Architectural Paintings with a Twist. Featured Artist: Mike Gruber. Western Avenue Studio: 112.

Experimental, Whimsical, & Lighthearted – Western Avenue Studios Artist Association (WASAA) member Michael Gruber enjoys distorting architectural compositions.  This father of two received his architectural degree from Iowa State.  Born and raised in Lowell, he enjoys painting local scenes and iconic buildings that evoke nostalgia.  Approximately 10 years ago, he started taking art lessons at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education.  Prior to joining the Western Avenue community in July 2018, he painted above his garage in Lexington and in a small commercial space in Arlington.

His Process of Manipulation – Mike begins each piece by experimenting with various compositions through a series of thumbnails in his sketchbook.  Once a strong distorted composition emerges, he begins his oil painting process by transferring his sketch onto a black canvas using a grid system.  Using a reduced color palette, he develops sweeping curves or focal points that create unique architectural perspectives. While painting, Mike likes to listen to podcasts.  Once a piece is finished, Mike encloses the canvas with a white or black wooden frame that he makes himself. 

Significant Influences – During his childhood, Mike’s parents encouraged him to pursue art by enrolling him in art classes.  In high school, he took drafting classes and spent a lot of his free time drawing buildings and city scenes.  According to Mike, Linda McCluskey and James Michalopoulos are the two artists that have influenced his work the most.

Visiting Western Avenue Studios and Lofts – Mike is often in his studio Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 3:00pm.  He will also be open during our next Open Studios on Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 12 – 5 p.m.  Stop by and see his pieces for yourself!

 

Feeling Lucky? Here’s Your Chance to Win Our “Patches for Pets” Quilt

Several Western Avenue Studios artists and friends have created a patchwork quilt to benefit the Lowell Humane Society.  During our March Open Studios (12-5 p.m.) on Saturday, March 2nd, the Lowell Humane Society will be onsite selling tickets for the quilt raffle in the A Mill Loading Dock.  Tickets can also be purchased online: http://bit.ly/patchesforpets

 

Contributors to this quilt include: Cornie Forster, Liz Smith, Sarah Stewart, Anna Belle Davis, Opal Goff, Shanna Rose Thompson, Annrose Thompson, Susan Stranc, Christine Quiry, Michele Boll MacKenzie, Suzanne Hodge, and Mary Dumas.

At 4:45 p.m. on March 2nd, the winner will be selected.  You do not have to be present at the time of the drawing to win.  The quilt can be shipped to winner, but a shipping fee will apply.

 

We also hope you will visit our artists’ studios and lofts.  There is so much to explore and see.  Admission and parking for this event are free.  Navigation Brewing Company will be open and Daddy’s Bonetown Burgers food truck will be on site that day as well.

If You’re an Art Lover, then You’ll Love Western Avenue Studios and Lofts

Whether you’ve been here before or it’s your first time, February is a great time to visit the artists at Western Avenue Studios and Lofts with your loved ones.

Make a Day of It!  Studios and lofts are open to the public from 12-5 p.m. Check out the variety of works created by the members of our creative community.  Grab a craft beer, grab lunch from Chicks and Dogs, visit the Onyx Room, or see Loading Dock Gallery’s member show “I Heart” from 4-6 p.m.

Gifts from the HeART Promotion. This fun activity happens during February Open Studios! Take a “Gifts from the HeART” postcard as you enter any of our buildings, explore Western Ave, and pick up stickers from participating studios and lofts. Turn in your postcard as you exit our buildings to be entered in for a chance to win a $25, $50, or $75 gift certificate!

Show Your Love on Social Media. If you love visiting Western Avenue as much as we enjoy sharing our passion with people like you, please show your love by posting some pictures of your visit to your social media account.  Be sure to tag your posts with #westernavearts.

Artoberfest at Western Avenue Studios and Lofts

Letting go of summer can be difficult especially in New England.  But, there is an incredible silver lining that comes with this annual change: the Fall.  For most of us, Fall brings forth an array of exciting stimuli such as: the crisp autumn air, aromas of all things apple, spectacular leaf displays, the soaring cheers of football fans, and all kinds of pumpkin flavored treats.  For Western Avenue artists, fall is also a very special time because we hold our annual Artoberfest!

Here’s what’s happening during Artoberfest this year…

  • Artists open up their studios and lofts to the public for two days ─ October 6th and 7th from 12-5 p.m.
  • Our historic mill buildings are the home of over 300 artists and have many corridors you can weave your way through – embark on your own art maze adventure.
  • Artist demonstrations will be held in a range of mediums so you can see how art is made.
  • Our artist designed pumpkin contest will once again delight visitors with the unusual and unexpected.  In addition, you can vote for your favorite pumpkin and be entered in for a chance to win a gift certificate.
  • The Loading Dock Gallery will be hosting a New England Regional Juried Show with Annual Poetry Convergence ─ not to be missed.
  • Navigation Brewery and Food Trucks (Phoenix Rising Pizza – October 6th; Chicks and Dogs – October 7th) will be onsite ─ enjoy a tasty snack and a handcrafted cold one.
  • The Onyx Room will be open for viewing if you are looking to rent a venue for an upcoming event.

