Meet Joe Saginor

AVA Studio Chat: Joe Saginor

Joe is an abstract painter who has been painting since the early 90s. His initial encounter with oil painting involved running a cotton ball soaked with solvent over an oil crayon drawing.

Observing the colors seamlessly blend immediately fostered his appreciation for this medium. An important aspect of his creative process entails rotating the canvas. This aids him in interpreting the abstract shapes he has painted and sometimes leads to the discovery of the painting’s subject. Joe is deeply intrigued by how people interpret his artwork. His objective is to craft pieces that prompt viewers to contemplate the potential subjects they might be observing.

Joe received mentorship from Clifford West, long time art instructor at AVA. He employs a range of mediums including oil on canvas, oil crayon on paper, charcoal, and mixed media. His artistic approach frequently involves integrating painting and drawing. His artwork is inspired by personal memories, associations, photographs, and reflections stemming from his role as a psychologist. The paintings’ content and form are predominantly representational, capturing figures, landscapes, and portraits as frozen psychological abstractions within a fleeting moment of time.

Meet Heather A. Szczepiorkowski

AVA Studio Chat: Heather A. Szczepiorkowski (Shep-or-kof-ski)

Heather is a New Hampshire-based, self-taught sculptor who focuses on portraiture and capturing the human figure and nature. Her motivation is to bring the forms she sculpts to life, with her goal being to capture her model’s essence. She began sculpting as a young child, folding and manipulating paper napkins for members of her family. Heather mainly uses oil-based clay and appreciates the flexibility it allows, as this type of clay does not dry out, enabling her to reshape and rework her sculptures, providing her with the creative freedom necessary to realize her artistic visions fully. She hopes that her sculptures not only express her passion but also bring joy and inspiration to those who experience them. Recently, she has started focusing on bozzetti, Italian for sketches. These clay sketches are typically used to practice and try out ideas and inspirations. These small-scale models allow artists to refine their designs, test out different angles, and work out any potential issues or challenges before starting the more time-consuming and resource-intensive process of creating the final artwork. Traditionally, these sketches are thrown away after the final work is completed. However, Heather is interested in redefining bozzetti and recognizing that they can be their own respective pieces of art.

Meet Rachel and Jim Jordan

AVA Studio Chat: Rachel and Jim Jordan

Meet Rachel and Jim Jordan!

Rachel Jordan is a painter who attended DePauw University, double majoring in Art and Physics. After moving to Hanover, she started working at CRREL, the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. Working there part-time allowed her time to focus on painting. Her stylistic path has been diverse, ranging from abstract, hard-edged, and geometric compositions during graduate school, to geometric landscape paintings, and eventually to large, abstract still lifes with personal associations. During the pandemic, Rachel was able to focus on still lifes and childhood memories while avoiding painting about COVID, thanks to the fact that she was working in her home surrounded by heirlooms. The long hours of work during the pandemic paid off, leading to a newfound clarity, a departure from her pre-Covid work. Her artistic influences include artists with simplified and structured styles, including Renaissance painters like Giotto, Masaccio, and Piero della Francesca, mid-century artists like deKooning, Guston, Elizabeth Murray, and Leon Kossoff, and early modernists like Picasso, Matisse, and Cézanne.

 Jim Jordan is a painter and draftsman who studied art with Karl Wolfe in the 1950s and earned both Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees in painting at the University of Iowa. He then went on to study art history, specifically early modern painting at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, there he focused on Paul Klee’s work, which later became the subject of his Ph.D. dissertation. Jim worked as a scholar and professor of art history, teaching at various universities, including Dartmouth College. His art is influenced by modern masters like Picasso, Cézanne, and Max Beckmann, he is as well as an early enthusiasm for Medieval art, resulting in a tension between abstract and recognizable forms.

Meet Carole Kitchel-Bellew

AVA Studio Chat: Carole Kitchel-Bellew

Meet Carole Kitchel-Bellew!

Carole has an insatiable interest in creative pursuits and has explored multiple mediums. Today, she is a sculptor who works with clay. She attended the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, originally majoring in ceramics. After college she began working in metals, specifically in jewelry making and eventually opened her own store in Harvard Square, MA. Carole then discovered stone carving, studying at the De Cordova Museum School in Lincoln, MA, where she found her interest was in sculpting abstract forms. In 2015, she took a clay course at The League of New Hampshire with Karin Rothwell (who now teaches at AVA) and was reintroduced to her love of clay. Since then, Carole has been working with clay and hand building objects. She enjoys working with her hands and in three dimensions because of the tactile aspects. Regardless of the result, the most important element of her practice is joy. Carole will be showing some of her work at the Whipple Hill Art Show in Lyme on August 12th-13th. Visit Carole on Instgram: @stackinghappies


Meet Jan Salstrom

AVA Studio Chat: Jan Salstrom

Meet Jan Salstrom!

Jan is a ceramic artist. She started working in ceramics in 2011, beginning at a community arts center near her house while living and working in North Carolina. Later, she moved to Vermont and further developed her ceramic skills. Jan works in ceramic stoneware which is hand built from soft clay slabs- no wheel is involved, allowing for slow control of the clay. The flat slab surface is manipulated by hand to create the finished functional, decorative stoneware. Some of the pieces are then glazed in the traditional manner of ceramic stoneware. Currently, Jan is focusing on Japanese Nerikomi, a process where a unique pattern- which cannot be reproduced- is created with different naturally occurring clays or clays colored with a mason stain. Working with the process of Japanese Nerikomi can be challenging as the different clays will tend to dry at different rates, which can cause cracking when drying or going through the kiln firing process. Jan enjoys the free-flowing unpredictability of the Nerikomi process; not only is it exciting and challenging, but it also helps to keep her mindful, patient, and unattached to the outcome, but delighting in the unfolding process. Some of Jan’s pieces are available for sale in the Members Gallery at AVA.

Meet Carol Krauss

AVA Studio Chat: Carol Krauss

This is our fifth visit in a series of AVA Studio Chats.

Carol Krauss is a fine art photographer and painter. She studied Black and White fine art photography at the New England School of Photography, Boston, MA. Recently, she has begun to branch out into working in mixed media. She started by combining her photography with encaustic– a way of painting using pigments mixed with hot wax. Carol then expanded into abstract painting using cold wax. Her work focuses on water and light, elements significant to her artistic practice and philosophy, also used to illustrate their ecological importance. Carol has rules of practice; a list of her core intentions, seven things that she intends to convey through her process. Along with her rules, is a reference sheet which displays an inventory of all the colors of paint and wax available. Carols work is emotive and evocative, memories to a specific time and place are often a source. When working abstractly, Carol tries pull key element of a particular topic, just enough and only what is essential; interpretation is left to the viewer to imagine.