Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Busy, busy, busy!

Detail from new work

I am busy working towards two upcoming shows.

In May I will be joining five dear friends who have all worked and exhibited together over the past five years in Worcester.

This is always a very stimulating group for me to be involved with as my fellow artists do such amazing work with sculpture, printmaking, installation, video, and even occasionally paint!

Our newest production, Continuum:  Five Years On, will open at the Sprinkler Factory, West Gallery on May 13th 2017.

The image above is a section of a large piece (74x63), oil on un-stretched canvas that I will include in  this show.

More news to come.  Check back for updates!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Public Discussion and Poetry at the Anchor House

I want to thanks the brave folks. new friends and old, who braved the cold and snow to come to my opening last Friday.

It was great to be able to talk with everyone and hear their thoughts on this project.

Next Saturday, February 18th from 4-6 p.m. we will host a public discussion on this series, I will read some passages from the found journal, and several Anchor House poets will share their words as well.

Now, if only the gods of weather will cooperate!

Anchor House of Artists, 518 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA
Gallery Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday 1-6 p.m.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Found Journal Series at the Anchor House

Show is up and looks great in the space.

Gallery Director, Michael Tillyer, persuaded me to have the found journal pages on display along with the art.  I have always been protective of them, so I initially felt uncomfortable, but now I see how powerful it is to include them.

Please come join us at the opening on Friday night Northampton’s Arts Night Out
February 10 5:30 - 8:30p.m.
518 Pleasant St., Northampton
gallery hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday 1-6p.m.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

This series of paintings that I completed in 2013 will be on exhibit at the Anchor House of Artists, Northampton, Massachusetts.

The Anchor House is an amazing place where visual art, performance and social outreach all come together under the guiding hand and big heart of Michael Tillyer, a gifted artist in his own right.

We will participate in Northampton's Arts Night Out on February 10th by celebrating our opening from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

On February 18th there will be a public discussion on the making and source of this work as well as poetry from four Anchor House poets.  4 p.m.-6 p.m.

Find the Anchor House at 518 Pleasant St., Northampton in a nondescript building next the the Shell Station.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Last Week: Anamnesis of Place at Oxbow Gallery

The opening was a wonderful event.  Thanks to everyone who braved the oppressive heat and humidity!

People have been drifting in all month, but now the show is in its last week.
This Thursday through Sunday
 noon until five p.m. and then its all over.

Catch it now!

275 Pleasant Street
Northampton, MA

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Show opens on August 4th

Today was installation day!
No. the job was not fueled by pizza, though that wouldn’t have been a bad idea.  I like clean pie boxes for transporting small paintings.

Anyway, things went smoothly.  A dozen paintings are up.  Tomorrow there are a few finishing touches to add, then the doors open 

Thursday, August 4th at noon.
Show runs through August 28th.
Artist’s Reception:
Friday, August 12, 5-8p.m.

275 Pleasant street
Northampton, MA

More pictures soon!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Gallery A3 in Amherst

Gallery A3 in Amherst, Massachusetts is having their third annual juried show.

This year’s juror was Mara Williams, chief curator of the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center.

There were 222 entries and she selected 53 pieces, one of which was mine.

Cast a Wide Net
oil and graphite on paper

The show will be up until July 30, 2016.

The gallery is hosting a reception on July 16th and Artists in Conversation on July 21st

Please visit their website for more information!

Gallery A3, 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA

Meanwhile I am putting the finishing touches on my up coming solo show next month.
Stay turned for more details!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Paper City Studios is just a few blocks from my studio in the Baustein Building.
I’ll have a couple pieces in this show as the guest of Dean Nimmer.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

December Shows

December is always a great time to purchase original art.
Galleries are brimming with smaller pieces at tempting prices.

At Oxbow Gallery, (Northampton, Massachusetts) we are showing a roomful of 5x7’s all priced at $40.00 a piece and all proceeds go to support our lecture series.

 This is a wonderful way to to ensure that we are able continue to offer free lectures to the community.

The exhibit is up now through January 3rd, 2016
Opening reception will be Friday, December 11th 5-8 pm

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Paper Work

oil and graphite on paper

I am working these days with a specific solo show in mind.

The work will all be oil on paper.  There will be a bit of a range of scale, this being a example of a small one (note push pins for an idea of the size).

There is something about working on paper that feels so natural, so familiar, and very freeing.  You know, like what’s the big deal if you make something “bad”?  Don’t get your panties in a bunch, it’s just a piece of paper!

Many of the recent pieces have bits of older paintings in them.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Lay of the Land
oil on paper

The work continues...

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Just thought I’d post a few shots from last night’s festivities.

Thank you to Hammond Real Estate  for giving me this opportunity and hosting such a fun opening.

The work will remain up through the end of the year, so if you are near Belmont Center, stop in and check it out!

