INTRODUCING THE BACKSTREET GALS — AN EVERYTHING BAGEL, WITH ART!

an article from Navigator Editor, Janine Rusnak

An award-winning, colorful square quilt hides twenty gems; a collection of four watercolor dream horses takes you to exotic places; a delicate, yet heavy handwoven copper piece boasts the title “Asian Study #6.”

 

These spectacular art pieces are now on display at Backstreet Bagel Company in Montrose and capture true, local talent in mixed
visual arts.

With a grand reception Friday, September 29, the Backstreet Gals exhibition features three local artists.  Each artist comes to this exhibition with a background in fiber art.  Though the artists create in diverse media, this common influence of fiber art is referenced in the collected works on display: including strong underlying composition and design, the ability to bring harmony to bright color schemes, and the use of geometry within a pictorial subject.

All That Glitters

Prior to her weaving career, Lynn Vogel made doll cloth- es as a child. She discover- ed the world of hand weav- ing in her early 20’s.  “The hand weaving process was natural for me.  It was like a puzzle— intricate, complex, beautiful —one that would take me a complete,” Vogel said.  She received a large, handmade loom as a birthday gift one year which  led to her and her sister making and selling clothing for several years in small boutiques and galleries throughout Denver.  A decade later, she found herself sitting on the library floor in the art section and became drawn to a new medium—copper. She said someone once told her it couldn’t be woven on a loom. She proved them wrong, and for the last 20 years has been weaving copper as her primary medium. The end result? Beautiful, one-of-a-kind works of art consisting of embossed copper and semi-precious stones. Vogel will have one of her looms present at the open house with the intention of offering a brief, yet in- formative, demonstration of how she creates her masterpieces.

One Stitch At A Time

Debbie Watkins has been designing her own quilts since 2014 after joining a small group of local quilters. Their encouragement and feedback helped her to achieve her goals of creating unique quilt designs as well as incorporating unfamiliar techniques and non-traditional media in each quilted piece.

Watkins began quilting in 1980 and since she moved to Montrose she has been a member of two of the Montrose quilt guilds and is also heavily involved with the annual Black Canyon Quilt Show.  Labels displayed with her work indicate what prize those pieces have won, including this year’s first place winner in the Mixed Media category at the Black Canyon Quilt Show titled, “Dragon Fly By.” This is a vertical piece that came to fruition by way of another piece Watkins ended up not liking.  “Mistakes are creative opportunities!” Watkins exclaimed.

In this show, Watkins’ quilts combine crystals, fabric paints and dyes, photos, painted and heat-stressed Tyvek, as well as buttons, beads, organza and more, all resulting in dynamic, one- of-a-kind pieces.  Also displayed at the Backstreet Gals exhibition are an assortment of “quilted” greeting cards, handmade by Watkins, and a 79” x 92” quilt.

Living In A Colorful World

Artist and painter Cheri Isgreen is fascinated by the relationship between light and shadow on natural forms.  “If you get the values and shapes correct, any beautiful color will look compelling, even a purple horse,” she said.  NobleIsgreen seeks fresh, unexpected color mixtures through the spontaneity of wet paint mixing on the paper. She strives for a sense of mystery and narration in each painting. As a former art educator, she taught the gamut of media, styles, and subjects, giving her the strong range she draws upon today when creating her watercolor compositions. Currently Isgreen’s work reflects her passion for horses, flowers, and travel, with each piece conveying personal meaning.

Isgreen maintains an active studio schedule, winning awards in juried exhibitions, showing in four Colo- rado galleries, accepting commissions through her galleries and website, and teaching art workshops through regional art centers and Western State Colorado University. Isgreen’s work has been showcased in museums, galleries, and publications both in the United States and abroad.

Isgreen’s colorful, contemporary watercolor paintings complement Vogel’s Bouquetcopper compositions and Watson’s art quilts. And with Isgreen’s elements of mystery and narrative, viewers will discover personal meaning in each painting for themselves.

All three artists will be available for questions and discussion at the public open house. Special exhibition pieces will be on display only during Friday’s open house. These women will transform the entire restaurant into a colorful gallery that embraces different media in a comfortable space.

The works displayed in Backstreet Gals is modern but not abstract. “It fits in all décor styles,” Vogel said.  There will be over 30 pieces displayed and are all for purchase.

Backstreet Bagel Company is owned by Scott and Debbie Cassidy. They offer an array of breakfast and lunch items as well as gourmet coffee drinks. Backstreet Bagel is located at 127 North Townsend Avenue in Montrose.

The public is invited to the Backstreet Gals Open House Friday, September 29, from 5-7 p.m. There will be music, complimentary wine, and gourmet appetizers available.

