Page 1

content july 2011 Purple Flowers - Gretchen Anderson Bathroom Boredom - Dana Talbot-Heindl Artist Interview: Gretchen Anderson - Tanya Haller

cover 2 4-8

Uzbekistan Inspiration - Rachel Peeters

Scott Hintz - pg 11

Tanya Haller - pg 15


Wisconsin is Open for Business? - 9-10 Doug Stingle Colorado Mountain 1 - Dana 10 Talbot-Heindl Sanctuary - Kelleigh Cram


Mellisa Clarke 3 - Scott Hintz

on the front cover:

The Seven Tests -Kelleigh Cram

Purple Flowers

Gretchen Anderson Oil on canvas

on the inside front cover: Bathroom Boredom

11 13-14

The Lantern Brothers: The Third Brother - Tanya Haller Colorado Mountain 2 - Dana Talbot-Heindl


Donors & Index


A Colorful Mali - Rachel Peeters



Dana Talbot-Heindl Pen on toilet rolls

full page spread

The Lantern Brothers: The Third Brother Tanya Haller Illustration

on the inside back cover: A Colorful Mali Rachel Peeters Mixed media

about b’k:

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tanya haller. Artist Interview: Gretchen Anderson By guest columnist: Tanya Haller

This month’s interview is with Local artist Gretchen Anderson. Gretchen’s paintings of nature and use of color inspire and move those who see her work. Gretchen promotes organic produce and the use of local goods vs. commercial. Her love of her community and nature can be seen in her work. You can see more of her work at her website:


What first got you interested in the arts?


My family. There was always art and music in my various homes and I am grateful for that. My mother used to take me to art galleries and museums when I was a child. There are many artists in my family but I was the first one to go to college for a Fine Arts Degree.

Vawness: Gretchen:


How did your style emerge? I approach art and learning with a sort of vulnerability, a childlike enthusiasm, and a certain curiosity. It’s the same curiosity that a scientist or and archaeologist has when he or she sets out to discover something. There are many surprises along the way. I like drawing and painting a variety of subject matter. Shapes and shadows interest me. Every object has a history and with that, it’s own story to tell. The longer you sit and observe, the more you see. In portraiture, what is authentic always calls out to me. I sometimes draw their hopes and sometimes draw their vulnerabilities. It depends on the condition of their spirit at the time of the sitting. It’s a lot like watching an actor perform but knowing more about the plot than even they do. It’s interesting to see their inner motivations, to


tanya haller (con’t).

Vawness Gretchen

observe personalities, and see life stories in people’s faces. I try to translate that on paper. That is what expressionism feels like to me. I find that people, animals and places reveal volumes, if I sit still enough, and listen long enough to discover what they are really all about. Some elements of my work come from my head, other things come from what is in front of me. What I can say for certain is that what I bring to a piece depends on what the piece or subject brings to me. My style emerged when I was a teenager. It got developed through thousands of hours of studio time. You are an artist and a mother, how do you balance the two? I have learned to combine things and to do multiple things at once. I looked for others who had done what I wanted to do, and I couldn’t find anyone in my exact situation to compare notes with, so I created my own ways of doing things. It has been a learning process. I will say that my child always comes first. Rocks Many times, I build two canvases and we paint along together. I have always tried to include my child in everything that I do. There are always ways to find balance if you look for them. Once children start school it’s easier to plan day trips and studio time. You know, I try not to take myself too seriously. Things come up and that’s life. Laughter can turn a hard moment into a fun moment. Tomorrow is always another day. Children bring much joy to me as an artist. I love to see things through their eyes. A child’s spirit is contagious.


What inspires you to start a new piece of work?


I have gotten up from a deep sleep many times, and ran out to paint or sketch my visions or ideas on a napkin, if that’s all that I can find. If I have nothing around me to draw with, I tape record my thoughts for later use. Inspiration and art to me is like akin to the feeling a kid has with a cookie jar; once you put your hand in, you can’t keep it out. Life inspires me.