84 Leonard Street, Belmont, Massachusetts

Monday, November 2, 2015

Getting Creative

Sure, artists are used to being creative in the studio, but we have to be creative in getting our work out into the world, too.

When Hammond Residential Real Estate in Belmont, Massachusetts asked if I would be interested in displaying my work in their office for a couple months I said “Yes!”

With lots of help and support from them (special thanks to Laura and Mary Ellen), I have 15 paintings on exhibit now through the end of the year.

Hammond is graciously hosting a reception this Wednesday night from 6:00 to 7:30.
Please stop in and say ‘hello” if you can.

Hammond Real Estate
84 Leonard Street,
Belmont, MA
Reception Wednesday, November 4th, 6-7:30 p.m.
Show runs until December 30th, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Materials matter

At this Point,
mixed media on panel,

Just like thinking about the self as being comprised of three intermeshing components of body, mind and spirit, paintings include intuition, concepts, and materials.

Depending on the artist, usually one of these three aspects is emphasized.  Sometimes one or more of them are denounced, but they are generally all present.

This piece was primarily about materials:  exploring the physical qualities and limitations of paint, the surface and various additives.

There are areas of gritty texture,areas of sheer glossy darks, and areas thick opaque colors.

More soon on an upcoming solo show!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Paintings from the Cape

I’m having a hard time prioritizing my time to include posting images here.

 I’ve got to let go of trying to organize or present things in any particularly thought-out way.

Here are a couple plein air paintings from last month.

The first one was a very sunny, blustery day at Pamet Harbor in Truro, Massachusetts.

The second one, was a very hot late summer day at Castle Hill center for the Arts also in Truro.

Honestly, it was a rough few days of painting.

Painting outdoors feels like something I need to push myself to do periodically, but it totally stresses me out!

I can’t lose myself in the process the way I can in the studio.

These are both 12x12, oil on panel.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

River Eddy
oil on panel

Yesterday I picked up a “new” camera at a yard sale and finally got back to shooting my work.

This is a piece I started in July when I was at Bennington College taking a MASS Art workshop taught by Honour Mack from MECA.

The course was called Painting from Perception into Imagination.

I will post some of the more perception (observation is really what she meant) based pieces soon.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Art Across the River, Oxbow Gallery & Gallery A3

Ascent no. 3
oil on canvas

The cooperative gallery that I belong to in Northampton, MA, The Oxbow Gallery and the cooperative Gallery in Amherst, MA, Gallery A3 have joined forces to put on a joint show at both locations concurrently for the month of August.

This piece of mine was selected by the curators to be included at the exhibit at the Oxbow location.

Here are the details:
Gallery A3 located at 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA
Opening reception Thursday August 6th, 5-8 p.m.

The Oxbow Gallery located at 275 Pleasant Street, Northampton, MA
Opening reception Friday, August 14th, 5-8 p.m.

Stop by and say hello!  I will be at the Oxbow for the probably the whole thing, but the last half for certain.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cool Blue Groove
acrylic, graphite on canvas

This painting will be up for auction to help raise funds for Life is Good Playmakers.

The Life is good Kids Foundation or “Playmakers” is an organization focused on the  power of optimism as a healing tool.

They primarily serve young children who have been traumatized either through a natural disaster or family abuse/neglect.

Many thanks to Jay Munsey, the organizer of this fundraising golf tournament and auction.

I hope it does well for them!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Gallery A3 Show

Crystal Imperfection
oil, graphite on panel

It has been a while since I’ve put any work in a show, but this piece will be at Gallery A3 in Amherst, Massachusetts as part of their annual juried show.

John R. Stomberg, Director of Mount Holyoke College Art Museum served as juror and curator for this show

Show runs July 2nd through August 1st.
Opening:  Thursday July 2nd 5-8 p.m.
Artists’ Reception:  Saturday, July 11th 4-7 p.m.
Curator’s talk:  Thursday, July 16 7:30 p.m.

Gallery A3 is a cooperative gallery, located at 28 Amity St. in Downtown Amherst.

Next month the gallery I belong to, The Oxbow Gallery of Northampton and Gallery A3  are putting on joint exhibitions at both locations, so I will be involved in that too.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

An Uncertain Geometry
4x4 inches
mixed media:  collage, oil, graphite on paper mounted on board

This is a wee little thing, but it pleases me.

I made it during a totally exhilarating,  sometimes nearly chaotic, workshop at Castle Hill in Truro, Massachusetts.

The class was called Working the Surface and was taught by Bonney Goldstein.

I have long admired her work, and she was great fun to learn from.  A real fireball, she is!

There was a lot of experimentation with materials, and techniques.  For example, I used more collage elements than is usual for me.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Fields of Blue

acrylic on canvas

I am finally wising up to the fact that when I ask friends and fellow artists to weigh in on a painting, it means I am not done, not fully satisfied that I have pushed it as far as I can.

