Harmon Biddle: Transforming Landscapes

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Harmon Biddle

Harmon Biddle

Army families and those in the diplomatic corps move around the country a lot and often get stationed “overseas.”  Harmon Biddle’s family fit those service categories.  She lived in many states and  European posts including Germany, Japan and England.  While she didn’t think of herself as an artist at a young age, she was often at the side of her mother who painted pastel portraits. Perhaps some of that artistic sensibility and some of those varied landscapes seeped into her psyche only to become an active force in adulthood. Harmon always dabbled in art but this took second row seat to becoming a psychoanalyst.  She currently practices psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in tandem with her art.

Magnificent Wave

Magnificent Wave

In the 1980’s, Harmon made an art studio over the garage.  She intuitively knew that she wanted to get serious about painting. Now with “a room of her own” and inspiration from Southwestern landscapes, Harmon began to paint.  Her format often takes the shape of long horizontal rectangles, as if she’s trying to capture 180 degrees of horizon. Other paintings are pure emanations of her imagination, particularly those based on oval egg shapes.   Being a psychoanalyst, one would think Harmon could explain where those eggs came from, but she’s not exactly sure. It’s up to the viewer to discern meaning from this complex symbol whose meanings range from potential to vulnerability, and from strength to latency or potential.

Remembrance

Remembrance

As in her landscape compositions, Harmon just starts with a particular color and then sees what happens as she flows watercolor paints into the paper.  Something happens in her unconscious between the time she records an image and when she actually begins to paint it.  Color becomes arbitrary.  Sometimes it’s bright, as in the egg pictures, and sometimes its subdued browns and grays.  She has the aptitude for accepting what comes forth from her imagination and letting the process lead her to an unplanned completion.

Celestial Body

Celestial Body

Taking her paintings a step further, Harmon sometimes pairs up with an Italian glassmaker at Adriano Berengo Fine Arts on the island of Murano.  There, her two dimensional egg paintings are transformed into very heavy and transparent glass structures that capture light in unexpected ways.  Both paintings and the large glass 3-D pieces in her Touchstone Solo Earth Elements can be viewed between February 4 and March 1. –Rosemary Luckett

Heat

Heat

Gail Vogels: Exploring and Transforming

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Gail Vogels

Gail Vogels

It’s not surprising that Gail Vogels was inspired by the novel All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr when she set out to construct her new multi-media art works. She’s been interested in literature most of her life, studying it in college and coming away with a bachelor’s degree in the field. “That book was a launching point for me.  I wanted to explore  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 your childhood.”

 

While She Slept

While She Slept

Gail started these transformative works by eschewing her favorite paint, cutting up several figure drawings and collecting other papers and monotype prints.   Keeping in mind the entire galaxy of our existence and the space between that largeness and tiny life forms, she began to arrange her elements on the surface of cradled clayboards.  (Archival and acid-free, Claybord is created by applying an archival kaolin clay ground to a True Artist Hardbord substrate, then sanding it to a velvet-smooth, absorbent finish.) This rigid backing is ideal for accepting textures, hand altered papers, found objects and the permanent black ink she uses.  The technical aspect of gluing required experimentation with many adhesives.  Several coatings of matte medium cover the finished design and protect the layers underneath.  These works are mostly black and white except for a bit of sienna and metallics.

 

Beauty

Beauty

Gail grew up in “Wyeth country”,  a rural area outside Philadelphia, PA.   At an early age  she developed the language of perception by watching her mother and a neighboring artist create oil paintings.  Fearing she could not make a living as a painter, she pursued a graduate degree in counseling college-age students. Because of her husband’s career,  she moved  to Atlanta, GA. The transition from this particular northern city to this particular southern one was a daunting undertaking.  At the same time, it provided an opportunity.  The opportunity was to realize a dream of hers–to study fine arts at the graduate level.

In this solo exhibition Oh Life! at Touchstone Gallery, Gail seems to reflect Wyeth’s outlook.  “I paint my life, ” he has noted many times.  Even though he’s classified as a realist, his paintings have an abstractness about them.  Upon examination, even the simplest painted object has a profound meaning.  Gail likewise celebrates life, objects of nature and architecture, and the human figure.  Her assembled stories of the beautiful and the temporary remind the viewer how the small intersects vitally and mysteriously with the large.  Her abstract multi-media works are  now on exhibit from January 2 – February 1, 2015.  Opening Reception ▪ Friday, January 9, 2015, 6-8:30 pm.  Visitors will be able to watch Gail’s work process on Artists at Work ▪ Sunday, January 25, 2-4 pm.  She will answer questions and discuss her work. 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC. info@touchstonegallery.com

 

Contemplation

Contemplation

 

 

Pat Williams: Coaxing Abstracts From Reality

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Pat Williams

Pat Williams

“I enjoy painting more than anything else I’ve ever done, and I’ve done quite a few things,” says Pat Williams, a native of North Carolina who now lives in Falls Church, Virginia.  This is quite a remarkable statement coming from a person who majored in engineering and spent most of her career working for electrical cooperatives and other energy companies.

When creativity eventually bubbled to the surface, Pat exited her electrical finance career to put her writing skills into practice.  As a communications consultant, Pat’s writings are highly controlled. “

The simple watercolor sketch that sparked the beginning of Pat's solo series

The simple watercolor sketch that sparked the beginning of Pat’s solo series

I edit in my mind before I ever put a word on paper. I edit myself further as I polish drafts, and then the drafts are edited by an employer, an editor, often a committee. The end result is a collaborative effort, which can be wonderful, but it isn’t necessarily me.” That editorial format left Pat searching for another way to express herself more freely.

With trepidation and self-doubt,  she enrolled in a watercolor class. Practically speaking it was a good choice. Her paintings were portable, they dried fast, and she could work on them when traveling with her husband on business.   The classes seemed a bit daunting at first as they generally are for beginners of any age, but Pat laid out some basic rules for herself.  She would paint for enjoyment and not worry about what anyone else in the class was doing.  She soon realized that there is a reason the teacher is the teacher, so she focused on learning what her instructors had to offer.   Phillip Hocking, her first teacher, patiently guided her through the nuances of watercolor.  “Yes, you must buy $3 sheets of paper even to practice on! And don’t be timid about putting enough paint on that paper,” she remembers him saying as he coached her in the techniques she wanted to learn.

Internal Dialog

Internal Dialog

Everybody needs a teacher that is able to draw out the creativity of an individual student,” remarks Pat.  Deborah Ellis did that while showing her how to manipulate the interaction between water and paint.  Steve Fleming offered enlightening critiques and encouraged her to exhibit work, while Marsha Staiger taught her to express her own vocabulary of abstraction with fluidity and fluency.

Urban-crowding

Urban-crowding

Starting in 1989 Pat painted reality in fine detail, but over time she achieved a long-held goal of being able to painting abstractly. Her January 2-February 1, 2015 Touchstone Gallery solo exhibition, Hidden Things Revealed, is a culmination of that learning process.  Using a Multimedia Artboard ™ foundation  (a rigid paper substrate consisting of an innovative combination of paper and thermalset resin), these paintings are explorations of the similarities and differences among common plants and animals.  Glimpsed behind veils of Pat’s abstract washes, disparate life forms are connected by color and shape divulging both hidden and revealed aspects of each.

See Hidden Things Revealed at the opening party on  Friday, December 9, 2015, 6 to 8:30pm and during Gallery hours throughout January.  In addition, Pat will be painting at an Artist at Work event at Touchstone on Sunday, January 25, 2-4 pm.  In a relaxed Gallery atmosphere that includes light refreshments, she’ll explain how she works — while she works.  Questions are welcome.  info@touchstonegallery.com; 202-347-2787

Rosemary Luckett

Be Present

Be Present

Annika Haas: Observing with a Photographic Eye

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Annika Haas, Estonian Photographer

Annika Haas, Estonian Photographer

Photographer and Touchstone Gallery Guest Artist Annika Haas lives and works in Estonia, a small country located between Latvia and the Gulfs of Finland and Riga—a cool, but fertile land.  Annika grew up there and received her BA from the University of Tartu in Finno-Ugric languages.  Subsequently she studied photo journalism in Tartu.  Traveling to London provided her with the chance to continue studies at the Photo Opportunity Studios and foto8 gallery.

A member of the board Estonian Association of Press photographers, she has entered and won many contests.  The latest being 2014 Grand Prize for Estonian Press Photo.  In 2012, she received Honorable Mention in the 2012 FotoWeekDC International Awards Competition, Washington DC, USA. For a complete list of exhibition and awards visit her website at www.annikahaas.com.

planewatchers03web

Ivan Melnitski

Annika’s work includes several series: Gypsies in Estonia, portraits, landscapes, Lake Peipus Russian Old Believers, and why some people are bald and others not. These series are in color, while Underground bar scene works are shot in black and white. Annika eshews the computer and uses a Ljubitel camera and latitude negative film to make chromogenic colour prints (C-prints).

Tamara

Tamara

Annika’s Touchstone solo “Plane Watchers” are a series of photographs that follows the extinction of the last of the Soviets in Estonia who are being displaced from their 54 year old little dachas and gardens so that the Tallinn Airport runways can be expanded. Began in 2010, the series contains both portraits and documentary photos.  It reflects the conflict between the followers of a fading era and a new social order pressing down on them.  “It shows how a group of people hangs on to the past in the teeth of the new rules,” Annika explains.  The complex human stories in this exhibit may remind viewers of similar work produced by William Eggleston and Washington DC’s William Christenberry who document the lives of people of the southern United States.

Annika’s works are sponsored by the Embassy of Estonia in Washington and can be seen from December 5-28, 2014 at Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC.  www.touchstonegallery.com; info@touchstonegallery.com.  Rosemary Luckett, Annika Haas

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Paula Lantz: Designer of Plans and Paintings

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Paula Lantz head shot copy

Paula Lantz

Paula is one of those rare persons who can make and follow a detailed plan of action and yet act spontaneously in the next moment.  For the first half of her professional life, she focused on corporate jobs as a “structural planner” of employee self-improvement programs.  In  the second half she became an abstract painter.  Perhaps these seemingly contradictory abilities are innate, or perhaps she learned them along the way.

Paula’s life began in Marfa, Texas, a small town in the high desert of the Trans-Pecos, located between the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park.  Her family were ranchers.  Marfa  was a quiet place whose population numbered around 1900 folks.  It’s claim to fame is that the movie “Giant” was (appropriately) filmed there.

As often happens in this giant territory, rains cease, long droughts set in and some ranchers lose their shirts.  Luckily  Paula’s father had a college degree in accounting, so when their ranch dried up, he found a fiscal job in Columbia, South America, and took the family with him.  Paula spent the next 10 years traveling between a boarding school in Charleston, SC and her Columbian home, voyages that sparked a life-long love of travel.  Her college years were spent at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Resting Ballet Dancer

Resting Ballet Dancer

Equipped with a masters degree in health, Paula settled on the east coast to begin a double career as mother and health professional.  Paula became a designer of smoking cessation and employee fitness programs for the corporate world as well as for hospitals in Northern Virginia and Maryland.  After 20 plus years in this field, Paula turned those organizational skills in a different direction, designing a two-part art plan for herself! She decided (1) to be a docent at one of DC’s art museums, and (2) to began taking art classes.

Paula followed her plan and has been a docent at the Smithsonian American Museum of Art for 20 years.  Art classes continued parallel to the docent job.  She learned from Alice Neal, Andy Warhol, the Impressionists,  Bonnard, Diebenkorn, Matisse and so many others while exploring monotype printmaking, mixed media materials, and painting.  The drawing she began in college anatomy classes evolved into new ways of seeing.  “But nothing is ever lost or goes away,” she notes.  Along the way Paula became an artist using the bold intense color relationships she saw in the Texas sunsets of her youth. Add to that use of mixed media texture and a sensibility for abstraction and non-representation.

