The Artful Mind June 2021

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ALISON ENGLAND Photography by Edward Acker

The Fine Art of Printing Fine Art. · Giclée and Photo Printing · Digital Reproduction of Paintings · Photo Restoration and Repair

“The prints have amazing clarity and are absolutely beautiful reproductions of the original works. Clients are amazed with the quality.” – Virginia Bradley

Playa Santa 22 — Virginia Bradley

Drop-off & Pick-up Available in Great Barrington, MA and Millerton, NY Studio located in Mount Washington, MA l l 413 · 644· 9663


"Lilith with Silk Rose" “Jetty, Charleston”, gouache/pastel, 18” x 24”

See more art at:

Julia Grey Archival Inkjet Print

At Large Studio, Las Vegas,NV

“Renaissance” Oil on Canvas 36 x 48” i2021

Ghetta Hirsch website: instagram: @ghettahirschpaintings


Text or call : 413. 281. 0626

MATT CHINIAN American Social Realism

#1731 2nd St. 2020 16x18 oil on panel $1000.00

Contact /studio visits:


THE ARTFUL MIND You are fantabulous! JUNE 2021











Publisher / Harryet Candee Copy Editor / Marguerite Bride Third Eye / Jeff Bynack Advertising and Graphic Design / Harryet Candee Contributing Writers Richard Britell / Mike Cobb Photographers Edward Acker / Tasja Keetman / Sam Backhaus

ADVERTISING RATES for VIRTUAL GALLERY and Display please call 413 - 645 - 4114

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FB Open Group: ARTFUL GALLERY for artful minds The Artful Mind Box 985

Great Barrington, MA 01230

YFI: ©Copyright laws in effect throughout The Artful Mind for logo & all graphics including text material. Copyright laws for photographers and writers throughout The Artful Mind. Permission to reprint is required in all instances. In any case the issue does not appear on the stands as planned due to unforeseeable cir-


cumstances beyond our control, advertisers will be compensated on a one to one basis. All commentaries by writers are not necessarily the opinion of the publisher and take no responsibility for their facts and opinions.

Mark Mellinger Paintings - Collage - Construction

100 North St Pittsfield #322 914. 260. 7413 Infrastructure. 2021. Marble and cast iron. 11" wide, 7-1/2" deep, 8" high. $2,200



Paul Lewis at Tanglewood, pastel on toned paper, 11 x 17 inches





Painting classes on Monday and Wednesday mornings 10-1pm at the studio in Housatonic and Thursday mornings 10am - 1pm out in the field. Also available for private critiques. Open to all. Please come paint with us! Landscape in pastel 6 • JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND

Gallery hours: Open by chance and by appointment anytime 413. 274. 6607 (gallery) 413. 429. 7141 (cell) 413. 528. 9546 (home)

Front Street, Housatonic, MA

Alex Kamaroff



Alex Kamaroff


ART studios

you can visit!

CAROLYN M. ABRAMS Brunswick,NY Open by appointment or by chance


MATT CHINIAN Contact /studio visits:



Studio appointments: Call 1-413-528-6945 Keith and Mary original artwork for sale. Studio/ gallery, South Egremont, MA.

Instagram@ghettahirschpaintings Please text or call 413-281-0626 Open Studio every Thursday from 11 to 3 in June and July

OPEN STUDIO July 10, 11 and August 13, 14 12.00-18.00 234 Long Pond Rd, Gt Barrington, Virginia Bradley William Casper, sculpture and Chris Malcomson

Watch these artists work at their passion. Become inspired.


Learn about their art through discussion and demonstration.

Plan to visit all, or just one. Enjoy the beautiful countryside. Safely and with mindfulness. Contact us at The Artful Mind: to be seen here! THE ARTFUL MIND

JUNE 2021 • 9


CAROLYN M. ABRAMS Carolyn Abrams grew up in Brunswick, NY well known for its rolling hills and amazing light and sunsets. Her work is an exploration of the wisdom of art that she finds as a passionate artist. Intuition has always guided her in her exploration of the spiritual and physical worlds. An enthusiastic learner, new techniques and unique art materials drive her work to best express this passion for creativity in her ethereal and peaceful nature-inspired paintings. Most recently her work with oils and cold wax have provided the perfect medium for expression. From the natural world that surrounds the area in which she lives, to the bell that is rung by a lyric or poem, each work reveals the elements of impressionism and abstraction. Feelings of hope and harmony are ever present in her work which attracts many of her collectors to follow her on her journey. Carolyn M. Abrams; Facebook



Catena 7


PHOTOGRAPHY I have been a student of photography for more than 20 years, though most intently for the last five years. I am primarily a landscape photographer. Recently my photographic voice has migrated to the creation of work with reference to other art forms, notably encaustic painting and ancient Chinese and Japanese brush painting and woodblock art. My intention is to create with viewer a moment of pause and reflection; a moment to digest the image and find their own story in the art. Each image is part of a limited edition. There are several sizes available. Each piece is priced according to size. Images are unframed and printed on Hahnemuhle archival papers. Bruce Panock

The Catena Series: an alchemical discovery of related moments in disconnected times. Catena 7 began with intersecting bio-morphic forms that were reminiscent of a planetary landscape – a cross between Helma af Klint and Yves Tanguy. After 6 months of work the painting was still treading water - without a destination in sight. So, the electric sander was added to the conversation and I excavated back to the early layers of the work. What emerged was my long-standing interest in Magic Realism merging with the original bio-morphic tantric form. For me, the final image becomes a magical island where Gabriela Garcia Marquez’s Fermina Daza and Florintino finally land together (Love in the Time of Cholera). The Catena Series began in July 2020 and Catenae 5, 6 and 7 into their final form in February 2021. I had been considering how the pace of life has changed since the onset of the Pandemic. At moments time seems to stand still and at other moments it races by. In my study of music and ancient texts I came upon the word Catena, which refers to related moments or an interlocking chain. Catena spoke to the chain of chemical reactions and physical engagements that are the continuum of my painting and life. The alchemical transformation of materials is the basis of my painting practice. This experimental process is driven by a questioning search for meaning and beauty in our human existence. The studio becomes a kitchen laboratory where I experiment with alchemical recipes; new, ancient and imagined. This search has become even more significant during COVID Pandemic. The painting process has become a beacon to search for stillness and stability.

“The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.” ~ Rene Magritte


Myla J. Blum

Art Show

Presents “Feeling Free” A display of artworks in mixed media

Join us SUNDAY, AUGUST 1, 2021 3 - 6pm For A garden Afternoon Tea and Reception for Artist Myla J. Blum at Pleasant and Main Cafe and General Store 1063 Main Street • Housatonic Massachusetts




Buying art is a sound investment and a lifetime of enjoyment! For art sales contact artist directly or Go to: The Artful Mind on for live links to each artist To show your art on a gallery wall: email: Visit FB: ART GALLERY for Artful Minds



Andris Nelsons Conducts the BSO Graphite on paper 12 x 20” $950

Lang Lang with the Boston Symphony Orchestra Pen and ink on paper $750

CONTACT: 617-877-5672 Commissions Upon Request Boston Symphony Orchestra 8 11 Edwin Barker 12 x 20”, pen and ink on paper, signed by Mr. Barker, $950



Great Blue Heron Filtered Pose

Great Blue Heron Filtered Dance

Woodstork Filtered Flight

Roseate Spoonbill Filtered Pose

Filtered Flights of Fancy "A modern photographer may indulge some 'Flights of Fancy' with digital filters, and what better subjects than beautiful sea birds in late spring? 'Flights of Filtered Fancy' images are 24x36, on Canvas: $299"

Great Egret Family Portrait 413.717-1534 14 • JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND


Honorable Vessels 12 x 12” Oil/cwm on cradleboard (ready to hang) $300

Red Vase Amidst the Flowers 8 x 8” Oil/cwm on cradleboard (ready to hang) $200

Invite the Moon 10 x 10” Oil/cwm on cradleboard (ready to hang) $250

Studio open by appointment or by chance THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2021 • 15


Beyond the Dunes 2016 Oil on Canvas unframed 12” x 24" $695

Berkshires Soil 2019 Oil on Canvas, Framed in Natural Pine 12” x 12” $600

All works can be seen in my studio as I am now vaccinated.

CONTACT: Instagram@ghettahirschpaintings Please text or call 413-281-0626 16 • JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND

Winter Bright 2019 Oil and Cold Wax Medium on Wood Panel framed with white wood 10” x 10" $475


Atlantic Avenue 2021 Glass washboard, collage

Patriarchs; Abraham Isaac and Jacob Triptych; acrylic and collage on canvas 40" x 48" 2019 $4800

Crusade Acrylic on canvas 60" x 48"

Everybody's Got Something to Hide Antique convex glass frame, collage 2021

I’m lucky to be able to work throughout this trying time, both alone in my art studio and remotely with my patients. Exploring new methods and media; experimenting with materials. -Mark Mellinger


914-260-7413 THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2021 • 17



For this body of work, everything starts with the search for shapes and patterns in the landscape. When I get back to the computer I then mask out what doesn’t add to the subject. This could take days of effort. When the shapes and patterns have revealed themselves, Then I begin thinking about the background, the colors and the textures. It all evolves….or fails magnificently. —Bruce Panock 18 • JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND



Each image is part of a limited edition. There are several sizes available. Each piece is priced according to size. Images are unframed and printed on Hahnemuhle archival papers.


CONTACT: 917-287-8589


Three Sea Shells, Crane’s Beach, Ipswich, MA

The Calm, Sculptured Rock State Park, Groton, NH

Standing Alone, Crane’s Beach, Ipswich, MA 20 • JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND


The Climb, The Marginal Way, Ogunquit, ME

Soaring, Plum Island State Park, Newburyport, MA

Additional examples of my work can be viewed at, or on Instagram at DWKPhotos. Nearly all of my images can be reproduced as prints, (framed or unframed), printed on t-shirts, converted to transparent window skins, and used-imprinted on incentives. I am also available for photographic assignments within the Berkshires or across the world.

