Monday, November 19, 2012

November 2012 Artist of the Month


For the month of November's Westchase Artist of the Month it's our pleasure to present to you Linita Calvacca.  Linita is a relatively new member to the Westchase Artists Society, so it's great to get to know her a little bit better through this feature.  Enjoy!
Question:Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have lived in the Tampa Bay area all of my life. I am married to a wonderful man Michael Calvacca we have a wonderful son Richie he married a beautiful woman Amy ....and now the reward is two grandsons Zachary and Dylan. All of my spare time is spent enjoying life as a Nana and as a daughter to my 83 year old mother. In a few years I plan on retiring from my now 27 year career as an accountant, at that time I want to devote time to my love of art. I have a beautiful little dog "Chloe Bella" that I enjoy.
Question: What first made you want to become an artist?
At an early age I was exposed to art. My father, although he never became able monetarily to live off of or support his family from his art work, always enjoyed drawing, painting and wood carving. After retiring my father was able to enjoy his continued love of painting and did sell many of his works. Also my brother was an artist that did show and sell many of his paintings in Manhattan where he lived most of his life. I have always admired and felt envious of anyone that could put on paper or canvas something beautiful...I wanted that ability.
Question: Describe your creative process.
I began studying under Vanessa Montenegro about a year ago after looking online to find someone to teach me to draw from photos. She did just that! In the past six months I have been commissioned to do several drawings of pets, children and family portraits from photos and at this point have sold many of my paintings. I am now working with acrylics and painting original landscapes. One of my landscapes  "Lettuce Lake Boardwalk" was one of 39 paintings selected to be exhibited at The Tampa Bay Lightning Forum for the Lightning season. I currently have a website Http://
                                                                                                                                                                      Question: Favorite books, movies, groups, websites?
I love reading my favorite author is John Steinbeck "Grapes of Wrath" "The Red Pony" "Of Mice and Men" another favorite book is "Geisha"
Movies my favorite is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or anything with Tom Hanks "Big" "Forrest Gump" "Cast Away""Sleepless in Seattle" any an all.
Any groups affiliated with Moffitt Hospital and All Childrens Hospital ....
Websites..Animal Planet... National geographics.....Blink....Cafe Press......Etsy
Question: In ten years I'd like to be...
Wow can't really say ....I know I still want to be a wife, mother, daughter, Nana and maybe in 15 or 20 years what would you call me a Great Nana ....wait I already
Also hopefully I will have many other proud moments in the art world.
Thank you so much Linita.  Great interview.  Stay tuned for upcoming Artists of the Month.

Friday, October 05, 2012

October 2012 Artist of the Month

For the month of October we have another wonderfully talented artist to present.  This artist is a relatively new member to our group and we're looking forward to getting to know her better.  Presenting to you Roberta Fallon.
Question:  Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Roberta:  I was born in the Bronx in NY and we moved Upstate to Dutchess County after we married to raise our children. I have a son, Randy , who lives up in NY, is married and has a little girl named Caitlin. I also have a daughter, Danielle, who lives in Waterchase with her husband and two children, Alexis 11 and Jack, almost 8. I have been a resident of Florida for 6 years now,
Question: What first made you want to paint?
Roberta:  In 2002 I was spending alot of time in Ocean City, NJ. I had recently found out that an Aunt of mine was a painter. Also, my Father used to talk about painting but never gave it a shot. I decided to take lessons. I went to an Art Society in the area and got a list of artists who gave lessons. One of my favorite artists on the Island was on the list. I called her and that was the start. I worked with a small group of local artists some new to painting and others who were pros. I took lessons whenever I was in NJ and had to stop when we moved here.
Question:  What's your creative process?
Roberta:   I will usually see a photo that attracts me and gets my creative juices flowing. I LOVE to paint my Grandchildren. Of course, most of the paintings take place on the beach. I have one of my Grandson that I call "Funky Jack". It's just so HIM. I use oils and I also love pastels.
Question:  What are your favorite books, movies etc.
Roberta:   Being that I am a romantic at heart I love movies like West Side Story, Grease or anything with a happy ending. My favorite authors are Stephen King, Robin Cook and Dean Koontz. Anything that makes me think " Hmm, could that really happen?".
Question:  What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
Roberta:   Hopefully still painting. I am starting School at Dunedin Fine Arts Center in the Fall so looking forward to improving my work. 
Thanks Roberta for taking the time out for our interview.  It's always fun to find out more about our artists.  Stay tuned for November's Artist of the Month. 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

