Kokopelli Conga

Kokopelli Conga
"A work of art that did not begin in emotion is not art." --Paul Cezanne

March 17, 2017

FRIDAY FEATURE: Featured Artist ~ Sherry Meidell

Originally published 5/8/15...

Friday Feature:  Sherry Meidell

I have only recently become acquainted with Sherry as we served together on the Board of the Utah Watercolor Society this past year. Even in that short time, I have learned that she is a delightful person to know.

Sherry is an incredibly talented artist with a witty sense of humor! As the mother of five boys (now young men), a sense of humor and adventure are obviously a must-have for this fun lady! In her own words...

"My husband and I have raised five sons in Utah. When the boys were little they would bring home an assortment of wild creatures, such as a mother snake that surprised everybody the next morning with a large number of baby snakes. Frogs and dogs and iguanas would escape and be discovered in the upper reaches of their mother’s bedroom closet. The iguana got bigger and so did the boys."  ~ Sherry Meidell (from TeeterTotterTales)

Sherry painting at a watercolor workshop in Flaming Gorge, UT

Sherry has illustrated several children's books and is also a skillful plein air artist, recently winning the 1st Place Award for the 2014 Arts and the Park, Light on the Reef plein air watercolor competition (among others). Sherry will be teaching a watercolor workshop at this year's 2015 Arts and the Park, Light on the Reef event in June.

Sherry painting at the June 2014 Arts and the Park, Light on the Reef in Torrey, UT

Be prepared for this year's Arts and the Park, Light on the Reef event!

Sherry and her husband recently returned from vacation in Peru, exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.

"We hiked the Inca Trail which was like going on vacation and being beaten by sticks on the bottom of your feet for four days. We went some amazing places and hiked where I never thought I'd hike."

I contacted Sherry to let her know I wanted to feature her on my blog, and she was gracious enough to answer my questions.

©Sherry Meidell

Q: What are your favorite materials and tools...the ones you just can't live without?

A: My favorite tool is my sketch book and my pen. I love that it is portable and can go anywhere with me. It makes a record of my life and what I have seen. It keeps my sketching muscle strong and it is a place to explore ideas.

Q: Who are your artistic influences?

A: I love illustrators and children’s book illustrators in particular. I love Jerry Pinkney’s illustrations and the books he has illustrated such as “The Lion and the Mouse” I also love other illustrators like Norman Rockwell and Howard Pyle. I also love Robert Henri.

©Sherry Meidell

Q: What is your favorite subject matter and why?

A: I love drawing and painting people. I love to capture movement in their faces a touch of their personalities.

©Sherry Meidell

Q: What advice would you give to emerging artists?

A: Work on your craft. The quality of your drawing and painting matters. You want to work hard at getting your artwork to the quality you want it.

©Sherry Meidell

Q: What are your favorite quotes?

A: “Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and follow where they lead.” - Louisa May Alcott

“I know I have said a lot when I say 'You can do anything you want to do.' But I mean it." - Robert Henri

Q: What would you most like to be remembered for in life?

A: There are great blessings that come from teaching others. I would love to be remembered as a great teacher.

Sherry demonstrating her art and her sense of humor at a
Utah Watercolor Society meeting with her "hockey" brush.

Sherry publishes videos on YouTube that show her illustration process. Click here to watch one. Find Sherry's illustrations and books on her website. You can also follow Sherry on Facebook and Twitter, and read about her art adventures on her blog TeeterTotterTales.

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog!

I hope you enjoyed this Featured Artist post. Please leave a comment with your thoughts and feedback. I would love to hear from you!

March 10, 2017

Consistency - a good reminder

Originally published 8/7/12, a few updates made for republication.

Kokopelli Conga  ©Jennifer Love

I am a fan of Jason Horejs' book, Starving to Successful, and am represented by his gallery, Xanadu (brick and mortar gallery located in Scottsdale, AZ), in their Studio Artists section online. (Click here to go to my Xanadu page.) 

I receive email with info and blog articles from Jason and Xanadu gallery quite frequently. This blog article, written by Jason - from a gallery owner's perspective, is a good reminder about consistency in work (whether style or subject matter).

As artists, I think we don't always remember to think of ourselves as a business. We need to create a marketable product and inspire confidence in the gallery owners who carry our work. They need to know that they can replenish our sold pieces with other pieces that are easy for their clientele to recognize as being our work.

