“Observing Observing (a white cup): Sarah Bixler”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #31: Sarah Bixler”

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1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I’ve always enjoyed paintings of white objects, in white environments. I was excited to have an excuse to paint one. I also rarely paint from still life, so the change of pace and logistics was a welcome challenge.

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2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I support myself through teaching and odd jobs.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I am still struggling with that identity I think.

4. What are your influences?

I am influenced by so many things, what I am reading, what I am doing… looking at. I think I became an artist (or at least wound up at art school) because it synthesizes so many different disciplines and gives me an excuse to be endlessly curious and to spend my time learning about lots of different things. Some painters I go back to again and again are Edwin Dickinson, Alberto Giacometti, Antonio Lopez Garcia, Anne Gale, Euan Uglow, Frank Auerbach, Villhelm Hammershoi, Seurat’s drawings, Gwen John… Any list feels incomplete. My list is always expanding, and evolving based on whatever problem I am working on.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I have converted my dining room into a studio, or accommodated my studio to my dining room… It is not very big… maybe 150 sq ft, the light is South facing from large pane windows. I only belatedly realized how little wall space I have, but I love all the window space. Natural lighting is important to me. The walls are deep burgundy, which I became more and more aware of as I painted my white cup, on its white stand, with all the bounced light.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

My schedule is really unpredictable right now. So, a typical “day” in my studio… I’m not sure I’ve experienced that in a while. I do my best work in the morning so I try to get started early. I am often unsure of what to do first and I find that walking or running can help me sort through my priorities for the day. Once I’m back in my studio I’ll often start by looking at images I’ve collected relating to my project, or by just putting myself in the space, looking at my painting, tidying things up. I almost always listen to music or NPR or podcasts. Lately I’ve spent most of my time on small landscape paintings and studies outside.

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7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I am always working on something. I’ve been doing small gouache paintings and drawings of buildings and scenes outdoors. I think having many things going at once can helps me avoid overworking any one painting and also keeps the process new and exciting. I can try new things and experiment.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Not really… Just paint, and stuff to paint with. I’ve been into edges, I really like having the contrast of a straight edge, so I’ve been fond of tape.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I like running, biking and exploring. I enjoy working with my hands, so I’m always falling into new projects. I just took apart my cellphone to install a new screen, which was more involved than I anticipated. I enjoy reading and do a lot of ‘research’ reading, I’d like to read for pleasure more often.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Fred Birchman, Kimberly Clark, & Evelyn Woods”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #30: Fred Birchman, Kimberly Clark & Evelyn Woods

Fred, Kimberly & Evelyn have each participated in our interview series in conjunction with earlier exhibitions.  We posed the following question to each:

How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

Fred Birchman:

When I was told of the idea, my main thought was how can I make it interesting? I immediately thought of it falling, not only did it give me the opportunity to view it from different sides, but also I got to draw it three times! It is also difficult for me to separate most forms from their context. So rather than doing so, I decided to write out the running dialogue that usually occupies my brain whilst I’m making something. That way it becomes MY drawing and MY white cup. Thanks for including me in the show. Now I’m going to go get some coffee….

Kimberly Clark

This was a real challenge for me.  I procrastinated as long as I possibly could.  Though my work is rooted in observation, the idea of setting up a white cup seemed very far removed from where the inspiration from my work comes. In the end, I became interested in how I would, and if I could, make a painting of a white cup that had space and air around it.  Of the two paintings that are included in the exhibition, I had a difficult time letting go of the oil painting.  I painted it again and again, sanding it down and painting it again.  I kept getting pulled back into the painting, because something was missing.  I’m not sure if I ever found what that was, perhaps that needs to be answered in another painting…

Evelyn Woods

I got pretty excited when I first heard of the white cup invitational show.  It got my brain to working up ideas for how I could paint a simple white cup but make it visually interesting. So much so that there are still around 20 more paintings waiting to be explored.  This challenge also propelled me into doing something different with my work.  So that’s a good thing.  I also went back to using the camera to create the cup compositions, which not only freed up time but allowed me to edit before starting the painting.  In my previous drawings I worked directly from a composed still life set up in the studio.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Caroline Kapp”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #29: Caroline Kapp”

Kapp_Photo_In_Studio-1

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I approached the idea very playfully. I worked in stages, starting with some pieces that explored visual and formal aspects of value, shape and repetition. Working with the absence of color and a focus on shape led me into several other iterations dealing with fingerprints, impressions, then a step back to more of an analytical or functional focus of what makes a cup a cup, being contained or held by, and to hold.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I teach college visual art, design and graphic software courses and do some freelance work on the side.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

It surprises me what a tough question that is. The earliest memory I have is drawing a figure that suggested volume. Snaky arms and legs and torso, rather than a stick figure. I was about four, drawing with a purple crayola marker, and of course I didn’t have the vocabulary to interpret or share what made me so excited about how I made that drawing or why, but I will never forget that feeling of discovery and elation that what I drew was somehow closer to what I saw. I don’t know what it’s like to not have the drive to be working on or collecting something, even more now, if it’s scratching down an idea or texting myself an image or capturing video or audio. I think it took many years of hearing people comment to me about this drive to create that I realized that a drive to create isn’t something everyone can relate to, and later on that I had unconsciously been surrounding myself with other people with that same drive because it made me feel a little less insane, whether it be art or music or writing, the medium didn’t matter. Maybe one of those moments is the moment in question.

4. What are your influences?

I’m all over the place. On the photography side I appreciate work that documents or catalogs objects and scientific phenomenon in visually beautiful ways, Anna Atkins, Berenice Abbott, or Karl Blossfeldt come to mind. I appreciate Keiji Uematsu’s work for his precarious sculptural work and impossible photographic illusions that rely so wonderfully on the fixed vantage point to work, and also the ease in which he carries his ideas and visual style so fluidly between mediums. I gravitate to suggestive or conceptual work that shifts context or startles expectation in some manner, work with words or titles essential to the piece, like Bruce Nauman or John Baldessari. I have an innate love for line quality, texture, value and color theory from painting for years, and I’m drawn to really loose, expressionistic figural work like Alice Neel or Oskar Kokoschka, and then on the other side extremely textured precision of Euan Uglow’s compositions.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I work in a small attic-like space with sloped ceilings that serves as an office, art studio and music studio. There is a work table, a cuckoo clock, lots of art books, postcards and instruments, lots of guitar cables all over. It gets great natural afternoon light, at other times lit by two 60watt Ikea bulbs.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

Maybe it is how I negotiate a busy schedule, but I am more of a mobile idea collector and less of a studio artist in the traditional sense. What I do most regularly is scribble ideas down during random moments and places during the day, and the act of sketching or writing burns the idea into my mind so I’m thinking about it, mapping it out, down to little details of the composition or items I need to find at Goodwill to make it happen. When I do work, I binge on a lot of carefully crafted ideas all at once, without looking back trying not to analyze or second-guess what I am doing. What is fairly consistent, and it’s kind of funny, is that after I capture an idea, I never like the piece and I have to put it away. It never compares to what it was in my mind’s eye, and I have to distance myself for a few weeks or sometimes even months. I think of wolves circling each other as I come to terms with how it differs from what was in my mind. We eventually become amicable again, and sometimes I rework aspects of it, sometimes it was perfectly fine to begin with, but taking the time and space away from the piece is the necessary last step for it to be finished.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I primarily work in the mediums of photography, drawing and video. I am drawn to these because they have very different connotations or levels of “real” to a viewer based on their unique traditions and histories, and that perception affects interpretation and significance of the subject matter. My ideas often originate from there. It is pretty rare that something will end up in a medium different from what I envisioned because the medium is so much a part of the idea.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I think I use fairly common tools and techniques, but the way I combine the media to suit the idea might be considered unique. For example I often use paintbrushes, charcoal, folded paper and printmaking techniques to make my photographs, photographs, video projections and printmaking paper to make my drawings, and all of the above to make videos. Sometimes the physical process can go through six or eight steps of analog to digital and back.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I play several instruments, compose music, I cook and nerd out on cooking shows, garden, travel, hang out with my dogs.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Elizabeth Ockwell”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #28: Elizabeth Ockwell

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1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

First, I resisted the idea of painting the cup and thought of many ways to avoid the straight-forward assignment—-like this:

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This was not a painting about a cup. It felt dishonest, so I stopped resisting the idea and began to whole-heartedly paint a cup.

e-cup and shards

The first cup that I chose slipped out of my hand and shattered. The shards were very clean and elegant and seemed to be part of the idea of the cup—this time in an honest way. I put the shards and another cup on my table and painted them. After painting the cups, an odd and pleasing thing happened to my drawing. Looking so intently at the cup, it became much easier to see pure shapes, and when I drew, the lines flowed freely from my hand.

e-Lovric's 3

This sketch of a boxcar in a boat yard drew itself without all of the usual measuring. I was seeing shapes, not objects. The magic has worn off a bit now.