September 2012 Artist of the Month

We are so lucky at the Westchase Artists Society.  Our membership has been growing and we're gaining some very diverse artist members.  One of our relatively new members is Stacy Kinslow.  Stacy brings to us the art of lampwork beadmaking.  And after watching Stacy at work with her torch, I have a new respect for the medium.  So, without further delay, here's Stacy's interview.

Question:  Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Stacy:  I've lived in Tampa all my life.  I have been married for 17 years and am a stay at home mom of a 5 year old.  My mother was always very crafty.  She sewed clothes and costumes, decorated cakes, made candles, even reupholstered furniture.  I have cross-stitched, worked with a scroll saw, and love nature photography.  I started making jewelry, then the glass beads.

Question:  What first made you want to become an artist:
Stacy:  I always had an interest in stained glass and was fascinated by glass blowers, but once I saw a lampworker manipulate melted glass and create a miniature work of art, I was hooked.

Question:  Describe your creative process.
Stacy:   I usually sit down and wonder how this color would look with that color.  There's chemical reactions in the glass, sometimes they work in your favor, sometimes, not.  You can build layers of transparent glass and build something different.  Every bead is unique.  There are so many techniques to learn and practice.  The options are limitless.

Question:  Favorite books, movies, website, groups....
Stacy:   I really enjoyed The Hunger Games, and enjoyed making beads inspired by the book.  I am also enjoying the Enchanted Inc series.

Question:  In ten years, I'd like to be...
Stacy:   Surviving my daughter's teenage years.

Stacy, thank you so much for taking the time to answer our interview questions.  Great interview and fabulous beads!  Please stay tuned and check back with us at the beginning of October for our next Artist of the Month spotlight.

Friday, August 03, 2012

August 2012 Artist of the Month

For the month of August our Artist of the Month is Victoria Tully.  Victoria is a wonderful artist that creates her magic through paper making wonderful handcrafted cards.  Each one is a special piece that takes the art of working with paper to a new level.  It's always great to be able to get to know our artists a little bit better, so without further delay, here's Victoria's interview.

Question:  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Toledo, OH but spent most of my life in Phoenix, AZ. I have lived in the Tampa area for 20 years, almost 17 of those in Westchase. I love being active and involved in the community.

I’m the owner and operator of Victoria Tully Designs. I have always loved art, making things and being creative. Many years ago I began making scrapbooks for myself and family members. One year for Christmas, I tore apart my daughter and son’s baby books, added photos from their childhood through young adulthood and made a big scrapbook for each of them. To this day they say it was the best gift I ever gave them. The following Christmas, I decided to do one for my stepdaughter and stepson and included not only their childhood photos but pictures of their father in his childhood and young adulthood. They loved them! My husband always encouraged me with my scrapbooking hobby and often said he thought I had a natural talent and I should go into business. I would laugh at him!

Then in the spring of 2011, I found myself not knowing what to do. I had recently lost my best friend, husband and my number one encourager of nearly 25 years. I needed something to fill my time and emptiness and give me some degree of happiness. It was my son (who had since become my number one encourager) who sent me an email with a link to a scrapbooking and card making business and said, “Mom, you can do this!” After kicking around the idea for a time, I thought what better business to start than to do something I really love. I had been working on a scrapbook for my neighbor’s 80th birthday celebration and realized the fulfillment and joy I was receiving from creating this keepsake for her. That was the beginning of Victoria Tully Designs…handmade invitations, scrapbooks and greeting cards. On April 27, 2011, Victoria Tully Designs, LLC was filed with the State of Florida.

