Category Archives: abstract

Sensu Meets Natsu

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My encaustic paintings are currently on display at Kasai Ramen!  They are part of a group show curated by Jamie Santos.

The group show is titled Natsu.

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There will be an artist reception on Thursday, June 13, 2019 from 6 – 10 pm.  Hope to see you there!  Here is the link to the Facebook invite – facebook.com/events/66304848748843

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These twelve paintings are from my Sensu series of encaustics, created last month ($250 each).  They are 8″ x 8″ encaustic & collage pieces.  On the back of each painting, I have instructions on how to care for these paintings.  ❤

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Care Instructions for Encaustic Pieces – 

Over time, dust and other particles in the air will collect on the surface of the painting and make a film that will look dull.  Regular buffing in the first three months will help to keep the surface shiny and will bring out translucency in layers that are not currently visible.  After three months, the surface of the encaustic painting will stabilize and won’t attract dust as readily.  Any time the painting starts to look dull, it can be buffed with a very soft rag to increase the transparency and shine of the surface.  Light dusting of the piece is all that is needed in the form of maintenance.

To make sure your piece lasts a long time, it should not be hung where it will experience below freezing temperatures or in direct sunlight coming through a window.  Be aware of placing your piece near a powerful light bulb or any kind of lighting that produces a lot of heat (Christmas lights).  Don’t leave your piece in a car on a hot day or near a fireplace.  As long as your piece is kept in your house at a comfortable temperature, it should stay in perfect condition.

Because the wax is soft, it could be damaged if dropped or if a sharp or hard object is scraped over the surface.  Fingerprints will also damage the surface over time, as the acid on our hands will etch itself into the wax.  A quick wipe of the surface after everyone touches it will prevent this from happening.

If you ever need to pack or move, or ship your encaustic painting, make sure you wrap it in a piece of paper with a smooth surface before wrapping it in bubble wrap or anything that has a texture that could damage the surface.

Encaustic painting is very archival, resistant to moisture, fading from light exposure or yellowing from acid.  In fact, encaustic painting is the most archival form of known painting.  Your painting has the potential to last for hundreds of years if well cared for.  I trust you will enjoy it!

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Sensu

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Karen Tashkovski, “Ichi”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
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Karen Tashkovski, “Fuji”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
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Karen Tashkovski, “Ramen”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250

I am delighted to announce I have just completed a new series of encaustic & collage paintings!  Yesssssss!  They are fans – sensu in Japanese.  I was inspired by a call-for-Japanese-inspired-art for a group show, which will be curated by Jamie Santos at Kasai Ramen scheduled for next month.

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Karen Tashkovski, “Shibori”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
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Karen Tashkovski, “Obi”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250

I love Japanese art!  I’ve introduced my students to it with many different lessons through the years, the most recent of which happened to be utilizing the fan as motif.  This was both inspiration and motivation for me to finally purchase some gesso boards, pull out the beeswax and immerse myself in the full sensation of creation.

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Karen Tashkovski, “MIA”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
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Karen Tashkovski, “Geisha”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250

I love how each one of these new pieces is unique – I added elements of origami, kintsugi, and shibari, as well as nods to the specific landscape, sport, and artists (Yayoi Kusama, the Japanese artist who is known for her dot paintings) of the country.

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Karen Tashkovski, “Sumo”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
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Karen Tashkovski, “Yen”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250

The very best part of creating art is relaxing into the process – allowing the inspiration to come rather than forcing decision making.  It transports to an other-worldly place where the art becomes the most important thing, where nothing else matters except oneself and the process.  The experience is pure joy; utter bliss. I highly recommend it.  ❤

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Karen Tashkovski, “Shibari”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
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Karen Tashkovski, “Yayoi”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
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Karen Tashkovski, “Sensu”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250

New Library Landscapes

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After two hours of hiking around Clark’s Reservation in Jamesville, New York, I was inspired, finally, to stop in to see the new library at 5110 Jamesville Road (DeWitt, New York 13078).  It’s called the Community Library of DeWitt & Jamesville.

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Stephen Alexander Clark is an Assistant Professor of Painting at SUNY Cortland.  His work here depicts abstracted landscapes.  His interest lies in the topography of farmland, the configuration of stacks of firewood and the seeming randomness of camouflage patterns.

