Category Archives: General

2024 Opening Reception

Please join us for the 2024 Season Opening Reception:

Sunday, May 26th – 3:00 – 6:00pm

Margaret Lockwood Gallery – 7 South 2nd Ave, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Live music from the Storeroom Boys.

Note!: The 2nd Avenue parking lot is under construction – parking is available in the 2-story public lot between 1st and 2nd Ave, on Louisiana Street.

“Big Art” by Tom Groenfeldt

Big Art

Published in the Peninsula Pulse

In a rented studio space on the second floor of the Peninsula Art School, Ginnie Cappaert has completed her finishing touches on an abstract, cold-wax painting that is 5 feet by 7 feet. Paintings this size are rarely seen in Door County galleries because they would crowd out other works, and few artists have the space to create such large paintings in their own studios.

Artist Ginnie Cappaert with her 5-by-7 commission (she doesn’t have a title for it yet). Photo by Tom Groenfeldt.

After being featured in Chicago City Life magazine (the publisher, Pam Berns, is a painter originally from Sister Bay), Cappaert got a call from a Chicago woman who commissioned a painting for her home in Sarasota, Florida. 

“Working big is much more physically exhausting – and exhilarating,” said Cappaert. “But a sense of freedom sets in because you are not confined by a smaller canvas.”

Painters like working big but they understand the constraints, especially the market constraints. Big paintings cost more and the number of people who have the money to buy a large work, and the space to hang it, is limited. 

“You have to find a client who has that kind of money to spend on a big piece,” said Mary Ellen Sisulak at Turtle Ridge Gallery in Ellison Bay.

Sisulak created mixed-media paintings, often on leather, with stones and pieces of wood.

That required custom wood settings, called “cradles,” customized with indentations to hold the stones and twigs.

“It can weigh a lot, and you need room to stand back from it [to view the whole work] and that can be challenging,” she said.

She is working on a commission that will be 50 inches by 70 inches. 

“It takes a lot more concentration, and a lot of planning, she said – but the effort was worth it. “You can express so much more in a large piece; it is such an impactful thing. It is a huge leap of faith. But the other thing is, if people know you can work that large, there are all types of corporate art that is also purchased, and public art. If you can work that big, it opens more options.”

Mary Ellen Sisulak with her paintings on leather. Photo by Tom Groenfeldt.

For Emmett Johns of Fish Creek and Albuquerque, the Ameriprise office near Lambeau Field in Green Bay provided a venue. His 7-by-12 abstract painting is in the lobby, and a 10-by-10 piece is down a hall, he said.

“I did those in 2000 and rented the barn at Fish Stock in the autumn when their music was finished,” he said. “I painted my head off; it probably took three weeks. It got so cold I borrowed a big blower heater from a farmer who also provided scaffolding that I needed to work on the paintings.”

The challenges don’t end when a big painting is completed. Last summer, Johns sold an abstract painting, “Helsinki,” that was 70 inches by 52 inches. He made it to hang on one of the huge walls in Fish Creek’s Mr. Helsinki restaurant, now Shiny Moon Cafe.

A Chicago visitor saw it in Johns’ Fish Creek Gallery and when the visitor got home he asked Johns to email him an image for a second look. Then he bought it.

“I had to use Tony Staroska’s truck to take it down to Pack and Ship in Sturgeon Bay,” Johns said – where they crated it and sent it for $700. Cappaert will use an art specialist shipper based in North Carolina to pick up her big painting for the trip to Sarasota.

Getting a painting to its new owner isn’t the only challenge with large art works. Sarah Zamecnik, executive director of the Hardy Galley, said pricing can also be a disadvantage for artists who work big. 

“We had the artist Shar Coulson in a group show of big paintings several years ago,” Zamecnik said. “Her large works were stunning in person, but with a $20,000 price tag. If you’re an artist who makes work to sell, then you’re mindful of what the market wants and you make work to accommodate that demand. Shar’s work was priced for the Chicago market.”

Big paintings also present problems of storage – how many can an artist fit in a studio. Erin LaBonte at Yonder Gallery in Algoma has a creative storage solution: she creates woodcuts and then prints them on fabric.

“I can roll them up and put them aside,” she said. “The biggest will be on display in DePere probably, a five-foot by six-foot collage. I have always worked pretty large.”

LaBonte and her husband, Don Krumpos, have also done huge building-side murals from Fond du Lac to Sturgeon Bay. No storage to worry about there.