Question:  What first made you want to become an artist?

This question tickles me. I am still getting accustomed to being referred to as an “artist.” I can’t pinpoint an exact thing that made me want to become an artist. I believe art has always been part of me. More importantly, it has always been God’s plan for me.

Question:  Describe your creative process.

I am inspired by an individual, a happy couple and/or an event. I play around with paper textures, colors, layers and embellishments. God has given me a talent to listen to an individual's vision, along with their likes and dislikes, and then be able to make it come alive in a card, invitation or scrapbook page.

 Question:  movies, website, groups…

My favorite books are anything involving spiritual growth, encouragement and understanding. I read from the Bible daily. I also love books about art, cooking (my second love) and decorating. My favorite website is YouTube. You can find out how to do almost anything on it!

My taste in music is very eclectic. I like pop 40 to jazz and classical. One of my favorite things is the “Shuffle Songs” option on my iPod. I listen to music all day long.

Question:  In ten years, I’d like to be…

Receiving as much joy from my art and clients as I do today! The Lord willing.

Friday, July 06, 2012

July 2012 Artist of the Month

Our Artist of the Month for July is one of the few that have been with our group from the early days.  It's always fun to have Sonya around because she brings a wonderful artistic style to all of our group projects.  So here's a peak into what makes Sonya tick. 

Q.  What made you want to become an artist?
Sonya:  Art is fun and limitless. Creating art has always brought me a tremendous amount of happiness. It’s always been there for me when I need a different perspective in the whirlwind.
Q. Describe your creative process.
My work begins with an idea usually inspired by something simple and normally overlooked. It’s quirky with a sense of humor -though often with an underlying message.
I like to keep it stress free and just have fun…trying not to over-think it, but simply enjoy the journey. I prefer bright colors and imperfection.
I’m primarily a painter, but have made all sorts of art from all sorts of things. It’s important to me to explore and grow because that’s all part of the process and delight.
I take many deep breaths and I look up often, reminding myself that every day is a gift from God and beauty is all around us.

So, taking Sonya's lead, I'm taking a deep breath and hoping that you all enjoyed this installment of the Westchase Artists Society's Artist of the Month.  Stay tuned for next month's installment and have an art-filled day!

Friday, June 01, 2012

June 2012 Artist of the Month

For the steamy month of June, the Westchase Artists Society's Artist of the Month is a wonderful artist named Rena Charles.  Rena has added a spark of enthusiasm to our group and she's so much fun to be around.  We're lucky to have her in our ranks.  So, without further delay, here's Rena's interview.

Question:  Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Rena:  I received my B.A. in Art History and minored in Environmental Studies and Visual Arts from Emory University.  Since then I've worked 9 years in the art industry here in Tampa.  I am fortunate to be the Directory of Gallery Relations for a nationally known pop artist based right here.  I love to travel, snowboard, watch football and golf, and dance and laugh with my friends.  For every city that I've traveled, there's an accompanying museum or gallery district that I've also visited.  Isn't it fascinating how people create so differently?  That's why I fell in love with Art History, it never felt like studying.

Question:  What first made you want to become an artist?
Rena:  I simply enjoy painting.  I see a vision in my head, or I am inspired by nature.  Transposing that vision onto canvas or mat board or wood is refreshing, almost therapeutic.  It's even more thrilling when someone wants to own what I've created.

Question:  Describe your creative process.
Rena:  My doggy, Bernie, curled next to me.  A glass of wine doesn't hurt.  I've usually sketched out what I want to paint and the color scheme is in my head.  A lot of happy accidents happen along the way.  I stop when the canvas makes me smile.  I've sort of nestled myself into a tree theme.  Trees have their own personalities and moods, all affected by the time of day, the time of year and the individual tree's characteristics.  I like to refer to my paintings as expressionistic tree portraits.

Question:  Favorite books, movies, website, groups...
Rena:  I love to read sci-fi novels and watch sci-fi/action films.  I regularly watch Anime and probably spend a bit too much time on Reddit.

