Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday's "Other Creative Soul": Michelle Stroescu

This Thursday I am featuring Artist Michelle Stroescu, a fellow art educator and lover of the modern landscape and written word. She will be displaying her paintings alongside mine at Artisan Style Gallery's upcoming show, "Uncommon Grounds", opening next month.

Name: Michelle Stroescu

Education: Graduated from ETSU in Tennessee w/ BFA in Graphic Design and MAT ( Master of Arts in Teaching w/ art emphasis)

Current City: Dallas, hometown now for 12 years

Tell me about your work in one sentence: Sensual, earthy, imagery, intuitive at times , representational at times, with patterns found in nature a recurring ,dominant theme. From my years in the fashion development biz I am addicted to researching color and print direction trends , which filters into my paintings as well.

Describe your normal day:
No two days are alike.

What would your *ideal* day be like?
More systematic, like when I used to work the 8-5 job and go into an office. Still working on achieving that in my "artist/painter" life. Ideally, I would wake at 5,do yoga, drink coffee, read, make notes to do,peruse my fave art mags , and be inspired to finish paintings in progress and start new ones in a well lit huge open studio for 5 hours straight .

What are your passions?
Human rights , equality,educating and mentoring it my own daughter, her friends and/ or the students I teach at El Centro CC , I currently teach Color Theory for the Fashion students and this class along with the students projects are a huge inspiration to me.

What are your goals?
To be more confident in the marks I make not be too comparing with other's work, to be true to 'michelle's" style.
By this summer would like to complete a new body of work based on the "lost art of communication"....maybe 10-12 paintings and pitch to galleries. By end of this year would like to have receipt in hand that reflects sales every month of this year .hahaha! It is possible.

Long term:
Would like to paint and produce a show with other female artists based on Judy Chicago's exhibit back in late 80's..."The Dinner Party".
Would like to publish a book with my art and poetry combined.

Who are your creative influences?
Klimt, Warhol, O'Keefe, Susan Sales, Lisa Lindholm,Joan Mitchell, Josef Albers, Kandinsky,Van Gogh, Chuck Close,Angela Adams, Marimeko, Frank Lloyd Wright,Agnes Martin,Pollock,Gaugin and Contemporary Japanese illustrators and painters.

Are there any other relevant experiences that shaped who you are today and what you do?
Two things:
1/ Someone once told me my world would become Techncolor once I gave birth to a child.
So true.
I only had 1 painting class in college. I was nervous about the brush! So, I stayed close to my comfort zone, pencil and pen, crayons paint.
Until my daughter was born that is.
After her birth I became enamored with the process of mixing colors and seeing all the colors I could mix from just a few basic tubes. I was inspired by the pregnancy and creating a beautiful work of art inside of me. My paintings are like babies , new birth.
I am basically a self taught painter who has loved the creative process all my life.
But my life as an artist took a bright turn after Raina's birth.
I tossed the grey pencil world aside for the kaleidescope of color I found in the paint and brush.
2/ Right after I was diagnosed with diabetes I was in Taiwan on business. While there I was working 14 hr days and very sick. On a day off we went into the city and visited local markets trying to relax and enjoy the culture. Every turn I made I would see these Chinese characters/letters that attracted me to them like magnets.
At first it was just funny to hear my friend tell me that they meant " Calm down your mind". Our last week of work was anything but calming.
After seeing this symbol over and over again it became clear to me a message was being sent to me and I began to think seriously about how was I going to to "Calm down my mind".
The last stop we made, I again saw these characters painted on rocks made by this artist who only had one arm. His work was amazing and intricate.He had not allowed his disability to control him. His art spoke volumes. A different phrase painted on a rose tinted stone caught my eye this time.
The meaning "Be satisfied with what you have."

I was struck by the reality of the message. I came home and along with my husband's support decided to leave the big $ job to focus on my health, and try to make a living making my art. teaching, and living a creative inspired life.
That will be 3 years ago this April.

Is there anyone (celebrity, dead, alive, in your life) that you really look up to as an inspiration?
My mother who passed away in inspirational in reassuring me to be myself and to keep on keeping on...never stop reaching for your star. yeah, it's pretty sappy, but true. She even had an old Blue Ford station wagon back in the day with stickers on it that read, "mAKE lOVE NOT WAR, pEACE,and a daisy" I grew up in the flower power .women's liberation. equal rights era of late 60's early 70's.
Oops telling my age now.

