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The Art and Spirit of Tom Faught Part 2

The Art and Spirit of Tom Faught Part 2

My husband Ron and I just returned from another visit to Maui. When we visited in April of 2012, I had the chance to meet Tom Faught, an amazing sculptor and ceramic artist. I wrote about him in The Heart of the Artist at that time from the perspective of him facing his transition from this life due to Stage 4 metastatic cancer. He was very frail but so positive. And he was saying his goodbyes.

I found it odd that I hadn’t heard of his passing, so I took a chance and emailed him. To my surprise, he emailed me right back and invited us to his home for a visit.

Tom greeted us, smiling and robust with a new lust for life. Tom decided not to take the terminal diagnosis from his doctors as true and researched online to find help, and he did. He learned about the use of a Hyperbaric Chamber. Figuring it couldn’t hurt; Tom traveled to Oahu and started treatments. Hyperbaric chambers are used to improve the quality of life for many people using 100% medical grade oxygen in a pressurized chamber. Originally created as a treatment for the bends, this treatment is known to help numerous medical conditions. The theory is that being in the chamber stimulates the immune system to fight off disease. The therapy has been shown to help everything from Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Lyme Disease, sports injuries, Migraine and Cluster headaches to Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injuries. There were no guarantees, but in Tom’s case, it worked a miracle.

Now Tom rides his bike 12 miles a day and has shifted his artist drive into creating a delightful series of sometimes satiric self-portrait drawings. He has changed his studio into a beautiful gallery of his large ceramic pieces and sculptures.

Tom and I discovered that we had both just read Proof of Heaven, a book by Dr. Eban Alexander. This life changing book showed us both that there is so much more out there than we can imagine. Tom says he went from being an atheist to being a theist by reading the book. That’s a pretty strong statement, but I understand. Always there is a way for our lives to be more beautiful. Tom, Eban, and Tom’s son Graham demonstrate this.

Tom’s recovery came just in time because last January, his beautiful 21 year old surfer son Graham broke his neck in a surfing accident. Tom has been able to significantly help with his son’s recovery encouraging him to never give up. Now paralyzed, Graham has now gained enough movement to begin feeding himself, and undaunted like his father, has figured out a way to draw striking portraits. Instead of giving up with self-pity, his plan is to be able to support himself with his art like his dad has done.

I am grateful for the inspiration of these courageous men. Their lives touch so many more and their art will always show their brilliance.

Check out Tom’s website at Artist Tom Faught Studio and Foundry
Tom vessels

Two Can Art

How do you perceive art? What do you see? What is beautiful? What does the color blue look like? If you could not express your answers to these questions using words, what would you do to communicate your answers? Imagine living always in a world where you see things differently. Most of us tend to see and interpret our lives from a learned perspective of how our parents, teachers, and caregivers see things, but the world of an autistic individual is quite different.

Through Patti Gay, I have been able to experience this different kind of artistic expression. Patti is a commercial artist with a wonderful range of work from realistic to whimsical designing a myriad of items from cards and gift paper to advertising campaigns and children’s books. She is just as comfortable with oil paints and she is with water color and acrylics. Her work is bright and beautiful. Patti has and artistically gifted son named Noah who also happens to be autistic.

Patti started Noah with painting when he was just three years old. He always loved to listen to music and look at books, so she thought he would enjoy being creative, too, and she was right! While she would paint, Noah would create his own paintings in the form of beautifully combined textures. Noah loves the tactile feeling of the paint and creates bubbles, or finger paints, or uses sponges. He paints on paper or newspaper, and he has even painted over some of Patti’s assignments. Inspired by Noah’s paintings, Patti found a way to combine their work and created a whole commercial line of giclee prints.

Two Can Art is the name of this line of unique art. Noah creates textures with paints, then Pattie scans his paintings into the computer. She then creates sketches where she inserts Noah’s painting into the images for the color in the finished products. The giclees are beautiful and have realistic subject matter from vegetables to surf boards and flip flops. Noah’s textures have influenced her art work. She has learned much from Noah and is working on getting a book published of Noah’s textures.

So here is a great example of looking beyond the standard perception to the beauty of the unknown. Instead of Noah living a life devoid of expression, he uses his joy in painting to manifest the hidden beauty of his soul. Working with his mother’s creativity, they together have a unique way to express themselves. Be sure to check out their website.

Click here for Two Can Art

8x 10 cabanassm

The Art and Philanthropy of Erik Abel

The beginning of each New Year is a time I use to reflect and look forward. Have I completed all I intended to? What is my intention for the New Year? While contemplating, I read a blog by local artist, Erik Abel who is using the New Year to challenge himself to push his work into “uncharted territories” to see where it goes. In his blog he says he’s been reviewing his sketchbooks and journals and can see things he would love to pursue but hasn’t because of his fear that doing so would be bad for his career. Wow–

Erik Abel’s love of creating art and surfing has led him on a lifetime of adventure. Born and raised in Ventura, he has been exposed to the ocean his whole life. His unique talent to translate his passion to his design has led to unique projects such as doing prints on wood or designing surf related IPhone covers. To Erik “art and water have been his two favorite things.”

Erik has traveled extensively in the South Pacific and around the world where the surfing is beautiful and challenging. From this perspective, he has created plethora of art ranging from prints to surf boards. There are two things I like best about Erik. First is his commitment to the environment. Then I admire his commitment to giving back.

As far as the environment, Erik does things like print on Forest Stewardship Council certified birch plywood which is sourced sustainably by a company who also gives back by donating to the Plant a Billion Trees charity with every order. He’s even been experimenting with a sand-bucket evaporation system to keep his paint out of drain water. I love his awareness that taking care of our environment keeps it beautiful for all to enjoy.