Kokopelli Circle Dance  ©Jennifer Love

I was reminded of the consistency thing this past weekend when attending the Park City Arts Festival with my family. As always, I love wandering through an art festival. But this year, I looked at it through different eyes. Not through the eyes of an artist, but through the eyes of a collector. Some booths, whether I liked the work or not, showed a good consistency either in the theme or style of work presented. Other booths had a collection of varying styles, mediums, and/or subject matter - all by the same artist. My impression of these booths was one of inconsistent confusion - like the artist didn't know for sure who he/she was as an artist and was just throwing everything out there to see what might "stick."

Admittedly, I have been guilty of presenting my booth like this at art festivals in the past as well. The thought behind it being "I'll present a variety of mediums, styles, and work for the customers so they can choose." But instead, it appears to the customer as if you don't know who you are as an artist or what you want to be "when you grow up."

It is fine for us to try different styles, mediums, and subject matter. That is what helps us grow as artists. But we need to remember, when presenting ourselves to the public (or a gallery owner), we want to have a unified front. Choose which style, subject matter, or medium you are going to display...and present the entire body of work in a manner that makes it "go" together. :)

Looking at things through fresh eyes in this way really reminds me to make sure I am presenting a unified, consistent set of paintings any time I enter a show, enter a festival, or approach a gallery. Consistency is key! :)

Fallen 3  ©Jennifer Love

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Have a great week!

March 3, 2017

FRIDAY FEATURE: Featured Artist ~ Lester B. Lee

Here is a re-post of my Friday Feature of artist Lester B. Lee (first published 5/1/15). Enjoy!


Lester Bird Lee...from the "Old School"

I met Lester B. Lee on my first day of art class in 8th grade. Fresh out of graduate school and already an amazing artist, he took my art education to an entirely new level. "Mr. Lee" was (and still is) a natural teacher - motivating, great at constructive criticism, and he never made you feel that you weren't good enough or talented enough to learn the fundamentals of art - even though I'm sure our 14-year-old art skills were seriously lacking! He used a systematic approach to teach art basics to his students for the first half of the year. Then, after having introduced a variety of mediums and techniques, he allowed the students to write a contract with him to complete a certain number of assignments of their choice for the remainder of the year. Some of those projects were required to be drawings, but the rest were entirely up to the student. This was an unheard of amount of freedom for an 8th grader! It allowed each student to pursue the type of art that interested him or her most. This teaching method has left a lasting impression on me even into adulthood: Know the basics, but use them to create what you love to create.

About this same time in my life, I was coming to an artistic crossroads. I had studied ballet for the past 10 years but realized that I did not have the body type or drive to be a dancer. It was Mr. Lee who encouraged me in visual arts, and convinced me that I did, in fact, have a natural visual arts talent that I should continue to develop. He was an incredible positive influence on me as an artist at a critical time, because, let's face it, Jr. High is an experiment in terror for even the most balanced and confident of individuals!

I credit Mr. Lee (then and now) with giving me to confidence to continue pursuing art through high school - which ultimately earned me an art scholarship in college that I successfully maintained throughout my 4 1/2 years in school. It is because of him that I am unafraid to stand up and call myself "Artist" among my peers. I'm sure many students who have studied with Mr. Lee over the years of Jr. High and High School have felt the same. He is a natural mentor. 

Lester B. Lee painting hanging on the wall in my Mother's home.
This painting occupied a position over our fireplace throughout my years
living at home from age 14 until I moved out.

Fifteen years later...
I had finished graduate work and recently purchased my first house. Finally getting out of rental properties, I was able to set up a studio space in my home where I could create at will. I started enrolling in workshops and art classes for enjoyment and to further my skills, which had been dormant for my graduate years. 

It is at that time that I reconnected with Lester Lee as an instructor, and at that time that we also developed a special artist friendship. Now, instead of "Mr. Lee," he is just "Lester" to me and my family. I have taken several workshops with Lester and my husband and I are collectors of his beautiful work, and lucky recipients of many gifted pieces of art from this generous man! We also discovered that we each had a personal connection to Parkinson's Disease over the past decade that increased our bond (as my husband was diagnosed and one of Lester's family suffered with the same), and I am so lucky and honored to be one of the people that Lester now calls "friend." His guidance and feedback in the beginning and throughout my adult art career have been invaluable.