2. Are you a full-time artist? How do you support your art?

I am a full-time artist now. Before I retired, I taught Anatomy and Watercolor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I was a flute student at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. One day, I visited the Fine Arts Museum. There I was struck by the remarkable delusion not only that I could paint just as well as the masters, but that I would eventually paint BETTER than they did! It was a very exciting madness. I left school and travelled around the world; this seemed like the logical next step. Finally, I returned to Seattle and began to study art at the University of Washington.

4. What are your influences?

Leonardo, German graphic artists from Albrecht Dürer to Horst Janssen, Beaux Arts architectural drawings, and my teachers, especially Norman Lundin and Kurt Kranz.

5. How big is your studio?

It is a former dentist’s office in an old building in Anacortes. There is one good-sized room about 20 feet by 25 feet and two smaller rooms just big enough for the dentist’s chair. The studio is on the south side of the building so I have to partially close the blinds for part of the day, but I have daylight florescent lights if I need them.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to radio or TV.

I come to the studio in late morning, drink a cup of tea and think and sketch for a while, then get to work. Usually, I have something interestingly difficult to work on. Now I am working on a series that I began in Paris; drawings of the corridors of the Paris Opera House. No, I don’t listen to music or watch T.V. when I am working, but if I am hand-coloring etchings or doing something very repetitive, I sometimes listen to an audio book. I usually work for four or five hours.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Pencil, pen and watercolor. I usually have several projects going.

8. Do you have any unique tools?

No.

9. What do you do outside the studio?

I like to sketch out of doors.

and in coffee houses.

Besides this, I like to read, do yoga, walk and to be at home with my husband and my cat.

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“Observing Observing (a white cup): Joe Crookes”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #27: Joe Crookes

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1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

A good lesson. My first attempt involved a lot of photoshop doodadding. And believe me there is a whole lot of doodads to be had there. But then this was about a white cup not psychedelic concave flying through space… So I went toward cupness until I got an image that felt more interesting and realistic.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I started working on houses just to temporarily support my art habit; thirty years ago. The art mags spread delusions about big money in the field but even those fortunate enough to have a gallery RARELY make it on their work alone. Chihuly is the only one that comes to mind.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

It’s a loaded word. One can work as a artist without ever producing art. To say; “I am an artist,” sounds presumptuous. But I guess I first got an inkling at The University while taking graduate level creative writing classes. Certain published teachers recognized a talent in me.

4. What are your influences?

I traded carpentry to Greg Kucera for his commission on a Frank Okada painting hanging in my living room that informs my abstract work. I draw inspiration from different artists for different projects. When I photographed the ironwork erection for both stadiums in Seattle I THOUGHT OF Lewis Hine. When I shot architecture details I might harken to Paul Strand.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I have a printer set up overlooking my back yard in Wallingford. Lately I’ve been shooting in South Lake Union because of all the expensive construction and nice building details. I do wish that they used more imagination in their overall designs, but so be it. So outside is my main studio.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I labor without nerd finesse at my photo printer and computer. I am convinced that they make the process more difficult then need be. I personally know a code writer at a start up that did not participate in a revolt against the boss that the other nerds launched by further obfuscating the work so he could not micro manage them. It really does not need to be so difficult to print a good image.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Photography. I am now printing inkjet enlargements of a my long body of fine art work.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Did you know that photo papers are created in a dazzling array? There are dozens of companies that create different papers with unique high quality papers and all they cost is money.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I like hanging out with my wife and cat in our little house. We listen to music all day. We particularly enjoy John Galbraith in the morning on KBCS. We have also traveled so far to 25 countries. I’ve been going to art galleries for decades. Anybody remember The Don Scott Gallery or when Gordon Woodside was on Capital Hill? Or The Seattle Art Museum Pavillion that I managed in The Seattle Center. Thinking about memory, remember the perpetual drinking bird popular in the late Fifties? A gimmick bird that would dip his beak up and down into a tiny wet cup until the water dried. Everyone marveled: how does that work! That’s us folks.