In an age where giving back is becoming part of successful business practices, Erik has fully embraced that philosophy by donating a percentage of all the art he sells to a water related charity. The non-profits he contributes to are Heal the Bay, Surfaid, Surfrider Foundation, Save the Waves, and most recently, Waves for Water where Erik created a series of prints on wood where a portion of the proceeds from every sale goes to providing clean water to victims of the recent Super Storm Sandy. By his contributions, he enables his patrons to also be contributing to these causes. This type of marketing creates a flow of support and awareness of philanthropy to for his community of Ventura and further for the environment in general.

Read more about Erik, see pictures of his work, and learn about his causes at http://www.abelarts.com/

I am inspired by Erik. My intention for this year is to create sculptures that challenge me and write things I haven’t taken the time to up until now. And I will be even more generous in giving back to my community. Now what are you going to do this year?


The Art of Frank Bauer’s Ceramic Mural

Soaring Voices: The Art of Japanese Women Ceramists

The Art of Emily Thiroux Threatt

The Art and Spirit of Tom Faught

We just returned from a beautiful visit to Maui. My husband Ron lived there 30 years ago and still has friends there we visit when we go. This time we had the opportunity to see Tom Faught, an impressive ceramic artist. I had been wanting to meet him since I love the two pieces of his we have in our home. His work is unique and large.

Tom started doing ceramic art as a boy and sold commissioned works he created to put himself through college. He has had his studio and foundry in Maui for over 30 years near the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center and has created many large works of art and sculptures which can be found through out Maui. I especially loved one large vessel taller than I am and bigger than I could put my arms around.

We are so grateful to have had this opportunity to visit with Tom as he is now dealing with his mortality and pending transition. He has been dealing with cancer for awhile now, and he touched us deeply with his positive beautiful attitude.

Tom’s large studio is situated on a lovely piece of property surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. He has several small buildings on his compound which house other artists and his son, and he lives in one with his wife who he calls his angel. Tom is surrounded by friends and artists in a way that makes me think of tribal living. For example, when climbing down from the loft where he slept became to difficult for him, his people came together to build an addition to his home to make his life more comfortable.

The joy Tom radiates as he talks of his life while being an excellent host was an inspiration to me to live my days fully and to appreciate each moment. He exudes appreciation for a life well spent with his angel wife, his family, and his friends while having the opportunity to create beautiful works of art for which he will be remembered for many years to come.

Thank you Tom for you art, your beauty, your joy, and the sweet spirit you shared with us.

You can learn more about Tom at his web site: www.tomfaught.com

The Art of the Great Wall of LA

My good friend Judy Lin wrote an article for UCLA Today: Faculty and Staff Notes that I am sure you will want to read about an amazing mural project in LA which was created by Judy Baca 40 years ago and has recently been restored.  Enjoy!


The Art of Compassion

Sometimes life can throw us a curve ball.  Things can be great, and then something unforeseen
can knock us off our feet.  My dear friend Skip Gardner just had this happen to him.  His wife
lost her job just when his work contract ended, his daughter started seventh grade, and he was
admitted to the hospital with respiratory failure. He is home on oxygen after a week in the
hospital.  So suddenly he is without income and his health is preventing him from getting a new
contract right now.  His wife is interviewing for jobs, but we all know what the economy is like
right now. Darla, his wife, is an artist, a painter.  So to help him and his family in this
desperate situation, I am hosting an online fundraiser.  Let’s see if we can all contribute a
little that we can put together to pay the rent and buy some food!  All you have to do is click
on this Donate link to make your contribution.  Any amount will help. The funds go directly to
Skip, and he and his family will be eternally grateful.

Thank you in advance for opening your heart.

Ken Kennell Page

To read the full article and see pointillist artist Ken Kennell’s work and videos click here.

The Heart and Soul of Rickie Byars Beckwith and her Music

Rickie Byars Beckwith bubbles over with joy, energy, and love. I was surrounded by her creativity at the Soul Sisters Retreat this weekend in the Temescal Gateway Park in the mountains above Malibu. Rickie has combined all her talents into her most recent artistic endeavor which I just have to share with you!

Rickie just released her book, “Let My Soul Surrender” which is full of her expression. In Rickie’s words: “I want you to know how Art emerges from me. I want to continue to tell my stories – in my own voice and in my distinct way. I want you to know how music lives and breathes through this soul of mine.”

She has created a wonderful inspiration for us by working with her family and friends to create a book and CD that is a synthesis of music, paintings, illustrations, and photographs bringing her stories to life. And she takes the time to give full credit to everyone involved from her son-in law, or son-in-love as they say in her family, Dudley “Declaime” Perkins who did the paintings included in the book. She also gives credit to the designers who created the beautiful wardrobe she wears in the photographs and to everyone who had anything to do with this creation.

One of the things I like best about the book is the loves that just flows through it, especially evidenced in her relationship with her husband. They are such great examples of a wonderful, loving relationship with each other and with their family, church, and community.

If you would like a copy of this wonderful book, just be one of the first three to sign up for my blog and request the book and I will mail you a copy. If you have already signed up for my blog, just send me an email that you want to be one of the first three. If you are not one of the first three, you can order it from her website.

Listen to an interview with Rickie on Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith’s radio show at the website for KPFK radio. Go to http://archive.kpfk.org/parchive/index.php and choose the archive for the July 29, 2011 show.

“In Culver City, California, Rickie is the Music and Arts Director of the Agape International Spiritual Center where she directs the 200-member Agape International Choir. Together with her husband, Rev. Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith, founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center [and one of the stars of the movie The Secret], their powerful partnership has resulted in a dynamic catalogue of songs that enable transformational healing through the power of music.” http://www.rickiebyarsbeckwith.com/bio

Ken Kennell

Linda Elder Sculptor

Art Heals

When Linda Elder was walking one day, the impact of the vehicle that hit her sent her flying into the next block. Her odyssey of recovery and discovery started at that point. With medical bills piling up, Linda and David, her husband, decided to start fresh by selling their house to pay the medical bills, then they used the money that was left to buy a piece of property where they would build their new home. Linda didn’t realize, however, that David really meant to build their home. The hammered each nail themselves which turned out to be the best rehabilitation from her accident Linda could ever have imagined.