Lester can render anything he sees with a pencil and paintbrush in amazing realism. He creates perfect proportion and composition with masterful ease. He draws, paints, illustrates, designs theater sets, and sculpts. He gives of his time and talent freely, whether it be hosting a troop of Boy Scouts to giving away his demonstration paintings to lucky students in his workshops. Incredibly talented, amazingly humble, generous, and one of the most gentle and soft-spoken persons you will meet...Lester Bird Lee is truly one-of-a-kind! 

Lester creating the sculpture for the
Panaca Sesquicentennial Founder's Monument - ultimately cast in bronze

Lester hosting a Boy Scout Troop at his studio

Painting of Christ that Lester generously created for a
church youth activity and then donated to the group. 

So, of course, when I reached out to Lester about being a featured artist on my blog, he was happy to answer my questions, along with a very sweet email reply. :)

Here are Lester's responses to my interview questions:

Q: What are your favorite materials and tools...the ones you just can't live without?

A: My favorite tool is the pencil.  To me, the lines made by an artist with a pencil are the most expressive marks that can be made by artist.  Next, of course, is watercolor.  But, I could not live without my pencil.

Wonder by Lester B Lee

Q: Who are your artistic influences?

A: Locally, my biggest influence was Richard Bird from Rexburg ID, and L'Deane Trublood from St. George, UT.  From art history, N. C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper, and Winslow Homer.

Q: What is/are your favorite subject matter and why?

A: My favorite subject matter is anything nostalgic under bright light and shadow.  I mostly paint odd farmland outbuildings and implements.  As to why, I don't know.  I just get turned on by the simple shapes that light and shadow can make...and I love to portray lonely places.  Old buildings often make better friends and have more personality than people.

There was a Crooked Man by Lester B Lee

Q: What advice would you give to emerging artists?

My advice to beginning artists...Learn To Draw, and draw well, and shade well.  Become a master of documentation and composition. Stay simple.  Edgar Payne said, "Beginning artists often chose subject matter that would tax even the most experienced artists."

Irish Whiskey by Lester B Lee

Q: What would you most like to be remembered for in life?

A: I want to be remembered as a kind generous person...who wouldn't?  Of my artwork, I want people to people to say that "He was old school."

Seanmhathair Leigh by Lester B Lee
This is one of several of Lester's paintings currently hanging in our home

Lester Bird Lee is originally from Mesquite, NV. He is one of nine children and was encouraged by his father at an early age to pursue art. Lester taught art classes on a Jr. High and High school level for many years. You will see his illustrations in the book series The Work And The Glory by Gerald Lund, among others. He recently won the People's Choice Award at the prestigious CNS Art & Soup event this Spring (2015).

You can find Lester and his work on Facebook. He took an early retirement a few years ago to build a studio-cabin and house in Clarkston, UT, where he now resides with his wife and children. But, teaching remains in his blood! In addition to private workshops that he teaches from his studio-cabin in Clarkston, Lester will be the new art teacher at Sky View High School in the Fall of 2015! Lucky students of Sky View - you are about to get "Old Schooled!"

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog!

I hope you enjoyed this Featured Artist post. Please leave a comment with your thoughts and feedback. I would love to hear from you!

February 24, 2017

Inspiration and Blooming Aloe Vera

Re-post (first published 4/29/12). 


One thing that is wise for an artist these days is to have plenty of your very own, original reference photos whenever possible. It's also good for an artist to plaint en plein air when you can to just get a good reference on color and how light and color intermix in nature rather than a camera interpretation. I don't paint en plein air a lot, so I am trying to do that more often to let my brain work on the color theory. So, while we were out of town visiting Mesquite, NV last weekend, I painted my little "Bottle Bush" painting en plein air one morning. I also took some good reference photos of the Bottle Bush and also an Aloe Vera plant that is about to bloom to add to my reference photo file. (I've never seen a blooming Aloe Vera before - have you?)

February 17, 2017

FRIDAY FEATURE: Featured Artist ~ Catherine Darling Hostetter

Here is a re-post of my Friday Feature of whimsical artist Catherine Darling Hostetter (first published 4/24/15). Enjoy!

I am trying a new thing with my blog that I am going to call FRIDAY FEATURE. These posts might include Top 10 lists, products/services I have found useful, or other art-related topics (beyond writing about my own art). 

To start out, I am writing a series of features about artists I admire. My goal will also be to provide some personal input from each artist - though that might not prove to be possible in every case. But, I will try my best.

With that, I welcome you to my inaugural FRIDAY FEATURE post...let's begin!

Welcome to the wonderful, witty, and whimsical world of Catherine Darling Hostetter!

