Lina Alattar: The Unscripted Experience of Painting

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Lina Alattar

Lina Alattar

“Abstract work has its own way of explaining itself,” says Lina Alattar, an abstract painter at Touchstone Gallery who works in acrylics on canvas.  To understand how her paintings speak, she tunes into each one by being consciously aware and open.  “I just respond to the marks, because it’s the experience of painting that drives the painting.”  Knowing that nothing is scripted opens the door to tolerance for “accidents” that happen during the painting process.  For Lina, these unexpected happenings in the creative process preempt any preconceived ideas.  Each one shows her the possibility of going in a different direction, a road less traveled perhaps.  American contemporary painter Helen Frankenthaler summed it up saying, “You have to know how to use the accident, how to recognize it, how to control it, or ways to eliminate it so that the whole surface looks complete and born all at once.”

Balance Beam

Balance Beam

This kind of spontaneity contrasts mightily with today’s automated, highly scheduled, perfectionist world—a world in which one is expected to fit alongside everyone else into cultural and corporate standards and boundaries. An end result is often the erasure of one’s innermost self and the death of aesthetic meanings that are so life-giving.  “The craving for this beauty and serenity is not satisfied by materials the marketplace has to offer, but can only be sated through creative thinking and the wholeness-of-being that connecting with art can provide.” Lina notes that “cultures which value art are less focused on guns and violence than those that lack the appreciation and freedom to create and cultivate the arts.”

Islands in the Stream

Islands in the Stream

During her childhood Lina’s family lived on three continents in ten years before settling in Nashville, Tennessee.  No matter where they lived she practiced art, because at age five she knew she wanted to be a painter. With this goal in mind Lina obtained a degree in art at the Middle Tennessee State University and an art study program in Italy following graduation.  Then she was ready to enter the corporate worlds of Kiplinger, the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University.  Finally the call to devote her time and skills to art was strong enough to cause a change in her career path.  She quit the corporate job world and set up a studio so she could enhance the community with her abstract expressionist paintings.  Lina relates to the work of contemporary California artist Richard Diebenkorn, who wrote, “What I do is face the blank canvas and put a few arbitrary marks on it that start me on some sort of dialogue.”  From those tracks and traces a complete and integral painting eventually appears, giving meaning to her life and to those who view her work.  Her Unscripted paintings will give viewers a life-giving boost during the month of July, 2016 at Touchstone Gallery.

July 1-31, 2016;   Opening Reception: Friday, July 22, 6-8:30pm;  Artist Talk: Saturday, July 30, 2-4 pm

Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Avenue NW, Washington DC 20001; www.touchstonegallery.com

Promises

Promises

McCain McMurray: Stained Paintings

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Think about diving into  the waters of the Caribbean.  Imagine feeling the sensations of being under and in the water off St. Bart’s, St. Johns or Martinique.  Cooling blues and greens float with muted reds, yellows or oranges.  Then visit the newest paintings by McCain McMurray in his solo exhibit Immersion at Touchstone Gallery during the month of July.  You’ll see slices of the Caribbean in his long vertical paintings—painted essays defining the essence of this watery space and the experience of exploring life in it.

Anse de Lorient

Anse de Lorient

Working in acrylic, McMurray pours multiple layers of thinned paint onto the unprimed canvas and allows the pigment to seep into the fabric to actually stain the canvas. This staining process creates a flow that is different from his previous works on board. “This process results in freedom to take advantage of serendipity and the surprises it can bring,” he states.

McCain McMurray

McCain McMurray

Trowels are used to spread the acrylic.  Wet paint is poured into wet paint or wet paint over dry to create either blends of colors or edges of color.  Ink and wax pencils are used for additional mark making.

Many paintings are covered by 15 to 20 layers of pigment before they are finished, resulting in very rich deep colors. These paintings offer a version of McMurray’s reality, a reality that “has to be digested…to be transmuted by paint,” as American abstract expressionist painter Richard Diebenkorn observed.

