Steven Plaziak: Painting the Places We Call Home

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There is a certain essence to living on the shoreline — the sound of the gulls, the smell of low tide, the morning light across a salt marsh. Living here, you know these things as well as you know the rooms in your house. The gulls, the tides, the marshes — they are part of the place we call home. Artist Steven Plaziak adeptly recreates these places for us on canvas, making you excited to say “I know that place!”

Please see for yourself during Open Studios Weekend. He’s number 14 on your Shoreline ArtsTrail map, in Guilford.

“I am inspired by old barns, boats, roads, architecture and people,” Steven will tell you. His detailed sketchbook records his observations of light and perspective, and the stories he sees. “In that way, I am able to keep the moment alive in the finished paintings.”

Steven experiments with various mediums including watercolor, oil, pastel and charcoal, which you can see on his website www.Steven.Plaziak.com. “That experimentation helps me tell a visual story,” he explains.

Steven has a background in graphic design, studied at Fairfield University and the Rhode Island School of Design, and worked in New York City for a number of years as a freelance artist and designer. He returned to Connecticut in the late 90s and has worked as a designer, taught at Paier College of Art, and is currently a design director working in the New Haven area. He’s also a musician, playing guitar in an acoustic trio that plays throughout the shoreline area.

Perhaps it is that combination of design savvy and creativity that imbues Steve’s paintings with such tangible recognition and connection.

You don’t want to miss a stop at Steven’s studio during Open Studios Weekend, November 22-23, 2014. This year, ArtsTrail member Linda Knudsen Westgard will be joining him for the weekend.

Click here to read more Shoreline Arts Trail member artist profiles.

- by Jen Payne, Words by Jen

Welcome Branford Artists!

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Pictured left to right: Molly S. McDonald, Lisa Hess Hesselgrave, Martha Link Walsh, Owen Sea Luckey, David Frank, Sharon Hosley, Sid Werthan, Margaret B. Dean, Christine Chiocchio, Terry Bogan, Anne Coffey, Pat Rist, Hannah Baldwin, and Richard Carleton. (Photo by Rebekah Chamberlain)

This year, the Shoreline ArtsTrail welcome new member artist, painter Lisa Hess Hesselgrave, as well as these returning artists from Branford: Hannah Baldwin, Terry Bogan, Richard Carleton, Christine Chiocchio, Anne Coffey, Margaret B. Dean, David Frank, Lisa Hess Hesselgrave, Sharon Hosley, Owen Sea Luckey, Molly S. McDonald, Kristin Merrill, Jane Strauss Novick, Pat Rist, Martha Link Walsh, Sid Werthan, and Maureen Wilkinson.

Mark your calendar! This year’s Open Studios Weekend will run November 22-23, 2014. For specific locations and more information about events, discount offers and participating artists, pick up a copy of the Shoreline ArtsTrail map, available in libraries, town halls, Connecticut welcome centers, and visitors’ centers in Branford, Guilford and Madison, as well as at the Guilford Art Center and the various studios. Contact Martha Link Walsh at (203) 481-3505 or visit www.shorelineartstrail.com for more information.

Click here to read more Shoreline Arts Trail member artist profiles.

- by Jen Payne, Words by Jen

Marjorie Sopkin: Twisting! Twirling! Tumbling!

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Ruckus!
Frayed!
Twisting!
Twirling!
Tumbling!
Pondemonium!

These are the words that artist Marjorie Sopkin uses to introduce her colorful, vibrant paintings. But there is no “pondemonium” in her work — more like a thoughtful attention to color and the possibilities of movement. Find out what all of the ruckus is about when you visit her studio during Open Studios Weekend. She’s number 20 on your Shoreline ArtsTrail map, in Guilford.

“Through a repetitive mark-making process I focus on movement,” Marjorie explains. “Inspired by birds and fish, I use colorful marks to represent their synchronized and instinctive behavior.”

In her paintings, these marks twist and turn across the surface of large canvases as if playing tag or follow-the-leader. “I try to capture the sensory attractions you find in nature,” says Marjorie, “mimicking natural phenomena like a starling murmuration, or underwater pheromonal attractions.”

“By color, the marks become entities and express their unity while they swarm until an endless depth of interaction is created, much like a social network.”

People often ask Marjorie what the marks are and what they pursue as they travel in their various directions. “Decide for yourself,” she says. “Are they are birds, bees or fish? or simply color-coded characters of an imaginary tribe?”

Whatever your conclusion, Marjorie’s work is propelled by color and the relationship of small things, the textural beauty they create when grouped en mass and the power of like-entities when performing together.

See for yourself on her website, sopkinart.com, or live and in person during Open Studios Weekend, November 22-23, 2014.

Click here to read more Shoreline Arts Trail member artist profiles.

- by Jen Payne, Words by Jen

Sandee Spahr: Movement in Stillness

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“We are all glorified motion sensors…,” writes Vera Nazarian in her book The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration. “[W]e realize that…still things are not so motionless after all. They are simply gliding with slow individualistic grace against the backdrop of the immense universe.”

You will know exactly what she means when you stand with a sculpture created by artist Sandee Spahr. There, in front of you: movement in the stillness of sculpture.

