Category Archives: Featured Artist

Featured Artist – Julia Sutliff, Spring/Summer 2013

Julia Sutliff

Julia Sutliff creates oil paintings of nature near her home north of Baltimore, Maryland. She prefers to paint outside, “en plein air,” and in one session. This mode of working, she feels, gives her the courage and energy to take risks in her painting, and it enables her to capture color, composition, and depth perception as she experiences them. Also, the thrill of being in nature lifts her spirits, and since her paintings tend to mirror her mood, it helps to go where her mood is best. The natural world, she says (somewhat ruefully, for interior work would be more comfortable in winter), contains the only imagery that moves her to paint.

She is appreciated by collectors and fellow artists for her sense of color and her “flair for simplifying form and color in order to capture the essence of a scene.”

One notes that, “the energy in her brushstrokes takes me beyond Impressionism. It’s like Nature itself. Alive. So full of movement, always changing and evolving.”

Sutliff has been noticed for having “an eye for the underlying beauty of landscapes that most of us would overlook” and painting “places that are unspectacular, often in areas where development encroaches on nature.”

Gold Trees, 36"x28", oil on board

Gold Trees, 36″x28″, oil on board

Long Shadows, 16"x12", oil on board

Long Shadows, 16″x12″, oil on board

When viewing one of her paintings, says a collector,  “I feel I’m reaching into the heart of that scene and feeling its pulse, its heartbeat.”

Julia Sutliff received degrees in literature and teaching from Brown, the University of Maryland, and the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She has taken classes in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Sutliff has shown her work often in Maryland and nearby states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and North Carolina.

To see more of Julia Sutliff’s work visit

Rainy Path, oil on board

Rainy Path, oil on board

Carnival Hillside, oil on board

Carnival Hillside, oil on board

Featured Artist – David Hartung, Winter/Spring 2012

Photos and Text © by David Hartung

Six-month backpacking trip becomes life-long journey

David Hartung

David Hartung

For nearly 20 years I’ve been living and working in Asia. During this time my constant companion and magic ticket to enter into the lives of so many people has been my camera.

I was first introduced to Asia in 1985 when I set out to do what was planned to be a six-month backpacking trip. Those six months then got stretched out to what became four years. The trip took me to Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and South Korea. It was in South Korea where I decided to live for the next three and a half years.

The 80s were a turbulent time for South Korea in which the country was experiencing dramatic changes in their social and political system. At that time the country was governed by a military dictatorship, which, like most dictatorships, didn’t much appreciate dissent. However in the late ’80s activists and students took to the streets and held massive protests on an almost daily basis demanding an end to military rule and for the political system to be opened up to everyone.

Fearing the protests could disrupt the 1988 Summer Olympics or even cause the Olympics to be moved to a new host city, the military lead government gave in and opened up the 1987 presidential election to everyone.

Ruins of St. Paul’s

‘Ruins of St. Paul’s,’ a popular symbol of “old” Macau

Modern day Macau

Modern day Macau
















It was an extremely interesting and exciting time in South Korea. I could see the country changing right before my eyes and I did all I could to document visually these events. My days were spent photographing riots, election activities, candidates and later the Olympic games.

While in Korea, I met and married, and, and at the end of 1988 my wife and I returned to Southern California where I got a job with the Ventura County Star Free Press, and then later moved over to the Thousand Oaks News Chronicle. Working on daily paper was a great experience and taught me how to work and think quickly while on deadline.

Tibetan Buddhist monk

A Tibetan Buddhist monk walks through one of the fields surrounding the Songzanlin Monastery near the city of Shangrila, China. The three hundred year old monastery was built by the fifth Dalia Lama and houses several hundred monks.

However, after about five years I felt a strong desire to return to Asia. An opportunity presented itself when my wife, now working as a flight attendant for United Airlines, was offered a position at a new base they were opening in Taiwan.  With little hesitation we packed our bags and set out to begin a new life in a new country.

