The Art of Stephanie Paige

All art is but imitation of nature

Phoenix, Mixed media on panel 48" x 48"

This phrase, coined by ancient Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca, perfectly describes the artistic approach of mixed-media painter Stephanie Paige. Her contemporary paintings are abstract landscapes pared down to simplistic compositions, which are anything but simple to construct. Large-scale panels balanced around stark horizon lines are created through a mixture of pigment and marble-dust plaster, a tricky medium that Paige discovered as a muralist painting frescos and Venetian plasters in southern California.

“It appeals to me because of how different it is,” explains Paige. “More than just the way it looks, I love the way it feels and what it can do.”

Hidden Sol 
Luna's Reflection 
Naranja Sol 

Paige began this abstract mixed-media style in 2008 after a search for peace
and balance in her life and a consequent discovery of Buddhism. This tranquility is reflected on her panels, with symmetry and balance playing a large role in the compositions. Nature is the inspiration and motivation for Paige’s art, and she creates each piece in honor of Mother Earth.

“In my work, I see rich textured soil, clear blue water, spacious open sky, or a soft breeze,” says Paige. “In my pieces, you can see the contemporary feel mixed with a rustic earthiness, two complete opposites that dance well together.”

Center of Love, mixed media on panel 64" x 80"

Not only does nature inspire Paige’s work, it also dictates the physical outcome of each piece. Plaster is sensitive to weather conditions and temperature, a quality that Paige sometimes takes advantage of to create texture. A piece with wet paint and plaster placed outside on a dry day opens up with cracks and peels, adding unique textural details to its surface.

Paige’s paintings will be introduced at Wilde Meyer Gallery at 4142 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale The show title is Sophisticated Style Special Demonstrate ArtWalk, Thursday October 11th, 7:00 – 9:00 PM. Stephanie Paige will be demonstrating her painting skills with a pallet knife and marble plaster on wood panels.

What Catches Your Eye?

By Judy Feldman |

What makes you stop and look at a painting? Is it the subject, the colors, the textures? We are all drawn to art for different reasons, and often, it’s on a subconscious level. However, a skilled artist makes conscious decisions about how to attract a viewer’s attention. There are techniques such as composition, color manipulation, brushstrokes, and even canvas shapes that can influence our reaction to a particular work of art. Of course, the best paintings look effortless, but don’t be fooled!

Late for Supper, Peggy McGivern
16" x 20" mixed media on canvas

Peggy McGivern has an interesting way to begin a painting. She sketches with a blind contour line, which means she looks at her subject, not her sketchbook or canvas, and draws continuously without lifting her pencil. “With this technique, I can get interesting, exaggerated shapes from which to start my painting,” she said. “If I’m working plein air, I look at the scene, and what attracted me to it in the first place. I think that my viewers will respond to that initial impression.”
Come in Out of the Rain, Peggy McGivern
72" x 48" (diptych) oil on canvas

Peggy told me that when she’s considering a painting idea, she first looks at big shapes. In her painting entitled “Late for Supper,” about two-thirds of her canvas is the large area of land. The two figures’ vertical paths lead us up the painting towards the village, where she wants our eyes to rest. Peggy also said that she likes to avoid typical horizon lines. Here, the paths create bold geometric shapes that contrast with the distant buildings, and they give us the sense that the figures are quite far away from their homes, in a hurry to get there.

Color choices and brushstrokes convey the message in Peggy’s painting entitled “Come in Out of the Rain.” In this work, she wanted the viewer’s eye to go to where the rain is coming down on the cattle, so she chose beautiful iridescent paints and energetic brushstrokes to focus on that area of her work. The dark sky and purple hills in the background add weight to the scene, augmenting the feeling of an imminent downpour. Although it might look spontaneous, these decisions are thoughtful. “I’m always looking for weird, wonderful combinations for people to enjoy,” she said.

