Cotton Mill Studios
Every city I visit to teach, I like to check out the local art. I love seeing new work and what other artists are working on. This weekend I spent some time at the River Arts District.
Emilie and I took in several galleries, spent some time with Jane and Connie, some good friends, and had White Duck Tacos for lunch. The nice thing about RAD is that you are touring working artists studios, so you get the chance to meet the artist and talk to them about their work. It's a wonderful way to connect with the person who's created the work.
Honey Pots just of the wheel by Eileen
Big Thanks to my friend Constance who introduced us to the Eileen and Marty at The Potters Mark. We got a tour of the studio where the magic happens, and even got to peek inside the kiln at some wonderful red glazed pottery that was cooling.
Eileen at the wheel
Julia Fosson was nice enough to take the time to show us how the encaustic process works in her studio which is just above the White Duck Taco in the Hatchery Building. Her space is so light and bright with her wonderful works on the walls, it was just very inviting.
Julia showing us how to melt wax with a blow torch
Julia's pots of encaustic color
We also appreciated Akira Satake Ceramics while in the Cotton Mill. Akira Satake was born in Osaka, Japan, his pottery is fired in both a wood-fired kin and a gas kiln for different effects and finishes on his work. I really enjoyed the rough natural shapes of his wood-fired work.
Akira Satake pottery
Yuzu Patisserie is where we enjoyed the view of the pottery and the taste of homemade popsicles
Jane, Connie, Emilie, and Yours Truly enjoyed our popsicles and our texture rubbing. I have learned to travel with rice paper and crayons in my purse, so I was prepared for some of the brick work at the RAD. These rubbings I took back to class and painted on Friday.
rubbing with crayons on textured bricks
White Duck Taco offered some amazing tacos and great local beer. We stopped to refuel before moving on to more working artist studios. I had the fish tacos and oh boy were they good!
We stopped in on Brad Stroman, who's thick gessoed backgrounds really intrigued me. We talked about fluid acrylic vs. full bodied colors and I told him he would probably LOVE my favorite fluids for the technique he was doing. He inquired about my work and said he'd come to the opening reception. It was great to see him and his wife on Saturday night at my show! "I told you I would come," he said as he introduced me to his wife. Thank you Brad!
And now I must share with you the absolute BEST work I saw all day! Daniel McClendon's animal paintings. Wow. After speaking with Daniel about being classically trained artist with a BFA that focused on realism, we both agreed on how much effort it took to loosen up and move toward a less structured style of work. Daniel and his wife were so nice to tell us about how they remodeled their 5,000 sq. ft. gallery and studio space called the Lift Studios, such a stunning space.
As it turns out Daniel graduated from Western Michigan University and hung his work in Grand Rapids as part of Art Prize last year, as did I. I was lucky enough to see his Art Prize work at the studio which was entitled "Herd" and was a multi panel piece depicting a large moving group of animals.
Daniel's work is dynamic and exciting, it's got a movement and spontaneity about it which I love. When I viewed his work I wanted to head into my studio and be more loose! Gallery hopping always inspires me, but studio visits are 10x even more inspiring!
Tuna, I loved the fact that the multi panel approach was not symmetrical
Turtle, I really was admiring how he scratched through the paint to draw the face and how each leg is handled in a different manner.
I was totally inspired to be more loose with my backgrounds when I looked at these animal paintings. I loved that you could see the white gesso ground and the black splattered under painting pattern showing through into the final work. So much splatter and fast-paced brushwork that the animals seem to be moving right off the wood panel.
If you have a minute to check out his work and his website, or his Facebook Page. I think you might just see why stopping at The Lift Studios was awesome. How did we happen to go in? Emilie looked at a piece in the window and said "Wow, that's disturbing." It was a wide open mouth full of teeth, growling at us. "What?!" I exclaimed, "We have to check it out."
After touring The Lift, Emilie agreed that it was her favorite stop of the day too.
Thank you for being a part of my art journey.