"White Cup", 2015, archival inkjet print, ed. 1/8, 10.5 x 8”

“White Cup”, 2015, archival inkjet print, ed. 1/8, 10.5 x 8”

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Laura Swytak”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #26: Laura Swytak

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1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I love the idea for this show with everyone observing a white cup. White objects are interesting to paint as they are so influenced by their surroundings. I wanted to try doing white on white and see how closely I could get to just painting the light. I had this white cloth I wanted to use for a painting. It has a pattern woven into it that you can only see from a certain angle. The spoon came in later because I needed it to gauge the other colors/values.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

DougandJackie

I file my taxes as an artist but don’t make a living off of my own work. My primary source of income is my wedding business. I have been painting wedding receptions and other special events for 10 years. I also teach drawing at two different community colleges right now, which is really fun.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

After undergrad, I remember trying to explain to my Grandma that what I was going to “do” was be a painter, which she found confusing. From the time I was 14 I felt a pretty strong pull towards wanting to make art, so for me it was something I was always serious about, but when you get into “considering yourself an artist” is such a grey zone.

4. What are your influences?

I get inspired by being home, watching the light shifts throughout the day, doing quick portraits of friends, and just being out and about looking at light, be it an underwater landscape or a lumber yard. As far as art/culture, the sincerity and tenderness of Spanish painting and the people of Spain have had a huge influence on me. Lopez Garcia, Ribera, Zuburan, Velazquez, Sorolla. I also love quick paintings that capture something as it exists in particular moment. Mark Karnes, Avigdor Ahrika, Edwin Dickinson, Fairfield Porter, Vuillard, Sargent. A quote from Dickinson that has stuck with me is “you should paint like you are jumping on a moving train”.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

Right now I paint in my living room/office that is about 8′ x 11’. I often wander around my apartment to paint and so the lighting varies depending on where I’m working. My favorite light is in the bathroom, which isn’t very practical. There are lots of really amazing moments throughout the day with the light here. Hopefully this winter when work slows down I can block out some time to do my own work. The studio itself has west-facing windows so the morning is quite blue and the afternoon is sunny. Lately I’ve been doing little watercolors of the sun bouncing around in the studio in the afternoon.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I like to draw a bit then look for something with interesting colors coming together, do some quick painting and see where it goes…mostly the goal being to get my painter brain turned on. If I get a decent amount of time to paint to the point where I’m in a rhythm, I’ll just jump into whatever particular painting I’m into at the moment. For my own work I will start without music and then see if a mood or a particular song comes into my head. If so, I usually listen to that music on repeat (sorry neighbors). For wedding paintings I like to listen to a good fiction book, podcasts, or wedding music if I’m struggling to get into the mood.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Usual stuff. Oil on canvas, oil on panel, Graphite, or black watercolor. I’ll bounce around on quick stuff quite a bit, but once I settle into something I’ll do one, two max, projects at a time. Even if I have two paintings going I find myself thinking about one more than the other.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I have this red film that I started using in grad school that I get at artists and craftsmen. I absolutely love it. Color makes sense to me, but translating color to value relationships is more difficult. The red film helps me to see where my color value relationships are weak.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

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I’ve gotten really into trail running in the last couple years. I spend Wednesday and Sunday mornings out on the trail, sometimes doing up to 23 miles if I’m training, which can be time consuming. I also love snorkeling and finding various kelp forests off the coast here. Both of these things have deepened my connection with Southern California. Since I moved back here in 2011, time with family has also become a much bigger part of my life.

"White Cup", 2015, oil on canvas, 16 x 20"

“White Cup”, 2015, oil on canvas, 16 x 20″

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Brian Blackham”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #25: Brian Blackham

in studio

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

With interest, I love this idea for a show.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

Yes.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I’m still chasing down the meaning of “Artist”.

4. What are your influences?

This question is so big it brings my brain to a screeching halt. So many things, to sum it up I guess it would be the purity of the result from others.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

340 square feet with high ceilings. I use spot lights and diffused natural light from windows, no skylights.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

Bankers hours, speed chess at lunch, tie things up around 6 pm to get home for dinner with my wife and kids. I do listen to music, no tv. I also love silence, maybe half the day.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Preferred medium is oil paint. I go back and forth from working on one at a time to several.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

No, not really, pretty straight forward.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

Spend time with my wife and two kids, lots of walks with them, Church, Chess.

“A Cup”, 2015, oil on panel, 16 x 12″