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This artwork will be on display through June 2019.  It is located in a hallway that leads to the main library space on the first floor.

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A piece by Pam Steele, who will exhibit in September, occupies the space as well. And an installation by Margie Hughto greets visitors at the entrance.  Both pieces belong to the library.

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Click here for a complete list of future exhibitors.

The library is open Monday – Thursday 10 am – 9 pm, Friday 10 am – 5 pm. Saturday and Sunday hours will change come summer – they are currently Saturday 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm.

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This little trip inspired me to get to work on a new series of encaustic paintings.  Details to follow, hopefully, soon. ❤

Needles & Glue

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Today, on Orthodox Easter, I did, technically, go to a church.  Kirkland Art Center occupies the architecture of a former house of worship in the quaint town of Clinton, New York ( 9 1/2 East Park Row, Clinton. NY 13323).  The place looks like the set of the naughts TV series Gilmour Girls!  I’d been invited here several times, but this was my first visit to this amazing little venue.

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Penny had a show there last month, so we took the road trip to get her paintings then stayed for the new exhibit.

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Needles & Glue features the work of mixed media artist Pamela Crockett, sculptor Stephanie Garon and collage artist Steven M. Specht, Ph.D., NCS.  Of the three, only Specht was in attendance today.

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Specht, a Psychology professor by day, sold two pieces, which were very reasonably priced.  There is so much satisfaction in these little gems.  Pictures are garnered from vintage magazines then arranged as narrative utilizing techniques he learned in an art course.  The collages are really quite intelligently crafted.

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The exhibition continues through May 24, 2019.  See the website for more information –  hours of operation and future events planned at the center including musical performances and dance! ❤

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Rebecca Taylor jumpsuit, Coach bag, Calvin Klein booties

The Elephant in the Room

Elephants are taking over Central New York.

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There is a new restaurant in Skaneateles called the Elephant and the Dove.

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The brainchild of proprietor Adam Weitsman of the Krebs, this new endeavor serves up Mexican fare.  The name alludes to Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo’s partnership, a marriage of contrasts.  It is meant to be a casual destination – no reservations required.

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We have seven Asian “pachyderm residents” at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo – Doc, Siri, Romani, Kirina, Targa, Mali and Batu.

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And, currently, the Petit Branch Library , 105 Victoria Place, Syracuse, New York, is host to original paintings of elephants by Rebecca Stella.  The artist reception is today from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. The exhibition continues through April 30, 2019.

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Here is the press release –

Artist Rebecca Alexander (Rebecca Stella Art) will be exhibiting her work throughout the month of April. Her work is primarily mixed media, many pieces of which are elephant and music themed. She donates 10% of all elephant art sales to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, an organization that provides support to end the ivory trade and promote elephant conservation via an orphan rescue and rehabilitation program. Rebecca believes that art and painting are channels for emotion, dreams, and fantasy. In addition to being an artist and animal activist, Rebecca is a yoga instructor and a physical therapist. She shares, “All of these roles shape my creations and the way in which I choose to interact with the world. 

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Rebecca sells her work on Etsy . You can also find her on Facebook.

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Oh, and lest I forget, my favorite of all elephant sites – Bistro Elephant, which is what they call the bar area/bistro of the Lemon Grass restaurant in Armory Square.  It offers the best Thai cuisine.  My favorite place to go on a Friday night to hear my friend John Spillet on sax. ❤

Peek-A-Boo

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In the 1950s, the artist Dorothy Reister and her husband purchased land for a summer home in Cazenovia, New York.  They added acres when land became available then turned the place into a sculpture garden, creating hiking trails, as well a sculpture studio attached to their mid-century modern A-frame home.

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The property transformed into the incorporated non-profit Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, recognized by National Geographic magazine as one of the top sculpture gardens in the nation, and home to permanent and temporary sculptures by such renowned sculptors as Rodger Mack and Emilie Brzezinski.  Now the home and art studio on the property are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is open to the public to enjoy.  Today was the perfect day to hike the trails and fall in love with the hidden sculpture gems playing peek-a-boo around every corner.

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I am on vacation this week, Spring Break.  I spent a few hours investigating several trails and breathing the fresh air of this space with my high school pal Suzy, who is a fellow teacher.  There was really no one else around – it was a serene and wonderful experience.

