Friday, March 21, 2008

PAL Submissions for Best of Best Show

The following PAL artists are featured in the prestigious 16th Annual Best of the Best Fine Art Exhibit, a show sponsored by the Alliance of Fine Art for the creme de la creme of local artists guilds and leagues.  The exhibit is now showing at the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook  It runs from Friday, March 21, through Sunday, May 18, when it will culminate with a reception and award presentation.

Name of the Piece
Carol Baumrucker
"Snowy Dune"
38 x 28 inches
Helen McLuckie
"Spring Lilies"
17 x 20 inches
Marge Schlekeway
"Pink Horizon"
15 x 39 inches
Amy Turner
"Alight On Her Toes"
Colored Pencil
16 x 20 inches
Joe Hadamik
Clay and Wood
13" diameter*
Tita Brady
"Yes to Four"
29" diameter
Mike Bessler
"Glowing Forest"
22 x 62 inches
Courtney Weed
"Beach Fun"
18 x 24 inches
Mindy Donahue
21 x 30 inches
John Plucinski
"Giant Dahlia"
Fused Stained Glass
12" diameter

For more information, visit

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Art Projectors

I was talking to someone at the March PAL meeting and they wanted a reasonable priced art projector so they could use existing art as the basis for their new art.  They didn't want to have to draw the existing art.  Well I was at Hobby Lobby yesterday and found that they have many art projectors.  They start at $20 and go up through $250.

Mike Bessler
630-667-5174 cell

Monday, March 3, 2008

Alliance of Fine Art Best of the Best 2008

Art exhibit showcases local talent

By Submitted photo
More than 100 pieces of local watercolor, oil, photography, pottery, jewelry and mixed media will be showcased during the Alliance of Fine Art's Best of the Best Fine Art Exhibit.
By Jessica Young,
Suburban Life

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Western suburbs, IL -

Dianne Martia has found herself mesmerized with exhumation lately.

"I'm not sure why. I've only been on archeological digs in my dreams, but it has been occupying my imagination," the Darien resident said. "I'm fascinated with finding things that belonged to another era or culture."


Local artists featured...

• Bill Baykan for the watercolor "Illusion"
• Corrie Tameling for the oil "Looking at You"
• Abhi Ganju for the photograph "Sugary Snow Shadows"
• Zaki Knapen for the acrylic "Summer Breeze"
• Maggie Kruser for wool-needle felt "Ugandan Couple"
• Valerie Lorimer for the graphite "The Witch Wore Hightops"
• Laura Lein-Svencer for the collage "My Darling Doris"
• Dianne Martia for the mixed media "Exhumation of the Ring"
• Dennis Salaty for the mixed media "The Prize"
• Dick Shipley for the watercolor "Splintered Light"



Martia has done a series of mixed-media canvasses exploring the intersection of past and present. And the gamble paid off with her piece "Exhumation of the Ring." Her work will be featured in the prestigious 16th Annual Best of the Best Fine Art Exhibit, a show sponsored by the Alliance of Fine Art for the creme de la creme of local artists guilds and leagues.

The exhibit, which will appear at the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, will run from Friday, March 21, through Sunday, May 18, when it will culminate with a reception and award presentation. Artists, special guests and local dignitaries are invited to a special sneak preview gala Thursday, March 20.

The Alliance of Fine Art is a nonprofit professional association comprised of local artists groups including the Downers Grove Artists' Guild, Elmhurst Artists' Guild, Addison Art Guild, LaGrange Art League, Lemont Artists' Guild, Naperville Art League, West Suburban Artists' Guild and Midwest Collage Society. More than 100 pieces of watercolor, oil, photography, pottery, jewelry and mixed media will be showcased. Entries were chosen among award winners at the guild or league level, so organizers call the selections stellar.

"My piece is a composite mixed media collage," Martia said. "There's a combination of images that represent artifacts that might be found during an exhumation. There's a picture of a ring, a landscape that shows where the site might have been and a partial writing from a notebook that describes what a person found."

The ring is displayed against a ruler to appear like a specimen being measured.
"Exhumation of the Ring" received recognition at the Naperville Art League show, and a second piece, a mixed media waterscape called "The Passage," won second place at the Downers Grove Artists' Guild contest.

