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All Things Ampersand

John Cruz – Searching for the Emotional Connection

It’s hard not to get swept up in the work of Austin, Texas artist John Cruz. His paintings are at once recognizable and yet abstracted. Not only abstract in the customary execution, but also in the range of feelings that his imagery evokes. His subjects are identifiable – bokeh’ed representations of simple scenes and objects laced with pop-art sensibility. John looks for instantly relatable common themes and extorts their social commentary while shading them with a bit of humor. Ultimately, the subjects in his paintings take a backseat to the emotions they conjure up, which is exactly what he strives for. Continue Reading >>

Jodi Ohl and the Power of Positivity in Art (and in Life!)

When I first met Jodi, two things stood out. The first was her energy and her drive. It seems she was doing a hundred things all at once – teaching, creating art, publishing a book, writing blog articles. The second – and perhaps more significant – was her demeanor. To quote a song by REM, Jodi is a “shiny, happy person.” Her confidence and joy exudes from every pore of her being.

That joy is reflected in her art. Whether she is painting whimsical houses, joyful birds or practicing her Zen painting style, there is a positivity and playfulness that is very evident. Continue Reading >>

Featured Artist: Jeanne Rhea

From a very early age, Jeanne Rhea thought of herself as an artist. And yet, as many do, she hesitated to call herself one. “Others should make that determination…my art should speak for itself.” It was only within the last ten years that she has felt comfortable assuming the title.
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Honoring Scratchboard Artist Diana Lee

Diana Lee, internationally known scratchboard artist and dear friend to Ampersand passed last Wednesday evening.  She was surrounded by family and passed peacefully after a long struggle with many ailments, according to her adoring husband, Steve Bockman. Continue Reading >>

Featured Artist: Lynnette Shelley

Pennsylvania artist, Lynnette Shelley’s unusual and culturally charged artwork has won numerous awards and found its way into collections across the world.  Her mixed media pieces are a conglomeration of her drawing passion and the collection of interests she has pulled from Celtic art, wildlife, archetypal symbology and art nouveau.  Lynnette explains, I’ve been fascinated by artwork from native cultures from all around the world, and also by the folklore and mythology from those cultures. This was natural as when I was a child, Greek mythology and fairytales were some of my favorite reading material. So, my current style is an amalgam of things I have picked up over the years as well as my love for patterns and stylized shapes. These sort of all meld into the pictures I am creating now.”  Continue Reading >>