Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tim Jaeger, Painter, Tells His Story

I'd like to thank Brenda for all of her energies in putting together 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. As someone who works with multiple artists on a daily basis, I know first-hand that dealing with artists is a little bit like herding cats. This being said, it is with people like Brenda that all artists benefit from this kind of exposure, which in turn provides artists all over the country and beyond to make their voices and work heard and seen. 

CS no. 20, 36 x 48, acrylic and oil on canvas, 2015

Thus far, 2015 was in my top five most productive and successful years. I didn't look or think so much about reinventing my work or myself -- instead I continued to work and elaborate on the subjects I began painting nearly 10 years ago. I've never felt that I need jump from subject to subject, rather I enjoy exploring the different ways I can elaborate on my process -- evolving a little more each time. 

Tim's Studio

I consider each of my works to provide one-liners, rather than stories -- when put together the one-liners become paragraphs and the paragraphs begin to tell my story. However, my ultimate goal is not to tell my story, part of my goal is for each painting to be able to hang by itself -- to be visually consumed by the enthusiast and to hopefully give the enthusiast an understanding and/or greater appreciation. Unlike many in this current industry, I believe in the equality of fine art and ornamentation. 

Oink III, 36 x 48, acrylic and oil on canvas and fabric, 2015

I began using fabric patterns in my paintings this year, reincorporating some of the notations of Fauvism. For me, this is an ongoing quest for purity and authenticity within my work. Pattern and color combined with shape and form, I believe, informs my work with a sort of honesty while allowing unsensored expression. 

CS 17, 36x48, acrylic and oil on canvas and fabric

Another change I made in 2015 was where I display my work. For many years I was under the belief that the only acceptable venue where my work should be displayed was within a gallery or museum -- the 4 white walls. While I was able to accomplish this, I felt as though I missed some of my audience, and I was right. So, I began to focus more on quality restaurants.

Derek's Restaurant

Restaurants are spaces of consumption, leisure and entertainment charged with pleasure and meaning. These establishments cater to the masses, to all classes and genders while providing an environment to intermingle. For the artist, this has the ability to play a crucial role in the visual consumption and social interaction by the viewer of their creation. Since the beginning of Modern Art, the establishment of the cafĂ© as a cultural and social institution has served as a replacement for the Academy while providing a resource (and influential factor) for the birth and formation of discussions and movements amongst patrons, artists, and writers. Think about it for a minute and ask yourself, "Where is the first place you go after an exhibition opening"?  Art that absolutely HAS to be in a gallery, isn't art. 

Hereford in Dogwoods, 36 x 48, acrylic and oil on canvas and fabric

So there you have it, a little bit about myself. I could write more, but I'm definitely not a writer. However, If you like what you've read and seen and wish to see more or get in touch with me, you can do so my logging onto my site at or finding me on Facebook at

Red Jungle, 84 x 36, acrylic and oil on canvas, 2015

Many Thanks, Tim 

This is Week 52 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Tim's story today! 

Happy New Year to all and look for our next group of 52 artists coming on January 6th.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Thanks to Each of the 52 Artists Who Told Their Story - You Inspired Us!

This has been the most incredible year! Such an interesting array of artists sharing their personal stories; telling us who they are, what speaks to them and why they do what they do. 

I am as honored and moved by the stories as I am with the stellar talent that was showcased by this first group of 52 artists. Next week, our final artist for 2015, Tim Jaeger, will tell us his story so watch for it on the 30th.

On January 6th, I will introduce the next group of 52 artists and invite you to soak up their stories as well as feast your eyes and ears on their artwork. I’m expanding the blog to include video and audio as we have spoken word artists, storytellers, musicians and dancers joining us.

In the meantime, enjoy this holiday season and take a look back at the work that graced this blog in 2015. Thank you for reading and sharing the stories. You have helped us quickly grow in to an international blog and we are all grateful for your support.

Click this link to see a collage of this year’s artists:

Happy Holidays!

Brenda Smoak

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Jane Alexandra Walsh, Artist & Teacher, Tells Her Story


I am delighted to have a chance to share my work and my thoughts as an artist with a complicated life as a teacher/artist. What I have gained from teaching for 23 years with the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, and especially the 16 years at the MCPS Visual Art Center, is that an artist must challenge him/herself to push forward toward a new destination. Teaching “Advanced Placement” students working on creating an AP Concentration series helped me to understand the value of working with a commitment to a theme and to risking change and failure to learn new skills and to discover new talent or at least a sense of creative accomplishment.

I would like to introduce myself through showing a painterly exploration of imagined or invented landscapes. These paintings and collages reveal my experience with the "ephemeral moment of light" in nature; as they use visual conventions of changing weather, seasons and shifting time.

Over the years I have painted and photographed thousands of scenes from the natural and man-made world. What remains is tangible evidence of my “getting lost in the landscape” only to regain my sanity through the joyous act of painting. Examples of my observed and experienced landscapes can be found  on my website.