CONTACT:; Instagram: DWKPhotos Dancing Water, Sculptured Rock State Park, Groton, MA THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2021 • 21




ANTHONY NORDOFF PLANNING A POP-UP SHOW Berkshire artist Anthony Nordoff is planning to exhibit his works in a pop-up show this season. This show will include works in pastel, gouache, watercolor and oil. Nordoff has been shown in galleries in New York, Boston, Rhode Island, Santa Fe, Seattle, Maine and the Berkshires. He had his own gallery on Railroad Street, Great Barrington for many years. Nordoff is particularly interested in having this show now: “The pressures of the pandemic and the politics of today demand a strong need for a different source of support, inspiration, food for the soul, that comes with the arts. Art is the much-needed ingredient for coping with today’s many challenges. My wish is to share my last 50+ years of painting, drawing and sculpture as a gesture of sustained love and belief in humanity.” This pop-up show will include works that Nordoff has done throughout his career, through many stages and transformations, from the sixties, all the way through the present. Many of his works are reflections of the natural world: “As landscape design is another aspect of my attempt to birth beauty into the world, wherever I have lived and painted I have also worked in the landscape, from coast to coast. I’ve always felt that my destiny and mission in the world was to bring a love and understanding of beauty, in all of its ramifications and definitions, to those around me. To the world. That is what I do. Everywhere I go. A bouquet of flowers brings joy and optimism and a sense beyond ones current difficulties; that life is greater than the immediate problem. I work with boulders, dirt, flowers, trees and shrubs, with water and with words, with paint and steel, all to bring a healing, nurturing point of view to the proverbial table.” Due to the fluid nature of the CDC guidelines and MA State guidelines for gatherings, the place and times for the pop-up show will be announced on his website at: stay tuned! 22 •JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND

Berkshires-based artist Stacey Silkey announces an exhibition of her paintings from three bodies of work, The Stones Will Cry Out, Seen and Unseen, and Tiny Houses, which are on display indefinitely at Pittsfield’s Hotel On North eatery, and in select guest rooms. On July 1st the eatery will re-open and welcome diners back after their temporary hiatus. Silkey will also present a new series of work entitled Rear View, which will be on display this summer at District Kitchen and Bar. The show opens May 29th, coinciding with the governor’s lifting of Covid-19 restrictions. “Those dining in or even ordering take-out can view the artwork,” Silkey explained that several paintings are on display in the waiting area, storefront windows and that the open layout of the restaurants allows for people to see the large works from a distance. For Silkey, the pairing of both restaurants’ unique menus and contemporary industrial architecture compliment the quality of her paintings, which fellow Berkshires-based artist Kathline Carr describes as “striking in graphic certainty,” and possessing confidence in mark-making, lyrical quality, and elegance. According to Silkey, the exhibits were rescheduled from an earlier opening date due to public health restrictions. “With much of the population now vaccinated, this moment feels like the right time to officially open the shows,” said Silkey. “I’m glad people will be able to finally interact with my paintings while enjoying the excellent atmosphere and cuisine.” Silkey’s paintings are based on hurried sketches of moving images or photographs that her consciousness has not fully processed. She focuses on creating opportunities for shared meaning by transforming incomplete moments into paintings. “The remaining ambiguity brings new ideas and connections to the surface,” she said. Silkey earned her MFA in Visual Arts from Lesley Art+Design. Her work has been exhibited widely and is in private collections nationally and internationally. Stacey is the recipient of the Berkshire Art Association 2016 Fellowship Award. Hotel On North is located at 297 North Street in Pittsfield, MA, visit or call 413-358-4741. District Kitchen and Bar is located at 40 West Street in Pittsfield, MA. Visit or call 413-442-0303. To learn more about Stacey Silkey’s art visit, follow on social media @SilkeyArt, or call 910-478-6558.

ELIXIR The early morning sun pours softly through the window making the orange tulips on my dining table translucent. This quiets my mind and brings joy to my heart. Yesterday, I made a life changing decision. What is life but a series of moments in which we must make decisions that will change the course of our path, for better or for worse… I have absolutely no regrets in this decision or concerning the last seven years leading up to it. Seven years ago, I was creating my livelihood designing and installing landscapes and doing nutritional consulting and private cooking. One of my cooking clients took me aside to thank me for helping him recover his health after a frightening encounter with sepsis. He asked if I would be interested in perhaps opening a public place where I could reach more people with my healing foods and philosophy. After exploring the possibilities and getting the support needed, I embarked on this adventure opening Elixir. What incredibly rich experiences this endeavor brought to my life and to all of those who walked through the portal into that transformational space. As I was making plans for this year’s upcoming bustling outdoor season, there was a voice inside of me that I know all too well. I trust this voice when I am finally able to come to terms with it often being the bearer of news I have not planned for myself. Time for change. Time to move to your next purpose. Time to leave the space that has been home to Elixir. It has been my honor to meet, assist, and serve all of the people who came to Elixir and they truly enriched my life beyond measure. What now? For my “right livelihood” and keeping Elixir alive, I will continue offering nutritional consultations, private cooking and instruction, leading people through the 21 day cleanse and will finish the 2 cookbooks I had started writing years ago. For my personal pleasure I will spend more time doing the things I love most: foraging, medicine making, gardening, and most of all spending more time going on field trips with my beautiful granddaughters! All gratitude, love, and blessings to ALL who graced Elixir with your presence. Please stay in touch. Stay present, and remember, Our Sole Purpose Is Our Soul! NancyLee chef/owner Elixir

LAKSHMI’S GARDEN FOOD AS MEDICINE Home remedies are probably the oldest forms of practiced medicine in the world. When I was a child, I recall, my mom putting a peppermint candy in whiskey to help move mucus out of my chest. I also remember her putting eucalyptus drops in a pail of hot water and having me inhale the vapors for a stuffy nose. While I would find another option for the former example of a remedy for my daughter today, I do appreciate the fact that she introduced me to options other than pharmaceuticals whenever possible. Actually, I can recall being given antibiotics only once in my youth. Food, however, was a different story. Growing up in south Louisiana meant that some form of meat was in every meal. And if vegetables did show up on your plate, it was likely that you would not recognize them. Unfortunately, nutrition was not as valued as home remedies. Or possibly nutrition was simply misunderstood. My desire for a greater understanding of how foods affected the body led me at the age of 27 to use food and herbs as a cleansing vehicle. By altering the foods that I ate, and ingesting certain herbal formulas, I lost 35 pounds in one month. More important to me, however, was the amount of mucus that disappeared, and the mental clarity that presented itself. This experience changed my life and opened my eyes. Science has proven that digesting fruits and vegetables creates a less acidic system. Although some fruits initially are acidic when they enter the system, they are ultimately alkalizing. Beef, dairy, and processed food are acidic in the body. In a healthy body, diet does not affect acid-alkaline blood levels. However, overly-acidic blood levels in unhealthy individuals have been proven to lead to diabetes, lung disease, cancer, liver and kidney issues, and heart problems, just to name a few. Just as food can be medicine, so can herbs. Both work to gradually change the body’s chemistry, unlike pharmaceuticals which can shock the body into change. The thing to remember about food and herbs as medicine is that you must be consistent and persistent. If you are choosing the natural way to heal your body, by avoiding pharmaceuticals, redirecting the body’s chemistry is like turning the titanic - it is a slow and methodical process. Over the course of the 21+ years that I’ve lived here in the Berkshires, I’ve been blessed with an amazing wife and child, and now a flourishing business. Kimberly and I have taken our creation of Lakshmi’s Garden and turned it into a resource for anyone to create health in one’s life. All it takes is a call. Together, we have over 50 years of knowledge and experience in Ayurveda, Yoga, Massage, Herbs, Cleansing, and Nutrition. We know and believe that good health is achievable, as long as one gives their mind and body a chance. The trick is in the understanding of one’s mind and body. Please see our ad in this issue of the Artful Mind.


BARBARA ELZA HIRSCH INTERIOR DESIGN SERVICES “One should sympathize with the color, the beauty, the joy of life.” —Oscar Wilde Barbara Elza Hirsch likes to “build a room like a painting, each stroke and layer creating the final space”. She loves to use splashes of eclectic touches in her stylish, textured and restful interiors. Passionate about helping her clients identify and express their style, she works with them to develop an interior in which they can feel nurtured but also renewed. Barbara spent her childhood in Europe and Washington D.C., but moved to Paris as a young adult, where she studied Graphic Design at Penningen and obtained her diploma as a Fashion Designer and illustrator at the renowned Studio Berçot in Paris. In addition, she took classes with the Parson’s School of Design branch in Paris. Barbara will work closely with you to help you create a truly unique space. If you work with an architect or a team of contractors, she will collaborate with them to ensure the space planning and material selections are harmonious and respect the design goals. Her practice is based in Concord and she will travel to the Berkshires. An award-winning firm, Elza B. Design has been featured in New England Home Magazine, The Boston Globe Magazine, the Boston Globe, Boston Design Guide, Improper Boston, Boston Home, New Hampshire Home, Merrimack Valley Home, Maine Home + Design. Elza B. Design Inc - Barbara Elza Hirsch - 781-859-7817;


I am a realist. I paint what I see and depict places and objects with asimple understanding of light and shadow. My subjects are taken from daily life, things I see in passing, things I’m drawn to; they are commonly overlooked. I try to unlock patterns and relationships that depict their beauty and uniqueness. I do not seek to judge but offer up these images for your consideration.

“If you hear a voice within you saying, ‘You are not a painter,’ then by all means paint, boy, and that voice will be silenced.” ~ Vincent van Gogh



Alison, how do you manage all the bursts of energy in so many activities and still work full force in your acting, voice and coaching? Alison England: Great question! I focus and put my love and energy into what is right in front of me. Fully. I have an incredible team of agents and managers that work for me when I am focused in another area, they course-correct me when I get too far afield. We trust each other and I listen to them when a course-correction needs to happen. Finally, honestly, I have a huge appetite for life. I live at a full tilt and really appreciate what and who is around me. Even if I am not focusing on performance for a bit, everything I am doing and appreciating and living garners depth for my next role or concert. It is like a circle of art! At this time are you between any acting jobs? Not exactly. I actually filmed two Broadway musicals via Zoom over the past three months. I am headed to do a feature film in Rochester, and am seeing a spike in very interesting acting auditions. There are also some really fabulous, interesting projects I have in the works. I am waiting for the time to put them out there on social media as well 24 • JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND

Photography by Edward Acker

as connect with the A-list stars that I will work with. Timing in this case is everything. And I create, sense, and feel my way through till I have that inner knowing that says, “Now”! Brings me to wonder, how did you flutter and bend through the Covid pandemic? What was your year like? I love that word “Flutter”. I used to say that I would go into “Hummingbird Hovering Mode”. You know, how they just flutter there and hang in the air? Very intense, alert, beautiful, still—this is what this last year was for me. At first, I was in total shock. I denied that Covid and the global shutdowns were happening. I was actually installing a show for Richard Branson in Genoa, Italy, when we started to hear things about Covid. Again, we kept working and thinking it would pass. Finally, I had to leave the project, and by the time they flew me back to New York City, within a week, things were serious. The jolt and realization that nothing was going to be the same was shattering. All the contracts that were in play—gone. Clients—gone. And I knew that I could not stay in New York City.

It was at that moment, as you said, I “fluttered and bent”. I created an email to friends asking for a place to live in the country and I found The Berkshires! First, I was at a lovely friend’s family home in Becket. Then, after I was actually giving Group Voice Classes (out of the trunk of my car, in a pub parking lot in Becket because the house I was in did not have any HSI), the pub’s owner told me about a house and I signed a lease in Becket on June 1, 2020! Once settled, I filed for unemployment and for a time just waitressed very part-time at the pub to help them out. Meeting people helped me get over the feeling that I wanted to crawl in bed and never get up. I created online Zoom classes in Voice and Acting and began promoting them by putting funny ads up on social media that took off. I connected with The Berkshire Music School and taught an Acting Class on Zoom. I partnered with the Becket Arts Center where kids could study performance with me on Zoom which lead to ending the year with a free Zoom Christmas Concert with my talented daughter Molly and her friend, Tracy Wilson. Create, Remake, and Create again!