It is as if I am hoping someone’s words will make me feel the way I feel when I know a painting is completed to the best of my ability.

This is probably the most critical thing for any artist to learn:  to learn listen to and trust in their own barometer.  Might actually be the most important thing for any human to learn!

Despite that, I do thank the people who looked at and shared their thoughts on this piece in its last iteration (see last post).

Talking with people you trust about your work can help you develop your inner listening.

Now all I need is a title…….

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Today’s Efforts

acrylic on canvas

I was home today which means painting in acrylics rather than my more usual oils.

First off, let me say, the painting in person is not quite so garishly turquoise as it is at least on my screen.

I am always taken aback by the speed of acrylics.  I find it gratifying to be able to move on to new layers, new iterations so quickly, but the tempo of it verges on panic for me.

I will need some time to figure out if this baby is done or if it pleases me.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Intersection of Art and Buddhism

Singing Bowls
oil on panel

Singing bowls are used in meditation, yoga and healing.  Technically they are a kind of bell which stands rather than hangs.  They can be struck with a wooden mallet or, to produce their unique singing sound, the rim is rubbed to create vibration (like running your finger around a crystal goblet).

This painting is more about the vibration than the form of the bowls.

If you are interested in the intersection of art and Buddhism, check out the exhibit opening this Sunday, May 3rd 2-5 p.m. at The Boundless Way Zen Temple, 1030 Pleasant St., Worcester, MA.
Buddhas Over Worcester (BOW, get it?) is an outdoor sculpture event where people have been invited to create a piece about what it means to be awake in this world.
The show is in the Temple gardens and will be open daily during daylight hours until July 11, 2015.

Yes, I have a piece in the show.

Friday, April 24, 2015

R&F Paints' Pigment Sticks

Not yet titled
oil and graphite on panel

This is one of the pieces I made at R&F Paints at a recent workshop.

 It is  a metamorphosis of a painting I started last summer in a workshop with Tim Hawksworth.  I say metamorphosis because like an insect, it bares little resemblance to its previous (larval?) state, but I know what's in there and that it lead me to this place.

When listing materials, I do not differentiate between tube oils and oil sticks.
I frequently used them together.

I exclusively use R&F Pigment sticks (their name for their oil sticks).
Now that I have witnessed how they are made by hand by artists who are passionate about them, I will never again begrudge the price sticker.

Seriously, there is one guy standing over one machine hand grinding each batch.

While we were there in March the paint mixers were developing new colors and our class got to test them out!  Yippee!

R&F offers many workshops and all the paint you want to use is included in the tuition.  Can I say "yippee" again ?

It was a great experience to work in this environment of abundance and generosity.

R&F makes artists the center of their mission.  The studio space is comfortable, well-lit, with good ventilation.  They have a gallery on premise, and I think everyone who works there is an artist as well.

By now it is obvious that I am a fan!  I recommend trying the sticks, visiting the factory in Kingston, or taking a workshop.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Another Great Workshop

Last weekend I went to R&F Paints in Kingston, NY for an oil stick, er pardon me, pigment stick workshop with Lisa Pressman.

If you aren't familiar with Lisa Pressman, she is a terrific artist who works in both oil and encaustic.
She has an exhibit in both media right now at the gallery at R&F.

Lisa is one of those rare people who is both gifted at making art and coaching others.

She does demos etc. of her own techniques, but has this uncanny ability to sense where you are in your artistic life and with a very "light touch" offer some words of insight to nudge you on, deeper, beyond old habits and fall-back imagery.

She kicked off the workshop with an exercise, using 6x6 squares of paper.  The rest of the time we were working mostly on our own.

Even though they are "quickies" (or maybe particularly because they are "quickies"), I am enjoying some of them.  It was also fun, back here at home to group them together.

Oil stick and graphite on prepared paper

More of the larger pieces to come.
Also, next time I will get into how awesome R&F is.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Way Out
oil on canvas

I was hesitant to post this one, as I think it reads quite different (better) in person.

It has subtle coloration, many layers, and a rich, textual surface.  If you click on it you might get a better sense.

It started life as a really poor attempt at plein air panting last fall.

I turned it 45 degrees, threw a lot of paint at it, and finally found something I found interesting.

Oddly enough, I still get a sense of landscape from it.  Maybe it is just the paint fumes talkin'!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Duck Creek Frozen
acrylic and graphite on mylar

Last weekend I got to spend some time in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.  It was such a treat!

I was not far from a spot called Duck Creek, which I would say is a saltwater, marshy, inlet.
This time of year, and this exceptionally cold winter in particular, it is frozen into dramatically jutting plates that get pushed by the tides.  

One sunny, frigid morning we took a walk out over a bridge and around a small, uninhabited island.  Later we went home and I painted this from memory, which I prefer over using a reference photo.

