Friday, November 22, 2013

See What Trina Wilko is Creating!

Art Piece: 
“Top View”
Mixed Media
15”  x  20”
About the Artist:
Trina Wilko
Trina Wilko lives and works in Montreal, Quebec.  She is a professor in the Early Childhood Education Department at Concordia University and a Faculty Supervisor for student teachers.  She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Concordia and a Master’s of Education in the Arts from McGill University.
Artistic pursuits are woven into the fabric of her life; painting, drawing and art education are a mainstay, and reflect the growth of a commitment to art through her careers as a graphic designer for a chain of fashion stores, as a ceramic artist and teacher, and as a writer and illustrator.
She wrote and published a children’s book, ‘The Lively Lines of Linus’, as an art teaching tool for the classroom teacher.  The playful story connects fundamental art vocabulary with the art making process, thereby preparing the student for conversation about art.
To view more of Trina’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Creative Flower Photography, by F.M. Kearney

Tip #10:  Shoot it Indoors

As an outdoor nature photographer, I generally prefer to take my pictures, well...outdoors. However, a recent family emergency prevented me from getting out into the field as often as I would have liked. To prevent cobwebs from forming on my equipment, I needed to come up with ways to stay active. One way was to try shooting photos indoors. Of course, landscapes were out of the question, but flowers were a different story. I bought some flowers at a local florist and I was back in business.
Indoor shooting has its advantages. There's no wind to deal with, and since I hand-picked my subjects out of a display case, they were all in pristine condition. The best part is that my commute to the "location" is just a few steps away into the next room.

With the proper lighting, I was able to simulate many of the effects I do outdoors. But, I soon realized that this was the perfect opportunity to try something new – something that I wouldn't be able to do outdoors. I began experimenting with flashlights. Surefire has a huge line of specialty lights and accessories. With prices ranging from $60 to over $600, they're definitely not cheap, but they’re extremely powerful and can be outfitted with colored bezels for a variety of creative purposes.

Since I normally don’t shoot indoors, I don’t have an actual studio. But, for these pictures, all I really needed was a container to hold the flowers, a black cloth and a few tripods. I used at least two flashlights for most shots. I attached one light to the handle of a mini tripod and placed it beneath the center daisy to create a backlight. I then attached a red bezel to another light and hand-held it to sidelight the other flowers – taking care not to discolor the one in the middle.
For the chrysanthemum, I did just the opposite. The blue backlight was created by a flashlight outfitted with a blue bezel set up directly under it. I hand-held another (bezel-less) flashlight to create a strong, “white-light” sidelight on the tops of the petals.

It’s much easier to use a remote release and avoid looking through the camera when taking these types of shots. It’s very difficult to see which parts of the flowers are being lit up by the hand-held flashlight in the viewfinder. It’s also harder to judge its intensity. A minor change in the angle can make a huge difference, which is much easier to see with your naked eyes.

The red rose was shot on a mirror. One flashlight was placed in the rear in the upper left, and another was positioned in front on the lower right giving me a “cross-lighting” effect. Shooting on a mirror does have its challenges. If you want a black background, everything it reflects needs to be blacked out – which can be quite difficult if the mirror is very large. I found it easier to work with by placing it on the floor, flush up against a flat wall. That way, I only needed to tape a black cloth to the wall to get a solid black background. Another problem was dust – a mirror seems to attract it like a magnet. No matter how many times I brushed it away, another speck would appear just when I was ready to shoot. However, these minor issues can easily be fixed in post.

These are just a few of the things you can do indoors. If you have a full-fledged studio with bigger lights and different backgrounds, the creative possibilities are virtually unlimited. I still prefer to be outdoors, but when that’s not possible, indoor shooting is the next best thing.


Article Submitted by:
F.M. Kearney is a fine art nature photographer, specializing in unique floral and landscape images. To see more of his work, please visit

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pope Gene Hackman X, by Jayme Catalano

When I first encountered ‘Pope Innocent X’ at the Doria Pamphili Gallery in Rome, I was struck by one over-whelming and unshakeable impression:  that man looks exactly like Gene Hackman.  The resemblance is uncanny.  Maybe we’re all walking around with recycled faces, our own doppelgangers lost in obscurity.  One thing is for certain:  Gene Hackman’s own double lived more than three hundred years ago, he schemed and plotted to obtain ultimate power, and he is forever immortalized in Diego Velazquez’ masterpiece of intensity and psyche.

