Archive for February, 2009

Around the corner from the produce market, down the street from the stadium, just off the metro line, sits a studio adjacent to Public Glass in San Francisco. It is the studio of David Patchen. Here is where he creates art glass that explores pattern, color, and transparency through the use of Venetian-style multi-layered cane and murrine. To create the intricate stripes and patterns for which his work is known, David first has to create the necessary cane and murrine by layering multiple colors and stretching hot glass into rods. Then he cuts and arranges the rods to design the final work, a process that can take days. The compositions are fused and wrapped around a bubble of liquid glass to begin the blowing process.


The process is fascinating. After seeing the detail, diversity and variation in David’s work, I was able to see some of the visual themes that recur- including windows with views into or through a piece, contrasting transparency and solidity and disrupted repetition.



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Sacramento artist Tony Natsoulas made me laugh. He told us that he knows his pieces are done, when they make him laugh. Tony uses humor and whimsy  to create life-size and larger-than-life-size busts and full-length figures that appear in museums and galleries around the world and in public venues throughout Northern California. The Smithsonian Institution has called him one of the top 100 craft artists in the United States. Fun-loving, sweet, funny, self-deprecating and hopelessly nostalgic, Tony displays art and toys in his purple trimmed, 60’s atomic style ranch home that he shares with his studio and his wife, Donna, herself an artist (she paints on vintage purses) who has a special job in his studio; she holds his ankles when he put sculptures in the 3′ kiln. Since the time he fell in head first, while loading The Marti Gras Queen’s head.

The prominent position above the fireplace is reserved for the self-portrait lithograph of Tony’s most influential mentor, the late Robert Arneson, whose ceramics program at the University of California, Davis, turned out a collection of prominent artists and inspired Tony to pursue a career in art. He grew up in Davis, studied with many celebrated names in California art, including Arneson, Robert Brady, Wayne Thiebaud, Roy DeForest and Manuel Neri. He is a sculptor of cultural icons, a fan of bold color and collector of eclectic artwork.  


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Our first photoshoot, in the Bay area, was on a hot Thursday evening. Stephanie Weber welcomed us into her 1922 Craftsman home in Berkeley. Her studio was attached to the back and was draped with a beautifully blooming bougainvillea vine. Stephanie’s richly pigmented panels of dazzling color are actually Paintings on Aluminum. The sanded and scratched surfaces showed their open edges, revealing a honeycomb network, sandwiched between 2 sheets of aluminum. The reflective surface adds luster to each acrylic and oil pigment striped paint layer. She superposes a thin wash of oil over acrylic, while some are flat others are crisp and razor-edged. Stephanie had hundreds of scissored strips laid out in rows in the editing room (us can see in the center of this image).

Stephenie Weber

“They are finished when I am satisfied…. like a good meal”. Stephanie is sitting outdoors and can be seen through the French door.


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A true English Rose, born and raised in England. Ann transformed a garage and workshop into a charming studio and office space. A beautiful garden now completes the European cottage effect and keeps Ann in beautiful blooms all year long. Her studio was loaded with small bottles of pretty liquids, roses in vases, colorful tins, shiny waxes and glazes all organized and ready to be used at any minute.


Her work is collected and exhibited internationally. Ann is primarily known for her grid paintings. Her current work loosely revisits themes of the grid combined with botanical forms that are lyrical and very feminine.


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At the age of 10,  Pamelina’s first illustration was published in the fan pages of Vampirella Magazine.  She’s worked within the music industry since the mid-80’s by creating artwork for cds, tour merchandise, concert laminates and charity giveaways. She’s also painted musical instruments for people like Davey Johnstone, Ringo Starr, Motley Crue, Mick Fleetwood, Sheila E., Soundgarden and many others. On the day we photographed her, she was working on an Eagles themed, double- necked “Hotel California” guitar – a gift from one band member to another. She was also hosting one of her monthly “art parties”, a pot-luck for local artists to meet and talk art.


Pamelina has painted over 2000 guitars for Fender, Ibanez, Dean, B.C. Rich and others. She’s painted murals on motorcycles, helmets and cars for Shaquille O’Neal, Vince Neil, Brent Stait and many fine men & women of the police and fire department, from Los Angeles to New York.   Pamelina’s Limited Edition guitar artwork line is called American Icons Bettie Page and Jimi Hendrix Tribute were the first of many in her LE original series.


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Tom Holland lives and works in the Bay Area and has been painting for 50 years. His studio was an old accounting building that housed 6 mobile units. Using fiberglass and aluminum, making pieces of color which hang on the wall like stiff tapestry, the thin edges allow the painting to become a part of the space it occupies. Using simple materials and a unique approach combining painting and sculpture, he cuts thin sheets of aluminum to build either a wall painting or a free standing sculptural form. He then rivets the cut pieces to the sheets of aluminum or fiberglass. He uses epoxy paint to achieve the effects of depth, light, reflection and shadow.


I loved this studio. 6 roll-up doors opened to a waterfall pond and koi fish, potted palms, rolling shades, a blooming rose arbor that created a sleepy shade for the Adirondack chairs and a sleeping squirrel.


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Brooke Chapman is a highly accomplished individual in several fields. She has a life-long dedication to working with and caring for her horses, which she keeps in a yellow barn on a hilltop in San Miguel. But is also a uniquely talented fine art painter, and cabinetmaker. In addition to her horses, she has 2 white German shepherds, which you can see her playing with out the door to your left. Her garden is alive with color and the sounds of water.

Brooke’s studio sits just off the living room in the house that she and her husband, artist Robert Chapman, remodeled.  She painted water in New York and now, in California, she paints sky. Each day, after caring for the horses, she paints the 360 degrees vistas she can see from her hilltop.


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