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I highly recommend coming here, especially if you have kids at home this week and are looking for something to do.  I brought students to Stone Quarry Hill on a school field trip a few years ago and they loved it.  There truly is a surprise around every corner!

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Suggested donation is $5 at the front entrance.  If you wish to donate to the upkeep of the park or volunteer, there is more information on their website – here  

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Several events are upcoming – kite flying, an art exhibition in the indoor space, and a YMCA summer camp experience.  All information is on their website – here.

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315-655-3196

office@stonequarryhillartpark.org

3883 Stone Quarry Rd., P.O. Box 251, Cazenovia, NY 13035

Cancel That

Currently, three venues are hosts to the twenty-four Syracuse University MFA candidates: Point of Contact Gallery, Community Folk Art Center and the SU Art Galleries. The art reception at POC was last Friday (that show continues through May 10, 2019), the one at CFA will be Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm (show continues through May 11, 2019). Last night at the Shaffer Hall venue, I attended the art reception for eleven of these students.

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What I love about Thursday evening art openings on campus – you can drive right up to the gate and park for free in the Q-4 lot – easy-peasy! It was such a beautiful evening. The university is a reoccurring landscape in my life. I really love being there. I received my BFA and MS degrees from Syracuse. I did not get an MFA, which I guess I would need if I am ever to be considered for a job as an Art Professor at SU (the Art Education masters is a Masters of Science for whatever reason, which is weird). A series of questions answered in essay format served as my thesis and not a gallery showcase of artwork, as is the case in these recent exhibitions.

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The students have varied focuses – illustration, painting and digital art, for example. Apparently, the cohesive thread of this work, according to the curator’s statement, is to do with the artist’s responses to their current realities and the angst that resides there be it via monstrous nightmare, political climate, gender issues, or social injustices, or some combination of junk that creates a response to conditions. The artists in this particular show seem to be attempting to express views, beliefs, fears and perceived truths in a sort of thinking man’s artist thing-a-ma-gig.

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Nothing tickled me here – true story – and that could just be because I am so not their generation, (kids these days, am I right? lol) and because I am a happiness-and-joy girl. I am perplexed by the need to be conditional about anything. I trust that everything unfolds when you are true to yourself, creating a vision that exposes yourself in a vulnerable way, perhaps, allowing your inner being to guide you towards the inspiration that will captivate. You feel it in your soul and that beauty that is within becomes your art and it subsequently resonates with the world. You will know it, your friends will know it, your professors will know it and you will see how incredibly it will take you where you want to go, easily and effortlessly.

So where do these kids see themselves? A conversation with some professors indicated that student art direction these days is focused on thinking about rather than the executing of ideas. This is not something I really understand. Are they not happy?

Are they hoping to open a dialogue about negative stuff? I don’t know. Some of this work is on the rather provocative side in the way that I cannot bring my thirteen-year-old students to this gallery on a field trip. There is some adult content of a sexual nature, as well as pieces that draw attention to violence and horror.

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Let’s cancel all that.

I guess I don’t agree with the blurb sentiment “sober examination of the facts”. We create our own realities based on dreams and desires. Choosing to get caught up in something you don’t want or don’t like just does not make sense to me. If I create a reality I don’t want, I don’t choose to stay there and dwell in it, complain about it and get stuck there. And I don’t really think it is the blanket statement under which all of these artists sleep, is it? Or is Plans are Cancelled a reference to a positive re-boot?

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The fun for me are these questions, not in the answers because the questions alone allowed me to ponder solutions of my own with regard to my own life. I am grateful for this show because I had really satisfying conversations with my friends Penny and Davana about this show and about how it can help us define/re-define ourselves as artists and teachers.

And it was also so helpful to share what I saw here with my Studio in Art students. It is so important to me as a teacher that I offer guidance in the form of training my students to trust and believe in themselves, to know that they will be able to navigate their path to whatever they care to do artistically in the future with or without me.

I wish these MFA candidates the best of luck and love in their creative journeys. I sincerely thank you all for your perspectives. ❤

Plans are Cancelled will remain on display until May 12, 2019.

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***Artists represented at Syracuse University Art Galleries

Hollie Lyko, E. Garrett Bryant, Perry Burlingame, Jestina Sutherland, Rebecca Forstater, Sylvie Prendergast-Corvo, Samantha Corbett, Louise Thompson, Jason Cheney, Mark Zbikowski, Jiallin Deng