Behind the Muse: with Tess Sherman

12974315_10154625518140400_4816823666313624636_nTess Sherman is a local artist and business co-owner of Bluestone Bodyworks. For Art Lotto #4 Tess will be portraying Dinah Mitchell. And Soula Pefkaros will be portraying Tess. After meeting with both of her Art Lotto partners, she reflects a bit on each of her female partners.

Where did you meet your partner for the first time?
I met Soula, whom is doing my portrait, at Shenandoah coffee for the first time. Then I met Dinah Mitchell, who I’m doing a portrait of, at Black sheep coffee.

Black Sheep Shenadoah Joe
A mutual love of coffee is shared by Tess and her two Art Lotto partners, Soula and Dinah.

Tell me about your first impression of your partner.
Soula has this light that radiates from her. I could tell just by first impression she had only good vibes, and a heart of gold. Honestly one of the most down to earth people to have ever met.

Dinah was super shy at first. But I must say I was too. Once we got to talking we both got through that awkward first date tension, ha. Super sweet and laid back though. And I’m lucky enough to capture such a beautiful lady for my portrait.

Where have you found inspiration for your portrait? 
Dinah works with beads and glass blowing, which is totally the furthest material I have ever wanted to work with, but I wanted to test myself and try to incorporate beading into my portrait. Using what I love, oil paint, with a love of hers, beading, I believe my portrait portrays both of us.

Why did you sign up for Art Lotto?
Because Brandy forced me to….just kidding. Haha but really, Brandy {Somers} mentioned art lotto to me and I’m not usually one to do these kinds of things but I’ve been wanting to broaden my art in the community hoping I can find new opportunities through the lotto. Not to mention to meet and learn from amazing artist in Harrisonburg.

Artwork by Tess Sherman
“I would probably be taking in the scenery, sipping on a chai, trying to figure out what mechanical tool I could turn into a human form.” -Tess Sherman

Is there a local business you can commonly be found? And what might you be found doing there?
It seems both of my {lotto} partners, as well as I, enjoy coffee so most likely you could find us at any of the coffee shops. I could see Soula working on editing photos, and Dinah looking at new material for her work. I would probably be taking in the scenery, sipping on a chai, trying to figure out what mechanical tool I could turn into a human form. But i guarantee you that at least one of us would be scarfing down a pastry.

What are some of your other interests, loves, passions, roles in life?
I crave the outdoors. There is so much art in nature that not many see. I believe/see trees to be like human bodies. I like to think they come alive when no ones looking. I’m passionate about that, seriously. I love cats…I’m THAT crazy cat lady, no lie. I have a dream of having a cat farm. Some think I’m crazy but I like to think it’s love.
Also, my role as a massage therapist has honestly opened my eyes to how much I love helping others by making them feel great, or more comfortable with themselves. That’s a big accomplishment. 

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Behind the Muse: Denise Kanter Allen

Denise Allen painting Hannah Sions
Denise working on her painting of Hannah.

For Art Lotto #4, Denise Kanter Allen will be portraying Hannah Sions. Read what Denise has to say about her experience thus far:  

“My Art Lotto pARTner is Hannah Sions. When I first sat down with Hannah, it was after work at Friendly City Food Co-op. She had just finished after a long day at school and I had just finished my shift at FCFC.

It’s always awkward at first when you’re trying to make a good impression and getting to know someone in less than 15 minutes. Ha. I tried asking simple questions like ‘what’s your favorite color’ —all the colors—and where did you grow up—California and Korea and back to California—‘and now you live in Virginia?’ Woah. However, I know we met before this because I got to be involved with Hannah in another portrait project called Wonderkitten. I remember enjoying Hannah’s piece because it was ‘interactive’. Her portrait was attached to the end of a wooden toggle that you could move up and down in a path sliced through the board. After the climb up the grooves, you had to immediately run back down the path, and away from an active volcano! Oh no! BUT SO MUCH FUN you had to do it over and over again!

Her other work is quite amazing too. She creates commercial, portrait and fine art photography, She prints out spotless, high concentrated, beautiful copies of her work and work by other local artists. She meticulously applies details by hand to her photographs and gives each piece a story and a meaning and a clever title. She doesn’t believe in procrastination but definitely believes in giving her time to others—when she is not too busy being awesome–and she also believes in ‘Fate, Luck and Love’. Finally, she is also an art teacher for Rockingham County Public Schools. I asked more boring questions during our meeting, but my favorite reply was about her final thesis: ‘How to Inspire Creativity’. Creativity just radiates from her—in her words, in her pictures, and in her activities. It’s very hard for me not to be overly enthusiastic when she comes to shop at the Friendly City Food Co-op while I’m working. I know her students must love her.

During our meeting I took some photographs and immediately went home to select my favorite one to print out and use as my photo reference. I have decided to paint Hannah using acrylics, in my own style, in my own little studio at Spitzer Art Center. I really hope that I can include ‘all the colors’ in her portrait and maybe with a little fate, luck, and love, and close attention and care for details she will see herself in the portrait I create. And maybe she will know the beauty she exudes and perhaps she will see all the things that I admire about her as an artist, teacher and ‘inspirer of creativity’.” -Denise

Sean Allen Denise Kanter AllenDenise Kanter Allen graduated from JMU with a BFA in Studio Art and a concentration in painting and drawing. While at JMU she served as Vice President of her art fraternity, Kappa Pi, and devoted countless hours to volunteering locally. Denise is the co-founder of Art Lotto, creates and exhibits art regularly and works at our favorite neighborhood grocery store, the Friendly City Food Co-op. You can view her work online here and by following her on Instagram @artbydenisekanter.