Article Submitted by:
-Jayme Catalano
Graphic design and site creation


Monday, November 18, 2013

See What Emily Lane is Creating!

Art Piece: 
“Inside the Church Courtyard”
Mixed Media
48”  x  36”
About the Artist:
Emily Lane
Emily graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in graphic design. Her experience, working as a graphic designer, has allowed her to see the empty canvas the way she views a new brochure to design.  Composition, design elements, color and overall look are important in any medium she uses.
Her mixed-media paintings consist of acrylics, textured papers, textured gel mediums, oils and oil pastels.  She incorporates a lot of torn paper in some of her work for added depth and gel mediums for added textures.  Brush strokes and textures are very important in her work and she likes working on different parts of the canvas to create small paintings within paintings.
Artist Statement:
“My work has often been linked to the Fauvist Movement of Matisse, Derain and Vlaminck, where the subject matters they painted were turned into pure color, forceful brushstrokes and deep emotions. They rejected traditional renderings of three-dimensional space and instead, chose to create paintings where space was defined by movement of color and composition. They had, as I do, a strong expressive reaction to the subjects they painted”.
To view more of Emily’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.


Friday, November 15, 2013

See What Michelle Shaw is Creating!


Art Piece
“Leaf Drops”
About the Artist
Michelle Shaw
The camera lens has been a key to a locked door that once Michelle opened, she could not close. Nowadays Michelle is never without her camera and she delights in finding quiet moments and capturing them–letting a subject’s natural beauty show.
Michelle’s main inspirations often involve the mundane, the things we often do not even give a second look at in our day to day lives. Michelle’s most satisfying images are those that reveal something new out of things that have been seen hundreds of times.
As with any photographer, light is the starting point and when Michelle finds that special light the camera allows her to show the uniqueness in the trees, animals, buildings and people that have been in front of her the entire time.
To view more of Michelle’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Enfant Terrible by Jayme Catalano

The De Young in San Francisco has staged a ground-breaking multimedia exhibit featuring 140 of John Paul Gaultier’s haute couture designs.  With a career spanning more than forty years, the context of Gaultier’s work is often gritty and controversial although the superb craftsmanship and detail ensure the work is always beautiful.  Known in popular culture for his work with Madonna in the 90s and his costume design on The Fifth Element and City of Lost Children, Gaultier’s work transcends high fashion into fine art.  Working in collaboration with Montreal-based theater company Ubu Compagnie de Creation, the exhibit includes 30 animated mannequins who talk, sing, and blink in an eerily lifelike way.  The exhibit ran through August 19th 2013.

Article Submitted by:
-Jayme Catalano
Graphic design and site creation

Monday, November 11, 2013

See What Aimee Shattuck is Creating!

Art Piece
“Tiny Twister”
Oil on Paper
About the Artist
Aimee Shattuck
Aimee is inspired by beauty.  Her passion is creating beauty.  There is nothing more thrilling than being able to create renderings of what she finds beautiful.  Much of Aimee’s inspiration comes from burlesque, fashion, and erogenous individuals.  Aimee is a yoga teacher by profession so using the body as a form of expression is something she has always appreciated, and this comes through in her images.  Aimee uses postures, colors, fashionable accessories, and exaggerated facial expressions to convey emotion in her pieces.
To view more of Aimee’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.


Friday, November 8, 2013

See What Sarah Woolley is Creating!

Art Piece
“Say So”
Mixed Media
About the Artist
Sarah Woolley
Sarah Woolley lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is a professional artist.  Sarah believes we are all born with the innate ability to be creative- even to make art.  Sarah enjoys helping people discover this, through her classes.  Sarah is drawn to mixed media and expressive painting, and therapeutic art forms.  Common themes in Sarah’s work are people, nature, thoughts, and faith.
Sarah Wooley’s Personal Statement is:  “My art is an outpouring of who I believe I was created to be. My aim is to offer truth, nourishment, beauty, and hope through my art as well as to coax others to express themselves through creative means.”
 To view more of Sarah’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Most Versatile Season By F.M. Kearney

Fall is probably considered the "Super Bowl" of seasons for most nature photographers. Aside from the obvious explosion of color, I like it because the unbearable heat of summer is finally over. It's a little hard to see through the viewfinder when sweat is constantly dripping in your eyes. I also like it because I don't have to carefully pick and chose the perfect day for a shoot. Fall foliage is one of the few subjects in nature that can be successfully photographed on either a sunny or a completely overcast day. However, it's important to know which types of scenes look best under each type of lighting condition.