My friend took some pictures which I am now very glad to have, and enjoy seeing the similarities and differences in the images.

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Gallery to Call My Own

Ascent no.1
oil on canvas

I am happy to officially announce that I am now a member of
Oxbow Gallery in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Oxbow is a terrific gallery, owned and operated by its artist members.

I am both excited and humbled to be included with this group of diverse and very strong artists!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Few Exhibits

charcoal and tracing paper
11x 8.5

This is a piece that at least a couple of us worked on.

On the left side the tone is built up with layers of tracing paper.

My solo show at Eagle Hill is about to come to a close.  January 31st is the final day in case you want to check that out.

Next up, I have a piece in a show dubbed "The Book Show" at The Taber Gallery, at Holyoke Community College.  This is a show comprised of works from Dean Nimmer's newest book, Creating Abstract Art.  Yep. That's me (my painting) on page 62.

Opening reception will be on Feb 19th 5:30 p.m. More info here.

And, as I mentioned in my last post, Pieces from the workshop I led on Experimental Mark-making will be on exhibit at the GALA Gallery, 205, School St., Gardner, MA.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


ink and charcoal on paper

Here's a piece from the workshop I lead today on "Experimental Mark-making"

Some of the work, including many collaborative pieces, are on exhibit at the GALA gallery at
205 School Street, Gardner, MA.
Visit GALA's website for hours and more information

Also on exhibit is a body of work by Fitchburg artist  C.M. Judge.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Experimental Mark-making Workshop

The Tangled Undergrowth of Memory (detail)
graphite, charcoal and oil stick on wax prepared paper

Sunday, January 18th I will be facilitating a workshop, a  playshop, at the GALA Art Center in Gardner, Massachusetts.

Emphasis will be on experimentation and collaboration.  And fun.  Remember fun?

We will meet in GALA's space at 205 School Street from 1p.m till 4 p.m.

Free for members, $5.00 for nonmembers.  All proceeds to benefit the GALA Art Center.
Pre-registration required as space is limited.  Visit GALA's event page for registration.

Monday, January 5, 2015

work on wax coated paper

Season of Short Days
wax, graphite, and oil stick on paper

I found this painting inside another, larger piece that I wasn't crazy about.

Oddly, this wasn't the section that I liked in the first attempt.
Maybe it was my lack of attachment to it that allowed me to get free and let it become something new.

It bears a resemblance to my "back yard", a wild meadow ringed by stone walls and woods.

Incidentally, I did not post dimensions because I haven't decided on a final crop yet.  There is a lot more sky, which was fun to paint, but I think the piece is stronger with like this.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The End Begins Again
acrylic and graphite on mylar

Seemed like an appropriate thought and image as one year passes to another.

I did this in November at a workshop with Tim Hawkesworth, but it was actually without Tim Hawkesworth as he was busy in the hospital recovering from a heart attack.

It was an intense and bewildering time for all involved.

So, since my last post I've moved to a new studio space, done some painting, and tried to get back into a regular figure drawing groove.

As for shows, I've got one piece, and older one, in the back gallery at Oxbow Gallery, Northampton, MA.  That will be up through the 4th of January and  another little piece in GALA's new gallery space in Gardner, MA, also up until the 4th.

My solo show at The Center at Eagle Hill remains up through the end of January, and three pieces continue to hang in Worcester at the Hanover Theatre until early February.

I got a small mention and picture of a work in progress in Dean Nimmer's newest book, Creating Abstract Art.  There will be an exhibit at the Taber Gallery at Holyoke Community College of the work from that book.  Show will run from January 26, 2015- February 26, 2015.  Details to follow.

So, as 2014 is laid to rest and the new year begins with great intentions, I wish you all wellness, happiness and peacefulness.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Place In Mind Reception

I want to thank everyone who came to last night's reception.

Friends old and new from near and far, you each contributed to making this a wonderful evening.

I was surprise, pleased, humbled, and grateful for the turn out, which the director described as the best ever.

A very deep thank you to Eagle Hill, and specifically Paul Overton, director of The Center and Melanie Donovan, technical director for their support and hard work pulling this show together with me.

Here are some picture of the festivities!

photos, thanks to Darrell Probst

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Show Opens Today at The Center

A Place in Mind
solo show of paintings by Joanne Holtje 
Artist Reception today
5:30- 7:30 p.m.

242 Old Petersham Road
Hardwick, MA 01037

Complimentary wine and cheese

Followed by a performance of Zydeco music by Les Amis Creole 
(ticketed event)

The exhibit will run through January 31, 2015
Gallery hours, weekdays 3:30p.m- 5:00p.m.

Well, the day is here!  I am a little nervous, a little excited, and looking forward to seeing old friends and new.  Please stop by and enjoy the hospitality of Eagle Hill School.