Monday, October 27, 2014

Blurred Lines and Galactic Stories Interview

"Edge of the Cosmos", 36" X 36", acrylic on canvas
"Big Band And The Trifid", 36" x 84", acrylic and oil on 4 canvases

During my recent exhibit in the Art Gallery of the Fulginiti Center For Bioethics and Humanities on the Anschutz University of Colorado Medical Campus, I was interviewed by the Comcast/Aurora News Weekly.

My tech wiz, Keith West, with permission from the TV station Aurora News Weekly, was able to extract my interview from the balance of the newscast, put it on my Website, and also on YouTube. So click on one of these links and travel with me to the Outer Limits. You might also find out a bit about my new paintings and collages.

And if you unfortunately missed my show, you have a bit of a second chance. I am now represented in Colorado by the Sandra Phillips Gallery. Several of my Galactic paintings will be in a show, "Blurred Lines", which opens at the Gallery, 420 W. 12th Ave., Denver, on Friday, November 7, from 6-8 PM. Come visit!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Galactic Stories Extended

Good news today. 
My exhibition, "Galactic Stories", in the art gallery of the Fulginiti Center for Bioethics and Humanities on the Anschutz/U of CO Medical campus has been extended through next Thursdayj. So if you haven't seen it yet, here is another chance. The gallery is normally open 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, but this Monday will be closed for Labor Day.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wallace Stevens and Galactic Stories

"At The Edge Of The Universe"
My dear friend, Alita Pirkopf, wrote me this email after seeing my show, "Galactic Stories", and I wanted, with her permission, to share it with you.

Subject: Everything and Nothing

Sandra, What a pleasure.

I went to see your work three other times with three different friends. All of us were delighted and involved! I learned all sorts of things from hearing them express what they saw and thought! The talk you and the marvelous curator, Simon Zalkind, was deeply interesting! Such an honor for you to be asked to exhibit in such a meaningful setting. I am rereading your invitation which is absolutely beautiful and thought provoking.

I had been reading the last part of a biography about the later years of the poet Wallace Stevens. Online I read some critic's comment on Steven's Collected Poems which said, "In this work Stevens explored inside a profound philosophical framework the dualism between concrete reality and the human imagination. I am working on what the framework part means but I think that, similarly, you deal with the concrete reality of science and also with the human imagination.

"At the Edge of the Universe," reminds me of Stevens' words in The Snow Man, which, with your help, I just now think I understand. Though you seem more positive than Stevens when he wrote that poem, you too deal with whatever might or might not be.

Maybe you know the poem. The lines I am thinking of are:

And, nothing himself, beholds Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is

I don't think the "And, nothing himself," bit applies to you with your magic, and apparently, later, things didn't seem so grim to Stevens.

Thank you so much!!!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Colorado Public Radio Story

Listen to Colorado Public Radio this Thursday during the 10 AM hour. My Show, "Galactic Stories", will be featured.
above is "The Moon and the Milky Way", 36" X 36".

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Please join me at the opening reception of "Galactic Stories", an exhibition of my past several years of work, to be held in the Art Gallery of the Fulginiti Center for Bioethics and Humanities, address below. If you can't make the reception, the show will continue until August 28.
"Sam and Streilka", mixed media painting on 5 canvases, 2013

Galactic Stories
curated by Simon Zalkind
June 26, 2014 - August 28, 2014
Opening Reception - July 10, 2014, 5-7 PM
Conversation with the artist and curator – 6 PM 
The Art Gallery
Fulginiti Pavilion for Bioethics and Humanities 
University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus 
13080 East 19th Avenue, (at Uvalda St.)
Aurora, Colorado 80045 
Map and directions at:
Gallery Hours
9:00am - 5:00pm, Monday - Friday
free and open to the public

page2image35680 page2image35840

page2image35680 page2image35840
My “Galactic Stories’’ began when my daughter, an electrical engineer, sent me several photographs taken by the Hubble telescope. Intrigued, I began combing through as many astronomy books as I could find, collecting historical astronomical images and scientific charts and maps.

As friends learned about my interest, they began sending me additional books and drawings. I started using their material in collages. Not only were images and ideas juxtaposed in those collages, so were the contributions of the different people who had provided me a trove of astronomical bric-a-brac.

These “Galactic Stories” are about the interaction of ideas and materials with no clear way to separate one from the other.  I might begin with a “big” idea gleaned from whatever I understand about the amazing Hubble images and other “scientific’’ matters. 

But once I begin working with paint and materials, my process takes on a life of its own as I explore the nature of paint and materials and how they interact with one another. What began as idea-oriented work becomes a process-oriented exploration.

In “Galactic Stories,’’ history, science, philosophy and art collide. Tales of gods and goddesses merge with images of nebulae many light years away. The images may not always seem like they belong together, but they’re part of an encompassing continuum.

In “Sam and Streilka,” for example, a Russian dog who traveled in space is only brush strokes away from The Big Bang. It is my hope that the painting is thematically expansive — as well as visually unified.

These paintings and their use of mixed media are not an attempt to illustrate scientific ideas and theories, but to use those ideas and theories as a springboard from which to launch my paintings and collages.

Maps and charts figure into these works, as well.  

Maps chart what we think we know, yet, to me, they always suggest that there’s more to discover. In this case, that discovery involves removing what is linear and time-specific in a chart (the information) and exposing its underlying skeleton (the structure), which can become a kind of abstract expression.

The paintings and collages also may be a metaphor for the always tenuous state of what we know, the way knowledge begins, morphs and transforms into something else as we learn more.

