Portfolio | Where Are They now?

Catching up with 12 painters who were named Artists to Watch years ago

By Bonnie Gangelhoff & Lindsay Mitchell

This story was featured in the May 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art May 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art May 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

Jhenna Quinn Lewis | Artist to Watch: December 2001

Jhenna Quinn Lewis, Autumn Passing, oil, 24 x 20.

Jhenna Quinn Lewis, Autumn Passing, oil, 24 x 20.

How has your artwork changed since you were named an Artist to Watch? My philosophy is based on the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which includes simplicity, imperfection, impermanence, modesty, and humility. I have become more comfortable in pushing the boundaries of negative space within the composition. The void has become an integral part of the work.
What have been your greatest accomplishments since then? Being selected for the 2007 Birds in Art show at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, having my collector base expand, being selected for a solo show at the Morris Graves Museum in 2003, and having galleries in New York, Boston, Tulsa, and Carmel contact me for representation.
What has been the biggest turning point in your career? My turning point came when I decided to close the art gallery I was managing and pursue my art full time. Managing the gallery had given me the opportunity to see how a number of artists approached their work. I realized that I needed to approach being an artist as a business.
What are your goals for the future? My goals include finding representation in New York, Ireland, and France. Next, I have been seeking an art collector or patron to help subsidize my art so that I can focus more on it rather than marketing. Also, I want to continue to refine my style and philosophy. Lastly, I want to expand my compositions to include landscapes, which is where I began.
What galleries represent your work? Howard/Mandville Gallery, Kirkland, WA; Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Davis & Cline Gallery, Ashland, OR; Lovetts Gallery, Tulsa, OK; www.jhennaquinnlewis.com.

 

Gregory Packard | Artist to Watch: December 2002

Gregory Packard, Lilacs Outside, oil, 30 x 34.

Gregory Packard, Lilacs Outside, oil, 30 x 34.

How has your artwork changed since you were named an Artist to Watch? Over the 11 years since then, my work certainly has evolved. Still an impressionist, I continue to explore the many ways in which I can lay down color and create an image that resonates emotionally. Back then my method was almost exclusively wet-into-wet. Today, it is wet-into-wet along with broken color. With the former method I can speak to people with a great amount of immediacy—like a spark—it’s fresh. And with the latter it’s more of a slow burn, like a poem where richness grows deeper with exposure.
What have been your greatest accomplishments since then? I have grown as a painter and as a person. For a long time now my priorities in life have been that of a father, husband, and painter. Making strides in the areas of our lives which are meaningful is, to me, what life is about.
What has been the biggest turning point in your career? I am not sure there have been turning points. I have never been a shooting star who splashes into a scene from out of nowhere, but rather a painter and person who simply works at it daily to keep the overall direction right.
What are your goals for the future? My goals back in 2002 were simple: to continue to make a living at painting. I still feel that making a living, supporting my family, and growing as an artist and a person while doing something I love is incredibly wonderful.
What galleries represent your work? Ackerman’s Fine Art, New York, NY; Bradford Brinton Memorial & Museum, Big Horn, WY; Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art, San Antonio, TX; Greenwich House Gallery, Cincinnati, OH; Howard/Mandville Gallery, Kirkland, WA; Oh-Be-Joyful Gallery, Crested Butte, CO; Scottsdale Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ; www.gregorypackard.com.

 

Robert Bissell | Artist to Watch: June 2003

Robert Bissell, The Swimmer, oil, 48 x 36.

Robert Bissell, The Swimmer, oil, 48 x 36.

How has your artwork changed since you were named an Artist to Watch? I have continued to depict animals and their adventures as mirrors for the human experience. While the subject matter has remained substantially the same, I have refined the way I apply paint, and I continue to improve technically with my brushwork and finish layers. I have begun to paint larger canvases and, at the same time, increased the amount of detail work, making some paintings considerably more complex and time-consuming.
What have been your greatest accomplishments since then? To be able to expose my artwork to a larger audience by releasing limited-edition prints as well as calendars and other products. As an artist whose desire is to communicate through paintings, this provides the opportunity to have a conversation with more people, which has always been my driving force for doing the work. The greatest accomplishment is the continued feedback I get from an increasing number of people who are moved in some way by my paintings.
What has been the biggest turning point in your career? To have so many galleries carrying my work in some form has not only created more interest, it has allowed me to travel around the country and talk to people who respond to my art and who have similar interests to my own.
What are your goals for the future? My principal goal is to continue being in the studio for as long as possible, steadily producing images that enrich and enhance the lives of others. I hope to take a trip to Africa to spend time with the animals there. I also would like to connect my work to more awareness of the environment and how humans are treating the natural world.
What galleries represent your work? I am represented by over 40 galleries. Principal galleries include: Lahaina Galleries, Lahaina, HI, and Newport Beach, CA; Borsini-Burr Gallery, Montara, CA; Chloe Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA; Royal Street Fine Art, Aspen, CO; www.robertbissell.com.