Vawness Gretchen

Nature is a large part of your artistic body of work. What makes you feel so connected to it? Sometimes, when I sit out in a forest with no one else around I can hear the music of the natural subjects around me. Ecosystems are teeming with life on a minute and monumental scale. We come from the earth and the earth sustains and nurtures life. It pains me that we have been bad stewards of the earth. I used to run around in farm fields and orchards as a child. These areas have now become


tanya haller (con’t).

toxic waste sites, strip malls or empty big box stores. Many rivers have been dammed and many are now unfit for swimming or drinking. Such a tragedy, really. But there are ways to clean things up. This gives me hope.

There is nothing like a lake, river, or ocean, prairie, forest, or plain that can evoke such a feeling of connectedness and awe. I have spent many nights camping in national parks in the US underneath an old growth oak or maple tree, watching the stars or storms roll in. These areas are home to me. I was moved around a lot as a child. Some memories were grand, others scary. Life is like that. When I am in nature I Boat Troubles always feel connected to the universe. When out in nature, or painting natural things, I feel complete.

Where ever I travel I see nature still accomplishing it’s purpose in it’s natural ways when we let it alone. It seems to be whispering to us to get back outdoors and live closer to the land as our ancestors did. When I sit by a mighty river and feel the mist spray on my face I know a peace that is nearly untranslatable and yet so universal. It is this that is so exciting to try to translate in to color and on a surface. There is a holiness that I find when sitting out in nature that I cannot find as readily in the cities. Painting En plein air has become a form of church for me, as much as painting has always been a form of prayer.

Vawness Gretchen


I hope to create paintings that celebrate the natural world and help bring that beauty inside to urban houses or high rise apartments. I have been working on recycled windows with hopes of bringing a figurative and literal window to the outside world back inside. When we forget our interconnectedness with nature we forget that without nature we would not exist. I think John Constable and William H. Turner, Aldo Leopold, and Ralph Waldo Emerson would understand how I feel. As far as my work, I like to think that John Muir would approve. This makes me happy. Your paintings feature unusual color combinations and vivid hues and expressive brush strokes. What goes through your mind when choosing how to creat a painting? Color is a like an old friend, a vehicle that takes me to fantastic places. I can’t describe how or why I see color the way that I do. It’s always been there. I have always been drawn to color theory and interested in how color alone can convey a certain mood, enhance a composition, contribute to the quality of a line, or stand alone as the only element in a design. I love seeing the brushstrokes in a

tanya haller (con’t).

painting because you can see that it is indeed a person who painted a piece as well as the verve with which they painted. That’s exciting to me. I approach each painting differently so what goes through my mind varies with the vision I have for the individual piece. I am usually open as a channel to attempt to convey the freshness of a thing, or the inner space or soul of my subjects


Where do you see your artistic life heading in the future?


Where ever the road takes me I hope that it will contribute to harmony and healing in humanity. I’d like to see more interconnectedness among different college departments in the future. I feel that there isn’t enough collaboration. People go to their own buildings and usually there isn’t time, money or interest in taking anything else but what is required for a specific major. I decided to stay a bit longer and learn more about other subjects that interest me. Everything is connected. A person gains understanding by studying various different disciplines. I have a bigger picture mindset and it’s hard to see a bigger picture if you only have a fraction of a snapshot of only a portion of an image. Learning is a life long process. It’s so important to read the right kinds of books and articles (the scholarly variety) and to share your knowledge with others. Environmental history, and Environmental Ethics changed the way I looked at the world. Every university should have those classes available. We need ingenuity and fresh perspectives so we can have a conversation together about how to change the social ills, poverty, and pollution problems as soon as possible. There is much work to be done! We all have a wide variety of gifts and skills to contribute. Let’s roll up our sleeves and fix these problems.

