Art Connection - Summer '23

The 2023 summer edition of Art Connection explores ethereal art and gemstones. Discover what ethereal art is and how jewelry artists source rare, top-quality gems. Also venture inside the historic art studio of Stuart Yankell.

ART CONNECTION By the Celebration of Fine Art

Vol. 2 Issue 1 Summer 2023

hidden gems: Hunting for earth's mineral flowers


summer dreamin' a spotlight on ethereal art

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editor’s WELCOME

A s summer rolls on we take some time out to cel- ebrate the richness of the season. It’s been a hot one here in Scottsdale, but that hasn’t kept us from celebrating the beauty around us and the positive impact of art in all forms. Most recently, we spent a day at the Musical Instru- ment Museum (MIM) in Phoenix. This museum is nothing short of spectacular, celebrating the impact of music and showcasing instruments from around the world! What a treasure and a must-see attraction in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Our travels will soon take us to Santa Fe, New Mexico to explore and dis- cover the world of art in this renowned destination. Look for some highlights in our next issue. The summer artist spotlight shines on Gabriela Aguilo. Her mixed media and encaustic works of art strike an ethereal chord, inviting the viewer to discover the story and emotion behind each work of art. In this intriguing interview, Gabriela shares how her dreams inspire her art and communicate universal messages of healing, love and self discovery.

some of the most intriguing precious and semi-pre- cious gemstones and elevate them to new heights by blending them with their signature style to create exquisite works of wearable art. Isabelle Posillico, Luciano Bortone, Paul Farmer and Shelli Kahl (Shell- Bell) take you on a journey through gemology, met- alsmithing and the immense craft that goes into their work. Step into a bit of art history and the stunning art studio of Stuart Yankell. Once owned by renowned sculptor Gutzon Borglum of Mount Rushmore fame, and several other impactful American artists, this studio is now where Stuart works his magic. The stu- dio, with hand-carved stone walls and soaring ceiling heights (to fit Borglum’s sculptures), are providing a backdrop for Stuart to experiment with scale. But this isn’t the only way this new space is influencing his work. Read on to find out what else it has inspired. Finally, be sure to catch the "Caring for Your Art" arti- cle. Artists share some of their expert tips for preserv- ing the longevity of your art (and your investment!). Back home here in Scottsdale, we are focused on curating and putting together the roster and plans for the 34th annual Celebration of Fine Art in 2024. We will be back at our same location just south of The Loop 101 in Scottsdale. Mark your calendars to join us between January 14 – March 24, 2024, and discover for yourself what lies in store. In the meantime, please be sure to keep up with the latest news and available works of art at

Out of a dream-like state, be whisked away to colorful world of gems in our Hidden Gems feature story. Meet some of our talented jewelers who painstakingly find

~Susan and Jake Potje

"Raven's View" 60" x60" by Stuart Yankell

Accordion on display at the MIM.

Paul Farmer with one of his many tools.

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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: GABRIELA AGUILO How her dreams influence her art and commuicate powerful messages.


HIDDEN GEMS: HUNTING FOR EARTH'S MINERAL FLOWERS Our world is filled with beautiful gemstones and these artisan jewelers share a deep passion for unearthing these unique minerals.


DISCOVER MORE HIDDEN GEMS Find other amazing jewelry artists at the Celebration of Fine Art.


FROM THE ARTIST STUDIO: A CONVERSATION WITH STUART YANKELL Venture inside Stuart's unique art studio and gallery. Discover how it's inspiring his work. CARING FOR YOUR ART: TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOUR INVESTMENT How to care for various types of art. Artists share a few of their best tips.


On the cover: "Eros" 36" x 24" by Gabriela Aguilo


CONTACT US Celebration of Fine Art 7900 E. Greenway Rd., Suite 101 Scottsdale, AZ 85260

