Encaustic Art Presented by Guest Member Artist

Join us in welcoming Tricia Simmons as our newest guest member artist at Amapola Gallery.

Tricia spent most of her life in the Chicago area, where she raised her five children. Over the years she worked as a registered nurse, massage therapist and aromatherapist before moving to Albuquerque nearly a decade ago. She, with her cat and dog, and her sister for company, drove down to see a fellow Tricia had met on e-harmony. The sister flew home but Tricia stayed, and is still enjoying the relationship made in on-line heaven. (See! It can work!)

See Dubai Door, encaustic art from Tricia Simmons at Amapola Gallery.

Tricia’s art background includes photography and monotype, fabric art, ceramic jewelry and vessels, as well as jewelry-making using a variety of metal clays. However, her current work provides a medium new to Amapola Gallery: encaustic.

Encaustic uses a combination of bees wax and damar resin, a tree sap. This is melted and applied hot to the background material, usually some type of wood board. The board can be pre-painted, and painted between wax layers, with a vast variety of media, including oil paint mixed with the encaustic medium itself.

You can tinker with the surface before the encaustic is applied, or afterwards, while the wax is still warm. A torch or heat gun fuses the piece between the applied layers of color. The result is impervious to moisture but not to great heat. (You wouldn’t want to stash your encaustic art in a hot car!)

Encaustic art entitled Sun, Moon and Aleph from Tricia Simmons is on display at Amapola Gallery.

The ancient Romans and Egyptians made paintings using encaustic. A Smithsonian Magazine article talks about Fayum portraits as the oldest of modernist paintings. Google the Fayum portraits – they’re gorgeous.

Better yet, come welcome Tricia Simmons to Amapola and see her beautiful eucaustic art in person.

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Woodwork Art Addresses Form and Function

Amapola Gallery’s Woodwork Art by Neal Drago and Mark McCallaster

“Woodworking requires a completely different kind of thinking and problem-solving ability than writing. With writing, you take a set of facts and ideas, and you reason your way forward to a story that pulls them together. With woodworking, you start with an end product in mind, and reason your way backward to the raw wood.” -Joshua Foer

We have a pair of woodwork art makers at Amapola Gallery: Neal Drago and Mark McAllaster. Neal creates boxes in lyrical, organic shapes. Mark turns graceful bowls in a variety of sizes and shapes. They have some things in common: they’re both men (“Yay! I say.) and they both work in wood. Otherwise…

 This is a tall ring woodwork art box from Neal Drago at Amapola Gallery.

Neal Drago refers to his lovely boxes as “micro-wood working” because he began his wood career by building his own home. He and wife .Martie Anspach (who shows her copperplate etchings at Amapola) began their East Mountain home in 1977. It was habitable, he says, by 1981, but remains a project still on-going.

Their carpenter neighbor provided help and what amounted to a wood-working tutorial. For the big stuff! The boxes began about 15 years ago when Neal retired after 45 years as an auto mechanic. (You swear you never knew an honest mechanic? Come meet Neal!)

This is a square woodwork art box from Neal Drago at Amapola Gallery.

Neal begins with a raw block of wood. He studies the grain structure to see how he can use it to best effect. The shapes evolve. “I can’t draw worth a darn!” He utilizes a series of French Curves in various combinations to please his own eye. A French curve is a template, usually five plastic curve plates in one set. He also utilizes boat curves, which are on a larger scale. A paisley, points out Martie, is a French curve. Neal sketches out an approximate desired shape on the wood block itself. A smooth transition between one curve and the next is critical, and “sanding is the essence of the box.” Neal’s boxes may occasionally seem similar, but no two are ever alike.

Mark McAllaster trained in mechanical design and spent over 40 years at Sandia National Labs, putting  his design expertise to work. He always enjoyed working with his hands, and after retirement he turned a 35-year wood-turning hobby into a passion.

Woodwork-art-Mark-McAllaster-Amapola-Gallery

Mark does not construct his boxes, he turns them on a lathe, sort of organized deconstruction of a chunk of wood. Any finished wood bowl that’s round, he says, was spun on a lathe. The wood is held in place and spun, while various tools are used to refine the shape as it’s spinning.

Mark uses New Mexico mountain mahogany, big chunks of mesquite, and Arizona ironwood. Bolivian rosewood, like ironwood, is extremely hard, but because of that, both polish up with great beauty. Some wood cannot be bought in a log or large block, so Mark glues (laminates) the smaller pieces together, matching woods of similar hardness to facilitate not just the turning but the finishing.

This woodwork art is from Mark McAllaster at Amapola Gallery.

Mark says deciding on and cutting each shape is the most fun — the initial generation of form. Sanding is least favorite but most critical. (Sounds like Neal, there.)