Split Rock, Melissa Johnson
48" x 60" Oil, Cold Wax, and Silver Leaf
Texture and paint application are other ways to call attention to a painting. Melissa Johnson mixes in cold wax to give her oil paints more body. Working with her palette knife, she can adjust the fluidity of the paint. She also uses the wax to adhere the different types of metal leaf she applies to parts of her canvas. Melissa doesn’t use a paint brush too often. “I use all sorts of tools to build up my layers: palette knives, credit cards (expired, I hope), dough scrapers, and any tools I might find at the local Dollar Store.”

Manville Road, Melissa Johnson
48" x 48" oil & cold wax metal leaf
Although Melissa’s paintings look three-dimensional, they don’t really have thick texture. It’s her skillful technique of applying multiple layers of wax-mixed paint that makes her images jump out, as you can see in her painting entitled “Split Rock.” The different tones and shapes of the cliff surface, along with the beautifully rendered crevices and light areas really pull the viewer into the painting and direct us to the lighthouse on the bluff.

Melissa explained that cold wax also speeds up drying time and adds transparency to the color. With this product, she can keep working on her painting by scraping off and applying more paint and wax until she is satisfied.

Mailboxes are the subject in her 48X48” painting entitled “Manville Road.” I really like this composition – even though the mountains in the background catch our eye with their gorgeous colors and 3-D presentation, the five mailboxes command our attention, as the applied metal leaf conveys strong reflected light.

Two Horned Cows, Joseph E. Young
36" x 24" acrylic on canvas
If you pass by one of Joseph Young’s paintings at Wilde Meyer, changes are, you’ll stop and look. Joseph is all about patterns, and there are so many! “I’ve always been a decorative painter,” he says Trained as an art historian, Joseph is influenced by many art movements, such as Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, and modernism. “Even abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollack were decorative artists in their own way,” he commented.

Joseph likes to paint flat, and uses pattern to give the illusion of three dimensions. He juxtaposes colors that vibrate off each other. “If there’s no vibration, I add another contrasting color, until I get the desired effect. I want the colors to either work with or against each other to create excitement in the painting.”

Five Doves and Flowers, Joseph E. Young
36" x 36" acrylic on canvas
To achieve patterns such as these requires considerable patience. As you can see in his painting entitled “Two Horned Cows,” there are many different elements, and each has its own pattern. There are so many varieties of butterflies, flowers and fish; yet they are grouped in an organized, thoughtful way. You can tell that Joseph has a very strong sense of design (and an amazing ability to stay focused!).

“Five Doves and Flowers” is another example of this artist’s unique style. At first glance, we see the white doves, then the tulips, but on closer inspection, those small orange shapes are flowers and, wait, are those little eyes peeking out here and there among the flowers? Maybe they’re butterfly patterns, but they sure caught my attention!

So, the next time you’re drawn to a work of art, consider what made you stop and look. What emotions did it elicit? What do you admire about the artist’s style, and if it really excites you, consider adding it to your collection!

See more art by Peggy McGivern,  Melissa Johnson , and Joseph Young at Wilde Meyer Gallery.

Day of the Dead

By Laura Orozco Allen |

Celebrate with Us

Wilde Meyer Scottsdale galleries will have a Day of the Dead reception on 
Thursday, November 1st, 2018, 7:00 – 9:00 PM.

Tucson gallery will be on Friday, November 2nd, 2018, 5:00 – 7:00 PM.

So come celebrate with us! We will have an Altar and "Ofrendas" with treats for our dogs and cats, and Pan De Muertos and coffee for us humans. We welcome you to send copies of your favorite photos (non-returnable), to be displayed on our altars.

It is not a scary holiday. I can say it because I grew up celebrating it. Although I'm from the most northern part of Mexico, my hometown city's customs are a little Americanized and because of it, the typical Mexican traditions from Central and South Mexico are more diluted. But still, it was an important celebration.

As a child it meant my favorite time of the year was here! The air is (or was) full of the toasty smell of burning leaves. The air is cold and is windier there. The leaves walk with you as you go along with the wind... and we walked; my friend Norma and I walked everywhere.