First rehearsal for Jane Eyre played by Alison England

Photo courtesy of Alison England

Did you feel satisfied with the home you found out), was acting. At that time, found here? women married and had children and folYes. As I mentioned, when I described lowing their spouses. She did that. And I reaching out to friends within my circle, recall, when we were finally in New York asking for a country spot for me and my City one evening, Dad took us to the thethree animals, we literally landed at a rock atre on the Columbia campus and there house up here, that was in the family of an on the stage was Mom! She was fantastic. incredible dancer-friend of mine, Joan I remember her weeping and running off Keener. She gave us the gift of staying in the stage after a scene. I was impressed. this home on Benton Hill Road. At the end She never did it again. She was a 4th of the stay, I simply could not leave. grade teacher for the rest of her career. Heather Anello and The Becket General And that satisfied her. I believe, though, Store connected me with Andy and Jon I always felt she was sad for not bringing Nix (such an amazing painter, wow). They forth the person she had started out to be. Alison with her daughter, Molly Photo courtesy of Alison England showed me their Carriage House. It was This is why I never give up on the pertotally empty, yet vibrated with energy and formance end. Too easy. And also, the talhistory—and I took it! Furniture, art, even ent is there. I want to honor it where my a piano were given to me during the mother could not. summer, as if the house manifested what I wanted! out of Columbia. When they all went home to New Truly remarkable moments. That to me is the Berk- York City, we stayed on for another year and a half. You daughter, Molly, is also a very talented. After 6th grade, we moved to Los Angeles. Both Can you tell us a little about her and what she shires. Magic. Grounding. Restoration. Creation. my Dad and his best friend, (whom you may know, has accomplished? Hope. Life. the jazz pianist, Mel Powell and his wife, the fa- My kid is amazing. As I write this, I am expecting mous actress, Marth Scott), all got jobs with Disney her tonight arriving on a plane from LA. She will Where did you grow up? Wow, what a question. Usually it is a pretty easy through the California Institute of the Arts. I stayed be able to see the beauty and magic of the Berkin LA until 1982. After college, I starting my inter- shires. I am so excited. I have missed her so much one for most people. I moved a lot very early on. I was born in Boston, and then we moved soon national singing career. during Covid. after to Texas and then back to Boston. Then, right Yes, Molly, her name is Molly Anne Elizabeth away to New York City. My father was a professor Do you come from a musically inclined family? Billman. I named her for all the “queens” that I of Ethnomusicology at Columbia University. I Well yes, I am chuckling. My Dad was a young have acted and loved. She originally came into the grew up in New York City, living in professor hous- Mozart. At age five he was playing on the radio. world singing! She never cried. In fact, the doctor ing on 115th Street. I went to St. Hilda’s and St. After his father, (my grandpa), died suddenly, who delivered her, was so concerned and confused grandma Bessie realized my dad was composing because she was singing, or “crying” scales. Hughes’ school. Then, in a flash, my father took our entire family and playing on the piano like an adult, so she enShe followed me from theater to theater and to to West Africa right after the coup of Nkrumah. He tered him in radio contests and programs. That was Europe—always singing. Then she got a degree in hosted along with Professors of sculpture and paint- only the beginning. My mother went to TWU in acting and directing, and settled in New York City. ing, dance and music, a summer tour of West Africa Texas as a singer with a secret desire, (which I later Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2021 • 25


Alison as Elizabeth 1 in Shakespeare in Love

Molly started to audition due to her love of musical theater. She began to share her lyrics and songs with me that were really beautiful and deep. She was just doing this naturally, never took a class in it. Notebooks had filled up with her poetry and lyrics. Once the pandemic hit, she left New York City and started working on her songs with her best friend from high school, who happens to be a very talented songwriter and producer. The girls put together Molly’s first full album on Apple Music, itunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud last week! They do film music videos and their own photo shoots and graphics. Prolific creators. So Molly’s album is out now. It is called Poetic Perspective. She also has another one out, called Broken in the Berkshires. Songs about love from a time when she came for Christmas here in the Berkshires and fell in love with a local boy from Lee. They both broke each other’s hearts. What discipline in acting are you most comfortable with? I adore Classical theatre and British-everything. Not so much Shakespeare, though I have done stage plays like Shakespeare In Love where you have a mix of classical and contemporary. I adore musical theatre. Filled with songs and silly stories, however, now, musical theatre has become real, honest and direct. I am always reaching for real in every character. When I did Rose in Gypsy, I took on all sides—the hurts, disappointments, dreams, 26 • JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND

Photo courtesy of Alison England

desires,and always, just naturally “put on” my characters. I became them. I walked around in them. I thought and talked as if I was them. Just the other day, I had a very last minute self tape audition, and I was harassed, irritated, driven running around the house setting up, and laughing at myself because I was being so immature. Once I got to the actual filming of the audition, (mind you I have been speaking the lines out loud as I am setting up), I realized that the character breakdown was described as harassed, irritated and driven. My Director in LA always told me to give myself a long leash because I energetically sense and feel these characters I am to play. Tell us about your first experience on public stage? The Fantasticks. I played Louisa. What a beautiful show. Anyway, we came to the second act, and for no reason, the guy playing Matt emphasized the word rapier so demonstrably that it cracked me up. I began to laugh, and could not stop! The Stage Manager was frantic. I tried to control it. I was twelve, almost thirteen. The audience began to chuckle then belly laugh with me. It naturally went ahead until they broke into applause. It was as if they were saying, “We get it. You got this!”. I fondly recall that experience. Do you have a preference between being on stage or on a film set?

Beautiful. Okay. I am a stage animal. In my younger days, I was a TV Disney kid. Then onto Stage and musicals. In college I was in classical music which led me to the Grand Opera Stage for about ten years. How I loved that time! The orchestras and the costumes. I can flip a train, I will say, like nobody’s business while singing a high C! When I left the opera world, life found me in San Diego after a hard divorce. I began to do straight acting again. TV and Film is a dial down. The Stage requires radiance, large energy and just, well, radiance, like Michale Chekhov’s work shows us. So you take the stage and dial it down for TV and Film. That platform is all in the eyes and out of the heart. In a way, I experience TV/Film as being more quiet. TV/Film has made me a better stage actor. Real. Honest. That is what I reach for in both. TV’s pace is fast. Not much rehearsal. You deliver and connect. Bang. With stage performing, you have time to create and live inside the character. Just learn your dial settings and go. Are you confident in memorization of lines? Yes, I am, and I do practice. Right now, I am training for a 5K. I will also work on lines as I run. I will put myself under physical stress so that lines become second nature, whether I am thinking about them or not. With TV/Film, I keep my lines on the memo in my cell phone with spaces between so I will practice and listen while driving.

Alison with Ed Asner on set

Photo courtesy of Alison England

Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd

What role did you play that was very difficult? The Widow in Merry Widow. Simply because it was all in French. All of it. I slept, ate, and lived every line of that show in French. Finally the director came to me and asked me to “Speak French worse!” He said my French was too perfect, and the Widow was, yes, American, but had a terrible accent. I practiced so much—I sounded Parisienne! Tell us about the time you lived in Paris? La Belle Paris. Que j’adore. Ou je suis chez moi. Comment je l’adore et comment elle me manque. Harryet, I had a magical, really incredible life in Paris. I went there for an audition at the Bastille Opera for a modern piece. It came through my stage manager, Elsa, at the Hawaii Opera Theatre. She lived and worked at the Bastille Opera, and bless her, she arranged an audition for me. So I went first to Corsica to sing at Elsa’s wedding - and I got a bit side tracked with a young Corsican man, plus the cheese, Ah! Then I headed to Paris and booked the job. I had to return first to my home to LA before I moved to Paris. I left my daughter with my ex-husband. We had equal custody, so she came to Paris every three months. Paris is so international. I sang and began to teach musical theatre at Studio Harmonique near the Bastille. It totally took off. So between singing gigs, I was teaching, coaching and just living. You

live in France. The moments. The food. The friends. Something every night if you wish, (and not crazy parties), just people getting together and being. I had the most deep, satisfying, transformational life in Paris. Driving on a moto at 3am through the streets in the rain, dancing flamingo with gypsies, and evenings of African drumming where I was a backup singer. Yes, I will return. I lived for a time in Nice, and had friends and students everywhere. I went back two, three times a year to teach yoga, voice and musical theatre. I also traveled with one of my students who created the Bohol Dance Project who hired me to facilitate my Master Classes in Voice, Acting and Bodywork in the Philippines. All out of Paris. Truly, if you are open to life, it delivers.

a child. I was called in the last minute because the LA Mrs. Pierce had to cancel. They flew me out and in twenty-four hours I jumped right in.

I saw Rex Harrison one day while walking down Madison Avenue in New York City. I thought he was so charming! You did have a role in My Fair Lady as Mrs. Pierce. Well, Rex, yes. What a gem. And he was almost not hired to do the movie with Audrey Hepburn, as he was not well-known with film audiences.

Telling jokes is a talent you possess. Can you tell us a joke? Okay, in an Italian Accent...I have to do this at a Berkshires party. My first conductor, Roger Wagner, loved this joke. “ So, Mario and Sophia, they getta married. And they go to Mamma’s house and Mammas saysa...Sophia, go upahstairs and makeah thehoneymoon, I stay here, I makeah the spaghetti. So Mario andah Sophia, they go upahstairs, andah Mario ah rip off his shirt and Sophia shah look and shsah run down stairs and she saysah, “ Mamma, Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2021 • 27

What dialect of English did you speak? Mrs. Pierce is actually a high brow, head of household. so she had a proper English accent in our production. That was a lark, and simple for me. I have always been drawn to English accents since I was

You also had the role of Mrs. Thenardier in Les Miserables. That must have been fun! What was the cast like? We did that show in Anchorage. The cast were all pros. ...Power. And sadness. We were rehearsing sometimes for twelve hour days. By the end of the run, I needed Kiss Me Kate or Millie, something fluffy. I say, thank you God for the Thenardiers! The Thenardier’s are the comic relief in Les Mis. I loved being mean and cruel, and not caring. Such an event. Every night I went home feeling used up in a wonderful way.


Guest artist Alison England in the Philippines

Maria ah rip odd his shirt and Mamma eee hasah, big muscles and biggah chest! whadda do I do?” And Mamma she say, “ Sophia, go big muscles and biggah chestah means for living every hour, every minute, SOPHIA, go uppah stairs makeah the honeymoon, I say heerah, I makeah the spaghetti. So Sophia, sheah go up stairs and Mario he rip off his pants and he has big thighs and large calves and Sophis shesah look and she run downstairs and she say, “ MAMMA, Mario just ah RIP off his pants, and Mamma, heee hasssah, big thighs, bigah, calves, Mamma, whaddah do I do?” And Mamma, shesah say, “ SOPHIA, GO UPSTAIRS, big thighs, big calves means for loving every minute, every second, all de time, go upstairsah makeup de honeymoon, I stay here, I makeup the spaghetti! So finalmente, Sophia, sheah go back upstairs. Now, in the war, some sommavva bitcha shot Mario innah the foot! So Sophia go upstairs and Mario, he, TEAR off his underehwear, Sophia, shesah lookah, shesah RUN downstairs, and she say in tears, “MAMMA MARIO, HE HASSSAH an FOOT AND A HALFAH!!!” Mamma says, “ SOPHIA, STAY HERE ANDAH MAKE THE SPAGHETTI, I GO UPSTAIRSAH, I MAKEUH THE HONEYMOON!”!!! VOILA. If someone will get together a Soiree where I can sing and tell jokes. I will DO THIS ONE. That was a good one! I know you play piano and use it for teaching and coaching. I came upon 28 • JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND

Photos courtesy of Alison

voice class on and thought it was good! My breathing, ribs and chest are still filled with energy from following. What advice would you give someone who would say that they find it difficult to sing without cracking their voice between alto and soprano notes. Any advise? Stop overbreathing. This is something as actors, singers, speakers, teachers do all the time. The old school taught us to take a deep breath, yet, if you bring in too much air, it sits right under the chords and pushes air sub-glottally under them and that is what makes the cracking in pro voices and everyday folk. Practice taking half tank. Up to the middle of the bra line, no more. And come and take The Vocal Workout. Group Class on Zoom. We deal with all of that. Also, check your tongue. I am going to do an entire Zoom Master Class on this in June. Tongue is a killer. Second strongest muscle in the body and if it narrows, bunches, tightens, it shuts down the sound. People think they have a vocal problem or a speech problem. Noooo. In most cases it is an overbreathing problem and a lack of voice and body connection. We handle all this in Group. And this is what I also do when I coach pro teens and kids, adults for the industry and stage. Balance, breath coordination. Body coordination. And BAM! Seems like you enjoy yourself and all that life offers you. When you look at your life, can you remember some of the difficult times you went

through, but realizing those experiences were actually vehicles for better days ahead? Our serious side runs often deeper than our outer, lighter side. What do you think? Oh, hard question. I have been married four times. Always trying to bridge what I thought I should do as a woman— get married and have children. I was in conflict as to what I was as an artist and creator. I was very immature, and just did not have the life experience to stop and not run ahead. It was very hard on my husbands and myself. All of us have reconciled. It was a huge and couragious step for me to face them and take my side of the responsibility. And, being driven, not good. It has kept me unsettled and “proving” so much in my life that I have not always enjoyed life or taken it in. I have been a big doer. It separated me from my parents along with a family history of alcohol. I am not a drinker yet. All those”habits” were transferred, and I have had to overcome them. Being driven has kept me running. Recently, I took the Landmark Forum along with years of seeking and practicing spirituality, metaphysics, while searching inward. Yet, it was the Forum that literally got me to a ground of ‘Being’ without the past in it, and with a sense of nothing. That is everything. A pure sense of creativity and possibility. Sounds trite, but it is the space that so many speak and teach of. It was what Jesus and Buddha were pointing to, and it is right here. When I got that, I have had such freedom. That was just nine weeks ago.

Alison’s on line acting class

New York City reading for new Broadway show, TO DANCE

Who is your favorite actor? Anne Bancroft. Her grace, elegance, craft, honesty, beauty, radiance, range, and of course, my favorite—her husband, Mel Books! How do you manage to get through days when you may not feel in-tune with things? I have learned that “the day after” a show, or event, family gatherings, a date, a confrontation is when I have down time and includes rest, quiet, and walking around here, surrounded by trees. Period. I program the space. After I took the Forum, I actually had a big sense to start running again, as I was an amateur runner in school. I never took it up again, as I have had a hip replacement, but the feeling was so intense...RUN! So, I have been training daily for a 5k and up. That said, when I am tired or upset which is always the past throwing itself into the present, I will try to move. If it is real tiredness, I nap. If it is mental tiredness, I run or dance or just move. That gets me over the hump. What are some things you wish to happen? Okay I will tell you: One: To marry a wonderful, British Duke or entrepreneur who has family history and a business connected with helping the world. Two: Working as an A-list Actor in the West End, Broadway and Motion Pictures with Hugh Jackman doing Music Man; Emma Thompson doing Nanny McPhee; Disney Plus and Tyler Perry doing Sister Act 3. Using this platform to meet

folks all over the world in hopes to entertain, inspire and uplift them. Three: To have my own transformational business where I teach, speak and coach in universities, companies, countries, and work with diplomats on helping find their VOIXS (voices) and VOIES (paths). What is the secret to being a good teacher? Listening. Asking questions, so that your students see and get it for themselves. Mold your tools to the individual, not the individual to your tools. Who was your most important mentor/ teacher in your life? Beverly Peck Johnson along with her assistant, Fred Carama. She is a great vocal teacher. While I was singing internationally, my tongue was killing me. She took me in to Juilliard and helped me get past this so I could work. She was not warm and fuzzy, but a genius. I have had great teachers: Edward Sayegh, a wonderful soprano; Julianna Gondek and Richard Lissemore, both instrumental in helping me find my chest mix and being viable and powerful in the cross-over genre. All brilliant in their methods and messages. ... I put Yoga right in there as well.

Photo courtesy of Alison England

Favorite film? Book? The Birdcage. Oh, what a total joy! Full of fun and great comic timing. Book: Harry Potter. Gotta just go there. What would be say on the subject of Creativity? Go with your senses—your feelings, not your mind. If you feel drawn to coloring books, follow that. If you feel drawn to planting something, do it. No questions asked. We are no longer in the age of the intellect, but in the age of intuition and creation. Ahead of our time. Feel what it would be like to have now what you dream of wanting. Stay in that feeling. Like it has happened. It will propel you to things you never thought of, and it will come to you. Really— what you seek, seeks you. Be Open. Be Ready.

Thank you, Alison!

What in life do you still want to master? Myself. What is your favorite dish you like to cook? Lasagna ( not spaghetti) THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2021 • 29

BERKSHIRE DIGITAL Since opening in 2005, Berkshire Digital has done fine art printing for artists and photographers. Giclée prints can be made in many different sizes from 5”x7” to 42”x 80” on a variety of archival paper choices. Berkshire Digital was featured in last Summer’s issue of PDN magazine in an article about fine art printing. See the entire article on the website. Berkshire Digital does accurate hi-res photo-reproductions of paintings and illustrations that can be used for Giclée prints, books, magazines, brochures, cards and websites. “Fred Collins couldn’t have been more professional or more enjoyable to work with. He came to my studio, set everything up, and did a beautiful job in photographing a ton of paintings carefully, efficiently, and so accurately. It’s such a great feeling to know I have these beautiful, useful files on hand anytime I need them. I wish I’d called Fred years ago.” ---- Ann Getsinger We also offer restoration and repair of damaged or faded photographs. A complete overview of services offered, along with pricing, can be seen on the web at Another service offered is portraits of artists in their studios, or wherever they would like, for use in magazines, as the author’s picture in a book, websites or cards. See samples of artist portraits on our website. The owner, Fred Collins, has been a commercial and fine art photographer for over 30 years having had studios in Boston, Stamford, and the Berkshires. He offers over 25 years of experience with Photoshop, enabling retouching, restoration and enhancement to prints and digital files. The studio is located in Mt Washington but drop-off and pickup is available through Frames On Wheels, 84 Railroad Street in Great Barrington, MA (413) 5280997 and Gilded Moon Framing, 17 John Street in Millerton, NY (518) 789-3428. Berkshire Digital - 413 644-9663, or go online to


DYLAN W. KUBIS There have been many influences in my life: the imagination of Walt Disney, and his greatest accomplishment Disneyland, the landscape photographer Ansel Adams, filmmaker, Tim Burton and my Dad, who helped me write this narrative. During my younger years my family and I traveled across Europe and the United States. This exposed me to the beautiful creations of art, and architecture; classic, impressionistic designed landscapes we viewed also impacted my special vision. I started Inspirational, Sensational Photography (ISP) as a tool, a creative tool to allow me to share my special needs vision with you. My photographic visions are based on my creative spirit, and my desire to enlighten those that question people with special needs. People like me are creative, we can express creative thoughts, in words, paintings, drawings, design, and yes, like me photographs. We are creative souls just like you. The photograph of the Cardinal has special meaning to me. My older brother Sebastian passed away a few years ago. He was always symbolized as a Cardinal and it seems nearly every time I am out creating artful photographic images, my brother’s spirit joins me. Lastly, I am ready to assist the many online and print based publications to expand their stock libraries, create images for editorial use, assist the many regional companies to find the creative art that will inspire and motivate their employees and drive new business (via their advertising to a national and worldwide audience). Are you interested in purchasing new art for your home, based on a theme that you develop? Well, I am the one you should call first. My images are offered as custom-made prints, screen savers, images that can be added to t-shirts, merchandise and much more. Reach out to me Dylan at; view my latest images on Instagram @DWKPhotos. My website and Facebook marketplace will be ready later this month. Email me to access to my e-commerce sites.

“Color provokes a psychic vibration. Color hides a power still unknown but real, which acts on every part of the human body.” ~ Wassily Kandinsky



SALEM ART WORKS Salem Art Works (SAW) and Southern Vermont Arts Center (SVAC) announce the opening of the FORCE exhibition on the SVAC campus in Manchester, VT. The indoor gallery exhibition, which runs from May 8 - June 27, 2021, is the inaugural component in an “Art Over the Mountain” strategy to develop a regional arts landscape stretching from Storm King Art Center in the Hudson Valley, through Albany and Troy, NY, to Mass MOCA in the east, and up to Burlington, VT in the north. The outdoor sculpture exhibition will remain in the Stroup Family Sculpture Park through 2021 and beyond to anchor this region. Indoor Gallery Artists include: Jordan Becker, Anthony Cafritz,Brian Cirmo, Luke Claymon, Walter Dunnington, Jenny Hillenbrand, Gary Humphreys, Zack Lobdell, Paul Mauren, Sanford Mirling, Enid Sanford, Michael Scupholm, Russell Serrianne, Michael Thron, Zac Ward, and Nancy Welsh. Sculpture Park Artists include: Willard Boepple, Michael Biddy, Bill Botzow, Jane Bouchard, Paul Bouchard, Fred X Brownstein, Caroline Bugby, Anthony Cafritz, Barbara Carris, Shaun D. Cassidy, Vivien Collens, Richard Criddle, Annie Daley, Chris Duncan, Jackie Fischer, Drew Goerlitz, Abby Golodik, Gary Humphreys, Paul Higham, Jene Highstein, Hannah Hones, Jack Howard-Potter, Coral Lambert, Vaughn Randall, John Ruppert, Michael Scupholm, Michael Thron, John Umphlett, Mia Westerlund Roosen, Zac Ward, Christopher Yockey, Heidi Zenisek, and Chris Zirbes. Salem Art Works is a nonprofit art center and sculpture park located in rural Upstate New York founded in 2005 by artist Anthony Cafritz. SAW is dedicated to supporting both emerging and established artists in the creation of new and progressive work, as well as promoting the understanding and appreciation of contemporary art within the region. Connect with SAW at and on Facebook (salemartworks) and Instagram (@salemartworks). The Southern Vermont Arts Center is a multidisciplinary arts organization in Manchester, VT with a mission to promote and nurture the arts by providing opportunities for local and regional artists, introducing the wider community to artwork and performances of national relevance, and engaging diverse audiences. SVAC - online at and on Facebook (southernvermontartscenter) and Instagram (@sovtarts).




This painting from summer 2020 was done during the pandemic and when The Clark was opening in Williamstown. We were all locked out, masked and extremely careful not to get too close to each other or roam too freely. Nature saved our minds; we were lucky to have the Clark Museum, our Berkshires trails, and beautiful vistas. I was personally overjoyed to be able to paint outdoors. The Clark stone wall reflected light in a magical way and the grass had just been mowed creating interesting lines aiming for the tree. All attracted me. When the late afternoon changed the sky in surprising colors, I had to play with the orange tones of this sunset. I decided to submit this painting to a local competition and Art Show organized by the Williamstown Cultural District and juried by leaders in the art and publishing world, like Richard Rand, Associate Director for Collections at the J. Paul Getty Museum. I am honored and delighted to know that “Sunset at the Clark” has been included in the “Coming into the Light” Williamstown exhibition. As a finalist piece, this painting will be reproduced in a decal format and placed in prominent location on Spring Street during the Summer. The Destination Williamstown Site will advertise links to the participant’s websites as well as information about the artists. Other artistic happenings will take place on Summer Sundays on July 18 and August 22 and I will be invited to participate in artrelated events. This exposure will certainly bring visitors to my art studio. This is quite a change from our lonely 2020 pandemic experience. The title of this Cultural District Show is quite appropriate after Covid 19. We are all “coming into the light” and breathing sighs of relief. I encourage everybody to be vaccinated so that we gain more and more freedom. In the month of May I had Open Studio every Thursday from 11 to 3 and I will keep doing that in June and July. People are also able to view my paintings by appointment as usual. I am encouraging you to stroll through the streets of Williamstown to view art from the different artists finalists of this “Coming into the Light” exhibit and to visit my art studio this summer. Some of my work is currently exhibited at the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester, Vermont; some is offered through the pages of this magazine and on my website. Ghetta Hirsch call or text 413- 281 0626.