Couple at the Bar

Couple at the Bar

In her solo exhibit of dramatic psychological portraits, Observations, Paula leaves organizational structures behind, improvises, plumbs the depths of her travel experiences and paints abstractly the people she observes.  With brush dipped in acrylic paint and empathy in hand, her creativity pours forth energy and color in a spontaneous yet cohesive way, capturing the temperament of ordinary people– the essence of a moment in their life onto the canvas in a powerful way. Her nine gestural figurative paintings will be on exhibit at Touchstone Gallery December 3-28, 2014. The opening reception is Friday, Dec. 5 from 6-8:30 pm. 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC. Rosemary Luckett

diptych

Breakfast

David Alfuth: Bohemian Builder

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David Alfuth

David Alfuth

“You are on your own now,” said David Alfuth’s father the day of David’s graduation from  the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.  David had a double major in drawing/painting and art history, and was equipped with teaching credits, so he was good to go.  David took up the role of elementary art teacher in the Sheboygan school district for three years, enjoying the exuberance of children receptive to art – and, contrarily, putting up with the hard winters and enduring small town ordinariness.  But the longing to travel finally caught up with him after his Triumph Spitfire sports car got stuck in the snow one too many times.

Architecture (1)

Architecture (1)

Maybe he absorbed a wanderlust while hanging around the railroad yards, cleaning out box cars to help pay college tuition.  Maybe he inherited a wanderlust gene from his Dad’s German/Prussian ancestors who emigrated to Wisconsin decades earlier.  Or maybe his artistic temperament gave him the courage to leave the local pea cannery and cafe dishwashing station behind.  Add to those the winter weather.  Whatever the reasons, he packed his bags and headed out in search of more dynamic places, anywhere but the stable, ordinary neighborhoods of his childhood.

Ceiling #2

Ceiling #2

At the end of those three years of teaching, David and a few friends left Middle America for a yearlong, inspiring, delightful wandering of Europe.  It was the first of many travels abroad. Upon his return to the states, David settled in Washington DC, worked for Osuna Gallery, went to parties, hung out with off-beat people and decided to pursue an art career here.  Although he taught in several suburban school districts, David lived in the city where he could walk out the door and visit the museums, go to the theater and hang out in jazz clubs.  In between exploring abstract painting on vellum (several of which are now in Washington Hospital Center Critical Care Unit) and exploring photography, he finally settled on constructing black and white collages inspired by his travels and his collection of cubism and futuristic art.

Cubism (2)

Cubism (2)

Storytelling is characteristic of his most of his works, but David is focusing on perspective and architecture for his November 2014 solo exhibit at Touchstone Gallery.  From the hundreds of Xeroxed copies of Dover images, David is using fragments of old drawings to show the underworld that supports the above world, the unseen as well as the visible.  The time consuming process of gluing each specifically sized image onto black backing board enables him to create low relief collages as well as the Cubist inspired sculptures in his “Best of Both Styles: 3-D Collage” solo,  Expertly using contemporary copying tools, precision cutting, and an exacting vision, David works magic in the multiplied details that characterize his stories of wonder and mystery.

View his solo exhibition at Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave, Washington DC.,  info@touchstonegallery.com

From Nov. 7-30, 2014, Preview: Nov. 5-6, 11-6pm, Opening Reception Nov. 7, 6-8:30pm

Touchstone Artists Shine at 2014 (e)merge DC Art Fair

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(e)merge ART FAIR 2014

Capitol Skyline Hotel
10 “I” Street, SW
Washington D.C., DC 20024

The (e)merge art fair presents an extensive line-up of special projects and performances. Three Touchstone Artists join the fray: Leslie Nolan, Pete McCutchen and Ai-Wen Wu Kratz.  (e)merge also engages curators, gallerists, collectors, artists and other art world innovators in panel discussions during the fair.


 

LESLIE NOLAN: Energetic Figuration

Leslie Nolan

Leslie Nolan

Painter Leslie Nolan focuses on individual figures with the idea of capturing the real individual behind the facade.  Rather than portraits, the subjects of these works have become more and more distorted to reflect inner turmoil instead of the veneer we humans tend to display in public.  Her goal “is to de-cloak the individual from artificial wrapping to display a frank, honest and sometimes disconcerting state of being.”  Her work has evolved from full figure views to extreme close-ups in larger and larger formats, allowing for more abstracted brushwork and pop color.

