A Conversation with Artist Anne Stine by Lisa Strout

How did you get started making art?

                       As a child, I painted as easily as breathing or skipping down the sidewalk. It just was a natural part of me. I was the kid signing up for every art class and workshop I could find. Later, I continued to pursue art instruction from master painters in college and beyond. For many years, I enjoyed a successful business career in arts marketing, but it wasn’t until I began a family did I pursue painting full time as an artist. I painted murals in homes and businesses for 15 years until three years ago I ventured into creating my own work.

Where did you grow up? How does that inform your work?

            I grew up in the same farmhouse where my father was raised in Fairfax, Virginia. Our three-acre property was a natural haven tucked away in a sprawling suburban landscape. My childhood days were spent playing in nearby creeks. Climbing pine trees. Making friends with little creatures. I capture this childlike wonder of the natural world in my art, inviting the viewer to escape the day to day and meditate on the vibrant color and the varied textures seen outside. Whether it’s of a feisty crow or a pastoral landscape, each painting is inspired by my love and awe of nature I hold deep in my heart.


Describe your work in general and the encaustic process.

I believe in embracing the unpredictable and taking creative risks. That's probably why I work in encaustic wax made from a  mixture of beeswax, resin and pigment.

When heated at a high temperature, encaustic flows like honey and moves in unexpected ways. I’m able to guide it along using torches and hot guns. I can sculpt into the surface and embed objects when the wax is still warm.  Once the heat is removed, it cools almost immediately leaving a solid surface with a beautiful sheen. Oil sticks, pastels, and pigmented shellac add even more color until the final painting holds up to twenty different layers each visible through one another. Cradled wood panels are the perfect foundation for my work because they can hold up to the rigorous manipulation of the medium and they are porous enough to securely hold the wax in place. Here’s a short video showing my process https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZUE-I3Fkdk.

I guess it’s the “not knowing what will happen next” that keeps me coming back and pushing the limits of this unpredictable medium. Now you know why my husband insists I have a GARAGE studio!


How do you choose your subject matter/ what inspires you?

         My inspiration is as close as outside my front door. I’m blessed to live in beautiful Western Loudoun County teaming with breathtaking scenery. My favorite pastime is hauling all the kids out on nature hikes in the local area to rekindle my creative spirit. Whenever I travel out of town, I make the time to personally experience the landscape and take photographs with my phone or camera to take back to the studio. I recently wrote a article about this process on my blog http://www.annestinepainting.com/blog/creative-inspiration-waits-outside-your-door/.


What are you working on now?

As a mixed media artist, I'm always on the lookout for a new medium to play with. My latest obsession is cold wax mixed with oils and applied with a palette knife.  This media is allowing me to express a deep moody feeling in my paintings, especially with my ocean scenes. But I do miss the torch.


I participate in the Western Loudoun Artist Studio Tour (WLAST) held June 3 and 4, so I’m busy making a large assortment of mixed media paintings in a variety of sizes.


What 2 artists (living or dead) inspire you? Why?

When I was beginning my investigation of encaustics, I discovered two women artists whose work with the medium is very inspiring to me. Robin Luciano Beaty and Alicia Tormey paint natural themes with a contemporary edge. I love how Robin embeds organic materials into the wax and sculpts the surface for interesting textures. Alicia’s use of color is outstanding in her landscapes and floral paintings. I have to add Claude Monet as well -- my hero! You can see his influence in my pond paintings hanging at Tryst right now. I love his use of color.


What is your favorite color?

I don’t understand the question. People have a favorite color?

What are you reading?

“When in French: Love in Second Language”” by Laura Collins. I am a huge Francophile! The book is her story about living in Geneva without speaking the language and how her life is completely changed as a result. I would love to live in France one day, but my French stinks.


If you could invite any 2 people (living or dead) to coffee who would they be? Why?

Without hesitation -- my mother. She’s been gone 11 years now and I miss our coffee chats and how she made me laugh. Then, I would invite Betty White to join us (who is the spitting-image of my mother) and we would joke and laugh until Starbucks kicked us out. 

What do you want people to know about you that isn't art related.

It's a passion of mine to help people caring for their parents. I know the struggle and challenges of such an awesome responsibility firsthand while caring for my father for six years before his passing from dementia. During that time, I helped create a ministry for caregivers of aging parents in Leesburg. Several years later, I helped establish a ministry devoted to helping seniors in need in the Purcellville area. I believe that seniors and their caregivers need to be appreciated and supported.


Where can we see more of your art?





Purcellville studio by appointment


A Conversation with Artist Steve Loya by Lisa Strout

How did you get started making art?

Like most people, I started when I was very young. My first drawing was an attempt at a dinosaur, when I was about three-years-old. My dad brought home a big purple crayon and some big, lined “computer paper”. It was probably my earliest childhood memory, and I still have the drawing.


Where did you grow up?

I grew up on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, PA, mostly in a place called Cranberry Township. While it was a very suburban area, we still had lots of woods to explore.

How does that inform your work?