Vawness Gretchen

I have faith in my generation. The latch key kids have now grown up and we have families of our own. We may have inherited a mess, but we want to leave things well for the next seven generations. It is my belief that everyone possesses an inner creativity and it’s very exciting to see new artists express themselves for arts sake as well as for social changes. I hope to contribute to bring about awareness of the need to increase recycling, reduce pollution and increase respect for the fragile ecosystems. We lose the ecosystems, we lose the rainforest trees, we lose ourselves. It’s as simple as that. I’d like to see a future where people wake up to the real concerns of oil dependency, deforestation, pollution, etc. I hope to be painting at an increasing number of national parks and not have to be painting clearcut forests or dead animals along the gulf coast. But I will if that will help bring awareness for a shift in our wasteful, destructive habits. Finally, any advice to painters that are just starting out in college? Take your time but at the same time, be diligent. Set times to work and work regardless of how you feel. Don’t stop producing even when feel a dry spell coming on. If you aren’t satisfied with a piece make another one. Don’t be afraid to start over, rip it up and go back to the drawing board, put a painting down for awhile and go back into it later. Usually frustration, boredom or stagnancy means that you are on the cusp of discovering something magical in your progression. Keep working through that. It will come. Trust the process. Trust yourself. Volunteer. The community needs people like you to be a good representative for the arts. Be a mentor. Give your time to clubs, charities and events. Children need the arts. They help them to stay in school. Music and arts are being cut, so make time to volunteer at a daycare or school. Donate your work to good causes. There are many groups that need our help. Leave your ego out of it. Leave it at the door when you walk in for a critique. Honesty is better than making stuff up. People can sense your intentions. Make sure you hone good writing and speaking skills so that you can talk about your work to others well. If you don’t believe in it, why should anyone


tanya haller (con’t), rachel peeters. else? Convince them. Keep your chin up and your shoulders back. Respect yourself. Respect others. Eat well and rest. Make time for family, resting, and relaxing. Go to galleries when ever you can. Experiment. Recycle. Get out there and see art. Take your family with you because they miss you. Find an online community of painters so you can see what others are doing. Spend time on the 4th floor of the library in the oversized art book section. Realize that artists will be valued in the future because we can see things in ways that others cannot. Don’t worry about your style or finding yourself. It will emerge at the proper time. Figure out why you are making art. Then say it with all the confidence that you can muster. If you have no confidence, don’t worry. It will come. And probably go and then come again. This is normal. Find things to do that inspire you. Read the book Art and Fear. Above all else remember, when you are drawing, whatever it is, Make It Beautiful!

Uzbekistan Inspiration Rachel Peeters Mixed Media


doug stingle. Wisconsin is Open for Business? by: Doug Stingle

“Does renewable energy work in Wisconsin, we have 9 months of winter here?” Someone has asked me that question or some variant of it at every conference or community event I have attended. I loved this question because it gave me an opportunity to talk about how well renewable energy works here and in fact Wisconsin is one of the national leaders in renewable energy. I would tell people about the great financial incentives for installing a renewable energy system. We would discuss net-metering and how the utility company paid you the same rate for energy that you produced as it cost you to buy it from them. I would highlight how renewable energy was creating jobs in Wisconsin including manufacturing of system components, system installation and everything in between. Today the first part of my answer to the question “Does renewable energy work in Wisconsin?” remains the same. The sun continues to shine and the wind still blows but everything else has changed, and not for the better. Since January there has been what some have described as a “war on renewable energy” in Wisconsin and we are no longer viewed as a national leader. Worse yet renewable energy projects and jobs are finding homes in other states and even other countries. Now is not the time to be turning away jobs to Minnesota, New Jersey and even Canada. Our economy could use a boost and too many people here need jobs for us to stifle an industry and ship jobs out of state. A lot has happened in just seven short months let’s review the changes. In March a joint legislative panel voted to suspend the Public Service Commission’s wind turbine siting rule, PSC 128 . The Public Service Commission is an independent regulatory agency that oversees Wisconsin’s public utilities. Rule 128 would have created statewide uniform siting standards for wind turbines. Instead we are back to the hodgepodge of different rules throughout the state, which are almost always very restrictive and aimed to stop development. At least three large winds farms planned for Wisconsin, with a combined investment of $600 million have pulled out since the suspension of PSC 128. Taking their money and jobs to other states. Recently the Legislature adopted SB 81, which our friends at RENEW Wisconsin have dubbed the