Immersion: Paintings by McCain McMurray

http://www.mccainmcmurray.com

July 1-31, 2016: Opening Reception: Friday, July 22, 6-8:30 pm; Artist Talk: Saturday, July 30, 2-4 pm

Touchstone Gallery,  901 New York Avenue NW,  Washington DC 20001; www.touchstonegallery.com

Anse de Toiny

Anse de Toiny

Linda Bankerd: A Delicate Balance

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Linda Bankerd

Linda Bankerd

Riding a bike the way Linda does takes a lot of exertion.  That she burns calories as she whizzes through the landscape there is no doubt.  But what she gains is more subtle.  Forms blur their way into her brain, are stored there and often make an appearance in her abstract paintings.  Likewise everyday colorful home objects and special rooms in the interior of her home, also penetrate her psyche and accumulate there until called upon when she faces a new blank canvas.  With brush in hand and acrylic paints at the ready, those stockpiled sensations emerge and turn into colorful complex shapes and forms.

For Linda, painting is a delicate balance between discipline and careful planning (which works well in most of the other aspects of her life) and freedom.  “Although I establish some limitations and parameters in painting, the objective for me is freedom.  Freedom of expression and freedom from some preconceived image or idea.  With artistic expression one is bound, indeed one must, produce that which is innovative and original.  This kind of freedom is demanding!”

La Casa en Merida 22 x 30

La Casa en Merida 22 x 30

Structure and discipline provide the playground for Linda’s openness to inventive expression.  Being vulnerable to one’s intuition concerning chosen places or objects (which are the roots of her paintings), allows Linda creative leeway.  Summarizing, she affirms, “I allow myself to leave parts in, leave parts out, come in close, back up (but not so much), choose colors that I like that day, add drawing, and add collage if I want to.”  After painting extemporaneously for a while, she begins to make judgments and decisions.  “If I’m lucky, the painting may be finished or close to finished in one session,” says Linda, “If so, the painting has painted itself, or at least it seems that way.”

Such ease is rarely the case, however, so changes need to be made to some colors or shapes until all is harmonious. “That’s when I apply reason and knowledge of the basic principles of art–composition, color, etc. Sometimes it helps to look back at the source for ideas.  Sometimes it is better to proceed from the stopping point using what is suggested from the painting itself.  Sometime it is better to start a new painting,” Linda reflects.

Linda’s June solo at Touchstone Gallery, Home is where the Art Is, reflects her way of painting.  Through texture, emotional content, and layers upon layer of nuanced paint, viewers will discern the beauty of living at the center or heart of her home: the place where painting and freedom of expression thrives.  Rosemary Luckett

June 3-26 Touchstone Gallery; Opening Reception June 3, 6-8:30 pm

901 New York Avenue NW Washington DC 20001          202-­347-­2787 www.touchstonegallery.com         info@touchstonegallery.com

Hours: Wednesday ­ Friday 11-­6, Saturday ­ Sunday 12-­5

Interior with Piano 36 x 36

Interior with Piano 36 x 36

The Touchstone Community: History Highlights

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TOUCHSTONE IS COMMUNITY

Artist-owned Touchstone Gallery has maintained a reputation for exhibiting contemporary work of high quality, vision and innovation by top-notch artists. Since the beginning, Touchstone’s mission remains unaltered: to enrich the lives of the community through exhibits of diverse contemporary collections of visual art; to promote a rich variety of artistic talent in the DC region;  to connect collectors with its artists; and to foster continuing artistic and career growth of participating artist through encouragement and support.  As a member owned and managed gallery, Touchstone artists enjoy the right to guide gallery policies and control their solo exhibitions.   For each piece seen in any given monthly exhibit, countless others are located in each artist’s studio.  Our director, artists and staffers are readily available for discussing all artwork types, techniques, and commission possibilities.