As kids, my brother and I spent a lot of time just playing in a nearby creek. I’d search for small critters like crayfish, leeches, water skimmers, salamanders, frogs, toads, turtles, etc. That early fascination with nature has stuck with me ever since.

Describe your work in general.

Some of my work can be more realistic, and some of it has more of an imaginary, surreal approach. I sometimes paint in acrylics or work in collage and mixed media, but much of the time you’ll find watercolor and Pigma Micron pen in my art. As far as subject matter, animals and wildlife tends to have a big influence.

How do you choose your subject matter?

It all depends on what captures my interest at the time, and if I feel there’s an urgency to communicate something to others visually.

What inspires you?

Other life forms and animal species and the roles they play on this Earth, and how we humans, as a species, relate to an impact the inhabitants we share (or don’t share) this world with. Music, nature, color and pop culture inspire me as well.

What are you working on now?

Currently I’m working on a two-part series of works called the “Endangered Kingdom”. I’m also wrapping up work on what’s called an Alchemical Vessel for an upcoming exhibit at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery. I’m also working on a monthly collage collaboration project with a friend, inspired by music and mix-tape culture.

I’m familiar with your endangered series. Can you explain it for those who aren’t and tell us how you got the idea?

Every week, for almost a year now, I decided to focus on and draw a portrait of one animal on the Endangered Species list, as a way to educate myself, as well as raise some awareness, in my own small way. Each animal also gets a customized crown that says something about the animal, and brings a sense of importance and dignity to the beast. Each animal also finds itself on an imaginary place I call Splotch Monster Island, which is the more surreal and playful part of a two-pronged effort to inform the public through visual means. I believe we can all make a difference and have a positive impact on our world, in some small way, and art is one avenue for that kind of thing.

What 2 artists (living or dead) inspire you? Why?

My wife Kris, with her humble, gentle and playful approach to drawing and painting. Also, David Hockney, with his zeal, determination and unstoppable sense of curiosity, despite his old age.

What is your favorite color?


What are you reading?

The $100 Startup, by Chris Guillebeau

If you could invite any 2 people (living or dead) to coffee who would they be? Why?

Sir David Attenborough and Eckhart Tolle, in hopes that some of their wisdom and knowledge might rub off on me.

What do you want people to know about you that isn’t art related?

I’m pretty good at beatboxing.

Where can we see more of your work? (website, FB, etc)

http://asplotchmonsteraday.blogspot.com/, and http://goflyingtrtl.blogspot.com/. New websites to come soon!


January 18, 2017

First in a series of 12 very short films on my art and process. Produced in collaboration with Anthony Forcione / Karma Productions.  

The Second in the series, EQUUS:

Third in the Series, "Bones":

Susan Holloway's Visual Story Telling

SPOTLIGHT: Susan Holloway’s Visual Story Telling

By Lisa Strout, Gallery Manager

Susan Holloway’s art reflects the myriad of life experiences: personal stories, special places, significant events. She creates visual tapestries using narratives and symbols from a variety of cultures, religions, and literary traditions. Her bold and imaginative works of art capture core values and meaningful journeys. Each painting is inspired by what the world “offers and takes” from each of us.

How did you get started making art?

I am a trained graphic designer/art director and migrated to fine art around six years ago.

Describe your work in general.

I tell stories and create narratives using symbols, mythologies, and cultural icons.

I believe that everyone has a story, a personal journey that aches to be heard. And stories can be told about people, couples, families, corporations, illnesses, social issues and events.

These narratives make my art bright, intriguing, and thought provoking.

How do you choose your subject matter? How did you get interested in narrative art?

I choose subjects that emphasize cultural nuance and layered meaning.

I have produced narrative art and commissioned pieces focusing on organizational leadership, raising a family, comforting childhood fears, losing a child/parents, and suffering chronic diseases (COPD, schizophrenia).

Where did you learn the process of narrative art?

My graphic design background of listening to client objectives enables me to transform complex topics into compelling visual images. Meanwhile, my experience living in diverse foreign cultures heightens my appreciation of various art forms.

When doing a narrative piece, what kind of research do you have to do to discover the “right” symbolism?

I look for commonality across cultures and time. I explore etymologies and ask questions about “favorites” and “histories”. Often I make intense “gut-checks” and ask if my assumptions make sense. Rearranging the work and making multiple comps before producing the final product enable me to make the piece “right”.

Is all your work commissions or do you ever create a narrative that anyone would relate to?

Not all of my work is commissioned. For example, I produce works for thematic exhibitions such as my recent ensemble of pieces on global health at the National Institute Health.  However, I like the process of commissioned work very much. I had a client who commented that the piece I produced for her was wonderful because what she had on display was a self-portrait without it being obviously so. This client added that the commissioned narrative art piece gave her the option of sharing her story or not!

I have also sold work in galleries that spontaneously moved people who were naturally attracted to visual narratives that spoke to their own untold stories.

What inspires you?

Unique phrasing. Music lyrics. Intense color. Plans B,C, or D. Open spaces.

What 2 artists (living or dead) inspire you? Why?

