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Main Street Artists' Gallery & Studio August News

Main Street Artists Present ‘Favorite Things’ at St. John Fisher
Month-Long exhibit features work by 18 area painters  

The Main Street Artists group will present an exhibit at Patricia O’Keefe Ross Art Gallery in the Joseph S. Skalny Welcome Center, St. John Fisher College, 3690 East Ave. Pittsford.
            The show runs from Aug. 1 to Sept. 1 with an artists’ reception  6-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is free and open to the public. 
            The show, with the theme “Favorite Things,” will include more than 50 paintings in a variety of styles and media. A special feature  is the unveiling of an oil painting by Margot Fass that represents all members of the group. Fass has worked on this piece for more than a year, beginning with a collage of pieces from paintings by MSA members.
            The Main Street Artists group was founded in January 2010 by Suzi Zefting-Kuhn and now has 18 members who share gallery and work space in the Hungerford Building in downtown Rochester. Studio 458 has become a popular stop during monthly First Friday and Second Saturday events. The St. John Fisher exhibit provides a new opportunity for the public to learn about the dynamic group.
               “Our members enjoy the experience of sharing our art with each other and the public,” says Zefting-Kuhn. “Visitors often comment on the creative atmosphere we have all worked so hard to create and, to me, that is the best compliment.”
            The St. John Fisher exhibit will feature 50 paintings, largely new work, in oil, watercolor, acrylic, pastel, mixed media, colored pencil and fiber. A wide variety of subjects are covered.
            For more information, visit or call 585-233-5645.


Abstract Thinking

Abstract thinking
For three days in May, MSA Studio 458 was filled with energy, focus, color and risk-taking. Six MSA members joined another 12 artists and all were fully engaged in learning how to create abstract art as guided by Debora Stewart during this workshop sponsored by the Pastel Society of Western New York.
Debora Stewart is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America, a member of the Master's Circle of the International Association of Pastel Societies and the author of a Northlight book titled Abstract Art Painting: Expressions in Mixed Media. She teaches workshops in abstraction throughout the U.S. and her work is available through galleries in Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.
The artists at the workshop were friendly, interesting and ready to learn. And, it was especially nice to be with my MSA colleagues Gabby Lodder, Diane Bellenger, Linda Cala, Jackie Lippa and Margot Fass –  they were all fun and supportive.
Materials and approaches that Debora introduced us to opened up many new possibilities for our creation of abstract art. I particularly loved the freedom I experienced on Day 1. To begin, Deborah guided us in a warm-up activity. We needed a piece of compressed charcoal and large newsprint. She stated a word and we made lines and marks on our paper.
I worked over the whole page and very much enjoyed the large movements I made with my arm to create  the various marks. I surprised myself with my strong response to "anger." I really felt the anger that had been sitting inside of me because of injury and weakness of a dear elderly friend because I think questionable medical practices contributed to her condition.
After releasing these feelings on the paper I was free to take delight in a much lighter word that woke up memories of a recent beautiful RPO concert. This activity truly was a warm-up and an opening up to the activities that were to follow. I have since made a "bag of words" for myself to use as a warm-up often when I work.
Another process I really liked was to use a viewfinder to locate abstract images in a black and white picture. I borrowed one of Debora’s that was from a photo of a cliff in Maine. What a delightful challenge to hunt for the lines, shapes, textures and directions that make up an abstract image! I made at least five or six small images and then a larger one that I think is quite strong. Then Debora modeled choosing a range of values from a pair of complementary colors to use in an image. I made a small, colorful abstract and then one that is 8-by-8 inches. There was a lot to explore with orange and blue and different shades and values from these families.

I want to continue exploring an abstract approach to art using the processes and materials Debora introduced. I think within the next year that the walls of MSA and the PSWNY art shows will have some vibrant and colorful abstract art work on display. It was a very successful workshop!

-- Sue Henry

Deborah Stewart doing a portrait demo

MSA members and workshop participants, Diane Bellenger and Gabriele Lodder

Abstract by Sue Henry

June MSA News

You can visit the studio and members during the First Friday (6-9 p.m. June 3) and Second Saturday (10 a.m.-3 p.m. June 11) open studio events. You can also stop in at other times – members are at work almost every day! Call 585-233-5645 to make sure someone is “home.”
Meanwhile, please check out our website ( and be sure to LIKE us on Facebook!
Mark your calendars: Main Street Artists will have an exhibition Aug. 1-Sept. 1 at the beautiful Patricia O’Keefe Ross Art Gallery in the Joseph S. Skalny Welcome Center, St. John Fisher College. We’ll have more information in an upcoming newsletter.

Beyond the Surface

Beyond the surface
Most of us are resistant to change. In fact, we may dread it, even fear it. And yet we know that change is constant, a fact of life.
And then there’s this oft-quoted definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
So I try to embrace change, or at least I try to be open to new ideas. And my painting has always been an exploration, a search for something that I don’t expect to find. The journey always brings discoveries, and that for me, is what it’s all about.
This line of thinking inspired me to take a one-day workshop on abstract painting with noted Rochester artist Brian O’Neill ( The experience included many firsts for me: using acrylic paints, working standing up at an easel, painting directly (without preliminary drawings and thumbnail sketches) and developing an abstract composition. All new, and more than a little intimidating – but truly exhilarating.    
In fact, I enjoyed the class so much I took it again a month later. I’m not giving up my long-time love affair with representational painting in watercolor, but I’m hoping the two processes will cross-pollinate and lead me in a new direction.
So far, I think my most successful abstract paintings are what I call “dreamscapes.” Some are based on “real” landscapes, but others just sort of take shape in my head. The hardest part for me is following an intuitive vision and not falling back into strictly representational interpretations.
Of course, any artistic representation, even the most realistic work – even photography – is abstract. A picture of a tree is not a tree. As my longtime painting teacher often said, “Only God can make a tree.” I have tremendous admiration for artists with the skill and patience to render a photo-realistic image, but artists – and I include photographers – are striving to do more than depict reality.
We’re trying to create. That’s the challenge.

-- Kathy Lindsley

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