2016 members copy2016 Members (partial) L-R back: Alex Gray, Carolyn Johnson, Janet Wheeler, April Rimpo, Claudia Samper, Timothy Johnson, Pete McCutchen, Linda Bankerd, Mary Ott, David Alfuth, Colleen Sabo, Gale Wallar, JoAnne Block, Janathel Shaw, Jeanne Garrant. L-R Front: Mike Lang, Shelley Lowenstein, Ksenia Grishkova (director), Rosa Vera, Rosemary Luckett Not pictured: Steve Alderton, Lina Alattar, Jill Brantley, Marcia Coppel, Charlie Dale, Mari DeMaris, Elaine Florimonte, Judith Guiliani, Robert Goebel, Leslie Johnston, Makda Kibour, Harvey Kupferberg, Kate McConnell, McCain McMurray, Amy Sabrin, Maureen Squires, Lisa Tureson, Pat Williams, Lionel Daniels, Dana Brotman, Betsy Forster, Paula Lantz, Georgia Nassikas, BD Richardson, Richard Braswell, Jonathan Wassom, Harmon Biddle, David Beers, Newton More, Gail Vogels

TOUCHSTONE IS CONNECTING    

“Touchstone Gallery has allowed me to discover and explore artists in an amazing variety of shows. This artist collective allows a collector to meet and understand the artist’s perspective on their works – which enhances the personal connection to the art and the world it portrays.  My collection has grown and matured from beautiful watercolor paintings to vibrant mixed media works from talented artists in the Mid-Atlantic region.” Chad Thyes, private collector

Touchstone Gallery is open Wednesday-Friday 11-6 and Saturday-Sunday 12-5.  In addition to showing artwork, the Gallery offers its unique space for special event rentals.

For more information, contact: Ksenia Grishkova, Director, email info@touchstonegallery.com or call 202-347-2787

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Just a few of the hundreds of artworks made by Touchstone Members: http://www.touchstonegallery.com

TOUCHSTONE IS BRICKS AND MORTAR (History Highlights)

1976:  Touchstone Gallery was established as an artist-owned gallery and opened its doors at a large gallery at 2130 P St. NW in DuPont Circle, then the prime gallery area in Washington. Story has it that the opening crowd was so large that P Street was gridlocked for several hours. Touchstone operated from the P St. location for thirteen great years.

1990:  Touchstone moved to a new space at the corner of R St and Connecticut Avenue NW, the old Toast and Strawberries building. The space was rented “as is” and was quickly renovated with the financial and in-kind support of donors and a local builder.

1995:  Motivated to grow its membership and to associate itself with a cluster other galleries, Touchstone relocated to 406 7th St. NW, in what is now known as the historic Penn Quarter section of Washington. The new gallery offered an expansive exhibition space and quickly became a “destination gallery” in a very active art scene that included several exhibition spaces and five other galleries.

Touchstone enjoyed 15 years of successful exhibitions on 7th St., but decided to move to street level after the building was closed for renovation in 2009.   “Many in the Penn Quarter neighborhood were saddened to learn that 406 7th Street’s owner planned on renovating the building, requiring the tenants, including Touchstone Gallery, to find new spaces to lease.  Happily, Touchstone Gallery eventually found a home at Boston Properties new building on New York Avenue.  Their presence continues to contribute to the Penn Quarter arts scene and delight both those who live and work here with its ever changing exhibits.” Jo-Ann Neuhaus, Executive Director,  Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association.

2010:  Touchstone Gallery moved a couple of blocks off 7th to its current location, a custom-built space at 901 New York Avenue NW.  With street-level prominence, it is the most elegant space to date, and is located between the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Located just across from City Center DC Touchstone, continues to serve the community, its members and its collectors.

The dedicated Touchstone members who took up the challenge to move from 7th Street to 901 New York Ave NW pictured below.

Touchstone Group-high res 3

L-R Back (pictured members): Charlie Dale, Mike Lang, Mary Trent Scott, Newt More, Janet Wheeler, Betsy Forster, Rima Schulkind, Marcia Coppel, Mary Ott, Cynthia Young, Joshua Gomez, Rosemary Luckett, Steve Alderton, Gary Bergel, Harriett Rosenbaum, Charles St. Charles. L-R Front: Janathel Shaw, Michele Cormier, Dina Volkova, Ksenia Grishkova (director)    (not pictured): Teresa Logan, Nancy Novick, Paula Lantz, Peter Karp, Michele Rogers, Mari DeMaris, Tory Cowles

Build out in process at the new Touchstone Gallery 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC

Build out in process at the new Touchstone Gallery 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2009 Boston Properties building team

2009 Boston Properties building team

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Finished Interior of the new Touchstone Gallery

901 New York Ave NW building City Center901 New York Ave NW building City Center

 

 

Touchstone Gallery Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary!

