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Featured Artist John Chehak

Artist John Chehak paints colorful acrylic landscapes in a refreshing signature style. See more of his portfolio by visiting his website.

 

abstract landscape with a village reflected in water by John Chehak

“Village Reflection” acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 36″ x 2.5″

 

I have been a professional artist for only twenty years; hence, I often use the description “contemporary” in my biographies. Just to be clear—I’m old—the paintings are young.

 

abstract landscape of sailboats on the water by John Chehak

“An Urban Sail” acrylic matted and framed, 23″ x 23″ x 1″

 

Although I always had a knack for drawing, sketching and painting, I lacked the confidence that anyone would purchase my art. It was a nice hobby, but not a profession.

 

abstract landscape of trees along a lake by John Chehak

“Forest Reflection” acrylic on canvas, 35″ x 36″ x 2.5”

 

Early in my life, I was determined to become a pharmacist and work within the legal boundaries of drug dispensing. I graduated from the University of Iowa in 1973 with a degree in Pharmacy, and worked in my family’s small ethical chain of drug stores for ten years. I was busy being married, working, raising two daughters and occasionally dabbling in painting. The art results were boring, at least to me—barns and still lifes.

 

abstract landscape of a tree grove on the river by John Chehak

“Grove on the River” acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 36″ x 2.5″

 

Forging ahead twenty-five years, after some significant milestones, various health care and computer jobs, a divorce, grown children and still chasing rainbows, I remarried. It was an inspirational intersection of where I was going and where I had been.

 

abstract landscape of trees at night by John Chehak

“The Blue Night” acrylic, matted and framed, 30″ x 20″ x 1″

 

Out of nowhere, I had a great desire to us acrylic paints and develop a style, create my own color palettes and play with subject matter, then see if anyone liked what I had done. The results were interesting, but at first they were drab, dark and almost colorless.

 

abstract landscape of buildings and trees with splatter paint by John Chehak

“Splatter Series Village” acrylic, matted and framed, 23″ x 23″ x 1″

 

It was a great boost to my confidence to appear in numerous galleries and make a few sales. It wasn’t until I forced myself to use unusually bright and uncomfortably bold colors did I start to create a unique perspective and concise focus.

 

abstract landscape of woods and a lake by John Chehak

“Northwoods Scene 1″ acrylic, matted and framed, 23″ x 23″ x 1”

 

The first thing I realized was that I had to stop being a perfectionist. One man’s Picasso is another man’s trash. Obviously, we are all individuals with independent likes and dislikes, which are neither right or wrong. To this day I am amazed when I sell a painting I didn’t originally like and didn’t think would sell. I had to stop being overly judgmental of my work.

 

abstract landscape of a snowy woods by John Chehak

“North of Frisco” acrylic, matted and framed, 23″ x 23″ x 1″

 

I discovered that I really enjoy acrylic painting on archival paper, then matting and framing the finished work. Many people, after seeing the original paintings under glass, think they are prints or reproductions. The typical size is 23 inches by 23 inches. My paintings on canvas are usually 3 feet by 3 feet. I focus on using vibrant colors and palette knife work.

 

abstract landscape of a snowy woods by John Chehak

“The Thaw in the Mountains” acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 36″ x 2.5″

 

The next step was to understand the art fair festival scene, associated costs and how to best take my work to the masses. I did my research. It’s expensive, but I bought a tent and display racks, made my own travel packaging and decided to apply to a number of juried shows within a 250-mile radius of my home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This included the Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City and St. Louis regions. My wife and I have been participating in summer shows for almost nine years and have sold close to 600 original paintings.

We’ve met hundreds, if not thousands of people. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I now paint all year long and at any given time have 30-50 paintings in inventory.

 

Artist John Chehak working in his studio

Artist John Chehak working in his studio

 

I’m very proud to have been selected as the poster artist for both the 2018 St. Louis Art Fair and the 2020 57th Street Art Fair in Chicago. I very much appreciate the acknowledgement of my work by show promoters and patrons who keep me going. When I’m not painting, I seem to always be managing my website. And yes, I still remind myself not to be too judgmental.

 

Artist John Chehak invites you to follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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Featured Artist Chalda Maloff

Artist Chalda Maloff portrays the energy and optimism that inspire a meaningful life. Her abstract imagery, created with digital software, reflects insights gleaned from close observation of nature. See more by visiting her website.

 

abstract digital pigment print of a dragonfly by Chalda Maloff

“Shadow Catcher” pigment print Ed 3, 30” x 30”

 

I feel intimately connected to the smallest fragile life form, such as a minnow, a bug in my garden, or a sapling. My aim is to create artworks that reflect their transitory existence. They are so precarious and yet have an enduring commitment to a vibrant life.

 

abstract digital pigment print of a yellow and purple fish by Chalda Maloff

“Primavera” pigment print Ed 9, 14” x 10”

 

An artist for as long as I can remember, I sold my first two watercolors at the age of ten to a movie studio. I majored in Art History at University of California, Berkeley, and spent a wonderful semester in Florence, Italy, studying Renaissance art with Boston University.

