Yesterday 25 WARM members gathered at the Dow Building in Saint Paul to visit with WARM artists and see where their art is created. It was a cozy and inspiring morning of sharing knowledge- everything from dumpster diving for materials, the excitement many artists in attendance shared for animal skulls, trial and error with artist materials, how to apply to the State Fair fine art exhibition, safety- and community.
We started the ‘tour’ of the studios by visiting Debra Ripp’s studio where attendees saw her recent collage works and a series of drawings she is working on.
The next stop on the visit was to the shared studio space of Susan Farnham and Karen Searle. In Susan’s half of the space, the group enjoyed looking at her current work, oil paintings that have skeletons as the subject manner. Discussion revolved around Susan’s unique color palette, her interest in the skeleton as a subject matter, her work style and her exploration with new mediums.
In Karen’s studio the group was enthralled with her ambitious work involving the female figure in sculptural knitted forms. We even got to hold her knitted copper figures: one in process and one completed. These amazing figures take 3 weeks of work to complete and stand about 10″ tall. I am going to check out Karen’s book Knitting Art: 150 Innovative Works from 18 Contemporary Artists to see other artists working with knitting needles to create amazing art. I hear this book is available at the Textile Center if you wish to pick it up locally.
Our next stop was at the studio of Bettye Olson, where the group was enveloped in decades of Bettye’s work that was displayed on practically every surface of her space. She provided a brief and wonderful, albeit frustrating in realizing the struggle of women artists through the years, overview of the art world and her work within it. Bettye is a wealth of history of the Twin Cities art scene and is an inspiration to all as she creates beautiful paintings and monoprints.
Ann Popadiuk Larson’s studio is clean, organized, and a great place to view her oil paintings on reclaimed wood, which all have political undertones. Lively discussion ensued regarding her symbolism and the statements she makes. It was a great place to end our morning of exploration and discovery.
Thanks to all the artists who shared snacks, coffee, and their time with WARM members.
Join us next month when WARM Coffee brings us to the Rosalux Gallery to see the exhibition Visitation. February 5th at 10 am.