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Artist Spotlight

From Spain to America: An Interview with Gonzalo Ruiz Navarro

Gonzalo Ruiz Navarro

Gonzalo Ruiz Navarro is a landscape painter and portrait artist who recently won the “People’s Choice” award that was sponsored by Plaza Artist Materials in the 7th Annual Friends of the Yellow Barn Drawing Show at Glen Echo Park in Maryland. Having grown up in Valencia, Spain and moving to Washington, DC eight years ago, Gonzalo shares how his artistic career and experiences have differed in the two countries. Read our exclusive interview with Gonzalo below to gain an inside look into his unique artistic journey.

November 7, 2017

Lauren Rader: An Exclusive Sneak Peek into Studio Stories: Illuminating Our Lives Through Art

Studio Stories

“Part of my life is that I am split into these different things; there is the book, there is my teaching and then there is my art.”

Lauren Rader is a Maryland-based artist, author, and art educator. In 2005, she began teaching art classes to women called ‘Releasing the Creative Powers Within’. Inspired by the women’s individual creative journeys and life-changing experiences taking place within these art classes, Lauren wrote the book Studio Stories: Illuminating Our Lives Through Art to document and share their unique transformations.

September 13, 2017

From Portraiture to Illustration: An Interview with Robert Liberace and Lina Chesak-Liberace

Robert Liberace and Lina Chesak-Liberace are married artists living, working and teaching in the Washington, D.C area. Robert is a classically trained portraitist and Lina is a professional illustrator. Read our interviews with both artists below. Robert had some tips for creating stellar oil paintings and Lina offers insight into the process of illustrating and publishing children’s books!

November 14, 2016

Crossroads Art Center: Art Happens in Richmond

Crossroads Art Center is a fine art and crafts gallery located in Richmond. The gallery exhibits the works of emerging and established artists in the mid-Atlantic region. Crossroads was founded by Jenni Kirby in 2002 and the center currently represents over 225 local and regional artists in all type of media. Kirby also recently founded BuyRVAart.com, an online guide to the visual and performing arts in the Richmond area.

September 14, 2016

Madeleine Finley: Colorful Chaos

Madeleine Finley is a painter from the Washington, DC area. She creates colorful abstract oil paintings, each containing a beautiful chaos of letters, lines and fragmented figures. Sometimes emerging artists will incorporate words into their work and the integration seems trite, but Madeleine’s use of lettering is abstract and intriguing. Along with her acute awareness of color and unusual compositions, her paintings are fun to explore.

May 12, 2016

Kate Plourde: Navigating the Smoky Topographies of Memory and Emotion

Being an artist means being open to discovery; being an abstract artist also means being constantly open to uncertainty. How do you paint a feeling rather than an object? How do you guide your mediums when you can’t see what you’re painting in front of you?

Kate Plourde is an abstract artist living in Washington, DC. She creates ethereal large-scale abstract paintings on paper; exploring memory, experiences and emotions in her delicate, smoky forms and landscape-like contours. “I’m always looking for ways to play with what the medium wants to do and what I want the medium to do,” says Kate.

April 29, 2016

Collages and Washes: Evan Parker

I met artist Evan J. Parker III this past Friday during the opening reception of “Decadent,” the February exhibit at Artists & Makers Studios in Rockville, Maryland.

Artists and Makers is the vision of artist Judith Heartsong—it is a new Rockville art space that has experienced great success in only a year. The space has nearly doubled to an astounding 13,000 square feet of studio spaces, and there are now 70 resident artists. The Compass Atelier studio and individual resident artists offer art classes for the public. There are also exhibit openings and other events, including open studios once a month on first Fridays.

February 11, 2016

It’s Never Too Late to Go to Art School: An Interview with Don Brewer

Don Brewer decided to leap into the art world after a career in marketing. He attended college at the age of 45 to study art multimedia and web design at time when multimedia degrees were unheard of and logging onto the Internet meant dialing up through a telephone line. When I spoke with him on the phone for this interview, I could hear a relentless excitement beneath his calm and thoughtful demeanor. He explained a recent prize-wining photograph of his and how it represents not only an unusual visual perspective, but also what it means to live in a rapidly changing neighborhood. The photo is posted below, along with an explanation that is well worth the read. 

December 9, 2015

The Unofficial Hand Lettering Society of Silver Spring

Who handwrites letters anymore? Amina Ahmad and Christy Batta still do, literally—they practice the art of hand lettering—writing in different lettering styles, for fun. I met with them on Halloween at the Fenton Street Farmer’s Market to learn more about The Unofficial Hand Lettering Society of Silver Spring.

How the Society Started

The two became friends and founded the group after Batta completed design work for Ahmad’s small-batch candle company, Handmade Habitat in January 2015. While designing a logo for the company, they began talking about how interesting hand lettering is and decided to meet once a month to practice penmanship with likeminded letterers.

November 12, 2015

The Importance of Daily Practice: Adrian Harris

One of the challenging aspects of being an artist is daily practice. For those of us who must work 9-5 but view our artwork as more than just a hobby, it can be hard to tap into creativity every day while taking care of other responsibilities. Life gets in the way of art unless you make art a way of life.

Adrian Harris is a young artist who is committed to maintaining a constant output of work, no matter how small. He is an associate at the Plaza Artist Materials store in Rockville, Maryland and he tries to spend as much time as possible practicing his craft.

October 29, 2015
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