Born in Adelaide, South Australia where he still lives, Thomas Sionnach didn’t begin seriously painting until December 2015. Since then his emotional, expressionist portraits have made a big impact. As a self-described insular kid, he used to draw and used art as a comfort zone from the outer world. These caricature drawings lead to a job opportunity with a graphic arts firm at the age of 16, but he turned it down. Thomas played guitar and punk and alt rock scene was too alluring at that stage in his life. After battling alcoholism for some time, he was able to quit cold turkey and went back to art, where he began exploring acrylic paints and learned on his own how best to use this medium. Sionnach’s paintings are raw and full of life and passion and it shows in his bold stokes of the pallet knife and in the subtle refinement with the brush. His paintings take shape as he works on them and lets the painting decide where it goes. Some of his work will soon be in The Address Gallery in Brescia, Italy via the Minerva Art Fund, and his popularity is growing quickly. Thomas works days as a chef and carves out time at night to create his thought provoking paintings of beauty, sadness, loneliness, and even hope. It was not easy to decide which painting to highlight, but I ended up with Alone With My Thoughts. The depth and struggle of the figure reached out to me, but please follow the links below and see his other incredible, raw, and expressive portraits.
Decimus was immovable in his stance, and as the Archbishop of all of the Second Order, he was not inclined to to take any risks. It was decided that Mr. Needle be the one to bring the Shadows to Baltimore, despite the hesitation from the elders. The Shadows had been called by many names and seen all over the world throughout time, but they had always been referred to as the Shadows to those that lived (and had once lived) in the Inmost - beneath the surface of the earth.
Mr. Needle never failed when he was given a task and this task was quite important to the elders of the Inmost. The Suvians that left the Inmost centuries ago, and chose to live among the humans, had become far too greedy with their position with the humans, and failed to see their proper place. They bartered for necessities from the Inmost, and hid among the humans, while they enjoyed the luxuries of both worlds. The beasts and fiends that held high positions had become displeased with the state of things for some time now, and took it upon themselves to shake things up and Decimus knew that the one best suited for the job at hand would be Mr. Needle, even if some of his piers did not agree.
Mr. Needle had a way of making his intentions clear and the Shadows were easy for him to control. He could fold in and out of reality with easy and his gaze just like the mystics, and if someone was ever so unlucky enough to meet his gaze directly, they would fall under his spell and loose track of time. They would do whatever was his will. This was why he always wore a hat with a full brim. His eye would be shielded until they were need for such tasks.
“All is done.” Mr. Needle reported.
The Archbishop smiled and all of his numerous eyes squinted with pleasure. “Wonderful. The council is so naive. They will bend without even knowing what they are doing. Frightened little fools. They have grown weak with all of their trust of rules and barter.”
“The Shadows will watch them all. They are eager to make you happy.”
“This is good. Very good indeed.”
“I warn you though, there are those that suspect. The princess is not so easily entranced. I believe she could cause trouble.” Mr. Needle hovered and wringed his hands.
“I’ve dealt with her before and don’t think she will cross me again.” Decimus grinned. “It is also a good sign that we have a Wolf moon this evening. All will go as planned.”
Artist of the month - Michael Hutter
Born in German in 1963, Michael Hutter began his career as an artist in his early twenties. In his early teens, Hutter became interested in religion (and the madness associated with it), but upon discovering a book on surrealism he channeled that same religious interest toward art. While studying Free Painting at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Michael shaped his vision and began creating amazing works that would compile hellish visions, fantastic landscapes, and religious tones, all in very stylized forms with a vivid and contrasting color palette. Hutter still resides in Germany, but his work has been show in galleries across the globe. Primarily an oil painter, Michael has also worked in other mediums (tempera, watercolor, ink) and also created illustrated works for his short stories, books, and film, as well as album covers. The detail of his creations reflects his passion for his art and the complexities within the creations have given his work a very distinguishable style that is reflective of such artists as Hieronymus Bosch, Leonara Carrington, and Zdzisław Beksiński. The painting I highlighted is entitled Pandora’s Box (Full painting on the left & detail on the right) and it perfectly captures the grand and hellish subjects and scope of his work as well as a hold to a playful sense of humor. Follow Michael Hutter on the links below and discover your favorite painting of his!
Story entry 22 - Medusa Ascending
The Mount Vernon Club at 8 W. Mount Vernon Place has stood in that location since 1933 and since then it has filled with many people, with many events, and many stories. If you were to visit and ask one of the staff that work there, they would tell you of the variety of ghosts that inhabit the halls. One story was only rumor until very recently, but it was no story of a ghost. This haunt was flesh and blood - even if her flesh was covered in scales. Some had heard of the disappearance of guests on occasion, but it was always written off as a lovers spat and never pressed. Strangely though, it had been discovered that on some of these days, where a guest had disappeared, the staff had made a stone sculpture donation to Second Change (an architectural salvage yard and store).
On a recent evening, Constance and Herbert were guests at an event at the club. It was a Christmas event and cheer was in the air and drinks were flowing freely. Herbert had heard of the stories and the rumors, and decided to discover if there were any truth to the tales of a monster within the walls and guests being turned to stone. He asked some of the staff and they told him about some of the ghosts that have been seen and heard within the halls, but laughed at the idea of an actual monster in residence.
“A gorgon could exist as easily as dragon could” Constance told Herbert as she pulled him away from the staff member he was pressing for details. “I’m sorry. Please excuse him.” She smiled. “Too many cocktails.”
Herbert gave her a look, that he had given her many times before. He knew she didn’t believe his stories, but then again she had not seen the things he had seen in Baltimore. Shadows of beasts that vanished suddenly when spotted, visions from the corner of his eye, and he swears he had seen a sweet old woman with tentacles and green skin pocketing a dried and flattened rat into her purse. When he took a double take she was just an old woman and looked as harmless as a fly.
“You could at least humor me, even if you don’t believe me.”
“Oh dear.” Constance grimaced. “You must be kidding. Humor you.” She rolled her eyes so much they seemed to take her head with it. She accidentally punctuated the motion with a hiccup that was an immediate embarrassment for her. Constance put her hand to her mouth and looked to she who may have heard. No one had.
“Looks like you are the one that has had too many cocktails.” Herbert mumbled smugly.
Herbert excused himself for the mens room and left Constance to mingle. He noticed a door underneath the stairwell that was cracked. It led to rooms and halls within the club, but he found nothing out of the ordinary. He returned to the hall beneath that stairwell and as he entered the mens room (which was a door hidden in the opposite wall) he though heard a low rattle and slithering sound. Like a rolled up rug being pulled across the floor. He paused and after no other sound came, except the talking and laughing from the gathering where their party was, he pulled the bathroom closed behind him.
Conversation was dull and after fifteen minutes had passed, and Constance had finished her martini, she went to see where Herbert was. Even though his imagination was absurd, she did love Herberts outrageous stories far more than talk about the weather or the mayor. She reached the staircase and could not believe her eyes. A monstrous human-serpent hybrid was making her way up the staircase from the men’s room. By the time she cleaned her glasses and rubbed her eyes the stairs were empty. Constance discovered an uncanny life-sized sculpture of her husband in the open bathroom, but her husband was nowhere to be found. This was the last she saw of him. The staff had said they saw him getting into a cab, but that just didn’t sound like something her Herbert would do. A week later, Constance saw the sculpture for sale and bought it and placed it in her sunroom.
Ever since the evening at The Mount Vernon Club, Constance started seeing Baltimore they way her husband had. There were monsters in this city. She saw them everywhere, if even for a brief moment.
