Encore! Mt Morris

Painting Our Legacy on The Canvas of History

2024 Regional Showcase

Fine Art Show
Regional Showcase of Area Artists
July 3 - July 31, 2024

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Cindy Bear, Belvidere IL
I began painting with watercolor to prevent me from losing my mind after an extended illness kept me from my medical practice. I fell in love with watercolor the first time I put my paint brush, loaded with color, into a puddle of water and watched as the paint flowed freely across the paper. I strive to paint the vivid colors seen in nature so I can be seen early in the morning or at sunset chasing the perfect light to capture my subject matter at its best. My current obsession is arranging still lifes with flowers from my garden. Staging them in shiny objects like metal and glass, allows me to bounce color around my painting in the reflections, refractions and shadows. Now I can’t wait to wake up in the morning and get lost in a painting.

Cindy is currently teaching watercolor painting classes for Encore! Mt. Morris.
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Kate Fitch
I was born and raised in Nebraska before attending college in Kansas for my studio art degree.  After living in various mid-west states, I have settled in Illinois where my art centers on the ambiance of the American mid-west highlighting the beauty in the most common activities.  
I have worked in a variety of mediums and locations; from bronze statues in Illinois, murals in Iowa, painted banners in Kansas, and various other works in Nebraska and Wisconsin. I have a realistic to impressionist style, often with acrylic paints on canvas, not hiding the brush strokes or build-up of color. This leaves the viewers to do the blending. I have a variety of experience from large scale museum walls, to the small pages of a children’s book. I enjoy painting what is around me; such as the beauty of motherhood, the joy of a landscape, and the life of animals. 
My future plans are to add the experiences I live and witness to my art library. Painting my kids as they grow, expanding into new genres and taking on new challenges in dramatic lighting and complex compositions. I’m also excited to find ways to blend my painting and sculptures.
Kate has designed and built straw sculptures in years past for Encore! Mt. Morris’s National Straw Sculpting Competition.
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Derrik Evan Gagliardi
Derrik received his BFA at Luther College in 1991.   He now resides in Minneapolis Minnesota where he is a member of the creative team for Tangletown Gardens, concentrating in container garden design and maintenance.  In earlier years he operated Fiori, a specialized Minneapolis floral design studio from which he created for clients such as Target Advertising, producer Jimmy Jam Harris, Aveda, and Dayton Hudson Corporation.   The works on view have been created during the past few winters spent reflecting on places he has been. The majority of the pieces are rooted in the Decorah  Iowa countryside -it is where he creates most comfortably and feels truly inspired. 
“My paintings are exploratory.  While I paint to give life to my idea for an image, I also remain half without expectation, responsive to new opportunity, beholden to intuition and faithful that in the beginning stages, my best and biggest messes will invite discovery.  For me, painting is much more than simply a way to duplicate a vision - it is a way to intensify a relationship with the place”
“My subjects in these works are places I’ve been.  The paintings begin in the field   from photographs I’ve taken and end in the studio where I work with the photo but also from a memory connection.  The pieces are as much mindscapes as they are landscapes.  For me, painting is to follow my curiosity, responding to the pieces as they emerge on the paper.  I work initially with oil-pastel, adding other media such as graphite, colored pencil, chalk and even egg-oil tempera.
To consider a work complete, I have to feel that it performs with honesty in the way in which it represents my occasion in the landscape, both real and imagined.
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Mary Howe
Born and raised on the Northwest side of the city in Chicago, Mary along with her husband George moved to the quaint town of Oregon Illinois in 2019.  After raising two sons, a long career in retail management and real estate, Mary finally found the time to dedicate herself to her favorite hobby of painting.  While on a cruise in 2018, Mary picked up a paint brush after almost 30 years and her artistic spark was once again rekindled.  Since then she has attended many workshops and college classes to continually learn techniques while improving her skills.  Her versatility is apparent as onlookers view her works in oils, watercolor and soft pastels. Mary has been recognized in the local art community by winning numerous awards for her works.  “The greatest joy is being able to express myself on a canvas.  It’s invigorating to watch a painting come to life right in front of my eyes.  I want viewers to feel the excitement or the calm when looking at my paintings.” Mary continues to welcome the challenges of working through landscapes, still life and portraits as well as participating in the Rock River Valley Painters Guild Plein Air Group.
I pour my heart and soul into each piece and my hope is that I connect with people that way.  Although I feel that I’m still developing my own style, I am extremely passionate about the process as I begin each piece.  I am SO blessed to live in this region and to be surrounded by such beauty every day!”  I am thrilled and honored that Encore! Has chosen me as one of the artists featured to display my work in the Old Sandstone Gallery this year.
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Chloe Metz
Chloe Metz is an Oregon native. Her love for art began at OHS where she began selling her work. Chloe has a Studio Art and Business Management degree from Augustana College. She continued her education and received a Masters in Museum Studies from WIU to work in curation for art museums. Chloe was offered a job as a Curator for Restoration Hardware in Minneapolis, MN in 2019 where she resided for two years.  In 2021, she moved back to Oregon with her husband and started her business, Painted by Chloe, where she works as a full-time commissioned oil painter and mural artist. You can find her murals in downtown Oregon on the Chamber of Commerce building, at Jen’s Artisan Breads in Mt. Morris, at The Collective at 1000 Pines Rd. in Oregon, as well as various other locations!

