Art and Artists

Monday, March 7, 2011

in the atelier…with Gabriela Galarza

It is my plea­sure to have 'In the Ate­lier' this week my tal­ented friend Gabriela Galarza. We met last year dur­ing Designer Spaces and Mar­ket Places and I was imme­di­ately engaged by her warm per­son­al­ity. I did not real­ize until later that the fan­tas­tic "Gal­los" paint­ing I saw dur­ing the event was one of her works! I see so much of Gaby's per­son­al­ity in her paint­ing. The col­ors are joy­ous and vibrant, the can­vases often larger than life. One can sense the depth of her con­nec­tion to her fam­ily and envi­ron­ment. Each can­vas is laden with mean­ing, a cel­e­bra­tion. Enjoy!

gabriela galarza "la gallina turuleca"

gabriela galarza "la gal­lina turuleca"

In her own words, I present Gabriela Galarza-Block:

1)   What path led you to your life as an artist?

Com­ing to North Amer­ica. I knew I wanted a career change – I was well on my way to being a lawyer in my native coun­try, Argentina, and com­ing to the United States pre­sented me with the oppor­tu­nity to go to art school.  I wanted to be a fash­ion designer but first I needed to build a port­fo­lio. Then I took my first paint­ing class at Man­ches­ter Com­mu­nity Col­lege and I just fell in love with the art of express­ing through col­ors and emo­tions and I said “This is it.”

2)   Please describe three sources of inspi­ra­tion for your art.

My first source of inspi­ra­tion would be my fam­ily, the fam­ily that I come from. I come from a big fam­ily where broth­ers, sis­ters, uncles, cousins, and aunts played a big role in my upbring­ing – nat­u­rally for me that is the place that I go to look for my inspi­ra­tion.  Music is also a place that I turn to in order to feel inspired.  For instance, when I lis­ten to Beethoven I can­not stop won­der­ing how one day I can con­vey through my art all the feel­ings that he con­veyed with his music.  I also use music to keep me through the same feel­ing in a paint­ing. The other source of inspi­ra­tion would be a good con­ver­sa­tion or good time with friends; some­thing there will trig­ger my inspi­ra­tion and the desire to paint or make art.

gabriela galarza "dani-riqui-trompo-regalito-mariano-cristina"

gabriela galarza "dani-riqui-trompo-regalito-mariano-cristina"

3)   What was the last item you brought home from a trip? Where did you go, and why that item?

Lately I am not buy­ing on my trips; I take a lot of pic­tures.  But if I have to think about an item that I love it is a mat­era I bought on a visit to my home­town in Argentina.  It is a rawhide piece that you carry around when you drink mate (a tra­di­tional tea infu­sion from Argentina).  I bought it from Tienda Tan­nure, a store that is a mix of Chi­na­town and fron­tier gen­eral store and which has been in town for­ever.  I am using my mat­era to hold wood and long matches next to my fire­place. It is a con­stant reminder of where I come from and it fills my heart with joy.

4)   Please fill in the blank: If I was not an artist, I’d be:

A lawyer work­ing with the United Nations.

gabriela galarza "blooming"

gabriela galarza "blooming"

5)   What advice do you have for peo­ple who are afraid to buy art?

Don't be afraid.  Pur­chas­ing a piece of art it is one of the most reward­ing things that you can do to treat your­self. Noth­ing is more joy­ous and uplift­ing for your spirit than wak­ing up to an orig­i­nal piece of art.

I hope you enjoyed learn­ing more about Gabriela and her work. Please visit her online at:

And to see some of her murals, visit restau­rant Barca in Hart­ford. The spir­ited envi­ron­ment cel­e­brates the food. Try it and let me know if I'm right. (I am, really!)

