Interview: Marcy Ann Villafaña

Marcy Ann Villafaña

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?

 I am not sure. I just know when I create I feel complete… a sense of freedom.

How old were you?

I must have been about 8.

Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life? 

Walt Disney. Being born in California, what kid wasn’t. The Magic Kingdom and the saturated colors of the California Ocean, happiness, the belief in myself, the belief that there is no such thing as the impossible or the unimaginable…only dreams not brought to life…yet.

Who or what inspires your art life today?

Everything in nature…but the sky, ocean, the mystique of the feminine form, and the innocence & love of animals, all are very empowering in a spiritual sense.  I guess that is a rather cliché answer. In truth – I enjoy the freedom nature, the motions, sounds and the inner breath that speaks to me.

Why do you make art?

Making art brings me an inner sense of joy, of peace, of oneness… a connection to source.  It’s something I find incredibly hard to put into words.

What are you trying to communicate with your art? 

Not really a message maker or story teller that I am aware of.  I know people like to read into my work placing their own experience and inner issues on my work. I am not that heady - that is their reality. I create for me, my sense of freedom – spiritual freedom, emotional freedom, my desire to be fearless....to simply an truly be.

What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

I hope my liveliness, strength, and joy is what is being reflected. But you never know what others see.

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?

My internal mental atmosphere is just as important to me. I like my studio to be light and airy so I can feel safe to create… free from judgment or expectation from those around me.

Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

Spiritual quotes, sand, shells, rocks, pictures of the oceans & skies – my happy things, and of course I have to say my biggest motivational help is my music.

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What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time?

There is no rhyme or reason…. Otherwise I feel my work would be more contrived or manufactured.  I know I like to have some music and sunshine. But not all art is created in a mood making, feel good day.

If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

COLOR.. color sets the mood, continues the expression, and the inspiration evolves.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in?

I work in three very different styles and mediums: charcoals & graphite, acrylic paints, and papers – layers and layers of handmade or hand painted papers hand cut to create an image to awe.

What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I would love to work in- metals and glass!

What is your most important artist tool?  

The desire to create is my most valued artist tool.

How does this tool factor into your art making?

The desire to create beauty is the only factor in the creation of my art.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Meditation, inspirational quotes, gratitude mantras, self-discovery stories, photography, and laughter keep me motived and inspired.

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

Create, create, create, create, and then create more. NEVER worry about what others think or see. Just follow your heart and be you!

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If you wish, please share with us any other aspect of your art life—professionally and/or personally—that hasn’t been answered in the above questions.

“As a young child I drew on any and everything, making my mark on all my surroundings. I drew anything I could imagine. I was blessed in always having drawing tools, glue and scissors at my disposal. I was even cutting my sisters’ eye lashes off at the age of three, without my parents’ permission of course. A very exact and precise form of cutting and drawing soon developed.

Inspired by the works of Disney in my early childhood, and the heavy influences of Patrick Nagel, Robert Wyland and Robert Mapplethorpe, a child of the 80s’, I derived my own style through my love of cutting paper. This form of art is an expression of my need to control my environment. Unlike other artists who can paint and draw (which I do as well), I find my satisfaction in the precision of cutting the papers with a plain old Exacto knife and their textures. Nothing new… nothing fancy. No templates… no machines. Not the new cutting techniques or gadgets…no curved blades, just my hands, my eyes, and a straight blade. I developed this style when I teenager because of my near-sightedness.

My work is mostly of the feminine form. I see the beauty in the light and dark spaces of the figure and enjoy expressing it through color and or texture.

I have been exhibiting and selling my art since the late 80s, and have taken time in between to raise four children and grow a thriving art and marketing career in graphic and web design (ModCat Design.com) for the past 30 years.”

For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

That I was TRUE to MYSELF!

Describe yourself in one word. 

Unapologetic!  I refuse to apologize for my art. I refuse to apologize for the way my art makes people feel. My art isn’t for the masses. I create for me.

http://www.VillafanaArt.com

Interview: Linda Dumont

Linda Dumont

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life? 

My story will unfold.  When I was in grade school I would trace the Sunday newspaper fashion drawings lingering over details for hours. Arrange my dollhouse, constantly designing and changing the space. I had been iceskating since five years old in Pittsburgh at the Civic Arena with very talented skaters. They had already proved a work ethic. The rink was a large canvas the skaters merely statues on the canvas.

