Monday, January 27, 2014

Introducing Stephanie Bogalis, President

I've been called an old soul with a young spirit.  I sometimes felt I was born in the wrong decade, or even the wrong century, always inquisitive and seeing my world around me with eyes of a thousand allusions. 

(On left: Frogs, Oil on canvas board. 20 X 30)

I remember looking for art in everything, from illustrations in children’s books as I learned to read to admiring the mill outlines and buildings walking around downtown Manchester, and am blessed with parents who fostered that vision; even though my family did not have affluence, their insight was rich and they instilled in me an appreciation for our surroundings and taught me about Monet and Manet, Picasso and Sargent.  I was raised to be respectful, truthful, and trustworthy and this naturally transferred to my love of art – even if I didn't like someone else’s art, I could still respect their talent to create it and give positive feedback.  Where children spend hours nowadays on video games, I spent surrounded with any medium I could get my hands on – I’d take crayons and cardboard if that’s all there was, and the next thing you know, I was melting the crayons in the sun to blend my own colors or shave them (yes, we were trusted to play with pocket knives in that simpler time!) and let the curls melt onto my work.  I loved that art had no rules.

Fast forward 30 years: after a bad marriage, a BA in Communications from SNHU I earned at night and online while working full time, a few classes away from a master’s in Leadership and Project Management from Northeastern, and a path following all the rules that led me too far from art (aside from taking thousands of photos for “inspiration” ….“in case I start painting again”), I am embracing the things I lost along the way.  I let too much time slide with trying to “set up a studio space” instead of just grabbing a sketchbook and a pen and creating something. 

I decided after the passing of a dear friend at 43 from cancer that life was too short and I jumped back into art with both feet.  Then I lost a cousin to cancer at 47 in December 2012.  And another cousin to cancer just this month; she was 44.  What all of them had in common was that they touched the lives of so many simply with who they were: a friend of the community, a pillar of selflessness and founder of a charity, and a nurse.  They left a legacy of love.  I’d like to think I’ll do the same but also leave my art behind.

And so, I create art to help others.  To inspire others.  To appreciate others.  I love doing projects such as the FIT paintings.  I don’t know if it’s true with all forms of art, but when I have to be accountable to complete a project that’s not for me, I work harder.  The president of my company was retiring, and I decided to do a series of nine canvases of key products we worked on over the years – then I realized I had only about two weeks to complete them!  I somehow finished, and he still talks about how much he loves them with co-workers who stay in touch with him.  That kind of feedback fuels the fire for more artwork.

Insight Retirement -- Private Collection
Acrylic on canvas. Each 16 X 20

I have a short list of projects for friends, some are in various stages of completion, and I promised myself I would do what I could to finish those, and find a way to share what is inside with others, and I'm quite sure I found it with Friends of Art Manchester.  My mind is spinning once again with ideas and I look forward to this new adventure!  Thank you!

Honoring O'Keefe
Illustrator software, digital blend of two paintings
Printed on cardstock. 18 X 24

Stipple Theater Masks
India ink on painted paper
Each 4 X 6
Detail below

Abstract Icon
Ink and metallic pen on painted paper overlays
4 X 6

Monday, January 20, 2014

Reception at Families in Transition

Friends of Art Manchester had a wonderful reception at the women’s residence on Lowell Street last week.  Our art was up on the walls and we were given a tour of the facility.  The residence provides interim housing for 11 families and permanent supportive housing for six chronically homeless individuals.  The interim units serve as a safe space for families to stay as they wait to enter Families in Transition programming.

Paul Davidson’s colorful mandala is hanging on the wall of the second floor.  Paul is also participating in our second project for FIT. We are painting canvases again to decorate the men’s residence. Those paintings will be done in February.

We were welcomed by Karyn O’Neil, Chair of the Board of Directors of Families inTransition. Our Treasurer, Linda Feinberg spoke briefly and introduced our Vice President, Anthony Williams who told us about his vision for more public art in Manchester.  Linda also introduced our new President, Stephanie Bogalis.

Left to right: Anthony Williams, Linda Feinberg, Carolina Chauvette, Paul Davidson.

As you enter the building you are greeted by a painting of beautiful flowers by our Vice President, Anthony Williams.  Anthony is also a muralist and will be in charge of a spring project. You’ll be hearing more about that in a few months.

Carolina Chauvette likes big paintings and this one fills an interior hallway.  She also does commissioned work, painting portraits of musicians on canvas or guitar cases.

Carolina is a member of the Arts Commission and Friends of Art Manchester will be providing art at City Hall in May and June.  

Sunrise painting on left is by our Treasurer, Linda Feinberg. The Birches painting on right is by member Frank Moulin.  These paintings are hanging in the living room.

Paintings by members Deb Funk (on left), Aline Lotter (below) and Colleen O’Connor (bottom) are displayed in the kitchen/cafeteria.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Art Exhibit

Just a reminder that Families in Transition is hosting an art exhibit (rescheduled from a snowy date in December) this Thursday, January 16th at 136 Lowell Street, Manchester, from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

The artwork that will be viewed was specifically made for the Lowell Street Housing Building and will be hung there permanently for all who enter this building to enjoy.  If you have been following this blog for a while, you will remember that we posted images of our paintings as our artists completed them. Now you can see the originals!

Along with perusing artwork by local artists, this event will include a short program on how Friends of Art Manchester and Families in Transition are making a difference in our community. Light fare and refreshments will be available. 

Families in Transition provides safe, affordable housing and comprehensive social services to individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, enabling them to gain self-sufficiency and respect. 

The first annual meeting of Friends of Art Manchester will be held on Wednesday of this week.  If you are a member, you should have received an e-mail with information.  If you did not, please contact our treasurer.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Colleen's Gift

Our president, Colleen O’Connor, has left us to move closer to her family up north.  She has done a great job guiding us to an actual organization and we will miss her.

As a going away present, she left us some artwork to sell and use the money for our projects.  As treasurer, I don’t really know how to price these items, so please make an offer.

Please forward this post to your friends. If the items are not sold, they will be displayed with our first pop-up gallery, hopefully this spring.  Contact Linda Feinberg, Treasurer to pay for your item and pick it up (in Manchester).  or 645-6762.

Photo above: left item is “Draped Vessel”, ceramic. Low fire clay and layered glazes stoneware. Bottom right is “Circle, Square, Drip”, acrylic on canvas. Top right is “Iris”, ceramic: stoneware with red art added & glaze. Comes with candle inside.

“Ice Princess”. Watered down acrylic on canvas on sturdy frame.  18.5” X 18.5”

“Corner of Beech and Brook”, Pastel on paper, matted and framed under glass. Framed size, 14.5” X 17.5”

“Mushrooms by the Pond” Acrylic on canvas board, matted and framed under glass. Framed size, 10” X 12”