Our very own Debbie Claussen, the artist in our show "Sweet Dreams" is profiled by the El Dorado County Foothills Style Magazine!
As a child, Debbie Claussen would often sketch the kids around her in class, but it wasn’t until her 20s when she finally pursued her passion. Having since explored different techniques in porcelain, watercolor, and oil painting, the talented artist and teacher doesn’t wish to limit herself and is constantly changing and growing. Read More
Build Bridges Not Walls is a small-scale model for a piece intended to be large scale. This maquette is rendered in fused and slumped glass. The wall has a deeply textured layer of singed copper on its surface. The bridge is a translucent arc of pink.
More than just a political statement about current world issues, this piece is intended to embody inner struggles as well as a philosophy for growth. In the wall, there is density, darkness and restriction. In the bridge there is light and reflection and openness. The bridge seems fragile in comparison to the wall, but in its graceful arc there is enormous strength.
Today, as I write this, our government is taking bids on the construction of a border wall to keep immigrants out. Suppose this fearful act were defeated by the idea that immigration is our greatest strength; that we are not one people but all peoples, and as such, we have all the collective wisdom and resources to accomplish the unimaginable.
Build Bridges Not Walls is a work of hope and a diagram for a better world.
4th Street Artist Maggie Hurley shares her inspiration and painting process for her portrait of a Bateleur Eagle.
My inspiration for this painting was provided by “Python” Paige at the World Bird Sanctuary in Missouri. Her instagram photo of Shadow, a 31 year old Bateleur, provided a fantastic reference photo for me to work from.
Bateleur eagles can be found in Africa, ranging from Mauritania to Sudan to Egypt, all the way to South Africa. They spend up to 80% of their days in flight, searching for food. They can cover over 300 miles in a day! That could explain why they can also be found in parts of the Middle East.
Pairs of the Bateleur’s mate for life. They have a rather death-defying mating ritual that involves the male diving down upon the female in flight, often rolling 360 degrees, while loudly clapping their wings. All this, while the female flies on her back. Pretty nuts!
I got started by priming a 6″ x 6″ cradled birch panel with several coats of clear acrylic gesso. I use clear gesso to allow the wood grain to serve as a background for the bird. After sanding the gesso to a smooth surface, I do a loose sketch to help me keep the feathers straight, as well as get the positioning of the facial features in place.
As mentioned before, I like to paint on birch panels. I like the stiffness of the surface, and appreciate the beauty of the wood’s grain as a background.
Paints:Full disclosure: I really am not a huge fan of acrylic paints, but they dry quickly (at least more quickly than oils), and since my birds need to be turned around quickly for my Bird in a Box subscribers, they’re what I use. I do appreciate being able to blend, so I’ve been adding paints from Golden’s OPEN line to my arsenal.
Colors for this painting included:
I have a massive collection of paintbrushes, some of which were passed down to me from my grandmother’s collection. One thing I’ve learned is that those brushes whose bristles are no longer in pristine condition are amazing for getting great feathery-textures.
All said and done, this painting took about 4 hours to complete. I try to balance including enough detail to render a realistic impression without getting too fussy. I also do my best to capture the expression of the bird. To me, this portrait of Shadow suggests an air of calm, mixed with a feeling of, “best not underestimate me.”
In the end, I titled this painting, “Better Keep Your Eye on My Every Move.” This is from a song, “You Know You Like It,” by AlunaGeorge. I appreciate the sentiment of that song.
Come into 4th Street Fine Art Thursdays - Sundays, 11am -6pm to see the Bateleur Eagle and other works by Maggie Hurley.
A good time was had by all at the Visceral City reception. Show runs until August 3. Come in and see the art in person, Thurs-Sun, 11am - 6pm.
An interview with artist ShawNshawN over his style Metal Mayhem. This is for the show Visceral City that is a two man show with Michael Sacramento from June 23 to August 3. The opening is on June 23 from 6pm - 8pm. The gallery address is 2000 4th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710. Our regular gallery hours are 11am - 6pm Friday to Sunday.
Shawn Shawn of Fourth Street Fine Art talks about his painting 303 Signatures which was created in the Political Pop style of painting. It covers his reaction to Charter 08 and the current politics of China under communist rule.
Readers, if you are interested in viewing the painting in person, please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am now the President of our national organization, American Society of Botanical Artists. It is safe to say that as much time goes into administering these organizations as goes into my painting...for now.
I owe my appreciation for botanical art to the artist, Henry Evans, who gained popularity in the 1970's. My path to painting botanicals was not direct, however. I studied studio art at a small liberal arts school in Illinois and decided that the midwest was not for me. Back in California at UC Davis, I got a degree in Landscape Architecture which served as a great foundation for my knowledge of plants that I paint to day.
Tell us more about what you create. What style(s) do you work in, mediums, etc.
When it comes to plants, I get up close and personal. Much goes into preserving plants as found in nature. Color studies are done, details are noted, sketches of plant parts are drawn, and ultimately a composition evolves from all of this before beginning to paint layers upon layers of watercolor. My process goes from wet and loose to dry and detailed.