What motivates you on a daily basis?
Time. "Time keeps on ticking ticking ticking into the future."

Do you have a "guilty pleasure" that you can't miss out on to get you going?
1/Expensive trend book: Textile View ...I still can't resist the trend reports even though I am not actually working as a designer of fashion or product developer full time, I still am curious about what is influencing colors, pattern, styles and hey we are all influenced one way or the other by our surroundings , be it fashion , music, nature etc.
2/AND I am a new music hunter and gatherer...all genres. This is a guilty pleasure for sure that costs me lots some months before I know it. So new music gets me going ....moves me to the mood I wanna paint in.
3/ McMannis Petit Syrah vino

*What's your working style? Do you work for 12 hours straight nonstop, or do you take lots of breaks?
Too many breaks due to the FB phenomena...and then I paint nonstop crazy!

>*What are your websites/social networking links?
Here's a link to a wonderful event I'm involved in this March:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Fiery Peace

11" x 14" x 1.5"
Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas

Through my art, with color and texture, I seem to be able to say things that I can't put into words. It is a language all its own. To me, this painting is reaching out to someone who I cannot seem to communicate with any other way.

" there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life." Rilke

Friday, February 19, 2010


15" x 20"
Acrylic on Paper

Had some fun being loose with this painting. It was actually done largely by hand, and by hand I mean with my fingers! Painting with my toddlers is really rubbing off on me, I suppose. I loosely tried to capture the image of two people embracing under a tree. I was listening to Dave Matthews' "Lover Lay Down" in the studio, and can think of no song more romantic:

Spring sweet rhythm dance in my head
Slip into my lover's hands
Kiss me oh won't you kiss me now
And sleep I would inside your mouth

Don't be us too shy
Knowing it's no big surprise
That I will wait for you
I will wait for no one but you

Look please lover lay down
Spend this time with me
Together share this smile
Lover lay down

Walk with me, walk with you
Hold my hand your hands
So much we have dreamed
And you were so much younger
Hard to explain that we are stronger

A million reasons life to deny
Let's toss them away
See you and me we
Lay down look see
She and he
By my lover's side
Together share this smile
Each other's tears to cry

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday's "Other Creative Soul": Kat Rogers

This Thursday's feature is Kat Rogers, a jewelry designer, yogi and mother whose creativity flows into all aspects of life and is a gift she loves to share:

Name- Kat Rogers, Dallas TX

Education - BBA focused in Economics from UNT, 200hr Yoga Alliance Certified Teacher, Baron Baptiste Certified Yoga Teacher

Current City/Hometown - Dallas

Tell about your work in one sentence. - I work with semi precious gemstones that hold positive healing energies, so my intention is to not only make you look good but more importantly feel good.

Describe your normal day. What would your *ideal* day be like? - Wake up with my 2 little boys (4 & 2), workout (either Baby Boot Camp, or a yoga class), play at the park with the boys, eat lunch, relax/nap time for the kids while I answer email, write in my blog, upload jewelry pics & data to my website, fill orders, and of course Facebook :), dinner, bath, write in my gratitude journal, and then I end my day making jewelry pieces while I spend time with my husband. Oh, and I've recently become addicted to Scrabble on the iphone so I get as much of that in as I can! AND, I try to stay present through all that and enjoy every moment!

What are your passions? yoga, designing jewelry, and feeling good!

What are your goals? To always stay connected to who I am and that spirit that's bigger than me, and to always reach for a better thought &/or feeling. I believe if I can do that, everything else will fall right into place.

Who are your creative influences? I'm mostly influenced by beautiful things I see, whether it's an outside landscape, a beautifully decorated home, or a fashion style that I love. I'm also influenced by my yoga practice...which is why I love working with charms that say "breathe", "peace", "create", "love", etc.

Are there any other relevant experiences that shaped who you are today and what you do? When I began practicing yoga and then started teaching it, I really got connected to the essence of who I am. I am much more connected spiritually, and everything I do (being a teacher, a jewelry artists, a mom, etc) is with the intention of feeling good and inspiring others to do the same.