Taiwan, as it turned out, was not a popular place for foreign journalists or photographers to be based. This fact actually ended up working in my favor. Prior to going to Taiwan I made a trip to New York City to meet with photo editors to show them my portfolio.

With no introduction I would cold call these photo editors who worked for the biggest names in the business. The initial response to my introduction garnered no interest until I mentioned that I was based in Taipei, Taiwan. As soon as I mentioned this fact I was asked how long I was in town and when I could stop by the office for a chat.

It seems that finding competent photographers they could trust to carry out their assignments were difficult to find in Taiwan. Typically they would have to fly someone in from Hong Kong or elsewhere to do this work. With budgets shrinking they were relying on locally based photographers to do the work whenever possible.

That said, it was still difficult to get assignments from these editors. Being an unknown photographer made it risky for them to trust me with a big assignment. However after doing a few jobs for some international magazines my name was starting to get seen.

Yunnan Naxi Musician

Performance of ancient Naxi ethnic music at a theater in LiJiang, China. Many of the orchestra’s members are over 80 years old. They perform daily for visitors keeping this ancient form of music alive.

Bai Sha Village Elder

Portrait of a village elder in the courtyard of his home in a village called Bai Sha located near the city of Lijiang in China’s Yunnan Province.

My big break came when Newsweek asked me to shoot a cover and exclusive interview with the newly elected President of Taiwan named Lee Teng-hui.  This was the first, of what was has now become many, extremely stressful shoots in which I had only a few minutes to make a photo. His handlers told me that I would have three minutes to do the cover shoot.  I, of course, responded with confidence that it would be no problem.  While my outward appearance was that of a calm, confident photographer my inner self was battling a huge case of anxiety.


The plan was to first shoot the interview and then at the end shoot the portrait. I was nervous to say the least, and then to add to my stress level, my camera died as soon as President Lee walked into the room. Fortunately I had a second body with me and the rest of the shoot went smoothly. The portrait ended up on the cover with a huge headline saying, “Mr. Democracy”. This issue received a lot of attention around the region, which in turn, helped me to get more jobs.
We ended up living in Taiwan for nearly 10 years, and during that time I photographed a variety of topics. Tension between Taiwan and China meant there was constant flow of stories covering this topic. Taiwan was also a big industrial base for many high-tech companies so I was doing quite a lot of business and industrial photography as well. Additionally, I kept busy shooting feature and travel stories all over Asia for a variety of publications around the world.

In 2005 I decided to relocate my base to Shanghai, China. Much of the work that had been keeping me busy in Taiwan was eroding away with all the attention going to China. So, like any other migrant worker, I followed the work. Fortunately many of the clients that I established in Taiwan continued to hire me for their mainland assignments.  I kept busy doing much of the same sort of work I had been doing in Taiwan. Shanghai is a major business center in China so much of my work was for international business magazines such as Forbes and Businessweek.

Macau Steel Worker

The city of Macau, gaming capital of Asia, sprawls below a steel worker raising a new skyscraper.


While in Shanghai I was contacted by a friend who was starting his own magazine and he asked me to help him get it going.  The idea for the magazine was to cover an area of the Guangdong Province called the Pearl River Delta which is located on the southeastern side of China.

We did five issues of the magazine which was called Destination PRD. During this time we came to Macau, which is also in the Pearl River Delta, and quickly realized that the small city was growing and changing at a phenomenal rate.
We then decided to create a publication focused solely on Macau and called this publication Destination Macau. The new publication achieved some early success and proved to be a more viable publication than Destination PRD. We poured all our attention into Destination Macau until it drew the interest of a venture capital company that decided to buy into the publication. With this injection of cash I was asked to move to Macau and work fulltime for the publication.

APPT Tournament

Poker Stars’ APPT Tournament held at the Grand Lisboa, one of the many casinos in Macau.

Working for one publication was a lot of fun. In many ways it was a dream job. We covered a whole array of topics which included entertainment, dining, fashion, culture, cultural events and business. We had nice clean design where the photos were used big and I had a lot of freedom to do what I liked.

