Through our Art at Argo’s program, we have had extremely successful exhibits by three artists that have taken studio classes by local painter, Michael McEwan. These exhibits include the works of Frances McEwan Monfort, John Wilson and Lisa Parks Godfrey. Michael McEwan is known for his powerful color combinations and subtle nuances of light. His subject matter tends to be landscapes with a nod to his Ohio roots, such as local riverscapes. You will find McEwan’s paintings available exclusively from Art Access Galleries in Bexley.
Last year, I was approached by a student of McEwan expressing interest in a collaborative exhibition of a few artists that have taken his studio classes. The exhibit seemed very alluring to us as we’ve really enjoyed the works of previous artists. Within the same year McEwan retired or perhaps has taken a pause in teaching, the verdict is not yet in. We thought it would be a great time to celebrate his impact on many local artists. So, it is with great pleasure and just in time for the holiday season that we announce our most recent Art at Argo’s exhibit, A Class of their Own: students of Michael McEwan. The exhibit consists of four artists with very different styles and a common mentor.
Nadine, current Upper Arlington resident and artist, was born in Wisconsin, went to school and studied to be a teacher, and then arrived to Columbus in the 70’s to attend grad school at The Ohio State University in school psychology. She has remained in the area ever since. Throughout the years, Nadine, among other employment, has worked with her ex-husband importing goods from China and has had a rich life full of travel. Once she retired in 2010, she began to create children’s books in an effort to get her grandchildren more involved and interested in her travels. She created and published two adorable books of hand drawn pictures, paintings, photographs including actual photos from her trip and engaging story lines. It was this first creative venture that pushed Nadine to seek formal training in painting. She wanted to perfect her books with better drawing and painting skills. She took classes at the Cultural Arts Center and through involvement with the the Columbus Museum of Art and other friends was turned on to Michael McEwan. She was initially drawn to his teaching because of the intensity of his color usage. She has taken classes from McEwan from 2014-2019.
Although Nadine has developed a wonderful sense of color from her studies with McEwan, she 100% has her own unique style. Her subject matter is landscapes and botanicals in abstract. She enjoys painting as a means of therapy and really likes viewing her subject in a beautiful and cheery way. She tends to view not only her work but life in the most optimistic way possible. You can see her upbeat work in Upper Arlington, where the city has taken her painting and placed it on an electrical box. A wonderful piece of urban art.
Eric Burden is a Columbus native with a family deeply rooted in law. His father was the Chief of Police for the City of Columbus and Eric spent many decades practicing as an attorney in the area. Now retired, he spends much of his time enjoying art, travel, cooking, reading and cherishing moments with his family. His passion for painting has been steadfast since an early age. He remembers a day when he couldn’t afford much more than a poster on his wall and thought to himself, he could do better than that. And so, he decided to do just that, and began painting to fill his home with Eric Burden one-of-a-kinds.
Eric has always mingled in the Columbus art scene through casually meeting artists at the local art supply store, taking courses and attending exhibits of friends and admired local artists. Throughout the years he became acquainted with Michael McEwan’s work. He and his wife own a few of his paintings. He later took studio courses from McEwan as he admired his color theory and composition. Eric has been involved with the Cultural Arts Center, where he has participated in their open studio and had two exhibitions and he also took courses from other applauded local artists, such as Joe Lombardo. It is through these courses, artists’ camaraderie, personal experiences and practice that Eric has been able to develop his own style.
It may be difficult for Eric to describe his style but by looking at his works I can see a dreamlike softness that really brings the viewer into his work. His subject of choice is landscapes, however he never likes to paint from photographic realism, “It just takes away the joy,” he states. He prefers to paint from memories, travels and often times paints plein air. Many of his landscapes have been of England, the seaside, the land and water. Sessions begin with multiple visions. Each work begins an opportunity while the subject remains secondary. The emphasis is in the development of the work that represents problems solved and conveying Eric’s stylized voice. To view Eric’s work in advance visit Art at Argos website. Also displayed in town is “Kentish View,” which depicts Kent in Southeast England, on display at Art Axis.
Lynda Guenther has always dabbled in the arts. She graduated from Cornell University with a BFA and has been immersed in many forms of art from as long as she can remember. Upon meeting Lynda, I learned of her huge community involvement in Upper Arlington. She is a tech director for Hastings Middle School’s theatre department which includes lighting, scenic design and stage management. Lynda has designed and started a program called Art Impact, which is a week long art camp for children, as well as a theatre camp and rock and roll camp in UA. It is Lynda’s goal to help children build confidence and express themselves through the arts. And from what I can tell, she is doing a fabulous job!
As an advocate of learning new things and teaching, it’s no shock that Lynda herself continues to learn and take courses of her own. She has spent the last 6-7 years taking courses such as life drawing classes through the Cultural Arts Center, painting courses from Michael McEwan and is a part of many groups such as COPA (Central Ohio Plein Air), the Dublin, Arlington and Worthington area Art Leagues and The Guild of Creative Art. It’s been through these multiple courses and groups that Lynda has really refined her painting skills.
She explains that painting in oil gives her a chance to play with color, light and value. Her painting inspiration is from outdoor scenes as well as studio models, photos, or just from her own imagination. She begins with each new piece by choosing composition, lighting and mood. Her colors vary from bright and bold, to a more limited color palette. She prefers to work quickly, incorporating layers to build texture.
As a summer resident of the Jersey shore with a passion for sailing, her landscapes include rocky coasts and boats. To view more of Lynda’s work visit her on-line gallery.
Native Upper Arlington resident and painter, Lana Rapp has always been creative. She explains she used to dream of paintings and then later she dreamed of painting paintings. As with other artists, it is through painting that Lana experiences a therapeutic respite. After caretaking for her mother for many years a friend encouraged Lana to take up painting. Her first attempt was replicating a painting that resonated with her. It was this painting that got her into Michael McEwan’s studio. She showed this work to McEwan and he told her she had a seat in his class.
The courses began in about 2010 and she studied under McEwan until his recent retirement in 2019. As a matter of fact she sat side by side with McEwan as he painted a UA landscape and she began to paint the iconic Tommy’s Pizza on Lane Ave. She enjoys creating paintings from pictures and has a true desire to make the unattractive into something beautiful. “Tommy’s”, a not-so-elegant photo-turned-painting, is absolutely stunning with her soft color palette and has proven to be quite popular in the UA area. She currently sells prints of this work at the Framing Center located in the Kingsdale Shopping Center near Argo & Lehne .
She credits much of her work and skills to Michael’s teachings, from properly preparing a canvas to under painting and layering. She has developed a new way to view things through the eye of a painter which has opened up a new world to her artwork. She views light and shapes in a way that continues to enhance her work.
“A Class of their Own: students of Michael McEwan”
November 16 – January 30
Meet the Artist Virtual Art Showing
Join us as we highlight each artists and their work. A wonderful opportunity to get to know the works of each painter and to discuss virtually their techniques and inspiration. We will soon announce the date for this event.
To view the artists’ works in advance visit our Art at Argo’s current collection.