Member Profile – Carol Parrish Slovikosky

carol demo at shopIn her art she has been honest to herself. Painting started early at the age of 11 and ceramics. Then taking a series of classes in stained glass with her mother and father in 1984, she found herself reacting to something true about herself as a child: a love for wooden puzzles. She allowed this fascination to lead her more and more deeply into the world and artistry of working with glass until now she works in stained glass, glass painting and repairing of art projects.

Carol has also sought to be an authentic part of the communities in which she finds herself. A brief look at her resume shows that over the years she has studied with the leaders of her field and made many contributions to the arts. Education is a commitment she made early on, to grow as an artist and contribute those skills learned, to others willing to devote the time and patience. The prior work experience in accounting and auditing in the Insurance industry for 20 years, (some overlapping of time – Stained glass and Accounting) set her up to wear many hats for many different organizations. Active with Lost River Artisan Co-op (past President and Treasurer) since the late 1980’s and still SAMSUNG DIGIMAX D530a member, Heritage Craft Center of the Eastern Panhandle, Inc. (past President, Treasurer and many other hats), Washington Street Artists’ Cooperative (past board member and bookkeeper) and still a member, and a juried Tamarack artisan and past Advisory Board member (voted by peers). She has taught for several organizations – Community Colleges, Heritage Craft Center, Boys and Girls Club, the Beehive, and 4-H.

Her focus in glass has changed a bit with the traditional glass painting taking a big part of her time. Combining the stained glass art and glass painting is a great challenge and gratifying. Partnering with other artisans to complete larger projects has been rewarding and the process in figuring out how to do each new project is stimulating great ideas for future projects. In fact, she will work anywhere and with anyone in any capacity as long as SAMSUNG DIGIMAX D530it continues the art of stained glass. Carol is a true adventurer this way. Her prior career in accounting and prior hand work prepared her for the accuracy, patience and doggedness needed to work in glass. Follow through, from design to completion, are essential to the finished artwork.

From small stained glass and slumping jobs like pendants to painting a window, she finds
them all fascinating to work on. Each piece of artwork brings challenges and rewards. Carol enjoys the whole stained glass process. Finally, combining the painting skills to glass that had been a lifetime goal, she is expressing inner self.

Carol also displays her artwork on the Trails and Trees Studio Tour of Berkeley County, WV.

Posted in Artist Information, Co-op News, Special Exhibits | Tagged

“A Walk in the Wood”

Works in wood are the focus of a group exhibit by three members of the Washington Street Artists’ Cooperative in August.  Joe Bourgeois, Greg McNabb, and Nancy Streeter bring different approaches, philosophies, influences, and creative spirit to wood, shown in a range of sculpture, furniture, and functional objects.

Nancy Streeter has been carving wildlife sculpture since 1989.  She wanted “something interesting to do”.  After a career in the environmental field and a lifetime of love of the natural world, she translates these experiences in wood.  She is happy when her tools are sharp and she enjoys most the creating and carving processes (painting and finishing come in second).  She loves to capture nature in action and you can see the familiarity she has with her subjects in the keen detail she puts into her work.  Each piece shows shows how much she enjoys her process. You’ve seen Nancy’s work in the Over the Mountain Studio Tour and as a member of the Heritage Craft Center of the Eastern Panhandle.

Greg McNabb is known for his wooden boxes, but makes furniture and other functional and decorative objects.  He has been working for more than 35 years and speaks fondly of working alongside his grandfather.  His work is about the wood’s source and how it came about.  He draws interesting parallels between trees and people: “A tree is a living thing. It suffers stresses just like we do; tough times of drought, stress from being pushed by wind, and attacks by other creatures. These stresses are reflected in the grain of the wood.”  Greg says his job is to reveal the personality and beauty.  “Wood’s beauty is a lot like that of people, the true character is often hidden deep inside and what looks like a scar or a defect on the outside is often the most amazing feature.”  His work is also about simplicity – clean lines that don’t interfere with the wood’s personality.  But simple isn’t always simple, “It is often difficult to execute a visually simplistic design, because it requires such precision in workmanship.”

Joe Bourgeois has been working with wood for 55 years.  He knows his medium well from working in the construction industry.  For Joe, wood is an interactive medium which demands give and take in every aspect.  He has recently been thinking about the identities of trees and how they are shaped by forces beyond their origin and control.  “Trees are a marvel of creation,” says Joe.  “I have reclaimed some wood recently, which was neglected and abused.  As I’ve been working with it, I find a cooperation and dialog needs to take place in trying to make items that call attention to the wonder and beauty of it.”  When a tree is removed from its natural environment, it loses its growing and regenerative powers yet still interacts with humidity and other forces.  In bringing a design to fruition, Joe has to make a series of “yes” and “no” decisions, which affect the design as well as the maker.

Just as they are different, all three artists share the enjoyment of the sensory aspects of their medium.  The smell of the wood is intoxicating and it is a very tactile medium.  The feel of each piece is different and has its own personality.  Nancy particularly enjoys the feeling of the carving process, working with the grain of a particular piece. “I use more than just my eyes when I’m working on a piece. I use my hands to tell me when things are true and smooth,” says Greg.  Joe says, “My favorite part is putting my hands on it; my least favorite part is letting go.”

Working with wood has taught them all life lessons.  Over the years, these artists have learned patience from their medium, as they steadily put in the hours it takes with their unique processes.  Another interesting parallel between wood and life: “It is the stresses or problems you encounter in life that build the character of your heart. It creates strength and a beauty deep inside of you.”

Exhibit featuring the work of Greg McNabb, Nancy Streeter, and Joe Bourgeois.

August 1 through August 29

Opening reception: Saturday, August 2 from 5:30 – 7:00 PM                                                       Firehall Gallery – 108 n. George Street in Charles Town

Copy (1) of IMG_0004_1il_570xN.47397697Bourgeois_nest-of-tables2

Posted in Co-op News

Member Profile – Earl Mills

“Photographs that look like paintings,” this is the visual clue that informs most of us that we are looking at an Earl Mills photo.  His distinctive style has been nurtured and developed over a life-long love affair with photography and for a time the chance to work at National Geographic magazine. This development has three components, each of which adds something to the viewer’s experience of his camera work. The first is artistry.  Earl developed his style when he found that painting was beyond his skills.  This drove him to develop the technique which gives his photographs a painterly look.  In fact, anyone who has sat at the desk in the Washington Street Artists’ Cooperative gallery has probably had to explain to at least one person that these are photographs and not paintings.  Using this technique and a strong selective sense as to what is and what is not the focus of each picture, Earl’s artistry climbs another rung to envelop the viewer in a moment, place or time.  This leads to the second component of his work: history.  Earl has taken the old adage, “grow where you’re planted”, to another level.  Living in an area where the historical currents of our culture crisscross one another, he has chosen to highlight them in one or another of their facets.  Whether scenes evoking the Civil War, or the subtle interplay of 19th century architecture, or the natural characteristics which made Harpers Ferry Washington’s choice as the site for America’s early government-supported armory, Earl instinctively combines the land, people and early technology which make history come alive for so many. One of his photographs, Burnside Bridge over Antietam Creek is shown in an idyllic light, which serves as a counterpoint to the horrendous battle which took place there in 1862.  The contrast between the calm of the photo and what we know of the event strikes a chord with us and leads us to the third component of Earl’s work:  his hunger for personal growth.  He describes himself as self-taught.  His desire to learn is eclectic and probing.  Earl’s eye is one which allows life to come to it and have its say – even to the point of revealing more than was intended.  In a gentility which shows artistic strength, Earl receives what the image gives him and welcomes the viewer to hold it in the same esteem.  Come to our gallery and be enlivened by the artistry, history and hunger for going farther which you will find in the work of Earl Mills.  You can also visit his web site http://www.pathwayphoto.com.