Bring your family and friends ─ there is something for everyone to love!

Because our artists use a variety of mediums, there is bound to be something in our complex that will speak to every member of your family.  Both admission and parking for this event are free.  So, save the date for this awesome autumn celebration and join us for an artful experience your senses will surely not forget!

Check out our Facebook Event Page for further details!

Stronger Exhibit (Chelmsford, MA)

During the month of April, Western Avenue Studios’ artists will exhibit artwork at the Chelmsford Public Library in celebration of the book “Stronger“, by Chelmsford native Jeff Baumann. Jeff is the young man who survived the horrific scene at the Boston marathon, losing both legs, fighting for his life, and eventually learning to walk again.The iconic photo of Jeff being wheeled away from the bomb scene by Carlos Arredondo ( in his cowboy hat) is unforgettable.

WASAA will be honoring Jeff and his courage with an exhibit to celebrate this story. The book is being made into a movie, starring Jake Gyllenhall, who spent time filming in Chelmsford last year.

You can visit the Chelmsford Library throughout the month of April to see a variety of works by Todd Davis, Arlene Hammel,Karen Provost, Kathy Clericuzio, Paula Mingolelli, Nita Léger Casey, Derek McGearty, Regina McGearty, Michele Boll MacKenzie, Bruce Wood, Diana Zipeto, Jeannie Emory Koehr, Albine Vermot Gaud, Renee Mallett, Lisa Hertel, Stephan Anstey and Margo Mam Thach.

Reception – Size Matters (Lowell, MA)

Size matters, in some things more than others!  When it comes to making art, working small can be as challenging and exciting as working big. This August, artists of the Loading Dock Gallery will have a chance to strut their small stuff in the exhibit Size Matters: Small Works by Loading Dock Artists.

All work in the show — both two-dimensional and three-dimensional — will be no larger than 12” in any direction. Artists working in photography, collage, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, fiber art, acrylic, watercolor and oil painting will all be included. The work will be priced according to its size.

“Small is beautiful,” says Loading Dock Gallery curator Laurie Simko. “This is a show for art lovers who may want to add to their collection, and for those just purchasing their first piece of original art.”

Many great thinkers and creative minds have addressed the issue of small. “Notice the small things. The rewards are inversely proportional,” said actress Liz Vassey. “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together,” according to artist Vincent Van Gogh.  And Sister Theresa said, “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

Size Matters, Small Works by Loading Dock Gallery Artists runs from August 3 to August 28 at the Loading Dock Gallery at Western Avenue Studios, Lowell MA, with an opening reception on Saturday, August 6 from 5 to 7 pm, immediately following First Saturday Open Studios (from noon to 5pm). The Loading Dock Gallery, a part of Loading Dock Arts, is open Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5:30 pm, Thursday evenings until 8:30 pm and Sunday 12 noon to 4 pm. For more information, call 978-656-1687 or visit theloadingdockgallery.com.

Exhibit – Size Matters (Lowell, MA)

Size matters, in some things more than others!  When it comes to making art, working small can be as challenging and exciting as working big. This August, artists of the Loading Dock Gallery will have a chance to strut their small stuff in the exhibit Size Matters: Small Works by Loading Dock Artists.

 

All work in the show — both two-dimensional and three-dimensional — will be no larger than 12” in any direction. Artists working in photography, collage, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, fiber art, acrylic, watercolor and oil painting will all be included. The work will be priced according to its size.

 

“Small is beautiful,” says Loading Dock Gallery curator Laurie Simko. “This is a show for art lovers who may want to add to their collection, and for those just purchasing their first piece of original art.”

 

Many great thinkers and creative minds have addressed the issue of small. “Notice the small things. The rewards are inversely proportional,” said actress Liz Vassey. “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together,” according to artist Vincent Van Gogh.  And Sister Theresa said, “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

 

Size Matters, Small Works by Loading Dock Gallery Artists runs from August 3 to August 28 at the Loading Dock Gallery at Western Avenue Studios, Lowell MA, with an opening reception on Saturday, August 6 from 5 to 7 pm, immediately following First Saturday Open Studios (from noon to 5pm). The Loading Dock Gallery, a part of Loading Dock Arts, is open Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5:30 pm, Thursday evenings until 8:30 pm and Sunday 12 noon to 4 pm. For more information, call 978-656-1687 or visit theloadingdockgallery.com.

Exhibit – State of Unions (Denver, CO)

Garry D. Harley has had a digital painting accepted into the juried “State of Unions” exhibit by the WCA Colorado Gallery to be displayed at the Core: Annex located at 900 Santa Fe Drive in Denver, CO. Harley’s piece, “THEY CAME for MY BROTHER and I TURNED AWAY – THEN THEY CAME FOR ME on a SUNNY DAY IN OCTOBER,” will be on display at the gallery from May 26th to June 12th with an artists reception to be held on May 27th from 5 to 9.