“Outsource Renewable Energy to Canada Act.” SB 81 allows Wisconsin utilities to meet their renewable energy portfolio requirements, beginning in 2015, with hydro generated electricity from other states and countries. According to RENEW Wisconsin, Green Bay based Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) has signed an agreement to purchase 100 MW of power from Manitoba Hydro and is in negotiations to expand to 500MW. Outsourcing all of the jobs and millions of dollars in investment from Wisconsin to Canada. Not only will utility companies now be allowed to purchase their renewable energy from other states and countries but those purchases will now count toward meeting renewable portfolio standards indefinitely. AB 146 was recently passed and eliminates the four-year expiration date for Renewable Energy Credits allowing utilities to bank their renewable energy, eliminating the need to purchase or create renewable energy in the future. On July 1 Focus on Energy, the statewide public benefits program, ended their incentive program for businesses that install renewable energy systems. This program was highly successful and had helped businesses throughout the state to reduce the cost of installing a renewable energy system. In Addition to cutting incentives to businesses the Public Service Commission recently switched management for Focus on Energy to an out of state for-profit company. The Focus on Energy program had been successfully managed by a Wisconsin based non-profit organization. Many contractors in the state have had potential jobs shelved due to the cut in benefits. According to an article in the Wisconsin State Journal “contractors like Seventh Generation Energy Systems were stunned.“It’s pretty devastating,” said James Yockey, chief executive officer. “It probably took out six to 10 projects that we were looking to close … for work in the fall and the coming spring.” In April WPS put into effect a new net energy policy that essentially discourages new customer-sited renewable energy systems. Before the new policy WPS had been paying it’s customers full retail rate for electricity produced by the customer and sent back to the utility, about $.12 per kWh. Under the new rate WPS will pay only $.03/kWh for electricity that a customer sends back to the grid. This policy also contains a clause that calculates net energy each month, which adversely affects customers whose energy use varies due to 9

doug stingle (con’t), dana talbot-heindl. seasonal factors. The policy affects systems installed after March 2011, but WPS has indicated that it plans to apply that rate to older systems effective January 2013. There are a few more changes that have gone into effect recently that have affected the renewable energy landscape, like We Energies, the state’s largest utility eliminating their renewable energy program. When you take a look at all of the changes that have adversely affected the renewable energy industry in Wisconsin since the start of 2011 it is hard to come to any other conclusion than there is in fact a “war against renewable energy.” Renewable energy does work in Wisconsin and it can help put Wisconsin back to work if we had leaders who put our long-term future at the forefront of their policies instead of how we can save a couple bucks today. According a recent study by the Brookings institution Wisconsin’s clean economy accounts for

Colorado Mountain 1 Dana Talbot-Heindl Photograph 10

76,858 jobs, or about 2% of the workforce. Another recent study from the Union of Concerned Scientists titled “A Bright Future for the Heartland: Powering the Midwest Economy with Clean Energy,” shows that Midwest states have tremendous potential to produce electricity from renewable resources, particularly wind, biomass (plant material such as corn stalks and switch grass), and solar and to cut utility bills by reducing energy use in homes and businesses. Tapping the Midwest’s clean energy potential would drive billions of dollars in new business investment, create thousands of jobs, and save families and businesses billions through lower utility bills, while reducing the state’s dependence on coal. Our future is now, let’s make it a brighter one with renewable energy. To stay up to date on all the policy happenings dealing with renewable energy check out RENEW Wisconsin’s website at

kelleigh cram, scott hintz. Sanctuary

by: Kelleigh Cram Sanctuary- refuge or safety from danger. Vincent closed the dictionary, laid back, and took a huge stretch. Fifty definitions down, five chapters to go, and then the test. If he passed, he would be an official, ordained minister. Just as he was about to open The Transformation from Man to Priest, he heard a knock on the door. “Dinner dear,” said Sister Isabel, the sweet sound of her voice vibrating in the air. The smell of the roast was intoxicating. The women went first, then the men, then Father Matthews. Once everyone was seated, the rambunctious priest stood at the foot of the table and stretched his arms, as if to hug everyone present. “Ladies, gentlemen,” his voice boasted, “welcome to the Lord’s table! Now which of you desires to say grace?” Vincent nearly jumped out of his chair as he raised his hand. He would do anything in his power to please the father. “Ahh, Stephen,” the preacher said, a hearty smile wrinkling his cheeks. “Oh, dear gracious God,” he began, “bless those at this table with good fortune and love. We are grateful to have this food to nourish our bodies. We cry out for all the lost souls, and pray they may be lead to you and be saved. Amen.” A chorus of amens resounded, followed by the clanks of forks and passing plates. “How are your studies?” Sister Isabel asked. “They are well, “he replied, “almost done.” She went on about her journey into the sisterhood, but Vincent wasn’t listening. He was going over his initiation sermon in his head. “Dear Lord, I stand before these beautiful people…” His entire career was on the line. He had one time to prove he was capable, one time to prove to Father Matthews he was the right one to take his place. ”…I stand before you now, humbled, for I know I do not

