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. 

 

 

 

 

Featured Artist – Bruce Wood – Studio 427

You’ve seen Bruce Wood’s creations all over Western Ave & even outside our walls, now find out what makes him tick!


Q:  Tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you from? Where did you study? How long have you been an artist?

A: I grew up in Massachusetts. After graduating High School I attended Arizona Western College on an athletic scholarship. Then transferred to Northern Arizona University to study art. I have received a Bachelor of Science with an extended major in ceramics. I transitioned directly in to graduate school and received a Master of Arts in art education. Creativity has always been in my life. I have expressed it through building furniture, making pottery, fabricating jewelry, designing digital imagery, photography, and now through found object sculpture.

Q: What is the first thing you remember making/creating by hand?

A: As a kid I remember building tree houses and forts. I once found an out-cropping of raw clay and turned it into pottery.

Q: What do you love most about your art?

A: I love the challenge of putting things together that don’t belong together and making them look like they go together naturally. I also enjoy using everyday objects in a design and hiding them in plain view.

Q:  What is your biggest obstacle with your art?

A: Time. I have a multitude of ideas that I want to attempt, and not enough time to tackle them all.

Q:  Describe a typical art creativity session. What is it like? For example, do you work in silence, or do you work to music? Do you prefer to be alone, or do you need people around?

A: I work on several ideas at once. Each project spins off ideas for something new. I am torn between finishing an existing project or starting a new one. I jump from one thing to another and am always challenged to make my next piece better than the last.
When I am in the zone all existence is blocked out except the tasks at hand.

Q:  How does your personality translate into your art?

A: I like to make things that please me. I like to continually improve my skills and talents. The thought of failure rarely enters into the equations.
I am comfortable spending time by myself, living inside my head.

Q:  Did you always know you wanted to make the art you make today? Did you start out in a different medium in the early days?

A: I never imagined making the art I do today. I always believed I would be a potter. I like trying new things which has lead me to new art, media and skills.

Q:  What advice do you have for someone just starting out as an artist?

A: Make a lot of art and always try to improve. Don’t worry about the opinions of others. We are all in a growth process with our art.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the arts community?

A: I love being around a community of artists. For a long time I made art by myself. I learned that using myself as my own inspiration eventually stifled my artwork. My art has grown exponentially since I have moved into Western Avenue Studios.

You can visit Bruce in his Studio #427 on the First Saturday of each month at Western Avenue Open Studios!

 

Exhibit – Left New York June 21st 1924

“Left New York June 21st 1924”
maxine

A cigar box holding postcards and notes found in a garage in Orlando found its way to Lowell. In the cigar box, bare bones hint at the story of a young man traveling across the U.S. 90 years ago. Lots of questions to be answered . . . Who was the young man? What was our country like 90 years ago? Western Avenue Lofts artist Maxine Farkas invites patrons of the Chelmsford Public Library to join her in putting together a narrative about this journey.

This exhibit will run throughout the month of April at the Chelmsford Public Library