480.443.7695 |

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and ethereal quality and the medium allows her to explore various concepts within her body of work while remain- ing true to her very distinct style. Much like the exploration of her dreams over time, encaustic is archi- val and provides a way of preserving these discovered life lessons. Before the encaustic is applied, however, Gabriela uses various mediums like gouache, ink and graphite applied to watercolor paper to illustrate her dreamy stories. “Once I get what the dream means paintings become obvious. They’re like visions. They just strike.” The connection between symbolism and truth Whether expressed through land- scapes or surrealism, each piece is rich with layers of meaning and invitations to explore deeper levels of the self. For Gabriela, her art is all about authen- ticity starting first with her desire to express personal truth, but then to hopefully move the viewer closer to their own truth. “All of the ways in which I’m using the landscape or animals, I’m trying to reveal some universal truth about the human condition and what it is to find unconditional love and healing,” she said. All the things that are blocks to us thriving are revealed in my dreams and the dream symbolism becomes part of my visual language.” In this visual language, a landscape might represent the container of the soul. If that container has love, it will be vibrant and full of color. A rabbit may symbolize vulnerability whereas a bear might bring a fierceness or warrior en - ergy. Or, as in the example of her piece “Truth and Desire”, the paragon falcon and it’s been learned, the

artist spotlight gabriela aguilo

D reams are a curious phenomenon shared by most all humans––and they’ve perplexed the minds of many since nearly the beginning of human existence. For some, they seem like nonsensical musings of the mind. For others, dreams may hold answers or premonitions about the future, or they may represent insights into deep-seated fears and desires or messages from the divine. For artist Gabriela Aguilo, and other Jungians (those who follow the philoso- phies of Swiss psychologist and psycho- analyst Carl Jung), dreams hold power- ful messages, learnings and a pathway deeper into self realization. “Dreams bring us each unique cin- ematographic experiences with feel- ing––a story,” Gabriela said. “It’s in a cryptic language of our memories and stories from mythology, television and the collective conscious to explain something to us that we don’t know at exactly our moment of need with the thing we need to know to further our journey into our hearts, soul and passion, rather than living from the mind.” The interplay of dreamwork and artwork Gabriela has used her own cine- matographic experiences to explore new themes and realms of humanity. And her artwork has become the channel through which she’s able to express the messages communicated to her in her dreams––very similar to Jung’s philoso- phies on the link between art expression and healing. “Since my dreams inform me about myself and take me through waves of learning, it always comes out to a deeper understanding of who I am,” she said. “And those particular dreams are incredibly useful for paintings because they are universal symbols of love and wisdom for all of us.” With the influence dreams have on her work, it isn’t any surprise that Gabriela was called to encaustic as her medium. Encaustic paintings, which use heated, pharmaceutical-grade beeswax mixed with resin, have a dream-like

"Truth and Desire" 60" x 45"

represents truth. Still, Gabriela admits while some symbols may be universal, they can only hint at a truth and that truth will vary from person to person. “What a symbol means to me might be different for someone else,” she said. “It will still open up a question or feeling in them, but it will just be more personal to them. And I love that.”

think is pretty,” she said. “I’m trying to paint purely from my soul believing that it will resonate. Desire is a pow- erful thing. And their [the collector’s] heart is choosing something to go in their home that becomes something they need either to be reminded of or to open something up in them, or that simply speaks to them in some way.”

Watch Gabriela's interview here.

The message and the medium Though Gabriela has been a life- long artist, it was only a little over a decade ago that she made the leap to encaustic painting. She was crav- ing color, more freedom to express and a different kind of expression that suited her personal journey. That quest led her to encaustic and a new way to connect with herself and others. “I wanted to express the journey through my dreams to the Self with a capital “S” and to churn the ether for what is my personal voice,” she said. “To do that, I chose encaustic because it's very dreamy. I feel like it's one of the best things I ever did.” Gabriela wants people to feel something when they see her work. And she certainly has achieved that, having witnessed countless deep emotional reactions to her pieces. In some cases, people have been moved to tears, in others, a piece may simply create some sort of opening in them to explore a feeling more. “I refuse to paint to sell or what I

"The Crossroads Between Love and Longing" 60" x 45"