 

abstract digital print of a blue fish by Chalda Maloff

“Rally” pigment print Ed 9, 28” x 20”

 

Ironically, a pivotal moment in my art career occurred in the early seventies when I was a graduate student in Computer Science at Berkeley. A professor was giving a couple of us a ride into San Francisco and apologetically had to make a quick stop at Xerox Park research lab on the way.

 

abstract digital pigment pring of a purple fish by Chalda Maloff

“Arrival” pigment print Ed 9, 28” x 20”

 

It turned out this lab was working on some of the very earliest graphical user interfaces and art software. At that time, computers were not fast enough. They didn’t have the processing capability to be a reasonable tool for the type of art I wanted to create. But I was intrigued with the possibilities.

 

abstract digital pigment print of a yellow fish by Chalda Maloff

“Sidetracked” pigment print Ed 9, 7” x 5”

 

A couple of decades after that visit to the lab, the first commercial art software became available. I had a period of health troubles when I didn’t have the mobility to get up, put on dirty clothes, and set up my easel. My husband surprised me with an art software package so I could paint from my bed on a laptop.

 

abstract digital pigment print of a blue fish by Chalda Maloff

“Recess” pigment print Ed 9, 28” x 20”

 

Someone in that software company had a sense of humor, because the disk came in an actual one-gallon paint can. When the lid was pried open, there was a quick scent of paint.

 

abstract digital pigment print of a fish by Chalda Maloff

“Future Perfect” pigment print Ed 9. 14” x 10”

 

Using the computer as an art tool unleashed endless potential in my creative process. The ability to make marks, undo and save intermediate versions, helped me to create stronger, more well-conceived compositions.

 

abstract digital pigment print of a winged insect by Chalda Maloff

“Taking Flight” pigment print Ed 3, 30” x 30”

 

Beyond that, this tool helped me build upon stylistic features that were already a part of my process. I had been experimenting with visual effects suggesting a push-and-pull sensation, evocative of the pulse or rhythm of life. This endeavor was enhanced with art software, and the ability to counterpose virtual media. For example, I could mix apparent watercolor with crayon, or oils with ink.

 

abstract digital pigment print of a multi-colored fish by Chalda Maloff

“Undercurrent” pigment print Ed 9, 14” x 10”

 

I feel community with the Renaissance Artists I studied in Italy. They explored the spectrum of possibilities with media which were at that time new and evolving. I take pleasure in working on detail, and I relish interjecting tiny visual elements which will probably be overlooked on first viewing, and hopefully discovered much later in delighted surprise.

 

Self-portrait by artist Chalda Maloff

Self-portrait by artist Chalda Maloff

 

To be open to possibility, fully aware, and yet in tune with the most ephemeral aspects of our being, is where I find meaning in life. These are the makings I bring to my work.

 

Artist Chalda Maloff invites you to follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Want to stay current on cutting edge business articles from Artsy Shark, plus artist features, and an invitation to the next Call for Artists? Subscribe to our twice-monthly Updates, and get a free e-book on Where to Sell Art Online right now!

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The post Featured Artist Chalda Maloff appeared first on Artsy Shark.

Artists Knowing Yourself Helps Your Story Come Alive, and Your Dreams Come True

Your Personal Stories Help Your Dreams Come Alive Personal Storytelling is not sales talk. Someone in a gallery or at a show may refer to something about an artist’s story when presenting art, but that is incidental to Personal Storytelling. No matter what artists want from the process of creating art, they need the assistance […]

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Make Your Own Curved Card Scraper

curved_scraper_shape

If you didn’t get a chance to purchase one of the Crucible curved card scrapers, you can make your own with a dry grinder and an existing card scraper. It takes about 30 minutes.

Download and print out the following template. It’s a hand-drawn version of Chris Williams’s scraper, which is where our design started.

chriswilliams_scraper_shape

Cut it out and affix it to your card scraper with the help of spray adhesive. Or make a cardboard template and trace its shape on your scraper with a permanent marker.

At your grinder, set the tool rest to 0° – parallel to the floor. Dress the wheel of your grinder (we use an #80-grit wheel, but a #60 or #100 will also do) so it has a slight convex shape. This convexity in the wheel makes the scraper easier to shape.

Get a bucket of water and put it by the grinder.

(Hey wait, where are the step photos? I’m in a hotel room that’s 400 miles from my shop. You are going to have to use your imagination.)

Place the scraper on the tool rest and start grinding the excess metal away. Don’t work on one part of the scraper for more than a few seconds. Keep moving around the perimeter. After 10 or 15 seconds, try to pinch the scraper with a finger and thumb. If….

… you can pinch the scraper with no pain, continue to grind.

… your fingers reflexively jump away, cool the scraper in your water bucket.

… you smell bacon, also cool the scraper in the water bucket.

Once you have ground down to your line, you will have become pretty good at grinding flat shapes – congrats. Now you need to remove the grinder marks from the edges.

Use a block of wood to hold the scraper at 90° on a coarse diamond stone and stone the edges. Remove all the scratches from the grinder. Then move up to a #1,000-grit waterstone (or soft Arkansas) and then up to a polishing stone. Then you can proceed with normal scraper-sharpening procedures.

This is exactly how I made all of our prototypes. I promise that you will become emotionally involved with your scraper after putting all the work into it, and you might not ever want to buy one of ours.

So be it.

— Christopher Schwarz