Saturday, May 31, 2008

Winter Barge (by Art by LMR)

Dragonfly Rose (by Art by LMR)

Interview with Lynne (ArtByLMR)

One of the first things I do in starting to pull these interviews together is look at people's artwork. Lynne's shop is full of lovely bunny rabbits and balloons, birds and flowers...calm, peaceful, and serene. So it was with great surprise and delight when I checked out her blog and David Bowie's Rebel, Rebel came pouring out of the headphones!

You've got your mother in a whirl
She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl
Hey babe, your hair's all right
Hey babe, let's go out tonight
You like me, and I like it all
We like dancing and we look divine
You love bands when they're playing hard
You want more and you want it fast
They put you down, they say I'm wrong
You tacky thing, you put them on

Rebel, rebel you've torn your dress
Rebel, rebel your face is a mess
Rebel, rebel how could they know?
Hot tramp, I love you so...

I got such a chuckle...this was totally, delightfully not what I expected. Thanks to Lynne, I realized part of why I enjoy these interviews so much is that I get a chance to see...and hear...and read...and learn anew how multi-dimensional people really are. And, so it is with great delight and pleasure I bring you this interview with Lynne, the creative force behind Art by LMR.

"I have always been an artist, of sorts, as long as I can remember." Lynne tells me, "As a kid I used to do pencil drawings of celebrities. My mother still holds on to some work I would rather not see the light of day!"

After being a self-described tech nerd for 20 years, Lynne retired and returned to her first love - art. "I am primarily self-taught," Lynne continues, "but have recently taken some classes at the renowned Munson, Williams, Proctor School of Art in Utica, NY. This has given me the drive and inspiration to continue to better myself and my work."

"I really consider myself an art student more than an artist, because I am always learning and trying new things. I just can't seem to settle on one medium or subject matter. If you look at my shop you will see what I mean." Currently, Lynne works in acrylic, watercolor, color pencil and dabbles in digital art, where her degree in computer science comes in handy. "The one tendency I have is toward small format art. I tend to get lost in a big canvas and can't find my way."

"Lately," Lynne continues, "I have tended towards realism, but who knows where this journey may take me. I can't wait to find out. Maybe someday I will find my niche. It will be exciting getting there, if I ever do."

"Painting and drawing have always been my passion and I try to convey that passion in my work. My teacher and mentor always said that no painting is easy. Creating art can be both frustrating and very very rewarding! One has to love it and I do! I believe that all works of art take a little piece of myself to complete. I am happy to share that piece with you." Lynne has shown her work locally in group shows and sold pieces domestically and abroad. "Luckily," Lynne says with a grin, "hubby has a good job to keep me from starving."

"Without going into a lot of detail," Lynne shares, turning the conversation to the issue of sexual violence, "I was involved in a couple incidents when I was younger that keep this issue in the foreground for me. It is hard not to think about it with all the shows on TV that show these kinds of crimes on a weekly basis. I try not to think of my self as vulnerable, but I know that I am just by being a woman."

"I am inspired by how lucky I am to be able to do what I love. Whatever happens, I will always have my family, friends and love of art. I am inspired by nature and how beautiful it is. I am a person that can sit and watch a sunset or a flock of ducks playing and not feel bored. Nothing is as freeing as being outdoors in the sunshine on a warm day. Summer is so short here in Central NY that we learn to appreciate it even more!"

"I have always had music in my life." Lynne continues, "I have a large collection of vinyl record albums and 45's that I just can't part with. We bought a refurbished jukebox so I can listen to the 45's anytime. Being a child of the 70's, classic rock is my sound of choice, but I listen to folk, classical, and new Rock as well. There is always music playing when I paint. It gets the creative juices flowing!"

As to what shoes Lynne wears: comfortable is the key. "Now that I am out of corporate life, I rarely wear heels. I live in sneakers, sport sandals and flats. I know you said no brand, but this fits as a type as well - easy spirit."

You may learn more about Lynne and her work on her website, blog, Cafe Press Shop and Etsy shop.