Posted in Artist Information, Co-op News

Member Profile – Virginia Winston

100_1736 old shed new green WinstonOn a visit to the Washington Street Artists’ Cooperative gallery on George Street in Charles Town, WV you will find among other things several lovely pastels and watercolors by Virginia Winston. Although she has not worked in pastels for long, you will find a deft hand with a well-established vocabulary. Her works evoke an appreciation for and a celebration of our natural environment. More than that, her definition of the scene and the colors she employs imbue her work with a dynamic quality and a sense of growing things.

The perspective she chooses invites the viewer to walk right into her pictures. Virginia is drawing us into a revelation of the natural world, not as she imagines it, but as she experiences its many sides. She is the owner of Winston Gardens Native Plants Nursery off Swan Pond Road near Martinsburg, WV. As such she has been helping people for many years to appreciate the natural environment. With a hopeful heart and a good will she seeks harmony between the man-made and natural worlds. Her art is an extension of this effort. Harmony as she envisions it, is that which is the next place we can be, not some idealized and philosophized concept, but the other side of an unlocked door. Come and see her work, which will be the featured solo exhibition for the month of June in the Firehall Gallery at 108 N. George Street, Charles Town, WV. You can meet Virginia at the opening reception on Saturday, June 7 from 5:30 – 7:30pm.

Posted in Artist Information, Co-op News, Coming Events, Special Exhibits

New Member Profile – Linda Elsea

The Washington Street Artists’ Cooperative welcomes our newest member, Linda Elsea, who is a nationally known portrait and wildlife artist. She is passionate about her work and loves to capture the true essence of her subject. She specializes in pet and family portraits, Equine and wildlife art. Linda has more than 40 years of experience in fine art and works in a variety of media, including oil and acrylic paint, pastel watercolor, and pencil.

Linda is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is also an accomplished equestrian trainer and rider. Linda surrounds herself with horses, Jack Russell terriers and her studio looks out over beautiful rolling hills of West Virginia the countryside. Her life experience and her love of wildlife and nature have brought inspiration to her artwork.

Linda created the logo for International Side Saddle Magazine. Her art is featured on the covers of many magazines, including The Chronicle Of The Horse, The Spur Magazine, Horse Marketer Of Maryland, International Side Saddle Magazine, and The
Equine Marketer.

Linda has won many awards and recognition from organizations such as the West
Virginia Wildlife Calendar, National Women’s Gallery in Washington, D.C., the  Chambersburg, PA Miniature Show, and a Merit Award from the national Wildlife Federation, just to name a few.

Come visit the Co-op gallery to see her work and look at her web site
http://EquineWildlifeArt.com.

Posted in Artist Information, Co-op News

Member Profile – Greg McNabb

Into the Woods: Works in Wood with Greg McNabb

Greg McNabb is the featured artist for the Washington Street Artists’ Cooperative’s April exhibit. Greg has been fascinated by wood working since he was very young. His roots run deep and his vision consistently and powerfully propels him upward and outward toward excellence in his medium. “The first piece I ever made was with my Grandfather. He set me up with some tools and the pedestal from an old table. He left it up to me to come up with something on my own.” That moment continues to influence his work, as evidenced by the stories he tells and the name of his business: 3G Woodworking, where “3G” stands for “Three Generations.”

The exhibit will be an eclectic collection of work ranging from utilitarian objects to 1374714_515830895169503_1244978352_nfurniture. Each object expresses his interest in exposing the beauty of wood and revealing it’s character. Works shown include a maple live edge coffee table, a sushi set with hand-carved chop sticks, cutting boards and boxes. He will also be showing a wall piece, which is a new form of expression for his work. Also on display will be the first box Greg made 35 years ago!