My artistic awareness had begun. My feel for dance, which will eventually be dance, then finessed itself into drawing.

My Great Uncle, Joseph Margulies an established painter was also visited in Gloucester each summer and New York on 87th street; which was his prominent studio where he painted portraits.  Art was around me but in a traditional way.  Piano and ballet filled my time till high school, and then fine arts lead the way.

I went to Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr Pennsyvania and Fine Arts was my major in high school.  I went to Moore College of Art studied fashion design. I discovered drawing and painting which held more interest than sewing garments for me.  I loved drawing the models and nudes and this led me to the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts then The Boston Museum School for four additional years.  The Rose Art Museum at Brandeise University was where I had my first art vision. Helen Frankenthaleur was my heroine.  I stood in front of her works and said I can do this. I want to express myself in this way.  My junior year I stretched huge canvases and was on my way to twenty-five years of nonobjective works.  Many corporations, law firms, and private homes gave me the opportunity to be creative in their space.

Cityscapes became another venue! My fantasy world was dissolving and architecture took its place and cityscapes became my muse for twenty years--all of it being commissioned work. I worked from photos and my career went into this direction.  My clients led the way.  As new commissions appeared, I said yes and made it happen by working on large canvases and sculptural shapes and putting my energy into making new colorful flashy cityscapes. 

Who or what inspires your art life today?

Today I have made a 360-degree turn.  I wanted to get out of my studio after 35 years and smell the life and air that makes my works breathe.  Back to nature. I started to paint "En plain air".  So today nature inspires me.  But I do love architecture of space and the figure and want to translate it, but in my way not in the traditional sense.  So I am really the composer striking by my own pulse.  Clay sculpture also has me excited too.  As do the figure bust size and portraits and abstracts. My works are now 3D as well.

Today there are many artists who inspire me, but one in particular I can feel and understand and love!  He irons fabric into landscapes and fashion his name is Benjamin Shine, and he is my newest hero because he has taken the simple into the complex.

 

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Why do you make art?

I make art to feed my soul. I ache and get moody when I do not take the time to produce.  I need to produce daily. It is like the scales on a piano, the rhythm needs to keep flowing.  I will then grow and see more and be more patient as I need to be with time to reflect.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?

I am not trying to communicate; it presents itself.  Some commissions have a certain look or need to be satisfied.

What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

My personal work is the love of movement whether it is in dance or movement of the city or abstract fantasy world.  Dance has always been part of my series because I can feel it and want to convey that feeling!  I want to put joy into the world -- a smile, a memory, a second glance of inspiration.  I want to strike an emotion.  My journey is to put rest where there is unrest.   I am not an intellectual painter an emotional painter.

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?

YES YES YES - your space reflects your work. You can only do what you can do in limited space.   When I had 1800 square feet, my biggest dreams were possible. I miss it. But life presents us with challenges, and I have made a positive path of stretching no matter what the circumstances.  My larger studios gave me bigger dreams to live up to.  My modest 800 square feet works, but outside my canvas is as big as it needs to be and that can be extreme!

Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

I have favorite books around me.  When I need help from my masters, I just look at their works and ask questions. (Private conversations)

What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

I always draw or paint to keep the flow moving.  I do spend time alone and this is nurturing. It is meditative time when painting too.  Depending on the series of paintings.  Focus time. I listen to classical music or a trendy something as needed for my spirit!

Art is in all of us; it is the time we take and devotion to make it grow.  Showing UP is more important than any fancy anything just continue to do what you love to do and let it lead you.  Do not over intellectualize.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I continue to create sculpture in clay--life size busts of people and animals and nature.  Actually sculpture is winning my spirit these days! Yes I need to go down this path.

 

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What is your most important artist tool?

My vision is my tool.  This is how I see the world.  My voice may not be your voice. This is the way I see it!   My inner lens captivates my new reflection!

How do you keep yourself motivated? 

My audience helps but always recreating myself.  Trying new techniques over the years keeps me fresh! 

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

Make art because you love the process; you will do it no matter the outcome.  I love the process and have been very fortunate but there are times in life things do not sell.   Make art for you and your soul!  Make it your best friend and nurture it! Believe me it will feed you just give it time.  Sometimes it takes a year or more to see what you had accomplished--you may not see it immediately. And that is ok.  It is all part of the process.