While I undertook my MFA Studies at MICA during 2002-06 I began a series of experiments and painterly adventures stepping away from the traditional landscape. Using my skills in oils, watercolors and watercolor inks I pushed in size and scale of work created from postcard size to wall size. Things that did not work well were cut up and reassembled and reimagined. Experiments led to intentional series of works that explored a visual idea or an intellectual concept.

Imagined Landscapes are paintings that describe or suggest the natural world but from memory and imagination and not from direct observation of nature.

NGS View

Shifting Light

The Rectangle Series was initially inspired by the work of Mark Rothko and his use of the color relationships and the rectangle to contain space and eliminate it. His work sparked my own awareness of the power of the rectangle and the horizon line. The Floating Rectangles borrow from the Surrealists, altering time or season by offering the viewer a chance to shift between realities.

Hurricane Force

Hurricane Force 2

The Hurricane Series was inspired by the satellite images of many different hurricanes of recent years since Katrina. After creating a series of 7-8 spontaneous, expressive hurricane swirl paintings, I pushed for more complexity by cutting and splice/collaging two or more different paintings into a shifting sense of layered space.


The Tree Series marks the end of a long investigation into seeking and painting the "ephemeral moment of light" in my own backyard. After years of travelling and painting all over the US and Europe with my eyes on the horizon, I sought inspiration and connection with the trees and forests that surround my apartment building.

Beyond the Curtain

Through a Lace Curtain

The painterly explorations in the Drip Series were experimental paintings born of the discovery of watercolor inks and a desire to push my knowledge and skills as a watercolorist. Most of the landscape images portrayed in the Drip Series were a response to the gift to me of a set of glass plate negatives made in 1904-07 by my great-grandfather, Hermann Karr’s photographs of rural New Jersey. In undertaking to paint the scenes I chose to add a final layer of active shower of drips to signal looking back in time.

Overgrown Summer

The Collage Series developed from an impulse to cut up less successful landscape paintings and to reassemble them in a new, more complex way. Each collage shows invention or personal choice to "splice" vertical pieces or "stack" horizontal" pieces of paintings and/or photographs to create a shifting landscape view. These collage works allow the viewer's mind to shift between realities or to glimpse extended worlds.

This is Week 49 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Jane’s story today.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Deb Lyons, Mixed Media Artist, Tells Her Story

It’s been fun and inspiring to read “Artists Tell Their Stories” this year. I’ve found similarities in so many stories, and fun differences in quite a few, too.

I’m Deb Lyons and I describe myself as an artist and an art educator.  I knew from a very early age that I wanted to grow up to be an artist. In the early 1950s that meant painting in abstract ways, wearing black turtleneck sweaters and hanging out with beatnik friends at jazz venues, or at least I thought it did.

Acrylic & mixed media

I was very lucky, as a child, to have a supportive family who indulged my wish for art lessons every summer. What a joy those creative days were. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any “art career” counseling during high school, so I thought that I should get a college degree in some area that I could fall back on during any “lean times” in my art career.

I enrolled in a well-known but small teacher’s college where everyone’s major was education and, of course, my minor was art. I had such a great time and, to my surprise, was totally bitten by the teaching bug.

Acrylic & mixed media

Fast forward a few years and I found myself with a dream job; teaching 1st through 8th grade art in a University Lab School during the day and going upstairs and teaching undergrad and grad students at night. A lovely bonus was having my two daughters as students throughout their elementary and middle school years. 

The creative energy of my colleagues was magical. The research and curriculum development was an all-year endeavor and it left little time or energy for my own art work. To fix this, I eventually found a teacher and co-hort of adult students that I met with once a week (for a number of years.) Life was good.

Acrylic & mixed media

We all have our ups and downs, though. I found that I had a light case of breast cancer. I was surrounded by support and love but still needed to work through all that was going on. I found that large canvases became my breast cancer journals.

Acrylic & mixed media, from the breast cancer series

Using acrylics, surgical sutures, knives, lace and found objects, I was able to travel from darkness to light. I became part of a clinical drug trial and it is a joy to see that what was experimental then is a common part of breast cancer treatment options today. I’m happy to report that I’ve been cancer free for almost 20 years.

I’ve since been able to share my journey by exhibiting these mixed media pieces in a variety of venues. 

Large acrylic, lace, surgical suture & mixed media from the breast cancer series

Today I am still in love with creative explorations and teaching. My new students are adults at my local Easter Seals Adult Center. The joy is palatable, the successes are celebrated, and the friendships are deep.

"Xela Wins at Keeneland" Quilt, cotton fabrics, cotton batting

When Brenda approached me about posting on the blog I asked if I could share my story this week. December 10th is my Mother’s birthday. She passed away almost two years ago. She was an enthusiastic supporter of all of my artistic endeavors and I thought that this might be a small way to honor her memory.

As Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss.”

This is Week 48 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Deb’s story today!