"Adoggio" ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

Catherine, a full-time artist from Midvale, UT, also happens to be a friend of mine (though I don't get to see her as often as I would like). A truly talented artist, she is also one of the sweetest and most humble people you will ever meet in your life. 

While I have known of Catherine for nearly 12 years (since I joined the Utah Watercolor Society in 2003), I did not really get to know her as a person until I was an artist at Local Colors of Utah Fine Art Gallery in Salt Lake City, UT in 2010-2011. I worked very closely with Catherine for several months before I left the gallery in 2011. Those of you who are familiar with the book series or PBS television series "Anne of Green Gables" will understand what I mean when I say that Catherine is a Kindred Spirit. :) 

"Then It Dawned on Her" ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

Catherine's paintings are full of fun, texture, and movement. I will admit to not understanding her whimsical style in the beginning (12 years ago - when I was first exposed). But, over the years and more exposure to her work, I came to see the beauty and feel the emotion in all of her work. I am truly a fan! No matter the subject, when you look at one of Catherine's paintings you will feel an emotion. Whether it feels you will humor, thoughtfulness, tenderness, pensiveness, or peacefulness...each painting conveys something to the viewer in an intricately thought-out design. 

"Saint of Motherhood" ©Catherine Darling Hostetter
My husband and I are the fortunate owners of this particular
beautiful painting. It hangs in my living room and I see it
every day as I walk down the hallway from our bedroom.
Every time I see this painting I smile and remember
how grateful I am for my two beautiful children and the
blessing they are to me!

I reached out to Catherine to let her know of my intention to write this series of blog posts and asked her to answer some questions for me. She was kind enough to comply. 

"Flying Below Radar" ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

Q: What are your favorite materials and tools...the ones you just can't live without?

A: I am a collector of art supplies, or in other words, I have more than any decent person needs. I love to try new mediums so it's hard to really pin down what are my favorite materials and tools. My favorite gifts on my birthday or at Christmas are gift cards to art stores. I paint in acrylic or watercolor, so perhaps I should say my favorite tools are something to paint with and something to paint on! I do like artist-quality supplies.

Q: Who are your artistic influences and why?

A: I love Gustav Klimt. He was a very good figure artist and then departed into his own style with all his patterns. I love patterns. There was a period in my art a few years back that I put patterns in everything. Patterns can still be found today in my art, but not quite as much as before. 

A contemporary artist I love is Jeremy Lipking. I love his figures. They are just beautiful and I would love to take a workshop from him. 

My favorite watercolorist is Joseph Alleman. His work is fabulous and I was able to take a workshop from him several years ago. 

If you look at my artwork, you will see that I don't paint anything like those artists mentioned, but I love their work. I paint whimsical art, and my influences are James Christensen and Brian Kershisnik. I love both of these artists' work. 

Q: What is/are your favorite subject matter and why?

A: My favorite subject is painting people and my second favorite is animals. I have always loved these subjects since high school.

"Aubrey"  ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

"Patience is a Beggar's Virtue"  ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

Q: What are your favorite quotes?

A: My earliest favorite quote is from the play Auntie Mame: "Life is a banquet and most fools are starving to death." We performed that in high school and that is the PG version. Another favorite quote is from JRR Tolkien: "Not all those that wander are lost." Another favorite is "If you don't know where you are going, any road will do." from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

"Alice Laughing" ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

Q: What advice would you give to emerging artists?

A: Develop your basic skills. Learn to draw very well and always be in "learning" mode. Take workshops and, if you can't afford them, go to the library and get books. Focus on one style. I see a lot of artists that want to show you all the ways they can paint. If you are looking to get into a gallery, they are looking for strength in one style. Focus! (I need to follow my own advice.)

Q: What would you most like to be remembered for in life?

A: Being a good, kind person.

"Unlimited" ©Catherine Darling Hostetter

Catherine served as President of the Utah Watercolor Society in the 2008-2009 year, and is currently the President of Local Colors artist co-op. She publishes a blog of her thoughts and her art at Cathy Darling's Pure Art Studio. You can also find her art page on Facebook and she has prints and originals available at her Etsy Shop. Catherine is represented by Local Colors of Utah Fine Art Gallery in Salt Lake City, UT and Paisley Pomegranate in Park City, UT.

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog!

I hope you enjoyed this first in my Featured Artist series of posts. Please leave a comment with your thoughts and feedback. I would love to hear from you!