Sun, surf, and water-based etching inks: scenes from a Torpedo Factory summer

How do artists spend the summer? It’s tempting to imagine that Torpedo Factory artists become relaxed, even downright languid, from May through September—but lately, the building has been hopping. If you’ve checked in lately with your favorite artists, you’ve seen that they don’t enjoy longer vacations than the rest of the public. Not only are they creating new work, they’re also teaching, learning new skills, preparing for exhibitions, installing commissions—in short, taking the “working artists” half of our “working artists, open studios” motto quite seriously indeed.

Lori Katz is busily packing up two of her creations and sending them to China for an international teapot exhibition. Focusing on artists from the U.S. and the U.K., the show will be held at the IFC Mall in Shanghai from July 30 through September 10, 2013. Katz has only one regret about her involvement: “I wish I could hand-deliver them!”

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Paper and mixed-media artist Kelly O’Brien checks in from Europe, where she just spent a ten-day artists’ retreat in a Scottish lighthouse and took a 13-week sculpture class at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt. “Not only am I far from even conversant in German, I was unfamiliar with the ramifications of ‘German directness’ in art critique,” O’Brien says. “It’s actually refreshing to get clear and honest feedback on what people think of your work, but it has taken some getting used to while I wait for my skin to thicken.”

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Our artists are experts, but they’re the first to admit there’s always something new they can learn. Painter and printmaker Pauline Siple reports that she’s spending the summer broadening her skills. “I wanted to learn how to use water-based etching inks in monotypes,” she says. “I was looking for some fresh ideas and a new perspective.”

Torpedo Factory colleague Roberta Glick recommended a workshop with Ron Pokrasso, a master printmaker in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Fans and friends may notice a fresh approach in her art, but for Siple, the improvement behind the scenes is priceless: “The colors are as clear and strong as oil-based inks, and the cleanup is done with dish soap and alcohol. No more nasty solvents that burn and dry skin or emit toxic odor!”

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Last seen on this blog sculpting ice in China, Tatyana Schremko Schriempf tells us that the folks at the Kaiser Permanente headquarters and hospital in Tysons Corner, Virginia, recently purchased one of her sculptures. Combining both figurative and abstract elements, the sculpture is one of several of her works in public places about the Washington area. “My work is very much influenced by memories of people from every walk of life when thoughts are least observed, a moment of quiet,” the artist says. “Their large size and clean lines are designed to focus on this emotional introspection.”

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Plein air painter Marietje Chamberlain has been commissioned to create a large oil painting—90″ x 42″—for the waiting room at the new cancer wing at Shady Grove Hospital in Maryland. The work shows the Potomac River above Great Falls, where warm fall foliage complements the peaceful blue of the river. Chamberlain is also gearing up for a solo show at the NIH Clinical Center Galleries in early 2014.

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If you’re heading to the beach this summer, keep an eye out for Sara Linda Poly. She’ll be participating in the ninth annual “Plein Air Easton” in Easton, Maryland, from July 12 through July 20, 2013, and her work will be included in a Washington Society of Landscape Painters Show at the McBride Gallery in Annapolis from July 7 through July 28, 2013.

We go the beach seeking relaxation and beauty—so if the surf makes you restless later this summer to wish you knew how to paint what you see,  sign up for Poly’s plein air painting workshop at the Rehoboth Art League on August 20 and 21. The course is open to beginners and experienced painters—and naturally, much of it will be taught out of doors.

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