The property Linda literally fell onto while walking on her crutches to help gain her strength back was a lot on Vista Del Mar Drive which was a Chumash Indian meeting ground which overlooks the ocean. Being sensitive to the heritage of the land, they named their house Chrystal Hawk because of the healing energy of crystals and the hawks that sit on the Monterey Pine tree on their property.

Because power tools and pain pills don’t mix, Linda learned to deal with her pain while learning leverage to lift heavy wooden beams. She was able to concentrate on the beautiful Bas relief sculpting she did around the doors and windows. The Interior Design program at the University of California at Santa Barbara was so impressed with her work that they hired her to teach Bas relief for them for 9 nine years.
The house is full of Linda and David’s amazing sculptures including some you can see from the 101 freeway close to San Jon Road. Look up on the cliffs to see a Native American warrior overlooking the freeway/ocean. Their home contains two big art studios. At the front of the home stands a giant totem reflecting the story of the home from the Chumash petroglyphs at the bottom, to the flowers grown on the property, to the cornucopia of fruits and vegetable which can be found there to the dolphin of Chumash legends, to the Chumash woman giving thanks, to the hawk on the top. Spectacular!

Linda spends her time now teaching 1000 children how to do sculpture through the Boys and Girls clubs. She goes into the schools to teach children how to sculpt their own pieces using materials they can easily find. She wants the children to be independent with their art not needing anyone but themselves to explore their creativity. Concerned about the mounting cuts to arts in education, this is Linda’s way of giving back. She also teaches sculpture to anyone interested from beginners to advanced at the studio at her home on Fridays. Read more at their web site.

The Heart of G. Ramon Byrne’s Sculpture

The first public showing of stone sculptor G. Ramon Byrne’s life size musical instruments opens at the Museum of Ventura County on Friday, May 6. The Composed In Stone exhibition highlights Byrne’s suite of eight instruments, conceived and carved over the past five years and only recently completed. The exhibition continues through June 26.
G. Ramon Byrne
Byrnes’ silent symphony reflects his passion to transform hard surface into shapes that speak of sound and touch. A third generation stone mason and artist, Byrne works out of Ventura’s famed Art City, where he has made his artistic home since 2005. Ramon’s work is installed in public and private locations throughout California, and in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Each sculpture is created with hand tools, only. No power tools. This means hundreds of hours of work, eight to fifteen hours almost every day. The string bass which is the centerpiece of his musical suite has taken over 600 hours. He knew what the bass would look like when he imagined her three years ago. He knew her face was enigmatic and he saw a woman at a Green Art People event with the face he imagined, so he has been working with this woman as a model, a wonderful experience for both of them. He is finishing this piece just in time for this show.

His vision of this musical suite is to launch his career as a renowned artist, and to bring the exposure and patronage he needs to continue his evolution as an artist. His mission is to garner attention to further his career. His passion glows through his work making stone come to life. You can almost feel the heat radiating from his sculpture of Jimmy Hendrix’s flaming Stratocaster guitar.

Byrne began sculpting in the 1970s as an apprentice to Big Sur’s renowned wood sculptor Edmond Kara, and moved quickly into stone carving. He has worked as an instructor and demonstrator for the annual Sculptors Symposium at Camp Ocean Pines, Cambria, California, has facilitated stone sculpting workshops at the Esalan Institute in Big Sur, and teaches privately. He is also an active member of The Artist’s Union Gallery in Ventura.

The Museum of Ventura County is located at 100 East Main Street in downtown Ventura. Hours are 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $4 adults, $3 seniors, $1 children 6-17, members and children under 6 are free.


Tony Bennett and the Arts

I recently learned about a project that singer Tony Bennett & Susan Benedetto created in New York called “Exploring the Arts: Transforming the Lives of Young People Through Arts Education.” This program started from a high school they created in New York City. “The founding of Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, a New York City high school where students pursue an equally rigorous arts and academic curriculum. It was very important to us that this be a public school, accessible to all children, regardless of their need or background, and it is with great joy that we have watched the school’s students achieve at such extraordinary levels since the school first opened in 2001.”

Their success with this project led them to create Exploring the Arts where they can serve many more students. You can read more about this project at http://www.exploringthearts.org/
I believe supporting education in the arts is vital to the health of our nation. Art is a part of everything in our lives from the music on the radio, the painting on the walls, the architecture of our buildings, the movies we see, and just about everything we look at. In these days where arts programs have been and continue to be drastically cut in public education, it is vital that we all find ways to be sure that we all have access to art and art education.
Be creative. Find a way today that you can contribute to the growth of art. It can be as simple as contributing to a project like Exploring the Arts, or buying a ticket to a local Arts Council fund raiser, to attending a high school play or concert. Please just do something!

Each day, look around you and be grateful for the art you see. Art so greatly enhances our lives.

The Hearts of Artists

Ventura: City of Art

Get ready, Ventura! An amazing opportunity is coming up for artists and patrons of the arts. Sylvia White, who recently won the Ventura Mayor’s award for Creative Entrepreneur,
is the owner of the prestigious Sylvia White Gallery and the consulting firm, Contemporary Artists Services. Described as an “artist guru, creative business leader and social network creator,” Sylvia has worked with hundreds of artists both locally and around the globe. Now she is using her creativity to come up with a new project for Ventura.

Through pure serendipity, Sylvia had the opportunity to meet the man who owns the block on Main Street across from the mission and close to the museum. In their conversation, Sylvia said that what that location could really use is art. A current popular trend in art cities like New York is to rent wall space to artists. Because artists aren’t in shows all the time and trying to find stores who want to sell the work of artists is difficult, and frequently not fruitful, artists are thrilled to have a place where they know they can get their art seen. Then people who want to purchase art can have a place to go where they can find a range of new works. Using this concept, Sylvia suggested that they use one of the empty stores as a gallery when artists could rent space to be seen. Thus, Arts on Main was created at 242 East Main Street in downtown Ventura. This experiment will run through at least this December.