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It’s 2016 and Touchstone Gallery is in a celebratory mood!  Being one of the longest-tenured and most highly regarded artist-owned galleries in Washington, DC, Touchstone will celebrate its 40th year in Washington on May 13th with an Anniversary Gala and a May 4-29 member artists show, featuring solo artists, Paula Lantz and Colleen Sabo, and works by present and former members. The gala and show are open to the public.

Touchstone Opening at 901 New York Ave N W

Touchstone Opening at 901 New York Ave NW

Touchstone Gallery was founded in 1976 by 30 talented and committed artists and has become an institution in the DC arts community.  The Gallery has earned a well-deserved reputation for showcasing a wide range of award-winning contemporary art, including painting, prints, sculpture, mixed media, and photography.

“Touchstone continues to be a collective creation of DC area artists,” explained Rosemary Luckett, a Touchstone collage artist and art teacher. “Our goal is to enrich the community by promoting art, making it accessible, available, and affordable.”

Goebel opening

Over its history, Touchstone has been home to over 300 member artists and it has provided a show venue for guest artists who were part of national and local juried shows. It has also collaborated with local organizations, such as Art Enables, Miriam’s Kitchen Studio, the Duke Ellington High School of the Arts, Capital Fringe, The Prisons Foundation and many others.  And it has partnered with embassies to exhibit international artists, including France, Estonia, the Netherlands, and Afghanistan.

“For 40 years, Touchstone has been home to many outstanding artists,” said sculptor Janet Wheeler, a founding member. “We have worked hard to promote a rich variety of area talent, to connect collectors with our artists, and to foster the artistic and career growth of participating artists. I continue to be proud of the impact we’ve had on our members and the contributions we have made to DC’s cultural and artistic community.”

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“Touchstone’s founders envisioned not just a gallery providing an exceptional home to area artists, but also a vibrant contributor to the broader community.  The gallery is concerned with the community beyond its walls, a defining part of its structure that sets us apart from many other galleries,” said Ksenia Grishkova, Gallery Director. “We host student art shows and art exhibitions that are a result  of art therapy programs, thereby supporting our local community, and sometimes contribute a percentage of sales to local service organizations.”

With community on its mind, in 2012 the gallery created the nonprofit Touchstone Foundation for the Arts (TFA).  TFA organizes art classes for children and adults in the Shaw neighborhood, showcases the works of artists from DC non-profit agencies, and sponsors fellowships for emerging artists, which include mentoring, two years of gallery membership and a solo exhibit.   Alexander Padro, Executive Director of Shaw Main Streets, Inc., says, “Congratulations to Touchstone Gallery for four decades of exposing the work of new and established DMV artists to DC art lovers. Shaw has a great tradition and history as the home of great artists, from Alma Thomas to ‘Duke’ Ellington, and Touchstone is an important part of what makes Shaw one of Washington’s premier arts destinations.”

Touchstone Gallery is open Wednesday-Friday 11-6 and Saturday-Sunday 12-5.  The gallery offers its unique space for special event rentals.

For more information, contact: Ksenia Grishkova, Director, email info@touchstonegallery.com or call

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The Abstract Icons of Paula Lantz

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Paula Lantz head shot copy

Paula Lantz

Paula Lantz always watches people as she goes about her day–in a restaurant, on the Metro, in a park or grocery store.  Or at the mall.  These folks aren’t doing much;  just going about the business of living, but Paula wonders what each one is thinking or feeling, and makes a mental note of her guesses.

It may seem odd to others, but this ordinary activity inspires Paula to paint abstracted portraits.   “Using bold colors, collage, energetic brushwork, and simple shapes, I seek emotional impact,” she states.

Do I know You by Paula Lantz - pr

Do I Know You?

Back in her studio, Paula is alone as she turns on the music and begins each painting.
She allows her mind “go into the zone,” as the popular phrase goes.  This meditative stance helps her to connect to the spirit she intuited in each person she has observed. While painting abstractly, she seeks the subtlety and drama that connects us all as part of the human family. Thus each of these figures becomes an icon or artifact recognized by viewers as representing some aspect of our common cultural identity.

