photographer is to try and record slices of life that might otherwise be overlooked.  I look for tiny details, interesting shapes or perhaps an angle of view that others don’t see.

Poppy by Sue Blosser

Is there any time of the day that you find you are the most creative? 

Originally I was going to say not really.  But after a few days of careful observation, I discovered that I have become creatively useless in the evenings.  Since retiring, I now do practically all my best work in the daylight hours.

What is your favorite camera?

My very first camera was a Pentax SLR camera that tragically ended up in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of St. Malo in France.  Ever since then I have used Nikon cameras.  I started with an entry level Nikkormat film camera.  Now I shoot mostly with a digital Nikon D7000.  I like to shoot with a macro lens to expose shapes and details that are often overlooked. Occasionally I venture into cell phone photography, but I prefer the digital SLR. 

What is your favorite subject matter?

You can look through practically all of my photos and not see a single person.  I rarely take photos that have people in them.  I prefer to shoot any other form of nature.  Lately, I have been shooting a lot of flowers – mostly wildflowers.  I’m fascinated with their myriad of shapes and their beauty that often goes unnoticed.

Fall Foliage Reflection by Sue Blosser

How did you find your “artist within”?

When I first started coming to M&M meetings I didn’t really consider myself an artist.  I considered an artist to be someone who could take a blank canvas and turn it into a work of beauty and wonderment.  I merely recorded things that were already here.  Through this group I have come to realize that there are many forms of art.  I’m in the process of finding my “artist within”.  Every time someone says wow when they see one of my photographs I get a little bit closer to becoming an artist.

Do you have a favorite technique that you use a lot in your work?

Lately I have been shooting a lot of flowers using a light box and a 108mm macro lens.  This set up lets me control the lighting and the background to emphasize the flowers unique shape or markings.

What can you promise your audience that will inspire them when they view your work? What message do you want to convey to the viewer through your work?

I’m going to answer these questions together.  I hope that anybody who views my work comes away with a new appreciation of the wonders that that can be found everywhere in nature. Be it the small wildflower, fall leaves reflecting in water or a fungus growing on a tree – it’s all there waiting to be appreciated and savored by all.

Peruvian Lily by Sue Blosser

How did you get into photography?

I was introduced to photography 40 years ago while I was a biology student at Millersville State College (now Millersville University).  I borrowed a grad student’s Yashica camera to use on a field trip to the Florida Keys.  It only took 14 days plus a few rolls of Kodak Ectochrome film to start a lifelong fascination with photography.  Unfortunately photography took a back burner while I raised my family.  Then came 2006 and I purchased my first digital camera.  All my self-imposed restrictions were gone and I could shoot all the photos I wanted. Joanne Finkle and Thom Kulp saw some of my photos and encouraged me to take Christine Goldbeck’s photography class at the Harrisburg Art Association.  Christine opened the door for me by reinforcing the basics of photography and encouraged me to take my photography to the next level. 

Do you have a common theme that runs through your work?

Most of my photos are of bits of nature that are commonly seen.  I just try to photograph them in a way that makes you stop and take notice of them. 

Lichen by Sue Blosser

What are your favorite things about your work?

My favorite thing about my work is when I go through the photos I took during the day and one of them elicits a “yes” out of me.  It is the photo that totally captures what I was trying to show or the one that is unexpected but has come together in a marvelous way that makes it all worthwhile.

What are your goals for the future of your work?

My photos are a work in progress.  Every day is an adventure with a new technique or a special subject to explore.  My goal is to improve my photos both technically and artistically.  I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

You can view more of Sue’s photography by clicking here. Sue is an active member of M & M Mixed Media Art Group and exhibits her work at group shows and exhibits.