“I am not interested in all the small details,” said LaBonte. “I like to be more physical in my work. Scale, like in Margaret Lockwood’s work, draws me in.”

Sandra Martinez also likes physical effort in the large paintings she does on Tyvek (her storage solution is to roll the Tyvek works up around swimming pool noodles). She said it feels completely different to make a large work – it involves more of her body’s range of motion and requires a different cadence – and it’s a completely different experience to view one. 

“Viewing a large work makes you move – you are not peering,” Martinez said. “You experience it more as an environment that your body instinctually roams differently. Your head and neck, your whole body, shifts to explore another area in the work.”

She thinks the scale shift for some artists is driven by a desire for museum placement.

“What is powerful in a home at 2 feet by 3 feet is a postage stamp in a museum setting,” she said. “Those 15-foot ceilings are difficult to work with.”

Margaret Lockwood said she has always worked big.

Margaret Lockwood with two of her abstract paintings, both 4 foot by 5 foot and works in progress. Photo by Tom Groenfeldt.

“Bigger than these,” she said, of three 4-by-5 canvases she is painting just off her main gallery space in Sturgeon Bay. “As Mark Rothko might have said, or maybe he didn’t, when you’re making paintings this big you’re just in them.”

What’s New at Margaret Lockwood?

Hello friends! We would like to give you some highlights from the last six months at Margaret Lockwood.

Back in January, Dan’s sculpture found the a perfect home. We think it looks great!

In February, Margaret began working on this beautiful new series. What do you all think of it? 

Margaret also finished work on these two new 20″x24″ paintings.

And here’s our final look at the gallery. 

We have hung the gallery with new work and are ready to open for the season. Just call us at 920-493-3635.

Happy Holidays

This is the time of year to be grateful, to reflect and to celebrate! First of all come family and friends, old and new, memories of those not with us anymore and traditions passed down through the years.

 
This year I also celebrate the wonderful city of Sturgeon Bay, our home for almost 5 years. We were so fortunate to find our abandoned building on 2nd Avenue and Michigan waiting for us!
 
It has been wonderful to see the changes and growth of the creative community since living here. To list a few: Isadoora Theater in our Indoor/Outdoor lower level space gaining popularity and experiencing sell-out audiences; the mentorship program of the Sturgeon Bay Art Crawl growing from 1 student to 4 this year; using the same space; Write On Door Co ekphrastic sessions in the gallery; Popelka Trenchard’s new Project Launch space with studios to artists and performance and/or exhibit space; the iconic granary saved with all kinds of creative opportunities; the new SWY building (old Advocate) open for so many exciting events to happen; Marcus to build a recording studio right next door to us.
 
And these are only the things I know about! There is good energy in Sturgeon Bay and it is building every year. More and more people are staying here for their vacations rather than going up north. Sturgeon Bay is becoming an art destination for many who have passed it by in years past. The Sturgeon Bay Art Crawl was a huge success this year with 300 people through my gallery alone.
 
As we approach the end of our 5th season, we are truly blessed to have such wonderful community support, good health, and such a happy family. We are grateful to live in Door County, a place where great artists thrive and good neighbors abound!
 
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
 
Margaret and Allin
Margaret Lockwood Gallery

Kismet

Allin WalkerAllin and I met in 1992 when he was leading a bus load of persons with psychiatric disorders to a social protest and I, having a sibling with such a disorder, went along for the event. Turned out it was kismet. Since our very first meeting, Allin and I have forged a partnership that has enriched us both beyond measure and created the strong and mutual bond that life-long partnerships are built upon.

The Door County part of our story began when we bought and opened the first Woodwalk Gallery in the Juddville schoolhouse in 1994. The name “Woodwalk” comes from the merging of our last names – LockWOOD and WALKer and as is the case with that name, for the past 25 years we have in all ways been a partnership – in love, friendship, art, business, in life. We first worked together to rehab the old schoolhouse, then an old dairy barn, and most recently, an old printing office turned cleaners.

These are some things you might or might not know about Allin:

He graduated from Brown University and Harvard Divinity (so I knew he was smart) and what I’ve learned to appreciate since I married him in 1992 are his community organizing skills, his passion for politics and social justice, his ability to inspire others through his leadership methods and his gift for oratory. In addition to all that, Allin performs beautiful, personal wedding ceremonies and has been a very effective fundraiser for causes such as Peninsula School of Art, Help of Door County, the Community Clinic. Of course, I also appreciate his enjoyment of good food and the love of our dogs!