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Anonymous Caller

Look for Paula’s May solo exhibition of figures Do I Know You?   at Touchstone Gallery from May 4 – 29, 2016   Reception: Friday May 13, 6-8:30pm     http://www.touchstonegallery.com

Colleen Sabo: Playing Favorites with Oil

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Colleen with Dunn Cove painting

Colleen with Dunn Cove painting

In her May 2016 Touchstone Gallery solo exhibition, A Few of My Favorite Things, Colleen Sabo introduces her new body of work in oils.  Long a color painter in water media, Colleen shifted her focus to oil several years ago and has not looked back since.

Blueberry State

Blueberry State

“I began a love affair with oil painting because I like using oil’s vibrant color.  I choose to paint colors,  interesting shapes, and edges, because they  reveal to me a deep sense of what is important in my life,” says Sabo.  Painting is a way of life for Sabo. She is inspired by her daily environment, her travels, and an absolute awe of nature.  She loves the colorful world in which she lives on the Chesapeake Bay.  Brilliant sunny days, wild nor’easter storms, rolling hills and bucolic scenes of southern Maryland are part of every-day life and viewed from her studio and home. Her loose abstractions also capture forests, water scenes, the streets of Paris and markets along the Champs Elysees.

 

Christmas Market on the Champs Elysee, Paris

Christmas Market on the Champs Elysee, Paris

A Few of My Favorite Things is Sabo’s third solo exhibit at Touchstone Gallery.    She is an award-winning member of the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club in New York City, established in 1896, and a signature member of the Allied Artists of America, also of New York City.

See Colleen’s exhibit between May 6-29, 2016; Touchstone Gallery, 901 NY AVE NW, Washington DC; opening reception May 13 6:00-8:30 pm

 

Rosemary Luckett: Uncovering Nature’s Dream and Us

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Rosemary Luckett

Rosemary Luckett

Rosemary Luckett has come full circle this April in her Touchstone solo exhibition Earth House.  She continues with a circle of life theme that she started in a Round River series some years ago, probing relationships between the earth, its living creatures and humankind.  Through images of the seen, she points to – hints at – what is often unseen.  “The apparent visible and the hidden visible… in nature are never separated,” wrote Magritte, an artist she admires.  The fun in looking at her works is to discover both visible and related hidden.

Which Came First collage on paper

Which Came First
collage on paper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Earth House, Rosemary focuses less on human proliferation and consumption and more on the living creatures and elements that support human life. Her medium this time is collage and poetry which tell stories of the bonds and intertwinings between life forms: minuscule phytoplankton to tall trees to us, for example.  Inspired by Northwest coast Indian transformation masks, Southwestern Hispanic retablos, and writings of Loren Eisely, she houses some of her works in wood shrines, emphasizing their iconic nature. This current exhibit is, all in all, an exploration of the impressive achievement and adaptive competence of living creatures who preceded humans, begetting more diverse and complex forms over eons on a fiercely wild and often inhospitable planet. And the Great Dreamer Creator behind the mask of the universe in all its majesty and in all its minutiae. Rosemary Luckett

See prior blog:

 Https://touchstonegallery.wordpress.com//?s=Rosemary+Luckett&search=Go

Earth House March 30 to May 1.  Opening Friday May 8, 6-8:30 pm; Meet the Artist Saturday May 23, 5-7 pm. Regular viewing hours W-F  11-6, S-S 12-5

Figure 8 plus 1 (part 2)

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In January we introduced you to four of the artists who will be exhibiting at Touchstone Gallery in March. In their exhibit FIGURE 8 PLUS 1, the artists continue the historical tradition of exploring the human form in a variety of media and styles including photography, oil, acrylic, watercolor and sculpture.