Lynne is a member of the following groups:

All About Colored Pencils
Central NY Watercolor Society
OSWOA Artists Group
Rome Art and Community Center
Small Format Art
Visual Artists Street Team

What Shoes Lynne Wears

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Carnaval de Paris (by Imagine Studio)

A Little Bird Told Me (by Imagine Studio)

Interview with Lyse (Imagine Studio)

I do these interviews because I like to. Still, every once in a while, I find myself wondering if anyone (besides a handful of people) is reading them. It is difficult to gauge in cyberspace just what impact any one word or post or action has on the rest of the things going on in people's lives and around the world. It is like throwing a pebble in a pond, I suppose.

In my case, I see interesting images on Etsy, I meet interesting people and I throw out a pebble, an invitation to participate in an online interview...and lovely things start to happen. People start answering back...and sharing pieces of their life stories...making this online experience more than just something to do out of curiosity and wonder. These interviews affect me in profound ways. And I know they send ripples, positive, healthy, healing ripples out to the universe for people to see and feel when they are ready.

A while ago, I tossed a pebble out to the VAST group...and this time, Lyse of Imagine Studio answered my call. It is a true pleasure and honor to bring you this interview with this warm and talented artist.

"Everything about life seems to inspire me," Lyse tells me. "I am always in awe with nature's extraordinary creative force and beauty. I have a love of nature, music, traveling, best friends, family, laughter and all the joys that life has to offer." Lyse presently lives in the Montreal region where she shares life with "the loves of my life: my husband and my two daughters."

"My professional background is in visual and creative arts," Lyse continues, "as well as in social work." She has been creative all her life...literally. "It all started with feeling the mud between my toes on the farm in the Canadian prairies where I was born and spent my childhood. Creativity is definitely a passion with me. In that sense, my artwork is neither a job nor a hobby but a need. The ideas just keep coming and I continuously strive to bring them to life."

Through more than 30 years, Lyse's one constant expression in art has been Collage. For the past five years she has worked on transferring this art form into the digital world. "Layers upon layers of thoughts, emotions and research have been turned into transparencies, textures, colours, depth, emotions, portraitures, etc. This virtual digital world of seemingly endless possibilities has given me a new take on my artwork, allowing me to pursue even further my undying need to produce lyrical, evocative and sometimes provocative images."

As a collagist, Lyse sometimes uses master paintings or sculptures for the expression of her ideas, emotions and reflections in her photomontage and photo-fusion artwork. Some of the master painters or sculptors that give flight to her imagination are: Bouguereau,
Barbier, Chase, Collier, Degas, Lautrec, Menzel, Modigliani, Pascin and others. The images that Lyse uses are all in the public domain and therefore no longer under any copyright laws.

A few years ago, Lyse experienced a work related burnout that lasted over a year. "It was the most trying time in my life. I had the feeling that I was sitting beside my soul and no longer knew how to reintegrate it within me or visa versa. I was completely washed up and empty, a nervous wreck, a mere phantom of my self for others and completely lost unto myself. I desperately sought out ways to find myself again. It was my passion for art that permitted me to work towards gaining my soul back. Much of what I do in the realm of my artwork today appears to have something to do with different aspects of the soul, life's fragilities, life's tender moments, one's capacity to overcome life's obstacles or challenges and our ability to transform not only our life but also the way we live it and envision the rest to be."

What helps Lyse when life becomes challenging? "Others' humanness, my belief in empowerment and in one's capacity to transform one's life. Life's ultimate sacred beauty. The love I have for others and the love that I receive. My ability to daydream. My obsession for my artwork. The knowledge of everything I have and the gratitude I feel. My family and friends' support and encouragements. My two cats. Nature. My love of life and all it has to offer."

"I have to say," Lyse continues, "that some of my most profound and rewarding inspirations have come from individuals who have overcome life's obstacles on their own terms. I'm a strong believer in the concepts of empowerment, resilience and the possibility of transforming one's life."

Lyse worked over 20 years as a social worker in the mental health field. "So many individuals that I have worked with, men as well as women, have been victims of sexual violence and abuse. Many for long periods of time in their childhood and/or adolescence. For others it was a single event. In all cases...a devastating impact on their lives."