Mellisa Clark 3 Scott Hintz Photoshopped illustration

deserve the many blessings you have bestowed upon me. I come, as your servant, here to carry out your will, for you have blessed me with the power to spread the message of faith...” The next afternoon, he stood at the altar, bible in hand. He ran his hands down his long, black cassock, trying to smooth out the wrinkles. He felt as though time had stopped, and it wasn’t until he heard footsteps that he realized he wasn’t breathing. Father Matthews walked in, wearing a euphoric grin that consumed his entire face. Vincent stood erect, took a deep breath, and spoke. “Your Holiness,” he said. “Vincent,” began the priest, “you are almost an official clergyman. However, there is one more task you must complete. Vincent felt as though he would burst. He had been 11

kelleigh cram (con’t). waiting for this moment for months, and his stomach churned, his thoughts full of the worst possible initiation rites. “You must take a vigil,” said the priest. Vincent noted the look of severity in his eyes, and feared the worst. “You must stay the night in the sanctuary.” “What?” thought Vincent, almost saying it out loud. “No fasts? No inducing pain? No spending time in complete isolation?” It baffled him. “I must leave you now,” said the father. With that, he left. Vincent sat in the first pew, lost in a whirl of confusion. “What was going on?” He looked at his watch. It was nine o’clock. He was already getting tired, and he needed to work on his initiation sermon. “You have set me on a path of trials and hardships, yet I strive to live a life of righteousness…” After repeating the hour long oration about three times, he decided it was time to rest. He locked the door, and laid out on the wooden pew, knowing he would be sore in the morning. Slowly, he drifted to sleep. THUD! He awoke with a start. He got up and searched for the lights. He scanned the sanctuary, looking for the source of the disturbance. He turned to face the altar, where a four-foot Jesus statue had fallen off the wall. He panicked. “When Father Matthews sees this…under my watch…” The thought of it made his legs go numb. He decided he must call the man. If he came clean he might still have a chance… The lights flickered, starting slowly, then gradually picking up pace, until everything was a blur. “Who is in here?” he stuttered, the slightest bit of fear forming in his chest. He ran to the back of the room where the light switch was, turned the corner, and caught a glimpse of a man…smiling at him. Then the room went dark. All he could think of was to run to the door. He got there, turning the knob frantically, but it wouldn’t budge. “The Keys!”


A chill went down his spine as he remembered he left them on the altar. He heard a jingling sound from behind him. He spun his head around to face the imposter and felt a cold sensation in his ear, something breathing down his neck. “Looking for these?” it whispered. “What do you want?” Vincent asked, his voice quivering. “Your soul!” boomed the spirit. The sanctuary came alive with glowing apparitions, floating in a restless tremor. The laughter of children filled the air, trailing down the halls. The pews were full with empty souls, stiff, as if in a trance. They stood and began to sing, their voices becoming a dreary harmony. “We come in your will/ the souls of the living we will steal/an army of demons we will build/we will fight until the accursed God is dead/oh Prince of Darkness, oh great king of Hell.” “Be gone demons,” shouted Vincent, holding up his bible. “In the name of God I cast you back to Hell!” Each head turned to stare at him, and their necks twisted around past their shoulders until their eyes faced the back of their heads. Their faces were distorted. Many had body parts missing, tears in their flesh, and blood running down their wounded chests. One woman flashed her pointed, viper-like teeth at him, hissing. Another had claws coming out of her fingers. Simultaneously, they stood up, slowly walking towards him. He started to run, hoping to make it to one of the glass stained windows. There was thick, red liquid pouring down all of them. The walls began to cave in. Deep, eerie music came from the organ. He reached the window, grabbed the Jesus statue, and threw it into the glass. He stood on a pew to climb his way out. He pushed his torso through the window and his body started to fall. He put one foot on the ledge, pushed with all his strength, and just as he was about to jump… A cold hand grasped his ankle, yanking him back in the sanctuary. The hungry devils pushed him to the ground, eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Just before he took his last breath, he looked up at the altar. There was Father Matthews, staring back.