Sometimes, a mistake can be fruitful. One day in my studio, I decided to try an experiment. I would make a painting of a black hole. I later found an image in an astronomy book that looked as if I’d copied my experimental painting from it. I’d never seen the image in that book before nor was it an image of a black hole. It was the debris disk that’s now a part of “Sam and Streilka.”

I’m not entirely sure where the line between reality and imagination begins and ends. The best I can say is that the skies are full of astonishments that can expand the field of artistic play, and those are the fields in which I’m currently working.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Summer Creativity Workshops

Summer is a great time to expand your creative potential! 

Here are three new workshops to enjoy. 
Collage works well for those of you who haven't drawn or painted, but want to dip your fingers into the image-creation arena. And it's fun. This is where I go when I'm stuck, creatively speaking.  
I have discovered a hidden gem of a location for a one-day Plein Air workshop just an hour and a half south of Denver, guaranteed to inspire.
And excited by the Denver Art Museum's "Modern Masters" exhibition of paintings and sculpture from the Albright Knox Gallery, I'm offering a one day class titled,"Abstraction For (Mostly) Realists", a bit of history, discussion, and painting. 
There are still a few remaining spots left in my North Fork Valley Plein Air workshop, September 18 to 23, 2014. We will visit numerous locations in which any Plein Air painter should want to paint, including the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. 
And don't forget that I do private critique and artistic coaching sessions by appointment.
Collage Workshop 
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM
In Sandra's studio

We will discuss the history of collage, explore some techniques, and consider how a collage becomes a complete artistic statement.

Most of our materials will be pictures from old magazines, photos, packing materials, and any other 2-D images you can find. We will use stencils, acrylic transfers, positive and negative forms, and many other methods to create our personal statements.
Location: Directions will be sent when you register.

Tuition: $75.  This class is limited to only 10 participants. Your place will be held only after your tuition is received.

Registration: Please contact Sandra at:

Plein Air Workshop
Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 9 AM to 3:30 PM
Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Calhan, Colorado
 Spend the day exploring this visually exciting area about a 40 minute drive east of Colorado Springs, (or a 1 1/2 hour drive from Denver), and be astounded by it's amazing, other-worldly rock formations.

  Develop a personal style to express the landscape in your own unique way. Work in the medium of your choice, but plan to do a bit of walking, so make your supplies as light and portable as possible.

 We will discuss different methods for approaching the landscape in the limited time available. Each student will receive ample individual attention, and we will have a group critique at the end of our painting day.

Please bring a sack lunch, and plenty of drinking water. Either drive down in the morning, or plan to enjoy the previous night in one of Colorado Springs' B & Bs.

Location: Directions will be sent when you register

Tuition: $95. This class is limited to only 10 participants. Your place in the workshop will be held only after your tuition is received.

Registration: Please contact Sandra at:

Abstraction For (Mostly) Realists
Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Sandra's Studio

What exactly does "abstraction" mean in an artistic context? Is there any reason for realists to care? Why did so many artists begin to paint this way, and during what time period? Who are the important abstractionists? Is it true that "Any child could do that"?

These are a few of the questions we will discuss in this workshop. We will see examples of important paintings in the abstract tradition, then do some exercises, using both cut paper and paint, to help understand how we might incorporate these ideas into our work.
Location: Directions will be sent when you register

Tuition: $75. This class is limited to only 10 participants. Your place in the workshop will be held only after your tuition is received.

Registration: Please contact Sandra at:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bluebird Bird Mansion

A number of years ago, I met Toni Saiber, the now director of The Eating Disorder Foundation (EDF). She had recently been through a life and death struggle with her eating disorer, and  on her road to recovery, had enrolled in a class I taught at the Art Students League of Denver. 

 We became friends, and I have been a supporter of the foundation she started (with several others). I have remained committed to helping the Foundation in its efforts to educate the public about the ravages of eating disorders and the many pathways to recovery.

As a symbol of EDF's mission to become a stop on each individual's journey of recovery, EDF members and volunteers paint birdhouses to be given in exchange for specified contributions. The birdhouses are  small replicas of the EDF center.

This year, a larger version of the birdhouse was built by architect Jonathan Saiber, and I was asked to paint it. It was then auctioned at the foundation's fund-raising Gala.

Above is my finished, multi media  piece.

Below, I am pictured with the birdhouse, mid way to completion.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Star Gazing and My Totally Updated Web Site

                        "Star Gazing", 18" X 18"on canvas, mixed media

"R = 15 KPC", 18" X 18" on panel, acrylic

Please check out  my totally up-dated and re-organized web site at

There are seven galleries of my work, plus listings of my future workshops and other services. 

The two images above, "Star Gazing" and "R = KPC" are from my latest project, "Space Stories", which was initially inspired by some Hubble images that my daughter, Sacha Wolff sent. Sacha is an aerospace engineer, and our discussions, which often consist of her trying to explain some aspect of her interests to me, or telling me that she can't, have pointed my work in unexpected directions a number of times.

I found historical astronomical images, and many intriguing scientific charts in astronomy books. My initial plan was to playfully do a chronological survey of cosmological  concepts. But as I became more immersed in Egyptian, Sumerian, Chinese, Arabic and European images of day and night, or our cosmos, constellations, and comets, I began to think that chronology should have nothing to do with my plans. Yesterday's "proven" scientific ideas about the nature of our world constantly are replaced by new discoveries, and become today's folklore. 

In my extremely liberal misinterpretation of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, I would  almost randomly organize my multi-panel paintings. And give myself the liberty to come up with my own "Space Stories".

                    "Space Stories", 54" X 54" on 6 canvases, multi media