Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Spotlight Series: Kay Flierl

We're only on our third artist spotlight of the summer, and already we are enjoying these so much! This week we are interviewing longtime GIFA artist Kay Flierl, whose painting career grew out of her love for illustration and design. If you don't already know her work, Kay paints mostly traditional landscapes, but also has a few abstracts that are currently in the gallery (shown below).

Happy Friday, and have a great 4th of July!!! 

GIFA:  How long have you been painting?

KF: Just over ten years. Gregg found me early in my career. In fact, she was the 2nd person to approach me about my work. I still remember the first time she came to my home. I was so nervous, but here we are ten years later and I'm so happy our relationship has continued…even thousands of miles apart.

GIFA: What inspired your transition from Landscape Design to painting, and do you find that your knowledge and experience in this field have influenced your painting?

KF: My degree in Landscape Design gave me drawing skills plus a strong knowledge of plants. I always enjoyed creating the illustrations more than anything else. Then after college, I became a graphic designer, by luck really. I enjoyed that tremendously, but painting was something I had always wanted to do. Once our 2nd child started school, I had the time to teach myself and experiment. In fact, it was the empty walls of our new home in Atlanta that made me give it a try. I don't think it would have been as easy to teach myself to paint without my education and graphic experience. I can't help but wonder what kind of critique my college professor would give me today.

GIFA:  What do love most about living on the West Coast?

KF: The ocean. No doubt about it. Second to that, is the beautiful light and warm weather. Let me just say, that it's far more pleasant to paint when your fingers aren't frozen. I also have access to an immense variety of terrain and material to paint in a short drive.

GIFA: Are you following any artists right now whose talent you admire?

KF: Anyone who knows me knows that I bounce back and forth between traditional plein air painting and abstract art. I am still on the quest to fuse both into a style of my own, so I tend to lean toward artists that have found a way to do that…Wolf Kahn, Roger Kuntz, Forrest Moses and Stuart Shils are a few. But recently, I was up in Sacramento to watch my daughter's rowing team and decided to see what was at the Crocker Museum. I walked in and saw an exhibition by Gregory Kondos. I didn't know who he was prior, but I was instantly in love with his work. The canvases were huge! And the blue. Wow. It was beautiful and so California. I came to learn he was influenced by the Bay Area Figuratives and Wayne Thiebaud, a good friend of his. You can definitely see the influence. As I left the exhibit, I was determined to get his book, "A Touch of Blue". only to find out the museum store was sold out. The gal said the boat had just arrived and they expected them at any time. I only had one day left before leaving for home, so I took a chance and stopped back in to see if they had arrived. Not only had they arrived, but Gregory Kondos himself was sitting there, signing each book. Talk about serendipity.

GIFA: You've gone on several "paintaways" with other artists - which was your favorite location, and why?

KF: I hear that word and I smile. What great memories. Memories of warm air, beautiful locations, the birds singing and the camaraderie of fellow painters. I have to admit that organizing the trips was a selfish endeavor. I wanted a valid reason to give my husband as he watched me head off to a beautiful destination while leaving him at home with the kids for a long week or weekend. But seriously, each trip was special in it's own way. I'd probably have to say Catalina Island and Morro Bay were favorites. Water and varied terrain combined with idyllic little towns and low population made them restorative gems for my soul.

GIFA: What are you working on now?

KF: After having spent the past month selling a house and moving, I am eager to put my Kondos inspiration to work. At the same time, I'm enjoying the summer warmth as I continue to paint "en plein air".

Kay sent us some photographs of herself on different "paintaway" journeys. It's so easy to see where her inspiration comes from! 

"Journey's 20," 30" by 40" on gallery wrap, $1200

"Journey's 28," 40" by 40" on gallery wrap, $1800
"Journey's 27," 36" by 36" on gallery wrap, $1200

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Spotlight Series: Sally Powell!

We've got the scoop on GIFA artist Sally Powell!

In case you missed last week's blog entry, this summer we are doing an artist Spotlight Series so all our readers can get to know our artists a little bit better. This week, we are sharing an interview with beloved Birmingham (and GIFA!) artist, Sally Powell! 

If you have any questions you would like to ask any of our artists, or one in particular, please email us at and we'll ask your question in a future blog entry.

Sally teaching a young painter-in-training at Warren T. Jackson Elementary

1. Tell us a little bit about what drew you to painting, and how you got started.

I grew up drawing and painting but I don't think I ever knew I would be able to do this for a living. I am so thankful that I am able to paint for a living. My first show was a home show in Birmingham with a group of girls that I had gone to high school with. I had attended one of their home shows earlier and thought that I should be doing this too- they encouraged me and I started painting again. This was around 2002 and I went fulltime in 2006.