At Sandee’s studio in Guilford, number 17 on your Shoreline ArtsTrail map, you’d find an exciting collection of sculpture in stone, bronze, and apoxie. And there, among the most steadfast of materials, you’ll witness movement. An alabaster flower blooms, a rhodolite woman spins, a bronze skier maneuvers the slopes — and you feel it all.

Sandee has a keen eye for realism, and is known for exhibiting exceptional detail and capturing the essence of the subject at hand. A master at sculpting a variety of forms, her creations showcase stunning elements, breathtaking three-dimensional quality, and an attention to detail that will make you smile.

A former art teacher and lifelong artist, Sandee has a degree in Art Education, and taught art, crafts, photography, and sculpture in the Stratford School District for more than thirty years. Throughout that time, she has created considerable work in paintings, fibers and wood, but her most recent concentration has been in sculpture, which she expertly creates from her studio in Guilford.

You can browse her website, but you’ll want to see her work up close — to feel its movement and grace — so be sure to visit her during Open Studios Weekend, November 22-23, 2014.

Click here to read more Shoreline Arts Trail member artist profiles.

- by Jen Payne, Words by Jen

Catherine Steinberg: Nourishing the Soul with Art

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There is a wonderful, dynamic energy in the paintings of Catherine Steinberg. See for yourself when you visit her studio during Open Studios Weekend. She’s number 26 on your Shoreline ArtsTrail map.

Catherine is a licensed marriage and family therapist who works with a variety of disciplines to help people achieve balance — balance of mind, body and spirit. That same sense of healing and empowerment comes through in her artwork.

“The use of color and light is transformative and healing,” Catherine explains. “Light and energy vibrations from colors and shapes can help change moods, alter self-limiting perceptions and open psyches to change and growth. Creating or just experiencing various colors and their combinations can bring balance and joy.”

Although Catherine has worked with a variety of media — drawing, pen and ink, sculpture — she was drawn to the color and light of painting. “I have been painting for the past ten years and consider it to be my meditation and therapy. I paint mostly with oils, but also use acrylics and inks as well.”

The process of her work is often inspired. “I start with ideas of color and form that come to me through a dream or vision. Using my intuitive process, I begin to work with those colors and forms on a canvas allowing my creative energies to spontaneously emerge.”

For more about Catherine, please visit her website. But don’t miss the opportunity to see her exciting work in person during Open Studios Weekend, November 22-23, 2014.

Click here to read more Shoreline Arts Trail member artist profiles.

- by Jen Payne, Words by Jen

Welcome Guilford Artists!

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Pictured left to right: Steve Plaziak, Estelle Nussbaum, Sandra Spahr, Kathleen Hoskins, Scott Tabar, Linda Knudsen Westgard, and Eileen Eder. (Photo by Rebekah Chamberlain)

This year, the Shoreline ArtsTrail welcome new member artists painters Susan Gillie and Estelle Nussbaum, and printmaker Kathleen Hoskins. Returning artists include painters Laurie Douglas, Eileen Eder, B. Joan Hickey, Lorraine Lewin, Phyllis Lynch, Steve Plaziak, Marjorie Sopkin, and Catherine Steinberg; weaver and fiber artist Carol Grave; jewelry designer Jackie McGuire; glass artist and sculptor Barbara Shulman-Kirwin; sculptor Sandra Spahr; goldsmith G. Scott Tabar; and potter Linda Knudsen Westgard.

Mark your calendar! This year’s Open Studios Weekend will run November 22-23, 2014. For specific locations and more information about events, discount offers and participating artists, pick up a copy of the Shoreline ArtsTrail map, available in libraries, town halls, Connecticut welcome centers, and visitors’ centers in Branford, Guilford and Madison, as well as at the Guilford Art Center and the various studios. Contact Martha Link Walsh at (203) 481-3505 or visit www.shorelineartstrail.com for more information.

Click here to read more Shoreline Arts Trail member artist profiles.

- by Jen Payne, Words by Jen

Scott Tabar: Leaving Room for Serendipity

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Influenced by his mother, an artist who ran a crafts gallery, and surrounded by artists and crafts professionals, goldsmith Scott Tabar has been interested in creating from an early age. The result? A stunning collection of one-of-a-kind jewelry spanning 30 years. Scott’s studio is number 24 on your Shoreline ArtsTrail map, in Guilford.

“While I get the artistic talent from my mother, my interest in processes and tools comes from my father, an engineer. I love tools and I’ve adapted many of his for use in my metal smithing,” Scott explains.

“I employ traditional techniques to achieve non-traditional images and love to explore new methods to create my work,” he says of his craft.

Scott designs pieces that have both engineered and naturally occurring themes. They incorporate a variety of precious metals, gemstones, patterns, textures and shapes. “I like to blend constructed elements with organic textures,” he explains.

“While respecting time honored traditions of craftsmanship, my favorite efforts are those which allow a bit of serendipity to enter the creative process.”

To see a variety of Scott’s pieces, please visit his website. And be sure to visit his studio during Open Studios Weekend, November 22-23, 2014.

Click here to read more Shoreline Arts Trail member artist profiles.

- by Jen Payne, Words by Jen