I shot the vertical image in the forest area in the New York Botanical Garden on an overcast day with even lighting. Forest scenes are notoriously "busy" by nature. To complicate them even further with extreme highlights and shadows produced by direct sunlight, will cause everything to deteriorate into one big bowl of contrast. The soft lighting in this image helped to simplify the scene and emphasize its true colors. Although an overcast sky can produce very pleasant effects, the sky itself is not much to look at. I generally don't include too much (if any) of a blank white sky in the shot. This image was also aided by light winds – creating a near mirror-like reflection in the Bronx River.
The horizontal is a photo of Hessian Lake in Bear Mountain State Park. Located just 30 miles outside of the city in Upstate New York, this park is a great getaway for fantastic views of fall foliage. I specifically wanted a sunny day for this image. Composition was very important. With the sky as the most visually graphic element in the scene, I placed the horizon line low so that the cumulus clouds would take center stage. This wouldn't have worked had they been any thicker, but the patches of blue sky nicely complimented the colorful foliage. Also, I didn't want the tree on the right to blend into the background, so I created some separation by positioning it just above the ridge of the distant tree line. I then waited for the little duckies to swim into the perfect spot on the lake to complete the shot.

Even though both of these images were shot under optimum lighting conditions, they still needed one more thing to really make them shine. I used a polarizing filter to saturate the colors in the forest. It served the same purpose in Bear Mountain, in addition to darkening the blue portion of the sky, thus, enhancing the clouds. This wonder filter works well in any season, but its effects are probably most evident with fall foliage.

Autumn is truly a versatile season, because any kind of day is a good day to shoot fall foliage. Even a rainy day shouldn't be ruled out. Close-ups of raindrops clinging to colorful leaves can make for some very compelling images. Of course, you might want to wait for the rain to stop first.

Article Submitted By:
F.M. Kearney is a fine art nature photographer, specializing in unique floral and landscape images. To see more of his work, please visit

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pacific Skies by Jayme Catalano

Renowned photographer Frank Espada spent the first 50 years of his career documenting the issues concerning minorities, culminating in The Puerto Rican Diaspora:  Themes in the Survival of a People, a book which has won numerous awards, and is represented in the Library of Congress along with 83 vintage prints.  Now in the sunset of his own life, Espada has turned his lense toward the sunset views over the Pacific Ocean, photographing the same patch of sky every day for a year.  “Pacific Skies” is an examination of the dynamic between the sun and the atmosphere as well as photographic composition and aesthetics related particularly to color, light, perspective, and form.  To view more from the collection, please click here.

Article Submitted by:
-Jayme Catalano
Graphic design and site creation                  

Monday, November 4, 2013

See What Greg Trout is Creating!


Art Piece
“For Jus Oborn”
Mixed Media
8 ½”  x  11”  
About the Artist
Greg Trout
Greg Ephemera Trout is an exciting talent that is gaining popularity.  Greg has a permanent piece on display at the Art House Co-Op, in Brooklyn, New York.  Greg says his work is a celebration of detritus, scraps and forgotten lore – finding new and mysterious homes.  Greg says he breathes new life into a picture long thought deceased.
To view more of Greg’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.

Friday, November 1, 2013

See What Nika Ostby is Creating!


Art Piece: 
11”  x  14”
About the Artist
Nika Ostby
Nika Ostby’s images do not have perfect proportions. Nika says her subjects do not see themselves the way she sees them; unique, special, and photogenic. Nika believes, through pictures people can see just how beautiful they are. That is why she takes pictures.  Nika feels the need to show her subjects the beauty they exude; from within as well as from their exterior.
 To view more of Nika’s work and the work of all our fine artists, visit us at   Also check out our monthly art competitions.