Do you have a "guilty pleasure" that you can't miss out on to get you going? Coffee or tea in the morning...for sure!!

What's your working style? I work about 18 hours straight raising 2 little boys and that being my full time job (although I definitely don't call it a job, it's a complete joy!), but as far was working on jewelry, I'll go 2 or 3 hours straight at night after they're in bed.

What are your websites/social networking links?

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Golden Afternoon

12" x 16" x 1.5"
Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas

I love the movie "Alice in Wonderland", it's one of my favorites. The title for this painting comes from one of the songs Alice sings, called "The Golden Afternoon".
You can learn a lot of things from the flowers
For especially in the month of June
There's a wealth of happiness and romance
All in the golden afternoon

Yes, that sounds all dandy and carefree, but there is a lot of depth to the story of Alice in Wonderland. I can really relate to Alice's struggles with the importance and instability of personal identity. She is constantly ordered to identify herself by the creatures she meets, but she herself has doubts about her identity as well. This concept of "finding yourself" is intriguing to me. It is one of my goals this year to put together a series of paintings based the themes explored in Alice in Wonderland of identity, curiosity, growing up and achieving social position. This painting is a step in that direction.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Custom-Ordered Children's Furniture

A client ordered a baseball-themed children's table and chair set for the upcoming ESD school auction. Well, the table got away before I could snap a photo of it, but here are the chairs. Most furniture that is custom-ordered from my studio is painted by my mom, Margie Sibrizzi. My mom has taught me so much about art starting at a very young age, and I still have so much to learn from her. She's also the only one in my family who will give me an honest critique. :) Mom has a knack for realism that words cannot describe. The fluidity and ease with which she paints is something I admire so much. I hope this furniture raises a lot of money for the auction which it was purchased for!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Weekly Feature: "Other Creative Souls" Brandon Lynch of Artisan Style Gallery

I have decided to create a weekly feature on my blog that celebrates the creative people behind the products, art, design, & small businesses -- to help us inspire each other and recognize the hard work that goes into being an independent designer/entrepeneur/artist/writer/photographer/what-have-you! Brandon Lynch was kind enough to go first...

Brandon Lynch

Graduated from Southern Methodist University with a B.A. in Corporate Communication and Public Affairs.

Current City/Hometown:
I currently live in Dallas, close to Lakewood. I am originally from Middletown, New Jersey but I grew up in Plano

Describe your work in one sentence:
I am the proud gallery owner of Artisan Style and handle all the day-to-day business along with my partner, Steve Iha.

What is a "normal" day for you? What would your *ideal* day be like?
A normal day, especially right now with the combination of the time of year, economy and being new to the art world, is dominated by marketing, PR, networking and doing just about anything we can think of to bring people in the door. We also make an attempt at meeting with the majority of artists that contact us, and although I know we will not be able to do that forever, I feel that if an artist puts themselves out there and shows interest in our gallery, the least I could do is meet with them and see what kind of work they do. Plus, artists can be brutally honest and they will tell us what we need to change, and they give us advice and useful information. My ideal day is any day that we stay constantly busy, working with clients and picking pieces to take to their home. I really enjoy loading up my car and just spending a few hours at a client's home selecting the best work for them.

What are your passions?
I tend to get passionate about my work, regardless of what kind of work it is. Before we began looking for a gallery location, I thought long and hard about the things I truly like, that make me happy. And I decided that I truly love being around art, being around artists and their completely unique personalities. Steve and I had taken several trips since we met, and almost all were to cities known for their art and/or antiques. Its funny now to think back on all the time and money we spent going to random galleries and gift shops, never imagining that those random experiences would one day place us in our very own gallery. Aside from that, I love music, gardening, writing, and antiques.

What are your goals?
My professional goals are to follow through with the plans we made for Artisan Style, keeping the same attitude we started with in regards to our artwork and artists. I never want to feel like I need to be doing what other galleries are doing in town. And I hope the artists we work with will put us in check should we ever lose sight of why we opened ;). It is hard to think long-term as I am so focused on getting through each month right now, but eventually we would like to have both the gallery and antique store close to one another, as well as open a boutique entirely separate from the gallery. These goals are obviously way down the road.

Who are your creative influences?
Not being an artist, I am continuously looking at the work of all our artists and only dream of being half that talented.