Nolan’s controlled chaos seems to suggest that something important has happened to each subject, their  reaction to money or job-related issues, loneliness, semi-stable environments, or familial concerns. The idea behind this work is to show what is felt rather than what is seen.   “I’ve pared away context, details of clothing and background, and simplified a color palette to focus on emotion. I purposely avoid connecting all the dots.  The viewer must imagine a unique narrative based on his or her own idiosyncratic interpretation,”  Nolan states.

Hearing the Light

Hearing the Light

Nolan prefers horizontal or square formats to suggest that something different is happening, something significant. The most important technical element in her works is bold gestural, loose brushwork.  It exposes the process of the painting.  Corrections, scratches, drips, oozes are all elements that lend an unstable, constantly shifting feel to the character –  just like emotions, which are difficult to hold in check.  The energetic brushwork emulates an outpouring of feelings unrestrained by civility.  The work appears honest and real, in part because a polished, softened or subtle look is purposefully avoided. The work is all hand done.  Images are genuine expressions, forceful, and candid. Rosemary Luckett

THE ARTIST: University of Madrid, Spain; BA Portland State University; MS George Washington University;  MS National Defense University

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS: 2014 Art League Gallery; 2014 Touchstone Gallery; 2012 Glenview Mansion Gallery


AI-WEN WU KRATZ: Magical Intangibles

Ai-Wen Wu Kratz

Ai-Wen Wu Kratz

Ai-wen’s technical  goal in painting shaped canvases is to incorporate the material of the painting support into the image of the artwork.  She creates while painting on a huge ping-pong table using brushes, shaped canvases and masking and drafting tapes. The acrylic pigment application is hard-edged on both cotton duck and linen duck canvases. The inherent lightness and darkness of the textiles enrich the final image.

Renewal/Part II

Renewal/Part II

Once the technical parameters are met Ai-wen focuses on the magical aspects, the spiritual and intellectual qualities that appear in the colors, lines, shapes, forms and movements.  She tries ” to orchestrate an image so strong that it provokes intangible magical feelings in the viewer.”  In so doing, the basic visual elements have become her subject matter rather than any representations from daily life. The lines, colors, planes, forms, shapes and movements from her tools describe  the magic she feels and lighting enhanced environment amplifies it. Rosemary Luckett

THE ARTIST: BFA/Fort Wright College; MFA/Cranbrook Academy of Art; Alumna/Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; Alumna/NY Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS:  2013 / Gallery M, Vienna, Austria; 2014 / The New York Art Connection, Long Island, NY; 2014 / Crisolart Gallery, New York, NY


PETE McCUTCHEN: Beauty in the Salvage Yard

Emergency Exit

Emergency Exit

Pete McCutchen’s work shows what can happen when you get lost — on purpose.  He was driving through rural Pennsylvania, and he saw it: an Opel GT perched atop a school bus.  There was a big “no trespassing” sign, and at least some chance the owner of the salvage yard had firearms, but Pete knew he had to shoot there.  And so he asked Cliff Connors, of Connors Auto Parts for permission.  After signing a waiver, Pete got permission to shoot on 70 acres of rusted trucks, broken buses, and disused vehicles.  He asked Cliff how he got the Opel on top of the bus, but he didn’t have to ask why; it spoke for itself.

Thus was born Pete’s “Out of Service” series, an ongoing exploration of rural Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.  Soon he will expand his search to West Virginia.  He seeks to find and show the beauty in the disused broken wrecks found in the corners of rural America.  Pete McCutchen

Shelter

Shelter


Bill Mould : The Art of Allusion

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Bill Mould 2012

Bill Mould

Bill is a ceramic sculptor — one who works at taking clay from the earth and transforming it into sculptures, which recall ancient myths. The clay, heavy to begin with, becomes light and intensely fragile as he works with it.

Before exploring art, Bill was a professor of literature and a dean for 30 years. He worked closely with very bright students and watched them transform themselves into startlingly wonderful young men and women. It was like watching butterflies emerge from pupae. Art is the same, except that the artist has a much more direct hand in the process.  If a student or a child goes awry, one works hard to correct the problem. If a sculpture goes bad or blows up in the kiln, you mourn briefly, toss the shards, and move forward.  It is much easier.