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

something lovely…from architectural watercolors

I spot­ted these alpha­bet note­cards from Archi­tec­tural Water­col­ors artists Andrew Zega and Bernd H. Dams in the cur­rent issue of Archi­tec­tural Digest magazine:

architectural watercolors letter C

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors let­ter C for Chinoiserie

architectural watercolors letter M

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors let­ter M for Menagerie

The clas­si­cal illus­tra­tions led me to their web­site, where to my delight I found many more cards. Lit­tle known fact, I adore chi­nois­erie (I've never met a pagoda I didn't like)! Feast your eyes on these gor­geous images:

architectural watercolors shell pagoda

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors shell pagoda

architectural watercolors MA tent

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors Marie Antoinette tent

architectural watercolors porcelain pagoda

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors porce­lain pagoda

architectural watercolors philosophers bridge

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors philoso­phers bridge

architectural watercolors chinese belvedere

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors chi­nese belvedere

Be sure to visit their web­site to view and pur­chase these lovelies. At $3.20 per card, you could put together a per­son­al­ized set of indi­vid­ual cards to gift, or keep for yourself!

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Monday, February 21, 2011

in the atelier…with Lynn Mackenzie

In the ate­lier today is artist Lynn Macken­zie, another Twit­ter con­nec­tion. What first popped into my head when I saw her work is the word "soul­ful". I see yearn­ing and reach­ing out, striv­ing for con­nec­tion. The col­ors are deep and lush, warm and envelop­ing. And if eyes are the win­dow to the soul, don't you feel you can see right into the soul of these figures?

In her own words, here is Lynn Mackenzie:

Lynn Mackenzie artist aspects of mind

"Aspects of Mind"

1)   What path led you to your life as an artist?

All my life I wanted to be an artist, but it wasn’t always easy.  At art school I strug­gled to try to please all the tutors and really lost my direc­tion for a while.  After art school I didn’t paint for many years as I felt I had lost the abil­ity and con­fi­dence, then a few years ago, my doc­tor sug­gested I give up the stress­ful job I was in at the time and go back to art –I have never looked back! It is some­thing I have to do, if I don’t cre­ate I begin to feel lost.

2)   Please describe three sources of inspi­ra­tion for your art.

My sur­round­ings – I live in a stun­ningly beau­ti­ful area of Scot­land which is immersed in myths and leg­end but am also now becom­ing more fas­ci­nated with other cul­tures as well.  Peo­ple and invis­i­ble con­nec­tions between each other and the world as a whole entity – what makes us con­nect with some but not oth­ers, what trig­gers belief in a cer­tain faith, human­ity in gen­eral.  Words – a phrase, a poem, a sin­gle word said in a cer­tain way can trig­ger a work.

Lynn Mackenzie artist facell


3)   What was the last item you brought home from a trip? Where did you go, and why that item?

A paint­ing painted by an Indian artist I had met through social net­work­ing, Shinod Akkara­param­bil– I attended an inter­na­tional art sym­po­sium in Elabuga, Rus­sia, which he also attended and we arranged to swop an art­work there.  The 10 days  spent there cre­at­ing and talk­ing with 33 other artists was an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence which has inspired to me to travel more to expe­ri­ence and explore other cul­tures and meet artists from other countries.

4)   Please fill in the blank: If I was not an artist, I’d be a:


5)   What advice do you have for peo­ple who are afraid to buy art?

Don’t be afraid, if you love it, buy it and enjoy it – it was painted with love and pas­sion and should make the viewer feel the same.

Lynn Mackenzie artist watching Pandora

"Watch­ing Pandora"

I hope you enjoyed learn­ing more about Lynn and her art. You can fol­low her on Twit­ter @lynnbmackartist or see more at:

I hope you are enjoy­ing the artist pro­files on my blog. I believe art is key to per­son­al­iz­ing any home or office space. I encour­age you to choose art that makes you feel — and sup­port artists both near and far.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

in the atelier…with Kathe Fraga

In the ate­lier this week is the lovely Kathe Fraga. I 'met' her on Twit­ter and was stuck by the rich col­ors and Old World feel of her amaz­ing paint­ings. To me, each one evokes a small piece of a big­ger pic­ture, as if a larger story is loom­ing in the back­ground. And because art is so per­sonal, every per­son who sees (or is lucky enough to own) one of these paint­ings can imag­ine their own story. Kathe leaves room for a per­sonal expe­ri­ence — what more can you ask from an artist?