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Adding another layer of in- trigue to gemstones is how they get their color––or lack thereof. Gemstones appear naturally across all colors of the visible light spectrum. A gemstone’s unique color comes from sever- al variables including the trace elements it contains, the way it refracts light, its host rock, and other physical differences it may have. The blue of a sapphire, for instance, comes from trace elements titanium and iron. The more iron it contains, the dark- er the blue. Chromium, on the other hand, can result in the red of a ruby or the pink in a pink sapphire. But make no mistake, though classifications of gem - stones may share a similar make- up, they are like snowflakes––no two are alike. “I have studied gemology for over 30 years,” said Paul Farmer, master goldsmith and jewelry artist. “Some are very unusual like trapiche emeralds, which have a six-sided star pattern caused when carbon is captured in the growth access of the stone. The nicest trapiche emeralds also have the Catseye phenomenon that when light hits the stone it seems to shimmer and move as the stone is moved.” From their enchanting histo- ry to the formation process to their eye-catching appearance, there is much to admire about gems. But it’s perhaps the sheer variety and uniqueness that attracts jewelry artists to them. “There are so many different gem- stones and they all have their different qualities,” said Isabelle Posillico, jew- elry artist. “There’s such an incredible variety of gems and colors. Even in blues––from the light blue of aquama- rine to the dark blues in sapphires and lapis. They’re fascinating.” And with this incredible variety brings rarity. On the hunt for rarity and quality Of the more than 2,000 mineral species identified, fewer than 100 are deemed gemstones. Of these 100, only 16 have achieved particular signifi - cance. These include beryl, chrysober- yl, corundum, diamond, feldspar, gar- net, jade, lazurite, olivine, opal, quartz, spinel, topaz, tourmaline, turquoise, and zircon. Some of these mineral categories encompass more than one

gem. For instance, corundum includes rubies and sapphires while beryl in- cludes emeralds and aquamarines. Gemstones are then further catego- rized into precious and semi-precious. There are only four (sometimes five depending who you ask) precious gemstones: diamonds, sapphires, em- eralds and rubies, and opals. All other stones are referred to as semi-pre- cious, but this does not mean they are any less valuable. In fact, they can often be more rare than gemstones deemed “precious”.

stones rather than lots of small,” she said. Since Isabelle works with many of her clients on repurposing gem- stones they already own, it has afford- ed her the opportunity to work with some one-of-a-kind pieces. “I have been honored to work with some of my client’s gemstones that would have been out of my reach to purchase,” she said. “Alexandrite, for example, is a color-changing stone. It goes from green to purple depending on what light source it gets––daylight

Hidden gems hunting for earth's Mineral Flowers

“These gems have life in them: their colors speak, say what words fail of.” -George Eliot

or incandescent light. It’s very rare. I’ve also gotten to work with black opals, South Sea pearls, tanzanite, and unheated star sapphires.” For Paul, the rarest gemstone he’s ever procured was a three-carat natural untreated Burmese ruby. He explained that rubies are com- monly heat treat- ed at the mine, and have been for hundreds of years,

"Dance Partner" earrings by Isabelle Posillico (Sold)

untreated Burmese ruby of natural color and very high clarity.” When it comes to opals, there are certainly some varieties that have tra- ditionally been more rare than others. But over the course of his nearly five- decade-long career in opals, Luciano Bortone has watched the category as a whole become more scarce. “Opals have become very rare,” he said. “You can’t even buy the raw or rough material anymore because the miners are very scared they’ll lose an opal in the rough. They want to pro- cess it to see what’s available first.” Still, this hasn’t stopped Luciano from seeking out the rarest (con't)

For instance, most diamonds, with a few exceptions, while precious, are not necessarily rare simply because there are a lot of them. And it’s the more rare stones, that are still within finan - cial reach of the average collector, that Isabelle has her sights set on finding. “I used to collect all kinds of gem- stones, but now I’m really focused on getting more rare, unusual larger

to enhance the clarity of the stone, but this is permanent and can change the color––usually improving the look of the average stone. To find an unheat - ed variety is very rare. “Burmese rubies have a bit of pink with the red giving them a differ- ent appearance than a typical ruby making these the most collectible gemstones,” he said. “The rarest is the

T here are few things in this world that are as deeply and collectively cher- ished by humankind as gemstones. Since nearly the beginning of our existence, the love of, and fascination with, gemstones has been shared across every cultural, racial, gender, and generational chasm. Indeed, gems have been revered by humans for thousands of years. And while their significance, symbolism and use have shapeshifted through- out the evolution of civilization, there are throughlines that prevail today. Earlier forms of jewelry donning gemstones were used to protect against bad luck and illness, bring good fortune and ward off evil. There was also significant spiritual meaning placed on jewelry and gemstones, as they were offered up to the gods and used to surround entombed pharaohs with riches so they could bring them into the afterlife. They’ve also been symbols of wealth and prosperity, and of human connection and commit- ment.

To be sure, gemstones have a rich and fascinating history, and that is just part of their allure. The history of the gemstone Most gemstones are mineral crystals formed in and mined from the earth. The exception to this is pearls and am- ber, which are classified as organics. Organic gems are products of living or previously living organisms and bio- logical processes. Amber, for instance, is made from tree resin that fossilized over millions of years. Some findings also suggest there may be some extraterrestrial gem- stones among us. In 2005, peridot was found in comet dust brought back from the Stardust robotic space probe. Despite their brilliant luster, gem- stones typically range from millions to billions of years old. In fact, the oldest known mineral on Earth––coming in at nearly 4.4 billion years old–––is zir- con. It was only discovered a couple of decades ago, however, in the Jack Hills of Western Australia.

"Boulder Opal Bravado" by Shelli Kahl special commission for a client. (photo credit: Peter Italiano)

Rubellite tourmaline 18k gold rings by Paul Farmer

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well worth the reward. I also rarely say ‘no’ when clients bring gems for me to work with. Even if it's something I hav- en't done before. It forces me to think outside of the box when it comes to setting stones in new and different ways.” Luciano entered the business first as an opal cutter, but through necessity, at the request of a major retail client, he decided to learn the craft of jewelry making. After nearly a decade of that work, Luciano wanted to move into the artisan market, making true one- of-a-kind pieces. Naturally, he took

carving wax and making perfect channels for the opal inlays. I became known for using single pieces of opal inlaid in voids. Eventually, I started producing other pieces using the solid stone.” Still, Luciano continues to push himself to test new concepts, designing pieces around single opal stones, and integrating other types of metal and even rare gemstones. And this is one of the char- acteristics that separates these artisan jewelers from most––they know their craft inside and out and continually strive to create unique pieces. They also go to great lengths to find the highest quality gemstones and help their clients find truly unique pieces they will cherish for their lifetime. “I look for something called "crys- tal", an ethereal quality to a gem,” Paul said. “Not all gems have this. It is a brilliance to a particular stone that attracts the eye. I can look

one significant piece of equipment this past year that has allowed me to do things I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise––a laser welder.” With the welder, Shelli can fuse met- al without applying heat, which mini- mizes stone break- age if the stone has already been set. When Paul first got into jewelry making, he started

their clients and the type of gems they find that keep their designs and craft at the leading edge. “I fell in love with the look of jewelry created by the late Charles Duncan,” Shelli said. “He originally created the method for fusing 14k yellow gold to sterling silver that I still use today.” Shelli studied under Charles Duncan and then made it her mission to carry on his legacy and method of gold fu- sion. Still, she strives to push her own boundaries and continually evolve her work.

Isabelle Posillico's tool set.

opals he can find. He travels the Aus - tralian Outback, which produces four types of opals––milky white, crystal, boulder, and black––on the hunt for unique stones. Beyond the gems: A love of the craft As much as each of these master jewelers love gemstones, they have an equal admiration for metalwork and the craft of jewelry making. “Tools are almost as big an addiction for jewelers as the gems themselves,” said Shelli Kahl, jewelry artist known by many as Shell-Bell. “In addition to various torches, forming tools and polishing equipment, I have added

with a foundation of silver soldering and metalworking skills that he had obtained while working as a musical instrument technician. He has contin- ued to build upon his skill set, adding gemologist, goldsmith and several other credentials to his arsenal. “I started with basic metalsmithing skills in silver,” he said. “I then became trained as a goldsmith in the ancient technique of granulation, the art of creating decorative patterns of small granules fused to gold. The roots go back 5,000 years to the Egyptians, Byzantines and Etruscans.” Adding to this, Paul most recently studied chasing and repoussé with the well-known master Fabrizio Acquafresca from Florence Italy. He is using this technique to create a new line of Aspen leaf earrings. One of the most unique tools Paul uses, however, is his blowpipe torch. “The blowpipe torch allows me to supply the oxygen to create the type of flame necessary to fuse gold at about 1800 degrees,” he said. “There is a little breath of me in each piece.” For Isabelle, her toolset is almost as varied as her gemstone collec- tion, but there are a few favorites she continually returns to. “I work with sheet and wire, so I bend, soldier and cut things to handcraft every piece,” Isabelle said. “I also have a big hydraulic press that will allow me to bend the metal in a more dimensional way. I have a rolling mill that allows me to put metal and paper togeth- er to press the texture of the paper into the metal.” Learning as much as they can

