Tag Archives: Raleigh

Three artist from Larkspur 2015

Justin Donaldson, John Pelosi, and Patsy Skinner

speed portraits in oil by Justin Donaldson

Although the offer of a speed portrait in oil peaked my art marketing interest, I was thoroughly enamored with the light Justin captures in his landscapes.

 Donaldsoncanoe 3

wood turnings with pottery souls by John Pelosi

Pelosi_smI have always loved turned and carved wood, reminiscent of my maternal grandfather’s cabinetry and the wood carvings of Norway – my heritage. I purchased that sweet lidded walnut box to sit on my dresser beside one made by my grandfather.

fabric and paper collages by Patsy Skinner….


The name of the piece is “Life Cycle”. It is a collage with lots of texture
gels. story of death taken vertically in comparison to my horizontal > squared circle 3D depiction

more chickens!! – whimsical, happy, unusual


Patsy paints what she feels.
“Mostly happy paintings.
I  have been doing Roosters for a couple of years.
They come from my imagination.”



(p.s. I collect roosters)





and a ginko for Emmagnute for emma

| Intro | Three Artists |

20th Anniversary Larkspur Party


The Larkspur Party in Raleigh (normally the first weekend in June) is always a treat. I stopped by a couple of weeks prior to the show to chat with Frances Alvariño Norwood, the founder, and her daughter Holly Alvariño Donaldson about the garden and the art show. Lovely people – hope to see them again soon!

Happy two of my sisters were with me for the garden party! Brava! Loved the shuttle – highly recommend it! If you happened to have visited this year’s party and want to share your thoughts on the art / artists, please reply to this post or leave a comment, below.

GardenSpiritsI have just begun writing up my post of the party and a handful of artists that graciously allowed me to photograph their art and ask questions.Thank you again for sharing with me Justin Donaldson, John Pelosi, and Patsy Skinner. If I should ever have a garden, I have my eye on a Frances “Fish Wife” to share some space with my other garden spirits.

I enjoyed a brief chat with Lisa Oakley about her glass jewelry, ordered a custom ring from Betty McKim and stopped by to introduce my my sisters to Susan Dahlin (one of my early blog post interviews– LOVE MY ROOSTER PILLOW!!). I also reintroduced myself to Tim Turner, a potter whom I included in a report on ash glazes while I was studying for my AS in Professional Arts & Crafts in Clay and Metal  Sculpture* at CCCC, .

In the next few days I will be tying up the post on these  Enjoy this brief writeup on Three Larkspur Artists and share some of their work and insights with you. Ya’ll come back now!

sig inits - Copy



*now called Associates in Fine Arts

Layers and Lineage: A ‘round about, and home again

Abstract, Impressionist, and an introduction to new art and processes from four Fine Art artists

I planned to visit this particular gallery this month and was happy to have chosen Super Bowl Sunday (I normally ramble around galleries on Sunday afternoons –they’re quieter and I find less competition for viewing space -it is a selfish thing…). I was greeted not only by room after room of new and interesting paintings, jewelry, sculpture, pottery, photography –but also met and spoke with four of the 20 or so up and coming artists that make up the co-op, Roundabout Art Collective!

I moseyed around listening quietly to some discussion at the far end of the building for several minutes until I had made my way to one of the front rooms. I admit I’d seen so much art by the time I made it to that room (and, kids, the gallery building is not that big!) that I was happy to be welcomed by Yuko Taylor who engaged me in discussion about her paintings and some of the other artists’ work displayed elsewhere in that room. Yuko then introduced me to Sue Edmonson and Linda Kimball who were also at the gallery that afternoon. And, after my tour of the Roundabout, Yuko brought me over to Moondog Cottage, a nearby collection of studios she shares with a few more artists, one of which was Susan Dahlin who was working away on a new painting.

Back to Yuko – she has a very interesting  technique in her work in which she references historic photographs from the South and layers them with traditional themes and imagery from her Japanese heritage. The applied symbols and imagery, and her use of an overlaying/dripping technique in her oils, empower and ‘encourage’  the affect of allowing the past to dissolve to a new reality which is emblazoned with prayers and dreams of happiness, wealth and grace.