If you wish, please share with us any other aspect of your art life—professionally and/or personally—that hasn’t been answered in the above questions.

I feel blessed to have my ART.  Thank you for the opportunity to share my journey.

For what one thing would you like to be remembered? 

Mother of twins each bringing new joy into this complex world with their unique creativity and style.

Describe yourself in one word.    

?????? still thinking……

http://www.lindadumont.com

Interview: D.R. Jones

D. R. Jones

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?  Who or what inspires your art life today?

When I was a kid, my family spent many summers vacationing in New Mexico. On one of these trips, we spent a day wandering through the shops and galleries of Santa Fe. I was immediately drawn to the bold, vibrant colors of the local artwork. I was especially drawn to the Native artists that depicted a rich cultural history and had a living connection to their ancestral past. I’m still inspired and influenced by American Fauvists like John Nieto, Malcolm Furlow, and Jeff Ham.

Why do you make art?  What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

For me, art is a way to depict a real world subject (animals, people, places) in a mythical world setting. My goal is to combine my personal mythology with the cultural mythology of the American West. The personal mythology is a product of growing up on the High Plains and ranchlands of Texas. The cultural mythology is drawn from the evolving popular culture perceptions of the historical American Frontier - from Tonto and the Lone Ranger, to Gunsmoke, to Little Big Man, to Dances With Wolves.

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?  Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation

My working space is not particularly important to me. I just need good light (natural or artificial) and enough room to step back and get a full frame view of works in progress. I do have one quotation tacked on the wall that helps me focus. “Given an equal amount of intelligence, timidity will cause a thousand times more problems than audacity.” Good advice for life as well as art.

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What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

The most important work habit for me is to just get in the studio, crank up the music, and start slinging paint. I do spend a fair amount of time thinking about the composition and color choices, but nothing happens until I stand in front of the easel with brush in hand and get to work.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I work almost exclusively with acrylic paint on gallery wrapped canvas. I have some ideas for sculptural work, but it hasn’t happened yet.

What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

My most important tool is a paint brush. Can’t do much without something to smear paint with!

How do you keep yourself motivated?

If my motivation lags or inspiration can’t be found, I go to a museums or an art gallery and a hundred ideas pop into my head. If it’s not convenient to get to a museum or gallery, I can just Google some of my favorite artists, and I get the same mental boost.

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What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

Just do it! Don’t wait until you’re “good enough”. Your first attempts will probably suck, but each work you create will teach you what works for you and what doesn’t. Then keep going!

For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

For creating art that helps the viewer see the world as the magical place that it is.

Describe yourself in one word.

Colorful!

www.red-hand-art.com

Interview: M. Allison

M. Allison

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?  Who or what inspires your art life today?

I was brought up in a world of creativity.  My mother’s gourmet cooking, Bawmaw’s professional sewing, Granny’s fine art painting and best of all, my sisters.  We travel in a pack and live creativity.  Art, always art, in any form.  I love it!  My self worth, to an extent, is measured in what I create.  I have a need to be productive.  My children will never remember my cooking but they will always remember me with a paintbrush in my hand.

Why do you make art?  What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

I make art because it puts me in a very pleasant ‘nothing can touch me’ zone and it’s a great place to be.  Probably, in all honesty, I try to communicate peace and wonder in creating, or a wonderful peace.  I find this especially in my figurative work, my figures without features, and possibly my inner spirit is reflected in them as I see myself in hem all – dancing, reading, posed…

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Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?  Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

My creative space can be anyplace I’m creating.  I’ve been in many garages (including my studio now) and it seems as though wherever I plant myself becomes my creative space. 

What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

I always find that when I get in the studio I must do some kind of ‘warm-up’ work to relax me enough to paint.  I teach this to my students.  Little sketches, painting solid backgrounds on canvas with a roller, moving things around – just about anything to get me in the mood.  I never can just jump in on a painting.  We have to become friends first.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I currently work in oils and that is what I teach.  Lately I’ve been doing figures on paper in neutral colors and this seems to be a good warm-up too.

