Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cheryl H. Kinderknecht, Mixed-Media Artist, Tells Her Story

Born into a large creative family, artistic expression of one kind or another has always played a central and defining role in my life’s journey. Over the years my art has served as the screen upon which I’ve projected my unfolding life stages, experiences and emotions. Dreams, metaphors, ancestral ties and sound shadows are conjured up from my inner landscape, while the shapes, textures and colors of nature and industry further support and inform my work.

Floating 1

My current projects primarily consist of mixed-media paintings, collages and assemblages. Many of these works incorporate pieces of metal, the inclusion of words or numbers, and the use of thematic or repetitive shapes to create a sense of psychological, as well as physical, form and space. 

She Had Everything

Although my formal training includes an undergraduate degree in art, I am most at home when I work from an intuitive perspective, letting the subconscious serve as the voice of my work.

Over the past 10 years my work has also been markedly influenced by the presence of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative visual condition that interferes with light perception and significantly constricts visual fields. From a practical standpoint, this anomaly means that my view has been reduced to looking at life through a straw. With central vision only, I can see a small portion of whatever I’m working on at a time. My brain has had to gradually learn how to put together disparate pieces as I scan to create a new whole image in my mind’s eye.

Floating 2

From an artistic standpoint, this skewed ability to see (or not see) provides my work with a novel perspective and is another reason why it’s more comfortable for me to work on a smaller scale. The work shown here today is from my 2015 Box Series.

My work has been shown in galleries in Sarasota and Anna Maria Island and I am currently represented by Baobab Art Gallery in Bradenton, Florida's Village of the Arts. You can reach me at


Pictured below is Cheryl with her current guide dog, Kennesaw, from Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Florida. After ten years of working as Cheryl’s first guide dog, Carrie, now 12 years old, enjoys hanging out with Cheryl in her art studio. Kennesaw and Carrie have become great buddies and enjoy long beach walks together.

Cheryl with Kennesaw

This is Week 7 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Cheryl’s post today.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lora Duguay, Painter, Tells Her Story

I have been interested in art since grade school, having created my own 'leaves' to wear for a school play I was in, portraying a tree; creating three wise men with tiny bits of paper like a mosaic for a Christmas mural, and on into high school, where I worked on sets for class plays. I was always hovering in the background, my creative mind exploding with what could be next. Afterwards, real life set in -- a 30-year career as a medical transcriptionist, marriage, a child, and my art sat on the back burner.

Then in 1991 my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I was devastated and trying to find a way to cope, I created 150 pair of hand-beaded earrings, all of which I sold.  I also took a class in oil painting, which I'd always wanted to do and I thrived! This was the way for me to deal with whatever was happening so that I had an outlet, a respite, and a way to be okay with it all, whatever the stresses were in my life. So, art then became my hobby.  

Did I mention I am a polio survivor? At the young and tender age of 3, I woke up one morning completely paralyzed from the neck down. What I remember was being frantically rushed to the hospital, packed in ice cubes, as I had a fever of 105 degrees, seeing my parents only through a glass window because I was in isolation, and being completely scared out of my wits!

After several months of rigorous Sister Kinney therapy, I started to come out of the complete paralysis, being able to walk most of my life with a just a limp.  However, as life progressed, I started to deal with the effects of post-polio syndrome, another devastating blow, "stricken once, twice afflicted," another polio survivor said.

In 2000 I started going downhill and was walking less and less, feeling fatigued, tired, having pain, spasms, and other issues that went along with post-polio. On top of that, I was devastated because I had to give up my job due to post-polio brain fatigue.

All my life I had been very independent and now I was given a wheelchair, a leg brace, and all kinds of meds. Feeling like I was in a hole all by myself, trying to dig myself out, I threw myself into my art and I just started painting.  Painting and painting, like a mad woman. How could I be reliving this polio nightmare?  My husband would come home from work and there I would be in the middle of the living room, not having cooked dinner, and sitting in front of some painting I'd created. It was the only way I could cope.  

In time I realized that I still had something to offer life with my creations, finding that creating art itself was what was healing me, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Being able to create takes me out of myself, out of my own physical aches and pains and gets my mind into a happy place. There are times during that process that something happens to me -  I see it as a challenge, kind of like life, thinking  ... 'What am I going to do with this piece next?,' and I persevere, until I get it and my soul sings!

My creations are of traditional oil paintings, miniature paintings in miniature technique, colored pencil with pastels, scratchboard that I do with a scalpel, iconography and some photography.  I enjoy all of it!

It is my healing, my respite, my expression of mind, body and soul.

