The (Water) Colorful Life of artist Bari Federspiel

The (Water) Colorful Life of artist Bari Federspiel

Playful, sentimental, flowy, or tight, watercolor artist, Bari Federspiel can do it all. Quick to smile, or laugh, this bundle of energy is a member of Mensa as well as an accomplished artist. She is sweet, humorous, kind, and courageous, and I believe this spunky septuagenarian could run circles around me!

Keep reading to learn more about the colorful life of Bari Federspiel.

SnS: Hello Bari, and welcome to the SquidandSquirrel. Let’s start with the easy stuff. Where are you from?

Bari: Well, my parents were attending college in Russellville, Arkansas when I was born. Dad had just come home from the war, and they met in the school band. Dad went back into the military after he got his degree, which means we moved around a lot. I’ve lived in many US states; even Germany for a while, but I’ve been in Spokane since 1991. That’s when my first husband, who worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, got transferred here. When we moved to Spokane, I knew that I was home at last.

SnS: All right! So did you attend art school abroad or in the US?

Bari: Both my parents were artists, so living with them was like going to art school. There was always pens, pencils, brushes, Scripto pens, india ink, watercolor paints, and paper. No coloring books, but all sorts of art supplies. 

At first, neither of them had a career in art, but Dad painted lovely watercolors. Mom eventually took up oil painting and ended up teaching for 18 years. So that was my art school. I did take an art class in high school, and one semester in college. But I was a very conservative, very naive young lady, and when the art teacher asked me to be a nude model I thought, “This is freaky.” So I changed to a music major, right there on the spot. I then taught piano for 15 years.

SnS: So you are multi-talented!

Bari: Well, I’m not talented at piano. That’s why I don’t teach or perform anymore. It was nerve wracking. Art came more easily to me, plus I liked it. I do make gourmet pastries, and decorate cakes though. Does that count?

SnS: Absolutely! Where do you find the inspiration for your art?

Bari: Oh, from all over the place. For my ‘Remembering Dads’ exhibit, I took inspiration from what they did. And what they loved. Like dogs, fishing, playing instruments, etc. Because of how this one turned out, I may just do another series. Maybe moms?

I also take photos constantly. 

SnS: Wow! So tell us about your process. Do you walk the garden? Down a quad-shot espresso? Play Tiddly Winks?

Bari: I drink Dr. Pepper. **laughs** Just kidding. I have to clean the room. Before I start a painting, the art room has to have the clutter gone, because as I paint, I make more clutter. Now, if you saw my art room you’d say, “My gosh, she thinks that’s clean?” But everything is in its place, and I know where it is.

Once I have things ready, I draw from the hundreds of photos I have, for paintings. Sometimes combining several photos into one painting, and making some of it up.

SnS: What drew you to watercolors? Do you work in other mediums?

Bari: I just love looking at it. Ironically, most of the paintings I do are not like the ones I’ve admired. Most of them are loose and “juicy”, pastels, and lots of white. Mine are tighter, but I think that comes from 28 years of sign painting. In my ‘Remembering Dads’ series, there’s a painting with pencils in it. They all have lettering on them. That’s the kind of stuff I probably do best. But I really enjoy the chickens.

SnS: I LOVE your chicken paintings! It was one of your chickens that first caught my eye, made me want to interview you.

Bari: Oh good. Chickens are my favorite. They are just hilarious, stupid, and funny. 

To answer your question though, I did oil paintings for several years because my mother taught it. But I only did one or two paintings a month. I hated it because of the smell, and they never turned out looking anything like the watercolors I had always admired.

SnS: Have you always worked as an artist, or have you held other jobs?

Bari: For 28 years I did graphic art, window and sign painting. I even painted a billboard on I-40, and a few gymnasium walls. During those years, I also worked in a bakery, taught at a pre-school, subbed for an elementary school, and was an executive assistant at a small software company. When my husband died in 2003, I decided to do what I’d always wanted to do. That’s when I started taking watercolor lessons. Painting is legally my business now, but I’m 70, and I’m taking care of my mom. I’ve got enough to keep me busy. So next year I’m going to turn painting into a hobby, and back off somewhat.

SnS: So should we all rush out and buy your art while we can?