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What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

And…this brings up my favorite tool.  I can’t live without my 9B graphite pencil.  It’s so dark and soft!  I probably love to scribble more than anything!  So fun!

For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

Of all the things I would like to be remembered for, it would be a good mother and grandmother.  I have triplets and a single and am expecting my eighth grandchild and there’s nothing better in the world!  I want them all to have my best art.  The road is a winding one so I give it up to something greater than myself and happily accept what’s around the corner.

mallisonartist.com

mallisonfineart.blogspot.com

Interview: Suzy 'Pal' Powell

Suzy 'Pal' Powell

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?

I have created as long as I can remember. I was embroidering and making doll clothes before I even started to school, even with out patterns.

 How old were you?

Probably 5? I can’t remember.

 Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?

Probably an elderly friend who was an awesome pastel portrait artist.  She encouraged and mentored me until her death.  In the back of my mind I looked up to artists and always wanted to be one but never thought I could be .

Who or what inspires your art life today?

All artists! Everybody is so different, and I love seeing him or her excel and do well with their work. Western art is especially my favorite, along with sketching.

Anytime I see a cowboy, horses, spurs, etc. I get so excited and want to re-create the scene!

Why do you make art?

I have to make art. It is who I am.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

I don’t know. I just paint what I love.  I think happiness is reflected. Or at least I hope so. I have been told it looks happy.

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Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?

No, I wish I could keep it clean and organized but I can’t so no probably not. I can paint or sketch anywhere. I am not organized or real neat.

Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

I normally play music and I keep a quote in sight…’Father Glorify yourself through the work of my hands today’…written by Bill Craig.

What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

No routine, other than trying to sketch something every day. I love keeping sketchbooks.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I work in mixed media collages and watercolor, along with sketching each day.

And I would love to become a better sketcher and oil painter.

What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

Probably my most important tool would be good brushes and good paper, along with my ipad or phone for taking photos. If you don’t use good paper its hard to get the watercolor to do what you want it to. (and that doesn’t always work either) I love watercolor for that reason, so unpredictable.

How do you keep yourself motivated? 

This is a hard question. Sometimes I have to make myself go out to my art room and do something.  If I have good photo references to use, it’s easier.  Sometimes a trip down a back road helps. New scenery.

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

If they are serious, they have to work each day that they can, No matter what. Set aside time, and a space. Buy the best supplies you need. Don’t skimp on tools. It’s just like a mechanic, needing a toolbox full of tools to get the job done. Also, my favorite thing to tell them is ‘It’s just paper and paint, Not a matter of Life or death, just enjoy the process.’

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If you wish, please share with us any other aspect of your art life—professionally and/or personally—that hasn’t been answered in the above questions. 

God has truly blessed me by allowing me to create and make so many wonderful friends through art!

The Internet has played a big part in my art career, I am grateful for that.

For what one thing would you like to be remembered? 

As far as art…

Maybe that I loved to create all kinds of things, and did them all with my best ability with passion. But most of all, that I LOVED to share what little bit I knew with any and everybody, so that maybe their art career might be a little easier and faster than mine has. I never had any art in school, and had to work so hard every day that I could to try to learn and improve. As far as my family that they were loved and could always count on me.

Describe yourself in one word.

Curious

 

www.suzypal.com

Interview: Neva Rossi Smoll

Neva Rossi Smoll

Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?  Who or what inspires your art life today?

I was seventeen years old and a senior in a small south Texas high school.  A hobby shop opened up in town and my mother and I spent many hours in there doing various crafts.  The owner was a friend of ours and one day she asked me if would like to try oil painting.  Of course! I painted a colorful sunset.  A couple of days later, some random (and very good-looking) young man came into the shop.  He purchased my painting for $15.  I was thrilled.  And hooked.

Today, I am inspired by many contemporary artists—Casey Klahn, Dawn Emerson, and Aline Ordman to name just a few.  What inspires me about their work is its loose simplicity, its authenticity, and their obvious lack of fear.

Why do you make art?  What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

I make art because I have to.  I have to be creative in some way, even if it is just baking a cake.  Art, creativity of any kind, takes me out of my silly little mind-made problems to a place of “no mind.”  I am immersed in my moment, everything else fades away, and I am left with my intuition and freedom.

