Monthly Archives: January 2013

It’s only words, and words are [not] all there is to take your heart away

Circling back to the new North Hills where I showed my high school artwork; seeking new artists and new works like those of Jeanne Bessette, an inspiring artist from up north who has now perched at the ArtSource Fine Art Gallery (-though she travels and shows throughout the country) as introduced to me by Sarah Heinsohn, Artist Liaison. Sarah says of Jeanne Bessette: “I honestly feel like her success is attributable to the way that she puts all of herself not only into her work, but also into the relationships that she forms with people.”

When I solicited work for this blog from Jeanne she came through with four of her newest works – so new only one had a decided title yet – as well as a bit of her new germinating artist statement – I can say no more!

Four new works from Jeanne Bessette

Four new works from Jeanne Bessette

“If you had to put my work in a bucket and say…what is her style. I’d say contemporary abstract but my work tends to reach another place in that people tell me they are moved on an emotional, even spiritual level by my work. Not in a religious way but in a human way.

This makes me happy as I’m all about connection with others. It’s why I paint what i do. It’s the only way I can think of to put the “us” out there so we can see ourselves more clearly… It’s also my way of reconciling my own feelings about life. I paint our raw emotions in my abstracts, the funny side of what we believe about ourselves in my quirky pieces and our esoteric journey in the more serious figures.

So in short, as a part of my newly ( being worked on) artist statement says…

I burrow deep into the spirit and egos of our humanness from our quietest moments to our most outrageous selves ….”

My art teachers revealed to me that incorporating written words on your art attracts and engages your viewer, in very simple terms, because the human brain is hard-wired to communicate. This lesson is exemplified and amplified in and through Jeanne’s work so much so, for me, that I can get lost in thoughts just reading the titles one after the other, reading directly what is written on the canvas, or attempting to decipher meaning in the letters and numbers stenciled on some of her pieces.

Jeanne’s abstracts remind me of the extraordinary effects some potters attain with textures, multiple firings and masterful layering of glazes and lusters -YUM!- and I am easily able to place myself within the moments expressed in her figurative pieces.

I have enjoyed taking in her many works posted throughout the Internet …a full volume of managed art marketing. You will give yourself a great gift if you spend time with her website, blog, Facebook page –not to mention her mixed media work itself! Watch Jeanne in action on YouTube  — And then the video ends with “Click the picture for more fun”, well, I couldn’t help it  – Oh, yeah!


Is it the story you want to tell or the words that fall into a title that guides your artwork, or is it the artwork that guides the story/title for most of your production? Share your process and link to your work by clicking on the “Leave a Reply” links found in the post, or dropping your info in the form on my contact page!

The First Art is the Sweetest

(i.e., the first steps down this path are as familiar as the soles of my Earth Shoes on the aisles of the Little Art Gallery)

I listened to an interview with James Taylor a few years ago who’s answer to a question really stuck with me. He was asked how, with such a large catalog of songs, does he come up with new lyrics. He said something to the effect that his method is to “go back to the well” — in other words, all of his music (his art) comes from within him, and that is where he ‘goes’ to look for new ideas, in effect.

What does that have to do with The Little Art Gallery?  I have enjoyed browsing and shopping there in each of its locations over these past decades and had the inspiration to begin this blog trek at that one place where I became introduced to so many artists from this area – I would say that gallery is my ‘well’ where I go back for inspiration whether it is viewing interpretations of current design trends or how the local artists and their work are evolving, or for new subjects and ideas for my own work. I visited Little Art Gallery at Cameron Village this past weekend and checked out some of the works currently carried by owner/manager Rosanne Green Minick and founder Ruth Green, her mother.

Blackwater Falls, Micah Mullen

Blackwater Falls (c) 2013 Micah Mullen

Once I got through browsing my favorites -which always seems like re-visiting long lost friends- I came across the acrylic paintings of Micah Mullen and was drawn to the virtual 3D affect he achieves in the overlays of patterns and values -which remind me very much of the Mola of Panamá as well as contemporary art quilts and some of the works of Klimt —  and how cool to see he offers video art lessons on his website! Micah provided me with a photo of one of his newest pieces to use on my blog, “Blackwater Falls”  – Thank you, Micah!

Leah, the gallery sitter that Sunday, also introduced me to some of Nancy Hughes Miller‘s work as one of her favorites. Nancy captures that thing I stare at most -besides computer screens- while travelling the down east country or seaside: North Carolina’s horizons. The strong horizon lines she develops provide a calming fulcrum balancing the sky and earth in many of her works. I am also reminded of the color fields and horizontal lines Rothko achieved in many of his pieces.

Walk to Bird Island - Nancy Hughes Miller

Walk to Bird Island (c) 2013 Nancy Hughes Miller

My favorite paintings of Nancy’s are those that are the more impressionist seascapes, but all merit a good viewing — this artist can even make Lake Crabtree appear majestic!  My favorite piece of Nancy’s is, of course, a seascape… “Walk to Bird Island “, and Thank you, Nancy, for allowing me share it here!
Another thing to note is Nancy graduated with a BA in Environmental Design at NCSU’s SOD – my (partial) alma mater!

