by Karen Olson
Creative process – with it, we make sense of our life experience, emotions, relationships. It is particularly helpful when traveling abroad. Culturally, after a long stay, we absorb another way of life and make it our own.
Amy Parrish, an accomplished artist and photographer, comes to Maine from an 8-month long stay in India. She is one of our instructors currently living as the artist in residence at 26 Split Rock Cove. I couldn’t wait to visit her studio and see what she’s working on. I could see right away that symbolism is a strong takeaway from her travels. I was fascinated and immediately resonated with the colors and textures on the walls and tables left there as inspiration, works in progress.
She tells her story …
“I recently returned to the US after spending nearly a year in Kolkata/Calcutta, India where I worked on a program which taught photography to young women affected by the commercialized sex trade. In between managing and teaching I traveled around the city and West Bengal, collecting images and experiences for my own projects. While overseas my marriage ended and I found myself uprooted from the life I had known. It was a serendipitous return to the Midcoast region; staying at Sandy Weisman’s inspiring artist retreat over these next several months. This place nurtures creativity with quiet, privacy and a full studio connected to the living space. I plan to hunker down over the coming months and complete a project based on all of the adventures and words and photographs I accumulated during my time in India. I’m not entirely sure what the final product will look
While overseas my marriage ended and I found myself uprooted from the life I had known. It was a serendipitous return to the Midcoast region; staying at Sandy Weisman’s inspiring artist retreat over these next several months. This place nurtures creativity with quiet, privacy and a full studio connected to the living space. I plan to hunker down over the coming months and complete a project based on all of the adventures and words and photographs I accumulated during my time in India. I’m not entirely sure what the final product will look like. At first, I thought a photo book (Stray Birds), then a memoir (One Star in Kolkata), then a more delicate pairing of words and images (Incarnations and Incantations). But no singular thing seems capable of conveying all I have to express. I took a drawing class at the ArtLoft, am editing an epic erasure poem inspired by Rabindranath Tagore, and I’m also working with textiles, powders & sculptural elements.
Expression is making an appearance in many forms and I’ll keep letting it out until the end result becomes clear. But some days I wake up and don’t feel creative at all. I keep myself busy with the mundane until the muse strikes- updating websites, revisiting old projects, submitting to exhibitions, and generally trying to figure out what to do after this residency phase completes.
I’m thankful for being surrounded by friends and mentors who look at my work-in-progress, offering suggestions, critique, and encouragement. One piece of advice given when I was feeling less-than-inspired, was to go into my studio every day and do something, anything. The next day, not at all in the mood to be creative, I organized my space as best as I could (temporary living means lots of boxes and miscellaneous piles). Wouldn’t you know, rearranging the space transformed its energy into something which fueled me whenever I stepped through the door? I hung my own work up on the walls, tacked up experiments and quandaries to mull on, and dedicated a table to showcasing a dense collection of “inspiration objects.” It’s a great place to start for anyone who feels the need to shake things up, and just in time for the New Year.”
As I was packing up my camera, we talked a little about the importance of connection, having people you can count on to advise you. It is an essential part of an artist’s life, we often spend so much time alone. Amy has enjoyed meeting many individuals at The Art Loft, both at the class she attended and at the workshop she taught. She will be teaching another workshop on January 8th.
Have you ever wanted to try your hand at watercolor, acrylics, or collage? Are you thinking of taking a class but aren’t sure what you would like to do?
We have the perfect thing – Open Studio at the Art Loft!
The Art Loft has all kinds of materials for you or your young ones to try. Come in for a play day or work on your own project, either way, we will all have fun creating together!
Beginning January 9th, the Art Loft will be open on Monday afternoons from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Karen Olson will be on hand to help you get started with your project or offer a dedicated space for you to work in. Karen has experience in a variety of mediums and will be glad to offer help. There are all kinds of materials available for kids projects as well.
Open studio will run back to back with the class Jewelry Making – Intro to Metalwork. If you are taking the metalwork class you are welcome to stay and work on your project during open studio time.
The cost of the 2 hours class is $15. Please register is advance online for each day.
One adult together with one or two children for just $15!!
Sure cure for cabin fever!!
