There is no happier place than an artist’s studio.
Celena Burnett’s potters wheel dominates a basement where the light floods through high-set windows.
Richard Siegel has two; one in the lower level of his house for painting, and the other in a joyfully cluttered garage where he creates works on his lathe.
Photographer JoAnn Sieburg-Baker works in a brick walled room at the McColl Center.
Chris Watts recently moved his studio from his apartment to a new place.
Grand or homely, any space becomes a studio when it is used to create art. Lynn Trenning
Sieburg-Baker, 65, is an 11-month affiliate artist at the McColl Center for Visual Art. She specializes in architectural photography, public art and fine art.
In one day she graduated from N.C. State University, got married and received the wedding gift of a Nikon camera. That changed her life. Her lucky break came when she was hired to document buildings for the National Register of Historic Places. Sieburg-Baker mastered the art of black-and-white silver gelatin prints. When introduced to Cibachrome, a direct positive color printing process, she fell in love with color. “It is highly archival, and the colors were very bright and beautifully saturated, and it changed my eye.”
“Any photograph is a distortion. You take a three-dimensional scene and you turn it into a two dimensional photograph, and every lens will distort that image in a variety of ways. I love the highly composed tail of landscapes that have a geometry that draws you in. In photography, the light is everything.”
More info: http://www.js-b.com
Burnett, 43, is a studio potter whose functional stoneware is intricately decorated with stamp patterns, most of which she makes.
When she entered Winthrop University she had never touched clay. The art room in her Newberry, S.C., high school didn’t even have a sink. “But two weeks after I finished my clay class, I switched my major from graphic design to clay. I felt like I was home.” Her favorite wheel is a Leach-style treadle that is propelled by the rhythm of her body. “I really like to create texture. It is wonderful to watch how the glaze breaks on it.” Today Burnett adds brilliant oranges and blues to the dark, rich, earthy tones she has used for years. “I wanted happy bright colors, and I wonder if that something to do with my life. I am much happier, and I am drawn to much happier colors.”
Once a reluctant cook, Burnett finds inspiration in the kitchen. “When you eat off a paper plate it is awful. But when everything is in a handmade bowl, it is wonderful.”
Siegel, 72, is a watercolor artist and woodworker. His life is documented by the artwork in his home: Oil paintings of Boston, watercolor landscapes of Texas canyons, and woodcut prints fill the walls. Lathe-turned bowls decorate tabletops he built.
Watercolor is Siegel’s first love. “When I teach watercolor I stress one stroke wet on wet. That means once you put that stroke on the paper, that’s it. But if it is still wet, you can add other colors to it to bring out different shades of that same color. Once it dries, you can’t do anything to it.” Eleven years ago in the Pisgah National Forest, he came upon a wood-turner exhibition at the Parkway Craft Center. “I thought, I can do that. So I went out and bought myself a small lathe.”
“My joy is to have people look at my art. I would much rather have people come see my work than have me tell them about it. My heart is with the painting, but the woodturning is fun.”
More info: www.richardsiegelstudio.com
Watts, 28, works in mixed media, which includes oils, graphite, photo transfers and acrylic.
With a background in graphic design, he finds it natural to use digital accessories to help create his work, including appropriating imagery from Life magazines. Much of his work is large, because “it is important for the image to consume the viewer.” He earned a bachelor of fine arts degree at UNC Charlotte. His first solo exhibition, “Collective Intuitions,” at Duke University in 2011, was “about starting a dialogue with people who were genuinely interested in the work.” It led to his introduction to curator Brad Thomas and the subsequent exhibit “I Am Chris Watts,” which was part of the Looking “Forward/Looking Back” exhibit at Davidson College honoring the 100th anniversary of artist Romare Bearden’s birth.
Watts merges printmaking and painting into graphic works. “To harmonize them was the trick. It allowed me to create a vocabulary in which to communicate.”
More info: www.iamchriswatts.com