28 February 2017

Featured Artist: Leslie MacMillan

Leslie MacMillan is a past honoree at Women in the Arts’ “Celebrating the Genius of Women” art competition at the Orlando Public Library. 

Enjoy the exclusive preview of this art piece, never been shown before, from the collection of Leslie MacMillan.

Surreal-Scape 30x24in.jpg
Silk painting, 30x24 in.

"Surreal-scape" was painted in the summer of 2016. I wanted to break away from my usual illustrative or figurative work and try my hand at a landscape. Albeit, a dreamed up landscape! I thought it would be fun to try incorporating some of my frequently used textures, patterns, and techniques, and apply them to a compose a rainforest scene. I considered including some animals, but finally decided to omit them, and focus only on the wildness of the jungle flora. It was an enjoyable piece to put together and I loved the results. It is a subject matter I intend to play around with more in the future.

On creating a silk painting-
My work almost always begins with a very small, very dirty little sketch, whose sole purpose is to get the idea I've just had, out of my head. It may even include some written notes and directions I can reference later. I often work on 3-4 pieces at the same time, so I tend to be otherwise occupied when I have a new idea and need to come back to it later. As a result, by the time I get around to my new sketches I generally have a few ideas to work from and a new batch of paintings to get to. Bundling the work together makes sense because the process involved in making the paintings contains a few steps and it's easier to go through each phase, which includes different tools and mediums, doing a few pieces rather than going through all the steps once and then starting all over again. Also finding the right silk anymore involves an online order and I have to plan my order to include more than one piece at a time.

There are many cultures that dye, paint, and batik fabric, with many different techniques and tools; and what I am most familiar with is the French Serti method. So, when I am ready to begin, I decide which of my little sketches I want to use and I make much larger (I like working on a larger scale), much cleaner drawings on a waxed type paper. Then the drawing is traced in bold, dark lines with a Sharpie marker. Now what I do varies a bit from tradition and I omit the use of stretchers. I adhere the paper directly to my cut silk with heat, thus eliminating the need for the stretcher and allowing freedom to create in any shape or size I like without being restricted to what size stretcher I may have. An added benefit of working like this is that my drawing is there and visible through the fabric, which makes it very easy to follow my design, use intricate detail, and have excellent control over my line work. As controlled as it can be anyway. Silk painting is not conducive to perfectionism, as it is a very imprecise medium. You have to be able accept that there will be mistakes and be OK with them. I have learned to embrace the accidents and rarely let them fluster me any more. Once the silk is adhered to the paper I begin tracing my lines on the silk with the resist medium. I use gutta which is a bit like rubber cement, in an applicator bottle. When the line work is dry it is alright to begin painting on the dye, and it is largely like water color painting in nature. In this phase I will often incorporate texturing effects which can be made with different salts or alcohol applied to the fabric. Depending on what I am trying to achieve, this may be the final step of the process, however I usually batik my work, which comes after the silk painting process has dried thoroughly. I have an old 70's electric fondue pot I use to melt wax, which I apply to the picture, then strategically crumple and re-apply, and paint, as needed. When that has had a day to dry I remove all the wax and reveal the final image.

My style is always evolving and I am always learning new things about my medium and I am finding inspiration in new places all the time. Drawing has always been my joy and I have dabbled in illustration. When I was a teenager I was introduced to silk painting by a family friend and started experimenting with it then. Life took me down a different career path away from art, and for many years I just did whatever art projects suited in me, in a wide variety of mediums familiar to me. Several years ago I was able to focus more on art and decided that it was time to go pro! I had honed my skills and passion for silk painting and realized that I had something unique to offer. I like the idea of stepping outside of the bounds of what is traditional silk art and entwining it with illustration. The end results are often a curiosity and something that you don't see everyday.

Search: Leslie MacMillan.
Contact the Artist: les.koren@gmail.com
Contact Maria: womeninthearts@gmail.com
Visit Women in the Arts: www.womeninthearts.org

This event is sponsored by Women in the Arts, corporate and private donors, Studio-T Photography, and Baterbys Art Gallery, in partnership with the Orlando Public Library.