Come to think of it, Mark and Neal also share their love of the wood itself. Not such a contrast after all.

Come compare woodwork art for yourself – box or bowl?

After a lifetime batting words around like shuttlecocks in an endless game of badminton, it is a pleasure to use them to promote Old Town and my fellow artists at Amapola Gallery. –Kristin Parrott, carver, painter and acorn stuffer

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July Featured Artists Show at Amapola Gallery

July Featured Artists Show “Scarlet Sunsets”

During the summer months Amapola offers July Featured Artists Show with the theme, “Scarlet Sunsets.” The exhibit, which continues the Gallery’s focus on gems of the month, is suggested by the ruby, a stone which encourages the wearer to follow his or her bliss.

You’ll find bliss as you experience works by featured artists Marti Anspach, etchings; Neal Drago, wooden boxes; Diana Kirkpatrick, sterling jewelry; and Lynda Burch, watercolor and mixed media paintings.

Marti evokes the natural world in her meticulous etchings, lino cuts and other prints.

Art from Martie Anspach, Featured Artist July at Amapola Gallery.

Neal conjures boxes from blocks of wood and sets a turquoise gem in each finished piece.

Boxes such as this with a turquoise insert are the work of Featured Artist Neil Drago at Amapola Gallery.

Diana creates art to wear with sterling and gemstones.

These necklaces are the work of July Featured Artist Diana Kirkpatrick at Amapola Gallery.

Lynda’s passions are color and experimentation to express emotion.

This painting is by Lynda Burch, featured artists July at Amapola Gallery.

The featured artist reception, 1 to 3pm, Sunday July 12, is open to the public.

Amapola Gallery is an artist co-operative in Old Town Albuquerque. Earlier this year, we featured a blog post about the Amapola system of featured artists. Read more at this link.

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Meet Guest Member Artists New to Amapola Gallery

Guest Member Artists Julie Murray and Diana Swanson join Amapola Gallery

Join us as we share information about guest member artists Julie Murray and Diana Swanson.

Julie Murray remembers how, as a little girl in Northern Minnesota, she made pinch pots out of clay she found near her parents’ lake cabin.

See large and small pottery bowls by Julie Murray.She has made potting her hobby since high school. Since moving to New Mexico in 2013, ceramics have been her focus.

See functional pottery from guest member artist Julie Murray.

Though she does accept commissions for four of these or eight of those, she prefers to play and follow the clay. She also enjoys gardening. Just can’t get her out of the earth! (dirt)

Diana Swanson began playing with glass 40 years ago when she took classes in stained glass at a community college.

See the fused glass work of guest member artist Diana Swanson at Amapola Gallery.

In 2007 she had a hip replacement. Prior to that, largely immobile, she watched a lot of do-it-yourself shows on television, which got her interested in glass fusion. It was then she bought her first kiln. “I was always a crafter, but I didn’t find my passion until I discovered glass fusion.” She now laughs and calls herself a “glassaholic.”

Fused Glass of Diana Swanson, guest member artist, is now at Amapola Gallery.

She was born and raised in Janiy, Wyoming, lied in Albuquerque for a time in the 1970s and spent 22 years in the Palm Springs, CA area. She moved here permanently in 2008.

Julia and Diana’s work adds a new sparkle to Amapola’s wide and wondrous variety. Come on up, welcome them, and see for yourself.

After a lifetime batting words around like shuttlecocks in an endless game of badminton, it is a pleasure to use them to promote Old Town and my fellow artists at Amapola Gallery. –Kristin Parrott, carver, painter and acorn stuffer

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Memorial Showcase at Amapola Gallery

This is a picture of the Mabel Culpepper Memorial showcase.

Memorial Showcase in loving memory of Mabel Culpepper at Amapola Gallery

When you enter the Romero House on your way up to Amapola Gallery, you will see a beautiful display case at the bottom of the stairs.

This case holds examples of the work of half our members at a time. It provides the viewer a glimpse of the variety of visual and tactile wonders waiting upstairs.

A generous legacy from Mabel Culpepper (June 20, 1936 – October 24, 2013) made this case a reality. It was on our wish list for years.

Mabel, working primarily in oils and acrylics joined Amapola Gallery in January 1995. She was a wonderful member, participating in all the many aspects of running the gallery.

Her art was delightful, reflecting on a childhood spent on her father’s farm: dogs, horses, pigs, old trucks. She never met a critter she couldn’t capture the essence of, including zoo animals. I should know. I own three of her small paintings.

Mabel’s entire body of artwork conveys simplicity, serenity and peace. It was a grief to lose her, but her memory will remain a gift to all who knew her.

Our memorial showcase display is sincerely dedicated to her, “In Loving Memory.”

Thanks,Mabel.