Boulder opal pendant by Luciano Bortone

the quality of a gem and metal before buying a piece of jewelry, they encour- age collectors to go with what brings them joy. As long as you’re buying from a reputable source, let your heart

“often people will try a ring or pendAnt and their eyes just light up. I can feel the energy and know this is their piece.” -Paul farmer

at thousands of stones and find only a few that have this quality that makes me stop and choose a stone. This

Opal bracelet by Luciano Bortone

on a style of jewelry making that not many had attempted. “Initially, I was doing the lost wax casting method,” he said. “But nearly 40 years ago, when I first started doing inlay, where the opal is inlaid into a void, I wondered how I could create perfect voids. One of my friends said I needed a mill. With the mill, I started

is what makes a difference in my work. I start with the stone before I design and handcraft a piece of art.” While they each place great value on knowing

“Over the past 20 years I have certainly evolved, and most recently I have been known to throw caution to the wind, working with more soft stones like that I'd never have con- sidered in my earlier years due to fear that I'd break them,” she said. “Now I'm more inclined to take a risk, be- cause more often than not the risk is

guide you. “They should know what the ingre-

dients are, how these mate- rials will hold up for everyday wear (if that's the intent versus something for a special occasion) and how the jew- eler intends to warranty each piece,” Shelli said. “But most importantly, they just need to know how that piece of jewelry makes them feel. Does it make them smile when they look at it?” “Often people will try a ring or pendant and their eyes just light up,” Paul said. “I can feel the energy and know this is their piece.”

about the craft of jewelry making has enabled them to form their own unique styles. And it’s often

Learn more about gemstones here.

Paul Farmer at work in the studio.

Trapiche emerald ring 18k gold by Paul Farmer (Sold)

"Celebration Under the Sea" by Shelli Kahl

Satellite ring by Isabelle Posillico

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Discover more hidden gems artisan jewelers from the celebration of fine art

For more styles, click where you see this icon:


anthony barbano

ChaD Lieske

Cynthia Downs-Apodaca

diana ferguson

Michael Mcrae

Rollande Poirier

adriana socol

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Issue 1 | Summer 2023

from the artist studio

stepping into the book when you’re working in a space like this. It feels like you really have to raise your own bar to participate at this level. Just the space itself––the architecture and the craftsmanship that you’re observing every day while you work is deeply inspiring.” The architecture and craftsmanship Stuart is referring to came from the hands of Gutzon Borglum, the early 1900s sculptor most famous for the larger-than-life Mount Rushmore. Scaling new heights The story behind this property begins in 1910 when Borglum reportedly bor- rowed $40,000 (which would equate to approximately $1.2M today) from one of his clients to buy 500 acres in Stamford. In 1911, he began building his studio, employing Italian stone masons who lived on the property for months carving local area granite and limestone boulders into what would become the structure of the studio. “The history here alone was worth more than the price of the whole property,” Stuart said. “This place should be a museum. The fact that it has a contemporary home on the river, Japanese gardens and several other buildings set up like a com- pound was just a bonus.” Over the course of the century, the property has been occupied by several other prominent artists including cartoonist Mort Walker, widely known for his newspaper comic strip “Beetle Bailey”. This rich story, and perhaps the energy, of the space has not only inspired Stuart to dive head first into the history of the property and artists who came before him, but also scale new heights with his work. “I think the scale of this building has me inspired to work larger,” he said. “It’s interesting, Borglum’s second wife was an Egyptologist and I read a quote that she impressed upon him the emotional value of volume––the

Interestingly, although I really love modernism and modern architecture, I also have a love for the Classical past. This build- ing has elements of Tudor Gothic architecture. I love the strength that comes from that diversity––when you combine the old and the new. Being in this space, I’m starting to see the stone arches of the windows and doorways appearing in some of the restaurant paintings. There is also an epic

simplicity to the architec- tural design here. I think subliminally––and hope- fully–– it comes through my aesthetic voice.” Aside from influencing his aesthet - ic voice and having more space to explore scale, Stuart’s new home and studio have also paved the way for

A conversation with stuart yankell Stuart Yankell's studio and gallery in Stamford, CT

Borglum working on a large-scale sculpture in the studio.