Bari: OF COURSE!!! **laughs**  I’ll still be painting. I just won’t be as aggressive about it. 

SnS: Do you have any artists you admire, or emulate?

Bari: Stan Miller. I took lessons with him for years, and still consult him for critiques. He’s my mentor. I’ve learned a lot about value and composition, the things that really count, from him. 

I do like to take workshops from other people though, because I always pick up new techniques, and different ideas. I take away something from everyone of them, and incorporate it into my style. It constantly changes. You can look at my earlier works, against those done more recently, and they don’t even look like they are done by the same person.

SnS: Change is good. So do you have a philosophy of life, or art?

Bari: I strive to glorify God in all that I do, and that’s basically it.

As far as a philosophy of art. . . I like to do what I like. I do what I’m familiar with, and I want to continue to learn and branch out. I think I’ll grow old and die if I don’t.

SnS: If you could travel to anywhere, in time or space, where would you go?

Bari: I would probably choose Australia and Great Britain first, because I can speak their language. Second, our church supports another church in Russia. I’d like to go over to visit, but there are some hurdles to clear. Third, I’d also like to take a cruise down the Rhine or Danube. Ocean cruises don’t interest me. I don’t want to just sit around playing shuffleboard. I’d rather be off the ship looking around at castles, towns, shops, and things. I’d like to go back and visit Germany, and France too.

SnS: Nice! For those of us staying in Spokane, where can we find your art?

Bari: Right now, until the end of September, my Funky Chicken exhibit is hanging in the William Grant Gallery in Kendall Yards. In October I’ll have a painting in the MAC with the Spokane Watercolor Society juried show, and will have work hanging at the Liberty Building. I’ll also be teaching a workshop that month. Then in November, I am showing in the Hillyard Library.

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SnS: Wow, busy lady! Do you have any charities you support?

Bari: My husband and I both support the United Blind of Spokane because my husband’s daughter is legally blind, and my grandfather was completely blind. We give to our churches, World Vision, and Wyran Youth Missions. I’ve also sold a few of my paintings to help raise funds for friends who were fighting cancer, or were going on mission trips.

SnS: All right! Thank you for interviewing with TheSquidandSquirrel, Bari. 🙂

If you would like to see more of Bari Federspiel’s art, you can find her at: Flootie.comSpokaneWaterColorSociety.com, or on facebook  as Razzlebari Watercolours.

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Deep Blue Emotion by Kelley J. Sullivan

Deep Blue Emotion by Kelley J. Sullivan

Earlier this summer, I went to ArtFest with a friend. We took our time walking through, looking at all the amazing art, and talking to the artists. A few of them stood out to us, not just for their artistic offerings, but for their kind and fun personalities. Kelley J. Sullivan was one of them.

Despite the heat of the day, Kelley’s vendor tent was an oasis of cool. Cool paintings, cool water, and a cool artist. Inviting us in, she offered us bottles of water, answered our questions, and was just generally kind and amazing. Her paintings, all done in shades of blue, created the illusion of non-sweat inducing temperatures, and we found ourselves hanging out longer than we had intended. When we finally left to finish our tour of ArtFest, we ended up circling back to her booth. My friend couldn’t leave without purchasing some of her cards, and I couldn’t leave without asking for an interview. I just had to share her talent with you all.

Please keep reading to learn more about the deep, blue, emotions of Kelley J. Sullivan.

SnS: First of all, Kelley, thanks for interviewing with me. I am fascinated with your work. Please describe your style of painting.

KJS: It’s hard to peg my style down to one category. I’ve heard everything from abstract landscapes, to abstract impressionism. For me, the category has never mattered. In my mind, I paint emotional landscapes or models of inner-life. Every painting is a moment in time, tied to an emotional state that everyone has likely felt at some point.

SnS: Looking at your work, that is a great description! So, what drew you to the blue palette?

KJS: I’ve always felt more comfortable using a cool palette. When I try to go branch out into brighter, warmer colors it begins to feel forced. I figure if I’m trying to put some sort of my truth onto canvas, I need to stick to what feels right.

SnS: I like that. After ArtFest I started following you on Facebook. You’ve posted pictures of our art on your page, and many of them have a short poem attached. Do you write those, or are they quotes?

