Ahoy to Hardwood Artisans’ newest featured artist, Betty Ganley! Betty Ganley is a local watercolor painter with wonderful scenes depicting gardens, boating and flowers. In the world of watercolor, her name brings instant recognition. Betty’s many awards showcase her love of the marine scenes of the Chesapeake, the coast of Maine, and Cornwall, England. Her nautical paintings, as well as those of her florals and still life’s have been published in art books featuring todays top water colorists. You can almost hear the waves lapping at the shore and hear the gulls squawking at each other when you gaze at her marina paintings and smell the beautiful flowers when you look at her floral paintings.
Last fall, I had the opportunity to go to the Great Falls Studio Art Tour. My first stop was at Linda Jones’ home/studio. I fell in love with her paintings the moment I saw them, and I knew I had to ask her if she would be willing to display her artwork in our showrooms. To our luck, she said yes. And here we are now, with our newest artist displaying her artwork proudly at Hardwood Artisans.
It’s no wonder that Linda has been inspired to paint. Born and raised on the south coast of England, Linda has been surrounded by beautiful landscapes and scenery her entire life. Her interest in landscapes transformed into the study of geology and geography, and even as she was teaching the subject, she encouraged her students to sketch the landscape to understand it better.
Like many families that move to the US (including my own), the plan was for Linda and her family to move temporarily to Virginia for 2 years. That was in 1989. 22 years of living in the woods of Great Falls and within walking distance from the Potomac, gives her all the inspiration needed for her paintings. Having been to her home, I can see why Linda is inspired. She has pointed out to me the several birds that she painted just by looking out her window.
Although Linda has been sketching and painting since she was a child, she picked up her aunt’s set of watercolors at the age of 9 or 10 and started painting the roses outside in the garden, she had not studied any form of art until her daughter went away to college to study art herself. Linda did not realize that by taking her daughter’s advice, she would be turning her whole life around. (Linda’s daughter now works in art therapy with Alzheimer’s patients, and is also an extremely talented painter herself).
Linda has experimented with different mediums, but she prefers watercolor, acrylics and mixed media (involving fabric and paper collages). Almost all of her subjects tend towards realism, but she also enjoys painting abstracts. “Although most of my paintings are inspired by my immediate environment, I am fortunate to have travelled to paint in other parts of North America and Europe”, she says. She loves natural woods, such as maple, cherry and walnut, for framing her paintings, as she feels it’s very appropriate for her themes. She does all the framing herself.
Considering all the inspiring landscapes around her, Linda loves painting ‘plein air’ but usually tends to finish her paintings in her studio. She loves painting in subtleties and vibrancies of colors, especially showing the way the natural light hits her subjects. The best way to truly understand what Linda does is to take a look at her paintings yourself.
Linda’s gorgeous artwork is on display at our Fairfax, Alexandria and Rockville showrooms. For more information, go to the Great Falls Studios website (where Linda is a board member) to take a look at their annual tour, or click here to be directed to her website to view more of her artwork.
You can also view Linda’s works at the Garrett Arts Gallery Shop in Oakland, MD and the Deep Creek Lake Visitor’s Center in McHenry, MD.
Here at Hardwood Artisans, we are always so excited about the local artists who display their artwork in our showrooms. From woodturners to painters, they all possess amazing skills. The latest addition to our showrooms is a wonderful potter, Hadrian Mendoza. Hadrian works out of the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center along with many of the artists who display their works in our showrooms.
Hadrian definitely has a way with manipulating the clay, turning it into fascinating bowls, trays, teapots and vases. Of my favorite pieces are his round vases with square twisted necks such as the one below.
Hadrian graduated from the Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA. In 1994, at the age of 22, Hadrian took an elective course in college, and since then has had a passion for making pottery. Originally from the Philippines, he went back in 1997 to rediscover his roots and learn about the craft along with the different techniques of pottery making in his homeland. He came back to Virginia in late 2009 and since then has been working in his studio at the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA.
Hadrian is inspired by the environment that surrounds him, whether it be near or far. You will also find a lot of southeast Asian influence in his works, and in the simplicity of his forms, such as this stunning teapot set below:
Hadrian starts by kneading the clay to warm it up and to get rid of the air bubbles. He then bisque fires the piece, a process which is important to potters if they want to use more decorative stains and glazes without risking damage or cracking of the pottery. Below is a picture of Hadrian shaping the clay to make a tray:
He then adds his glaze and fires the piece again in temperatures as high as 1300 C (2372 F). He will sometimes add a little salt to create more movement in the glaze. After the kiln has cooled, he opens it and the process starts all over again. The end result, is a magnificent piece of artwork such as this beautifully glazed bowl:
Hadrian is currently on the hunt for wood firing kilns in Virginia. “As a potter”, he says, “the most important thing for me is the clay and the kiln. Without clay, [you] can’t make anything. Without a good kiln, the pieces can’t be finished the proper way.” He is constantly on a journey, learning new things about the pottery-making scene locally and nationally, always appreciative of new challenges.
Hadrian’s beautiful pottery is on display at our Fairfax and Alexandria showrooms. You can also see more of his artwork at the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center or click here to be directed to his website.
What a fun job! We love local artists and have three new artists displaying their work in our Fairfax showroom. One is a Raku potter and sculptor, Stephanie Firestone. Here is one of her Raku fired pieces title “Triangle Tower.”
Stephanie grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland and knew art was going to be her destiny from a young age. She is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She uses color and form in a unique way that represents truth and essence. She has featured her work in many juried shows including Sculpture Now 2006, the annual show of the WSG. Ocassionally she works with the techniques of Raku pottery and creates stunning pieces. Including this one:
Stephanie will be doing a demonstration on how she makes her own unique pieces at our Local Artists Demonstrations Event on May 15th at 12pm in Fairfax. She will bring in one of her trash cans and other materials used to fire Raku pottery. What do you know about Raku Pottery? Here is a little bit of information that might spark you into starting a new hobby.
Raku is a pottery technique that began in Japan during the 16th century. Its unique colors mostly come from the techiques used during its firing process. Here are a few images to help you understand a little bit about the process…
You need a heated piece of pottery:
And a trash can filled with straw or other materials to obtain the effect you want to show on your pottery:
You place the heated pottery into the trash can with straw or other materials and it lights on fire: