The Total Art Experience by M Theresa Brown

The dew on the grass was wet, the morning almost chilly, but Saturday, May 7 was our scheduled "Paint in the Garden" START ( class and we had a dozen people coming in at 10:00 am to learn or re-experience painting "Plein air" or from life outside at our studio.
Right on cue, the sun peeped over the trees and scattered light across the garden flowers and roses.  Students ranging from 12 to 72  gathered in the studio and we started a day that for most, was a first! They were all painting scenes, not from photographs, but from the actual subjects themselves!

My artist husband, Stephen Filarsky,( specializes in this form of painting. He has quite a following among his collectors as he is an avid "plein air" painter and thinks nothing of stopping, flipping out his Julien easel and whisking off an oil  painting or two on our travels.  So we were sharing our tips and techniques on that beautiful day to encourage the participants to discover the joy of the art zone. That place where you are lost for a short while in creating art. Your art. And perhaps in doing so, changing your life forever.

It takes a little organization to pull off oil palettes, brushes, solvent, chairs, tables, easels and individual locations for a dozen people. Our thanks to  START director, Christina Harles for participating and loaning some much needed easels for the outdoor class!

So what happened at this painting party and why were they there?  Several of the participants were there because they were painting an oil painting for their mothers for Mothers Day! Another brought her mother after purchasing a gift certificate. The two youngest were there with participating parents who were encouraging their offspring to enjoy art.  Several were experienced artists who needed the discipline of a workshop to "make" them get out and paint!

Steve first demonstrated a quick method for getting the basic shapes and colors and after watching a few minutes, the particpants returned to their selected areas and started. That was the hardest part for most. Starting! Our 10:00-noon class ended with a lunch break and a sharing of Steve's favorite painting beverage for loosening up adult painters-Mimosas.  Those staying for the second half of the day brought their lunches. All were relaxed, enjoying the day, the moment, the scenery and the experience! Our 1:00-3:00  class began when everyone moved to new locations and started again. We shared not just the scenery but the dogs, the goats,  the ponies and the old cat!

Painting outside while looking at a subject is a unique way for all artists to re-examine just what a rose or a trellis or the colors in their selected vignettes REALLY look like! None who do this will ever see their subjects again in the same light. For a few, their paintings at this class were their very first paintings and a whole new world has been opened to them! 
Some are coming back the next Saturday to do it all over again in watercolor.
All  experienced that Total Art Experience. That relaxed, peaceful feeling that only comes from the complete immersion, for whatever length of time, in the enjoyable process of creating of art!

To learn more about the classes we teach visit us at:
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To learn more about what we do, visit us at


Come Out for a Great Cause!

Hello there blog friends!
Come out for a great cause! Robert King is selling his “Alien in Love” series.

Please join us at Lilly’s Pizza for First Friday, May 5th for a gathering of friends, beverages and Great Pizza 6pm-10pm.

Each painting is for sale ranging from $400 - $824.

Please contact Robert or Lisa King at 919-758-5383 or via email at if you would like to make a donation and/or purchase one of his paintings in this series.

Paintings will be on display through the end of June.

See you there!

Sharon DiGiulio


May Artist of the Month - Aja Apa-Soura

--Midnight Sonata -- Artistic process and anti-process---

An impulse. Surging through my being like some addictive substance from within the farthest reaches of my mind. Unavoidable and stubborn in its progression, it overwhelms and never fails to propel me towards the fresh opportunity ready and waiting at the easel...

Middle of the night, the world around me at quiet slumber, 75 watt overhead bulb illuminates the studio and glares in blood shot eyes. Maybe mix just a bit more cerulean in. No, prussian and just a dab of white....

Addiction? Obsession....

The process is conscious yet subconscious -- an image is rarely preconceived, but rather it materializes through each oil laden swipe of the knife. It's rather chaotic in its conception in that traditional sketches and research are not only abandoned but ignored entirely. Spontaneity dominates the so-called creative "process", yet the formula remains constant -- atleast as constant as a spontaneous creative "process" will allow....

Ground and foreground interact with the spark and exhaustive release of a night spent. Melting together and separating at the shift of a hue, only to melt back into one another moments later. Pigments are chosen as a reflection of emotion as the contemplation evolves into being. Continued from corner to edge to corner and between, the white of the once fresh opportunity is devoured piece by piece, moment by moment. Window into a new dimension unveiled upon completion, its inhabitants emerging only after the scene has been set.

They journey through the contemplation, melting and resurfacing like the atmosphere in which they reside. Stepping further into the canvas, they entice their audience to do the same. Walk the path and consider the possibilities of the unknown. Consider the notions set forth by their seemingly blind journey toward an end undepicted. Consider something more....

Methodical yet frenzied, the creation comes to fruition in one continuous sitting, no matter how long that may take. Just as a thought lingers in the recesses of the mind until acknowledged or confronted, such is the character of the muse within. That impulse that craves satiation. So it shall be satiated...until tomorrow.

Palette knife comes to rest, mind slows to but a comfortable crawl. Eyes gaze upon the piece of my soul plucked from my subconscious like a Polaroid into my imagination. The silence of the early morning reminds me of my exhaustion. 75 watt bulb a mere memory. Sleep may now embrace me....

Bio -

Although I've been painting since my age was measured in months (my mom, a toll painter, would give me scraps of wood from her projects, a cup of water, and a brush for me to "paint" with....) I really became serious with it in '99 during my last years of high school. Resigned to my profession I was accepted to Montserrat College of Art on scholarship and concentrated on painting.

Sagittarius Gallery, my business, was started in April of 2003 and since then I have been blessed to have over 1000 patrons on 5 continents. I am a self-representing artist who utilizes the internet and social media to connect with patrons from across the world. Although I primarily sell my work through the net, I have shown at several galleries including at the World Monument Fund Gallery / Prince George Ballroom and Rogue Space in Manhattan, Karin Sanders Fine Art in Sag Harbor, NY, Robert Dowling Studios and Gallery in Bangor, ME, as well as a solo show at the Gallery and Grille in Newburyport, MA. Locally my work has been shown at The Broadway Art Center, Albany, and Fulton Street Gallery in Troy. I have also participated in several outdoor events including Art on Lark and the Stockade Arts Show in Schenectady. My work has been published in ArtNEWS, American Art Collector, and The World's Finest Erotic Art vol. 2, has been licensed by McGaw Publishing, and I am a listed artist with Art in America.

I concentrate primarily on the female nude figure to convey my vision, but regularly explore a variety of subjects such as florals, urban cityscapes, abstracts, and landscapes. My tool of choice is the palette knife and my medium, pure, undiluted oils. I work out of my Scotia, NY home studio and welcome studio visits by appointment.

Thank you so much!

Sincerely, Aja
Sagittarius Gallery



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