Monday, June 29, 2009

Beth Krommes at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center

Residents of Vermont and the world, listen up! The Brattleboro Museum and Art Center has a great exhibit going on until November 8, 2009! "The Poetry of Lines" features the watercolor and scratchboard illustrations of Caldecott winnning illustrator Beth Krommes. As you may recall, Beth was one of the participating illustrators from Chemers Gallery's 2008 Children's Book Illustrators Show & Signing last December.

The Stories from The Hidden Folk; Watercolor/Scratchboard by Beth Krommes

Beth's unique illustrations are extremely labor-intensive. It's not uncommon for the artwork she creates for books to take anywhere from a year to a year and a half to complete. She begins with a simple board covered with a layer of white clay covered with a layer of black India ink. Beth scratches through the ink layers with sharp tools to expose the white underneath. Then she makes an archival copy of the black and white scratchboard on acid free paper, and watercolors by hand to bring each illustration to life.
Spittlebug from Butterfly Eyes; Watercolor/Scratchboard by Beth Krommes

On display in Brattleboro until the fall are 18 works on paper, as well as a wood engraving block and scratchboard. If you're in the area, be sure to take the opportunity to visit these spectacular works of art in person. You'll be amazed at the minute detail every one contains. Beth is a truly talented illustrator!

The Brattleboro Museum and Art Center's mission is to present art and ideas in ways that inspire, educate and engage people of all ages. Past exhibits have included an activity gallery filled with materials to create self-portraits and an interactive photobooth project, as well as installations by individual modern artists. To find out more and to plan your trip, visit their website.

If you can't make it to Vermont, come to Chemers Gallery to see these extraordinary illustrations in person. We also have a great selection of Beth's wood engravings on hand.

Stay tuned for information about the 2009 18th Annual Children's Book Illustrators Show & Signing at Chemers Gallery! We're busy planning December's show already!

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Come Fly Away

Summer is here, despite what our southern California "June Gloom" may tell you! That means vacations, getaways and leisurely wanderings. But, if you're like me and are staying close to home this summer, let me tempt you with some visuals to aid in your "staycation." Be sure to click on all the links to be whisked away to different parts of Chemers Gallery's website, where there is more art just waiting to be discovered!

Escape to the seaside with Bonnie Holmes and her blissful blue skies:

Breakers; Oil on Canvas by Bonnie Holmes
30 x 24

Take a walk on the beach with Gerald Schwartz:

Above the Waves; Oil on Canvas by Gerald Schwartz
24 x 20

Visit the rushing waterfalls with Monte Nagler:

Bond Falls Cascades; Photograph by Monte Nagler
20 x 16

Wander through Europe's waterways and charming cities with Jie Zhou and Venacio Arribas:

Outside of Paris, France; Oil on Canvas by Jie Zhou
36 x 16

Mediodia II; Hand-colored Etching by Venacio Arribas
20 x 16

Journey to Israel with Aliza Yesachar:
Round Green Plate; Polymer Clay on Glass by Aliza Yesachar
8 x 1 x 8

Explore Asia with graceful geishas:

Geisha With Red, Brown and Teal; Japanese Woodblock
7.5 x 9.5

Meditate with Colleen Premer:

Quietly the River Flows; Monotype by Colleen Premer
8 x 8

Unearth the jewels of the world with Sue Wintner:
Bird Pendant from Tibet; Necklace by Sue Wintner

Are your feet itching yet?

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Family Jewels Kelly Viss and Troy Viss

Some of life's best matches: Macaroni and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly. Brother and sister - well, maybe not always! But in this case the work of siblings Kelly Viss and Troy Viss goes together like "rama lama lama ke ding a de dinga a dong!" (Can't help but get the GREASE lyrics stuck in my head...)

Left: Classical #109; oil on canvas by Kelly Viss
Right: In My Favorite Place; oil on board by Troy Viss

Kelly and Troy come from a family of artists, where creativity was encouraged and complimented. They were exposed to art at an early age by painting together with their parents. As they grew up and took different career paths, each has developed their own signature style; Kelly's is impressionistic and dreamy, Troy's is filled with delicate colors and bold brush strokes. We like to think of it as abstract impressionism.

Corot Morning
Oil on Canvas by Kelly Viss

Kelly's atmospheric landscapes are deceptively simplistic, and are layered with colors and textures. Her color schemes are soft and inviting, and remind me of walks through the English countryside. The contemporary old world sentiments of the landscapes reflect the influence of Corot. Her paintings are like a breath of fresh air.

Might Be The Place
Oil on Canvas by Troy Viss

Troy is a newcomer to Chemers Gallery, and his ambitious works reference abstract and interpretive ideas of memories. Easily hung with both traditional and contemporary work, Troy's oil and varnish paintings are easygoing and relaxing. Like a shared nose or eye color, it's easy to see a family resemblance within his canvases, yet his work is gorgeous and accomplished in its own right.

Kelly and Troy's unique styles relate beautifully to each other. Their gallery wrapped paintings work together or separately to weave their magic in any home or office. You can see both their work on our website with its pretty new home page, or you can come in to see them in person!

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Monday, June 1, 2009

James Groleau: Intriguing Mezzotints

The Cliffs of Little Moose
From "Salt Granite Spruce"
12 x 5

James Groleau began his artistic life in the drawing medium, but soon found his true calling in the art of mezzotint. After taking a printmaking course at the City College in San Francisco to learn his way around a printing press, he started experimenting with a style of aquatint called faux mezzotint, where the aquatint plate is darkened and burnished to create the image. Not completely satisfied with this process, he began reading Carol Wax's The Mezzotint: History and Technique to learn on his own. Through trial and error, James found that the complete tonality of the mezzotint image was exactly what he was looking for, and he was hooked. James has gone on to create stunningly complex suites of powerful images where every detail is carefully considered.

Lone Tree at Schoodic Point
From "Salt Granite Spruce"
12 x 5

James' inspiration flows in a series format, and he works best within the contrains he sets for himself. His "From Salt Granite Spruce" series draws heavily upon the Arts and Crafts era. These beautiful landscapes were created as an homage to his native Main. James spent time sketching the rugged cliffside landscapes and making notes on location and then filling in his plates from memories and impressions. He decided to use a color palate reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts movement, with lots of greys, greens and ochres over a mustard chine colle paper.
Gokarna (left) and Sanchi (right)
Hand-colored Mezzotint
Each 3 x 4

James' most recent series was inspired by his travels to India in 2008. He has created a beautiful suite of 21 portraits of children he met. Each is printed in brown inks and hand-colored with a mixture of pigments and wax. They are numbered as EV (edition verite) prints, which means that each is uniquely hand-colored. This technique gives the intimately small images a vibrant glow, much like exotic fabrics and spices of India. To me, the most stunning aspect of this series is how so many of the children's faces appear to look straight at you. James has once again proven his skill and talent with these masterful mezzotints.

Case No. 266
9.75 x 20

James is also drawn to the psychological when he considers his work. Some of his pieces can be extremely evocative, dealing with issues of war and survival. Part of his unfinished Case Number Series, the above Case No. 266 explores mental illness, as well as the issues of balance and suspension. Portraiture has also proven to be a source of inspiration, which is evident in the contours of the faces his reveals.

With so many intriguing prints to his portfolio, it's impossible to pick just a few to highlight. See the rest of James Groleau's imaginative works on our website, or come in to see them in person!

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