Blog Archives

The Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery Presents: The Rogues Gallery

Rogues’ Gallery is a diverse group of seasoned, eclectic artists: painters, sculptors, metal smiths, bookmakers, muralists and poets…doing what we’ve loved doing for decades – creating artworks to share with the world. Members include Donna Staats, Lynda Brothen, Marcia Houde Hero, Cherie Raffel, Debbie Callahan, JJ Joyce, Susanne Eli Germaine, Thomas Buchs, Beth Stoddard, Daniel Pierce, Julie San Felipe, Laura Easey-Jones, Scott Olson, Brad Anthony Bernard, Carol Christ, Marcia Hochstetter, and Gwen Granzow.

 

Debbie Callahan’s Biography and Statement:

Debbie Callahan was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana and from an early age showed interest in painting and drawing. In recent years she has worked primarily in chalk pastel, acrylic paint, and watercolor, doing mostly figurative and still life paintings. She paints traditional subject matter in an untraditional way. Her lines are often hazy, colors muted and forms simplified. The colors often run into each other. Debbie’s compositions are rarely complicated; she prefers to keep the focus directed on the subject without many distractions in the painting. She tries to integrate these components into a cohesive painting.

To Debbie, artists are born, not created. She has always known she was an artist. She believes, in many ways, an artist’s skills are self-taught. A formal art education can teach us many things about the process but only by having awareness and listening to our own voices can we develop our own unique style of expressing ourselves.

She has studied with many accomplished artists, including James Hempel, Terry Stanley, Joye Moon, and Fred Bell. Debbie has been inspired by many artists who have come before her: Odilon Redon, Marc Chagall, John Singer Sargent, Alice Neel, Lucien Freud, and Louise Bourgeois.

Debbie has exhibited widely, received several awards, and her work has been included in numerous exhibit periodicals and catalogues. One of Debbie’s pieces, Madonna & Child, was chosen from over 100 submissions to be featured on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Christmas Day 2012 as the “Gift of Art” to Wisconsin from the publishers.

She is self-represented in her own gallery, The Martini Girls Gallery & Studio LLC, and is currently working on creating art journals, watercolors on hand made papers, as well as curating and producing group art exhibits. Debbie is active in several art organizations and related activities. She hopes to continue to have an awareness of her inner voice and an expression of it in her paintings.

 

The autobiographical nature of many of my paintings is a therapy of sorts, and has given me the opportunity to look at memories of myself as a little girl from the safer distance of years. I follow the trail of thoughts, the chaos of that time when I had no voice, and put them to paper and create beauty from the pain, a platform to be heard. And my art continues to evolve into further explorations of childhood, in figure and plein air work, especially the plein air allows me to escape into a more soothing and tranquil place to rest and renew.

 

Cherie Raffel’s Biography and Statement:

Cherie Raffel graduated from National Louis University in Evanston, IL in 1972 with a degree in Art History, and a Math/Science minor. She has exhibited at The Knick; the restaurant at the Knickerbocker Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, the Atypic Gallery in Fox Point, the Cedarburg Cultural Center, The Anderson in Kenosha, and the Schauer Center in Hartford, the Grafton Arts Mill, Inspiration Studios in West Allis, and others. Cherie is a member of the League of Milwaukee Artists and the Rogues’ Gallery. She has won numerous awards.

In 2013, Cherie was introduced to plein air painting (painting outdoors), and fell in love with it. She has been participating in many plein air events in the area for the past 4 years. Cherie prefers to work in watercolors and acrylics. Her website is www.cherieraffel.com.

 

A native Wisconsinite, Cherie Raffel loves to paint outdoors to capture the seasonal changes. She also loves to paint flowers. Cherie began painting as a child, and won 1st place in the national contest, “What America Means to Me” sponsored by Standard Oil when she was 12. More recently, she has won several awards in the League of Milwaukee seasonal shows. When asked about what influences her as an artist, she said “I found that being a painter is the best way to express the full range of beauty in nature.” Cherie’s use of color, rhythm, and light invite the viewer to see the subject in a new way.

She has sold in and around Wisconsin, and participated in numerous workshops taught by nationally recognized artists including: Jane E Jones, Naomi Brotherton, M. Douglas Walton, and Don Andrews.

 

Julie San Felipe Biography and Statement:

Julie San Felipe spent her early years in Chicago, and has since lived in the Milwaukee area, currently residing in New Berlin, WI. She has always had an interest in art and words as long as she can remember. Her artistic background includes classes at UW Milwaukee, MIAD, and MATC, that included calligraphy, painting, drawing, art history, framing, and literature. She teaches Irish calligraphy.