Chloe’s artistic style is still evolving. She often creates realistic forms with energetic brush strokes and thick textures. She loves experimenting styles and challenging herself by occasionally using mixed media. At the age of 29, Chloe is still finding her “look”. In the meantime, she enjoys the process of creating each unique commission that comes her way.

To keep up with Chloe’s work you can visit her website: paintedbychloe.com or follow her on social media: 

Instagram: @paintedby_chloe; Facebook: Chloe Lynn Metz; email: paintedbychloemetz@gmail.com
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Mari Jo Schuneman
As part of my education at ISU to become an art teacher, I had to explore a variety of media and techniques.  I quickly became fascinated with clay and the physicality of working with it. I spent any free time working in the studio on the wheel or hand building while compiling elective hours with clay classes.
Years later, after a move to Rock Falls, Illinois, I turned to fiber as a medium to explore while raising children.  I had not done any weaving while pursuing my BS and MS in Art Education.  So, I enrolled in a weaving class at NIU, bought a floor loom, and began my fiber exploration.  The woven fabrics lead to creating felted accents for my woven jackets.  Add in some felting workshops, including a memorable weekend at Arrowmont School of Crafts, throw in an abundance of accumulated wools where I now find myself drawn to creating small, needle felted images.
In composing this biographical commentary, I recall my beginnings with my love of clay to now, where I have arrived at my current attachment to what I refer to as "flat sheep" imagery.  It is also suddenly apparent that this ever evolving "circle of life" seems to have a recurring theme of food!!!
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Sam Tucibat  
Experimental photography produced in the American heartland at the intersection of reality and imagination.
Abstraction and Realism converge in my digital darkroom and playfully blur each other’s boundaries. Using state-of-the art editing techniques, elements of individual photographs are isolated, transformed and moved into place among elements similarly isolated from other photographs. This process allows compositions to come into being with spontaneity, serendipity, and fun. The result is a sort of alchemical surprise that references both the “real” world, and the dreamy, imagination-fueled world of the abstract.
As a photographer, my attention is attracted to the natural beauty and rustic architecture near my home along the Mississippi River in northwest Illinois, USA.  Small river-communities such as Galena, Savanna, and Thomson serve as gateways to the surrounding forest, wildlife refuge, unglaciated terrain, backwaters and migratory bird routes. This is where most of the individual “source images” for my compositions are captured and combined.I hope you enjoy viewing the work on display here today.