KJS: I write everything I post. (There may have been one exception, but I would have quoted the author) I have an absolute love affair with the written word, and write something for almost every piece I paint. I had originally intended to include the poem on the back of each painting, but realized it may change the experience of the viewer. 

I think it is more important for each viewer to have their own personal experience with each piece. Without interjecting my meaning onto it. However, I have included it when requested.

SnS: Good to know. So, how did you become an artist? Did (or do) you have a more traditional job?

KJS: I started creating from the moment I was born. Although I’ve held an expansive array of other jobs, art was always a consistent passion in the background. In 2008 a friend saw some of my paintings and urged me to start sharing them. I started small, showing in local coffee shops and entering every online competition I could find. As I gained exposure, my career just started growing in an amazingly organic manner. I feel so lucky to be at a point in my life where I am able to do what I love as my sole career.

SnS: That is a blessing! Do you have any artists (of any genre) you admire?

KJS: There are so many. I find that most of the artists I am in love with aren’t necessarily world famous. They are artists I find on Instagram, at art fairs, or hanging in coffee shops as I travel. I am definitely drawn towards edgier styles of art. Some of my favorites right now are Walt Hall, Annie Owens,  Kathryn Hackney, and James Lipnickas.

SnS: What do you do to get in the mood to paint? What inspires you?

KJS: Music is probably my biggest inspiration. With art as my full time job, I often have to create when I just don’t feel like it. If I put on some sad, moody music with good lyrical content it can usually put me in a place where I can open up and paint.

SnS: You seem to always be on the move. What do you do to relax?

KJS: Relax? Who has time for that! 🙂 But on the rare occasion when I am able to, I head outside. Hiking and camping are fuel for my soul. I’ve also found that as I am getting older, quality time with people who challenge me, in a positive way, can do wonders to help me recharge. I’m lucky to be surrounded by an incredible community.

SnS: Community is important. So what do you think is the one thing about you that people would be surprised to know?

KJS: Probably that putting my art into the world was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I painted solely for myself for years, and never had any intention of showing it to anyone. I had rooms full of unfinished paintings that had never seen daylight. I was terrified that no one would understand what I was doing. I’m still in awe that some connect to it.

SnS: Well it is beautiful, and lucky for us your friend pushed you to show it. So here is my favorite cheesy question. If you could host a picnic for anyone, living or dead, past or present, who would you invite and why?

KJS: I’m EXTREMELY sentimental over the people in my life that have shown me kindness, support, or encouragement. It would be one hell of a party. I would love to invite all the people that I have appreciated. It could have been a kind word on a hard day, or a huge show of encouragement. Some would not be surprised, but I bet quite a few would be shocked to receive the invitation.

SnS: I love that. That’s a great attitude to have. You were very kind to me and my friend at ArtFest. Do you have any causes or charities you support, other than overheated bloggers?

KJS: I am a board member of S.L.A.M. – Support Local Artists and Musicians, in Montana.

SnS: Sweet beans! You are a busy woman. Thanks Kelley for sharing your time and your talent with us all.

If you would like to see more of Kelley’s work. . .

Featured artist at ERA Landmark in Bozeman, MT. Sept. 8th.

INTROSPECTION, an ab-ex group show at FOLD Gallery in Los Angeles, CA. through Sept. 18th.

Bozeman Open Studio Tour – October 21 & 22.

Sip and SLAM Bozeman – September and October.

Or follow her on Instagram or facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

An interview with the People’s Choice winner of the “Origins of Fear” exhibit at the Little Dog Art Gallery

There are still 3 days left to vote. If you haven’t stopped by to experience the chilling art work or to cast your ballot yet, you’d better run down there. RUN, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

Then, stay tuned guys and ghouls, to find out who caused a shiver to run up the collective spines of all those visiting the gallery this month, and learn just how twisted they really are! Muahahahahahahahaha!

Clancie Pleasants – Telling Life’s Stories With Paintings.

Clancie Pleasants – Telling Life’s Stories With Paintings.

Artist Clancie Pleasants has been creating art her whole life. Always moving, always learning, this Aquarian, former Montessori teacher does more in a week than most folks do in three, and she loves what she does.