Feel free to contact Karen with any questions – firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-542-5845
Jewelry Making Art Party at the Art Loft
Our first Art Party was a huge success! We had a wonderful turnout and everyone had a relaxing afternoon making jewelry and making friends.
Karen Olson brought her bead stash to share and each person went home with a few pairs of earring to wear or give as gifts. Karen promised she would do another free class in the early spring! We can’t wait!!
But if you can’t wait until spring, she will be teaching a class in metalwork in January. Click here to sign up.
There will be a free art party at the Art Loft every month, each with a different instructor and theme. In January, it will be Melissa Kelly with ‘Reviving Creativity.’ Check it out here.
See you there!
If you are interested in hosting your own art party, you can rent the Art Loft space by the hour. Artists are also available to lead a group in your chosen medium if you like.
When it comes to art, which do you love? Abstracts or realism?
Opinion seems to be split right down the middle, so that’s what we’ve done. Split the Art Loft right down the middle with a two person show featuring Chuck Paine and Paula Apro.
Chuck Paine is both a yacht builder and accomplished artist, proficient in oil and watercolor. You can see a love of both professions in his artwork. A passion for all that is Maine, especially the sea, is clearly evident. Students at the Art Loft benefit greatly from the traditional art instruction he offers. It is such a pleasure to have Chuck as part of our instructor team. We are so pleased to be offering his work at the Festival of Lights Art Walk opening on November 25th, from 2-8, Black Friday. Small pen and ink drawings, as well as large oil paintings, will be available to purchase.
Chuck will be on hand to explain his process. Please feel free to stop by and talk shop with him.
Visit Chuck’s website here.
Paula Apro is an artist and photographer as well as a web designer. She is a co-founder of the Art Loft. Paula’s photography workshops are well known in Maine and have a loyal following. She has a passion for abstracts and has developed a process by which she manipulates her camera settings and creates motion in her work. The result is an amazing image beautifully printed and perfect for any home. You simply must experience her photography in person, truly inspiring!
Stop by and say hi to Paula Friday, she will be happy to share her story with you!
Visit Paula’s website here.
Several other small works from various artists will be shown at the Art Loft from 2-8, November 25th.
See you there!!
On Saturday, November 5th, Otty Merrill demonstrated her encaustic art process to a group at The Art Loft. We thoroughly enjoyed watching her create with this amazing medium! Encaustic art is a process by which elements are embedded in wax. One can also ‘paint’ elements with colored wax onto a board. The possibilities are endless with this ancient artistic medium.
We are so honored to have Otty as an instructor at The Art Loft. She is a well-known artist of notable talent. Her work has been shown at various galleries and venues from Portland, Maine to Seattle Washington, including Maine College of Art in Portland, The Center For Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport, Mars Hall Gallery in Port Clyde, Maine, and most recently in New York City at the National Association of Women Artist’s gallery on Fifth Avenue.
Her next workshop will be from 10:00am – 3:00pm, December 3, 2016. Below are scenes from Otty’s workshop this past spring.
Thank you Otty for sharing your art with us!
Visit her website here.
My statement as an artist is this:
“You might as well ask a fish to make a statement about “water”…it’s that much a part of who I am and what I do and how I see the world. I’m thrilled and thankful for having been born with an artist’s eye and heart. Temperament?…not so sure.
But this is for sure: life keeps getting better and so does my art, I notice, so long as I don’t take it too seriously or try to be something I am not.
What do YOU see in my artwork? If it is joy, or mystery, a pull or a connection, I have succeeded.”
~ Otty Merrill
We don’t know how she does it, but each week Kim comes up with an amazing project for her 3-6-year-old class, Giggles and Doodles Kids Art Class. Whether painting with cars and fly swatters, making paper mache fall trees, spray painting with acrylics in spray bottles, or becoming human spirographs, Kim never ceases to amaze us with her ability to design creative classes for the kids. She even provides her own handmade smocks for the children to wear!
The class will be held on Wednesdays from 1-2:30pm, beginning November 16, 2016. Parents are encouraged to sign up their children for a two to four weeks series class and are welcome to participate.
Don’t you just wish you could be a kid again?!
Hold on to your hats . . . soon we will have creative and inspirational blog posts adorning this page . . .