fact that scale and art add a certain energy that nothing else does. As a result, he ended up doing enormous bronzes and then sculpting moun- tains. In the back of my mind, I just keep thinking I have to start working much larger. But the Celebration of Fine Art and its collectors with larger homes have really allowed me to expand my scale over the years as well. It’s all sort of been unfolding in tandem.” Having more space has also afforded Stuart the opportu- nity to observe all of his work together, which has proven an invaluable part of his process and the growth of his work. “The relativity of looking at pieces together enables them to feed off one another,” he said. wide open space. It allows the work to build upon each other. And of course, at the Celebration you have another 99 artists that you’re subconsciously working with and that brings in the experience of the ‘innovation hub’.” Admittedly, Stuart wasn’t always fully bought-in to the idea that an artist’s locale would have that much influ - ence over their work. But looking back over his body of work, he’s shifted his thinking. “That’s what I love about the Celebration as well––I have a Drawing inspiration from the environment “Having taught art history over the years, I would always hear that Van Gogh painted in Southern France and his palette changed,” he said. “I always thought it was somewhat fantasized, but I have noticed being in Scottsdale now 10 years, my palette definitely seems to have taken on some of the desert harmonies of colors. I have noticed that evolution in my work.

I t’s long been said that we are prod- ucts of our environment. Certainly, the company we keep has a profound impact on our thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. But so too do the physical spaces we regularly inhabit. Sometimes these impacts occur at the subconscious level and other times they are immediately obvious. Just look at most any architect’s or artist’s body of work and you’re likely to see the influences of their environ - ment evidenced in the color choices, scale, subject matter, materials and

line work. And this certainly is true for artist Stuart Yankell. Stuart is no stranger to purposefully immersing himself in environments that allow him to accurately capture the energy of the local culture. In fact, he has painted on location in more than a dozen countries, drawing inspi- ration from the rich stories unfolding before his eyes. The kinetic energy of the mise en scène has imprinted on his work, not only through the stories he chooses to portray, but also the way in which he expresses them.

But, over the years, he’s also come to realize the subliminal influence various environments have had on his work as well. Celebrating the energy of life Stuart’s work is highly recognizable–– characterized by its rhythmic and energetic, yet soul-soothing quality that seemingly invites the viewer in to celebrate the energy of life through themes that range from dance and nightlife to music, sports and pure ab- straction. And while his artistic thesis has remained rooted in celebrating life, his work has certainly shifted over the years based on his own life experi- ences and his environment. This became more appar- ent when Stuart and his wife MaryEllen Velahos moved from Pennsylvania to their new home in Stamford, Connecticut last summer. The property, which also houses Stuart’s art studio and gallery has a rich history and a rather famous trail of artists who’ve lived there before him. “It feels like I have the wind at my back here,” he said. “I had been pretty steeped in art histo- ry, but you almost feel like you’re

"Cafe Splendor" 40" x 60"

him to fulfill another dream: owning his own gallery. Since moving into the studio, Stuart has hosted several gal- lery openings featuring the legacy of his family’s work (his, his father’s and his godfather’s art). "When my parents saw me throw my whole career into the arts, it was a bit disconcerting when I was young,” he said. “But for them to see how I’ve thrived, I think it’s a real joy for them. My dad has come to the exhibits that we’ve had and he’s pretty humble about his own work because he’s a retired Penn Dental research professor by trade. But his sculpture is iconic and sublime, and I love the sense of joy that I see in him having so many people appreciate his work as well. And for him to see the family legacy story coming to fruition in this historic building is an epiphany.”

Watch Stuart's interview here.

"Global Rhythms" 30" x 48"

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caring for your art: tips for protecting your investment

or present in the ocean air, can speed up cor- rosion on metal pieces. And a constant barrage of water from yard sprin- klers, particularly if you’re in an area with hard water, can also leave unwanted markings on your piece. While it may be impossible to avoid all potential hazards, talk to the artist to see what they may suggest. Indoors, try to avoid areas with fluctuating temperatures, such as near heating vents or radiators. Also, consider how much traffic the area gets. Especially if you have pets or kids, you may want to avoid high-traffic areas where the artwork could get bumped. When it comes to your jewelry, you’ll also want to be sure to store your pieces away from humid environments as mois- ture can damage gem- stones and metal. Keep each piece separate in a soft pouch or lined jewelry box to prevent scratches and tangling.