You can see Greg’s work April 3 – 30 at the AHA Fire Hall Gallery, 108 N. George St. in Charles Town. An opening reception will be held Saturday, April 5 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM and is open to the public. Regular gallery hours: Weds – Sun. 12:00 – 5:00 PM.

Visit Greg’s website for additional information on 3G Woodworking.

Posted in Artist Information, Co-op News, Coming Events, Special Exhibits

Member Profile – Bruce Chandler

This month’s feature artist is Bruce Chandler, who is a founding member of the Washington Street Artists’ Cooperative. Bruce has been an artist since 1976. He worked with stained glass from 1976 until 1999. In 1993, Bruce took an interest in painting, working in oil, watercolor and acrylic. Today, he works primarily with oil paint.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWhen asked about his current project, he responded, “With a palette knife, I’m working on a painting of several large clay planting pots, grouped together outdoors, all the same color. Because they are in sunlight, there are several tones of the same color that I’m trying to capture, along with the multiple shadows, grouped upon one another, that these pots have created.” This painting is a challenge to improve his ability to see the complexities of tone that are created by just one color. To the average observer, dealing with one color might appear to be simple, but when you really look at a subject in order to paint it, you’ll find the tones to be quite intricate. “Just getting the one color I want can be a surprise, depending on how I’ve toned the canvas.”

Most of Bruce’s work is created from photographs he has taken, which he uses as templates as a point of departure for his compositions. He considers the photography to be part of his creative process. The photos inform his ongoing investigations into light and shadow.

How did Bruce get started? “It was a water color I did while in elementary school, of the IMG_0326Easter bunny. My teacher liked it very much and gave me a “gold star”. Of course, that felt great and I think, that I still have that painting among my belongings. I’ll have to look for it. I think on a very subtle level, that [encouragement] has always been an inspiration for me.”

The deciding moment to become an artist came later – from a challenge he received from his mother while they were looking at Impressionist paintings in the National Gallery. “There was a particular painting I liked and I said, ‘I wish I could paint like that.’ My mother replied, ‘Well, why don’t you?’ Her answer really resonated with me and I asked myself, ‘Well, why not?’ That was the beginning. A couple of months later, I enrolled in a drawing course.”

From 1992 – 1997 Bruce studied art at Montgomery College. He explored various media including watercolor and oil paint. He studied drawing and figure painting. Since March 2010, he has studied with Dianne Bugash in Rockville, Maryland, where he has become particularly interested in abstract art and the effects of light and shadow on faces.

IMG_0319He’s been working on a series of portraits studied from photographs taken at least 60, and in many cases, about 100 years ago. “I find these images interesting as they are different from contemporary portraiture, particularly in lighting, hair styles, clothing and demeanor of the subjects.” Bruce exhibited some of them last October at Artomatic at Jefferson, and showed more of the series last month in a group at the Cooperative, entitled “A Look Back.”

Bruce also produced a series of abstract paintings last year for a group show at the Cooperative last fall. The theme of the show dealt with the elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water. The decision to work in the abstract was an exciting challenge for him. Before the show, he described his paintings as “very different from his usual work” with a big smile on his face!

The abstracts were very different from his usual subject matter of seascape, landscape, still life, figure and portrait studies. When you look across the range of his work, you’ll see his interest in light and shadow and their effects on color, which are ongoing sources of investigation as he strives to improve his painting skills and artistic sensibilities. Bruce is a thoughtful painter, communicating these interests to his viewers.

Bruce has been active with several galleries over the years. He was a member of A Salon Ltd., Wilson Center Gallery, Washington, D.C. where he participated in two juried shows. He was a member of the Washington Street Gallery, a privately owned gallery that opened in 2010 and pre-cursor to the Washington Street Artists’ Cooperative, which was formed in 2011. Bruce’s paintings can be seen at the gallery every Wednesday – Sunday from 12:00 – 5:00 PM.

Posted in Artist Information, Co-op News