During this period of time Macau was growing quickly with the arrival of new mass-market gaming resorts. Several Las Vegas casinos, such as the MGM, Las Vegas Sands Corp., and Wynn, as well as other foreign and local operators, received licenses to open casinos in Macau, so they were all busy building their properties. All of these new resorts are large and impressive. Macau was becoming the adult playground for the Chinese.

There was so much happening and I was shooting so many images documenting this activity that I soon began thinking that a book could be created from this material. With that idea in my head I began to organize my work and even do some sample layouts. And then when I thought I had enough material I laid out an entire book and sent it off to Blurb, a publishing company that will print a single book. With this, I was able to begin showing the book around to gauge interest.
Fortunately the company that owns Destination Macau liked the project and agreed to print the book.  The book, called Macau-Work in Progress,  was released on Dec. 6, 2011 and is currently available in bookshops around Macau and Hong Kong, as well as on Amazon in the US.

Fringe Festival

The Macau government welcomes the art community by hosting the Fringe Festival. Here participants parade from the St. Paul’s Ruins to Senado Square.

I’m still based in Macau and have no immediate plans to relocate any time soon. My work with Destination Macau is not as involved as before, as I’m now pursuing other projects and freelance work. One of those projects is documenting life along what is known as the Ancient Tea Horse Trail located in China’s Yunnan Province. This trail was once an important trading route between Tibet and Southwestern China and on to neighboring countries such as Laos and Burma.
In addition to my photography work I’ve also been teaching photojournalism classes on a part-time basis to students at the United International College located in Zhuhai, China.
Life in Asia continues to be interesting to me, so as long as I can hold a camera I hope to keep working in this part of the world.

Macau, Work in Progress

Macau, Work in Progress



David Hartung recently published his first book of photographs, Macau: Work in Progress, with story by Anita Duffin, and commentary by José Luís De Sales Marques. Macau: Work in Progress is available through

While David captured Macau’s transformation with his lens and very talented eye, Anita documented the city’s rise in travel, gaming, lifestyle publications, and newspapers, reporting locally and internationally as a freelance journalist for more than seven years.

Living My Life with New Eyes

Angela Sharkey was an Oak Creek Printworks featured artist in the winter of 2009/2010.

This colorful image of Roman pines was printed and used as a bookmark.


I have been a professional artist for more than 20 years now and I have worked in both graphic design and the art industry and have found my true love in painting some 12 years ago. As an independent artist, I am constantly evolving with every changing landscape, pushing my boundaries whenever I can. My family and I move around the world quite often so I am constantly trying to find my place along the way in new and often unfamiliar cultures.

My home these days is sunny, ancient, noisy, and beautiful Rome, Italy. I visited this great city some 22 years ago as an artist living on a shoe string budget, and as many before me I was captivated by “la dolce vita.” Coming back to Italy to live has been a dream for me and I am determined to live life to the fullest. The French novelist Marcel Proust sums up my attitude in life quite well in his beautiful and poignant quote:

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

With all the difficulties of moving so often and adjusting to a new life I find it fascinating how altering my vision or having new eyes can affect what I see and how I feel. This way of seeing, in turn, ultimately affects those around me—hopefully in a positive way. As I look around I see so many lives moving in different directions; everyone’s eyes are capturing a different view, giving us all our own unique perception.

Roman-pine-over-bridgeAs an artist I like to approach my work when my vision is overloaded with colors and scenes and I need to translate everything onto the canvas. I am always looking deeper, certain there is more below the surface, hoping for more clarity. In my work as an artist and in everyday life I am very drawn to color, and my art is a great way for me to express this.

Whether I am in the Tuscan countryside counting the endless cypress trees that line the country roads, or studying the rolling hills dotted with Roman pines, I envision the colors I want to capture as I sketch and study nature. Gazing upon the magnificent architecture all around me I break the images down into simple forms and shapes putting color where it once was and bringing texture into the piece. Everywhere I look I am inspired by the beautiful Italian landscapes and architecture, which I then transpose to the canvas through my own vision.

Tuscany-landscape-2011Alongside my work as an artist I am currently working as an art curator for the Mel Sembler Gallery at the US Embassy in Rome. My job allows me to show my art once a year at the gallery while the remainder of the year I scout American or international artists, along with the curating team, for those interested in showing at the gallery. Every month we show a new artist’s work which includes sculpture, painting, photography, textile art, and mixed media. I have had the privilege to meet many talented individuals and enjoy sharing in their excitement as a distinguished artist showing at the US Embassy Mel Sembler Gallery. For some artists it is their first solo show and I am honored to help them show their work in the best light possible, giving them the exposure they deserve.

In the month of March we have a special show dedicated to children’s art. The children of embassy employees submit their work which is then displayed in the gallery much to the pride of the young artists and the admiration of the adults. It allows the children a sense of confidence and accomplishment that they are able to publicly display their works. I have always enjoyed children’s art as it is uninhibited and free. This March 2012 we will be happy to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Girl Scouts of America as the Scouts submit their artwork to our gallery for the children’s art show.

I have seen firsthand the Mel Sembler gallery is more than just a venue for showing art, but a real-world setting for joining Americans and the international community. Through our art we are bringing people together to share ideas and connect our lives and families. I believe we all have the possibility to see with new eyes, regardless of the landscapes we are navigating, and bring forth positive new visions for our world.

roman-pines-bookmarkAngela Sharkey
Roma 2011

Heaphy journeys the seasons in the upper Yukon River valley

Yukon River

Sun-bathed fall images exalt the upper Yukon River valley before yielding to the black and white grip of a six-month winter.


Brian Heaphy, Featured Artist

Brian Heaphy, Featured Artist

“I primarily shoot river scapes and, as such, I spend much of my summers camping along the Yukon River and its tributary streams.

This, of course, means that I am greatly skilled at swatting mosquitoes and sitting in the rain for hours while waiting for the sun to come out!  It has its moments indeed, but, I do treasure the experience.

I practice a very unique subsistence lifestyle here in the remote upper  Yukon River valley of interior Alaska. It takes me an hour to hike into the nearest tiny town in order to access satellite telephone and internet services.

As a “one-man-band,” getting ready for winter here is a full-time job.  Doing things the “old-fashioned way” takes time.  When temperatures plunge to minus 50,60, or 70° F with only two hours of daylight, a person really has to have their act together!

Yukon River

Refracted light creates tones of warming color as winter approaches the upper Yukon River valley. Uncommon and fleeting, such moments add striking contrast to the reality of the season.

I have been richly blessed with the skills, abilities, and opportunity to live as I do. As one might suspect, however, my success has come only at the cost of a great deal of sacrifice and a fair amount of self-imposed discomfort. Nonetheless, I consider those costs a very fair exchange for the personal growth which I have experienced along the way.  The unforeseen gift of a strong and growing personal faith has been the icing on the cake.

There are very few people left on this planet who live as I do. It is a very arduous routine but the pay-off comes in the form of increased discernment and “crystal vision.”  That is to say that a person quickly learns to differentiate between those things which matter and those which do not, as well as those things which one can live without and those which one cannot. It is extremely satisfying and purposeful to be able to live and move at the speed of creation.

Yukon River

Placid waters combine with the gentle sweep of the country to extend an irresistible invitation to pause and admire.


For someone who originally grew up in the northwest hills of New England, and who graduated from Annapolis with a degree in engineering, I could not have landed any farther from those beginnings!

I can honestly say however, that it has always been my heart’s desire to find a niche such as the one which I now treasure.  All of my previous pursuits and occupations have effectively combined to prepare me for the demands of my present circumstances.  Amazingly, it has all “added up!”

See “Creation Pictured at its Best,” photographer, Brian Heaphy’s upper Yukon River valley seasonal river scapes, at Eagle’s Eye Limited Prints and Images.

More about Brian Heaphy

Fall/Winter Featured Artist, Brian Heaphy

Brian Heaphy

Brian Heaphy

Former U.S. Navy S.E.A.L. Officer, Federal Officer, and Wilderness Guide, Brian Heaphy, now makes his home in Alaska’s remote upper Yukon River valley.  While practicing a subsistence lifestyle, he photographs Creation and writes about “Living on purpose at the speed of life.” TM

Brian grew up in northwest Connecticut and went on to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD with a degree in engineering.  After receiving his commission as a Naval Officer, he completed Basic Underwater Demolition / S.E.A.L. training and then made three consecutive deployments to the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia.


Koyuk, Brian Heaphy's pack dog.

As platoon commander, he led each of three S.E.A.L. platoons through the conduct of numerous Naval Special Warfare operations. While overseas, Brian’s childhood dreams of someday living a homestead lifestyle in the bush country of Alaska incubated far beyond his comfort level.  Happy to still be alive, and relatively uninjured upon completion of his obligated service, Brian resigned his commission and moved north to Alaska to begin work as a river guide.

Brian has since lived and worked in remote locations across the State of Alaska from the Bering Sea to the border of Canada’s Yukon Territory.  Included among these places which Brian often refers to as “the best of what’s left on the planet Earth,” are the Kenai River in the Kenai Wildlife Refuge, the Chulitna River in Lake Clark National Preserve, the Kanektok River in the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, and the upper Yukon River and its tributaries in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.

Brian Heaphy's home in the upper Yukon River valley

Brian Heaphy's home in the upper Yukon River valley

Only recently has Brian advanced his creative pastime of wilderness river scape photography to the professional business level.  For many years, he chose to share his images with others as gifts in the forms of hand-fashioned prints and greeting cards.

Along the way, however, comments and compliments from myriad friends, relatives, and associates caused him to consider the possibility of a formal career in photography.  The interest and prompting of several world-class artists and photographers finally convinced Brian to take the next step and begin taking pictures “for real.”

Split Chum Salmon

Split chum salmon drying for dog food.




Brian’s work is currently on display in prominent gift shops, fine art galleries, and museums across Alaska.

Brian Heaphy’s photography is also available for viewing and internet sales at: Eagle’s Eye Limited Prints and Images.


Experience the seasons with Brian Heaphy, Photographer in the upper Yukon River valley.

Photographers—Kayak Tanzania in 14 Days

Tanzania, wildebeest migrationSet for Feb 17th – Mar 2nd, 2012, Jansen Photographic Expeditions teams up with Infinite Kayak Adventures in an upcoming trip, specially designed to present the best photographic opportunities available. Two spirited and adventurous leaders, Mark and Holly Jansen, former Oak Creek Printworks Featured Artists, head the expedition.

The journey is timed to present locations affording a chance to witness not only the great wildebeest migration, but also their calving and the attendant opportunities this attracts. You’ll witness and record nature in the raw.

As well as wildlife, the vistas presented in this ancient and diverse terrain hold fantastic landscape photography potential. Capture the mystery and romance of Zanzibar, from the highly sculpted Zanzibar doors to the modern fish market. The colorful Maasai are also very photogenic.

Masai campfireHolly Higbee-Jansen, Jansen Photographic ExpeditionsOptional activities include guided kayaking in the sheltered mangrove inlets of historic Manza Bay near the Kenyan border. This is a rare photographic opportunity offering some of the closest bird encounters possible at water level. Here you’ll have access to places usually inaccessible. You’ll also have the chance to study traditional wooden sailing dhows, fishing villages and sunsets.

Mark and Holly Jansen, Jansen Photographic ExpeditionsYou’ll stay at high quality, reputable lodges throughout, chosen for their excellent locations and varied photographic possibilities. The Jansens’ photographic travel experience, coupled with their technical and artistic expertise, means you’ll be traveling and shooting with seasoned professional assistants. In addition, a knowledgeable American guide, Alan Feldstein, will accompany the group for the entire trip.

