Artist Interview: Steve Fleming


Fellow Studio Gallery member Steve Fleming has a solo show from February 2nd to the 26th with a First Friday Reception (as part of the Dupont Circle Galleries openings) on 2/4 from 6 - 8 pm and another reception, Saturday 2/5, 3 - 5 pm.

Q: What's your favorite piece from the show and why?

A: I really like the earliest Kalahari painting, especially Kalahari 1 (above).  It represents the freshest and most sensitive handling of my impression of the desert floor as seen from a small aircraft.  The colors have a nice wide range considering I am painting a dry very desolate place.  I really like the scratch work indicating the eons old paths that the animals use to cross the desert in search of food and water and the patches of white paint that are pulled over top of the foundation colors giving the impression of sand forming pockets and ridges on the earth's surface.  I like all the later pieces; they became much more involved in terms of color, texture and the feeling of movement but the simplicity of the early work still says the most to me.

Q: Do you paint intuitively, with a hardcore plan, or somewhere in between? 

A: When painting acrylics I really do start with a plan and just put paint on paper and canvas and then I let the painting push me to new conclusions and destinations.  This approach is very different for me because in my impressionistic watercolor landscapes I use a design pattern which is very specific in terms of the relationship of lights and darks and the location of focal centers of interest.  I paint very fluidly and spontaneously but I have a definite plan.  By contrast, when I paint acrylics I have a general theme or motif I want to try but I just let the medium and canvas drive me in new directions.  I think this works with acrylics because they are great for changing the surface and restating dull and unsuccessful areas in the painting.  I can really keep adding and trying one more thing and not stop until the painting feels complete.  Many times the painting has a totally different look when finished than I anticipated when starting.

One thing that does define my works is my tendency to paint in a series of work following a theme or concept and then exhausting all of its possibilities.  The two major themes of this show are the desert impressions in which I have tried to produce work that evokes the color, texture and character of the Botswana desert.  I have flown over it many times and am always stunned by the dry, ancient grays and the spotty areas of life supporting water and vegetation.  It has the look of an ancient face gritty, lined and expressive I tried to portray this in my show.  The second theme is called "Layers" which came about with juxtaposition of zen circles on top of color fields and forms.  I have tried to establish the feeling of looking into the picture plane through layers of symbols finding the distance and subject of the painting deep in the canvas.

Q: For this show, did you do anything differently... new techniques, subject matter, palette, etc.?

A: Actually, since this is the first time I have ever shown my acrylics, everything is new for me and the viewer.  I have been a painter of transparent watercolors for 40 years and have just recently made the move to acrylics.  I made this move because I wanted to work on a bigger scale and I wanted to get more surface textures without the tricks associated with the transparent watercolors.  Most of the paintings were done using a palette knife and for me this is really different because I am pretty much noted for being a really expressive brush painter in watercolor.  The journey to paint this show has really taken me to and through some rough yet exciting patches.  For the longest time I would mention that I felt my relationship with acrylics was like a marriage that was on the rocks and in serious couples counseling.

Q: A lot of artists have that one piece in their studio that they would never sell. Do you?

A: Funny but I really have no painting that fits that description. Once I am done with a painting I am on to the next one.  My favorite is always the one I haven't painted yet.  My goal is to sell everything I paint and have the painting make the owners happy for the rest of their lives.  I lose interest in a painting pretty soon after its completion and if I am left with it for too long I will begin to tear it apart intellectually and seriously consider painting over top of it.  I look at each painting to be a process of creativity and immediate artistic energy, but once I feel it is finished I move all of my passion to the next piece.  I belief that when an artist is too involved with past work then the future work will suffer. We must always be looking towards our next painting not the last one.  Artistic growth comes from trying new things and pushing out beyond our comfort boundaries.

Thanks, Steve, for sharing insights about your upcoming show! 

Artist Interview: Elena Stamberg


Fellow Studio Gallery member Elena Stamberg has a two-person show up soon with Trix Kuijper.  The exhibit runs February 2 - 26, 2011 with a First Friday Reception (as part of the Dupont Circle Galleries openings) on 2/4 from 6 - 8 pm and another reception, Saturday 2/5, 3 - 5 pm.

Q. What's the one thing you'd like people who aren't familiar with you/your work to know about you? 
A: My heart is with needle, thread and cloth. That's a fact that I should probably whisper very softly. But then, what is canvas, but cloth with a treated surface? So all painters use cloth in their work. The needle is my brush.

Q: What's your favorite piece from the show and why? 
A: The pieces done on organza are my favorites. They attempt to capture the atmospheric feeling of being by the surrounding and soothing ocean.

