Tag Archives: Harrisburg PA

A Family Affair in Capitol Rotunda

This article was written by Elaine Brady Smith

A unique group of artists will be showing their work at the East Wing Rotunda of the Pennsylvania Capitol Building beginning Saturday, October 4 through Friday, October 31, 2014. The husband and wife team of Robert McCloskey and Linda Benton McCloskey and Linda’s daughter, Ann Yeager Lawson, will join forces with their mixed media art in this family exhibit.

Robert McCloskey, a true patriot and retired social studies teacher, started painting for an evening out with his wife.  He has since turned into a dedicated to painter of the symbols of America and its many heroes. Robert’s paintings are mainly done in acrylic on parchment reproductions. He matches the subjects to the document and his goal is to convey his love of history and the proud heritage we share in this great country.

Freedom by Bob McCloskey 30 x 22 acrylic on paper

Freedom by Bob McCloskey 30 x 22 acrylic on paper

Lincoln by Bob McCloskey 30 x 22  acrylic on paper

Lincoln by Bob McCloskey 30 x 22 acrylic on paper

Linda Benton McCloskey discovered that she was related to Thomas Hart Benton (an American Regionalist painter) which further sparked her interest in painting. She has studied with many national and international artists. Linda is also an expert teacher of water media, collage, abstract design, cold wax & oil, and encaustic art. She is a Signature Member of the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, Baltimore Watercolor Society, and Philadelphia Watercolor Society; and a Nautilus Member of the International Society of Experimental Artists. She has exhibited in numerous national and international juried shows, universities, cultural centers, galleries, and museums.  Her works are in numerous private collections and universities.

Grass Roots by Linda Benton McCloskey 48 x 36 acrylic

Grass Roots by Linda Benton McCloskey 48 x 36 acrylic

Razzle Dazzle by Linda Benton McCloskey 40 x 30 acrylic

Razzle Dazzle by Linda Benton McCloskey 40 x 30 acrylic

Ann Yeager Lawson discovered her passion for abstract art in 2009 and was was encouraged to take a painting class by a friend. She has taken many of her mother’s and other art classes to fuel her love for abstract painting. Ann paints primarily in acrylic and likes to include natural elements and mixed media to add interest. She has received awards for her work from the Art Association of Harrisburg and has been greatly influenced by her mother and other great contemporary abstract artists. Ann has shown her work in many group and solo shows in the South Central PA area.

Kaleidoscope by Ann Yeager Lawson, 27 x 34 mixed media on paper

Kaleidoscope by Ann Yeager Lawson, 27 x 34 mixed media on paper

Painted Lady by Ann Yeager Lawson,  27 X 37 mixed media on paper

Painted Lady by Ann Yeager Lawson, 27 X 37 mixed media on paper

To visit the Capitol Rotunda exhibit, enter the Capitol Complex from the Commonwealth Avenue Entrance, Harrisburg, PA 17120. Click here for more information on Capitol Tour schedules and hours.

You can view more of Robert, Linda and Ann’s work by visiting Mixed Media Art Group.

 

 

 

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Linda Benton McCloskey at LaCigale

The Gallery at LaCigaleLinda Benton McCloskey will be the the October Featured Guest Artist at The Gallery at LaCigale, located at 451 Route 117, Mount Gretna, PA. There will be a guest artist reception on Friday, October 3, 5-8pm with live music performed by Matt Miskie. This will also be the first Oktoberfest in Mount Gretna.

"Kinship" by Linda Benton McCloskey, 12 x 9 encaustic on cradled panel

“Kinship” by Linda Benton McCloskey, 12 x 9 encaustic on cradled panel

After changing careers and researching family history Benton McCloskey discovered that Thomas Hart Benton (an American Regionalist Painter 1889 to 1975) was her great uncle. She has achieved Signature status with the Baltimore Watercolor Society, Pennsylvania Watercolor Society and Nautilus status with ISEA (International Society of Experimental Artists). Linda has also won numerous national and international awards and has been published in several international publications.