Looking for some good grub and visual entertainment? “Jazz Visions” (22 of my jazz-themed watercolors on paper and canvas) are gracing the walls (upstairs and down) at 51 Park Tavern in Lee. We are all aching for some real live entertainment I know, and it will happen soon…but in the meantime….you can look at the paintings and imagine Wanda Houston belting out a tune, Phil Woods blowing his sax, Ray Charles at Newport, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Nina Simone and so many more faces waiting for you to visit. And do not forget that great Monday night jazz group at Mission…they adorn the walls at 51 Park as well. Is there a jazz musician you would like to see there? Let me know and I will see what I can do. Do you have special occasions in your future? Anniversary? Wedding? Graduation? Retirement? Selling a home and downsizing? A custom watercolor painting of a wedding venue, a home or other special location is a treasured gift. Now is a great time to commission a house portrait or favorite scene you would like captured in a watercolor. Paintings (or even a personalized gift certificate, then I work directly with the recipient) make a cherished and personal gift for weddings, retirement, new home, old home, anniversaries… ..any occasion is special. Commission work is always welcome. Marguerite Bride – Home Studio at 46 Glory Drive, Pittsfield, Massachusetts by appointment only. Call 413841-1659 or 413-442-7718;;; Facebook: Marguerite Bride Watercolors.

LICENSED MASSAGE THERAPIST Kathi Riley, LMT is a Licensed Massage Therapist who uses the energetic systems in and around the body to heal common aches and pains from the holistic viewpoint, bringing harmony to body, mind and spirit. Energy medicine naturally calms the nervous system, releases tension and activates your healing throughout your body. Some of the common ailments that respond well to this work are bone misalignment, muscle tension and range of motion issues. It is also beneficial for recovering from the stress of big changes such as divorce, life stage transitions or the loss of your loved one. Kathi Riley at Rhythms Massage and Energy Work Lenox Commons, 55 Pittsfield Road, Lenox. Bookings are by appointment only. Call or text 413-822-2292.


Stamped Abstract Series #23

Acrylic 40 x 32 inches Studio appointments: Call 1-413-528-6945 Keith and Mary original artwork for sale Studio/ gallery, South Egremont, MA. THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2021 • 31


The infinite world of computer graphics and design is a plethora of creative processes using one’s imagination to the fullest degree. Starting out centuries ago, before the computer was imagined, there was a need for visual communication via images and symbols. Overlapping the commercial with the fine art world, the combination was born, and given the name Graphic Design. This venue in art making in our age can be summarized as completely creative, filled with endless resources to pick and choose from with a constant learning scale, and can be somewhat forgiving in regards of a platform where you can easily erase and start over. You can spend endless hours forgetting a deadline when in “creative – zone – mode”. If you have a background in advertising and design, that including typography and art history, plus photography skills to boot, to name a few precursors, you can master the world of digital art and graphic design, making way for a very successful career in today’s challenging world. Nancy, being all that said, can you respond with your perspective on things? Nancy Welsh: I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with your description here. Digital art and design are not really one thing, it’s a lot of things. 32 • JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND


In school I worked with graphic design, digital art, animation, web design, video art (which is totally different than making movies), photography, and code art, among other things. There’s a great deal of territory to explore and a lot of ways to express yourself. It does feel as if there is still a great opportunity to do something new and unique, without the weight of two millennia of art history hanging around your neck. It is interesting to work in a medium where, as you say, everything can be erased or deleted with a click of the enter key. I have a specific folder on my computer full of work that went nowhere, and it’s certainly a lot more compact and probably less expensive than having a bunch of partially painted canvases. That said, I often remind myself while I’m working of how the great masters were always painting things out and repainting things, or they started a piece and then finished ten years later, meaning it’s fundamentally a process, an expression regardless of the medium. Really, creativity and expression doesn’t change, as a human act, it’s just the tools that change, and the subject matter. Nancy, now I will ask you to explain how you have put together one of your images? Well, for an ad or another design product for a client or employer, there’s the element of what

THEY want that you have to respond to. You have to sort out whether it should look modern or classic or quirky, what images or graphics to use, how all the elements relate to one another, and on and on. The challenge of figuring all of that out, to get it just right for the product’s purpose and for the client’s aesthetic, is interesting and fun for me. But with my own work, of course, I’m totally in charge. Usually I have an idea in mind when I start. Sometimes I start purely with a mood and begin piecing content together based on that. Anyone who has worked in Photoshop will know that everything is based off of “layers.” I find this idea philosophically very satisfying - very representative of mind and thought and personality. I really enjoy how one layer can reveal or conceal things in the layers behind it. I start with some initial content (my own photos, or found images) and I start manipulating it. For example, I’ve been interested in glitch art since I encountered it in school. This is where the artist “breaks” the digital data that something is made of - an image, for example - and then puts the thing back together. I was working this way very recently on my piece “Life/Glitched.” I took the original image (of a cloud during sunset) and opened it with audio editing software, manipulated the file using the audio editing tools, and then re-saved it as an

Nancy Welsh Life/Glitched, 32” x 26” Digital Print, 2021

image. You can glitch and re-glitch, on and on, and there is an element of surprise each and every time. The work is mine, but at the same time I am not in control of the glitch. If you look closely in that piece, there’s also some progressive glitching of a photograph of me and my sister - she died suddenly last year and this process of “breaking” the images fit well for me, thematically, as I worked through the aftermath of that. From your point of view, what have you found to be most challenging in digital design? I guess I would say that with digital design, it helps to know a fair amount about a lot of different things. You need to be proficient at figuring out to learn whatever is the next thing you need to use. I feel like you can’t focus only on the design, the visual aspect, what it looks like. Like, you’re designing for someone’s web site, which means people need you understand all the different platforms and plugins, and maybe be able to do some coding, and then maybe they want some video content, so you should be able to shoot and edit video, you have to learn about sound quality and video equipment, and then you design for social media, so you have to learn all about the analytics and online marketing, and so on and on it goes. Can you tell us about one of your projects that you found to be most fulfilling and enjoyable, and why? I did a project at school, the final project for an advanced digital art class where we were supposed to create a “significant piece of digital art.”

I was working up my concept for this when the Cathedral de Notre Dame in Paris caught fire and started burning down. I had always loved Notre Dame - I had a French major as an undergrad, alongside environmental studies - and it seemed like an art history catastrophe to watch it burn. So my project became an homage to Notre Dame and 14th century gothic art, but using modern digital tools and techniques, and juxtaposing the historical and the contemporary. In these pieces, I began to explore the relationship between visual elements, the underlying code, and the written word. The “text” that you see superimposed over some of the images is what you get when you open an image of Notre Dame on fire - like, from the news - in a basic word editor. So it IS a visual of Notre Dame on fire, it’s just not a typical visual. I really loved working on that project because I had immediate access to giant printers, and I made these pieces really big. I was thinking about giant tomes of illuminated manuscript, and trying to make a contemporary version of that. I still love those pieces. How do you find digital designing in terms of fitting into your lifestyle comfortably, as appose to other careers you may have thought about doing? Well, it’s interesting that you ask this question, because I spent many years in a different career before transitioning into digital art and design. I alluded above to having a double major in French and Environmental Studies. I actually earned a Master’s Degree in Coastal and Ocean Science and worked for many years in this field. I worked

for several New York State agencies, and for a short time I worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I found the topic area really meaningful (I still do!), but as the years passed I became less and less satisfied with the work environment and the overall effectiveness (or lack thereof) of state agency work. As I kind of looked within myself, I found that what I really was interested in and what I enjoyed in my spare time was art. And I decided to make a big change rather than a small one. I quit my job and returned to school - Hudson Valley Community College was very convenient for me, and they offered a Digital Media Program that included a lot of studio classes in all the different digital media. At the beginning I was really focused on graphic design, but then really just fell in love with making art for art’s sake, as well. I’m very happy with the change. I like having the flexibility my new career offers that I’m able to be more available for my daughter and her school activities is a really great part of the change. And I’m much happier having an opportunity to be creative and indulge in visual thinking on a pretty regular basis now. Tell us about your connection and relationship you share with Anthony and Pearl Cafritz at Salem Art Works? Yes, for my day job, as they say, I’m the Director of Communications for Salem Art Works (SAW) in Washington County, NY. Anyone within a two hour drive should really come visit. SAW is a unique place that offers the kind of outdoor art experience provided by Art Omi or Storm King Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2021 • 33


Nancy Welsh, Tao Te Ching, 13” x 13” Digital Print 2020

in the Hudson Valley (not necessarily as big!), but also serves as an active artist residency during summer, and runs public workshops and programs in different media, including glass blowing, blacksmithing, welding, painting, and ceramics. I was recommended to Anthony and Pearl by a former staff member who was one of my instructors at school, precisely because of my interest in all things art. I love being around artists, talking about art, thinking about art. It’s a really great opportunity for me to learn about other people’s artistic practices, and about a wealth of different media. How early in your life was it that you discovered an interest in being an artist? Where did it all begin for you? As you’ve already heard, I kind of came to art the long way round. I did a lot of creative things as a child and as a young adult. I always took art classes, for as long as I can remember - like, not part of regular school, extracurricular things. I did pottery. I did oil painting. In college, as a French major, I did a project that was literally just me going to museums in Paris and writing up a guide. I went to every museum in the city, I was in heaven. Really, the career path I took was the result of some kind of unarticulated assumption, held without question, that the arts are great but they’re not something you do as a career. I really, really wish an open-minded adult had disabused me of this notion way back when. Tell us about what it is like living in Albany, New York? What is Albany all about? I came Albany in 1997 on a two-year fellowship with New York’s Coastal Resources Program. I was picked up at the airport and driven directly to the office by a colleague, and on the drive down Central Avenue I was like, “what have I done? I cannot live here.” I never intended to stay in Al34 • JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND

Nancy Welsh, Four Totems, 10” x 10” (each) Digital Print 2020

bany after my fellowship! So now it’s 2021 and I’m still here. There’s a lot more to Albany than meets the eye at first. You have to get to know the nooks and crannies. I was from Boston, and it took me a while to learn that I couldn’t judge things in Albany based on what they would look like in Boston. Like, sure this restaurant is in an ugly strip mall, but it’s actually a really good restaurant! I’ve come to appreciate the geography of Albany, located as it is between New York City, and Boston, and Canada, and the Hudson Valley, and the Adirondacks, and the Berkshires. You’re within two-and-a-half hours of everything. The older I get, the more Albany suits me. I can’t believe I just said that! From an artist’s point of view, what are resources do you like to refer to find out what others are doing and what is trending in the art world? I’m on social media for this purpose a lot. I don’t use Instagram for regular life, it’s purely art for me. I go on big “following” sprees from time to time to refresh the content I’m seeing. I’m sure there’s a more refined and academic way to keep abreast, but since I haven’t gotten here by any kind of normal path, why start now, right? Have you been curious in how the Pandemic has affected the art world? It’s seems like it’s been a really big topic, how art and artists were affected by the pandemic. For me, nothing about how I made art had to change as a result of COVID-19. I sit at my computer, rain, shine, pandemic, no pandemic. It was eye-opening, though, learning about what had to change for artists working in other media, like at Salem Art Works. Glassblowing, for instance, is really a team activity, especially for bigger pieces. Foundry work is not solo work. I think the most interesting part of

artists responding to the pandemic is the idea of everyone focusing totally on one single, monumental topic, sort of like back in time when western artists could only interpret the sanctioned Christian themes. How has the pandemic effected your work? Thematically, I feel like I had a couple of personal events in 2020 that overshadowed the pandemic and it hasn’t been as evident in my work as it might otherwise have been. Operationally, at the outset, it felt like I would be much more productive under pandemic conditions than normal, but - and I feel like this is a pretty universal story - it didn’t turn out that way for me. Between processing the stress and trauma of a worldwide pandemic, and home schooling my daughter for a time and creating and managing activities to keep her engaged and happy and healthy, it just didn’t happen. I wasn’t un-productive, but I feel like there was a lot to wade through internally before I even had the ability to take something out of myself and put it onto a canvas. Looking ahead, do you a list of challenges and goals to take on that is in regard to your art making? You know, I am really trying to focus on just enjoying art making rather than obtaining specific achievements in the art world. Having travelled such an unusual path to get where I am, I don’t know if I have the same reference points as someone who went off to art school at age 19 and had a couple of decades to let it all percolate. I suffer from impostor syndrome and, some days, have trouble calling myself an artist. So that’s a goal. I think I’m most interested in not having any preconceived notions about what my art “is” or “is about”, even though that seems to be a pretty typical goal in the art world: everybody has to write

Nancy Welsh, Notre Dame (#1 and #2 of a series of five) 36” x 40” Digital Prints 2019

an artist statement and everybody’s artist statement says what their work is about. I’m not there yet. I’m also interested in a lot of things, so why pick one thing to be about? I’d also like to explore some things, like installations and code art, that I got a taste of in school but haven’t really come back to yet. What so far has been the most enjoyable and fun observation you have made? That’s a tough question. I think the most fun observations I’ve had here on earth are times observing my daughter being her own little human, with her personality and spirit shining through. In those moments, there’s a connectedness with all of humanity as we pass parents to children down the ages, that feels inherently joyful to me. Do you come up with designs you want to pursue at such times like when you are trying to get to sleep? I do think about artmaking a lot as I am trying to get to sleep. Things will make a lot of sense to me then, and often I have trouble recapturing it in the day. I’ve toyed with making some pieces out of dream content, although I have yet to directly do this. There’s definitely some stuff there that would be productive to process through art making - I have some recurring themes in my more difficult dreams. What of all artists in your field do you respect the most and why? I have so much trouble answering this! In terms of new media, I like Barbara Kruger’s work that kind of bridges graphic design and fine art, using text and commercial images and bold graphics to create social commentary. I’m really fascinated by Nancy Burson’s composite photographs - the

manipulation of photographic reality is part of what I find interesting about new media, and as I’ve mentioned, I’m drawn to the idea of “layering” visuals. Joseph Nechvatal’s use of computer viruses to glitch images was interesting and thought-provoking, that non-human, digital “other” that is, in part, responsible for the work. I really like Bill Viola’s video art - I saw his “Martyrs” installed at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and they were some of the most moving and fascinating pieces I’ve ever experienced. I’m inspired by his transformation of historical imagery into totally new and modern work. Although I’m not a follower of any religion, I find myself drawn to religious imagery and symbolism, and the transformation and juxtaposition of these symbols - thus, his work, which is heavily influenced by world religions and travel, really speaks to me. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Can you tell us if this is something you find to be true? The tough are ALWAYS going. When the going gets tough, the tough KEEP going. That’s what makes them tough. What do you like to do when you are totally free and needing a break from work? Right now my guilty pleasure is a video game called Creature Quest I play on my Fire tablet. It’s funny because I am not a gamer in any way, shape, or form. Really, though, what I have done for fun and stress relief for many years is boxing, although I stopped during the pandemic. I’ve been boxing and training for twenty years. I had an amateur fight when I was much younger, which I won, so I always say that I retired undefeated. Boxing appeals to me on a primal level. It’s very pure.

And do you watch anything on TV? The movies I watch right now are driven primarily by my daughter’s tastes, so there’s a lot of tween-ish stuff. Although I must say, she was the one who got me to watch the Studio Ghibli anime classics (Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, KiKi’s Delivery Service), and those are pretty spectacular. Absent her influence, my husband and I watch series streaming on Netflix, all those series from around the world that Netflix is buying up. We like to travel so it’s kind of the weeknight version of travelling for us, I think. A lot of them are crime dramas and police procedurals, though, so sometimes I feel like we’ve watched the same show over and over but in different languages. What are your summer plans that you are planning and looking forward to? The thing I’m most looking forward to this summer is the week my family spends up in Vermont on a lake. We have been going annually since my daughter was small, and it is such a peaceful, refreshing time every year. We just swim, read, eat, repeat. There’s no TV, and it’s hard to get wifi or cellular there, so you can’t rely on your electronics for entertainment. It’s such nice family time. Where is it that readers can follow you? People can find me online at, and on Instagram my handle is @nwdsign. Thank you, Nancy!





MYLA JILL BLUM PRESENTS “FEELING FREE” Join us Sunday, August 1, 2021, 3 - 6pm for a Garden Afternoon Tea and Reception for Artist Myla J. Blum at Pleasant and Main Cafe and General Store, 1063 Main St., Housatonic, MA. Meet the artist and enjoy the delightful refrefreshments served by cafe owner, Craig Bero. Myla Jill Blum, native of Pittsfield and now “snowbird”, started painting when she moved to Florida 22 years ago. Even before then she dabbled a little here and there with painting. Always creative, Myla now enjoys painting “outside” the lines and pushing herself with color, medium and boundaries. She is grateful for all the support and “nudging” to finally “do something” with her art. Myla Jill Blum -

Pastels, oils, acrylics and watercolors…abstract and representational…..landscapes, still lifes and portraits….a unique variety of painting technique and styles….you will be transported to another world and see things in a way you never have before…. join us and experience something different. Painting classes continue on Monday and Wednesday mornings 10-1:30pm at the studio and Thursday mornings out in the field. These classes are open to all...come to one or come again if it works for you. All levels and materials welcome. Private critiques available. Classes at Front Street are for those wishing to learn, those who just want to be involved in the pure enjoyment of art, and/or those who have some experience under their belt. Perfect if you are seeking fresh insight into watercolors, and other mediums. Front Street Gallery – Front Street, Housatonic, MA. Gallery open by appointment or chance anytime. 413-528-9546 at home or 413-429-7141 (cell)

MASS MoCA 2021 SCHEDULE MASS MoCA announces its 2021 Summer Season with the opening of two new installations on May 29 – Shaun Leonardo’s You walk… and James Turrell’s Skyspace C.A.V.U. – and a kickoff concert featuring vocalist Julianna Barwick and harpist Mary Lattimore. Time of Now returns on June 26, with a full day of in-person and virtual events exploring the relationship between individual memory and collective history. Community Day on July 17 features free museum admission for Berkshire residents and celebrates the opening of Wes Bruce’s traveling artmobile, The Drifting Studio. MASS MoCA favorites Bang on a Can return for their annual LOUD Weekend July 30-31, with an all-star lineup of special guests. Additional live performances include a multimedia work-in-progress from photographer Alec Soth and David King (The Bad Plus) and new music from Brookly-based songwriter and producer L’Rain. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free with museum admission. Timed entry reservations are required. Beginning May 29, MASS MoCA will be open every day, 10am – 6pm, through October 14. Event schedules and additional programming will be posted on

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the rest of the world, navigates the labyrinth of Vietnam, races the white horse, and takes what pleasure he can, how he can. Over all hangs the shadow of the Mercury man, Frankie’s elusive, mercurial father Jerry, obsessed with his own image and oblivious to the wreckage he leaves in his wake. As a young man Frankie strives to emulate this charismatic phantom, absorbing Jerry’s fashion sense, his confidence, and his sexual license. The mature Frank, however, has outpaced his father’s vanity; the pain of Frankie’s life has expanded, not diminished him. By the last word it’s crystal clear that Frankie has transcended Jerry’s crippling limitations, “outta the gate like a bat outta hell.” Padme Lake is an energy teacher, writer, and performer. She wrote (as Amy Tanner) The Virgin of Hopeless Causes, and can be found at

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Photography by Sam Backhaus

Where does the name Rüna come from, it’s such a great four-letter name! Chevonne Ariss: Thank you! Rüna is a Gothic word which directly translated means secret, mystery & magic. Gothic is an ancient Germanic language that was used before it was replaced by Latin, and the Latin alphabet. Gothic was written with the Runic alphabet, and the letters or symbols are called Runes. In addition to being a writing system, runes also served as tools of magic and superstition. I came to the name Rüna by searching for different translations of the word “magic” and this word felt really right. Bonus was that it also came with this great point in history where pragmatic script meets ancient mysticism meets Norse folklore.

definitely includes the use of agates. Originally I incorporated them because not only were they beautiful but the mix of stone, glass (sand, soda ash, limestone) and metal felt very celestial and planetary to me. Now with over 100 moons finished & sold, I can finally divert my attention and develop the Portals series. Where the moons felt more astronomy and science based, the Portals go more into the esoteric sides of the universe and beyond. I really want people to see these pieces are doorways. To where? Well, where do you want to go? With this new series it’ll be important for me to move forward into new techniques and materials and not lean on my past work, but agates are such a magical ingredient I can’t imagine NOT incorporating them in my portals eventually.