 

Ezra Katz | Artist to Watch: February 2003

Ezra Katz, Sun-Kissed, oil, 38 x 46.

Ezra Katz, Sun-Kissed, oil, 38 x 46.

How has your artwork changed since you were named an Artist to Watch? I know my subjects better now, and persistent observation is what has changed my art since 2002. It’s that premise of constant observation that generates change and growth—standing in front of your subject observing character, behavior, and language at different hours of the day. Persistent observation is what gets you there, wherever it is you are going with your art.
What have been your greatest accomplishments since then? Though I would prefer not to measure my accomplishments with awards and money, those are important parts of building a career. But my greatest accomplishment is the growth and maturity that comes only from practice, from showing up in front of an easel every day, from honesty, and from a true connection to my subjects.
What has been the biggest turning point in your career? When I married my wife, Stephanie, and I moved from Mexico to the Bay Area in Marin. I then took some workshops with Ken Auster and Peggi Kroll-Roberts and had endless conversations with the great John Comer. Collectors and galleries started to notice, and good things started to happen.
What are your goals for the future? Getting back into the fray of painting events and national shows, getting a few more galleries that are a good fit for my work, and creating short films.
What galleries represent your work? Galería de Ida Victoria, San Jose del Cabo, Baja, Mexico; Cohen Abee Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Casa Catalina y Galeria, Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico; Robert Beck Gallery, San Anselmo, CA; www.ezrakatz.com.

 

Cathy McAnally Lubke | Artist to Watch: May 2002

Cathy McAnally Lubke, Resting, oil, 11 x 14.

Cathy McAnally Lubke, Resting, oil, 11 x 14.

How has your artwork changed since you were named an Artist to Watch? My perspective has broadened from local and regional topics to more universal topics.
What have been your greatest accomplishments since then? Being an Artist to Watch reinforced my credibility with my peers and put my name in front of a much larger audience. This gave me the opportunity to teach workshops all over the U.S. and be invited to jury many regional shows. I now have an established schedule of workshops that I teach annually. And I have been accepted in national juried shows presented by Oil Painters of America and the National Watercolor Society.
What has been the biggest turning point in your career? The greatest turning point of my career came in the spring of 1999, when I was invited to join one of the oldest premier galleries, Houshang’s Gallery in Santa Fe. Houshang Youdim has been an indispensable mentor to me through the years. He has helped me lift my artwork to a higher standard befitting a wider audience. He has guided me through the ins and outs of the art world. About that same time, I joined the Ruiz Studio and Gallery in my hometown, and we have worked together to build a reputation for award-winning art.
What are your goals for the future? My goals for the future are to continue demanding the highest standards of myself and my art. I want to make my personal vision of the rural landscape a statement for future generations.
What galleries represent your work? Houshang’s Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Ruiz Studio and Gallery, San Angelo, TX; www.cathylubke.com.

 

Shanna Kunz | Artist to Watch: October 2003

Shanna Kunz, Island Park, oil, 14 x 14.

Shanna Kunz, Island Park, oil, 14 x 14.

How has your artwork changed since you were named an Artist to Watch? My paintings at that time were very influenced by my watercolor work. Since then my oils have taken a different direction and approach. My surfaces are more rich and more textural, created by alternate use of brushes and a palette knife. I hope they are a deeper and more definable interpretation of my artistic voice.
What have been your greatest accomplishments since then? First of all, being able to continue pursuing this passion and support my family at the same time! Also, I have been invited to exceptional shows such as Maynard Dixon Country, Artists of the New Century at the Bennington Center for the Arts, and the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s Western Visions.
What has been the biggest turning point in your career? The most recent turning point has been about taking more control of my career and future and depending on myself to make things happen, rather than relying on things that are beyond my control.
What are your goals for the future? To continue doing what I love to do, but to do it better than the day before! More quality, less quantity, and explore more things outside of my comfort zone.
What galleries represent your work? Kneeland Gallery, Ketchum, ID; Legacy Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Lovetts Gallery, Tulsa, OK; Mountain Trails Gallery, Park City, UT, Jackson, WY, and Sedona, AZ; Evergreen Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT; shannakunz.com.

