Laura McGee has known she was an artist ever since first grade, when she drew a snail that her teacher said was terrific. She pursued her passion by studying botanical drawing, ceramics, knitting, painting, papermaking, printmaking, photography, quilting and weaving, to finally arrive at silk painting as her favorite medium. She learned surface design techniques from Roberta Glidden in Utah, Bonnie Bowen in New Mexico, and Susan Louise Moyer in California. Her designs are inspired by her travels in Germany, Greece, Italy and the Southwestern United States. She makes her home in Bowling Green, KY.
After 47 years as an environmental educator, Terry Wilson has retired and is devoting much of his time and energy to watercolor painting. He only discovered this interest a few years ago, after attending an informal workshop conducted by a good friend. With this new interest and his lifelong love of nature as a source of inspiration, he now is part of the Pushin Building Artists’ Studios in Bowling Green, Kentucky. In 2016, Terry won first place in the amateur watercolor division of the U.S. Celebration of the Arts, which is held each year at The Kentucky Museum. His winning painting, Mystic Waters, also qualified for the Jack Lunt Memorial Juried Art Exhibition. Since then he has won third place with other entries at the U.S. Bank show in 2017 and 2018. Having spent his professional life teaching about nature, he is now fascinated how watercolors, like water in nature, can behave in variable and random ways, and that makes it an amazing and exciting medium.
Jack LeSieur was raised in a haunted house in Brownsville, KY. He attended WKU for nine years studying everything from interior design archaeology and folk studies. He is currently employed as the director of the Downing Museum at the Baker Arboretum and also teaches a few interior design courses at WKU. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, horticulture, kayaking, taking photos, picking flowers, playing music, making art, and roughhousing with his puppy. A self-proclaimed “doer of all, master of nothing,” Jack enjoys working with a variety of materials, lending to a mixed media approach in creating. He typically adopts painting, drawing, stitching, and collage into his creations, or some mixture thereof. Jack creates everything from barn quilts to screen prints. He enjoys exploring topics in his work such as mental health, culture, heritage, sexuality, gender, and religion. Jack lives in Bowling Green with his fiancé, Brent, along with their parrot (Rubin), miniature schnauzer (Edie), beta fish (Beto), and a hoard of plants and books.
California native, Cindy Houston works in the mixed media fiber and art quilt traditions. She is a member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and has exhibited in Fantastic Fibers 2017, Paducah, KY; St. Louis, Mo., Cary, N.C., Evansville, Ind., Berea, Richmond, Bowling Green, Lexington, and Louisville, Kentucky. Individual pieces have been purchased for private collections and the Kentucky Artisan Center. Items can be seen in Craft(s) Gallery and Mercantile, Louisville; Gallery on the Square, Franklin; The Yeiser Art Center, Paducah; and High Country Art Gallery in Blue Ridge, Georgia.
Cindy derives inspiration from the natural world around her. With reverence to the southern craft tradition, and sustainability as her guiding practice, she creates unique pieces of art from raw materials and bits and pieces of life. Through art, she is developing her practice in mindfulness. With this intention, every piece is a meditation, an expression of her mind’s eye. Cindy’s work in fiber contemplates aspects of our nature to see an image in a random pattern or to impose order on a natural process. Using only dyes found in nature, Cindy creates random surface designs with no particular image in mind. When the process is complete, the image emerges and becomes what the viewer–fulfilling the need to impose order–chooses to see.
Emily Hendricksen classifies her work as a mixture of cognitive surrealism, dreamscapes, and cultural iconography. Drawing from a wide range of subject matter; her inspiration comes from dreams, fairytales, and the human psychological condition. Her source material is comprised of selections from books and magazines, which she carefully cuts and assembles onto watercolor paper. Emily is from Brownsville, KY, and has been a member of the Pushin Building Artists’ Studios since 2014
Myra Dwyer is prolific and enjoys the challenge of many of her commissions from simple abstracts to the Roaring 1920s scene. She paints with acrylics, oils and watercolors. Her preferred medium is acrylic paints in abstract form. Many of her paintings will have 30 or more layers of paint and glaze varnish. She continues her studies and learns new skills and techniques with numerous artists in Nashville, TN. She has won many awards and has exhibited in several galleries. Her work is in collections across the USA and in Germany. Myra currently has paintings at 440 Main Restaurant. Her daughter gifted her first month of space at the Pushin Building Artists’ Studio in 2006. Myra is Co-Manager of the Studio (in downtown Bowling Green) with Angie Alexieff. She is the Executive Communications Specialist at Service One Credit Union and her office is at the Campus Branch.
This is the first in our series of Meet the Artists of the Pushin Building Artists Studio.
Angie Alexieff – co-manager of Pushin Artists Studio
Angie Alexieff grew up in Chicago and Austin. She spent a lot of time watching her mother take painting knives to large canvases, creating beautiful abstract, but it took her 34 years to pick up a paintbrush. When she did she was hooked.
Alexieff prefers painting in oil, on her own hand-stretched canvas, with painting knives. She loves to paint big. Sometimes she paints in acrylic and she also paints tiny watercolor floral still lifes by the dozens. “Painting tinys is my yoga,” she says. “Painting in my studio is a completely different experience. I’m focused and present, which I love. However, I never know when I’ll be finished with a piece. When I’m working on a commission that can get stressful, but when I’m traveling, painting my tiny watercolors is just so relaxing.”
Her style is loose and usually colorful. Her mother’s influence is clear, and she’s inspired by her other favorite painters – Wolf Kahn, Hans Hofmann, and Henri Matisse.
Alexieff started Pushin Bldg Artists’ Studio in 2004, and she and Myra Dwyer now sublease to other artists. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Journalism. Alexieff is executive director of the local beautification nonprofit Operation PRIDE. She and husband Mike have two children and two cats. They have lived in Bowling Green since 2001.
Our next member meeting will be at the Pushin Building Artists’ Studio in downtown Bowling Green. We’ll take a tour of the studio and chat with the current artist members about their work. This week, we’ll share a bit about each of those members, as well as some photos of their works. In the meantime, read about the studio below.
In 2004, Angie Alexieff rented 2000 square feet of space in the Pushin Building where she not only continues her own studio work for Exuberant Easel! Studio, but sublets to other artists.
Pushin Building Artist Studio is located in a small warehouse space at 400 E. Main St. For a handful of artists in the Bowling Green community, family is about coming together in a homey loft type space to make art alongside one another. In total, there are currently eight artists who have a working space at Pushin.
Pushin distinguishes itself from other local art venues in that it is a working studio and not a gallery. As a working studio, as opposed to a gallery, Pushin is only open to the public six times per year, generally for the Bowling Green Gallery Hops and The World’s Greatest Studio Tour. The artists often meet clients and friends at the studio to purchase art. Pushin was started by Angie Alexieff and is now co-managed by Alexieff and Myra Dwyer. The studio has a waiting list of artists looking for space to rent.
Were you always creative and what was your earliest creation?
Yes, I have always had something in the works. I don’t know what my earliest creation was, but I still have a cross-stitch of the Pledge of Allegiance that I did at an early age.
At what point did you say, “I’m an artist”?
I don’t know that I ever said it, but I have always felt that I was an artist.
What inspired you to become a jewelry artisan?
I started playing with gemstones and glass beads. I liked making earrings. The next step for me was to take classes with a wire instructor. I could look at wire and see the possibilities.
What is your favorite piece (of your own) and why?
I have a piece of Imperial Topaz that my friend gave me. I prong set it to wear as a pendant. I prefer Sterling Silver. I set it in Gold-filled wire. It has become my go to piece to wear when I can’t decide which piece to wear.
Do you harvest your own subject matter or how do you go about selecting the perfect stones and other subject matter?
No, I find that there are so many great Lapidary artists that I can get good quality pieces from, that I don’t feel the need to learn another skill. Selection of my stones is something that I enjoy. I like to go to Gem and Mineral shows when looking for new pieces. I will place the stone in my hand to see I feel a connection with the stone. If I am still holding it after a few minutes then I purchase it.
What inspires you, in general?
Looking out my studio window, looking at nature, a sunny day. Sometimes the rock or gemstone itself, inspires the design I wish to set it in.
If you could be an artist anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I am right where I want to be, in a place that I love. I’m at home in my studio.
What is your dream for future endeavors?
I am always looking for the next challenge. So, I look forward to someone bringing a special piece to set for them in a special way.
Who is your favorite artist?
My favorite artist is my mother, Musie Louise Edmunds Furlong. She taught me to appreciate the arts, not just paintings, photography and drawings but music and the need to be creative and express myself.
What piece are you currently working on?
I don’t have anything currently that I am working on, but there is no off switch to what I am trying to figure out in my head.
Where can people find your work?
I try to set up at shows in the Bowling Green area, but I have some pieces in Franklin, KY at the Gallery on the Square. I am looking to find another store in Bowling Green.
Do you exhibit?
Yes, I do try to exhibit at several of the Gallery shows that are put on around Bowling Green. US Bank and ArtWorks Members Only show. I have also had work in Hopkinsville Art Guild, Pennyroyal Art Exhibition.
Not at present.
Our first ArtWorks meeting of 2019 took place in the Idea Lab at WCPL – Kirby Branch. A great time was had by all and most everyone said, “we need to do this again”. As I got my hands dirty making a pinch pot, I looked around the table at my fellow artists and it was like we were kids again. Didn’t matter what we made, we were having fun sharing ideas and creating. Members checked out the pottery wheels, embroidery machine, sewing machine, printers for posters and heat transfers, heat press, Carvey, a 3D printer and button makers. I brought our ArtWorks logos and we transferred to mugs via heat press. Those who made pottery pieces will return in a few weeks to glaze their work and then kiln fire. We will have other play nights, for sure.
– In creative spirit, Janet