The "Panaderias” (bakeries) would start selling the white sugar skulls, brightly decorated and with names on the forehead. It is fun to find yours and hopefully it is decorated in the colors you like.

Also “El Pan de Muerto” (Day of the Dead bread) would make their once a year appearance for a few weeks. The bread, sweet but a little bland, and is wonderful with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. It is enjoyed in the evenings after a light supper.

Another sign that the "El Dia De Los Muertos" is near, is the flowers you'll see. "Mota De Obispo" is such a strange but beautiful flower. Deep red purple color and velvety to the touch. It looks like the ruffles and folds of a very elegant Spanish dancer dress.

The "Cempasuchitl" or Marigolds is another popular flower for this day. More than their bright orange color, what comes to my mind is their smell. They can fill the air with their aroma in churches and even the cemeteries. You can smell them from far away! In the spring I see them at the nurseries here, and to me, they will always be "Day of the Dead" flowers. Not a bad thing.

The cemeteries are full with visitors (live ones) the weekend before, the week of, and the weekend after. And it's really a celebration. People make it a point to come. Headstones get swept, polished, and even repainted. They are then decorated with flowers and veladoras (candles.) A mariachi band would play in the background or someone might bring a guitar and sing our gone relatives' favorite songs. Since it is an all day event people bring chairs, blankets, food, and drinks! Food vendors pass by saying "Elootess!" (corn on the cob) or it could be "Paleetass!” (ice pops) or something else. The rosary is read and yes, it can be a very sad day especially if it is a recent passing. But with the passing of the years it really becomes a day when you only think of the happy memories. The afternoon would be full of remember when’s…

In college, at La Univerisdad Autonoma De Cd. Juarez, we would have competitions of "Altares." Each group was assigned a different State to represent. This is really how I learned about some of the different traditions and customs each Mexican State has. One of my professors even had a real skull that she would bring for this special evening! While this was an academic assignment, it was a favorite, and looking back it gave me a deeper respect and admiration for this wonderful day!

Los esperamos! (or, we are looking forward!)

Self-Taught Narrative Painter

By Linda Carter Holman 

For whatever reason my expression of the world has generally been eclectic.

It must have something to do with my essence and the world born into…Oklahoma, South America, the Southwest, and California.

My father and his grandfather were both story tellers. Guess I inherited that gene. Being men, their stories seemed to be more about their adventures out in the world. My tales are based more on feelings… observed in simple everyday moments of life. 

Once upon a garden ...this story is based on events from my growing up to which I now have two large tortoises in the yard as living symbols.

“The creation of art
in all it’s diverse forms
allows each one of us
to sing the song anew.”

Along the way......
(the dark haired child...boy/girl)

The first part of my painting life, as I see it now was devoted to learning a language…technique, developing characters…mostly a woman’s perspective. I decided early on to use women and children as my story telling characters. One day I noticed that my men had a feminine/masculine look and the women masculine/feminine. So from then on woman became my symbol for both. Though I still picture the man child.

Creating a Personal Myth

Here on the Journey
(red Book, blue vase with fish
and Mount Fuji)

Myth is a feature of every culture.

I guess, Mythology has always been there in the background of my work.  Throughout time man has used symbols to give clues to what I refer to as “The Mystery of Life.” Over the years I have collected a variety of images that have developed special meanings  for me in my narratives…like the blue vase with goldfish that appear repeatedly in my stories.The red book has been there from the beginning. My stories on canvas were once more genre scenes.

In nature. Now they have become more personal and symbolic.

“Standing witness to the world that surrounds me…
Translating ideas, impressions and observations…
Getting to play all the parts in the story as it unfolds
With color, form and thought…
Each painting reflecting the world at particular moments in my life…
Accented with personal symbols
Collected over my 48 years of painting”

Crossing over
(fish, boat and swan plus my special character)

Pilgrimage to Mount Fuji ........(Mount Fuji a new symbol)

“the paintings are symbolic tales
Personal stories
Characters playing their parts
In witness to the all”