As you may have heard, Artistic Portland is moving Downtown! Co-op members are currently prepping our new space on 318 SW Taylor St., creating a home for all our locally made art. We are excited to open our doors to the public on June 1st, and in honor of the occasion have a week of artistic goodness planned. Many of our Co-op members (who also happen to be fantastic local artists) will be demonstrating their art every day of opening week from 11-1:30. This will culminate on Saturday, the day of the Rose Festival Parade, when we will open our doors at 8 am and have a day full of artistic activities planned.
So that you know what to expect here is a list of what artists will be there each day:
Monday - June 1st
Tuesday - June 2nd
Wednesday - June 3rd
Thursday June - 4th
Friday - June 5th
Saturday - June 6th:
Rose Festival Parade Day! Demonstrations start at 8:00 am and continue throughout the day.
After writing about all these great artists, I can say that I am truly overwhelmed (in a good way) to be a part of this amazing art Co-op. Artistic Portland is bursting at the seems with creativity and spirit. Not only will it be fascinating to watch these guys create, but they are also great people to be around. So make sure you make your way to 318 SW Taylor Street the first week of June.
This week, painter John Stephenson shares about his artistic process and the challenges and triumphs that go along with being an artist.
As a painter I have often been focused on the what I see “out there” or some inner vision, and I have overlooked the materials, the physical elements, involved in creating a visual work. The physical elements have a life of their own when you are creating something—materials like pigments, solvents and mediums,clay and glazes, yarns, etc. There are a host of tools: brushes, knives, rollers, and some such as crayons or pencils which have their own demands and quirkiness. The combination of materials and tools make the process interesting and often unpredictable.
Part of the process is having some vision of a final product or a creation that is new and unique. This is part of the value and aura of the handmade article, something that is different from other handmade items and different from the machine made. When I start to paint I have some idea, a glimpse or maybe a real inspiration that excites me. However, in the end the process of creation has its own path and where I end up and where I decide it is “finished” is not to be predicted the way a technological process may be. Sometimes I am surprised and excited by what occurs and sometimes I am very disappointed and even depressed by what hours or days of work has not accomplished. I just have learned to accept that this is the way trying to create something new works.
I recently read parts of a book recommended at a Sitka Center workshop. It gave me a different perspective on what I am doing as a painter; in many ways it relates to any artisan working with materials and tools. The book is by painter James Elkins, called What Painting Is. It is hard to summarize what Elkins says, but in essence he sees a core aspect of painting as trying to understand and gain some mastery over substances. This involves taking materials to see what they do in various combinations of colors, viscosity, smeared and scraped, heated and cooled, shaped with various tools from brushes and knives to torches and chisels. He suggests experimenting and playing with materials to see what becomes of the myriad textures, colors, forms, and spatial relationships without much benefit of systematic technology or science. As the the alchemists were looking for real gold, the artist is looking for the "gold," and it is a shot-in-the-dark guesswork process.
In discussing Monet’s work, he says no book or science can get down to what is happening with his process because it is working with substances and not scientific abstractions and formulas. Formulas don`t help much because “every act of mixing has to start from scratch, resulting in a batch that is infinitesimally different from every other. A painter knows it by intuition--that is, by the memory of successful mixtures, by the look of the painting, by the scratchiness of the canvas's warp and woof, by the age of the paints, by the degree of fraying in the brush. It can just barely be taught, and it can never be written down”. That means taking a chance on what can happen that is great, or falls flat, when part of us wants it to come out “right” and not quite like other work. He reflects, “Long years spent in the studio can make a person into a treasury of nearly incommunicable knowledge about the powderyness of pastels, or the woody feel of different marbles, or the infinitesimally different iridescences of ceramic glazes. That kind of knowledge is very hard to pass on and it is certainly not expressed well in books on artist's techniques.”
My guess is that painting comes down to learning by doing and experiencing the mysterious play of materials and substances again and again. I have come to respect the reality and demands of the painting materials and tools I work with aside from any story or statement or illusion I want to create.
*See and purchase John's Stephenson's paintings in person at Artistic Portland! We open our doors at 318 SW Taylor Street on June 1st.*
June 1st we open our doors at our new location in Downtown Portland at 318 SW Taylor Street. Because of the move to this bigger space, we will also be welcoming 13 more artists into our co-op (and counting!). Here is more about a one of these exciting new members:
Tom Jackson developed an interest in metal and mechanical work when he was a boy. For many years, he worked as an auto and equipment mechanic. After obtaining an education in automotive and manufacturing technology, he put his fabrication skills to use in 2011 with his new fascination in metal art.
He has combined his love of metal and nature into unique metal artwork. His continued quest for knowledge and attention to detail brings on a new evolution of art regularly.
His artwork integrates art and technology. CAD designs are created by Tom, cut from metal and then artistically formed, shaped and colored to create each unique piece. His belief in using many types of equipment available from old-school to CNC CAD design allows him to produce extremely detailed and precise hand-made art.
Tom’s work is usually colored in primary forms consisting of heat treating and application of natural metal colors. He enjoys working with a variety of metals including steel, brass and copper.
Come visit us in June to see some of Tom's metal sculptures in person!
I’m Colleen Patricia Williams. I do mosaics both illuminated and not illuminated. I have a spinal cord injury that led me from painting to mosaics. My need to create art is such that I can’t go without the creative process. Art is something that I have to do, it’s not a choice; it’s a need that I cannot deny. I find that sharing what is in my head with others is satisfying, but not the reason that I do what I do.
I love the way that light brings out the hidden beauty in art glass, inclusions that are one of a kind and cannot be reproduced. The colors that are inside that cannot be seen until the light is shined through, I see as analogous to life and to people; there is hidden beauty in both life and in people, there just needs to be a light to shine through and reveal that which lies within.
I have a keen interest in psychology which often shows up in my work. Where we humans come from, where I come from, what drives us as individuals and as a species, what informs our beliefs and biases (we all have them) interests me deeply. I feel that this shows up in my work, for while I typically use the same medium, mosaics, to express myself, I vary the content of the mosaic piece.
I work in 3D, for the most part, with repurposed forms that are manufactured, as well as with forms that I created with the process of fiberglass. The process of working in 3D requires one to think in a different way that changes one’s internal thought processes; I enjoy that challenge. I see the process as a huge part of the art, not just as a means to an end, the finished piece.
My website is www.colleenpatriciawilliams.com. Here you can see my mosaics as well as my other works in other mediums.
Please, come and check out my work in person; see what my art is all about. These words and pictures can only do so much to describe the interaction of light and glass; you have to come and see it for yourself at Artistic Portland.