Now it gets more exciting. With a 5,000 square feet building two doors down from Arts on Main at 242 Main Street, Sylvia suggested the idea of creating a combination space of artist’s studios, a gallery with regular shows, and wall space for artists to rent wall space. The concept is somewhat like Bell Arts which is right around the Corner on Ventura Avenue. Sylvia came up with the name for the space as MASS, Main Street Art Studio, because she sees it as an unedited place where any artist, in any medium, can create their own space to work. It suggested to me, art for the masses. This ideal location will bring art to everyone, an idea we don’t see often enough. The concept makes the art experience available to the public who walk through the area.

Arts on Main and MASS combined with the WAV, the museum, Bell Arts, and all the artists’ studios on Ventura Avenue to strengthen Ventura’s art district and make it a destination for tourists and local people alike. Sylvia is seeking artists to participate right now. This is an awesome opportunity to be part of the creation of a real artists’ co-op. Those who get on board from the beginning will be in on the planning and design of the space which could include anything from a photo lab to a kiln to a glass blowing area depending on the desires of the first artists to be involved. Contact Sylvia now at Sylvia@artadvice.com

The Art of Weaving Baskets

I am teaching coil basket weaving classes just in time for you to make lovely holiday gifts or decorations.  You can take a class on November 13 or December 11.  If you have taken a basket class from me before, you can come to this one for only$20! Sign up now!

The Art of the Calendar

Claudia True, one of the artists featured in The Heart of the Artist, has just released her third calendar which features her friends’ favorite recipes and her interpretation of the recipes in art! Her delightful whimsy in her paintings just makes you smile, so you know you’ll enjoy the food from the recipes!

I love this concept, and I love the idea of giving art for gifts. As the holiday season approaches, I’ll be sending more gift ideas. But for now, be sure to get your calendar before it is sold out!

The Art of Creativeity and Elizabeth Gilbert

I saw Eat, Pray, Love this weekend, and I am freshly inspired! I read the book a couple of years ago, and it greatly influenced my creative journey. I started forgiving myself, letting things that didn’t matter go, and smiling with my heart instead of my head. Maryanne, one of my fellow students in the ceramics class I am taking, was talking to me about the book and Elizabeth Gilbert and creativity and she referred me to this video. I just love it and I know you will too. Let me know what you think of it. Ala and Olé!

The Art of a Matress Factory

The Heart of the Artist
Breeze and Bell Arts Factory: Two Treasures

By Emily Thiroux
Ventura Breeze Vol. 3, No. 22 August 11-24, 2010

When I had decided to move to a new community, I knew I was looking for a place that supported the arts and had an active community of talented artists. On an early visit to Ventura, two things made me think that I had found home. First, I picked up a copy of Ventura Breeze and was delighted at the arts coverage. In so many communities, art is generally ignored in the newspapers so people in the community can’t really see what is out there. The Breeze shows you all kinds of options from openings to classes and performances.

The second thing I discovered was Bell Arts Factory at 432 North Ventura Avenue. The building is covered with striking olive green and orange murals in a flowing slightly psychedelic style that make it one of the most interesting looking buildings in town. Created in October 2004, this former mattress factory is the home to 27 artists’ studios, a gallery, VITA Art Center, Tea by the Sea tea room, and a wonderful arts education program. Amazing.

I go to Bell Arts most first Fridays and wander through to see what new is being created in the studios. I love to watch Regina Vorgang weave on her giant looms. Her studio is full of beautiful rugs and wall hangings. You can go into studios and see painters creating water colors, acrylic, and oil paintings. You will also see ceramists, fused and stained glass artists, and mixed media artists. They even have Anca Colbert who offers Art Advisory Services.

And a trip to Bell Arts is not complete without a visit to Tea by the Sea. Cindy Yoshitomi will pour you a cup of tea while she visits with you about the wonders of all sorts of teas from around the world—the art of drinking tea.

On Saturday August 21 from 3 to 10 PM, Bell Arts will be hosting Fandango, their big fifth anniversary bash. They are featuring food, drink, birthday cake and lots of music. You will be entertained by Fish Fry, The Sus Corez Trez, Rooster Ra, Francisco de Leon, Donna Lynn Caskey, Zacamandu, and Emy Reynolds. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at http://bellartsfandango2010.eventbrite.com Proceeds go to support BAF (Bell Arts Factory) youth programs. BAF believes that “all children need safe, creative environments in which to build their spirit, skills, and potential. With the support of generous sponsors, Bell Art’s Factory is providing just such an environment in its multicultural sfterschool and Saturday programs for children, youth, and families. Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.”

So stop by Bell Arts on a First Friday after 6 PM or come to their big birthday bash. I know you’ll love this place as much as I do. And you can follow them on Facebook.

I hope you’ll introduce me to artists you want to learn more about. Contact me through Facebook at The Heart of the Artist. Or email me at emily@theheartoftheartist. And I hope that you’ll read my blog and support the artists I feature. http://www.theheartoftheartist.com/category/Blog/

Art Education and Alanis Morissette

Arts education is incredibly important for the youth of today, and they have less and less access to it through tradtional education.  I am impressed with the efforts of Michale Beckwith’s Agape church in Los Angeles to not only provide access to arts education but to actively seek scholarships for this opportunity.  And I am impressed that Alanis Morissette is giving a concert at Agape to raise funds for these scholarships.  She really understands the importance of giving back.  Watch her YouTube video about this.

The Art of John White

I received the following message from Sylvia White and just had to pass it on.  John is such a cool artist and delightful man, and I think this is a great way to support him and the arts! Let me know what you think.


“Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to announce we have confirmed plans for a major retrospective exhibition curated by Betty Ann Brown, Ph.d. Lifelines: John M. White, will be on view at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, March 27 through June 5, 2011.  The exhibition will be presenting a major survey  of John’s Performances, Installations, Sculptures, Paintings and Drawings from the last 40 years.  Additionally,  John will be included in three other important exhibitions next year.  California Art in the Age of Pluralism: 1974-81, curated by Paul Schimmel will be opening at MOCA, Los Angeles in fall 2011,  Andrew Shire Gallery will be showing new work in an exhibition curated by Peter Frank in September 2010, and 1969-1973 Project,at Pomona College Museum of Art, which will document the importance of John’s early performance work. This show will be accompanied by a catalog with essay by David Pagel.

White has made a significant contribution to California art for more than four decades. An innovative and highly respected performance artist, accomplished painter, sculptor, and inspirational teacher, White has exhibited consistently to overwhelmingly positive reviews. In spite of his remarkable accomplishments, White’s groundbreaking oeuvre is not nearly as well known as that of many of his contemporaries. This retrospective exhibition seeks to locate White’s work in the place of prominence it deserves.

We are seeking donations to support a significant catalog to be produced in conjunction with the exhibition.  Donations of any size will be graciously accepted and all contributors will be invited to a special preview reception.  For your convenience, you may use the Paypal link to pre purchase a signed catalog  by making a minimum contribution of $25 or more.

Armory Center for the Arts, is a 501 c (3) non-profit arts institution and as such, all donations made directly to them are fully tax deductible.  In addition, John has generously offered to contribute a piece of art to everyone who makes a major donation. This is a remarkable opportunity to collect some of John’s art while making a tax deductible contribution to an important not-for-profit arts organization. Those who donate $500 will receive a signed print from John’s whimsical Mindfield series. For each $1,500 contribution, donors will receive a painting from fascinating Deep Seascapes series. Donors of $5000 or more will be able to chose from the colorful and engaging Artifishial Hatch series. For donations of $500.00 and above, please contact Sinéad Finnerty-Pyne (sfinnertypyne@armoryarts.org) at the Armory directly, 626.792.5101 ext 116. As soon as your donation is received, you will be able to meet with John at his studio in Ventura and select your work.  You may also visit his website to preview available work, www.johnmwhite.com.

Thank you so much. With your help, we can make the retrospective catalog of John White’s important work a reality.


Sylvia White

New Ways to Support Art

We all know that the support for art is changing, and artists and patrons alike are searching for the most appropriate way to sell and buy art. Lately I have been seeing innovative thinking along these lines. I’ll share 4 examples with you.

1. An artist I know, John Wells, was accepted into the School for Visual Arts professional summer residency program for painting and mixed media. That was great news for him, but it was expensive so he came up with the concept giving a drawing he would do for anyone who would send him at least $20 toward his goal. It’s going to take him a while to do all those drawings, but he gets to do his internship! You can find John on Facebook.

2. James Pryor, an old friend from The Melodrama in Bakersfield, always wanted to create a theatre company. Well, now he is doing just that with SNP Entertainment in Portland Oregon. He has asked for a little help from his friends and accepts contributions to make his dream come true. You can find James on Facebook, learn his story, and give him some help.

3. Justin Gordon, and actor friend of mine, wants to create a new style horror film where the horror comes from character development instead of gore. With FallBack Plan Productions, he created an awesome website to get pledges to back the film, and he offers fun incentives for your contributions ranging from being listed in a special thanks section of closing credits up to co-producer credit for a large donation. Check out their site at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fallbackplan/absentia-a-new-vision-of-horror-from-mike-flanagan-0 Their deadline is coming up fast, so check him out!

4. Ben Dowling, master pianist and composer known from his work at Michael Beckwith’s Agape Church in Los Angeles, has come up with the ultimate way to support his work. He’s giving it away. In Ben’s words: “Firstly, I’ve decided that the proper response to apparent scarcity is generosity. So, I’m going whole-hog and giving my music to you all. I’m “paying forward.” When you visit bendowling.com you will be able to download almost all of my music for free. In the end, I decided that it was more important to share the music and have it heard, than protecting it, defending it and leveraging it. That just felt so contrary to the creative flow. And if it ever was a valid model, it certainly isn’t anymore.” How awesome is that! Check out his website at bendowling.com, listen to his music, and send him some love!

So my message here is that there are many ways to support the arts and artists, and to get support for your art. Just broaden your thinking, get creative, and do something! Then let me know what you did so I can share your story, too!

There are a few reservations left for the Ventura/Ojai Art Tour for June 4-6. Go to http://www.theheartoftheartist.com/art-tours/ to sign up. See you there!

Mini Art Tour

Though the deadline has passed for the reservations for the Ventura/Ojai Art Tour, we still have a few spaces available.  If you are thinking about coming, sign up today at http://www.theheartoftheartist.com/art-tours/ or call 661-428-3610.

This week’s mini-tour for the upcoming Ventura/Ojai Art Tour will introduce you to Frank Massarella, ceramicist and owner of Firehouse Pottery and Gallery in Ojai.  Frank started with clay in high school and has loved it ever since.  He has transformed an historic firehouse into a studio and gallery in Ojai where he creates his beautiful, unusual, functional pottery and teaches others ceramics skills in his world class school.

“I love to manipulate the pot, to make a perfect form and then manipulate it,” he said. ‘Doing it year after year I learn how far you can take the clay. If you think you have the form down, just tweak it a little bit.’
Most of his pieces can be identified by a swirl in the center. ‘You see the swirl throughout nature,’ Massarella said. ‘It has a kinetic appearance so I started doing it. I moved it onto the surface of the pot and made it more abstract. It’s constantly evolved, it’s endless. I like to enrich the surface with decoration and glazes.’
He often uses a technique called slip trailing, where he runs a line of soft, liquid clay on the outside of the piece, giving it an extra dimension. ‘I started to do that as a separation of color,’ he said. ‘It just evolves. When you do 200 to 300 pieces a week you do a lot of experiments.” His experimentation includes new glaze combinations or formulations. ‘That is what keeps the passion alive for me,’ he said. ‘If I had to do the same thing every week I don’t think I could do it. Every week when I open that kiln it’s still like Christmas.’” Quoted from an article by Nicole D’Amore, Correspondent Special to The Ventura County Star.

