While writing Touchstone blog essays, I ask the question, ”How do artists arise in America?” The answer, of course, is that exceptional artists come from small towns and large all across the land, predictably and unpredictably. I thought about this recently while driving the Pennsylvania Turnpike, where my attention alternated between fast-moving 18-wheelers and glimpses of green pastures sculpted from long-ago deciduous forests when horses were the main mode of transport. Road signs mention the small towns that are quickly by-passed.Read More
If we each open our eyes a little wider and really look at our environment, we begin to see a lot of packaging “stuff” that might be falling to the floor as we open a gift or other everyday objects--the worthy and useful objects we think important. We throw that packaging away mostly without really looking at it. But, even if the rest of the world ignores it, Dana Brotman does not. She’s actually attracted to many of those “stuffs” and now actually uses it in her art processes.Read More
Marcia Coppel's paintings are influenced by the color and spontaneity of Mexico. She loves to sketch in restaurants, cafes and on the beach. Her May 2017 solo, Connect/Disconnect 2, is about communication and the lack of it in today’s digital culture. The interactions (or isolation of individuals in the same space) could have been situated anywhere in the world. But since she loves Mexico and spends a lot of time there, she made drawings and paintings situated in that country.Read More
Janathel Shaw’s April solo show, SOLIDAREity! is a reflection upon the status of Blacks in America: a series of figurative pieces and portraits of men, women and children looking boldly into the present and the future. Inspiration for this new series derives from the lost souls, activists and community of people who are part and parcel of the American landscape—people who enrich that landscape in both hidden and overt ways. The portraits incorporate texture, rich deep lines and are anchored in contrast. Several are rooted in a defiant solidarity of consciousness, soulfulness, and personal voice. Some are dark in tone in recognition of ongoing struggles.Read More
It’s been said that there are about 34 towns in 25 states named Springfield. Five of them are in Wisconsin and at least one is in Massachusetts. The latter is singular, because April Rimpo grew up there close to her grandparent’s home where paintings made by her grandfather graced the walls. When April drew pictures as a child, copying cartoon figures and exploring what the pencil could do, she received positive feedback from the family and teachers.Read More
Elaine Florimonte’s day often starts out over coffee in the morning while she touches base with some of her high school art students. They come in early to talk about the parallels between art and life and what to do when something goes wrong in a painting—philosophical stuff. “It’s a privilege to be present in their lives at these moments when 15 to 18-year olds are forming their identities,” she muses, “and I stay connected to about four or five each year, following their progress through college.” In the classroom Elaine teaches techniques and various media while coaching them through the standard processes of making art. Sometimes she picks up the brush and paints on her own canvas to get a point across, a technique she learned from one of her own teachers during her high school days. It was this particular teaching model that convinced her to study art and then become an art teacher herself.Read More
Artist-owned Touchstone Gallery has maintained a reputation for exhibiting contemporary work of high quality, vision and innovation by top-notch artists. Since the beginning, Touchstone’s mission remains unaltered: to enrich the lives of the community through exhibits of diverse contemporary collections of visual art; to promote a rich variety of artistic talent in the DC region; to connect collectors with its artists; and to foster continuing artistic and career growth of participating artist through encouragement and support. As a member owned and managed gallery, Touchstone artists enjoy the right to guide gallery policies and control their solo exhibitions. For each piece seen in any given monthly exhibit, countless others are located in each artist’s studio. Our director, artists and staffers are readily available for discussing all artwork types, techniques, and commission possibilities.Read More
For Rob Goebel soccer, swimming and tennis were the sports that filled his young life. Maybe it had something to do with living in Toms River, New Jersey. The beach was nearby and surfing with friends a fun pastime. By the time Rob was a senior in high school his swim team ranked in the top 10 in the state. While some TV specials, like HBO's Boardwalk Empire, were filmed here, the town of fewer than 100,00 friendly folks was rated one of the safest small cities in the nation in 2006 and 2007. Add to the beach life an annual Halloween parade touted to be the second-largest in the world, and you have a genial place in which to grow up.Read More
Washington, DC, artist Dee Levinson learned at an early age to collage imagery and colors together. As a child she began by pasting small museum art reproductions into little booklets her mother provided. This seemingly inconsequential activity instilled in Levinson the notion that one could mix just about anything together to make a piece of art. Today she does this “collaging” by mixing classical forms painted in a linear manner with highly saturated colors reminiscent of early 20th century German Expressionists.
John Blee, a Washington DC artist, explores new spatial and emotional dimensions in Orchard Suite, his latest series of acrylic paintings on exhibit at Touchstone Gallery. While most of his works vibrate with the intense spring blossom hues that are signature to his palette, several other paintings offer deeper, nocturnal shades, reflecting inverse color themes. Playful geometries activate abstract, luminous sky-and-earth compositions and dance with one another to create an unlikely balance and playfulness. The effect in the viewer is usually an uplifted spirit one might call joie de vivre.
The color of a bud opening in spring, dismal gray leafless trees looking slightly reddish from a distance, and the almost crass lemon yellow of blooming daffodils announce the freshness of each new spring. The transformation of dormant life into energetic green and wild color is so powerful that poets wax on about it and artists paint about it. Aleksandra Katargina, a blossoming young painter living in the DC area, is on the same path. She is the Touchstone Foundation for the Arts first Emerging Artist Fellow Winner mounting her first oil painting solo exhibition In Pursuit of Happiness.Read More
Paula is one of those rare persons who can make and follow a detailed plan of action and yet act spontaneously in the next moment. For the first half of her professional life, she focused on corporate jobs as a "structural planner" of employee self-improvement programs. In the second half she became an abstract painter. Perhaps these seemingly contradictory abilities are innate, or perhaps she learned them along the way.Read More
You might not have guessed it, but the quiet artist we know as Marcia Coppel spent many years as a speech pathologist in the Montgomery County Public Schools. As a child she was drawn to the visual arts, graduating high school with a major in art. After that her studies at George Washington University took her in the direction of speech therapy, which became her major and her field of expertise after securing a post-graduate degree from the University of Maryland.Read More