Inside The Artist’s Studio with Lanna Pejovic

Hello from Lanna and thank you Main Street Arts for inviting me to write a blog in conjunction with the current Fifty Landscapes exhibit.   I am included with three paintings and this is my first blog post – ever!

I would like to give you a little insight into my working process by showing you a couple of stages in the evolution of one of the paintings in this show, “Wooded Path (Hide and Seek).

Wooded Path (Hide and Seek)

Wooded Path (Hide and Seek)

When I start a painting my visual concept is not set, so I don’t know how it will look in the end or when it will be finished.  I am usually focused on a theme but each painting is like a conversation that uncovers the possibilities as it goes along.

A walk, or a new day can change the course of a painting, kind of like making a soup…….. depends on what you happen to have in the fridge on a given day!  It is a constant renewal.

 Here are two states of Wooded Path (Hide and Seek).

Left: an early stage; Right: a middle stage

Left: an early state                                                                 Right: a middle state

Landscape is an all-inclusive experience for me.  I feel very aware of my presence in a space; that I am surrounded by light, sound, texture, color, the mood of the day, my memories.  I would like my landscape paintings to convey the sense of being “in” a place rather than looking “at” a place.

I use the landscape in which I live as my source for imagery and this particular theme,  a path through arching trees has been occupying me for a while now.  It keeps unfolding and I find it continually interesting to work with.  The place that started this theme is close to my home, a trail in Mendon Ponds Park where I often walk.

Birdsong Trail in Spring

Birdsong Trail in Spring

I like to sketch and draw on location.  It is a meditation on space for me and this is when I absorb and store the motifs I like to work with.

Here is a drawing I made in this particular part of the park.

charcoal drawing

charcoal drawing

Before I close, here is a little background information about me.  I was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia) and emigrated to the Rochester area with my family when I was 9 years old.  I always wanted to be an artist and so I started studying art early on and all the way through college and have been making art ever since.

 For my next post I will show you more of my process and current work.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Lanna’s artwork in our current exhibition, Fifty Landscapes (runs through May 13). View her work online at www.lannapejovic.com. Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by photographer Carl Chiarenza.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Carl Chiarenza

Representation, as I use the word, does not mean documentary of the natural, social world. It does not refer to specific times and places.  Representation refers to how photographic syntax allows and restricts–how it frames the visual transformation of what is seen from the vantage point of the camera’s lens.

Acropolis Revisited 300, 2010

Acropolis Revisited 300, 2010

I’m interested in how what is in front of my lens comes together into a new object–how the photograph causes a genuinely real but fresh experience which did not exist before its appearance. The word “representation” is about photography’s way of transforming the supposed reality of things, as opposed to photography reproducing or tracing the world. A photograph may be used to represent the unknown, the mysterious, or invisible as much as it may be used to represent the known and visible.  It can be used for both prose and poetry where metaphors may dominate the viewer’s response and second thoughts may override the immediate response.

A photograph presents both artist and viewer with a challenge, because we want to know the subject depicted–as if the photograph were not there.  For over 165 years an extraordinary number of forces have led us to believe photographs are windows on reality, even when reason tells us otherwise.  We share photos of our children and say “this is my daughter”, as if the photograph were not there. We fail to recognize that while a photograph is different from other kinds of pictures it is still a picture. Therefore, it is characteristically different from what was in front of the lens.

Untitled 297, 2010

Untitled 297, 2010

Instead of trying to hide photography’s special characteristics of transformation in an illusion of material reality, I try to expose and exploit them. I underline the fact that the viewer is seeing an abstraction, a picture rather than actual events, as in the pictures in this exhibition.  Of course, individual picturemakers and picture users have their own ways of transformation, and today’s digital tools just compound those possibilities.

A Carl Chiarenza photograph in Fifty Landscapes, the current exhibition at Main Street Arts

A Carl Chiarenza photograph in Fifty Landscapes, the current exhibition at Main Street Arts

Even without considering the digital revolution, the difference between photography and reality is central to my thinking.  In the case of the media photograph (For example, the widely published image issued by the Bolivian government as evidence of the capture and death of Che Guevera, 1960s revolutionary) this difference can have serious consequences for our understanding of political and social events. How can we know the true relationship between the photograph and the actual facts about Che? This is also seen in the ongoing debate over facts and images of events in the Middle East. The issue of difference in my work has an additional wrinkle: how to hold the viewer’s attention beyond the initial frustrating attempt to decipher “what it is”. The problem is how to get the viewer to abandon their belief in the photograph as window, to bring them through the window to a new and unique visual event rather than an illusion of one that already occurred.