Opening Reception: Friday, March 4, 6 – 8:30 pm
Artists Talk: Saturday, March 19, 2 – 4 pm

In this post we introduce you to four more of the artists participating in FIGURE 8 PLUS 1:

Dana Brotman – A Focus on the Gaze     Janathel Shaw – Expressionist Sculpture Gail Vogels – Magic Realism Narrative   Timothy Johnson – A Contemporary Slant on Traditional

Dana-WomanOnBluePillow

Woman on Blue Pillow

Dana Brotman has spent her artistic career conveying the power the face evokes. The face for her is a landscape of feeling, memory, and desire. She presents the face in archetypal poses and positions, recalling the agelessness of religious icons and idols and the still beauty of daguerreotype portraiture. Her subjects come to her from a magazine photo, a person seen across the room, and, inevitably, from memory and the ineffable sensations that filter through the seams of daily life.

Woman on Cardboard

Woman on Cardboard

Trained and working full time as a clinical psychologist, Brotman’s world is filled with faces in thought and transfigured by the reverberating echoes of the past. Her art, while not in any way about her patients, is saturated with the poignancy of the stories that they tell and with the impact of the faces upon which she gazes and which gaze back at her.


JanathelShaw

Janathel Shaw explores the figure, expression, and narrative in her ceramic sculptures. Her figures primarily focus on social and political themes.  “My sculptures portray people of color, Shaw remarks, “which I view as part of the American genre. Clay is a natural medium to navigate the expression of love for the human form, abstract figure or juxtapose the two. “

Shaw continues, “There is something intimate, vulnerable and seductive about the human form.   What will the surface, texture and coloring reveal?  Clay is the ideal medium allowing me to convey strength, joy, empathy or pathos and aesthetic appreciation in three-dimensional space. Clay is fluid, adaptable, rigid and beautiful.  This is how I view life.”

With each new figure, Shaw pushes her personal envelope in style, quality, form and personal voice. Her recent pieces include sgrafitto images that appear as carved tattoos, adding deeper meaning to a political or social message.


While She Slept

While She Slept

 

Gail Vogels most recent body of work  Oh Life!  She explores  micro and macro themes happening simultaneously–those natural forces and choices that make us human beings.  “Using mixed media elements -instead of painting – I tried to figure out how to make various themes intersect on a picture plane. Plus, using scissors and glue is fun.  The process is old school and the experience evokes childhood.”

Beauty

Beauty

Gail uses an assemblage of her life drawing fragments, hand altered papers and found objects. The forms found in nature and architecture are juxtaposed with the figure revealing the everyday world in new and unfamiliar ways.   The magic realism narrative is intentional.  Vogels’ work tells a story of the beautiful and the temporary and seeks to remind people that there are still many mysteries in this life. More information about Gail Vogels and her work can be found at www.gailvogels.com.


 

Beef Carcass

Beef Carcass

Traditional portraiture with a decidedly contemporary slant, a mouth full, but is the closest wording I have found to describe the style with which Timothy Johnson paints.

In this current series Johnson has taken a small sidestep out of his standard use of friends, family and work colleagues as stand-ins for mythological or historical figures. Here the likeness of an individual and their portrayed personage is left out of the equation entirely. The figure and the figure alone, unidentified/anonymous, is what takes center stage. Tim’s self-coined phrase, single figure narrative, to describe portrait as storytelling still applies to this new work, but the impression you are left with is less about facts and information, but more about a sense of emotional inquiry.


The other artists in the exhibit are:
April M. Rimpo  – Exploring Culture through Color   Paula Lantz – The Human Condition through Abstracted Figures  Shelley Lowenstein – A Painter of Stories Michael A. Lang – Street Photographer on the Museum Experience   Steven M. Alderton – Impressionistic Paintings of Human Essence—Form and Spirit

Join the artists at the Opening Reception on March 4, 2016. If you would like additional one-on-one time with the artists, consider attending our Artists Talk event on March 19th beginning at 2  pm. Format includes a short talk by each artist, followed by time to interact individually with the artists. To learn more about the artists in FIGURE 8 PLUS 1 visit the Touchstone Gallery website: http://www.touchstonegallery.com/index/

Scroll below the next blog post to see blog about Figure 8 plus 1 (part 1)  Then head on down to Touchstone Gallery for a first hand look.

OR click here to see Figure 8 plus 1 (part 1) https://touchstonegallery.wordpress.com/2016/01/17/figure-8-plus-1-part-1/

 

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