Self-study of ancient manuscripts, researching and sampling original materials, meditating over illuminated pages, and understanding and appreciating the dedication of the monks and other artists, she continues to learn using modern techniques. Her participation and love of dance, the Irish language, reading poetry, travels to Ireland and Northern Wisconsin, and music, provide a strong presence in her work.

An award-winning member of the League of Milwaukee Artists, she has also been invited for several solo shows in Wisconsin, including Irish Fest (2006 and 2017), a successful run at Next Act Theatre (2017), Leenhouts Gallery, the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, and the IAHC in Chicago.

All of the materials and tools she uses are professional grade, the best paints and paper in the industry, and museum quality archival mats and framing, intended to last nearly forever, (but as with all watercolors, should be kept from long periods of direct sunlight).

The poetry, prose, and songs used in the artwork are either in the public domain or permission was kindly given by the authors. Writers, musicians, and all artists and owners of intellectual property should receive credit and compensation for their work. Talented people are a pleasure to correspond and work with. The words and translations are found on the back of all her framed art.

Calligraphic paintings in watercolor, of figures drifting in and out of poetry,

WEAVING OLDEN DANCES, MINGLING HANDS AND MINGLING GLANCES,

Flirting between reality and ancient, traditional Celtic art.

Hand written words, flowing across paper, telling tales with imagination and originality          

And WITH A FULL BUT SOFT EMOTION LIKE THE SWELL OF SUMMER’S OCEAN,

Where the love of poems and a need for art merge.

Layers of vivid and intense colors overlapping with symbolism and humor

Where THE MOON NEVER SLEEPS WITHOUT BRINGING ME DREAMS

About the lingering passion of place, visits with Ireland, and the nature of Wisconsin.

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Thoughts From The Bench On Mockingbird

atticusThe last we saw of Atticus Finch, when the Oscar winning performance of Gregory Peck’s film followed the release of the novel, he was sitting in the corner of injured son Jem’s bedroom, the warm arms of his cardigan sweater wrapping and re-wrapping around the clinging figure of his daughter Scout, the three of them recovering from a painful experience of racism, hatred, and violence, and the often lonely cost of standing against it.

I have a feeling that many of us, both on the stage and in the audience, whether fans of the book or film or both, join Scout and her older self Jean Louise in waiting to see Atticus again.

The play strikes a chord for me as I had a very Atticus-like father, a dead ringer in both looks and mannerisms and as I grew into an adult and journalist, I had the opportunity to see lawyers and judges in action at the county courthouse in Virginia.  And just as I still get that experience today covering trials today in rural Wisconsin, I also have witnessed the conflicts of race and prejudice all too recently near us in Milwaukee and through the nation.

Like Scout at the start of the play we wait for Atticus to return from the courthouse.  Like Jean Louise at the end we look back through the window, and through the decades, wishing we could go back to him, to speak to him and finish the lessons. Lessons of putting ourselves in others shoes, and realizing that even as we rail against what isn’t right, we are not alone as others quietly do the uncomfortable business of protecting Mockingbirds be they a Tom Robinson or a Boo Radley.

I suspect those of us who were graced with a great father miss him; and those of us who didn’t miss and yearn for such an experience.

Fortunately Christopher Sergel’s play gives us that opportunity in an up-close and live setting not to be missed.  It’s been said that in some ways To Kill A Mockingbird is a love letter from novelist Harper Lee to her father.  Of the several Sergel versions of the play that exist, the one being performed at Waukesha Civic Theatre comes closest to depicting that moment, and lifetime of reaching out to Atticus.

It’s a safe bet you’ll feel him reaching back and holding you safe.

Written by Jim McClure, who plays Judge Taylor in To Kill A Mockingbird at the Waukesha Civic Theatre

Meet The…Education & Outreach Administrator!

Floyd, COO

Floyd the Flamingo, local celebrity and COO (Chief Office Ornithologist) of WCT recently sat down with WCT’s Education & Outreach Administrator, Doug Jarecki. 

Floyd: Hello everyone. I’m here with Doug Jarecki, the Education and Outreach Administrator at the Waukesha Civic Theatre. How are you today, Doug?

Doug: Are you kidding me?!? You’re a talking flamingo! This is amazing. I have so many questions for you.

Floyd: And I have questions for you, so let’s just alternate. First you ask a question, then I ask a question.

Doug: Can we do that?

Floyd: Yes, and since that was your first question, I guess it’s my turn. What is a typical day for the WCT Education and Outreach Administrator?

Doug: Well, the days really aren’t that typical, and I love that. My job covers a lot of different ground. One day I might be teaching an acting class with the ACAP PlayMakers, then conducting a meeting with the Civic Senior Players, then teaching some afterschool classes for our Academy at Civic Theatre. The next day I might be speaking to students at a local school’s fine arts day, writing scripts for a class, then driving up to Hartford to conduct one of our outreach programs. Every day is full of new challenges.