Sign up today for the Ventura/Ojai Art Tour at http://www.theheartoftheartist.com/art-tours/ Where you can also learn more about Frank and the other Artists and Venues on the tour. Send any questions to emily@theheartoftheartist.com

Earthsong Design Studio

Sandy Wolk does ceramic sculpture that can take your breath away. Her Ojai, California studio and sculpture garden offer a respite of beauty and peace. Sandy’s statement on her website allows you to see her creative spirit:
“ Art is a language that speaks to the soul. Through symbols, images and moods a work of art takes the viewer on a sacred journey, and ultimately toward their own Divine nature.

Art speaks to the unlived energy within us, to old buried wounds, and to the emergence of new energies. Art becomes for us a vehicle for healing… and a means by which we come home to ourselves.

Art is a song that sings us home… it has the capacity to touch those precious parts of our being which have been denied into the shadows of our awareness. For as we bring those buried aspects of ourselves into the light of consciousness there in lies the potential for transformation, for healing, and for connecting to our souls truth.

My gifts as a healer and a visionary allow me the ability bring forth art for the soul and spirit; to serve individuals in their journey toward wholeness and to serve the collective through embracing and expressing the reemerging energies of the sacred feminine.

It is my honor and delight to bring forward these artistic visions.

It is my hope that they offer light and healing into the world, and serve as blessing to those whom are drawn to them.” Earthsong Sculpture

Watch this slide show to see some of Sandy’s beautiful work.


More About the WAV

I am just fascinated by the WAV! We went to the grand opening last weekend and were blown away by the energy and talent there. The entire concept is commendable and should be replicated across the country.

And the good news is, the WAV is one of the first stops on our Ventura/Ojai Art Tour June 4-6. We are having an amazing time preparing for this tour, and each week I will post a virtual mini-tour of some of the fun and fabulous experiences you will have. From my conversations with the artists and my visits to the venues, I know this will be an event you will cherish forever!

I am excited and a little goose-bumpy as just one of the places we will visit Friday night in Ventura is the WAV, the Working Artists in Ventura housing project. You will be one of the first people to visit the first financially and environmentally sustainable arts community in the world. At the Grand Opening of the WAV we were wowed by this amazing 59 million dollar project that was built on land donated by the City of Ventura on the site where the first Ventura Native American Chumash artist lived and created. Fifty-four units have been especially designed for working artists to live with their families where they can have studio and gallery space right where they live. Another fifteen units have been set aside to serve the needs of transitional families coming out of homelessness or aging out of the foster care system. In addition, there are thirteen penthouse units, available for purchase, which include ocean and mountain views from their rooftop decks where a hybrid car is included with purchase! The complex also includes a theatre/gallery and commercial spaces.

You will have the opportunity to meet the artists and see and experience their works. The WAV houses artists of every kind – painters, sculptors, dancers, poets, musicians, filmmakers and more.

Chris Velasco, Director of PLACE (Projects Linking Art, Community & Environment, www.placeonline.us), said at the opening ceremonies of the WAV, “What you will see are people living, working, creating, and interrelating. And the effect of all that exuberant collaboration is something to see. In fact, it can be transformational. Be prepared to be inspired.”

You can’t help but be touched by the stories of the people who live in the WAV. The creative energy is palpable in the air. Come experience this special place and see what a community working together can do. Sign up now at http://www.theheartoftheartist.com/art-tours/ or call 661-428-3610. You won’t want to miss this unforgettable experience where the visit to the WAV is just of many events you will savor.

I strongly recommend that you sign up as soon as possible as this tour will be limited to no more than 25 individuals. Also be sure to sign up for The Heart of the Artist Blog by clicking on the link to your left which gives you a $25 discount on the tour! And please forward this information to all your friends that you know would love this experience!

Art Tours

In researching artists for The Heart of the Artist web page, I have been meeting exciting, talented artists.  Getting to know them and chatting about their inspirations has been a wonderful experience.  In order to share this with the fans of The Heart of the Artist, I came up with the concept of hosting art tours, and our first tour will be June 4, 5, and 6.  We’ll tour the WAV, Working Artists in Ventura, project that I blogged about a few weeks ago, and we’ll meet Teal Rowe, the glass artist I blogged about.  In addition, we’ll visit the Bell Arts Factory complex of studios and galleries, we will visit Stoneworks Studios, Firehouse Galleries, and visit the studios of artist/photographer Valerie Lewis and sculptor Sandy Wolk. And there will be more opportunities in store!

I hope you will consider joining us for this tour.  You can sign up at http://www.theheartoftheartist.com/art-tours/


We are also planning future tours in Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz.  If you know artists there you’d like us to contact, please let us know.  And let us know of other places you would like us to lead tours to!  This will be an exciting venture for all involved, and we look forward to your pariticpation.

Be sure to sign up for this blog by entering your email in the Newsletter sign up box in the column on your left.  And let me know of topics you’d like me to address or artists or mediums you’d like me to research.  This blog is for you!

The Art of the Garden

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I had a wonderful experience yesterday.  Our new neighbor is a landscape contractor, and he took us to his grower east of Ventura to find plants for the garden in out new home.  Do Right’s is a beautiful, big grower nestled between the hills in the Santa Paula valley.  Row upon row of green houses were filled with vibrant plants and flowers in all stages of development.  We picked out some lush ground cover, a variety of coleus, several hibiscus, Gerbera daisies, and begonias.

We are in the process of planting them all, making our garden serene and Zen like.  I was struck at the growers with the intensity of the color palate ranging from deep purples, to bright yellows.  I was amazed with the variety of the different shades of red!  Planting in the garden is like painting with a living medium.  What a joy!