After a lifetime batting words around like shuttlecocks in an endless game of badminton, it is a pleasure to use them to promote Old Town and my fellow artists at Amapola Gallery. –Kristin Parrott, carver, painter and acorn stuffer

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The Onion Fine Oil Painting

The onion – allium cepa – is a plant of the lily family. It has an edible bulb with a strong, sharp smell and taste. The dictionary says so!

Onions range in color from white to red. The American variety is said to be the most pungent.

All onins are cousins of the Easter lily. Who would make that association?

So valued have onions been through the centuries, that the ancient Egyptians used them in taking oaths, as we might use a copy of the Bible. One hand was held in the air, while the other held an onion. Now that’s a terrific visual, don’t you think?

This botanical marvel is strikingly represented at Amapola in a work by oil painter Vera Russell.

This is Vera Russell's oil painting of an onion.

With a finished size of 12″ x 12″ in a black wood frame, these bulbs pack a punch far greater than their size. The painting portrays a pair of onions – Vidalia? Yellow? that virtually emanate pungency.

Their skins are translucent and papery, just ready to flake off. Their solid, round bodies nestle into the dusky blue tablecloth. Their solidity validates the Egyptian devotion to their wonderfulness.

The “Garden Guide” (1930) declares, “Onions are indispensable.” One of the most famous of quotes about onions comes from Will Rogers:

“An onion can make people cry but there’s never been a vegetable that can make people laugh.”

For the onion lover among you, this painting surely should be. Come, take a whiff!

To read more about onions, check out the National Onion Association.

Amapola Gallery’s oil painting of The Onion was done by Vera Russell. She says:

Art has always been my voice. “Hey, did you notice?…  ordinary things  that catch a special moment  and record it for all time…the high light on an apple, the vigil for an ailing pope, a landscape or skyscape that draws your attention or takes your breath away.”

Amapola Gallery is home to 40 member artists including Vera Russell.

After a lifetime batting words around like shuttlecocks in an endless game of badminton, it is a pleasure to use them to promote Old Town and my fellow artists at Amapola Gallery. –Kristin Parrott, carver, painter and acorn stuffer

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Jurying art into a member co-op art gallery

One of the responsibilities of membership in a member co-op art gallery like Amapola is jurying art.Who gets in? Why? It’s not a simple answer.Amapola member art gallery is home to a variety of artists.

If, say, a potter is what we need to round membership out, a potter is who we’ll jury in, although other artists may be juried in for the waiting list.

Jurying takes place when the members meet to carry out gallery business which happens five or six times per year. At Amapola, we try not to favor any one style. What we look for in the several pieces each prospect brings in are competence in execution, creativity, a background or education in art and some art sales experience.

If a potter brings in mugs, are the lips smooth? Are the bottoms of all pots smooth or will they scratch? Is the glaze well and completely applied?

With paintings, we look for competent framing, colors that are clear and not muddy, the ability to draw and render scenes meant to be realistic, the overall “flow” of compositions.

Personality counts too. If one of us has knowledge of someone’s general demeanor, we consider that. We take turns working here. It can be an annoying commitment and some applicants seem to lack a “cooperative” gene which is a must.

It can be tricky to jury art. In the end, what it boils down to is creativity and competence.

Our decisions are based on our opinions. We always hope we’re correct.

If you want to consider membership in our co-op gallery, we suggest the following:

1. Download and complete an application from our website 

2. Provide complete details about yourself and your art

3. Deliver your application and a picture or two of your art to the gallery. (NOTE: This gives you an opportunity to tour the gallery and compare your work with that of member artists. In addition, you can see if you know any of the current member artists.)

4. A curator will contact you about your application, discuss any openings, tell you of meeting dates and ask you to make samples of your art available for the meeting

5. That’s the extent of your work. The rest? The rest is up to the jurying efforts of the membership.

Jurying art into a member co-op gallery requires forethought and planning. It’s not for everyone. If you want to submit your art for consideration into Amapola, a  Member Co-op Art Gallery, we encourage you to begin the process with our membership application.

After a lifetime batting words around like shuttlecocks in an endless game of badminton, it is a pleasure to use them to promote Old Town and my fellow artists at Amapola Gallery. –Kristin Parrott, carver, painter and acorn stuffer

 

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About June’s Featured Artist Show at Amapola Gallery

June’s featured artist show at Amapola Cooperative Art Gallery is ‘Luminous Landscapes,’ fitting for the month’s gemstone which is pearl. A pearl signifies innocence, charity and faith. Pearls are often described as luminous.

June’s featured artists are Karen Servatt, pastels; Katherine Gauntt, watercolors and oils; and Mary Sharp-Davis, ceramics.

Karen’s vibrant, richly layered works personify this month’s theme.

Karen Servatt is a June featured artist.

Katherine plays with light, shadow and her skillful draftsmanship to create drama in her paintings.