Floyd: In other words, you find everything challenging.

Doug: Yes….wait, what do you mean by that?

Floyd: Nothing. But since you just asked another question, I guess it’s my turn again.

Doug: Oh come on, that’s totally unfair! I deserve another chance.

Floyd: Alright, I’ll give you another chance.

Doug: Really?

Floyd: And you just wasted your question again.

Doug: Ugghhh, come on! One more chance!

Floyd: Ok Doug, one more chance. But make it a good question.

Doug: Oh it is. It’s a great question. I’ve waited my whole life to ask it. Are you ready? Oops….wait, I didn’t mean to….NOOOOOOO!!!!!

Floyd: Thank you, Doug, that really was a great question. My turn: What do you do when you’re not at WCT?

Doug: Just recently I wrote a children’s show that’s running at a local theatre. And I still do a lot of acting around Milwaukee, both on stage and in commercials. In fact, I am currently in a series of Fleet Farm commercials. Maybe you’ve seen them.

Floyd: You play the dumb guy in those commercials, right?

Doug: Yes, I do. So you’ve seen them?

Floyd: No, you just give off a vibe. To wrap things up, I would like you to tell us one last thing about yourself in ten words or less.

Doug: Ten words?!?! Seriously? That is going to be really, really…

Floyd: And that will do it for us here. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to learn more about Doug Jarecki, WCT’s Education and Outreach Administrator. See you at the theatre!

I Blame Katie

Hot Damn GroupThe existence of Hot Damn! is all Katie’s fault.

If you don’t know her, Katie Danner is the ultra-talented Box Office Supervisor and Marketing Director at Waukesha Civic Theater (WCT). She’s the mother to Byron; wife to Jonathan.

Most importantly (at least as far as this story goes), Katie was the author of an e-mail which went out in May of 2012, asking any local musicians if they wanted to help publicize WCT’s upcoming season by playing at the Waukesha Farmer’s Market.
That tiny bit of encouragement was all I needed. I am primarily a “pit” musician, playing for musical theater productions throughout Milwaukee. I’ve been meaning for a while to get back into a band, but my pit work keeps me pretty darn busy (and happy), so the “band” thing was pretty much always on hold.

Until Katie’s e-mail.

When I got the e-mail, I had just finished playing in a production of Aida. My friends Jay Kummer, Maddie Dietrich, and Brian Carter were in the Aida pit as well, and I had said some random thing about how much fun it would be to get together and jam. Which wouldn’t have happened, except that Katie’s e-mail gave us a reason to do it.
So I told Katie sure, I could pull something together.

“In a couple of weeks?” Katie asked sweetly.

Um… sure, okay, why not? So, with barely time for a rehearsal, and with about one hour of music, Jay, Maddie and I made our debut.
Katie liked us well enough, or was desperate enough, that she asked us to come back again, and we did, this time with Brian joining us on percussion.

We quickly settled on a few things – music pretty much from the jazz standards, but with some songs from western swing, gypsy jazz, and blues. Instruments would be guitar and uke (Jay); mandolin, bass, or fiddle (Maddie); mandolin, guitar, or bass (me); a whole bunch of percussion toys (Brian). Vocals would be – very few!

The name came around pretty quickly, too. There are several things about “Hot Damn” that I liked. First, even though it’s not exactly a common saying anymore, I used it a lot. Second, the “Hot” makes a bit of a link with the “Hot Club of France”, Django Reinhardt, and the whole gypsy jazz world. Third, “Hot Damn” was a popular American saying in the 20’s and 30’s, which is when much of the music we play was written. It just seemed like the obvious fit!

The band has gone through a few personnel changes, as Maddie finished her Master’s degree and planned for a move out of town. Early this summer we added Linda and Jeff Binder, who are cohorts of mine from the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra, and just recently we added Tim Dondlinger on bass.

I like to think of us as playing melodic and recognizable jazz standards. We have an easy-going style, with a lot of variety in the instrumentation and sound, and we have a lot of fun playing gorgeous songs. We even throw in a few vocals now.
We’ve played several venues, but we keep coming back to WCT in one form or another – at the Farmer’s Market several Saturdays during the summer, or at Friday Night Live three times this past summer. In all cases, we’re playing in front of either WCT’s front door or back door – and usually Katie is there to say hi and give us a big hug.

So, come on out to hear the band sometime, or check out our website . If you like our music, please tell your friends and help spread the word about us.

If you don’t, just blame Katie.

~Fred Pike