You mentioned to me that you are currently working on a new stained-glass series. What is this new work all about? Will you be incorporating different kinds of natural materials like Agate that you have used before in your circular pieces? I’ve wanted the challenge of moving my glass study into larger pieces for a long time, but my moon series was extensive - and a pre-set number - since each moon was aptly named for a real moon. First all of Jupiter’s Moons and most recently Saturn’s moons. The moons laid the groundwork for my very particular style and what I’m most known for which 38 • JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND

I understand that the tools used in making stained glass, copper foil, lead, cutters, may vary depending on the work needing to be accomplished. But the glass is somewhat different—it is the focus. How do you work with choosing the glass in terms of color, texture and thickness? How do you decide what other natural elements can work with glass? With sheets of stained glass, each piece is poured and rolled individually. Every single crease, bubble, fold and pigment is unique and no two are the same. So unless I’m shopping for a commission, I like glass shopping with a very open mind. Then once I have glass in hand I want to use, or maybe

I’ll start with an agate first, I play around with flat lays and sketches to design a piece. One of the most amazing things about incorporating natural elements is that, if you can stick copper foil on it and it can withstand heat, then you can solder it, and if you can solder it you can find a home for it in a piece. My mother In-law Claudia often foils and solders branches and uses them in her work. Has living in the Berkshires have anything to do with new artistic inspirations and ideas in art making for you? Yes! I’m really excited to dig deeper into my stained glass journey as an artist and teacher in the Berkshires. There’s a whole new world of inspiration here, and so many new potential students! Visually, around every turn is stunning and the COLORS!!! My head is going to explode in the fall. I know it. There’s also a whole new artist community to tap into. As a teacher I feel like this is an incredible place to be for my beginner’s workshops. It’s a great afternoon activity for locals as well as the weekenders and travelers. There’s also a genuine appreciation and celebration of art here that’s hard to find in more rural areas, which is a big reason we moved here. Do you work with recycled materials or found objects? I don’t, usually. The closest thing I can think of is

Chevonne and Zandy. Stained glass series, PORTALS

recently I collected some lotus pods and foiled and soldered them, then patina’d them to copper so at first glance they look natural and dried but on closer inspection they are more sculptural and seem to be dipped in metal. I have them setting out on my mantle as a little decor, but it was just a fun little side experiment. Maybe that will be my next thing after Portals…?? What initially fascinated you on the onset about working with stained glass? Working with stained glass is incredibly meditative and satisfying and I knew from day one it was something I needed to do. There isn't any step, and there's a lot of steps, that I don't find enjoyable. It's a very tactile experience. The sound and vibration of the glass cutter, the snap of breaking glass, the grinding of glass, the soldering is my favorite. The way the solder melts and turns into something in between taffy and water depending on the temp. And after all of these more "harsh or intense" steps- breaking, grinding, melting - comes this really delicate and beautiful piece. And it feels so permanent because it’s hard to the touch but also so delicate because it’s glass. It’s magic. And everyone loves stained glass. No one ever throws away stained glass! So, how exactly did your journey lead you from your previous work in the limelight of hair, make-up, fashion, East Los Angeles, then to

Portland, and now to the Berkshires? Shortly after my daughter was born in 2015 while I was on maternity leave, our little family traveled up to the central coast to Nipomo, CA to spend some time with my husband’s parents over the holidays. Claudia, my mother-in-law, and I spent the entire visit together in her studio. She taught me the basics of stained glass and sent me home with a list of all of the tools I would need to put together my own work space. I completely fell madly and deeply in love with it from day one. After having my baby and not having the daily creative outlet of hair and makeup, I found a new medium in glass that ignited that overwhelming artistic drive and excitement. We returned to LA and I signed up for classes right away. Almost exactly a year later I had my first gallery show and started selling my moons online as well as in a handful of high end home decor stores in LA, Joshua Tree and San Diego. In 2017 we moved to Portland, OR. This is the first place that I had a studio that wasn’t in my basement or in a spare bedroom, so it was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at developing lesson plans and teaching workshops. I loved teaching so much more than I had anticipated! What a joy it is to have eager students and then to witness the pride they feel at the end of the class when they’ve made something to take home with them. I know that feeling so well! 3 1/2 years later here we are post-move again, now in the Berkshires. It’s been a whirlwind 5 years but

Photo by Sam Backhaus

it’s gotten us here and for that I’m grateful. What was it like making your move during the Pandemic of 2020? That must have been a real trip. Probably memorable for you and your family in many positive ways. The idea to move to the Berkshires was inspired by good friends in LA during a zoom happy hour a few months into the pandemic. We had been wanting to leave city living and were actively looking and gearing up to sell our home, but didn’t want to live too far from a city and were really struggling finding the right community on the west coast for us. We felt stuck. They suggested the Berkshires after coming here on a leaf peeping trip the year before. A light bulb just went off for my husband and I. Why hadn’t we thought of the east coast as an option? Neither of us had ever been here (crazy, I know) but we’re the type of people who aren’t scared of taking chances, and are always ready for an adventure. On paper SW Massachusetts really checked all the boxes of what we wanted…seasons, safe, small, clean with a close by city etc etc… it was literally everything we had been looking for! So, my husband flew out and looked at houses on the market here, we sold our home in Portland, OR and had our offer accepted for one here in Egremont. Moving in the middle of a Pandemic was a choice and it came with it’s unique complications, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2021 • 39


Chevonne in Portland OR. 2018 photographed by Lanakila McNaughton for The Women’s Moto Exhibit

However…the biggest complication we ran into would have been a problem regardless of the pandemic: the house we were under contract for, and the one our moving truck was on it’s way too from OR didn’t work out. We all traveled across the country and five days before closing the sellers found a loop-hole and backed out of selling, leaving us suddenly with nowhere to live, no friends or family to help, nowhere to deliver our moving truck, my daughter no longer had proof of address for school and it was three days before Christmas. It was a nightmare scenario. The next eight weeks were really hard. We had to divert our moving truck to some storage facility in Connecticut and pay a daily rate for it to be held. Everything in the area was booked plus it’s hard to find short term rentals that are ok with three dogs. And we really needed strong internet because my husband needed to continue to work from home and not lose his job. We were bounced around to 6 different airbnbs and tried to make the best of the holidays. The funny thing is (now it’s funny) is we started to accumulate the strangest things during those 8 weeks. In the middle of this we got a crack in our car’s rim and had to replace all 4, so we were carrying around these extra car rims from place to place. In my efforts to create Christmas cheer and a place to put gifts I had purchased a floor model Christmas tree from Wards on Christmas Eve, so now we were carrying that around too. We spent a good chunk of our time moving between condo units at the Oak and Spruce Resort in Lee and we looked so crazy with the things we were lugging in and out that it really made us think, wow you really never know what people are going through! Don’t judge! In the midst of all that crazy…we found this house we’re in now and finished up this escrow pretty quickly. I’m relieved and happy to say the dust has finally settled from that fiasco. When we were signing the closing documents for our soon to be home we found out from our lawyer that first property had already been sold to someone 40 • JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND

else and closed. Turns out, during our escrow as we were on our way here, the sellers had a personal friend offer them all cash for 5k more than we were paying. That’s why they backed out. Greed! They were willing to put us through all that and leave us high and dry for 5k…I don’t even want to talk about what it cost us…I just don’t understand some people… All that being said and done, we’re now really easing nicely into life here and are starting to feel really confident it was the best choice. It was a bumpy start, but it was worth it and worth the fight to stay here. Teaching art takes a special kind of person. A giving, creative individual with lots of energy and strong focus. What does teaching give back to you? I’ve always really loved hosting and planning dinners and parties, and I love attention to thoughtful details so I think applying that to my class experiences has been a huge piece of their success. I also love that stained glass is not as common as say ceramics or painting, so usually when I have a student it’s literally introducing them to a whole new tactile experience they’ve never had before. I understand you are a motorcycle enthusiast? Tell us about that. Yes! I got my license about 10 years ago now. I was in that Hollywood scene dating too cool for school guys who were into building their own bikes and riding, and I realized after we stopped hanging out I’d miss riding on the back of their the bikes more than them! So I saved my money, had a bike custom built for me exactly how I wanted it and got my license. It was a little 72’ Honda CB 250 cafe racer completely stripped down to the metal and I had my name “Chevy” painted on the side of the seat. I loved that bike so much but it was vintage and even though it looked really cool it actually had a lot of problems. After that bike I traded up to a

much larger bike. This time a Harley Davidson Iron 883 bobber with custom shocks so it was low enough for me (I’m only 5’1) and a beautiful ice cream white tank. My friend KC At the time was the only other girl I knew who rode, and she and I heard about a weekend all girls motorcycle camping trip that was happening about 3 hours away in Borrego Springs, CA just south of Palm Desert. We rode out early that Saturday morning and were shocked (as were the girls who planned it) to see 50 girls had heard about it by word of mouth and had come. It was an incredibly cinematic weekend of us taking the most epic photos and video of all us cute girls ripping around the desert on our motorcycles. Nothing like it had ever happened like it before, and it was really breaking the mold of what the stereotypical female motorcycle rider looked like. This was at the beginnings of instagram and word and images of the event shook the whole moto industry. We found ourselves all over magazines, photos went viral, we were being sent clothes and gear for free just to promote them and article after article was written about the event. Anya and Ashmore, the girls who planned it started planning another one and officially named the even “Babes Ride Out.” The next camp out was better organized with ticket sales and they hired some bands to play, food to serve etc and 500 girls showed up. The next year it was over 1000. Now they have 2 Babes Ride Out on the west coast, One here on the east coast, Babes Ride Out UK, and the biggest sponsors you could imagine. Harley, Vans, Triumph etc etc. They have also branched out into a clothing line and a co-ed Moto camp out as well. We’re coming up on Babes Ride Out 8! I’ve met some of my dearest friends through riding, and what started as 1 friend who rides has turned into dozens. I’m really proud to say I was one of the original 50 of Babes. We changed the face of girls who ride and have inspired thousands of women to gear up and go for it. That feels really cool.

Reflections of Chevonne in a Pond by Sam Backhaus. Stained glass piece from series, PORTALS

Pieces from Chevonne’s series Moons of Jupiter. Every moon is one of a kind and aptly named for a real moon orbiting both Jupiter and Saturn. Each moon ranges in size from 7” to 25”

Titan, moon from Chevonne’s Moon’s of Saturn Series

What other interests do you have? I love archery and also train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, however that’s been slowed down since covid. But my husband is a coach so we still do drills and train at home. He is seriously looking into opening a Jiu Jitsu gym here in Great Barrington actually! What has an average day for you look like? What is your schedule? After the scramble of moving and getting settled in to our home, we are just now easing into a really

wonderful routine and schedule. We wake up at 6am and meditate (TM) before we do anything else. Then my husband Zandy brings me coffee in bed. This is my sacred “leave mom alone time” which he is so good about protecting. Then we’re off to the races with breakfast, getting dressed and taking care of the dogs. My daughter goes to South Egremont School and I drop her off at 7:45 am. I come back to the house and my husband and I work out. Usually I’m on the Peloton and he does a kettle bell circuit, but on Wednesdays we do yoga to-

gether. Then we take a 20 min sauna. We now have a hot stone sauna which feels very fancy and we are taking full advantage of it! Around 9:30-10 we start our work day. My husband works remotely even during no covid times and he mostly deals with people on the west coast so it allows him to have free mornings which is great. And the rest of my day is filled with either glass, or just mom and house stuff, errands. Day filler we all have to take care of. Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2021 • 41


Chevonne’s studio and the happy family dog

After I pick my daughter up she and I go to the PO every day to get our mail. We don’t have a mailbox where we live. Country livin’! Then it’s home to finish whatever the day needs. My husband does the lion’s share of the cooking so he’s usually on kitchen duty, my daughter and I set the table and we always sit down and eat dinner together. At dinner every night we play a game called rose, bud, thorn. Everyone has to say their rose - best thing that happened, bud - something we’re looking forward to and thorn - the worst thing that happened that day. After dinner I’m on daughter duty of brushing teeth, jammies and bedtime while my husband cleans up the kitchen and sets the coffee machine for the next morning. After she falls asleep I tip toe back downstairs for an hour or so of tv with my husband. Bed time is 10pm! If we can make it that late ;) Do you find life good in the Berkshires, and are you finding everything you need in all respects? There’s something really sweet about how the pandemic has slowed us down in our introduction to our new community. It has created a situation where we have to savor each detail, each new place, really drop in and focus on each new person. I have only met a few other parents, but everyone in our school, both in administration and other families in passing have been incredibly warm and welcoming. This could easily go the other way since I know there are a lot of different feelings about so many new people moving here, but I haven’t felt even the slightest of negativity towards 42 • JUNE 2021 THE ARTFUL MIND

Photo by Sam Backhaus

us. The restaurants are kind of open but we have been so careful with covid that we haven’t really tried many or been out much yet. And we gave up on take out a long time ago. It’s just not the same as eating it fresh and we decided to save restaurant food for when we can enjoy it the way it’s intended to be served. As far as finding everything we need, I have definitely had to adjust to having to drive a bit for certain stores or services, but again making it have to be an intentional trip and planning for it has been kind of nice. I appreciate those Target and Home Depot runs a lot more than I used to. I keep telling people the Berkshires are country living for city folk, and the response is always YES. And that is the good life to me.

cult to set boundaries around studio time when you have other pressing obligations to people and family responsibilities, especially with small children. Another challenge specific to my art is that what I do and make is all one of a kind, not crafts that I can assembly line make and sell wholesale in bulk. Or make prints of. Not knocking that at all, I wish I could! I’ve seen many of my fellow glass artists picked up by stores like West Elm or Urban Outfitters because they can fill an order of 50 of the same piece. That’s an area of success I haven’t been able to tap into. I’ve had a harder time bottling what I make and monetizing it so to speak, enough to rely on it as steady income.