Lyse has personally witnessed the devastating effects of such crimes on those who lived through it. Some could not bear the inner pain and committed suicide because of it. "Sexual violence goes way beyond the physical aspect of the crime, and I cannot imagine a greater crime against one's humanness than the lifelong struggle that some individuals face and live because someone took apart their soul."

"Next to the crime itself and its impact on the individual," Lyse continues, "I abhor the way the justice system treats so lightly these crimes against humanity. I often wonder if it is because the majority of these hideous crimes are against women and children that it is so poorly punishable by law. A slap on the wrist, a few months, a couple of years at best is what these criminals get for their absolute destructive behaviour. Rob a bank or steal money, you get at least five to ten...rob someone's soul or life...we will look the other way if we can. That says a lot about the human condition, social values and norms that are upheld in our society and in most others as well. I guess we still have a long way to go...and your site aims to get us there. Thank you."

Lyse is inspired and comforted by movies she saw as a child that impacted her life: To Kill A Mockingbird and Helen Keller. She is also inspired by "...a glass of wine with friends...walking in sunlight...all these things and more...not necessarily in that order...all depending on what life is throwing my way."

Lyse also loves music "...always have. Love all kinds, too. But I do have a long-standing love for folk rock music such as that of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones, and Eva Cassidy. Truly love the French singers: Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf, and Robert Charlesbois. I love to dance and often do at home while listening to 70's and 80's rock and roll music...I get a work out at the same time. Also enjoy jazz and classical music when entertaining."

Other ways Lyse relaxes and has fun with life: "When I can...taking bubble baths in the middle of the afternoon is very calming and energy replenishing for me. Going out to daydream in the hammock under my apple trees is just great. Working in my garden is extremely therapeutic. This might sound really silly but one of my very favourite books is Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Montgomery and, possibly its antithesis, The Witching Hour by Anne Rice." Lyse also enjoys watching a good movie in bed with her husband and a bowl of popcorn..."now that is just plain fun!"

Fantasy shoes for Lyse are feminine high heel shoes and sandals. "Probably because I never ever wear them, but wish I could. My poor aching feet and fragile ankles won't allow me. So the shoes that I do wear are the most comfortable low sole or wedge sole shoes I can find. I absolutely hate shopping for shoes because they all hurt my feet and I am never comfortable in them no matter the quality or price I pay. I have false flat feet, corns and dry skin. Thank god that the rest of my body seems all right. I wear simple sandals in the summer and boots in the fall and winter which, after a couple of years, become my working-in-the-garden boots."

You may find more information about Lyse and her work in her shop and photo gallery. She is also a member of the Visual Artists Street Team.

The following people have generously featured Lyse's artwork on their blog or website:

Silver Sun
White Lye Handmade Soap Co.
Torchwood Studio
Silver River Jewelry

What Shoes Lyse Wears

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Fat Girl Watering the Plants (by Ana B. Galano)

At Work In Bama (by Ana B. Galano)

Interview with Ana B. Galano

I love doing these interviews! It means I get to meet all kinds of cool people from across the world and understand more deeply how people use creativity to explore and interpret their lives...talented, introspective artists, like Ana. It's with great pleasure I bring you this interview.

Ana is a Cuban-American visual artist born and raised in Miami, Florida of Cuban parents. She has a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in painting and played an integral role in establishing the Graham Center Art Gallery at Florida International University. The Graham Center Art Gallery provides a venue for the university students and the community to display their artwork. For six years, Ana was the gallery manager: curating innovative and educational exhibits of faculty, student and visiting artists, implementing community outreach exhibits with Miami-Dade schools, and creating an annual exchange with the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

During her time in Alabama, Ana worked with visual arts faculty and students on various projects, including the 2005 "Arty Party" fundraiser and restoration of the sculpture graduate studios. Work from her "Alabama Bible Series" is included in the Flaming Fire Illustrated Bible Project and her Polaroid's have also been selected for inclusion in Polarama, a United Kingdom based web gallery.

Ana now lives and works in Florida and is the creative inspiration behind her online gallery, Ana B. Galano and Etsy shop, "An'a'mano. An'a'mano combines her name (Ana) and spanish translation of "by hand" (a mano).