I got to speak with Clancie after she’d spent the last few days painting originals for an upcoming show, going to meetings at her local community center, doing some live model painting with friends, and picking elderberries with her brother. Kindhearted, adventurous, relaxed, and possessing a positive “can do” attitude, she is a sweet whirlwind of a woman. Keep reading to learn more about this fantastic artist.

**Featured Image is titled, “Players”**

Q: What first inspired your love of art; your want to create?

A: As a child I was always encouraged to do art, read, write, anything creative. I was a country child. I had 2 older sisters and a younger brother. We lived on a large cattle farm/ranch in Northern California and spent a lot of our time doing whatever we wanted, we were self entertained. We had horses, dogs, cats, chickens, but not a lot of children, other than each other, to play with. We created our own play and had the materials at hand to do whatever we wanted. A lot of my love of nature comes from this experience. I was encouraged to read classical literature, draw, paint, make baskets, build forts, and work with clay.  I have been doing this for almost 70 years now.

Q: Have you always been an artist, or have you had a 9 – 5 day job? If so, was there a defining moment, when you decided to make a go of it as an artist?

A: I have always been an artist. I didn’t realize that I was until it was all that I wanted to do. I would do it 24/7 if I could.

I had my own Montessori School for 24 years on our acreage, on Hoodoo Mountain, out of Blanchard Idaho. It was a very creative school, and, of course, full of art. I ran it three days a week and did art the other four, while raising and homeschooling my own children. It was an artful way of living.

I have never created art with the idea of making a living at it. It was just something I had to do, a driving force. It is hard to make a living doing fine art, especially as a woman. It is just something I incorporated into my life and everything that I do. If I make money doing it so much the better. But, selling is not the driving force.

That being said, I have been showing and selling art for over 30 years. I have been in numerous galleries nationally. Locally, I’ve had pieces in The Art Spirit Gallery and various other galleries. I now show at Studio 107 regularly, in downtown Coeur d’Alene Idaho.

Q: I’ve seen your paintings on canvas, boxes, clocks, etc. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever painted on or do you wish to paint on?

A: Probably when I helped a friend paint a VW van in the 60’s. A fun project, as was the time a fun time. Also, I built an active art fence and painted part of that at a funky place where I was living while in college.

Sonoma County was a fun place to be during my college years. Lots going on. Lots of art, lots of music, lots of experimenting. We used to hear Dave Brubeck, Charlie Musselwhite, Miles Davis, just to mention a few, at a little place in my college town. The campus was always having music outside and you could plop yourself on the lawn, do your art, study and listen. Sonoma State University was a very small college at the time. Our teachers were, for the most part, really creative, as they were artists and writers and doing it all themselves. It was such a creative place to be.

Q: Do you have a “process”? (Do you drink tea and dance the Macarena before painting?) What do you do to get in the mood to create? What inspires you?

A: Everything inspires me except for the negative forces at work. Sometime even the negative inspires me as I like to find the light in the dark.

I live in the middle of my medium and so never have to go far to have it available. I have a beautiful studio. It has a bathroom and closet in the way back. And then one big room with two hanging lofts for paintings on either side. My home is also my studio where my art has taken over more than just one room. Our wood working shop, where my husband frames some of my work, is available to me as well as all the saws, sanders etc. 

My process is to just do it. That is what I tell others when they ask me about this. Don’t think about it….just do it. Don’t think about what you have to do to get ready to do it….JUST DO IT.

But, of course I think about what I want to do, lots. I just have to calm myself down or the daily chores of living would never get done. But, while doing those chores, I am always thinking about what I will do next or what I am currently working on. I have unfinished paintings hanging from the rafters of our living/kitchen area, just to study while I am doing other things. 

My husband is a saint, did I mention that yet?!

Q: Why do you say your husband is a saint?

A: Because he has always supported me in my endeavors. He helps wherever he can, and never expected me to play the super traditional housewife role where everything is kept spotless and supper is on the table by 6:00. He’s happy with who I am.

Q: From the pieces I’ve seen in gallery, and on your website, your creations seem both poignant and playful. How would you describe your style?

A: Narrative, impressionistic, expressionist.

Q: Do you have a favorite artist (from any genre) & how might they have influenced you / your style?

