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Starbucks | Jul 2015

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This month’s newsletter reads like a Starbucks coffee. A Venti Iced 2 pump Mocha with quad espresso shots to be exact! (Jack’s favorite drink until he started having heart arrhythmias. Go figure!) Anyway, let’s just say the artists I’m presenting today are a powerful blend of talent, taste, and energy …and plenty of it. They are also extremely kind and enjoyable people….Bonus! (Whipped cream topping!)

To start this highly caffeinated chronicle, I should like to begin with an anatomy of a murder. A “Murder of Crows” to be exact. This is the title to the oil on canvas, executed by artist Dave Lebow. I cannot view this piece without thoroughly being drawn into it each time I pass. The woman descending down the stone stairway, eyes fluttered, hair aswoosh, and neck sensuously and vulnerably exposed, as a murder of crows is in flight about her. The rendering of the stone, the color and texture of the crows, the classic form of the woman and the movement of this piece, all take me back to fond memories of scenes like this of mystery and fantasy. And maybe a large bowl of popcorn! What are the crows signaling to her? A forewarning? Did they swoop through the window at the top of the stairs? Are they trying to apprehend her dissension, to protect her from what is below?

Welcome to the imagination of Dave Lebow!

Welcome to your own imagination! It’s okay…….let yourself go there! In Lebow’s oil painting, “Rat Princess”, the eyes are given an other-worldly sight. The dimension of the princess tells you that you are somewhere you haven’t been before. She confidently sits upon the rat’s back, as he seems to show a protective and prideful care for her in his stance. She holds a lighted torch which is a matchstick taken from the box of matches nearby. She is sultry and strong. What world she rules, I know not! Dave shows his talent well by the way he has painted the details of the wood, the rat, the fire and the burlesqueness of the woman. Not a lot of artist can do multiple subjects and do them as well as he does!

The third piece, “The Kiss”, depicts a woman blowing a kiss to a Dragon-like creature whose mouth is open and teeth bared with a force to cause her hair to be blown behind her. Yet, she has a calm and serene look on her face as she gently blows the kiss to him from off the palm of her hand. One detects no fear in the woman. Beautiful in motion and color.

Dave certainly has a way with Beauties and Beasts!

As H.P. Lovecraft said:

“Pleasure to me is wonder-the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.”

Dave was born and raised in Oklahoma, a native Tulsan. Today he lives in Southern California. Lebow combines pulp illustration, fantasy, drama, horror, classical style and realism in varied combinations in his artworks. He has a retro style that is “old school” and “new world”. Dave also does Illustrating and Animations for the entertainment industry.


A little factoid: While we are “appreciating” (understanding) art and art concepts, it’s only fair and fun to point out some elements at times. For instance, what about crows and a murder of crows? Crows are very social and caring creatures. They are considered to be among the smartest animals on the planet! They possess advanced reasoning and tool making skills and live everywhere but the Antarctica. They are susceptible to West Nile Virus and their deaths are used as early indicators of potential human disease in an area. The term “murder of crows” dates back to the 15th century. It is a collective noun, reflecting a time when groups of animals were named more colorfully and poetically; an “ostentation of peacocks”, a parliament of owls”, a ”skulk of foxes”, a “pride of lions” and etc.. Other reasons for the term “murder of crows” may just lie in folklore and superstition; such as crows will gather and decide the capital fate of another crow or the appearances of crows as an omen of death, because crows and ravens are scavengers.

I’m probably going to “be eating a little crow” for being late with the newsletter again! CAW, CAW, CAW!

With my own cup of coffee in hand, (helps wash down the crow!) a k-cup of Dark Magic to be exact (higher caffeine content); I will continue to keep up with the energy and boldness of the artists of which I speak!

Serving you today as a Barista of art, I am honored to talk about Santa Clara Potter, Susan Folwell. She is enriching to Lovetts Gallery and her collectors.

To get a taste and feel of Susan’s work is to know she produces classic, time-honored, from the ground up, premier pottery. With a twist! Her process is traditional, as are her clay and firing techniques. Even her use of Santa Clara soil.

But, it’s Susan’s forms, designs and imagery that makes her work so unique. She has a rich and bold heritage; her mother, Jody Folwell is considered the Matriarch of the Avant Garde Native Pottery Movement. Susan is motivated by challenges and this played an important part in her finding her own voice in her work. She speaks through the imagery on her pottery by utilizing past experiences, present circumstances and future thoughts; concepts developed and expressed in relation to her life. She is not timid to implement social issues and political ideas into her designs, and she drives you there with the vehicle of humor!