2. What do you love most about painting?

There is a freedom in painting. I love that the possibilities are unlimited. From the subject matter and styles to the techniques and materials used- the choices are endless and that makes it fun and never stagnant. Always changing and evolving- as much much or as little as you want it to be.

3. What is your favorite thing to do in Birmingham?

I just love Birmingham. It is home and I love the people and the easiness of living there. It is small enough but at the same time has plenty to do. Birmingham has great restaurants and shopping and I love to explore new things right in my own backyard. 

4. Are you following any artists right now whose talent you admire?

SO much talent out there, I can't pick just one. I always admire the work that the other GIFA artists (really- I'm not just saying that:) bring in and I also love to look on Pinterest and get lost in websites and other people's art boards. I like to look at encaustic artists because that is one of my favorite "new to me" techniques that I have been exploring.

5. What is your favorite piece of artwork in your house?

That’s a tough one- I do love my Peter's Pottery collection but sometimes I feel like the cobbler's child that has no shoes- my walls are not packed full of all this awesome art like I wish it was... I have little pieces that I have traded or bought from other artists and it's nice to have little remembrances scattered through my life...this also goes for jewelry I seem to always end up buying at art shows :)

6. Do you have any favorite blogs?

I really don't follow any blogs, specifically. I get on Pinterest and seem to jump all of over the place. I am addicted to Pinterest but it does take me to blogs and I read and go from one place to the next and the next thing I know too much time has passed- it's a time eater! 

Sally and her mom at the Harding Art Show in Nashville

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Erin McIntosh Selected as a New American Paintings' Emerging Artist

Since 1993, New American Paintings (NAP) has presented the public with juried exhibitions of the top emerging artists across the country. Working with experienced curators, NAP reviews the work of thousands of emerging artists every year. Forty artists are selected to appear in each bi-monthly edition, and this edition features one of our own - Erin McIntosh! This is an incredible honor, and we could not be more proud of Erin! Over the years, Erin has received substantial critical and commercial success and if her future is even half as bright as what she has already accomplished, she has a lot to look forward to!

Here is a look at her feature in NAP (taken from the actual issue, so please excuse photo quality!):

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Getting to Know Eileen Power

Over the years, we have had lots of you ask questions pertaining to your favorite artists: where do they live, how long have they been painting, what is their inspiration, etc.. Earlier this spring, we thought it would be fun to do a Q+A series with GIFA artists so that our readers could get to know them better. To kick off our Q+A series, we'll start by sharing our interview with GIFA artist Eileen Power:
GIFA: Tell us a little bit about what drew you into this industry.
EP: While my formal education is business and marketing I found myself in a creative industry developing and selling private label home d├ęcor to many successful retailers.  This career allowed me to work with artists and trend leaders across the country.  Painting was an extension of that creative life. 
GIFA: Where do you draw your inspiration for your paintings? 
EP: My inspiration has always come from nature.  I’m fortunate to spend a good deal of time on Johns Island, SC.  The light is great and that wide beach provides an expansive sense of space.
GIFA: Who are your favorite artists? 
EP: Kate Long Stevenson uses the beautiful color and gestural marks I love so much.  Two others I follow closely are Yolanda Sanchez and Bill Fisher.  I discovered both on NY art trip.  Their styles are different, but their sense of color draws me in. 
GIFA: How did you transition into abstract? 
EP: Ah… this requires a longer answer.  I painted floral still life for a number of years.  My family and friends loved them and they were well received in the marketplace.  Increasingly, I found myself losing interest in the work.  I felt like I was creating inventory rather than “art”.   That same year during a trip to NY I walked into MOMA and I could feel that little catch in my breath when something is so beautiful and compelling it “takes your breath away”.  I was looking across the gallery at a gigantic Joan Mitchell painting.   I knew instantly this is the genre of work I need to do.  I’ve been working closely with a teacher studying abstract art and composition ever since.
GIFA: Where do you usually paint?
EP: Fortunately, I have a great studio space at home.  I like being close to the work. Last year I treated myself to a screen door which is open most of the year so I can feel connected to nature.  Painting is a solitary experience…. Just a woman, her music and the neighborhood cat who sits at the open door and watches me paint.
GIFA: What are your favorite blogs?
EP: I start each day with Habitually Chic…and truly miss it on those rare occasions when it isn’t in my mail box.  A local blogger I love is Design Indulgence.  Sherry serves up some great style with a healthy side of humor.  Recently, I discovered Artsy Forager when they featured the talented Christina Baker from GIFA.
To conclude, Eileen leaves us with a favorite quote from an artist that needs no introduction :)

“If I paint a wild horse, you may not see the horse… but surely you will see the wildness”
                     - Pablo Picasso

Here is a peak at some new works from Eileen! We're expecting an arrival date soon, so be on the lookout!
"Centered," 36x36, $1200

"East Beach," 48x48, $2000