Find a detailed itinerary and pricing information at  Jansen Photographic Expeditions.

Featured Artist Pays for Mission Trip by Making and Selling Greeting Cards

Graydon McKoy holds "t-rex"Graydon McKoy is a nine-year-old boy finishing third grade, and is in his first year of home schooling. He lives with his parents on Wadmalaw Island in South Carolina, a very rural ­island with a farm rich history located in ­Charleston County. Graydon’s father, one of the few farmers left on the island, grew up ­farming with his father. Graydon’s mother has an advanced degree in biology but is now using her knowledge to home school the ­budding artist. With the background both of his parents have to offer, it is no surprise that Graydon loves the outdoors and every creature that inhabits it.

Since he was very little Graydon has loved books about nature and enjoyed taking walks to observe God’s creatures, no matter where, or how slimy they were.

In addition to searching for wildlife, ­Graydon cares for three horses, one German ­Shepherd and a cat, but what he really wants is a snake. His mother has not yet consented to that request, but they have spent the last three summers documenting the snakes they find on their farm. To date they have spotted over 13 species of snakes and look forward to ­participating in the annual springtime snake round-up that the local serpentarium conducts.


Graydon’s art began at the young age of four, and highlighted the favorites of all little boys: sharks, alligators, dinosaurs and snakes. Thanks to a great art teacher from first grade, his talent was cultivated and his horizons expanded with the love for animals remaining as the main theme in all of his work.

In a span of just three years, ­Graydon has developed quite a portfolio, which his mother has saved, and scanned onto computer discs. His talent was put to use this year when Graydon’s family decided to go on a mission trip with their church to Costa Rica. They did not have all of the ­funding needed to pay their way, so his mother had an idea to use Graydon’s art work as a fund raiser.

She took some of his pieces that had been scanned and then put them on her computer and converted them into note cards. The cards sold really well, and not only raised enough money to pay for all of them to go to Costa Rica, but, also raised enough to pay for a home school trip afterwards.

As a result of this success, ­Graydon now has his very own business and calls it “Graydon’s Critters”. He is working on two new series; one focusing on Charleston and one highlighting the fish served at a local seafood restaurant. He ­continues to practice with mediums such as chalk, watercolors and oil pastels, but is expanding to acrylics and looks forward to learning how to mat his own work.

To see Graydon’s portfolio, visit his website – You’ll also find Graydon’s Critters on Facebook.

marsh flounder

Could you be the next Featured Artist?

As we are about to transition to our next Featured Artist, we want to let you know that…Oak Creek Printworks is always searching for future Featured Artists!

At Oak Creek Printworks we assist artists in promoting and marketing themselves by providing packaging and displays for greeting cards, as well as presentation products for a range of artistic formats.

Featured Artists are chosen quarterly, and their work is presented on the cover and in the center spread of our catalog. The Featured Artist’s work is also displayed in our website banner, and in a blog article, where they have the opportunity to talk about their featured artwork. We link to the artist’s website to drive traffic there, and award each Featured Artist a $100 credit in products and services (including printing services).

In choosing each Featured Artist, we look for an artist whose images are strong enough to stand alone, while also working in sets, demonstrating their ability to focus on a theme that can then translate to a set of greeting cards. We review digital portfolios on an ongoing basis. There is no application to complete—just put “Featured Artist” in the subject line of an email, and let us know that you would like to be considered. Include all of your contact information, as well as your artist biography and any articles and images you’d like to see published in our catalog. If you have a website, we can review your work online, otherwise you can send us jpegs or pdf files to review. We do not return any material we receive by mail.

If you are chosen, you will be asked to sign a digital release allowing us to reproduce your images and written statements in digital and print format. We will also ask you for your artist’s statement, a biography, one or two photos of yourself, and at least 12 images of your work (ideally in 3 sets of 4). All images should be in jpeg format, 300 dpi (at least 10 megabytes each).