Katherine Gauntt is part of the featured artist show for June at Amapola Gallery.

Mary’s ceramics reflect both natural earth forms and the ancient art which inspires her.

The June featured artist show at Amapola Gallery includes potter Mary Sharp-Dais.

‘Luminous Landscapes’ runs June 1 through June 30. A free reception to meet the artists is scheduled for 1-3pm on Sunday June 7.

Will we see you there?

 

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Fine art? Fine Craft?

My dictionary defines fine art as “usually restricted to the graphic arts, drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and sometimes, architecture.”

Art is “the making or doing of things that have form and beauty,” while craft is “manual art…dexterity in a particular manual occupation.”

Amapola Gallery offers fine art and fine craft form 40 local artisans.

Confusing, no? However, on the basis of this information, Amapola does not exhibit “arts and crafts.” Rather, we show fine art, including sculpture, ceramics and our variety of wall art.

A better differentiation is “wall art” and “cube art,” objects shown on display cubes and shelves.

No matter how and where displayed, our painting, ceramics, jewelry, wood working, stone carving and fabric works all exemplify form and beauty.

Wickipedia publishes a page on fine art, and adds this paragraph:

This definition originally excluded the applied or decorative arts, and the products of what were regarded as crafts. In contemporary practice these distinctions and restrictions have become essentially meaningless, as the concept or intention of the artist is given primacy, regardless of the means through which this is expressed.

American Craft Magazine, a publication of the American Craft Council, summarizes in their Twitter bio this way:

American Craft celebrates the age-old human impulse to make things by hand, in order to communicate, learn, heal and connect.

At Amapola Gallery, we take everything into consideration and then we make the following decision: we like to think, we believe, that all our art is very fine indeed.

So, whether you consider yourself an artisan or a craftsman, bring the fine art, fine craft debate to Old Town Albuquerque and visit Amapola Gallery.

(After a lifetime batting words around like shuttlecocks in an endless game of badminton, it is a pleasure to use them to promote Old Town and my fellow artists at Amapola Gallery. –Kristin Parrott, carver, painter, acorn stuffer)

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Tour our Cooperative Art Gallery – Virtually!

A tour of Amapola Gallery, a cooperative art gallery, begins with the cheerful courtyard. This, or the lounge or the lounge downstairs, complete with free wi-fi, are restful places to enjoy your frozen yogurt, coffee and soft drinks from Yay Yogurt, our downstairs neighbor.

While downstairs, you can tour the eight-piece display of wall art and the selection of smaller pieces in the display case in the downstairs hallway.

Fortified and rested, you climb our stairs. At the landing, you may go straight ahead, right or left.We have the whole second story. See why you needed to be fed, watered and rested? With works by 40 local artists, this will take some time.

Amapola is laid out in a circle, with the stairs in the center and one large room sticking out to the west. The west room is the straight-ahead one when you’re poised on the landing.

Amapola Gallery, a Co-op Art Gallery offers a huge variety of fine art and fine craft items.

The work of 16 artists is here and it is a co-op of art choices: on walls, in windows, on raised display areas, in glass towers. We also have an area for miniature paintings and two mat bins with unframed originals and reproductions – easy to travel home with on the plane for you travelers.

Moving counter clockwise, you enter the room with our sales desk. Come say hi. There are always two local artists working. In this room are 10 display areas and a mat bin, plus our “Featured Artist” display and a section devoted to an enormous variety of notecards, many individually handmade. The Featured Artist display showcases special works by three or four artists each month. It’s well worth a look.

The little room that comes next has two wall displays and a mug rack as well as the doorway to our balcony. You can get a wonderful photo of San Felipe de Neri Church from here, and of the Old Town Plaza itself.

Next, Room D, with eight displays plus a bin for matted work, followed by a single display area currently showing fabulous hand-knit and felted wood hats, handbags and wall pieces.

A Cooperative Art Gallery, Amapola Gallery offers variety in fine wall art, craft items and wearables.

Our last room has four displays plus a permanent display of quilts and quilted potholders, placemats, pillowslips and macrame plant and wine holders.

You’ve now come full circle, back to our stairs. If you’ve climbed them once, we hope you’ll come again and again. Our artists are always changing out pieces, and every three months all our artists’ displays rotate to a different part of Amapola. That’s part of our cooperative art gallery system.

We offer a co-op of art choices: clay, cut paper, fabric arts, glass, jewelry, macrame, paintings, photography, paper & botanicals, wearable art, wood. There is always something new to admire at Amapola Gallery.

(After a lifetime batting words around like shuttlecocks in an endless game of badminton, it is a pleasure to use them to promote Old Town and my fellow artists at Amapola Gallery. –Kristin Parrott, carver, painter, acorn stuffer)

 

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