Question:  In ten years, I'd like to be...
Rena:   In ten years, I'd like to have shared my work with a wider audience, snowboard down a double black diamond, get that 2nd tattoo I've been putting off, and still be chasing the next adventure!

Wonderful interview!!  Thanks Rena for taking the time to answer our questions.  Stay tuned for next month's Artist of the Month.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

May 2012 Artist of the Month

For the month of May our Featured Artist is the very talented Donna Hamlin.  Donna is a relatively new member to the Westchase Artists Society and we're thrilled to have her as part of our group.  As a glass artist Donna brings a new element to our group.  So without any further delay, here's Donna's interview!

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
D: Being a native of Tampa, Florida, I was born, raised and grew up in this city.  As a child, I lived in an area called Wellswood, where I spent most of my life going to local schools, church and recreating with the other children in the neighborhood.  Many of my childhood experiences took place in natural settings where the wonders of nature inspired me and shaped my character.  Since my parents were both hard workers with strong moral character, they instilled in my two sisters and me the values of hard work and honesty.  Growing up, we had three aunts all of whom were educators, so it was a foregone conclusion that we would be as well.  Teaching became a lifelong dedication for both of us.  We spent over three decades of our lives teaching young children, but now, looking back, it seems like it was only yesterday that we began.

Upon graduation from University of South Florida, I received certification in Elementary and Early Childhood Education.  While working in Hillsborough County Schools as a Primary teacher, I was passionate about my work.  I would spend hours creating fun instructional games that fostered in children the love for learning.  Being a teacher of writing, and with the God given talent of creativity, I wrote volumes of poetry which I used to teach children the reading process, as well as the love of language.  Currently, I am working on a compilation of original poetry, along with lesson plans, to teach young children the process of reading.  It is titled, "Poems to Teach Literacy to Emergent Readers."  Since I used them in the classroom, I saw the excitement that they generated in children as they learned to gain command of the language.

Art was another subject I loved to teach.  Artistic expression is an important component of cognitive development.  I, also, strongly believe that creativity is an innate characteristic of all people and if not stifled, it will manifest itesef in all areas of life from problem solving to creation of beautiful works of art.

Q:  What first made you want to be an artist?
D:  In retrospect, I don't really know what inspired me to be an artist.  I really think it was a God given blessing which I was born with, and as I grew this innate ability was nurtured and blossomed because of the love and dedication of my parents and many extraordinary teachers.  I remember in junior high school, I had a remarkable art teacher who wore her hair up twisted in a bun on her head and rode a bicycle everyday.  She was beautiful inside and out, and she always made every child feel special and talented.  I, on the other hand, was always very critical of my own work, as they say, "I was my worst critic."  but this attitude allowed me to finally realize that true art is not in perfection, but the essence of beauty comes from the attention to detail.

From the time I was a young girl, I loved stained glass works of art.  When I attended art shows, like a moth to a flame, I was drawn to stained glass creations.  I found glass a mesmerizing medium, because of its ever-changing visual imagery that is created at different hours of the day by the passage of light through the medium.  What we see when we look at a stained glass creation is many times an ever-changing illusion.  Ten years ago, I said to myself, "I can do that," and so I embarked upon a program of professional glass design by some of the most talented artists in the trade who became my mentors and friends.  By natural progression, I later navigated into glass fusion and began to incorporate that medium into my stained glass creations.  After that, I got involved with designing jewelery with fused glass, crystals, and gold wire wrapping.  I did the art circuit locally, displaying and selling at local art venues such as art shows and craft fairs.  Since I am prolific in my work, I am currently desiging a web page for marketing.  I create panels, vases, mirrors, ash trays, dishes and wall decor.  Glass is so exciting!  The possibilities with it are limited only by one's skills and imagination.  I guess that's true of most mediums.