Check out our previous featured artists:

Niamh Slack
Elizabeth Vanduine
David Southern
Klaus Lange
Angela Sharkey
Georgia Lange

Ireland’s Colors Drive Niamh Slack to Paint

I am a landscape artist, and I am particularly attracted to coastal and woodland scenes. I believe that there is much beauty and colour in the Irish landscape. It is that which I aim to capture in my paintings.

My art is primarily about capturing the essence of those places that speak to me on a personal level. Perhaps more importantly than this, my paintings are about my love of colour. When working in oils, I am continuously experimenting with the placing of heavy layers of colour on canvas, and I strive to see colour in the seemingly ‘mundane’ and ‘ordinary’ things around us.

I especially enjoy painting ‘en plein air’. When possible, I like to complete as much of the painting outside as possible, in all types of weather! The unpredictability of the Irish weather means that sometimes I can only spend short periods of time outside, completing quick sketches, and memorizing the scene before me.

My favourite stage in the painting process is that magical stage at the very beginning of a painting, once the design has been executed. I am then observed to work furiously and frantically!

Layers of paint are heavily placed with a palette knife, and I try to capture every part of the landscape before me. I work at this rapid pace for as long as my body will allow me. Eventually, I force myself to stand back and I continue to touch up and retouch the painting at a slower pace, before bringing it back indoors.

Once dried, even further layers of paint are added. This results in landscapes that have been described as vibrant, energetic and full of life. When depicting seascapes my interest often lies in the wealth of colours and tones that can be explored in rock formations by the sea. I am especially taken with exploring the tonal ranges that can be found in such formations. Woodland scenes have always and continue to strike a chord with me, and my work here focuses on the changing colours of the seasons, both on the foliage and the woodland floor.

My paintings are inspired and influenced by the work of Irish artist Jack Yeats and the contemporary art of Kenneth Webb. The colour, energy and movement in my brush and palette knife work have been greatly influenced by impressionists such as Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh.

Collage of Irish woodland scenes

Featured Artist – Fall 2010

Elizabeth VanDuine

At first glance, Elizabeth Vanduine’s art may look like an intricate painting, but upon closer inspection, you’ll discover layers of colorful, textured papers meticulously matched to the negative space created behind her black silhouette-style original drawings. She calls it “organized chaos.”

Starting with plain paper and a pencil, the basic design is carefully sketched and then made permanent with a thick black marker. Then all of the white space is carefully cut out, leaving a delicate black drawing, much like Japanese Kirie, or “cut picture.” Layers of papers are matched to the open spaces and applied quite precisely to the back of the drawing using archival book binding paste.

Elizabeth considers herself very organic in nature, and enjoys the meditative process of her cut paper creations. The first stage, the design and drawing is the most creative and integral to the finished piece. If the drawing is not clear, the cutting becomes quite confusing. Stage two involves the technical aspects of cutting out all the negative spaces to create the paper cut which resembles a stencil. In stage three, the image comes alive as Elizabeth pastes papers onto the back of the paper cut. This three-stage process allows her to layer a bit of herself into each piece.

“It’s fascinating to me that this whole process was not learned or seen anywhere else, yet has existed in Japan for years. It was ‘born’ from a single creative experience that just came to me.” This unique art form literally found Elizabeth quite by accident, when she was working on some sketches at her mother’s house, and found a table full of scrap papers, some glue, and an exacto knife that was meant for another purpose.

Obviously inspired by nature, the designs often include elements like the sun, moon, stars, swirls, trees, and flowers. There are dozens of projects waiting to be done, although Elizabeth admits that each project “pulls” her in to begin the process. Choosing from her sketches or from ideas generated from commissioned pieces, this art work is truly inspiring and full of the passion that the creator brings into form from chaos.

Original framed pieces, prints, and cards can be found at the Verksted Gallery in Poulsbo, Washington. Commissioned work is welcome.