kelleigh cram. The Seven Tests by: Kelleigh Cram

A nun, walking through deserted woods, stumbled upon seven odd-looking people. They wore black cloaks with upside down crucifixes around their necks. There was a word, which she was unable to read, running down the middle of them. Black hoods covered their faces, giving them a mysterious, evil presence. Fear filled her. “Who are you?” the nun asked, wondering if she would be meeting Jesus that night. “We are the seven deadly sins,” one replied, “However; we are willing to make a deal with you. Each one of us will do everything in our power to make you sin. If you resist, that sin shall be set free; if you give into temptation, your soul shall belong to the devil.” After hearing this, the nun fell to her knees and prayed for strength. “Oh God, If you give me this chance, I promise I will not let you down. My beautiful maker, if you decide to take me, if it is my time… I pray, please! Guide me in this time of need!” The first sin was Gluttony. “Come,” said he, his gelatin chin shaking as he spoke. He took her to a table covered with delicious meats and pastries. The aroma of roast filled the air, and the nun, inhaling, reached for a


kelleigh cram (con’t). healthy piece of steak. But, she stopped herself, praying, “Dear Lord, I shall only take what I need, for this is your blessing given to me by your grace. Gluttony vanished. The second sin, Sloth, came next. He laid her on a bed of silk, with pillows so decadent it felt as though she were on a cloud. She wrapped herself in the silky comforter, stretching her legs between the sheets. But then, she remembered her vows, praying, “God, I will only sleep until my energy is restored, for I have work to do in your name.” Sloth went away. The third sin was Lust. He told her she was beautiful, whispering in her ear. He took off her veil, ran his hand through her hair, and gently stroked her cheek. As he leaned in to kiss her, she pulled away, praying, “Jesus, you are my only lover.” Lust was gone. Next came Envy, a woman, more gorgeous then the nun had ever witnessed. Envy taunted her, saying, “Do you not wish to look like me?” The nun could not help but stare. She shook her head to force herself out of the sinful trance. “You made me in your image,” the nun prayed, causing Envy to disappear. The fifth sin, Greed, offered her jewelry of gold and silver, riches farther than the eye could see. His crooked smile showed his golden teeth, and he handed her a ruby necklace. “You wear all black and white, but a woman such as yourself deserves to wear color. She was dying to put it on, but said, “God, You have provided me with everything I need.” Greed was no more. The six sin, anger, came and beat her with his fist, throwing her on the ground and kicking her, shouting,” You are a worthless, dirty whore!” As the nun was being abused, she cried out to God, saying, “Help me to forgive this man, just as Jesus forgave the sins of mankind while he was on the cross.” Anger was gone, and she was alone. Pleased with herself, she prayed one last time. “Lord, see how well I have obeyed you? I am an example of what every Christian should be. Now I will go home to the covenant and tell the sisters what I have accomplished.” She looked up and saw a man smiling at her. She felt a cold, slimy sensation at her feet. It was a snake, blue with purple spots, shining in the sunlight. In awe, she picked it up. It bit her neck, but no blood came out. She 14

felt her head spin as though the life were being sucked out of her, and she fainted. She awoke to find the man standing in front of her, watching her. She stood up, tensed her muscles, and looked him in the eye. Be gone, Satan, for I come with the power of God on my side!” He smiled a sinister smile, a look of triumph on his face, and replied, “My dear”, you have forgotten the last sin.” He pointed at her neck When she looked down, her tunic was replaced with a black cloak made of silk. Hanging from her neck was a cross, upside down like the others. She held it up, reading the engraving. Pride, it said.

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Colorado Mountain 2 Dana Talbot-Heindl Photograph

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The Bitchin' Kitsch September Issue  

The Bitchin' Kitsch is a zine for artists, poets, prose writers, or anyone else who has something to say. It exists for the purpose of open...