Take time today to look at nature.  See how many shades of green you can identify. Notice how we may think of leaves as green, but they may also have yellow, red, orange, and brown. And notice how all the colors work together beautifully to create the vital art which surrounds us.

Sign up early for the Ventura/Ojai art tour that The Heart of the Artist is hosting.  Enrollment is limited, and you won’t want to miss this!

Subscribe to our newsletter by entering your email in the space on your left.

Working Artists in Ventura

Friday evening we had the opportunity to explore the WAV project in Ventura, California,  as part of the First Fridays celebration of the arts held in the community each month.  The WAV, which stands for Working Artists in Ventura, is a fifty-nine million dollar project which just opened in December of 2009.  Located in the heart of Ventura’s cultural district, he space provides affordable housing available for over 100 artists of every kind. There is also high income housing incorporated into the design, though not open yet, there is also space included for commercial business related to the arts. The building is LEED certified as a green project using environmentally friendly recycled building materials, energy from the sun, and water and energy conservation.

Touring the project, we met painters, ceramicists, print makers, musicians, and jewelry makers.  Many of the artists had their studio/homes open for the public to visit.  On the ground floor, many of the studios had roll-up garage type door, opening their spaces wide to the outside, and all the other units had tall, wide sliding glass doors. Located only blocks from the beach, and with year round lovely weather, this provides the perfect design for the open, artistic community being developed.

Talking to the artists, the overwhelming sentiment was gratitude.  The spaces with high ceilings, concrete floors and modern, small kitchens are a blessing to those who frequently struggle to live by means of their art and have need a space to be creative.

The WAV project is a great model for other communities.  The creative energy there brings culture and beauty to the visitors and residents of the community while providing support to such an essential element of our society.

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The Art of Blowing Glass

I love when I find an artist who does truly unique work.  I’ve never imagined a glass dress that can actually be worn!  Teal Rowe, whose studio is in Ojai, California, takes glass blowing to a whole new creative level.  Inspired by a wearable art competition, she has created amazing glass garments.  And I adore her glass paint brushes.  Light, color, beauty, and energy just flow from an ordinary wooden paint brush handle. 

You’ll enjoy watching her videos by clicking here.

Teal Rowe

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Art and Apps

Who knew just a few years ago that a camera would be in every phone, and that now we can take movies on our phone and send them instantly to our Facebook or Tweet them to our friends!  I just downloaded a free app onto my I-Phone that makes movies with good sound and lets you zoom!  But as with all things free, you get what you pay for. The zooms are pixilated, and to do anything with your file, you have to upgrade to the version that costs money. I was going to include a little clip here of my friend Bambi Poindexter painting. But, since the app was free, no upload! She’s beautiful, but I didn’t think to talk to her while she was painting, so I missed that sound element. 

What does all this mean to artists?  As with everything, the attitudes of the world are shifting.  In the past, you would have to go to see an artist painting in a studio or at a location where the artist could see an inspiration.  Now an artist can take a picture of what that inspiration is and paint from that picture.  And the consumer is less satisfied with a static picture.  They want the sound, the close up, the movement. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to film artists in action and share their thoughts with you.  Rapidly evolving technology allows this gift.  And I am also grateful to gaze at a beautiful painting, see a different take on the world through the eyes of an artist.  I encourage you to take a moment, take a breath, and enjoy just a peak into the eyes, mind, and heart of an artist.

Adopt an Artist

I have always been fascinated by the process of creating art.  In college, I had the opportunity to have a studio for my clothing design in downtown San Diego in the second floor of a very old building on 5th.  The studio was in what had been office spaces at the turn of the century, all with windows facing out to the center.  Each space was occupied by an artist, and I could walk by and see them paint with various mediums, sculpt, and do ceramics. I think that’s when I got hooked on watching the creative process.

Years later, when I founded the Spotlight Theatre and School of Arts in Bakersfield, we created a non-profit foundation to provide scholarships so that any student who wanted to study there could.  Foundations, of course, require funds, so I created a fund raiser called Les Femmes Artists.  This wonderful event featured a reception with women artists selling their art, gourmet goodies to eat, and the opportunity for the crowd to mingle with the artists.  Then, the crowd would enter the theatre to be entertained by a variety of women performing artists with talents ranging from opera to Celtic music, from poetry to Shakespeare, from viola to hip-hop.

At these functions, I loved to make friends with the artists.  Some of those relationships I still treasure and their inspiration led me to create this web site.  I visited the studio of Betty Finch, an incredibly talented gourd artist who grows her own gourds and creates amazing assemblages of them.   I hope to feature her on this site.  And I visited Rose Rabinov who does beautiful work with fused and stained glass.  Rose invited me to her studio where I watched her work.  While I was there, she cut a round circle of plain glass and encouraged me to pile scraps of glass she had left into a pattern that she then fused for me in a kiln, then fired it again in a drop mold to create a bowl.  I was amazed!

I’ve learned to ask artists, “Can I watch you?”  This has led to inspiration and breathtaking experiences.  So, next time you talk to an artist, ask if you can watch them work.  You’ll be amazed!  Then be sure to buy some of their work, too!

fused bowl

The Fear of Art

“Fear of Art” you say? Yeah … 

Most of us fear art in some way. If you are an artist, your fear may be “My work isn’t good enough to sell,” or ” My art sales won’t pay the rent,” or I don’t have enough pieces to drat marketing.”  If you are a collector, your fear may be “How could I know what the ‘right’ piece is to purchase,” “How do I know that I am making a wise ivestment,” or “How can I decide what is meaninful or beautiful to me?”

Now is the time to let all that go! Create what comes forth from your artistic heart. Purchase the art works that feed you, inspire you, or speak to your heart.

Creating and collecting art is all about your heart. What makes you feel, love, or be inspired. Don’t buy or create based on what you think someone else will react to. Do what moves you and you’ll never be wrong.

Olease sign up to receive my blog every week by clicking on the Newsletter sign up link.  Thanks for your support!

