Artweek, Artist Demos, Spring Themed Show, and More at Our May Open Studios

As part of our May Open Studios, we are thrilled to announce that Western Avenue Studios and Lofts is participating in ARTWEEK.  Over 1,000 unique art events are taking place throughout Massachusetts during ARTWEEK, and we have several of those events happening right here at 122 and 160 Western Avenue in Lowell, MA.

Raffle. You’ll also have an opportunity to enter a raffle, being held by the Lowell High School Latin Lyceum, for a chance to win one or more of 19 prizes.

Loading Dock Gallery.  This month, the artists of The Loading Dock Gallery and Western Avenue Studios will be partnering with Mother Nature in the most beautiful artwork of all … Spring and all it’s glory!  Full Bloom Too! is a beautiful collection of artwork that embodies all things found in nature.  Come immerse yourself in works that conjure up the splendor and beauty of Mother Nature.

Artist reception. Saturday, May 4 at First Saturday Open Studios from 4:00 – 6:00 pm in the Loading Dock Gallery.

Artist demonstrations. Come down and check out the special ARTWEEK demos that many of our artists are hosting and get involved in making art where art happens!

 

JOHN BRICKELS – Studio 533

You’ll find a special talent in studio 533.  This studio is where artist John Brickels works his magic in clay.  He will be working on a building during the May Open Studio ArtWeek Event.

 

 

 

TARJA COCKELL – Studio A412

Visit Tarja Cockell in studio A412 to see the process of how she creates images and patterns into her woven pieces.

 

 

SUZANNE HODGE – Studio 417

Make a set of two coasters in studio 417.  Suzanne Hodge just moved into this studio and is celebrating by inviting visitors to create a piece of art during the May Open Studios. Workshop times are 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.  Make one or two coasters as time allows.

CAROLYN LEE – Studio 327

Make a Watercolor Greeting Card in studio 327 on Friday, May 3 from 10am to 4pm and Saturday, May 4 from Noon to 5pm.  First card per person is free. Additional cards are $2 each (while supplies last).

 

DELICIOUS GLASS – Studio A318

Glass fusing is working with compatible glass that can be fused together, shaped and/or cast in a kiln.  Come by to learn how to cut glass and see what glass fusing is all about. This demo will be on-going, stroll by anytime.

 

LINDA BRANCH DUNN – Studio 305

This charming collage was created by Linda Branch Dunn in Studio 305.  Linda will be doing a miniature collage demo during the May Open Studios, it’s a demo you are sure to enjoy!

 

 

MARILYN ROOT – Studio 306

Drop in on Marilyn Root in 306 for a fused glass show and prep.  Fun studio!

 

 

 

 

PRUNELLA’S WORKSHOP – Studio A202

Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop in Studio A202 is doing a demo titled “Chasing and Repousse: A Demo of the Ancient Technique”.  This demo is a rare opportunity to see this ancient form of artwork in process.

 

 

JOHN FRANCIS DESIGNS – Studio 200

There will be an ongoing spoon-carving demo in the John Francis Designs Studio 200 during our ArtWeek May Open Studios.  This demo is a great opportunity to see a master craftsman at work and to find out about carving classes that are offered by this artist.

 

 

MUDDY GIRLS STUDIO – Studio 228

Here, Yari Levan is working on a large pot.  If you stop by Muddy Girls Studio you are apt to catch him at work and might also meet Samantha and Barbara, the other engaging potters in Studio 228.

 

EIR’S GARDEN – Studio 124

Eir’s Garden in Studio 124 will be doing a soap making demo all day.  This luscious soap is called Beach Day. It has sea salt, sea clay, and spirulina in it. It smells like coppertone and sunshine.

 

 

COGITATION ZONE – Studio 109

Drop in to the Cogitation Zone in studio 109.  Make a unique piece of art in a few minutes that you can take with you! Yupo is a special paper made to work with alcohol inks, the latest media sensation. Suitable for ages 3+. Cost is $1.

 

 

AMY ROBERTS – Loft 124

Inside a Painter’s Studio: Drop in to Loft 214 and see a fine art painter in her natural habitat, living and working in an open loft space. 1,500 sq. ft serve as a work studio, viewing gallery, and home to the artist and two shy cats.  Open Studio days at Western Ave are about the creative act of making and sharing, where artists and non-artists come together over works in progress.

Visit us. Artists open their studios doors to the public from Noon-5 pm.  There is free on-site parking and a free shuttle bus for any over-flow parking.  Don’t forget to stop by Navigation Brewing Company on the first floor to check out what is on tap. North American Catering (NAC) food truck will be serving up burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches for your dining pleasure.

 

 

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.

Painting with Heart. Featured Artist: Debra Bretton Robinson. Western Avenue Studio: A409.

Painter and Art Educator– Western Avenue Studios Artist Association (WASAA) member Debra Bretton Robinson has been a part of the Western Avenue community for more than 10 years.  This mother of three graduated from Mass College of Art with a degree in Painting and Art Education in 1991.  Since then, she has been sharing her love for art with young people as a K-8 educator.  She is currently serving as a special education paraprofessional in Georgetown, MA.  Deb began painting at the age of four, and to this day she can clearly remember the moment she learned what an easel was in nursery school.  Having the opportunity to paint standing up using an easel was a formative moment for this Plaistow, NH native.

Bright, Playful, and Graphic – Deb’s colorful compositions capture various moments of her life in New England on canvas in a bold and graphic way.  Her preferred medium is acrylic paint, but she originally started out using watercolor.  When painting in her studio, she enjoys listening to jazz and blues.  During the warmer months in New England, she leaves her studio behind and joins her husband on their 1974 Glastron boat with paints and canvas in hand.  While her husband is fishing, she paints en plein air, portraying scenes from local sites such as: Lake Massapog, Long Sought Pond, Merrimack River, Nashua River, and Gloucester.  In addition to her On the Boat series, she has renderings of local birds, architecture, and landscapes.  Her latest work includes a flower series.

Deb’s Advice to Young Artists – “Don’t stop painting or creating.  Keep going!  Ignore anyone telling you differently, even yourself.”

Visiting Western Avenue Studios and Lofts – You can see Deb’s work for yourself at our next Open Studios on Saturday, March 2, 2019 from 12 – 5 p.m.  Her fine art is also visible at: debrabrettonrobinson.wordpress.com or fineartamerica/brettonarts.com.   Her work is also currently on display at the Essex Center for the Arts in Lawrence and Merrimack Reparatory Theatre in Lowell. 

 

 

 

 

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!

The Art of Bookbinding: Learn More at Artoberfest. Featured Artist Todd Davis Western Avenue Studio: A314

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Our previous featured artist is not the only Western Avenue Studios Artist Association (WASAA) member gearing up to go back to school.  Book binder, Todd Davis, doubles as a receptionist at the North Bennet Street School, his alma mater.

Hands-on and Technically Challenging – A lover of history and old crusty books, Todd became interested in how books work during the many hours he spent among the stacks while pursuing his undergraduate degree in history at the University of Massachusetts Boston.  A former software consultant of 30 plus years, he likes that book binding is a technically challenging, hands-on process that doesn’t require a keyboard or computer.

Nomadic – Todd was born in Texas, raised in Ohio, and lived in Florida before moving to New England to work for Wang Laboratories in 1982.  After living in Nashua, NH, he moved to Medford, MA, then finally settled in the South End of Boston.  Each time he comes to work at Western Avenue Studios, he commutes an hour and a half by commuter rail.

Right Place at the Right Time – Establishing a bindery can be very costly and time consuming.  However, fate was hard at work the day Todd came across a mailing list announcement about a binder in Norwich, VT who was looking to sell his entire bindery before he retired.  It was an all or nothing acquisition.  So, Todd plunged head first into his new mid-life career.  After a good deal of searching, he decided to set up shop here at Western Avenue a little over two years ago.  Getting the equipment into his studio was a great feat, as some of his equipment fully assembled weighs 1000 lbs or more.

Restoration & Repairs – Besides commissions and workshops, Todd provides book repair services.  Each repair project presents various obstacles, but Todd loves the challenge as well as the mystery and history involved in taking a book a part.  He usually has an old time radio show playing in the background when he’s dissecting book structures, except in July when he faithfully watches the Tour de France.  Some of his past repair projects include: a family bible, a Roman Missal, a 50-year-old wedding photo album, and a private library’s circulating collection.

Visiting Western Avenue Studios During Artoberfest – Like several other Western Avenue artists, Todd will be conducting demonstrations on his latest projects during Artoberfest (10/6, 10/7). In addition, you can find Todd in his studio sometime between 9am-6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays during a typical week.  Walk-ins are always welcome.

For more information on the Middlesex Bindery, check out Todd’s website: https://middlesexbindery.com/ and his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MiddlesexBindery.

Check out our Artoberfest Facebook Event Page for further details!

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Back to School Featured Artist: Susan Drennan. Western Avenue Studio: 221

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Resilient, Determined, Competitive, and Disciplined – Western Avenue Studios Artist Association (WASAA) member Susan Drennan is diligently getting ready to go back to school on August 29th.  A non-traditional student, Susan is a retired mother of four from Danvers who is currently a junior (majoring in painting and minoring in curatorial studies) at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA.  This semester, she will be enrolled in a painting class, an art history course on Greek and Roman Art, and an independent study.

A Love of Painting – Susan started painting when she was 20 years old and enjoys the “different state of mind” she reaches when she’s focused on painting.  She usually has multiple projects going at once and she likes to work in the following four mediums: oil, acrylic, pastel, and watercolor.  A lover of the outdoors, she often engages in plein air painting and when the weather doesn’t cooperate, she retreats to her quiet studio.  Because she believes in using her God-given talent, Susan paints every day.  As a goal-oriented person who likes a challenge, she hopes to get into a plein air art festival as well as teach painting classes one day.  Lately, she’s been working on loosening up her style by engaging in timed painting exercises.  This lover of cartoons, color, and coffee provided the following advice for young artists: “Practice drawing (perspective, value, composition) as much as you can.  Paint what you want, and don’t be afraid to fail because every time you paint you learn.”

Varied Work and Life Experiences – Susan has been a homeschooler, a technical illustrator, a cake shop owner, a clown, a metal chipper and grinder, a New England School of Art & Design (NESAD) student, a kitchen worker at Gordon College, a personal trainer, a competitive body builder, and a portrait artist.  She moved into Western Avenue Studios approximately 18 months ago.  Her first studio was located on the fourth floor, but she recently moved down to the second floor C/D mill.  An advocate for repurposing and reusing, Susan often checks out Western Avenue’s Free Cycle area for materials she can put to good use.  For example, the beautiful wood portion of her studio floor came from Free Cycle as did her work space cabinet and table top.

Visiting Western Avenue Studios and Lofts – If you come by to visit Susan, a comfy chair awaits you on the far side of her studio, and provides a great view of her salon-style gallery.  Her fine art is also visible on her website: susandrennanart.com and her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/susandrennan.finearts/.  In addition, Susan plans to have a 20% sale in her studio during Artoberfest (10/6, 10/7) and Holiday Open Studios (12/1, 12/2, 12/8, 12/9).

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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.