Where can we find your art besides at 4th Street?
I am in exhibitions throughout the year. I am currently showing my art at Filoli in Woodside.
How long have you been creating?
Botanical art since 1999 and design work since 1978.
When you're not making your art, what do you do?
My time is split between my administrative work for ASBA, teaching watercolor, walking my dog, spending time with my family, and cooking. I cook to relax!
What’s on the horizon for you and what you do?
I'm about to have my first joint exhibition at 4th Street Fine Art. It has been fun to collaborate in an environment where I'm the only botanical artist.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
People expect that my art is my passion. It's not, but it certainly has acted as a wonderful vehicle for learning more about myself, other people, and the world around me.
It's good to put your art in the context of your life. I think it takes some of the weight of needing to produce off.
Just starting out, I say get out there and see what others are doing. Find what appeals to you and find your own voice.
Who are some artists that inspire you?
Henry Evans was the first. Now that I am deeply embedded in the botanical art world there are a hosts of lesser known artists there such as Elaine Searle, Lizzie Sanders and Jean Emmons. More well-known artists would include Georgia O'Keefe, and the French impressionists.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I imagine I'll always paint because there is so much out there to see and do.
Come see the beautiful details of Sally's work up-close and in-person.
Her show with artist, Valerie Sobel, will be on display March 31 - May 11, 2018. Come chat with her about her work at the opening reception Saturday, April 7th 5pm - 7pm.
More info here.
4th Street Fine Art artist Shawn Shawn’s Metal Mayhem is based on metal blades that cut and smooth a surface or deconstruct a duality. Shawn’s inspiration was Erik Nieman and Gerhardt Richter reformed into his own style.
Why do you paint and draw? What is your interest in art?
I make art cause it’s the only thing that makes sense to me. I’m interested in the self preservation aspect to it. We make things to define our existence or just to make things. In the end it becomes a sort of time capsule that shows what I’ve been doing while I was alive. Also, it’s fun. If I didn't have to worry about bills, fueling the economy, living the standard lifestyle…if being homeless wasn’t socially unacceptable, I’d paint all day without a care in the world. But paints cost money, I like taking long hot showers, and the internet.
When did you first get started and how has your art evolved since then?
I started taking art more seriously in my early twenties. I was attending community college and taking art classes there because that was the only thing I was most interested in and excelled at. I didn't get a chance to take a painting class, but I really got into figure drawing and printmaking. I would go down and visit the watercolor class during my breaks in between classes. If I’m lucky I would get to see the teacher Charlie Chavez take his class out and paint plein air. That’s when I really wanted to learn watercolor and paint outdoors.
I transferred to CSU East Bay and received a BFA in Traditional Art. While getting my undergrad I was more exposed to other artists (both peers and professional) that helped me discover more about myself and art making. In the beginning I was still in training mode and getting my feet wet. Now I’m trying to perfect the variations of the breaststroke.
How does your background/history impact the themes you paint on?
It impacts it greatly especially in my current series on Acculturation. That series is based on human behavior, identity, and culture. I grew up knowing little of mine and feeling sort of out of place. When I started this series I noticed that I learned more about myself and others than ever before.
Why do you enjoy plein aire? What's the difference vs. painting from photos or an iPad?
Painting plein air is a very interesting experience. You have to go in knowing that you’re not going to make the best painting. Instead, it’s going to be the best sketch you’ll ever do. I like the freshness, spontaneity, it’s ephemeral, and the care free attitude that comes with it. Just go outside paint what you see, hope for the best, expect the worst, and bring home something that proves you were there at that date and time.
Okay, every artist knows that there’s a big difference between painting from life and working from photos. Colors and temperatures are different. The way you see something also isn't the same. I don’t mind working from photos. It depends on the process and the approach that determines the results. However, working from life will definitely help you execute how you work from photos. You’ll trust your gut and eye more. Be a little loose when you need to be and working from photos will help you be a little more tight and allows more freedom. There are benefits to both.
Who has been your biggest influences in art style?
I never really liked the word “style” when it comes to art.Feels…too trendy. I don’t feel like I have one. It’s just a bunch of everyone I like molded in together. There’s a whole lot of artists that I’m inspired by. I like the works of George Post, Joseph Zbukvic, Miguel Linares Rios, Sargent, Zorn, Andrew Hem, James Jean, Bill Watterson, Sean Cheetham, too many. Right now, I’m still in the technical and foundation aspect, so I’m attracted by artists with exceptional drawing skills.
George Post, Guyanans Harbor
Miguel Linares Rios
What is your favorite painting you painted and why?
Don’t have one. I don’t think i’ll ever have a favorite of my artworks. However I feel most connected to my little series of mix media drawings, Tahimik. They’re also a part of the Acculturation series. It’s the most personal and therapeutic works I’ve made so far.
Streeters share studio news
Recommended Artist Resources
Frames - Cheap Joes
Matboard - REDImat
Paint - Blick Art, Cheap Joes
Plastic bags - Clearbags
Shipping supplies - Uline
Shoe Making - blog
Supplies - ASW Express
Postcards - PS Prints