Finally, Allin has also dabbled with his own creative side. He has written six audience sing-a-long plays and one puppet show, with another in the works. He encourages the use of our lower level (called Inside/Out) for theatrical productions, poetry readings, movies or whatever else comes along that he fancies, has an interest in or needs an artistic outlet.

I think Allin is a visionary. You can see I certainly get the best of our partnership. I get to paint and Allin does all the advertising, financials, frame making and most deliveries and installations of large-scale canvases, still finding the time to encourage his artistic side as well as his passion for what is right.

As we age together, the bond deepens. We still look forward to the challenges the future holds for us!

Caio Fonseca – American Abstract Artist

I saw Caio Fonseca’s work in Boston and was intrigued by his layering, leaving intentional shapes of the first layer exposed. Fonseca is an American painter best known for his use of tonal harmonies and balanced compositions. Since I paint by building up layers with some areas leaving the first layer exposed, but not in defined shapes, I decided to paint the birds on branches in two paintings of a series as a departure from my usual layering process. Looking into his background after seeing Caio Fonseca’s work, I was drawn to the development of his painting style. 

Caio Fonseca photo
Caio Fonseca

Caio Fonseca was born in 1959 in New York City, the son of two artists, Gonzalo Fonseca one of Latin America’s leading modernist sculptors and Elizabeth Fonseca, also an accomplished artist. Growing up in the West Village of Manhattan where father Gonzalo created his sculptures created a rich and vibrant childhood for them and Caio and his family would spend long summers in Italy. 

As a young man, he attended Brown University and then joined his older brother in Barcelona where he lived for five years, studying under the artist Augusto Torres, whose father had taught Gonzalo Fonseca in Uruguay in the 1940s. When Caio turned 26, he bought an old marble workshop in northwestern Italy to convert to a studio and divided his time between New York and the marble quarries. It was in this studio, he painted and sketched hundreds of still life, figures and landscapes, learning from reality and classic education and grasping the concept of abstract forms.

For the next six years (1985 – 1991) Caio spent in Europe developing a style far from those of mainstream America in the 1980s (Neo Expressionism – a style of late modernist or early-postmodern painting and “Identity Art”) whereas at this point American art was transitioning from minimalism, language-based conceptual art to a broader field, including women, minorities and overall more diversity.

In 1983, Frank Stella, an American painter, sculptor and printmaker, well known for his work in the areas of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction said “the demise of abstract art was a result of the bankruptcy of pictorial space”. He began to turn his work into Baroque-inspired reliefs and others began to make their own spatial adjustments and by the early 1990’s abstraction was enjoying a resurgence in America. In the 1990’s Caio Fonseca returned to New York City, turning to abstraction as well. He had his first solo show at the Charles Cowles Gallery in Manhattan in 1993. Soon after the Metropolitan Museum bought two of his paintings. He was quoted as saying “The essence of painting for me is the secret nature of forms.”

The musicality of Fonseca’s work stems from the fact he is a musician and pianist. In composition, he is aware of the similarities between the two, saying tonality is essential to painting and “The most mysterious thing in painting is that mysterious order that exists in the values of the painting – that all the pieces respect the harmony of the surface, just like different notes in music”.

A fascinating aspect of his work is that it is both planned AND improvised. He begins by covering the gessoed surface with water-based pigments and the quick drying polymer paint allows him to accumulate multiple layers without bleeding. He does charcoal markings in these layers and when he starts to make charcoal marks, indicators, divisions of space, he gets a chair and sits 10 feet away, looking at the space suggested by the proportions marked in charcoal. A form suggests itself and he begins. The colors underneath minimized by the over painting, adding lines and marks using such diverse implements as tools or kitchen gadgets. These marks reinforce the relationships of forms and colors. “At some point, says Fonseca, I realize I can neither add or subtract a single form without disrupting the rhythmic balance – that’s when I’ve learned to stop.”

Frank Stella’s said of Caio’s work “there has to be a convincing exchange of vitality between the viewer and the painting if both are to live” and I think Caio Fonseca’s work IS indeed convincing. His work is new yet feels familiar, reductive but rich, spiritual and irresistible. He says his greatest teachers are his other paintings and visual phenomena around him; the sense of scale, values, rhythms. “I am responsible for every inch. I have to keep a double mentality – big picture, small picture. I have to react to the unplanned relationships. I eliminate as much as possible, then I turn to the wet surface by incising it there is a fuller unity.”