A: Virginia Woolf, because “A Room of One’s Own” is terribly important.

Picasso, because he lived it ALL the time. Of course he had many women supporting him and doing all the other things. One can dream.

Truthfully, too many: Van Gogh, Alice Neel, Klimt, Kollowitz, Diebenkorn, etc.

Q: Your website mentions you have a BA in English Lit. as well as art. What type of writing do you do? Does your writing ever inspire your painting or vice verse?

A: Yes both inspire each other. I have a book of fiction almost finished and ideas for two more. The 70’s are a good time to work on those, don’t you think?!

I also write poetry, essays and fiction. Creative writing is terribly important to me. I love reading and writing it.

I have a blog, Clancie Pleasants.blogspot.com  . My poetry pairs with my artwork on there. I don’t have a lot of followers as I have not announced it to the world. It is mostly for me to blog on privately, but I guess it’s time to share it.  ** Yes folks I got permission to post that link 🙂

Q: You mentioned you’ve been working on writing a book. Can you tell me what it’s about?

A: The first book is a piece of fiction which takes place in Idaho. I have lived in Idaho for almost 40 years.

In the second piece I’d like to tell the story about my grandparents and how they lived. My grandfather was a 3rd generation farmer / rancher in Norther California. My grandmother was a new teacher in the one room, country, Pleasants Valley School. They got engaged and she returned to Southern California for the summer. They wrote letters back and forth. I have all of my grandfather’s letters to my grandmother tucked away in a shoe box. I do not have her letters to him. So I would like to write the letters myself and put the whole thing together with other information I have. It is a sweet story for the most part and it would be fun to write it with the grandfather I never knew.

The third book would be about the other side of my family. I am a 5th generation Californian on both sides, and there are many stories that no one has written about. I guess I feel pulled to do some of that to keep it alive.

Q: What advice would you give to new artists just starting out?

A: Take some classes and find out what you love. Take more classes, read a lot of art books and find out who you love.

Then, DO IT…just do it.

Traditional study, self taught learning, whatever, study those artists who are doing what you love. I have lots of art books that I binge on as well, and I check out art books from the local libraries to recharge. But, when the schooling process is finished it is good for an artist to isolate and do her own thing. I have spent years finding my own voice and doing my own thing. But, I am still learning from everyone I know and paint with, when I get together with other artists. Also from reading, studying, learning about different artists, relearning about different artists.

Also, don’t listen to negative people but listen to good constructive feedback. Then, isolate, and listen, mostly to your inner voice.

Q: If you could travel ANYWHERE (time or place), where would you go and why? Who would you bring with you?

A: Mostly, I have found that traveling to the natural, untouched by man, places, are where I find solitude enough to do my creating. There and home. We live on Hoodoo Mountain out of Blanchard in North Idaho and have acreage. It is wild and natural and peaceful. It is on the edge of the wilderness and we have all kinds of wildlife around.

I would still love to go to the European continent, in the 60’s or before, live there for a year or more, to paint and write.

I would love to travel to Africa and live there for a year or more, sometime in the 1920’s.

I would always choose to take my two daughters, who also both do art, and my dear husband with me.

Q: Are your daughters painters like you?

A: Yes, both daughters paint and work with clay. They are both very creative. One is a Montessori teacher and the other one is an architect. They both are good writers as well.

Q: Do you have any hobbies or causes you support?

A: Educating people about the importance of art.

Supplying children with the art education that they are not getting in school.

I love sharing the art experience with children and adults. I run our community arts program out of our beautiful community center, in Blanchard Idaho. We run a free art program for children in the summer. We have adult classes throughout the year. We offer area seniors and teens scholarships to our classes, workshops, and sessions.

I have been doing this for the past 10 years. I see this as my community service, my way to pay back for my good fortune in life.

Camping and hiking and being with the family doing these things, is how we love to spend most summers.

I am passionate about organic gardening and herbs, medicinal and otherwise.

If you would like to see more of Clancie Pleasants work, you can visit her website at Clanciepleasants.com – or see her in person at the CDA Plaza this Saturday 10/15/16 for “Art in the Making”, an event put on by Steve Gibbs and the Art Spirit Gallery. “We will all be painting and drawing from live models, something we do every Oct.”