In my art I try to show people that thing they have missed while they were too busy to see.  I want my art to make the viewer feel the vulnerability of a portrait subject.  I want the viewer to look at a café scene and imagine themselves in the story.  I want to communicate that “edge” in a scene — that precipice where the mundane is left behind and what is revealed is a hidden emotion. 

An element of my inner spirit — hmmm.  Perhaps it is simply an attempt to look beyond the evident and see the beauty in all things.

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative processwhy or why not?  Is there somethinga keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photographyou keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

The atmosphere of my studio space is very important.  I do my best to keep the energy positive and free-flowing.  No negativity here!  (The struggle is real, folks.) If I feel it needs a cleansing, I light sage, or use essential oils.  I find it is equally necessary to keep my own energy positive and free-flowing.  So when I catch myself having a negative thought, I do my best to reverse it.  As for design or layout, it is essential to have a dedicated space.  Layout and design will have to come later when I build my studio.

I love quotations, and I have quite a collection.  The one I have taped to my computer at the office says, “Paint What You Love.”  Another favorite is “Do not doubt when you ask, for then which will the Universe answer?”  But my all-time favorite is this one by Uell S. Andersen, “Choose to think only of that which you truly desire.  Refuse to entertain thoughts of what you fear, and you will find you are unerringly guided to your goals by a power greater than you are.”

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What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

I do have a ritual.  I meditate for a few minutes to clear my mind and then I ask the painting to tell me what it wants.

I love the element of color and enjoy using vibrant colors with lots of contrast.  I like to combine large color shapes with distinctive mark-making.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I currently work in soft pastels.  I find them to be immediate and very forgiving.  It is easy play.  I also love oil and would like very much to further pursue oil painting.

What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

My most important tool is my camera.  I use only my own photographs for inspiration and reference.  On an equal level is my iPad Pro and the Snapseed App.  I take thousands of photos, download them from the camera card onto the iPad and begin the process of cropping and adjusting until I get a design I like.  I also use the ArtSet Pro App to try different backgrounds or color palettes.  It helps to eliminate the unnecessary and distill the design.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I motivate myself with photography and plein air painting.  When I am particularly un-motivated I will take a piece of paper, tape off 3 or 4 six-by-six squares and paint trees using different colors.  Playing with color motivates me.  Sometimes I splash vibrant watercolors on the sanded paper as an underpainting.  If I am really blocked, I do something different, like making monoprints with Intaglio inks and various flora from my gardens.  Lots of fun and very freeing because I have no end result in mind, yet I always get something interesting.

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

My advice to a beginning artist is this:

Everyone can learn to draw.  Everyone can learn to paint.  But you have to DO THE WORK.  Find artists you admire and study their work.  Buy their books. Take their workshops.  As Lawrence Block says, “Talent is something that is accessible to everyone who takes the trouble to find access to it.”  So just do the work…

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For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered as being fearless in putting my work out there.  I would also like to be remembered as someone who was willing to share knowledge.  There is enough success and abundance for everyone.  Be happy in your own success.  Be equally happy in the successes of others.

Describe yourself in one word.

DETERMINED!

www.nevarossi.com

Denise Bossarte

Photography is a way to capture the moments when I connect intimately with the beauty in the world: natural beauty, man-made beauty, and the convergence of the two. 

My training is in an Eastern contemplative arts tradition that emphasizes experiencing the world in a direct and non-judgmental way. 

It requires a quiet, open mind to see what is there to be found in that instant. 

From this view, the images are presenting themselves and my art is fashioned by engaging with them. 

A strong photograph is one that captures a moment in such a way it transmits the experience to the viewer. 

My passion is doing photography along the coast of Texas where the mix of man and nature, of land, sea, and air, construct images that are figurative, impressionistic, and even abstract.

 

Denise Bossarte
Found Worlds Photography

www.foundworlds.com
Artist of Texas Signature Member


photos@foundworlds.com

Kristine Byars Artists of Texas Equine Art

Kristine Byars uses vivid color to create paintings that are often playful, and yet evoke warm emotions. One consistent theme in her art is a great love of nature and all creatures. Horses hold a particularly special place in Kris' heart, and when not painting she can often be found with her quarter horse, Sparky.  Kris lives a life surrounded by nature in Texas with her husband Steve, cat, golden retriever, and Sparky.