Thinking about his own process, Bill muses, “I don’t think you ‘become’ an artist.  I think that we are all potential artists. It is when one decides to delve into one’s creativity that art can happen”  Over these past two years, Bill continues searching for the creative vein of ore that dwells within, exploring the theme of the palimpsest—a surface which has had many words and images scratched upon it, only to be erased to make way for new perceptions.“ Each piece is designed to evoke more than it shows. “My art is not an illusion, but an allusion, a constant reference to events and people and moments outside the piece itself.” Bill creates one-of-a-kind sculptures, using a unique approach which forces the ceramic clay into unusual forms and textures evoking parchment, leather, bronze and other substances. “The sculptures are enigmas. Through them, I attempt to capture those moments when truths slip in and out of our grasp, leaving us certain that there is more to the universe than what is simply in front of us.”

For Bill life itself is a palimpsest. “Events and objects around us have a direct impact on our personal palimpsest, as we have on others.” The world Bill has shaped calls on us to search the levels below apparent surfaces to discover truths which bind us as magical beings.  Now he has expanded his focus to see the human face as a reverse palimpsest that reveals truths, deep emotions, and past experience despite efforts to mask these vulnerabilities.

Every time he does a piece, it is a new discovery. The more he works, the more sure he is that a world without art is a world without insight into its soul. Not all artists can reach the highest levels, but all of us who work with sincerity and commitment will uncover at least a shred of the magic of the universe. And those of us who stop and absorb each piece are the richer for it.

Incognito, Ceramic, 21 x 15 inches

Incognito, Ceramic, 21 x 15 inches

Of the hundreds of Washington gallery exhibits in 2012, The Washington Post ranked Bill Mould’s last solo show at Touchstone among that year’s ten best. On September 5, Bill returns to Touchstone Gallery with a fresh approach to the elusive medium of semi-abstract ceramic clay. Bill Mould’s ABOUT FACE… et al solo exhibit (September 5 – 28, 2014) at Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC previews September 3-4, 11am–6pm.  The opening reception is Friday, September 5, 6 – 8:30 pm. Work in this exhibit has never been shown before.

Bill has exhibited widely through the DC/VA/MD area, as well as elsewhere up and down the East Coast. His work appears in many private collections in the area, as well as in New York City, the far West, the South, London and Paris. The National Institutes of Health commissioned him to create Hippocratic Oath, as the only art hanging in the NIH Executive Board Room. -Rosemary Luckett, Bill Mould

Newton More and His Photographing Tools

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newtonmore

Newton More

When it comes to cameras, Newt More has a hard time choosing his favorite.  It might be the pinhole camera or the now extinct Polaroid.  Or a digital camera which enables him to use the high dynamic range (HDR) process.  Then again, it might be the Holga toy camera, which he is having a lot of fun with these days.

Newt’s interest in cameras began during a decades-long career in science.  Newt graduated with a BS in zoology from University of Maryland, got his masters in pathology at the  Georgetown University, then worked there in a biological lab support job.  After that he moved to the George Washington University Medical  School clinical research lab where he became familiar with fluorescent confocal microscopy.  Somehow working with microscopes parked an interest in photography with hand-held cameras.

“I learned photography backwards,” he says, “jumping from the most complex cameras to the simplest.” The simplest being pin-hole cameras which he constructs himself by poking  holes with a #10 needle in boxes or aluminum pie plates and using them to capture images on film.  Though technically referred to as lenseless photography, the pinhole actually acts as the lens. Exposure times are tricky, so this trial-and-error filming requires a lot of patience and a lot of film.

Bike (pinhole)

Bike (pinhole)

Before Polaroid film became a casualty of the digital revolution, Newt experimented with preemptive exposure times by pulling apart the photo while processing was still going and then transferring the images to various surfaces including wood, just to see what unusual effects he could achieve. He scanned some of those fugitive prints into the computer for fine-tuning before printing out with archival inks on good photography paper. Newt photographs in color as well as black and white, inspired especially by photographer Edward Steichen.

Columns, Rome  (sx 70)

Newt also uses the HDR technique using a regular digital camera.  In this case several different exposures of the same scene are taken.  Then  under- and over-exposed areas  are “blended”  in the computer to get the dynamic range correct. This method also requires a lot of patience and a competence in Adobe Photoshop.