The Creativity Factor and Art Pricing

An artist friend of mine has been accumulating a body of her work and has realized that she wants to market it, yet her biggest challenge is deciding what to charge. Up to this point she had only given her art away.

While altruistic, only gifting one’s work will establish it’s value … At zero–

But she was able to start charging for her paintings, and after selling some pieces, she was beginning to feel confident in her pricing. Then a friend told how much she loved a certain painting, that she just had to have it, and she offered to pay less than half of what the artist was charging. The artist was shocked. The next day, her friend called to say she had reconsidered her offer– and offered her less! So the artist temporarily took that piece off the market.

My first reaction to this conversation was “Never give your art away!” 

But I know this isn’t realistic. I do give my art to my friends.

Really, though, how can you decide the worth of art? I know some artists who use complicated formulas including cost of materials and hours spent creating, and the artist usually ends up making less than minimum wage. These formulas don’t consider the creativity factor. That factor is a feeling that is individual for each artist, the wow effect.

My solution is to look around you. What are people paying for comparable work? What do you feel is a fair price? Then charge or pay more than the price you come up with. Money is meant to flow, and artists should thrive. Sell or pay for a price that makes you feel good.

There is no formula to compensate for the creativity factor. 

Ultimately the right price for art is what people will pay.

Please sign up to receive The Heart of the Artist Blog by clicking on the Newsletter Sign-Up link at www.theheartoftheartist.com

Art that speaks to you

Speaking is usually thought of as audible words, but we hear ever so much more than words.  When you enter someone’s home and the walls are bare, they send you a message.  Other times you’ll enter a home where the art displayed speaks of love, warmth, and comfort, or maybe beauty, passion, and vibrancy.  The art can also express angst or despair. 

When you enter a gallery, a shop, or website that features artwork, be still and listen to what the works express.  I recently purchased a piece of art as a gift for a friend because when I saw it, it spoke to me and I knew how much she’d love it.  She told me that she not only loves it, but her children are discussing who will inherit it!  What I purchased was a glass paintbrush created by Teal Rowe who will be the next artist featured on TheHeartoftheArtist.com website in about a week.

Blue Glass Paint Brush by Teal Rowe view 2

So when you go to purchase a work of art, let the artwork itself guide you in your decision! 

I am always looking for new artists to feature, so if you would like to be featured or know someone who would, please send them to http://www.theheartoftheartist.com/sell-your-art/

The Art of Gratitude

As this new year begins, instead of making a list of resolutions that seem so similar year after year, I decided to make a list of what I am grateful for. I have discovered that focusing on all that is positive in my life keeps my spirits up.

This year I am especially grateful for the artists I am becoming acquainted with. Exploring their creative processes and delving into the wonder of their creations, I have discovered new depths of beauty and expression.

My gratitude list has allowed me to discover what means the most to me. Relationships are right at the top of my list: my family, my friends. Also high on my list are my senses which allow me to see color and light, feel warmth and texture, hear music and voices, smell flowers and bread baking, and taste chocolate and champagne.

I appreciate all the art that surrounds me, from the hand blown glasses I drink from to the paintings done by my artist friends.

I encourage you to make a gratitude list. Include the arts that bring you pleasure. Explore what makes you smile, then smile every day this year!

The Art of Giving

‘Tis the time of the season when we are rushing for last minute gifts.

Consider the gift of art. In the age of gift cards, the concept of a personal, unique gift is appealing for giving and receiving. A work of art that hangs on a wall, sits on a desk or coffee table, or sits in a garden serves as a constant reminder of the loving thoughts of the giver. So when trying to come up with those last minute gifts, think art. Any kind of art.

You don’t have to spend lots of money. You can write a note on a pretty piece of paper and frame it for someone to keep on the desk as a constant reminder of your thoughts. Or you can make a collage of some of your special photographs. Or create a little video.

I love the gifts of art I have in my home. When someone comes to visit, I can point out a lovely bowl that a friend brought me from Romania, or point out paintings done by artists I know. Sharing that back story on piece of art is a great conversation starter!

Artists work all year to create the gifts of their art for the world, so this season, we can give back to the artists by purchasing their works.

The value of art can be calculated, while the gift of art can be priceless.

Have wonderful holidays!

Art Appreciation

Before the Roman Empire fell, support and appreciation for the arts fell. This has become a pattern throughout history.  As funding has been cut to schools, the programs that get cut first are in the arts.  We are currently living in a time when the recent generations have had little or no exposure to the arts in school, so appreciation and awareness of the arts is fading away.  Art museums and galleries are suffering from this shift in values of our culture.

The good news is — we don’t have to let this happen. There is so much you can do and enjoy. Take a watercolor class, learn to dance, or take a basket weaving class (really, basket weaving is fun and so creative!) Or go to an art opening, visit an art museum, or notice the public art in your community. Help a child do an art project.  Go to a live theatre performance, or go to a concert.  Enjoy!


Welcome to my blog.  I started The Heart of the Artist website out of a desire to explore what makes artists tick and to give exposure to artists I really like to help them sell their work.  So far in preparing for the launch of the site, I have been deeply inspired by passionate artists.  The common thread I have discovered is just that, passion.  I’ve always believed that I need to be passionate about anything I do or it’s just not worth wasting the time on.

So this site is a gift from my heart to share the creativity of gifted artists.  Every work of art has a story. Frequently there is a dis-connect when the artist offers up a creation for purchase, sort of like when a baby is given up for adoption.  The baby is beautiful and takes on a new life within his or her new family, but much history and ancestry is lost or forgotten. By getting to know the artist and their thoughts in creating their work, the work will evoke a richer sensation of appreciation.

Let’s celebrate the birth of this new venture. I hope you will read my blog every week as I explore issues related to the arts.  And I hope you’ll introduce me to artists you want to learn more about. And I hope that you’ll support the artists I feature.

Check out The HeartOfTheArtist.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

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