An Artist A Day 2013

For 2013, we’ve moved the daily articles about artists and the work they create to the Muse Art and Design website.

This blog contains archives of pictures and articles about artists from An Artist A Day from 2009 – 2011.

2011 wrap-up

Thanks to all the artists who created art during the month of April and to everyone who purchased the art!  After the bidding ended, we raised $2,ooo for art supplies for Schoolhouse Supplies.   Muse Art and Design will purchase art supplies at wholesale cost, translating to at least $4,000 retail value of art supplies for Portland teachers to use in their classrooms!

Here are a few pictures of the reception and auction at Milepost 5’s E.A.T. restaurant and performance space.

Saturday, 4/30/11: John Fisher

Thanks to guest writer Cameron Hawkey for today’s post.

Today I briefly met with artist John Fisher. Working with a swift efficiency, he was already laying down the finishing strokes for his painting when I sat down to speak with him. “I have to leave pretty soon,” he said to me in a easy manner as he dabbed at the canvas. “I have to go pick up my son from soccer.” Being a father is a full-time job, true, but he’s also the art director of Sockeye ad agency. The man doesn’t dally. When he has time, though, he paints. As a painter of mostly landscapes, his understanding of weather is quite good, along with his consideration of light: a storm cloud envelops the land in his painting, and yet a little remaining afternoon sunlight still seeps through the cloudbank onto the field below. The sunlight was his final addition, made with a liner brush. Stepping back, he gave the landscape a final appraising look, and then called it a day. He signed the painting, put away his paints (M.Graham acrylics), folded up his easel, and stepped out into the afternoon to attend a soccer game.

Click on thumbnails for larger pictures.

Twenty-four finished pieces are on display at Muse with another half-dozen on their way.  You can see all the pieces in person at Muse Art and Design, 4224 SE Hawthorne through May 11.  And you’re invited to our reception and auction on Thursday, May 12 from 6-8pm at Milepost 5’s E.A.T. restaurant and performance space, NE 81st Avenue. For information about bidding on artwork, visit

Friday, 4/29/11: Shannon Mayorga

Shannon bases his work on symbols and references with personal meaning or appeal.  Some of these references are visual and some are word associations. The images and ideas that find their way into Shannon’s paintings often refer to his ethnic heritage, memories from travels, and objects of natural history.  Shannon works primarily in oils, but often builds first layers with acrylics (especially when he needs to complete a painting more quickly) and finishes with glazes in oils.  Recently, he has been incorporating more mixed media elements into his work by collaging bits of ephemera that he has found or collected.

Shannon started today by building a scumbled background with rich, dark earthtones.  Onto this background, he collaged some bus tickets from a trip to Mexico, an illustration of a crown (corona) from an old label, and in the center, an illustration of a cross section of the brain (corona radiata).  Shannon brought the shell of a horseshoe crab and a small animal skull as visual references.  He painted almost ghostly depictions of these objects onto his background, positioned in each corner of the canvas.  The final elements he added were characters from the Mayan alphabet, imagery that Shannon uses frequently in his work.

Shannon starts his paintings with specific visual references in mind, but does not usually have the whole composition planned out in advance.  He allows the objects he’s chosen to suggest ideas as he works.  Although he doesn’t mind explaining where his ideas come from and the specific meanings, if any, that the objects  in his paintings have for him, he wants viewers to make their own associations with the imagery and the relationships between the parts.  The nebulous backgrounds and floating imagery in Shannon’s work create a mysterious quality that invites viewers to ask questions and imagine possible answers about the ideas and feelings his paintings convey.

Click on thumbnails to see larger pictures.

Thursday, 4/28/11: Spencer Hawkes

Thanks to guest writer Kinoko Evans for today’s post.

Spencer Hawkes arrived at Muse armed with several pencil thumbnail sketches, fully prepared to take one image to the final stage.  “I draw all the time when I’m sitting around,” says Hawkes. In a crisp combination of M. Graham and Golden Acrylics, Hawkes fleshed out his newest robot portrait. With a playful shade of orange, this robot expressively strategizes over a game of chess. Painting mechanical figures offers Hawkes the creative freedom over anatomy. This allows him to invent whimsical, stylistic characters that don’t challenge predetermined expectations viewers have when a figure is human. Hawkes says that his love for robots came long before his recent stay in Japan. Having only just returned to Portland a few months ago, Hawkes was delighted to share stories about his adventures that include sketch book drawings of riders on Japanese Rail and of learning to play bike polo with Japanese cyclists.

Having been raised by a father who is a professional illustrator, Hawkes talked about his early exposure to the practice and world of narrative image. Being taken to midnight showings of Star Wars with his dad has been added to his list of early influences. Having illustration artists brought to his attention at an early age gave him an awareness of styles and he mentions John Ford and James Gurney artists that he has drawn inspiration from.

This summer, Hawkes will be living in Portland where he enjoys bicycle culture, drawing comics and drawing observational details of the city including its food carts. In a few more months, Hawkes will be moving on again, this time to Utah where his will be returning to Brigham Young University in order to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art with a Major in Illustration.

Click on thumbnails to see larger pictures.

Wednesday, 4/27/: Jennifer Mark

Thanks to guest writer Mesha Koczian for today’s post.

Jennifer Mark prefers to use Golden Fluid Acrylics in her work. She extends them with Golden gloss mixed with water to get a transparent look. She was once asked to paint a series of works on old nautical charts for a global cruise line depicting scenes from the Pacific coast. She saw it as a fun challenge and hasn’t stopped even though she no longer works for the cruise line. An era is passing in the way of old charts. GPS is used on almost all boats now and the charts may not be required on board for much longer.

First she ages the charts to give the old look. She says, “I love researching and learning the history of the areas I’m painting. I learned about lead dropping and how it was used to get the depths of the ocean for the ships to sail safely. The most people have died around Astoria doing that job, giving it the nickname of the Graveyard of the Pacific.” After her research, she picks a scene and projects it onto the chart and traces the outline in pencil. Then she slowly layers up the colors and adjusts according to the color on the map. She wants the chart showing through, but not so much that it distracts from the scene. The gloss mix helps achieve this by giving vivid color and transparency. Her last painted layer is the fine lines of the rigging and sails. She uses a “rigger,” a brush invented by sailors to draw rigging on ships, and a pen against a straight edge for a crisp, clean line. More recently, she’s been experimenting with hiding things in the water because of all the hidden places under the ocean. “There are so many hidden treasures under the sea,” she explains. If you look close, you might see a face peeking out at you from one of her works.

Click on thumbnail to see larger pictures.