There are many artists living in the Berkshires. In all the arts, we are filled with creative individuals, like wonderful Vita Kay. Are you finding your social network growing here? Slowly, but yes. Socializing has been a bit challenging due to the pandemic, but with warmer weather around the corner and more vaccinations on the way I know that will change this year. Plus I just got here so I know it will happen organically in it’s right time. We just moved into our house Jan 28th.

Keep thriving and enjoying life as you pursue your goals as an artist, Chevonne. Do you have a close to heart philosophy that you can share? I think a big lesson I’ve been working on in all aspects of life, but that has really translated and applied to being an artist is being ok with the fact that you will never get a unanimous vote. No matter who you are, what you make, what you say, where you go… you will never get a unanimous vote. If you can stop worrying about what people think, about the optics or the number of likes, it will open you up to making better life decisions and better art that comes from your heart and is authentic to you.

What might some of your upcoming challenges be for you as you continue to settle in as an active artist, mom and anything and everything else that you are? Balance is always a challenge as a mom. It’s diffi-

Thank you, Chevonne!


CLAUDIA d’ALESSANDRO I take great pleasure in the opportunity to photograph some of the beautiful birds that grace our world. Their movements, attitudes, and the great gift of flight itself give wings to my spirit. This month’s works represent a particular Flight of Fancy of mine, aided by some simple digital filters that shine a special spotlight on my subjects. The late spring and early summer is a time of great industry for our feathered friends. Nest building, and the support of growing families takes all the time and energy of these beautiful creatures. In their most simple, yet vital activities, a spotlight illuminates their extraordinary elegance. And thanks to the miracles of modern photography, a few moments of that beauty can be fixed in time. Nature’s images remind me of the magnificent beauty that surrounds us - the mighty power of the natural world which we inhabit. Air, earth and water serve as my canvas. I hope that you will enjoy my “Flights of Filtered Fancy”. “Claudia’s photography touches our souls with deep joy!” ~ CHR “She sees with her eyes and feels with her heart.” ~ DKAH For more information on purchasing these, or other prints, - please email me at:, visit me at, or - follow me on Facebook at and on Instagram as: dalessandronatura. Don’t forget to mention The Artful Mind for Preferred Customer pricing. Cheers to all for a safe, healthy and inspiring early summer!


MARK MELLINGER I live in two separate worlds. One verbal and one visual. What they have in common is an attitude of pushing into the unknown; of allowing unconscious elements to take form within consciousness. I couldn’t live without both. Art came first, but after a while I began to feel self-indulgent and isolated. I wanted to address problems of mans’ impact on the environment. I went through careers in art, photography, carpentry, ecology and microbiology before landing in psychology at 30. 10 years ago, when we found a loft in Pittsfield, I returned to my first love, art. It’s not like riding a bicycle. I had to start from scratch. I feel I’m just now catching up to where I left off 50 years ago. I’m not satisfied with a piece for a long time. I’ll put it away and work on something else. I’ll look at it upside down and in a mirror, trying to get a handle on what’s wrong. It’s a very solitary meditation. I might gesso over everything except some small bits that are working; then start over from those. The viewer completes the process. It’s a collaboration. It’s a thrill when someone “gets” a piece, but I’m OK when they don’t. The connection with the viewer should be as rare and special as marriage.


CAROLYN NEWBERGER Carolyn Newberger is an award-winning artist and writer whose love of the figure is a natural extension of a career in psychology. Her concern for people and their challenges informs her art, whether it be in the studio with a model or in the concert hall capturing a musician or dancer in performance. Her drawings express the essence of her subjects, with their rhythm, flow, character and intensity. Carolyn Newberger -

Carolyn M. Abrams

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Something For Over The Couch

itative solitude of my art studio. I think at this point I would like to break off here and say something about the history of, not art, but the history of Christianity. When I think of Christianity, ing the life things of me that I Ithink can’t seem Jesusmostly said to to ofhis understand thefollowers, simple and how and touchallfor of the other the holy censers, strange things water,came the saints, into existence the statues, like the calendars my kitchen grandfather bywith the hearts sink. andApparently they and grandmother blood dripping had did not down in think their like thatyou was but family ents to then at were, a picture all at was they the strange, isnot not moment, were ofCatholic, something asince Catholic, heartand they with and perhaps I and hung want all blood Imy to it was not in have dripping four their not. ever. grandpartoWhy kitchen, explain down my Although my family was of a Protestant faith, nevertheless entire large family with every all theChristmas aunts and uncles Eve and the olic the kitchen. in the my fast children feast. afternoon childhood the This We meat would once would till when dishes yearly midnight, get feast Itogether would for were event on and brought fish for was then dishes a afew the strictly out at hours the only from from end Cathtime be five the ofa ‘Catholic.’ though hours was drunk glasses allowed, Ion was Iprofusely might sips What allowed of unobserved, bewine did only left tothis stolen surreptitiously seven all mean? over tofrom years become the Itthe old, meant assorted various drink completely forthat, several wine. wine card al-I

The entire reason my cousins took such must an they with and the interest it second, only my cross would left wanted oneself with inIhand, had never my to so attending because secretly even littlethe knowledge cross right first, mass watch my hand. Iwas was me mind ofvery cross These left thethat handed, religion simple, myself cousone ins,bewho to reminded I rarelyof, saw, never andlet whose on about names thisI often sin I was had committing it in might tantly, ritual year. lege, almost, because church, and And ofbe they and my returned expected it they especially never once driving damnation waswere repeated every awanted man to aincar. at genuflect. church could year. of those me even theThey be toworld, and moments after know, repeated But kept you Iamore went so New never silent when year that imporYorker tolaugh about their after colyou

CHAPTER 1 was It ing. married. myself, couch. something in My Well was high My who brother Itnew. to Ibrother’s was school wanted remember be Perhaps my “Something had and me brother, graduated interest had to my since dofirst only for atwo in he painting commission and my over was just years paintings was started now the for older couch.” only married, over paintthan was just hisI histhe he in had ridicule. past started mytointerest take things in painting more seriously was an object because of Once, standing behind me as I labored over ablack book Take hesmall made and watercolor this cover suggestion, it all abstraction over, “It top needs to in bottom.” some my sketchblack. He would introduce me to his friends saying, “This is my brother Dicky. He paints pictures.” I asked my brother what kind of picture he wanted swer he waved for over his his arms couch back and and byforth way and of ansaid, an“You know, horizontal, abstract and horizontal.” There was the question of payment, always aand atives, sensitive I suggested subject thirty-five dollars, when dealing assuming with relthathad he help itme would other in my cover complicated art career. the expenses ideas He suggested of he the thought project. thatwould after But thesetpainting move into to the up hisliving the Friday card was room night table next hung from poker over the togame the kitchen. the couch couch withHe his and heplanned friends would under the his lead for painting. to friends’ my getting This mothers arrangement new couches. commissions he wasfor sure, paintings would

Finally they told me one Christmas, that for myknow even entireit,childhood I was the I“Left had aHanded moniker, Catholic.” and did not I no longer remember the time, the place, or the of strange own this personal words fact pride, about of idea asthe ifof myself, Imoment had devotion. my but when own it filled religion I wasme informed and withmya Though I do not remember being told about my incorrect gesture, I clearly remember my first impression thought “Why boys dressed isas that theman like procedure ofgirls? Why in the a white mass began dress, do itself. was they and something My keep why very ringing arelike, first the that alittle like agers in sort order bell? of comical toEvery ridicule one-act aspect religion. but playone created looked bytoteenme Only one element stood out from the absurd inexplicable knowledge, intoned lent spectacle by theand priest. thatThe was Latin thetruth sound trumped andofwisdom theall, Latin, and to an otherwise Latin, not anything drunken with inhis not the left seven itin doctor’s touches. hand. the absurd year church, office. old All affair. devoutly of notItthis One in lends the was cannot crossing courtroom, its observed authority argue himself with by and toa I was not completely oblivious; I was not certain self then shoulder this know that concerning this question can the this how question. be first, belly because religious the one for or only button, should myself. the “After itfinal observances. left?” is cross what do touching You answer Years you go Ioneself. decided togo to the later the any for forehead Iright Iasked toanswered questions the do, first. right myandI But why have I dredged up this curious memory? darts, attic, sumed had indulged theIbecome content of was in trying on a meaningless my to explain way purpose. to how the ritual Painting studio thethat game paintinconthe of ingsritual glimpsed the was that but the misunderstood destroyed it. Latin of life, Darts truth. the took place Andupdarts ofhalf some was my time, but that was just the half of it. The rest of my creative abandoned aagainst had glimpsed small been window. the life punched, one outer awas year ofIn consumed wall before. the the and ofsecond middle my through This by studio of afloor painting large this that entirely windows painting hole painting was could blocking parked aIof hole had bea neighbors house. R

I did not see any way this idea would not succeed, and I was surprised I had not thought of it myself. Looking one’s ability to picture back on initthe now mind I amthe struck perfect by how outcome of some situation leads almost immediately to the expectation of its easy accomplishment. First, however, I had to produce the painting,had tion, watercolor that stract Ihad numerous accumulated no Iitand had painting was idea, confidence ever large, to inbut be adone going Isketchbook, and aset painting soto not tofar. work in contain, accidents, simply What for which using which ashapes and particular some the scrubbed was what consisted only 8was almost xcolors? destina10 method this out inch aball of inI frustration problem army tried to green mix with with color two thecolors rags completion that and kept together. turpentine. showing of the painting upThe whenever biggest was anI I finally solved the problem of the army greenwhich blue tint bywas using theuponly color almost anIentire couldtube findofindark my paint Ibox soup some looked geometric was too willing trying mechanical to shapes toget dorid battle but I of. included I Iblended with was not the because their happy grey edges green with they with my turpentine rag rubbing procedure, a proce-

tables, and next end to tables, the kitchen and even sink. on the arms of chairs, I certainly had no idea I had become drunk. and my night best kept a It most to slipping was conceal extraordinary event justoff that my myIcondition chair couldonto not would but speak thearound floor. take properly, Iplace. midtried Mygo to mother’s Catholic withhorrified them cousins toand would attend fearful insist Midnight objections that I be Mass. allowed were My shouted devout night DeSoto, Saint midnight aknew strange and that Mary’s relatives, down next entertainment got mass. myinto to by cousins ofAll six twenty the and those other back I-do-not-know-what insisted sofor orIcousins, seat years thirty them. staggered Iofbe Iof my attended there and my Uncle out drunken we to into provide went Frank’s Ifor never but the to




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