Q:  Describe your creative process.
D:  My creative process occurs randomly and unexpectedly at various times of the day or night.  For that reason, I always keep readily available a camera or notepad.  I remember once seeral years ago, while teaching a thematic unit on fairy tales and fantasy, I spontaneously wrote the beginning of a poem about a unicorn on the board, but suddenly stopped after one verse, not knowing where to go with it.  Later, after typing it, I placed it in a drawer for several months where it remained, until months later, during a thunderstorm, I pulled it out, and verse after verse lilterally flowed out of my head like a dam filled with water that had burst.  It turned out to be a narrative poem about a sad unicorn who told an ecological tale about "saving the earth."  (Coincidentally, the day it "sprang forth" was Earth Day!)  The children loved it.  It is now earmarked for publication, not only as a poem, but as a picture book as well, titled "Tale of the Unicorn."  Many times, also, my dreams are a source of inspiration for stories or poems.  Always, regardless of the time or place, there's a pad and pen within reach.

Q:  Favorite books, movies, websites, groups.
D:  Books - "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell, "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" by Richard Bach, "Five People You Meet in in Heaven" by Mitch Albom and "Trinity" by Leon Uris.  Also books of poetry by some poets such as Kahlil Gibran and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Movies - "Gone With the Wind," "Avatar," "The Ten Commandments," and "Splendor in the Grass."
Groups - Rolling Stones, Yanni, Stevie Nicks, Simon and Garfunkel, and Taylor Swift.

Q:  In ten years I'd like to be...
D:  This is a question that I do not contemplate.  I try to live everyday to the fullest, treat others the way I would want to be treated, engage in activities that promote spiritual, mental, and physical growth and enrichment.  Most of all, I thank the Lord for all the blessings and talents that He gave me.  I live by the thought that Life is a gift and that is why it is called "The Present."

Donna, thanks so much for taking the time out for your interview.  It was great to get to know you a little bit better.  Stay tuned for the Westchase Artists Society's next Featured Artist of the Month.

Monday, March 12, 2012

April 2012 Artist of the Month

Our first Artist of the Month for 2012 is a VERY talented artist and active member of the Westchase Artists Society. As Vice President of our group, Harv goes above and beyond in helping with the organization of our group. Harv Berman not only makes art but shares his talent by teaching. We're so lucky to have Harv as a member of the Westchase Artists Society. So without further delay, here's Harv's interview.
Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Harve: I graduated from the School of Visual Arts - New York City. I worked as an Assistant Art Director for two Advertising Agencies in NYC, served in the Viet Nam War from 1966-1968. I earned a Masters Degree in Education from the George Washington University, Washington, DC. Worked as a government employee supporting the Special Operations Command where I retired. Finally teaching for USF OLLI Program, teaching Watercolor in the Learning in Retirement Program.
Question: What first made you want to become an artist?
Harve: While at the School of Visual Arts my areas of concentration were in Graphic Arts and Illustration. My constant trips to art museums sparked my interest in the Impressionist Movement which I seem to favor and can be seen in some of my work.
Question: Describe your creative process.
Harve: Working in watercolor - I enjoy the process of laying one color over another to obtain depth within the subject that I am trying to capture. I like to believe that painting is not just what you see but what you make others see.
Question: Favorite books, movies, website, groups:
Harve: I like reading the Dan Brown books because several of the subjects and places that he has written about I have visited, making them more visual. As far as movies - I like action movies that deal with ancient medieval periods.
Question: In ten years I'd like to be...
Still teaching - - I enjoy when people create images that put a smile on their faces - - a sense of accomplishment.
Thanks Harv for the interview! Stay tuned for our next Artist of the Month.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 2012 Meeting

A new year and our first meeting of 2012. Just a few photos from our January meeting. Top photo is Liz Rylan proudly holding her own 2012 calendar of photos from her trips to Italy. Second from top is Susan Whitaker holding her page from the 2012 Westchase Artists Society calendar that shows one of her beautiful oil paintings. Third from top is Judy Freeman holding her February page from the 2012 Westchase Artists Society calendar, and lastly, prospective new member, glass artist extraordinaire, Donna Hamelin.
For more information on our next meeting, check our GoogleGroups page at: