Saturday, January 14, 2017

Artist in the Spotlight: Saundra Lane

New old member, or I should say new previous member, Saundra Lane Galloway answered some of my questions about her beautiful, unique and sometimes whimsical art.  Check out her display next time you're in the gallery.

How did you get started in creating art? My first interests and experiences with art were as a very small child.  I’ve always gravitated toward creating and all things art. Magazines used to advertise for art schools by putting a photo of say, Bambi in their ad and asking us to draw it and send it in.  I drew every one of them I could find and sent them all in. One day I got a note saying “perhaps you should explore other options”.  HA! It was only a challenge to me to keep practicing! Nothing was going to stop me, so I continued practicing.  I knew then what I wanted to do and nothing was going to stop me!

What is your favorite medium and why?  I have to say I love many of the mediums. I love oil for it’s blending qualities, acrylic for its quick drying time, ephemera for the actual texture and interest it brings, papers for their patterns. The inability to choose just one led me to working in mixed media.  I love to experiment; to find what works together to bring my vision to a completed piece.   Many told me I would have to choose IF I wanted to have a brand, but, again, as with the early experiences with others’ opinions I wanted to find out just what could be combined to a pleasing end result.

What are your favorite subjects? I absolutely LOVE to paint trees; mostly aspen.  Early on I had a fascination with trees, their strength, their resilience and beautiful textures and qualities. I spent a lot of time really studying them, touching them, and understanding their design. I believe if we get to know a subject WELL we will have an easier time translating that subject into art that speaks from our artist’s soul.  I also love to paint animals. I don’t have a pet of my own, but I find a joy in painting them.  I mostly work in oil for these pet portraits as the blending is superior.  I completed a project a couple of years ago; 101 Pet Portraits in 101 days…this was excellent for growth in this subject.  I did everything from cats and dogs to roosters and even a tree frog named Lucy.


As was my difficulty in choosing just one medium to work in, I have difficulty choosing just one subject matter sometimes. I also enjoy still life and landscape in general. Whatever grabs my attention at the moment is what I love for that moment in time.

Do you have a vision for your work?  For a body of work that you would like to create? My vision is to grow as an artist in the direction that my experiments take me. Through all my experimentation I learned to create combining acrylic, acid free paper, or paper I make, and oil in a recognizable way that has sort of become my “signature” of sorts.  I enjoyed blending these media to create a recognizable “style”, but I want to continue to grow and change as the need arises.  I have experimented away from this at times when I was experiencing a “growth spurt”, but find I gravitate back in blending these things with adding implied and sometimes real texture to add interest, so to answer this question specifically I would say I want to continue with my mixed media work; perhaps incorporating more words or phrases to add to the emotional impact of the work. 

Words, parts of poems and affirmations have been a part of some crafty items I have developed, and now I would like to continue to add this as well to my fine art pieces IF it fits the final result I am going and the direction the piece is taking. Each creation begins in the mind through inspiration of some sort, and we can work to develop that most surely, but at a moment in each painting it begins to have its own life and we must be developed enough to understand that, and to abandon any pre-conceived notions and let it have its own unique life.

How did you find out about the Lakewood Arts Council and Co-op?  About 18 years ago I moved back to this area after raising my children and seeing them off into the world. I was living in Arvada at the time and was eating at a restaurant where I saw Kathy Berls' paintings. Kathy was one of the signature members of LAC.  I knew I was ready to grow and in that moment I knew I wanted to learn my next steps from this artist. I did some research, found her at what was then South Union Gallery, went there and began.   I took a class from her, learned about the co-op, joined the co-op, eventually served on the board and did some time as president.  It was a great experience over-all.  When my acrylics began to look like her work I realized I had learned from her what I needed and that it was time to find my own artistic voice. It was time to grow some more!

 I left the gallery a few years ago to explore and grow in other directions, but recently found a desire to come back to learn and work and grow in this new location with many new folks and some faces I’ve known now for some years.

What do you find most enjoyable or beneficial about being a member?   I first and foremost love being with other artists and around art. I enjoy being in an environment that affords the opportunity to show my work and enter shows.  Creating art for me is a largely individual experience.  I create most of the time in my own studio.  It helps to get out of the studio at times to mingle and be inspired by others like me.  Being a member is about community more than “what’s in it for me as an individual” I’ve done that, but we all need to bounce ideas around out loud and work together as a group also.

What’s next on the horizon? What is next for me is really more of what I’ve done in the past. I want to continually grow as an artist. I want to experiment with new ways of approaching similar subjects and methods…for example my “slice of life” paintings.  I was trying to figure a way to make my work affordable for those who maybe can’t afford my full surface work.  So, I took a “slice” of a subject matter and applied it to a larger canvas…I always add a “remark” of some sort underneath the “slice” to add interest, but I only price the actual painted and “remarked” sections.  I want to continue to experiment.  I want to teach some things at the gallery…try to inspire others to find their “niche”. I would love to teach a class taking folks with a current piece they are working on and help them grow to something they are happier with. Growth and inspiration is always what is next!
Has your work changed over the years?  In what way? WOW, has it changed!  I would suspect if one has been an artist as many years as I have they HOPE their work changes!  THAT is what tells us we are growing as an artist! From my primitive drawings of Bambi to my stilted attempts at oils, then moving to watercolor for some years as my oils had gotten too tight, to playing with acrylic, to moving back to oil to now working in mixed media much of the time it has gone from stick figures to finding the spirit of a subject and translating it to my vision. I see this as a natural progression for an artist.

Which artists from the past or living do you admire most? I began my next stage of growth as an artist by admiring Kathy Berls’ work. At that time she was the strongest artist I knew.  She was my mentor for years.  I admire Carol Nelson; who I met at LAC many years ago.  She is a fellow experimenter and has grown in tremendous ways.  Her abstract work is fascinating to me.

I look forward to whatever is next in this journey as a creative soul that has chosen to develop though art in whatever way speaks the loudest at the time!  I believe that “Inspiration is God’s gift to the artist’s soul” and I want to continue to find inspiration and hopefully inspire others in whatever place I find myself.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Book Review -- "The Muse" by Jessie Burton

The Muse by Jessie Burton

Jessie Burton’s “The Muse”, published last year, follows two intersecting story lines, one taking place in 1936, the other in 1967. Both involve the provenance of a painting titled “Women in a Wheatfield”. The later story unfolds in England, where the main character, a well-educated black woman named Odelle, is hired by a prominent art gallery and befriends the enigmatic manager, becomes amorous with a handsome white man, heir to a famous painting, and becomes involved with its mysterious history.  Racial tensions of the times are evident, but it was interesting how the author allowed her character to slip into black parlance at certain times, though usually well-spoken in the snobbish world of high art.

The earlier story takes place in Spain during civil uprising in advance of World War II.  A well-to-do English family is leasing a Spanish finca, which comes with the services of a local brother and sister.  Relationships develop, tensions abound— familial and sensual.  Harold, the husband, is a well-reputed art dealer and discovers the creative talent of his worker, but things are not what they appear to be.  Respected women painters in those times are lacking, the author notes.  But what starts out as a harmless prank results in a mistaken identity of the painter of “Women in the Wheatfield" that persists through time.

Some books just tell a story, but Jessie Burton knows how to craft words.  Her descriptions are a joy to savor.  Her characters have personality, and their thoughts are intriguing.  Odell contemplates a concept introduced by her boss at the museum, “Like most artists, everything I produced was connected to who I was — and so I suffered according to how my work was received.  The idea that anyone might be able to detach their personal value from their public output was revolutionary.  I didn’t know if it was possible, even desirable.  Surely it would affect the quality of the work?”  And another character, talking about what makes one painter stand out from the rest says, “Novelty makes the difference.  You can be a brilliant draughtsman, but that means nothing if you’re not seeing the world differently.”

A well-written story about art, the facades we create to perpetuate an untruth, with some historical fact thrown in, “The Muse” was a book I can recommend, and makes me want to try the author’s bestseller, “The Miniaturist” next!