Traveling to You: A Collaboration of Poetry and Printmaking
Featuring poems by Gloucester Poet Laureate Rufus Collinson and Linoleum, Lithograph, and Monotype Prints by Gloucester Printmaker, Coco Berkman
Four years ago when I approached our then new Poet Laureate, Rufus Collinson, to ask her if she would be open to the idea of having a collaborative show of our work; her poems-my imagery, I had read only a few of her poems. She readily agreed, giving me license to choose whichever poems from her collection that I felt moved to use. I carried her poetry books [Turning the Stones ; Traveling to You  ] with me over the past four years.
Hugged up against my own sketchbooks in my bag, they traveled with me to New York City, where I studied stone lithography at the Art Students League, and where I transformed my drawing “Grocery Shopping”, inspired by her poem, “Friday Nights at the A&P” into a lithograph; to Martha’s Vineyard in the dead of winter, where I drew the composition, “Deer and Wolf”, inspired in large part by Rufus’s poem, “Adagio”; on the State Fish Pier on Parker Street, where I sat in my car and drew; on walks through Stage Fort Park, drives to Connecticut and Maine. I’ve lived with her poems.
My favorites kept changing. Poems that at first held little interest would suddenly capture my attention. They would sink in, take me away … into the natural world, into another
person’s emotional world, into another Gloucester. Most importantly, into a Poet’s mind. A mind whose priority is to search for the extraordinary layers in things, put those insights into words in an honest and eloquent way and then share them with the world. Thank you Rufus, for relentlessly doing the Poet’s work and then sending it out here. It
has touched me deeply forever.
My work is organic, bold, gritty, sensual, and inspired by my mad scientist tendencies. These works are thoughts and, in essence two dimensional sculptures. They are curvy, and you’ll probably have a hard time finding a straight line. I’ve found a secret formula to create these works: get up around 5 a.m., drink coffee, turn on the music, and then I jump and dance around the room as I paint, this gets the art thoughts moving. I paint ferociously; this creates real energy within the piece. My painting style and its looseness makes watercolor an optimal medium for me. I paint very wet, this allows the colors to mix themselves on the paper, and allows little experiments/accidents to create themselves within the piece. Painting is my bizarre form of meditation.
I have a fondness for Asian calligraphy sumi-e brushes, allowing me to create elegant lines. With my constant interest in keeping things fresh, I sometimes paint with more non-traditional brushes like palmetto fronds, brushes made of grass, turkey basters, sticks, and lastly a collection of brushes I made from friends who volunteered some of their own hair for my artistic endeavors. With these homemade brushes I’ve been able to create some truly organic and fresh movements on the paper.
I’ve explored many different mediums over the past decade before hunkering down with watercolor. I’ve been a semi-abstract potter, fanatical wooden archery bow maker, played around with house paints Pollock style and done a lot of photography. I have a relatively non-conventional background for an abstract artist. I have a Masters in Conservation Biology, with my thesis studying the feeding habits of American mink (think mink coat). I’ve been a woody plant researcher, arborist, land manager, and currently I’m a full time fish biologist studying rainbow smelt (think small yummy fish). If I’m not in the studio, I’m outside learning about nature. Being a biologist has allowed me to bring unique perspectives to my art practice. Nature is truly abstract and offers infinite sources of inspiration for me as an artist. I had a lot of fun creating these pieces. Enjoy!
Jan Walker is now an artist and photographer, after a career in the early computer industry. She has a Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Raised in Ottawa Canada, she has lived in Champaign IL, Berkeley, Arlington MA, France, and Cambridge, and currently resides in Rockport, MA.
Largely self-taught in the arts, she has worked in many mediums, including pottery, watercolor painting, photography, and acrylic monotypes and collage. Formerly a member of Local Colors and the Rocky Neck Art Gallery, she is an artist member of Cambridge Art Association and Newburyport Art Association, and a member of the photography division of the Rockport Art Association. Her work is in private collections on several continents. She counts Connie Arvanites as a mentor, Modigliani as an inspiration, and studied locally with Martin Ahearn and Betty Lou Schlemm. Her most recent work has combined photographic images with acrylic monotypes.
I am a curious observer of almost everything and I see art everywhere. It makes me happy to discover wonderful compositions in the details of ordinary surroundings. I respond most strongly to form, line, pattern, and humor in the abstract designs all around me. My work shows details and unexpected views in scenes that might otherwise seem commonplace. I want people to feel the excitement I felt while taking the picture or making the piece. My favorite compositions contain curves or triangles. My favorite subjects are natural ones, especially those involving texture, birds, or water.
Born in Gloucester, MA, Kathleen Miller is a self-taught artist who currently resides in Rockport. Growing up on Cape Ann, she was greatly influenced by the artists of Rocky Neck and Bearskin Neck. Since childhood, she has had in interest in drawing, painting, and other forms of art, and has developed these interests over the years. Although primarily self-taught, she has recently studied with several local painters. She enjoys painting on location as well as in the studio. Working primarily in oils, Kathleen paints a variety of subjects, focusing mainly on landscapes, seascapes and other scenes inspired by nature. Kathleen has a way of infusing herself into her scenes, and each of her paintings reflects her personal impression of the world around her.
In addition to being an artist, Kathleen is also a Mental Health Therapist. She utilizes many art and expressive therapy techniques in her practice, and she believes strongly in the healing properties of artistic expression both for the artist and the viewer. While drawing inspiration from the natural world, it is her intention to impart a sense of peace, hope and healing potential through all of her creative works.
Please visit The Art Nook, 58 Bearskin Neck Rockport, MA to see more work by Kathleen and other local artists. Visit Kathleen Miller on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theartnook.
Marvin Waller (1928 – 1994) was an award-winning fine artist who lived on Cape Ann. As a young man in the late 1940s and early 1950s, he studied painting and drawing with Reginald Marsh and other prominent artists at the Art Student’s League in New York City. He also illustrated Captain Marvel comic books. In 1959, he moved his family to Rockport, MA because of his friendship with local artist Roger Martin. Rockport was the only place he would consider raising his children – lucky kids!
In Rockport, he worked as a fine artist, book illustrator, and industrial designer. His works were shown at Gallery Seven in Magnolia and Boston. In the mid-1960s, he taught himself architecture as a means of supporting his family. He designed the Roundhouse on Atlantic Avenue in Rockport, extensions for Rockport High School, the Sawyer Free Library addition in Gloucester, the Ipswich Town Hall, the Liberty Tree Mall, the Wang Towers in Lowell, and an award-winning pumping station in Bangkok, Thailand. He also designed several industrial facilities through his work for the Anderson Nichols architectural and engineering firm in Boston.
Throughout his life, he was a fine artist at heart and a great inspiration to others. He knew his history and especially his art history. His standards for excellence showed in everything he did. This exhibit includes oil paintings of people and landscapes along with pen and ink drawings of amazingly few brush strokes.