Poudre Studio Artists presents final days of member show

012513_PSA ShowThe Poudre Studio Artists (PSA) Member Show is drawing to a close this Saturday, and is certainly worth the visit before it’s gone for good.

“(The show) is nice and diverse, with everything from my portraits to animal art, jewelry, there’s a lot of paintings,” said PSA member Gale Whitman. “There’s some three-dimensional art, but mostly two-dimensional.”

The exhibit can be viewed at the Poudre Studio Artists & Galleries building on North College Avenue, and plays host to a wide variety of works boasting acrylics, pastels and oils among other materials, all from the resident studio artists.

Whitman got her start painting expressively about six years ago. “I did medical illustration for ten years,” she recounted, “had kids and stayed home with them for a while, then in 2007 started pursuing art.”

Expressive art was a bit of a leap from medical illustration. “Medical illustration is very specific, very exact,” said Whitman, but the former suits her. “It’s a good way to express myself and work through my emotions.”

You’ve probably seen Whitman’s work around town. “I’ve done several murals, I’ve painted several transformer cabinets in town, some pianos,” she said.

She has also recently illustrated a children’s book, The Man from Space. “The words were written by a friend for his son,” she explained. “I suppose the illustrations were influenced by my kids, but not directly.”

In the show, Whitman has two pastel portraits of her children on display.

At a glance, you might assume PSA President Karen Cannon loves painting horses owing to the two oil paintings of horses and the one of zebras on display in the PSA Member Show. However, if you were to step upstairs to her gallery, you’d realize she enjoys painting animals in general; the walls are covered in cats, and her current project is a series of sporting dogs.

At an even closer look, you might realize that not everything in her gallery was painted using oils.

“I was one of the first people in the country to perfect freehand painting on the computer,” she said. “I first started using the technique for one of my commercial clients with Hallmark cards, that’s when I really perfected it.” According to Cannon, painting directly on the computer streamlines the printing process for commercial art.

“I’ve been doing this since I could hold a pencil. I’ve felt I was destined to be an artist. I’m self-taught, with no formal training,” Cannon said. She’s done commercial work “for over 30 years — not the computer stuff, of course.” She laughed. “It was a rock back then.”

Evelyn Tilley, an artist and gallery co-administrator, said in the PSA press release, “You are influenced by the close contact with so many artists who do work that is very different from yours. It has inspired me to be more risk-taking with my work and try new things.”

To other artists, Whitman said, “Do what feels right, what you’re passionate about. For a while I kept painting flowers. It’s OK to do the same thing as long as it’s what you’re passionate about and it feels alive to you.”