Are there any other relevant experiences that shaped you?
After I graduated from college, I met Steve and was introduced to the world of advertising. I had one interview and received my first job, an assistant media buyer at MindShare (J. Walter Thompson). Over the next three years, the company that I had loved for so many reasons was slowly changing, getting rid of current upper management and replacing them with inexperienced accountants that knew nothing about their job. They began laying off co-workers of mine, and they had no shame in laying off someone who worked there for 30 years simply because they were paid a salary they had worked most their life to earn. It was a real eye-opener to how corporate America works and I knew I could not be a part of it forever.

What motivates you on a daily basis? Do you have a "guilty pleasure" that you can't miss out on to get you going?
It would be so easy to throw in the towel somedays, I must admit. Things naturally pile up and it becomes almost too much. Its that way with everything though and the biggest motivating factor for me at the gallery are the artists we represent. Selling artwork is not like selling someone on an apartment (one of my college jobs). It is so much more gratifying for so many reasons. I feel like I not only have helped the gallery, I have helped that person choose a piece of art that will hang on their walls for years to come, and I get the joy of telling an artist one of their pieces sold. However, my guilty pleasure and true motivator that gets me out of bed is a cold Dr. Pepper in a glass with ice. I would not make it into the gallery without one.

What's your working style?
Oddly enough, no matter what job I am doing, I have always been the type to work non-stop throughout the day, well into the night. People that know me well have never understood how I can barely get myself off the couch while watching television to get a drink but I will insist on working til 9 pm at night.

What are your websites/social networking links?
The gallery website is, and my blog, which is under construction, is
The gallery's facebook page is

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nine Months' Time: My art show at The Pearl Cup

Thanks to all who came to the opening of my art show at The Pearl Cup on Friday evening. There I am in the top picture, trying not to look like I had a baby two weeks prior. :) I am so grateful for the opportunity to show there, and my artwork will be hanging throughout the month. If you didn't make it to the opening, please go by and check it out. All pieces are available for sale.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I'm featured in Daily Candy!! (insert Happy Dance here)

"If art is indeed the truest form of expression, then I can think of no better way to say 'I love you'. - Unknown Artist

My Valentine's Paintings were featured in yesterday's Daily Candy Dallas "To Do" list. Thanks so much to Brandon Lynch at Artisan Style Gallery for working his magic to get my paintings written up. The exposure was wonderful and it made my day yesterday to wake up and read about myself in Daily Candy. :-) It also reminded me how lucky I am to be represented by such a wonderful gallery.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Valentine's Paintings Series

A Prayer in Spring
11" x 14"
Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas

This is the latest of my custom commissioned Valentine's painting series. A client selected the poem, "A Prayer in Spring", by Robert Frost, to be collaged into the background of her painting, as it has a very special meaning to her and her husband. She even chose to handwrite the verses herself which makes the painting that much more personal, a little piece of her heart that she's offering to her husband immortalized on the canvas.

I have had great success with this series and feel so happy to have created so many commissioned pieces over the past month and a half. It's kind of like my own artsy way of playing Cupid. Several paintings from my Valentine's series are available at Artisan Style Gallery Uptown. Brandon Lynch, one of the Owners, recently informed me that they are soon going to be featured in Daily Candy Dallas. Can't wait!

"For this is love and nothing else is love,
To which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends he will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill." Robert Frost

Monday, February 1, 2010

La Bella Vita

8" x 10" x 1.5"
Acrylic and Mixed Media on Gallery Wrapped Canvas

"You are such a good boy. You sleep now. Dream sweet dreams. Maybe we are both dreaming." from the film, La Vita y Bella

In the midst of working on some larger paintings, I wanted to make something smaller and sweeter as I counted my blessings out in the studio. My beautiful son arrived last week and is healthy. Plus, he loves to sleep so the transition from two to three children has not been as rough as I was anticipating. As I recover from a difficult pregnancy, I am feeling more like myself and stronger every day. My family is together and complete and we have a wonderful support system of loving friends. My husband is a wonderful father and more help than I could have ever hoped for. My art is being shown in two different shows this month. Life is beautiful!

Gina Marie Dunn, Utopia Pkwy. Art Studio's Fan Box


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