Artist of the month - Adam Burke
Adam Burke was born on Valentines day in 1975, in the state of Oregon, where he cultivated his love of art and nature from an early age. Adam took art classes and went to art school a few times, but ended up developing his skills and technique on his own, with virtually no training in the medium of painting. This medium (where he says he wishes he had more formal training) has taken him far with his self discoveries. Burke works with oils as well as acrylics and has created fantastic and bold works with both. When using acrylic, he manipulates the medium to appear light and fluid like a watercolor and when using oils, his strokes are bold and textural. Not until his mid 30’s did Adam really begin his full-time career as an artist and after three to four years of intense struggling did things begin to fall into place and he began to make a name for himself. Burke began that struggle working primarily in illustration work (inspired by mid-20th century illustrations) with poster and album art for musicians and then began to push his boundaries and create more fine art in addition to that illustration work. Burke told me “I think there's infinite room to explore painting if you remove narrative as your primary goal.” Burke’s paintings focus primarily on nature an a mysterious narrative - “I want the viewer to come away scratching their head, wondering what I was trying to do, but still being drawn in by a high level of draftsmanship. Mostly I want to instill a sense of wonder.”. Fantastic creatures occupy incredible and awe inspiring landscapes, yet the viewer is still able to connect with his work if only on a primal level. Adam Burke still lives in the Pacific Northwest, where he is a native-plant enthusiast (especially the huckleberry varieties) and enjoys gardening. The painting I am highlighting is entitled Consequatur, and I feel it perfectly represents his incredible talent. Discover more of his work via the links below.
Story entry 21 - Petunia Sunbathing
Things had been difficult for the siblings Wyn, Wul, and Woo lately. The accidental insult to the grootslang and yaoguai with the year end offering that rotted from poison had placed them in bad terms with a good number of their suvian neighbors in Baltimore, but worst of all was that the beasts of the Inmost that had become insulted and had it out for the three of them. It made it difficult for them to go out as much as they would like, as well as playing their favorite game of Sneaky-Spot, which was kind of like Hide-and-go-seek from the humans while they were not in their human disguise.
Despite all that was wrong with things for the triplets these days, they still managed to find the brighter side of things. Wyn sat in their living room reading. Wyn could hear her brothers in the basement working on the Ingress which had been acting up lately and failing to teleport them where they wanted. She let them to it.
It was Fall and the air was cold out and the wind fierce at times, but inside was comfortable. With a throw, some tea, a book in an armchair, and the brilliant rays of sun that worked its way across the room with the passing of the day, all seemed fine. Their grikul pup Petunia had found her place on the rug and basked in the warmth of the sun. Wyn would look up from her book on occasion at Petunia, when Petunia would take a deep and content exhale and smack her lips as if she had remembered the taste of something delicious. Or if she would move her stubby legs slightly, while she was dreaming, as if she were running around the park chasing something.
Wyn took a sip of her tea and looked at the last sip in her mug as she studied the flavor. The tea was complex and overall had a bitter taste that she didn’t mind. Petunia let out a grumbling sigh. She was happy. All was right with her. Sunbathing with a full belly and happy thoughts at Wyn’s feet. Wyn wondered how so much could be stressful, and difficult, and strained, and exhausting, but still she was able to find moments like this and realize all was well. The tea was bitter, but satisfying. So was life at times.
Petunia got up and moved to follow where the sun had moved. In a half turn, she paused to look at Wyn and see if all was well.
Wyn smiled, took the final sip of her tea, tucked the throw around her again, and opened the book back to where she had left off and began to read again. Petunia saw that all was well and completed her turn and lay down with the sun warming her hide again.
Artist of the month - Beau White
Award winning Australian artist, Beau White, (based out of Melbourne) graduated from NMIT with a Diploma Of Arts in 2018 and has been going strong since. His vivid a surreal oil paintings are vibrant, disturbing, and often grotesque. Suffocation, leeches, severed limbs, and food are common themes you will find in his work and with these elements White creates fascinating and fantastic studies in the form of distorted still life. The highlighted painting “VANITAS NO.1”, was selected because of the playful and macabre way White constructed this autumnal cornucopia of death and delights. Treat yourself to the rest of his magnificent work, by visiting his website or follow him on Facebook or Instagram.
Story entry 20 - Hampden Half Sisters
Pearl and Ruby had the same mother, Adelaide Smith, but different fathers and this alone was scandal enough for the small working neighborhood of Hampden in the early 1900’s. But there was more. Ruby was so named because of the purple-red color of her skin (she took after her father) and her appearance made their family even more scandalous. Not simply because the child looked monstrous (with long fingers, yellow eyes, and horns, as well as her skin color), but because the mother kept her and raised her like any regular child; just the way she raised her other daughter Pearl who was born six months after Ruby. Ruby’s father was a traveler and never even knew he was a dad before he went on his way, but in the short time he and Adelaide knew each other, he did tell her some interesting things about suvians. Most importantly, suvians are able to disguise themselves as a human once they have reached puberty, which happens at the same age as humans and the other ting she had learned was that suvians need to consume arsenic for good health.
Both of Adelaide’s children were miracles. Ruby was the first half breed born from a suvian and human union and Pearl was born three month premature and although she was weak at first, she grew quite strong. Pearl’s father (Arthur) married their mother and raised them both as his daughters. The girls grew up as each other’s best friends. They consoled each other from the damage that the hurtful words and harmful objects that were thrown their way caused. Often times the words hurt worse than the stones or onions or rotten apples.
Ruby and Pearl’s parents took them to the stores or to the harbor to get food fresh off of the ships that came in. They shopped for clothing with them and without hesitation. Eventually though, the family decided to remain indoors and away from the scrutiny of their neighbors.
Years passed without anyone ever seeing anyone come or go from the home. Lights would come on and curtains would move, milk was delivered and under the cover of night the empty bottles were put out on the stoop, but never was anyone seen. The neighbors eventually even forgot what they looked like.
When Ruby became old enough, Adelaide and Arthur explained to her that they loved her just they way she was, but if she wanted, she had the ability to look just the same as he sister Pearl or her parents. Ruby learned quickly how to do it and one evening they all left their home and never returned to it. The door was just left open and when neighbors explored, they only found furniture. No personal items remained. The Smith family bought a new home in town where no one knew who they were and settled in perfectly.
Artist of the month - Karina Kalvaitis
Self-proclaimed "Potato Fiend" Karina Kalvaitis was born in Brooks, Alberta, Canada, but mainly grew up in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Karina also have lived in various places in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Kalvaitis has been creating art her whole life, starting at an early age, with art supplies always around from her artist mother. She is a full time artist that majored in sculpture at Alberta College of Art and Design where she graduated with a BFA. While in college she discovered that her initial interest as a photographer was replaced with the passion for three dimensional art, because she felt less enamoured with the technicality of photography. Karina has shown her 2D and 3D works in galleries all over Victoria and is currently showing here sculptures in a solo show at Arc.hive Artist Run Centre (where she has her studio) and the title of the show is Age of the Unseen World. A perfect title for the incredibly strange yet familiar creatures she comes up with. Her sculptures come in limited edition “Litters” and are made with a wide variety of beautifully-dyed felted wool, glass beads (for weight), clay, and varnish. With these simple materials Karina is able to create complex-emotional lifeforms that call out to us on a deep and personal level. They are intangible emotions that have been given form - to observe, sit with, and protect.
When Karina Kalvaitis is not working on her sculptures, she also illustrates animals with watercolors that she sells as prints and cards, as well as builds props and sets for the theatre and opera, and even manages to find time to take her bike out for the occasional bike tour.
Check out her magnificent work via the following links -
Labor of Art 2018 - at MAXgallery
The opening for Labor of Art 2018 at MAXgallery was a great success and had a nice blurb in the Baltimore Sun (image above). There was a wonderful turn out and I met lots of interesting people and had the opportunity to chat with a few familiar faces as well. The show is a group show every year that features artists from the area with a "Do or Die" type work ethic in art. This is me second year in a row participating. and this year I was able so share the show with the extremely talented James DuSel, Jarek Sparaco, M. Voelker, and Trudy Babchak.
Sales were good for the opening, but there are still lots of marvelous pieces available at affordable price points. The show comes in the early evening on October the 14th, so there is plenty of time to check it out for yourself.
126 N. Madeira Street, Baltimore, MD 21231
Gallery Hours: Friday 3-7 pm | Saturday 1-5 pm
or call for appointment
As of October 2016, I intended to use this blog as an accompaniment to my Facebook page and Instagram page. On this blog I post information and updates about my work as well as once a month I highlighted an artist whose work I like (I stopped doing this when I opened my gallery www.GalleryBlueDoor.com). As of March 2017, I began posting a monthly Story Entry with an accompanying illustration of mine. In mid-2019 I took a break from this, but it will resume.