Annecy, France - HDR

Annecy, France (HDR)

For now, the Holga 2″ x 2″ medium format camera has captured his interest.  After developing the negatives in the darkroom, he scans them into the computer where he can scale up the size of his black and white prints, blur the edges, or manipulate them in other ways.  “Large images have more gravitas,” he says.  That makes for a lot of hefty photos.  About 60 framed prints are now housed in his guest room while an attic studio is undergoing renovations.

Great, Liverpool (Holga)

Newt likes photographing structural objects in ways that show how things are put together, how they operate.  Recently while sifting through old family photographs, his brother pointed out a shot of Newt as a young lad drawing forms very similar to the layered photos he makes today.   Thus that early tendency is evident now after a long detour into the world of science.

Photographer Arnold Newman pointed out that  “…a lot of photographers think that if they buy a better camera they’ll be able to take better photographs. A better camera won’t do a thing for you if you don’t have anything in your head or in your heart.” Newton More not only uses several “better” cameras, but he also has the head and heart needed for making outstanding photographs that reveal the depth of his subject matter in a creative way.  Look for Newt More’s structural street shots in the MiniSolo Exhibition at Touchstone Gallery,  August 1-29, 2014 and other photography images in the monthly Touchstone exhibits. Rosemary Luckett

Steven Fleming: Artist on the Move

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Steven Fleming  (Rosemary Luckett photo)

Steven Fleming (Rosemary Luckett photo)

Steven Fleming is a runner and a cyclist, moving happily through the landscape in all seasons. A feeling of wanderlust is part of what keeps Steven moving, both physically and artistically.   Maybe it’s because he grew up in a Navy family that relocated every 18 months or so.  Maybe it’s because he has a zest for exploring new landscapes and new ways to make art.  Maybe it’s because he is “never content to rest in one place and repeat the formulas of the past.”

Baja

Baja

After studying constitutional law in college, he headed in a different direction after graduation, eventually settling on a career as a lighting designer.  At the same time that he put in his nine-to-five, he took watercolor classes from Skip Lawrence, Rex Brandt, and Millard Sheetz and art classes at the Maryland College of Art and Design.  These classes inspired him to go home after work and paint for three hours every night.  In between times he began reading about the lives of artists and how they went about being creative and found inspiration for their work.  He learned how to be “loose” and how to “push it” to express himself through abstraction, realism, and impressionism, in several media (watercolor, acrylics and oils).  Collecting and playing guitars feeds also feeds his creative soul.

Red Stockings

Red Stockings

Steven somehow knew from the moment he began to paint that he wanted to teach art someday.   But first, he had to quit his lighting career, dive deep into painting and learn what he could about the lives of working artist’s, and where the creative impulse comes from for each one.  “I tell my students to also branch out and take different kinds of art classes, to read a lot of art books about artist’s ways of thinking,” he says, “but please skip reading the how-to brush recipe books, and learn by doing instead. There’s a delicious banquet of art media ready to explore, so don’t stick with one medium. Explore many of them.  Why be satisfied with a daily toasted cheese sandwich diet when you could experience so much more?”

Squares, Lines and Textures

Squares, Lines and Textures

Since 1998 Steven has been on the faculty of the Art League School in Alexandria.  He also teaches private painting classes in his studio and leads workshops, frequently overseas, taking students outdoors to experience landscapes first hand.  He knows how to paint the wind, how to meld cattle into green meadows, and how to abstract from these landscapes so the primary sense of the place comes through via texture, color, light and line. “Working in plein aire is the best way to understand the land,” he says, “even if the wind tips your easel over sometimes.”  Rosemary Luckett

 

Light at Cape Elizabeth

Light at Cape Elizabeth

Steven’s abstracts and impressionist landscapes,  “Surface and Light”, are on exhibit at 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC from July 5-27, 2014. Gallery hours are 11-6 Wed-Thurs-Fri, and 12-5 Sat – Sun.

You are invited to enter into the landscapes he paints and to join him for the Encore Party Friday, July 25, 2014 6-8:30 pm.

Twindoki Spain Lunch

Twindoki Spain Lunch

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