Along with painting, Ana works with mixed media. "I think it's better when the idea dictates which medium will best represent it. I do tend to prefer water-based media (watercolor, liquid acrylics, ink) and have recently, within the last couple of years, developed a love for digital illustration." She uses Corel's Painter and Paint Shop Pro. "I also use the written word (poetry)."

Depending on what is going on in her life, Ana delves into subjects such as identity, self-awareness, carnal repression, spirituality, body consciousness, memory recollection and other personal issues. "My artwork allows me to analyze my life experiences within the safety of symbolism, layers and hidden meanings, through narrative and the use of different mediums. By exposing and then attempting to understand that which would normally have remained unspoken and unrevealed, I permit my inner world to come to the surface."

"I am influenced," Ana continues, "by my surroundings, events, people, life experiences, etc. All of these affect me and therefore my work. Through the art and the process, I am able to communicate what I'm thinking, feeling, dreaming, etc. For me, this is a more accurate means of expression, because it's pure, honest, unadulterated. And, hopefully, the viewer connects with the underlying message."

Ana's process is primarily an intuitive one. "I surround myself with the materials I'm working with, then step into that zone, where creativity and imagination reside. There are usually no pre-conceived ideas or imagery and quite often I am surprised, amused and pleased with the outcome. This way of working assures I will discover the truth I'm searching for."

"My work is ultimately...about me," Ana continues. "About my trying to figure out who I am, where I've come from, where I'm going: all those questions that, I'm assuming, everyone asks themselves at some point in their lives. I use art to find those answers. I am able to communicate visually that which I am not able to do verbally: a dialogue with myself and those who view the work."

When Ana is having artist's block, she looks at the work of other artists she loves. "Doing that usually has two effects. First, I am thoroughly disgusted with myself and my work, lol, and ALWAYS question what the heck I'm doing and how dare I call myself an Artist." She is the self-appointed queen of self-sabotage! "But, eventually that wears off and something within me gets inspired and I start to think: hey, my work is just as good...let me do a drawing or something. By that time, I usually can get into a good rhythm and everything works out, until the next block."

"I've been dealing with depression for over 15 years." Ana offers. "I get into those moods where everything is bleak and dark and there doesn't seem to be any hope...well, those days ARE difficult. But at some point (thank goodness) I begin to notice the birds singing or the fluttering butterflies or notice the pretty colors of the flowers or the puffy clouds in the sky and that is when I know that it will be ok. Nature has become an important part of my life in recent years. I've gotten into gardening which has replaced my meditation (and it's just as effective for me)."

Ana admits to being a bit of a word nerd. Her favorite types of books are dictionaries, thesauri, and encyclopedias (any reference books). "I can't live without these! The MUST HAVE art book for every artist is the Art Spirit by Robert Henri. You want to talk about inspirational? THAT will do it for you...I promise." She also listens to music from Metallica to Chopin and everything in between.

As to what shoes Ana wears? "Cute, but VERY comfy loafers...soft and cushioned (practical), but with a girly design (feminine)."

For more information about Ana and her work, please visit her website, shop, and blog. She also has a crafts shop that is fun to visit.

Ana is a member of the following groups:

College Art Association (CAA)
Florida Etsy Street Team (FEST)
Visual Artists Street Team (VAST)
Phi Kappa Phi (an honor society to which Ana was initiated during her graduate studies)

Ana's participated in the following Artist Exhibitions:

2007 - "1st Annual International Cultural Exchange", Inverrary Hotel, Lauderhill, Florida (Group)

2007 - TAO em Brasil, Casarao das Artes, Suzano, Sao Paolo, Brasil (Group)

2004 - "On the Twelfth of February: A Reaction to a Moment in Time", Graham Center Art Gallery, Florida International University, Miami, Florida (Solo)

2003 - "Eve in the Garden", Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, Miami Beach, Florida (Solo)

2002 - "Uncommon Marks," Graham Center Bookcases, Florida International University, Miami Florida (Solo)

Ana just received news one of her pieces was accepted in a juried exhibition:

2008 - "29th Annual Mini-Works on Paper Exhibition, Hammond Hall Gallery, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama

What Shoes Ana Wears