Margaret Lockwood Bird PaintingFor those of you who’ve been to my gallery, you may have seen some of the “Birds on Branches” that became a series for me. I was in a stuck place after knee surgery and recovering by watching too many hallmark Christmas movies, needing rules. 

Turning to my Caio Fonseca book once again, I found these two: (1) Not to allow myself to turn the new paintings into skies, water or trees and (2) Not to fix the quickly drawn birds even if they came out somewhat misshapen. My technique was to first paint an allover background, then quickly draw birds on branches, then paint all around them, leaving the birds the first layer of paint. Working within this framework gave me a much needed structure and ultimately aided me in recovering from my knee-induced delirium.

Visit Caio Fonseca’s website at http://www.caiofonseca.com

How is Fall Different?

Margaret Lockwood outside her art galleryHow is Fall different from the other seasons? Except for the first few busy weekends of fall, for one thing, our entry bell rings less often. That is, unless Fall breezes blow and catch it, announcing the coming of no one, except perhaps a ghost (who might know now we have a bit of more time to engage in such hijinx).

For me, Fall is a season of unwinding. From Summer season’s demands, from the daily schedule, from being tied so tightly to the Gallery. While Summer is about the sun’s warmth, its energy, the flurry and of meeting new visitors and how many invitations to summer art events we can accept, it’s also about getting up the next day and doing it again and again. Fall, on the other hand, is more cool yet warmer, more vibrant yet slower and much more relaxed.

Fall is a season where as an artist, I have more freedom to recharge, contemplate, building creative energy to put onto each canvas. It’s a season in which my color palette might change (consciously or unconsciously) to the shades that are all around me. The trees and aura of the woods of Door County, the moodiness of its skies and water, the natural changes that occur as one season slides into the next season.

Fall is different in other ways. Weekdays in mid to late October might be spent sans a bit of makeup, in baggy pants for the whole day, which delights me. In late October, I might make a date with a friend or friends, go have lunch or meet for coffee, or take a jaunt around the block with Walter and Mona. I might even (gasp) wake late and not begin to paint until mid-day.

On November 1 our Gallery hours change to Friday and Saturday from 10:00 to 4:00, but we are almost always here. Living in the same building as the gallery actually increases our off-season freedom, to pop “home”, prep for dinner, write a quick response to a note from a grandchild. So if you’re planning a trip this Fall (or winter) any time Sunday through Thursday and would like to visit, give us a call. If we can’t, we’ll tell you, but chances are, we’ll be here and you’ll be welcome.

The Colors of Water

“Celebrate Water” is the theme of galleries, theaters, schools, and music all over Door County this year. The idea came to my friend Anne Egan when her son, Dan Egan, wrote his acclaimed book “The Life and Death of the Great Lakes”. She has spearheaded this idea, and through the Community Foundation of Door County, brought it to fruition.

Margaret Lockwood Colors of Water

Like many artists in Door County, I spent last winter painting all about water. Like water itself, the paintings are full of a myriad of colors, patterns, flecks of light, and movement. Sometimes there are horizon lines where water meets sky, other times there are no horizons, only the implied waves and currents with spots of color forming patterns of light touching the water’s surface.

The Boys and Girls Club under Nicole Chapeny’s direction, created an underwater installation in a 10’X10’ canopy which I was pleased to display here on our own patio at the gallery.

Boys and Girls Club of Door County Water Artwork

Past Door County poet laureate, Estella Lauder, shared her exquisite poem “The Color of Water” with me. In words she expresses what I try to express with paint, the mercurial nature of water.

THE COLOR OF WATER

Margaret Lockwood Colors of WaterWhite, when it caps
the waves
and when it falls as snow
or stays
as frost,
so how does it turn
so many shades
aquamarine
lapis, turquoise, sea green
along the margins of lakes
or oceans
and then become
slate blue away from shore?
Does it have no color
of its own
apart from what it borrows
from earth or sky?
How else could we see
straight through it
when it rains?
Ah, but when it pours
it is opaque
and slightly
silver.

– Estella Lauter

Door County Poet Rolf Olson Reads at Lockwood Gallery

Door County Poet Rolf Olson Reads at Gallery Opening Reception

At our season’s opening reception last weekend, Door County Poet Rolf Olson reads one of his pieces on the theme “The Colors of Water” Rolf’s words combined with Margaret’s water-inspired abstract paintings give life and breath to the waters in and around Door County. Thank you , Rolf, for the beauty and power of your words.