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Passionate Pursuits Opens this Friday, June 2, 2017

You are invited to an art reception featuring my watercolor paintings celebrating horses, gardens, and travel.  The reception begins at 5:30 PM.  I will give a gallery talk about my inspirations, techniques, and processes beginning at 6:00 PM.  Along with my watercolor paintings, I am offering a wide selection of prints, notecards, and tiny paintings.  Live music and refreshments are planned.  This event is part of the Gunnison Colorado First Friday Artwork, with many venues in downtown Gunnison participating with art, spirits, music, and food.  For more information, please call Anne at 970-641-6111.

“Passionate Pursuits”  runs through the end of June.  Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 9:00 AM-5:30 PM and Saturdays 9:00 AM-4:00 PM.

 

New Works 2017

I have two shows coming up this spring/summer.  My solo show opens in June at the Gunnison Gallery.  I will also be showing in June with Debbie Watkins, fiber artist and Lynn Vogle, fiber/metal artist at Backstreet in Montrose.  New works for these shows will feature my flower/garden paintings, watercolor works developed from my sketches and photos from Mexico this past winter, and of course more horse paintings.

This series of photos shows my process; how I create from initial studies/ ink drawing to final watercolor painting.

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Ink drawing from sketch book

 

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Underpainting, blocking in shapes, directional lines, values
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finished painting; to purchase visit this link:  purchase form

Mexico Travel Journal Winter 2017 p20

From Ajijíc, we traveled with friends to the state of Michoacán.  Our first stop was to El Rosario Sanctuario de las Mariposas Monarca.  The experience of seeing thousands of Monarch butterflies was magical- un milagro!  (My beloved horse was born in Florida in a field of Monarch butterflies; hence he was named Monarch.  To watch a small clip of the Monarchs at Rosario, visit my Instagram account- see link to the right.)

After visiting the Monarchs, our next destination was Pátzcuaro, the picturesque city of red tiled roofs and blocks of red-banded adobe buildings.  Pàtzcuaro was  founded in the 1320s as the capital seat of the Tarascan state, which included Michoacán, Jalisco, and Guanajuato, rivaling the Aztecs in power and influence.  Even today, native peoples retain their colorful dress, food, and traditions.

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Mexico Travel Journal Winter 2017 p19

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The center of social life in Ajijíc is the Plaza.  Along one side is the Cultural Center; along another side is the old stone church, Capilla Nuestra Señora del Rosario.  The church was started in 1550 and dedicated in 1600.   Its unique masonry features small stones outlining the larger building rock.  Just down the street is the larger San Andrés church.

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wedding at San Andrés

Mexico Travel Journal Winter 2017 p12

guanajuato(similar composition to Page 10)  This is a studio study of Guanajuato for my next painting which I plan to pour.  (Stay tuned…)  I call it “After School.”  I took this photo because the lighting made a good composition, and the flagstone pattern in the sidewalk and street made an inviting entrance into the picture plane.  It was only after I returned that I noticed the strong visual connection between the mother and her daughter.  Even with her back turned away from the camera, I could see this pair had eyes only for each other.  Such a sweet subject.

Mexico Travel Journal Winter 2017 p9

Our next destination was Guanajuato, capital city of the state of Guanajuato.  Known as the birthplace of Diego Rivera and the origin of the Mexican independence, Guanajuato is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Located in the Mexican Highlands, its origins are in gold and silver mining, bringing great wealth to the city.  These mining tunnels have been converted to auto thoroughfares.  The surface streets are narrow and winding. Most are alleys that cars cannot pass; some are long sets of stairs taxing the legs and lungs of even the locals.  The historic Centro has numerous lush plazas and opulent, Baroque colonial-era buildings crammed along the mountainsides.

The Guanajuato Funicular whisks visitors and locals up the steep, 30° slope above Guanajuato, to the monument, El Pipila  and the best view over Guanajuato. Though tempting to ride back down, take the time to walk through the charming alleyways back into Centro.

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Drawn in my new sketchbook, purchased in Guadalajara at a well-stocked art supply store: Fabriano Accademía, 94 pound, 6″ x 8″ 30 sheets.  I was looking for a bigger size that would still fit in my sketch bag.  It provides more sketch space than my 6″ square Aquabee, but I plan to go with an even bigger size when this one is filled.  Cities are just so complex; it makes this small size quite challenging.

 

Mexico Travel Journal Winter 2017 p8

Tonalá, just outside Guadalajara Ciudad, is best known as a major handcrafts center for Jalisco, particularly the large Thursday and Sunday street markets dedicated to handicrafts.  We went on a Thursday, which was great for shopping, but not so good for drawing.  It was packed with vendors, often booths erected four deep with double alley ways.  The views of street life and municipal buildings were blocked by the market.  We had to get creative to record what we were experiencing.

As a handicraft center, I was struck by the gorgeous handcrafted street lights made with wrought iron and blown glass celebrating the importance of bees to the ecosystem.  These whimsical sculptures reflect the ways Mexican culture beautifies even mundane utilitarian objects.  I later noticed this charming style adapted to one of the local Tonalá homes.

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