My photographs are made from collages which I construct specifically to be photographed in black and white. This process creates form and subject simultaneously. The collages are means to an end and are discarded once the photographs are completed. The photographs do not look like the collages from which they were made. They are transformations which refer to and represent visual sensations which I know only from a mix of past encounters with other pictures, music, the world, dreams, and fantasies.

The studio and darkroom are like scientists’ laboratories.  Artist and scientist both tinker with the known in search of the unknown. Both have a desire to see realities never before seen.  That desire motivates my work. I set myself free to explore the  photographic picture potential of the process itself, encouraging chance, accident, and discovery.

Noumenon 148, 1987

Noumenon 148, 1987

As Albert Einstein said, “One of the most beautiful things we can experience is the mysterious… It is the source of all true science and art. He who can no longer pause to wonder is as good as dead.”

My commitment is to exploring how little we know compared to how much we think we know, and to how little we know compared to how much we feel.  To make photographs which could convey such enigmas is my continuing obsession.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Carl’s artwork in our current exhibition, Fifty Landscapes (runs through May 13). View his work online at www.carlchiarenza.com. Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by painter Meredith Mallwitz.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Meredith Mallwitz

After the Rain 24"x24"

After the Rain 24″x24″

Where are you from?  Canandaigua, NY

How long have you been making artwork?  My entire life.  I grew up with creative parents and grandparents, thus, exploring my creativity was always something that was encouraged in my household growing up.

Did you go to art school?  I attended The Art institute of Boston, California College of Arts and Scuola Lorenzo de Medici, Art Institute of Florence, Italy

What style of artwork do you create?  Impressionist style landscapes

What medium do you use?  Acrylic on canvas and wood panel

What are you trying to communicate with your work?  Light, energy & emotion

Where else can we find you?

Website:  www.meredithmallwitz.com
Instagram:  @mmallwitz
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/mmallwitzartstudio

My studio/work space

My studio/work space

This series, completed in the spring of 2015, was inspired by a wonderful Mother’s Day spent galavanting around the Finger Lakes with my family.  My mother has a keen eye and strong  appreciation for natures simple beauty and the day did not disappoint.  The light dramatically changed with each passing rainstorm and the warmth of the air, the smell of the rain and the palette of springs new growth provided me with the energy and direction to complete these works.

Morning Dew 24"x24"

Morning Dew 24″x24″

Warmth of the Sun 24"x24"

Warmth of the Sun 24″x24″

Memories of a Season 24"x24"

Memories of a Season 24″x24″

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Meredith’s artwork in our current exhibition, Fifty Landscapes (runs through May 13). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by printmaker and painter Dennis Revitzky.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Dennis Revitzky

Born and raised in northwestern Pennsylvania, I graduated from Gannon and Mercyhurst Colleges with a degree in art education
in 1969. I did graduate study in Fine Arts at SUNY Brockport and taught art for 33 years, most of that time in the Livonia, NY
school district. Along with teaching I was also a professional artist, and upon retirement I was able to devote more time to
my artwork,  mainly printmaking and painting.

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I work from home, where I have my work studio and an office/storage room. The subjects of my art are primarily landscape and the figure. In working with landscape I am always aware of the beauty and essence of the place, and I want to convey the mysterious or spiritual elements of that place. I try to allude to something beyond the physical world we perceive; something we are a part of, but difficult to define or understand.

Strange Morning

In my paintings, I attempt to communicate this through a technique I developed which heavily emphasizes texture. I use modeling paste
and other materials on canvas and then apply an underpainting of a deep violet color over the textured surface. The painting is finished
in oils using brush and palette knife.

Letchworth in Spring

My linocuts are more expressionistic. They are original, hand-pulled prints, usually made in small editions. The color prints are made
with only one or two linoleum blocks which are cut away and printed using the reduction method. Some of the colors may be printed
using a stencil technique. In recent years I’ve also been creating linocut monoprints. All my linocuts are made with oil-base inks on
Rives lightweight paper and are printed by hand using a wooden spoon.