 

Carol Swinney | Artist to Watch: February 2003

Carol Swinney, A Grand September, oil, 9 x 12.

Carol Swinney, A Grand September, oil, 9 x 12.

How has your work changed since you were named an Artist to Watch? My art has changed a little in the style and strokes. I have been putting a little more detail in my studio work and probably a little less detail in my plein-air work. This happened naturally, without a conscious effort, and evolved over time.
What have been your greatest accomplishments since then? I have gotten into more museum shows, and I have been chosen as one of 12 landscape artists to be in a new book to be released this month—Art of the National Parks by Jean Stern and Susan McGarry. There will be seven parks featured, and I am included with Grand Teton and Yellowstone parks. I have also had the honor of being part of the permanent collections at Grand Teton National Park and the Amerind Museum in Dragoon, AZ.
What has been the biggest turning point in your career? After my divorce in 1997, I started to really get serious about my career and doing everything I could to continue to gain recognition and make a living from selling my art. Before that, I wasn’t really committed or invested in a way that could advance it in the direction I wanted to go.
What are your goals for the future? I have an interest in renewing my outlook on my art and career. I would like to start traveling, pushing myself on new subject matter, and experimenting with new tools and mediums.
What galleries represent your work? Astoria Fine Art, Jackson, WY; Gallery 822, Santa Fe, NM; Scottsdale Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ; K. Newby Gallery & Sculpture Garden, Tubac, AZ; www.carolswinney.com.

 

Marin Dobson | Artist to Watch:  January 2003

Marin Dobson, Nobu Chefs, oil, 12 x 12.

Marin Dobson, Nobu Chefs, oil, 12 x 12.

How has your artwork changed since you were named an Artist to Watch? I feel that my work has evolved and matured over the years. While I have always been inspired by the way light reveals form, I am now more mindful of the shapes that make up a composition, and I integrate that with color harmony to enhance the work. I have also been fortunate to take plein-air painting trips all over the Southwest, along the East Coast, and in several other countries. These trips bring a deep appreciation and understanding of the natural world to my work.
What have been your greatest accomplishments since then? The accomplishments that delight me include my recent exploration of the human figure at work or play. I am obsessed with painting chefs at work in their kitchens, probably because I am a foodie! I am thrilled to be juried into the Oil Painters of America national show this year and to have been included in shows like Salon International and Windows to the Divine. I also won the Award of Excellence at Denver Plein Air.
What has been the biggest turning point in your career? One of my most significant turning points came in 2000 when I won first place in the landscape catagory in The Artist’s Magazine’s Annual Art Competition. The award came in my first year as a professional, and I was stunned. It was a profound experience and a validation that encouraged me to move beyond my fear and hesitation.
What are your goals for the future? My goals for the future are to continue to explore, to keep learning, to strive toward mastery, and to use my work to give to others through charitable organizations.
What galleries represent your work? Abend Gallery, Denver, CO; Rijks Gallery, Crested Butte, CO; Sheldon Fine Art, Naples, FL, and Newport, RI; Spa Fine Art, Saratoga Springs, NY; Stoneheart Gallery, Evergreen, CO; marindobsonpaintings.com.

 

Stacey Neumiller | Artist to Watch:  January 2004

Stacey Neumiller, Two Dog Night, oil, 24 x 30.

Stacey Neumiller, Two Dog Night, oil, 24 x 30.

How has your artwork changed since you were named an Artist to Watch? My animals have become slightly more realistic. Also, I’m painting more using acrylics, mostly because of the faster drying time. Additionally, I’ve started a series of paintings of barns that I’d like to spend more time exploring.
What have been your greatest accomplishments since then? Being selected as a finalist in some large juried shows and competitions: The Artist’s Magazine’s Annual Art Competition, the American Women Artists annual juried competition, and the National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic annual exhibition.
What has been the biggest turning point in your career? I’ve experienced many turning points, but the biggest would be discovering my artistic voice. Many artists work for years before they begin to create something that is totally unique to them.
What are your goals for the future? To have my paintings reach a wider audience. To push myself to continue to create work that resonates with people.
What galleries represent your work? Rob Schouten Gallery, Whidbey Island, WA; www.staceyneumiller.com.

