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!

Enhance Your Back to School Experience at Western Avenue Studios and Lofts

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It’s that time of year again.  Stores are awash with families preparing for the upcoming school year.   Don’t forget to put Western Avenue Studios and Lofts on your shopping itinerary.  Here are 11 ways you can leverage our next Open Studios event on September 1st (Noon – 5 p.m.) to enhance your Back to School experience:

  1. Spruce up this year’s wardrobe with a new wearable handmade piece.
  2. Find colorful artwork for dorm rooms, homes, offices, or apartments.
  3. Treat a favorite teacher or coworker to something unique.
  4. Get inspired – see over 50,000 works of art in our complex and attend the Loading Dock Gallery’s Of Earth and Air show (4 – 6 p.m.).
  5. Learn some tips and tricks by watching demonstrations or chatting with a fun mix of friendly creative people.
  6. Find a photographer to capture your special family moments.
  7. Have a favorite book that’s falling apart rebound.
  8. Check out the Onyx Room if you are looking to rent a venue for an upcoming event.
  9. Freshen up every bedroom with a cozy quilt.
  10. Enhance family meal prep with a handcrafted cutting board from one of our talented woodworkers.
  11. Tell us how you heard about us on an Orange Survey Card and you will be entered in for a chance to win a gift certificate.

These are just a few reasons for attending our September event.  However, don’t take our word for it.  Come and check it out for yourself!  Admission and parking for this event are free.  Navigation Brewery will be open and Chicks and Dogs food truck will be on site that day.

Check out our Facebook Event Page for further details!

Spring Art Thing at Western Avenue Studios

Join the artists of Western Avenue Studios for Open Studios the first Saturday in May- and don’t forget to take part in the Spring Art Thing, our free drawing for a Western Ave gift certificate!

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Open Studios at Western Avenue Studios (Lowell, MA)

On the first Saturday of every month, Western Avenue Studios & Western Avenue Lofts artists open their doors to the public so that you can come browse their latest works. Come take a peek inside their work spaces and learn more about our artists.

We will be open on Saturday, mAY 6th, 2017, from 12-5PM.

Our artists always have new work to show, and new artists are opening, some of them for the first time. This is a great place for browsing art, chatting with the artists, and purchasing unique gifts for all.

Gift certificates available too!

This is a free event. Free parking available right next to our building.There will also be a new show in the Loading Dock Gallery with a reception from 5-7pm.

See you there! Invite your friends!