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Pompeii Landscape XI

I am a member of the Society of American Graphic Artists, the Boston Printmakers, and Rochester Contemporary. More of my artwork may be seen at the Mill Art Center, Honeoye Falls, and at various places around the internet.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Dennis’s artwork in our current exhibition, Fifty Landscapes (runs through May 13). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by painter Phyllis Bryce Ely.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Phyllis Bryce Ely: A Landscape Revisited

A Landscape Revisited: Onaping Falls, Canada

For this “Fifty Landscapes” blog I’ve chosen to share my experience painting “Onaping Falls, Canada” included in this exhibit. This oil painting is an example of how I often paint landscapes multiple times, first en plein air and then again in the studio using my plein air works, sketches, photographs, and memories as references. In all cases, painting from nature is satisfying.

Onaping Falls is near Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. It is known as the “A.Y. Jackson Lookout” in recognition of The Group of Seven founding member Alexander Young Jackson and his 1953 painting “Spring on the Onaping River.” Soon after his death in 1974 the painting was stolen from a school and it hasn’t been recovered.

As a Group of Seven fan, I wanted to visit and paint at the spot when I was up in Sudbury in 2008 for a curling event (yes, curling). My husband and I found the falls, I got out my painting gear and he went fishing.

Phyllis painting in Canada

Phyllis painting in Canada 2008

The Onaping River drops four or five times at this spot. I love the twist and turning action of each drop and the stands of trees witnessing the force of the water as it meets the massive boulders at the base. The colors of the trees and rock on either side of the water are vibrant.

Onaping Falls take one: Plein Air

Onaping Falls, pastel, 2008

Onaping Falls, pastel, 2008

This is my small plein air pastel painting from that day. I worked on Wallis white paper and laid in a quick underpainting using Createx pure liquid pigments to establish my values and color temperatures; you can see some of the underpainting peeking through the pastel surface. Next, I worked with pastels to develop and finish the piece. Because of time and changing weather, that was a fast but satisfying painting session in a special place. I left happy to have been able to sit in that spot for a while, and I had a fresh little painting to show for it.

Onaping Falls take two: Studio

Onaping Falls, Canada, oil, 2014

Onaping Falls, Canada, oil, 2014

I continued to be drawn to the image and energy of Onaping Falls and in 2014 decided to explore the image further as a studio painting. This time I worked much larger in oil using my pastel painting and my memories about the place as references.

Revisiting this landscape in my studio allowed me to indulge in a lingering, almost meditative painting process. Working in oils in a larger format (30×40”) gave me a new scale and medium to explore this scene. I enjoyed moving the paint and working at a slower pace with no concern for changing conditions or time. In the studio, I could define many more major and minor shapes–and develop relationships among those shapes–throughout the painting. (The grouping of trees on the left of the falls feels like a choir to me. I can imagine them singing loudly.) Compared to my pastel painting, this palette is more subtle and nuanced.

Painting the same landscape at different times in different ways keeps me energized. My plein air painting is bold, fresh, and urgent. My studio piece is slow, lingering, and meditative. Both of these paintings take a journey through an exciting place and share my story of how it felt to be there.

Take three?

I am probably not finished painting Onaping Falls. I have recently been working with encaustic wax and would like to revisit this landscape using that medium. I think working with the wax–building, painting, fusing, and scraping away–will give me a more tactile experience with this compelling scene.

Ironically, as I write this on April 5, I just saw a Facebook post from the McMichael Canadian Art Collection remembering A.Y. Jackson on the anniversary of his death on this day in 1974. This must be a good day to be thinking about Onaping Falls.

P.S. for my curling friends…Did you know Onaping Falls was a location in the movie “Men with Brooms”? I will have to somehow work that into my curling art.

More info on Onaping Falls: Onaping Falls

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Phyllis’s artwork in our current exhibition, Fifty Landscapes (runs through May 13). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by Kari Ganoung Ruiz.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Kari Ganoung Ruiz: Small Bits

I’m back! Thank you Main Street Arts for inviting me to offer my thoughts in another blog entry; this one corresponding with the opening of the Fifty Landscapes exhibit which includes 4 of my paintings.

As nature awakens after its winter slumbering, so to does the painter feel the pull of nicer weather.  Spring is an excellent time to gather thoughts about the why and the where; to put together a map and plan as a guide throughout this plein air season.

When I started on this journey, I didn’t have a clear view of what to paint. I only knew that it was super important to paint from life; to step out of the artificially lit studio and experience nature in person. People said “paint what you know”, so I went back home to the family farm.

Shady Recess 8"x10" oil on panel, one of my very first plein air paintings!

Shady Recess 8″x10″ oil on panel, one of my very first plein air paintings!

As the painting season progressed, I got out in nature with all my gear as much as possible; attempting to capture a wide range of subjects. The big vista, a little outdoor vignette of a scene; where was I heading? Then this happened:

a pivotal moment while painting in the Adirondacks... The Flume Rocks 8"x8" oil on panel

a pivotal moment while painting in the Adirondacks… The Flume Rocks 8″x8″ oil on panel

During the 2014 Adirondack Plein Air Festival, I went to paint the Wilmington Flume, a series of awesome waterfalls along the Ausable River. I spent a while at the location, attempting to figure out how to capture it. The day was getting long and in frustration, I turned my little cardboard viewfinder away from the big scene. Suddenly, this group of boulders snapped into focus; I found my painting! At this moment I found my raison d’etre: to explore the beautiful intricacies of light and shadow in the small bits of a greater scene and find the essence of the place and moment. I was hooked!

Painting on Oak Island, Waterloo NY during the Memorial Day festivities. Photo by Lisa Duprey

Painting on Oak Island, Waterloo NY during the Memorial Day festivities. Photo by Lisa Duprey

This has continued to be the focus of my plein air and studio work. Sometimes I’ll get caught up in the majesty of a giant vista, but I’ve found that the magic is really in the subtlety of the zoomed-in scene for my work.

The big vista at Frederic Church's Olana in Hudson, NY

The big vista at Frederic Church’s Olana in Hudson, NY

At Olana in Hudson NY, I was caught by this view from the Bell Tower where Church would paint and have visitors view the sunset with him. The house and the entire property was designed by Frederic Church to take in the grand vistas of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. (uh, awesome!) I decided to tightly crop the view and turn my panel vertically. This piece is included in the exhibit:

A Quiet Sunset 8"x10" oil on panel

A Quiet Sunset 8″x10″ oil on panel

Well, that will do it for now… it’s time to get out and paint!

Follow along with Kari’s painting adventures at KariGanoungRuiz.com and her new blog GoPaintOutside. Stop by Main Street Arts to see Kari’s paintings in our current exhibition, Fifty Landscapes (runs through May 13). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by needle felt artist Victoria Connors.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Victoria Connors: Fiber Art

Growing up in the Finger Lakes, the regional terrain has shown me the peace and beauty of nature. I have always enjoyed the process of creating, using landscape and surrealism as my main passions for expression.

I was first introduced to fiber arts and needle felting in June 2014 while volunteering in Rochester.  I saw an inspiring felting demonstration, and from there I began creating my own needle felt paintings and pushing myself to new limits with this medium.

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Needle felting is the process of taking wool and slight stabbing it with felting needles to make felt. I first lay down the dyed wool into the design I want over a piece of prefelt (often wet felted wool), then with the felting needles I begin to slight stab and push the wool down in the felt which flattens it.

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I use layers of wool and wet felting to give more dimension to my pieces. My  fiber art creations combine the skills I’ve learned from oil landscape painting and creating felt hats.

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These different techniques have led me to use fiber as a painting medium that combines texture in 2-D and 3-D dimensional forms, giving my arts its own unique appearance.

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I’m inspired by the landscapes in my local community, mostly scenes from Cayuga, Seneca, and Canandaigua Lake. Hay bales, country atmospheres and my own life experiences, have all influenced my artwork.

winter hay bales, lodi

Nature is my center and capturing the beauty of nature is my mediation. I do as much of my landscape outside in the very environment that I am capturing. I plan to keep pushing my boundaries of needle felting by doing more large scale felts that highlight 3-d relief aspects with striking details.

Follow Victoria’s artwork on Facebook. Stop by Main Street Arts to see her artwork in our current exhibition, Fifty Landscapes (runs through May 13). Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by KaKeART Collaborations.