"From Bloom to Fade" 36" x 36" Gabriela Aguilo

L uckily art is pretty low maintenance. But like anything, it will require some upkeep to preserve its splendor and beauty for generations to come. There are also some specific considerations to be aware of for certain types of art. As a general rule of thumb, it’s al- ways a good idea to talk with the artist about specific care recommendations. Get expert advice Any good artist will know their me- dium well and will be able to tell you what to avoid and how to care for it. If the artist is not helping you install it, tell them where you were planning to place the piece. Will it be outdoors or in a space that gets direct sun- light? Will it be subject to moisture or extreme heat? These are important details that will help guide the artist on care instructions specific to you and your piece. This is especially important for “wearable art”. With jewelry, because

there are so many variables from the setting to the type of metal used to the gemstones it contains, every piece of jewelry will have its own set of care instructions. The artist is likely to send you off with some specifics, but be sure to mention how often you intend to wear the piece and what it might potentially be exposed to. Keep It clean Regular cleaning, particularly for out- door art, is an important part of the maintenance process. Gentle wipe- downs will keep dust, cobwebs and any naturally corrosive elements from harming the piece over time. For outdoor art, metal artist Trevor Swanson suggests using the clean- ing process as an opportunity to also check for signs of wear in the sealant coat. With indoor art, consider the medi- um first. In some cases, a soft cloth will work, but for mediums like encaustic,

reaction. In most cases, a soft, damp cloth will do the trick. Keep in mind, however, some mediums, like encaus- tic, may not need anything. “As far as care is concerned, en- caustic is the most archival medium there is,” said Gabriela Aguilo. “There is no bacteria in clean, pharmaceuti- cal-grade beeswax, so it will last forev- er. It also naturally repels dust and has natural UV light protection. It's eternal. As long as it's inside the home, it's perfectly safe.”

"Nola" by Dan Romero

tributors to the degradation of most materials. When possible, even for outdoor art, consider finding a shaded location. For indoor art, ask the artist about special UV considerations. For instance, watercolor tends not to hold up well to UV light, but some artists will apply special finishes to protect the piece. While encaustic art may not be sen- sitive to UV light, heat from the sun’s rays can be detrimental. Be mindful of placement, and when in doubt, talk to the artist about it. consider the elements Speaking of natural elements, when it comes to outdoor art, extreme heat, humidity, rain and snow, freezing and thawing are all elements that will take a toll on even the sturdiest artwork. Even salt, whether used for de-icing

Collection of sculptures by Jim & Matt Budish (foreground) and Terrell Powell (background).

Finally, don’t forget to keep records of your artwork, including purchase receipts and any other documents such as artist notes that may have come with the piece. If you do have it professionally cleaned or conservation work performed, keep that in your records as well. Bottomline, when in doubt, ask the artist. They’ll best be able to guide you on how to prolong the beauty of your investment.

ask about sealants Many outdoor pieces will have a spe- cial sealant applied depending on the medium. Ask whether anything has been applied and if it will need any upkeep over time. If it does require wax or oil, you’ll want to make sure it’s compatible with the finish. Usually, it’s best to leave this to the pros –– either the artist or an expert in that particu- lar material.

you want to avoid using materials that can leave lint behind. A can of com- pressed air or a very soft brush can also be a good option for many types of art, but ask the artist if you’re unsure. For extreme cases, such as with very old pieces or some other mishap, it’s best to leave it to the pro- fessionals –– a conservator or the original artist. AVOID chemicals With cleaning any artwork, avoid the use of chemicals, solvents and abrasives. These could cause an adverse and irreversible

"Painted Pony" by Terrell Powell

For outdoor pieces, don’t forget about natural chemicals. Tree sap and bird droppings should be removed as soon as possible. The uric acid in bird droppings and the etching effects of dried-on sap can cause long-term damage to the surface. When it comes to jewelry, it’s generally best to remove it before showering, swimming and household cleaning. The chlorine or other chem- icals used in hygiene and cleaning products could damage gemstones and the metal. Steer clear of direct sunlight The sun is one of the biggest con-

"Quiet Meadow" 6" x 18" by Trevor Swanson

"Stupendous" by Ryan Schmidt

Tanzanite earrings by Michael McRae

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Issue 1 | Summer 2023

Issue 1 | Summer 2023

Page 15

SAVE THE DATE The Celebration of Fine Art returns to Scottsdale January 13 – March 24, 2024 Keep in touch and shop for your favorites any time at!

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