"None of my pieces are very literal, and I try to allow the viewer to come to their own conclusion," Martia said. "I use symbolism and ambiguity to evoke a sense of timelessness. It often raises more questions than it answers."

Nancy D'Agostino, "Best of the Best" chairperson, said the show highlights prominent notable local artists and promotes art in the suburbs.

"Generally you'd have to go to Chicago for something of this quality, so there's quite a buzz," she said. "The caliber of artists out here is phenomenal, and exhibits like this show people how much talent is in their own backyard. I think the public will really enjoy this, and all the artwork will be for sale, so it's a good chance to get something more unique than a mass-produced print."

The Alliance of Fine Art has secured Rolf Achilles, curator of the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows at Navy Pier and art history and theory professor, to judge the show.

"He's top-notch," D'Agostino said. "Critique for an artist is an important thing, and it'll be nice to have feedback from someone at his level."

According to Martia, the exhibit is a huge honor for featured artists.

"This is a big deal. It's such an opportunity," she said. "And the chances for networking are endless."

The Alliance of Fine Art supports cultural events which stress awareness, appreciation and enjoyment of quality art and contribute to community enrichment. The organization is staffed entirely of volunteer artists.

"We're running around making badges and tags, measuring the room and figuring out how to hang the show," D'Agostino said. "It's a really exciting time backstage to see this all come together."

For more information, visit

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Creativity has a new home

March 1, 2008

As art lovers gathered at a reception celebrating the opening of a new gallery and workshop for the Plainfield Art League, artists mused over what it is that drives them to paint.

Their secret pleasures can be hard to put into words, some said.

Others know exactly what drives their desire to create. A blank canvas seems to beg to be transformed with colors and shapes, the artists said.

At the Feb. 22 reception at the new gallery at 24114 W. Chicago St. in downtown Plainfield, Marjorie Schlekeway demonstrated her artistic talents. Using watercolors, she created three different views of the Chicago skyline. Other artists in attendance at the opening understood the drive to put paint on canvas.

Art League member Cheryl Carman said she paints because the activity brings a great sense of satisfaction.

"It makes you feel better about yourself and to be able to express what you are feeling," she said.

Carman, who paints with oils, said she joined the Art League to be with other artists who understand her passion.

"I haven't sold anything yet, but I am looking forward to it," she said.

New gallery praised

Stained glass artist John Plucinski Jr. said the Art League's new gallery, with its wide windows, is an excellent place to create and display art.

He said his inspiration for his works comes from just looking around. If an artist doesn't stop to look at the world, they may never truly see what is out there, he said.

"You are more aware of that stuff if you look for it," he said. "It's hard to explain. You see it. You've got an idea, and you are off to the races."

Plucinski also makes decorative stained glass pieces to reflect the designs his wife, Colleen, has developed for the many quilts and comforters she makes. The method is an artistic collaboration that enhances their marriage, she said.

A true calling

Tina Storey, a homemaker, said she feels blessed to have the time to create works of art.

"I can stay home and paint," she said.

She often gives her graphite drawings and watercolors to family members as birthday gifts.

"The last picture I did I probably spent four hours on," she said. "It was a watercolor of my sister's guinea pigs for her birthday."

Former Bolingbrook teacher Tita Recometa-Brady said painting is her life. She will be exhibiting about 20 paintings at the Philippine embassy in Washington, D.C., this spring. She creates large abstract paintings on round canvases, filling them with colorful, swirling shapes.

After retiring from Jane Addams Middle School in Bolingbrook in 2002, she set up a studio in her Joliet home.

"A lot inspires me," she said. "You can't describe the feeling of accomplishment."

Judi Deszed, an illustrator and librarian, uses a rare, old technique of drawing with rods of silver.

"It's kind of what they used before graphite pencils," she said.

Belonging to the Plainfield Art League means she can make all sorts of connections with other artists, she said.

The group offers demonstrations on a regular basis and sponsors special workshops as well. On the walls of the new gallery are dozens of paintings and drawings by Art League members. Included are pieces of art created by students who have won scholarships from the group.

Being a painter and belonging to a league means having friendships with others who understand the burning desire to create art, she said. It means sharing a common goal with others in the pursuit of something noble.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the artists, and the people of Plainfield, to have this type of gallery," she said.