Thomas Hart Benton/Grant Wood with their works depicting a historical era and changes in society.

Lisa Houck for her use of color.

A dark purple-red.

What are you reading?

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you could invite any 2 people (living or dead) to coffee who would they be? Why?

My maternal grandmother who told me in 1983 that she wished she too would have kept her maiden name when she married in 1935!

Rainer Maria Rilke simply to chat and let the conversation meander.

What are you working on right now?

I just started working on a piece I have provisionally titled “Bruised Feelings”. We will see where it leads me!

What do you want people to know about you that isn’t art related?

I overthink everything! I like watching nature shows. I journal daily. I follow the moon cycles.

Please come by Tryst to see the latest exhibit, NEXXT, which includes some of Susan’s lovely work. The next reception will be on First Friday, November 4, from 6 – 8PM. 

The Darkness of Depression by Susan Holloway

The Darkness of Depression by Susan Holloway

Spotlight-DeeDee Hooe "Was Drawn To It"

Lisa Strout, Art Consultant and Artist

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with local artist, DeeDee Hooe, who has three paintings in the current Tryst Gallery exhibit. DeeDee spent more than ten years as a muralist, working in both private homes and corporate environments, before she made the transition to working solely on canvas. Her work is uplifting, funky and makes me smile. I really enjoyed chatting with her; and finding out she is a dog lover (and rescuer) was icing on the cake. Here are the highlights of our conversation:

How did you get started making art?

I was drawn to it at six years old; I spent my childhood doing all sorts of creative things. When I had the opportunity to study art, I did so at Memphis State University, NOVA Community College, and I took some classes at The Corcoran. Years ago, I had a corporate job that became unrewarding, so I decided I would try to make a living doing wall murals. A muralist told me I should take Tole painting classes to help me learn shortcuts in mural painting.

After years of doing commissioned work, it took me awhile to find my voice as an artist. I looked at my passions, things that would keep me at the canvas and it clicked. I was finally able to paint for myself.

What is Tole painting?

Tole painting is German Folk painting that is basically a one stroke painting technique. You load

the brush certain ways to take in highlight, shading and base color all on one brush. The way you stroke gives you a blend. I don’t do Tole painting, but I incorporated some of those techniques into my own style.

Describe your work in general to people who have never seen it.

My work is contemporary and whimsical. I’m obsessed with nature as subject matter; I’m obsessed with the round shape. I like to sculpt with paint – make part of my painting three dimensional; I like exploring color and I like doing patterns. Oh - and the one piece bathing suit - I’m obsessed with that shape; I don’t know why, I just am.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by things I find in nature. Right now, for subject matter, I’m using rocks I brought home from Gloucester, MA, big beautiful granite rocks. Also, things related to the ocean and fresh waters too - crabs, frogs, etc. So that’s what inspires me - nature and round shapes, and that bathing suit.

What two artists influence you?

Early on, Georgia O’Keefe. Then I became very fond of Jennifer Bartlett. I currently have an interest in Romaine Brooks who has an exhibit in D.C.

What is your favorite color?

The tertiaries - magenta, turquoise and yellow green.

What are you reading?

Right now I’m into historical novels, but I did just purchase The Muse, which is a book about art; a novel about artists.

If you could invite any two people to coffee who would they be? Why?

I’d have to say Pablo Picasso; I would love to talk to him because of his intensity. And then, maybe the “Follow your Bliss” guy, author Joseph Campbell, see if I couldn’t get some answers.

What do you want people to know about you that isn’t art related?

That I am extremely passionate and concerned about our environment.  

Those trees - one of the pieces you have in the Tryst Gallery - how did you come up with that?

I love winter trees without leaves. The bark is fascinating. I’m a person who doesn’t focus on the big picture. I zero in on the details. I don’t just want to paint bark as it is. I can’t do it better than the tree.  I wanted to encourage the viewer to enjoy the amazing detail in the tree.  I assume if someone has seen the painting and found it interesting, then the next time they’re walking around and see bark it might connect.

When I was painting murals, I did a lot of nature scenes. I would talk to the people and tell them that even though most people assume tree trunks are brown, most really aren’t brown; they are grey. Young children always color them brown, and I thought, sometimes we don’t really look for ourselves we just get caught up in the status quo. So that is why that painting is all grey.

So what else are you painting? In the Gallery show, there’s the tree painting and two paintings of women in bathing suits. What are you working on now?

Well, the rocks. Right now, I’m doing them in a little bit of a representational style, but I might get a little crazy like I did with the trees, using my patterns to depict the rocks characteristics. I’m also doing more in the series of the one piece bathing suit because the shape of that bathing suit is such a nice color field for my patterns. I love roundness - the roundness of the bathing suit women and the roundness of the rocks.

Crab Suit, 24" X 36"

Crab Suit, 24" X 36"

If you haven’t visited Tryst gallery, I highly recommend you pop by and enjoy DeeDee’s work along with 30 other local artists. The show runs through the end of September and there is a First Friday reception on September 1 from 6PM - 9PM.