 

Corey Peters | Artist to Watch:  December 2003

Corey Peters, The Agape Oak, oil, 9 x 12.

Corey Peters, The Agape Oak, oil, 9 x 12.

How has your work changed since you were named an Artist to Watch? My work has diversified quite a bit. I have always been interested in subjects like the rawness and power of nature, as well as the figure and what it means to be human. But I abandoned my traditional methods of painting for five years in pursuit of a more modern approach to making pictures. The new method of drawing and painting I developed has allowed me to explore my sense of humor and my views of the world in a more fun and interesting way. I have also recently returned to my more traditional roots and have done extensive plein-air painting. I have great reverence for nature and for painting outdoors.
What have been your greatest accomplishments since then? Recognition of the new style of picture-making that I developed is one my greatest accomplishments. I was nervous about how people would react to it, but last year I entered the 20th Juried Art Exhibition of modern and contemporary art in Los Angeles. To my surprise, my work was accepted and received an Award of Distinction. This recognition in a way validated what I was doing with this new direction my art has taken.
What has been the biggest turning point in your career? There have been two big turning points: the advent of Facebook and social media, and making smaller works.
What are your goals for the future? Paint, travel, and work hard to get more and more people to see and collect the work.
What galleries represent your work? Whites Art, Framing & Restoration Gallery, Montrose, CA.

 

Catherine Massaro | Artist to Watch: October 2002

Catherine Massaro, It’s All in the Shreds, mixed media, 62 x 40.

Catherine Massaro, It’s All in the Shreds, mixed media, 62 x 40.

How has your work changed since you were named an Artist to Watch? My work has changed completely. I have gone from traditional easel painting to monoprints and stenciling, and to my current work, which is collage-based storytelling art. My newest body of work is titled To End Is To Begin. It’s a series of 21 mixed-media collages on canvas featuring adventures that take you on a romp through my life and times, using treasured collections, unique travel memorabilia, and common, everyday objects. Each piece imparts a poignant story with the meaning and sincerity that anyone facing life’s many challenges can relate to.
What have been your greatest accomplishments since then? Fully embracing the spirit of To End Is To Begin gave me the freedom to create two completely unexpected bodies of work and led me to that sweet spot in life where things finally make sense.
What has been the biggest turning point in your career? No doubt, the biggest turning point has been the learning experience through the launch of my exciting new website. It embraces the best that technology has to offer through art, video, narrative, and music, and it even offers products.
What are your goals for the future? The new website is an ongoing, ever-expanding creative experience that continues the storied art of To End Is To Begin. Since it has been developed to inspire, educate, and entertain creative people of all types, products will continue to be added over the course of the next year, when all 21 stories have been told. And because it’s a real-time experience, I can even add new pieces to the collection as they develop.
What galleries represent your work? www.toendistobegin.com.

 

Vicki McMurry | Artist to Watch: September 2002

Vicki McMurry, The Spell of Spring, oil, 30 x 40.

Vicki McMurry, The Spell of Spring, oil, 30 x 40.

How has your artwork changed since you were named an Artist to Watch? My work has matured. I am adding more depth by extending values in a broader scope. My color palette is refined; I am now able to spotlight brilliant colors more efficiently. Now I can focus on my personal expertise. And I am ready to focus on larger paintings exclusively.
What have been your greatest accomplishments since then? I had to put my career on hold for several years after my father passed away to take care of the family business. On a personal level, my greatest accomplishment is being a full-time artist again. The time off reinforced my conviction to master my trade. I am re-energized and eager to sling paint again.
What has been the biggest turning point in your career? My book, Mastering Color, was a major stepping stone for me. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and helping artists find their creative way with an understanding of basic tools such as composition and value. The book has exposed my work globally. But perhaps my biggest turning point is right now. I am at that wonderful junction personally where my paintings truly reflect my self.
What are your goals for the future? My goals for the future include continuing to be an educator. My daughter and I are working on art lessons presented in digital PDF documents. Another goal is to strengthen the sense of freedom in my work. My ambition is to leave the world with an accomplished body of work, a new way to interpret everyday life, and a semblance of peace.
What galleries represent your work? Brazier Gallery, Richmond, VA; Russell Collection, Austin, TX; www.vickimcmurry.com.

 

Featured in the May 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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