Q: Do you work intuitively, with a hardcore plan, or somewhere in between? 
A: I work intuitively in the moment having no preconceived notions as to the outcome. Sometimes the muse dances on my head and sometimes she doesn't. Then I wait.

Q: Who is your biggest influence and why? 
A: I'm not really influenced by anyone. I observe, absorb and just am.

Q: For this show, did you do anything differently... new techniques, subject matter, palette, etc.? 
A: The different part is that I'm showing work drawn with needle on cloth, rather than brush on paper or canvas.

Q: Where do you see the DC art scene in five years? In ten? 
A: I haven't a clue. Who can predict the future, or even tomorrow?

Q: What do you feel is the best thing about being an artist in the DC area? 
A: Studio Gallery. It's a wonderful space with a sculpture garden, high ceilings, we have a dynamic director, and the artists are supportive.

Q: A lot of artists have that one piece in their studio that they would never ever sell. Tell us about yours. 
A: Some of my pieces have family members included and involve lots of detailed work which takes many months to complete. Those I would never sell because they are too personal.

Thanks, Elena, and best of luck with your show!

Don't Miss...


Jacqui Crocetta, Rachel Rotenberg, and Sonya Lawyer are up at BlackRock Center for the Arts until Saturday, January 29th. It's a wonderful show of wood sculpture, paintings, and fiber collage in a gorgeous space out here in Germantown, MD.

BlackRock is also looking for Montgomery County artists for solos of two months in duration in their upstairs space -- the new Terrace Gallery -- with a deadline of 2/1//11. This new space features one large wall and lots of natural light right off their lounge. It's perfect for two very large paintings. Details here.

Also stopped by Bound last night at Hamiltonian featuring Katherine Mann and Selin Balchi.  Beautiful, lush work not to be missed.

Annemarie Sculpture Garden & Art Center's Living Gallery


I can't wait to participate in this residency program next month!  A reception will be held from March 5 - May 1, 2011 with a reception March 18th from 6 to 9 pm. If you have a chance to stop by, I'd love to see you and share my process. About the Living Gallery>>
From January 17-February 25, 2011, Annmarie's spectacular Main Gallery will be transformed into artist studios and sales space.  This wonderful atmosphere will give artists room to develop new work while allowing visitors the opportunity to observe, interact,  and appreciate the artistic process.  A diverse group of artists have been selected for this exhibition.  Please review the schedule to select a time to visit! 

Living Gallery 2011 Schedule:
Jan. 17-22 Francis Borchardt mixed media
Jan. 19-21 Norma LeVally art quilts
Jan. 23-28 Khara Koffel mixed media
Jan. 24-Feb. 4 Suzanne Shelden painting
Jan. 30-Feb. 4 Mary Blumberg watercolor
Jan. 30-Feb. 4 Paul Rhymer sculpture
Jan. 30-Feb.12 Nancy Shippen painting
Feb. 6-11 Lori Anne Boocks painting
Feb. 6-18 Melinda Fabian illustration
Feb. 13-18 Carl Tucker drawing
Feb. 14-19 Ann Crain painting
Feb. 14-19 Colleen Lochausen sculpture
Feb. 20-26 Robyn Strayer fiber
Feb. 20-26 Mickey Kunkle jewelry
Feb. 20-26 Diana Manchak ceramic
Feb. 21-25 Bertram White painting
Feb. 21-25 Liz Printz jewelry

New Opp: The Art Advisory


From The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery:

Art Advisory Mission
The Art Advisory, a full service entity of The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, assists private collectors, corporations and healthcare facilities in the transformation of their home or office into beautiful live and work environments through the integration of artwork, which enhances creativity, promotes tranquility, and offers inspiration.

Call to Artists
The Art Advisory seeks works by painters, photographers, sculptors, printmakers, muralists, installation and new media artists to support its advisory services and future projects. We accept two and three-dimensional works of art, including works on paper (edition of 500 or less) and Giclée prints (edition of 250 or less). Individual art works will not be selected from the call; rather, we will invite selected artists to be non-exclusively represented by the Advisory. Chosen Advisory artists will work with the gallery to sell existing works or to create commissioned pieces specific to future clients’ needs.

Rosana Azar, Creative Adventures; Myrtis Bedolla, Galerie Myrtis; Mary Early, Hemphill Fine Arts; Lillian Fitzgerald, National Institutes of Health; Helen Frederick, George Mason University School of Art and Design; Anne Marchand, Professional Artist; Foon Sham, University of Maryland College Park; Alec Simpson, Brentwood Arts Exchange at Gateway Arts Center; and Tim Tate, The Washington Glass School.

Learn more and download the application here.

New Year, New Work


She Set Herself on Fire So She Could Feel Color
Acrylic and Charcoal on Canvas
30 x 30 inches