A new and unusual piece in the Gallery of Susan’s is

“Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk”!

There are varied sizes of three cartons of milk, two with straws and a fourth piece representing the “spilt milk”. Detailing “missing persons”, these Yellow Brick Dairy Cartons of Pueblo pottery are quite expressive. Due to the 3Dimensional qualities of her work, nothing is as satisfying as seeing them up close and personal in the Gallery. Folwell injects a higher conscience and purpose to her creations and takes delight in finding the right home and the right person for them. She works her heart and spirit into her pieces along with the clay. That’s how Susan continues to find her voice and that’s how we continue to hear it!

Oh, to talk about this next artist is to follow a high octane and eclectic Scott French! With several art disciplines under his creative belt, and a fascination for human emotions and relationships, Scott paints with oils on panel, or as in his piece “28 Words”, he painted oil on a skateboard deck. Or his piece, “The Wicked One” which was painted on an old book of The Wizard of Oz. Recently sold were two images of a nude and semi nude witch. Green witches! I had never contemplated a witch out of her traditional garb, much less her nakedness. Her green nakedness! Here is where Scott humanized her and created a relational bridge. It challenges ones pre-conceived ideas of things. (It’s kind of like when you were a kid and one day you learned that teachers were real people that actually left the school and had to get groceries like everyone else.) Or was that just me?

French is playful with the elements he injects with his subjects. Hat wear, head dressings and even antlers in his figurative pieces. Scott explores a wide range of emotion by the facial expressions, attitudes and body posturing in his paintings as he expresses their individuality. He also paints landscapes with a flair for the Renaissance or you may encounter a girl riding “bear” back with a ship atop the crown of her head. That last one is oil on canvas, named “Nighttime Stories”. According to Scott, this is a fairytale of dreams. To protect the magic and mystery of the painting, French will only say, “The bear represents the wild, the girl is passion, and the ship is adventure. The rest of the story is up to you!”

A few of the new oil paintings to see of Scott‘s in the gallery is “The Strange Engagement”, “No Apologies” and “The Inaudible Utterance”!

As a last shot of art espresso to our coffee monologue, I want to talk about the oil paintings of artist Gwen Wong. High-spirited, she shares her passion for animals in her work. As most artists have people in a starring role and animals as supporting actors, Gwen’s compositions have the animals in the main role and people as her substructure. I have taken literary license with that last statement, as it is my own observation. Actually, her career began with painting her beloved Weimaraner, Bella. This was Wong’s bellwether for exploring the canine, and to follow with other animals as well, as a surrogate human form. I believe any animal lover can certainly relate! In painting people and animals, Gwen has a way of capturing your attention with their eyes. Both opened and closed. She loves to use allegory, applying with her paintbrush, a story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning. Wong uses her creative intelligence, which is a combination of creative thinking, logical thinking and imagination! A few examples, “Bedlam” or “Call to Mind” or say, “the Language of Possibilities” represents these elements. Even “The Chook”. Uh! Oh! You have got to love the look on his face! Also striking are her crow pieces and her Magpie, “The Keeper”. The Magpie (in the crow family), is very clever. They are the only non-mammal species to pass the mirror test. This is when the bird can see itself in a mirror and understand that it is a reflection!

Gwen says, “By contrasting the characteristics that man and creatures share, creating an illusory world, where reality is optional, I begin to push the boundaries of what we know to be real and propose an alternate spectacular possibility!”

Thank you Susan, Scott and Gwen for continuing to be a part of the Imagination!

As I bring this metaphorical java journal to a close, we all hope you will come and see the hard work of the artists we represent in the Gallery. We thank you on their behalf. We thank you for all you do to make the imagination a reality here at Lovetts.


Energy for this publication was funded by lots of C8H10N402 !!!!!

(The molecular formula for caffeine)

Thank you for your support, for reading this newsletter, and for loving and appreciating art!!!

Raven Sawyer, the Beak Speak of Lovett’s, reminding you that life is more colorful when you have a good Artitude!

Editorial by: Raven Sawyer

Congratulations goes to Julie Bender for being “Best of Show” recipient

for The Lollipop Guild Exhibition for her piece “Horse of a Different Color”.

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