One Day II (c) 2013 Yuko Taylor

One Day II (c) 2013 Yuko Taylor

In “One Day II”, Yuko’s use of a very traditional crane image and symbolism act  as as both a foil to the child’s job as a sharecropper and a balancing reflection of the white of the cotton he’s bagging. I’m drawn to the myriad of visible layers in this painting as well as the cross symbolism style. For me, more than most of her works, this piece reminds me of a richly embroidered brocade.

Sue Edmonson was the next ‘host’ of my tour. She is a relatively new artist and has taken lessons from various instructors in the area. Sue paints many layers as she develops her paintings whether they are tree-scapes or visions of the night sky she enjoys as a lover of nature. In one of her tree paintings, I can really get a sense of the atmosphere you’d be standing in while viewing the trees in person. She’s also the 2nd snow painter I learned from that snow holds many more colors than just white which, in her painting, makes it seem all the surrounding earth and sky are within the snow.

Whirlpool Galaxy (c) 2013 Sue Edmonson

Whirlpool Galaxy (c) 2013 Sue Edmonson

In her work Whirlpool Galaxy, Sue shows how well she personalizes such an image normally only viewed from a NASA photograph and invites a long gaze at all the stars and depth she’s captured.

I also ‘met’ a new art technique up close that day, as well as the artist: The encaustic painting technique of layering melted beeswax and colored pigments. Linda Kimball starts with the wax and pigments and adds fabrics and layers of other embedded materials including, in some, gold-leaf.  Her encaustics appear fragile as melted wax but the process gives this work surprising toughness.

Elaine Still Life (c) 2013 Linda Kimball

Elaine Still Life (c) 2013 Linda Kimball

The image Linda sent for this post is “Elaine Still Life” which won 3rd Place in the recent Visual Art Exchange’s 29th Annual Art Auction & Gala Silent & Live Auction. Yay, Linda!  All of these encaustics’ layers of wax and imagery include “…a presence of ‘Elaine’”, a representation of her mother. Some of the ‘presences’ are quite visible, but some you’ll have to search for!  I particularly like the texture layer added to the fruit in this still life, and can really appreciate the dream quality she affects.

Yuko lastly brought me over to the Moondog Cottage and introduced me to more of her work and also to Susan Dahlin, who was working away at one of her newer pieces. Susan’s work is as individual as she is and she is a prolific contemporary painter –a “colorist” in her words. Susan paints in oils with a pallet knife and mixes her thickly applied paints on the canvas versus the pallet.

Still Standing (c) 2013 Susan Dahlin

Still Standing (c) 2013 Susan Dahlin

The piece I highlight here is at first glance quite muted when viewed near her other works but the contrast of the textured earth and stone tones against the smooth sky give it a nice energy – energy being another reflection of Susan’s personality.

Our State Magazine writes of Susan:  “…as each painting nears completion, she pulls out one of [her dad’s] old tubes and applies a little color from it. It’s a way, she says, ‘to stick a little bit of Dad in every painting’” –similarly embedding lineage as done in Linda’s encaustics and Yuko’s layering of heratige, and in the many layers of nature in Sue’s paintings.

Look for a link to the video from ‘Tarheel Traveler’ on her website from when her family artists visited – so fun for me to hear Norske accents again –Mom always did claim her as a daughter when we would see her on the TV…!

As if having all this eclectic collection of work and artists to meet isn’t enough for a visit, the Roundabout Art Collective also has a gift shop where the artists offer items for sale including small scale pieces, greeting card repro’s and even some sale items of full-scale work. Give yourself a lift with a visit to this gallery if you’re in need of a popping hot art gift, want to peruse armfuls of collections to brighten a not so sunny day,  or to meet the artists who can excite you about a potential investment in their art. You can find more info about each of these and the other 20 or so very interesting and welcoming artists online, but I hope you’ll take my suggestion and visit in person.

Question: Have you ever happened into a shop and found you’d happened upon a landscape that harmonized really well with your interests? Post your experience in the comments and drop me a link if you think I’d like to check it out on my trekking!

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


I have been lucky to know some of the great artists and teachers in the Triangle area. Some are professional teachers of art, some are professional artists that teach their craft, and some are the art objects themselves!

…Every person interested in local art from the Triangle area should get to know these folks and their art! Do you have an inspirational artwork or artist in your life you’d like to add to the discussion? Share with us in the comment section.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be focusing these posts on the art and artists nearest me and then move concentrically through the Triangle as my “sightings and lightings” lead.