"Traces" of Kinship by Linda Benton McCloskey, 24 x 24 Oil and Cold Wax on cradled panel

“Traces” of Kinship by Linda Benton McCloskey, 24 x 24 Oil and Cold Wax on cradled panel

Linda is a member of the Mixed Media Art Group. View more of her work on the links below:

www.LindaBentonMcCloskey.com

www.MixMediaArtGroup.com

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Happy Holidays from the M & M’s

Members of Mixed Media Art Group (from left): Lynn Kennedy Putt, Ann Yeager Lawson, Susan Davitti Darling, Mary Kandray Gelenser, Christine Goldbeck, Judy Kelly, Tina Berrier, Rick Snizik, Joan Maguire, Doug Tomlinson, Elaine Brady Smith, Joanne Finkle, Sue Blosser

1410769_10202004945677184_966095373_o 1487901_10202004945517180_250257780_o 1500832_10202004945757186_295483596_o 1504491_10202004945637183_1656777184_oThe members of Mixed Media Art Group would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

And we want to thank you for a great year!!!

Thanks for taking the time to view our work on this blog, on our website and on our Facebook page throughout 2013. You, our followers, have shown so much enthusiasm for what we have been working on and we appreciate your interest! We look forward to bringing you lots of new and fabulous art in 2014!!!

Here are some candid photos taken during our recent reception at Arts on Union. The photos really show the fun nature of this group!!! There are 18 of us, and although some are missing from the photos, we are all united in the spirit of creativity within this group.

There is still time to see our current exhibit at Arts on Union, 203 N Union St, Middletown, PA. Visit us Saturdays and Sundays NOW through January 2014. Small paintings, cards, prints, wine glasses and other art objects from our artists will be available for purchase. The gallery is open Saturdays and Sundays through the end of January. Saturday hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m, Sundays,noon to 4 p.m. Contact us if you need a special time or private showing.

We are proud of all our Mixed Media Art Group members:

Linda Benton McCloskey

Tina Berrier

Tami Bitner

Sue Blosser

Elaine Brady Smith

Susan Davitti Darling

Joanne Finkle

Christine Goldbeck

Mary Kandray Gelenser

Judy Kelly

Lynn Kennedy Putt

Thom Kulp

Ann Yeager Lawson

Joan Maguire

Robert McCloskey

Rick Snizik

Catherine Stone

Doug Tomlinson

Arts on Union in December

GRAPHIC2Arts on Union will exhibit work by the Mixed Media Art Group, Saturday, Dec. 7 through Jan. 26 at the gallery and studio, 203 North Union St, Middletown, PA.  The public is invited to a free reception with the artists on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 5 to 9 p.m. Gallery hours are Saturdays from 11 am to 4 pm and Sundays from noon to 4 pm.

Painters, photographers and assemblage artists from Central Pennsylvania comprise the MMAG. The group exhibits and sells its art locally, nationally and internationally. Media include encaustic, collage, mixed media, acrylic, watercolor, oil, cold wax, photography, assemblage, and digital. Styles range from traditional to contemporary and exploratory. Large and small works at affordable price points will be available throughout the exhibition.

For more information about the gallery and the artists, please visit Arts on Union and Mixed Media Art Group.

Judy Kelly at AAH Invitational

Mixed Media Art Group member, Judy Kelly, aka robot Girl, will be showing her amazing robot assemblages at the upcoming 5 Artist Invitational Exhibit at the Art Association of Harrisburg. The exhibit opens Friday, December 6th, with an artist reception from 5 pm – 8 pm. Judy’s robots will be on display along with 4 other artists until January 2, 2014.

Judy Kelly -Robot GirlJudy is a mixed media, collage, and assemblage artist from Harrisburg. She began making her robots just a few years ago, out of a passion for her love of small and interesting objects. She scours local flea markets for materials and it is there that one of the dealers dubbed her “Robot Girl”. Judy Kelly - Robot Girl

You can see more of Judy’s work on the Mixed Media Art Group website.