"Love Song" will be fea­tured in the March 2011 issue of Seat­tle Magazine

In her own words, I present Kathe Fraga:

1)   What path led you to your life as an artist?

There were two paths in my life…I love to write and I love to draw. I was doing both at a very young age—little illus­trated books, jour­nals with draw­ings, art projects with poetry.  I thought I would be an author as a “grown up” but as time went on, I became enchanted with the wild and very col­or­ful world of adver­tis­ing. That was my career path for a long time—I worked in Seat­tle, Hon­olulu and L.A., and I think that being able to write while being a visual per­son helped me enor­mously. I really got back into my art side when my chil­dren were born—homemade Valen­tines (never store bought), papier mache projects, vol­un­teer­ing in the class­room for any­thing arty—I real­ized how much I missed cre­at­ing art. I’ve never given up writing—mostly “humor writ­ing” (I need to send you my very help­ful arti­cle enti­tled “Kathe Fraga’s Top Ten or Eleven House Clean­ing Tips That Work For Her”) but paint­ing is a pas­sion and my fam­ily puts up with the splat­ters and spills all over the house—mostly pink hues.

"Sakura Kisses" is part of the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion at Seattle's Swedish Hospital

2)   Please describe three sources of inspi­ra­tion for your art.

I spent “grow­ing up” years in South Amer­ica, Europe and both coasts—my father was in the Navy. I think the absolute over-the-top grandeur of the gilded and stained glass win­dows of the churches of Quito made a huge impres­sion.  Liv­ing in France and expe­ri­enc­ing  Europe and its beauty—old, decay­ing, historic—this mem­ory guides me every day in my color choices and how I like my paint­ings to appear worn and with a story—like they were plas­tered pan­els in an old French man­sion and had been cut away and pre­served just before the wreck­ing ball hit. My pinks, oranges and pur­ples, these are the pig­ments of the ancient times and sto­ries. Not just for princesses and fairy tales—although there’s noth­ing wrong with that. Lastly, I grew up with par­ents who just embraced color in their lives, from the way they dressed to the way they dec­o­rated their home. (Even though Dad’s lime green and bright yel­low sports coats could be embarrassing.)

"Paris Sun­set"

3)   What was the last item you brought home from a trip? Where did you go, and why that item?

Whid­bey Island, Wash­ing­ton is one of our favorite “close-by” des­ti­na­tions that we love. A cou­ple of fer­ries from Bain­bridge Island and there’s the tiny sea­side town of Lan­g­ley. I’ll tell you a secret—one of the best thrift shops is in Lan­g­ley! “Good Cheer” is a trea­sure trove of won­drous fab­u­lous­ness. One of the last lucky finds we just had to have is a clock that is held on both sides by two white and light blue cir­cus ele­phants. Pink shades are also involved. It works! We have it above our bed and we call it “Remem­ber the Happy Times.” (We also have a taxi­dermy cat named “Mort” from Dey­rolle in Paris, but that’s another story.)

"Chez Nous"

4)   Please fill in the blank: If I was not an artist, I’d be:

A writer—trying to get pub­lished in the “Shouts and Mur­murs” sec­tion of The New Yorker. I sub­mit­ted a piece called “Fly Strips and Cham­pagne” recently and they  rejected it  “despite its obvi­ous merit”.

"La Belle Saison

5)   What advice do you have for peo­ple who are afraid to buy art?

If you love it, buy it. You’ll never regret it—and the couch you were try­ing to match it to will be headed for the Good­will in a few years anyway.

brand new — "When Love Blooms"

I hope you enjoyed learn­ing more about Kathe and her work. Fol­low her on Twit­ter @kathefraga or see more at

Kathe will also be hav­ing a solo show at Pacini Lubel Gallery in Seat­tle in June, a great oppor­tu­nity to meet this tal­ented artist!

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