Another of my long-time favorite artist’s work shown at The Little Art Gallery is that of Stephen White of Carrboro/Chapel Hill. The Little Art Gallery has represented Stephen for over 35 years. I am always drawn to Stephen’s use of very simple shapes and the figures’ subtle expressions. I don’t think I could own just one, but my favorite so far is ”Two Women, Black Background” which I found on the City Art Gallery of Greenville website.

Two Women - Black Background - Stephen White

Two Women, Black Background (c) Stephen White

The composition might be simple but it offers a very dynamic visual effect much like what I see looking at a print of da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”. That is, when you at the Mona Lisa’s eyes, you see her smile! For this painting of Stephens, when you look at the eyes of the figure at the top of the composition, the lower figure’s eyes seem to smile — maybe I’m just staring at my computer too long -again! I hope to catch up with Stephen in the future when my trek carries me westward to Carrboro.


What is the most successful way you find to break writer’s block? Post your answer below

Art Exposure: Connecting three influential artists from the Triangle area

The path to here|today from high school art class and the seeds of a local art show begins…

1. Bob Rankin: Sanderson High School – ArtSpace –  ArtSplosure – International Festival – reconnection through my Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) Design student’s field trip to The Hudio (link is to a 5min. video tour!)-

Bob and my connection to the evolution of ArtSplosure:- The Position Statement on the link Artsplosure website states: “Artsplosure was conceived in 1978 by subcommittees of the newly formed City of Raleigh Arts Commission who were planning a citywide arts festival that would combine an “explosion” of art activity with people’s “exposure” to all types of art.”  I, however, believe that it began by a group of Art teachers in the Raleigh area who put together a student show at the old North Hills Mall. In fact, the very first one I participated in was called “the Spring Thing” and highlighted the artwork of the current seniors in Bob Rankin’s class. I remember Lycra body-sized pillow cases donned to walk the halls of Sanderson and the inflated super-snake made of taped-together garbage bags that wound its way through the halls as well. When it came time for the show, we all gathered at  the then-named Carrol Jr. High to climb into our individually decorated refrigerator boxes that spelled “SPRING THING” then we walked in single file (what else could we do?) to the old Cameron Brown building, and then crossed Six Forks Road to the mall where we had displayed our artwork for the show.

BobRankin1Bob moved on from High School teaching, although he has several demo videos on Jerry’s Artarama website,, and, and creates a yearly poster for Raleigh’s International Festival. He was one of the first artists I thought to bring my students to for a mini lecture on being a professional artist when I taught a couple of Design classes at Central Carolina Community College at the original Siler City Pottery Studio location. Thank you again for your time and generosity, Bob!

My current favorite piece is from his Representational works collection on his website, and is of a dynamic wave shape superimposed with rectangular landscape vignettes. Bob has a unique way of combining the organic and inorganic in his work that is pleasing as well as surprising.

2. Emma Skurnick – CCCC – ArtSplosure – FirstNightPlanetarium

EmmaSkurnick1Emma Skurnick was one of my design and marketing teacher at CCCC. She is a wonderful watercolor/colored pencil artist who is dedicated to whimsy and exploration. Emma also works as a professional illustrator of life sciences. I so appreciate the encouragement Emma gave me for my artwork, class work and the pointers she shared with me on teaching the Design classes at CCCC. Emma now holds classes at her studio in Pittsboro and recently created the backdrops to a new winter program at the Morehead Planetarium. She remains involved in production decoration for Paperhand Puppet Intervention which also appear at ArtSplosure in their –living tree– and the “Trigon” dragon parade for First Night Raleigh New Year’s Eve celebration.

My current favorite piece: The sketches Emma shared on FaceBook of her Planetarium backdrops for the Paperhand Puppet’s production of “The Longest Night”.


3. Marina Bosetti – CCCC- ArtSplosure – various shows –

MarinaBosetti1I connected with Marina Bosetti during my ‘sculpturation’ at CCCC as my externship mentor. Marina is a production ceramic tile artist who has been showing and selling her tile art throughout North Carolina for the past decade. She has been influential and inspirational in several art and business groups in Raleigh including the Carolina Designer Craftsmen, and Chix in Business to name a quick few. I marvel at the amount of work she puts into tile sinks, mirrors and fireplace surrounds for the Parade of Homes she has participated in!

Marina teaches classes in ceramics at her studio as well as NCSU Craft center. Thank you again, Marina, for lending me a corner of your studio when I was in my ‘clay-days’!

My current favorite piece: Although I love the birdhouses (especially the White Rose Bungalow), the five vertical panels on her ‘Design Gallery-Ornamentals’ page is a lovely balanced grouping of natural colors. This piece is currently hanging in the reception area at Vision Park Optometry.

Well, I’m off on my art trek with camera and sketchbook in hand!

If you are interested in embarking on your own art trek, I’d suggest picking a few artist names who’s work you like and then check out their websites. Current shows and event listings on their websites will provide you with new artists and artwork to check out and events to participate in. You may also, like I am, follow that new path to your next discovery!


Have you ever taken the opportunity to go on a self-guided tour of your city? What inspired you to do so -and did you see any great art you think I should write about? Make sure to comment and leave a link!