My art has most recently been in the 40th International Miniature Arts Society of Florida Exhibition at the Leepa Rattner Museum of Art. I have also exhibited throughout Florida at: The Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, Tampa Museum of Art, The Scarfone-Hartley Gallery in Tampa, and Edfish Gallery in Sarasota.  I also have private collectors throughout the United States and my art has been shown on national television.

This is Week 6 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Lora’s post today.

All artwork contained herein is copyright Lora Duguay.  To see more of Lora’s art or to purchase prints, please visit

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Julia Newhouse, Mixed Media Artist, Tells Her Story

Working with stained glass is not the first area of art in which I have indulged .... dabbled, tried, experimented with all kinds, and most things tactile ... even went to school for it; worked professionally, teaching, illustrating, designing .... loved it all, every step of the way.

Combining what I know/learned/feel about design, working in stained glass provides an outlet for original, one-of-a-kind, spectacular color combo’s that beg to play with light!

What more could one ask for, really?

My husband and I live on our sailboat for 6 months out of the year, traveling 'to wherever' is the chart de jour. Our home in Annapolis is where I get my glass time in. Inspiration comes from living in the moment, where value is found in the mundane; and concepts emerge from color, texture and shape that scoot into consciousness from various daily sources.

My work is shown in local galleries, private collections, and I have a major piece at Lighthouse Shelter Meditation Room in Annapolis, MD.

About the piece:
Stained glass

Delicate spheres - each with enough room to hold imagination.
Revealing pure happiness in all its transparency....

Maryland Federation of Art, Annapolis, MD
Del Ray Artisans, Alexandria, VA

See more of Julia's work on her Facebook page below

See more of Julia’s work here:

This is Week 5 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thanks for reading and sharing Julia's work today.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Barbara Gerdeman, Mixed Media Artist, Tells Her Story

My background includes a degree in Advertising Design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and my artistic life/career has been diverse and exciting. I am always looking to experiment with new materials and techniques.

One of the projects that I have had the good fortune to be a part of is iConcept, an annual fundraising fashion show held by the Art Center Sarasota in Sarasota, Florida. It is a standing room only, always sold out event and the funds raised go to support their "Youth Art Education" programs. 

What makes iConcept interesting and unique is that the “fashions” are made by local artists using unconventional materials. Each year about 25 local artists volunteer their time and talent to create these wearable works of art. They are usually auctioned off after the event to the highest bidder.

My first creation was a black velvet dress with geometric shapes stamped on it. The stamps were created from faux finish sample boards. I stamped gold and silver metallic paints and included a matching purse.

Paint Swatch Dress

The 2nd year I purchased a dress at a local Goodwill store as a 'shell' and proceeded to sew hundreds of paper paint sample strips in a pattern of green, blue and black. The after-effect was a fringe feel that moved and swayed as the model walked down the runway. It had a coordinating purse made from 2 black paint trays, paint can handles and was spattered with the colors of paint found on the paint samples. I also made a head piece from paint sticks dipped in the colors, brushes and plastic drop cloths and a necklace made of black beads and silver paint can openers.

Plastic Bag Dress

My 3rd creation was a dress made out of plastic grocery store bags. Mixed in with the bags were pieces from random food boxes. I also made a purse from an ice cream container and a headpiece from food boxes and paper grocery bags. One of my favorite things about the outfit was the mini dress version I made for my model’s toddler daughter. Our local grocery store let me borrow a shopping cart and mom and daughter rocked the runway in their grocery couture.

Astral Queen Dress

The 4th creation was a collaboration piece with a team that included two other artists and my husband. We picked out photos that I had taken around the Sarasota area and made transparencies from them. The assemblage of this piece was quite intense. We had a large hoop skirt that had the transparencies attached to it. We added tulle, wire and lights. The really striking part about this piece was the large circular piece that went behind the model and behind her head. 

Baby Mama Dress

My 5th and most recent creation was an ode to the daily battle that many of us also know as “motherhood”. I created it from plastic baby food containers, lids, baby bottles and pacifiers. It was all spray painted in silver metallic and evolved to resemble a “suit of armor”. Running with this feeling I created a large back piece that also had three silver sprayed baby dolls and a “weapon” that was made from an oversized baby bottle, plastic baby blocks and a gift wrap cardboard tube – all sprayed metallic silver.

In closing I have to say that iConcept has really provided me an avenue to run with my creativity and has enticed me to push the limits of my imagination and even sometimes further than that which I feel I can comfortably create. My ideas are already percolating for next year’s iConcept event!

You can contact Barbara at For more information about iConcept, contact the Arts Center Sarasota at

This is Week 4 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Barbara’s post today!