Art Competition Logos.jpg

11 February 2017

Women in the Arts announce competition finalists and honorees

2017 “Celebrating the Genius of Women” Art Competition
The following artists were selected to be in this year’s annual art competition and recognition events at the Orlando Public Library. The exhibition opens March 9 through April 23, 2017. The Meet the Artist gallery walk and awards reception is March 25 at 2:00 PM. All events are free and open to the public.


Finalists | Local Artists

A collection of work was selected from the following artists:

Denisse Berlingeri
Orange County, Florida
Acrylic on canvas

Mel Kistner
Seminole County, Florida
Acrylic on canvas

Mila Belle
Orange County, Florida
Ceramic sculptures

Shosh Cohen
Seminole County, Florida
Sculptures on granite

Vicki Jones
Orange County, Florida

These artists were selected finalists and are eligible for cash awards after the final voting by members of Women in the Arts jury team at the finalist art exhibition. The jury decision is final.

Honorable Mention | Local Artists

This year the selecting team awarded four Honorable Mention awards. These artists are invited to exhibit their winning art at the library.

Francine Levy
Seminole County, Florida
"Hagens Cove"

Michelle Irizarry
Orange County, Florida
“Drowning In Thoughts”
Oil on canvas

Patricia Lentine
Orange County, Florida
“Ava Rose”

Wendy Swanson
Orange County, Florida

Recognition | U.S. and International Artists

The following artists will be recognized at the online gallery during March and April, and at the awards reception on March 25.

United States

Jan Golden

Houston, Texas

Lidia Simeonova
Shelby Township, Michigan


Irina Goryunova


Julija Proskurina


Kaliya Kalacheva


Katerina Tsitsela


Guest Artist at Women in the Arts Awards on March 25 at the Orlando Public Library:

Irina Goryunova, Russia

“I was in America on June 12, the day of the nightclub shooting in Orlando and I made a painting dedicated to the victims of the tragedy. I called it 28°31′10.5″N 81°22′36.5″W, the geographical coordinates of the Pulse nightclub.”

Title: 28°31'10.5"N 81°22'36.5"W
Oil on canvas
On view starting March 25

Irina Goryunova is represented by Agora Gallery in New York City. More details to follow in coming weeks.


Local Finalists

Cash award: 1st. place, $450, 2nd. place $350, 3rd. place $300, 4th. place, $200, 5th. place $100. Honorable mention: $50.00 each. Total cash award this year: $1,600.00.

Patron's Choice Award Certificate. Library patrons are invited to vote for their favorite piece in the exhibition on­-site or online at facebook.com/oclslib. The winning artist will receive a Patron's Choice Award certificate.

Online exhibition of selected art at the OCLS social media site during the months of March and April 2016.

Public recognition at the Women in the Arts Awards reception on March 25.
Publicity on printed and/or online media outlets.
Baterbys Art Gallery representation for six months to the top three competition winners.

U.S. and International Artists

Award Certificate from Women in the Arts to winners.
Online exhibition of selected art at the OCLS social media site during the months of March and

April 2016.
Public recognition at the Women in the Arts Awards reception on March 25.
Publicity on printed and/or online media outlets.
No cash awards.


The Awards Jury is formed by Women in the Arts board and advisory board members, past competition winners' representatives, and a guest jury. This jury awards the art competition finalists.

Finalist Jury

This Jury selects the art competition finalists.

Maria Guerrero

Founder & Executive Director, Women in the Arts

Sandra de Nijs

Advisory Board, Women in the Arts

Susan Torregrosa

Board of Directors, Women in the Arts

Guest Jury

Amy Galpin

Curator, Cornell Fine Arts Museum

Azela Santana

Vice Chair, Public Art Advisory Board

UCF's College of Arts and Humanities

Cynthia Cardona

Executive Director, Winter Garden Heritage Foundation, Inc.

Katherine Navarro

Associate Curator of Education, Mennello Museum of American Art


Women in the Arts Inc.
Maria Guerrero, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP
Founder & Executive Director

Orlando Public Library
Mike Donohue | Community Outreach and Administrative Coordinator
Orange County Library System | Community Relations
101 E. Central Blvd. | Orlando, Florida 32801
phone: 407.835.7483 | fax: 407.835.7643

donohue.mike@ocls.info  |  www.ocls.info

Partners and sponsors

Orlando Public Library, Studio T Photography, Baterbys Art Gallery.
Radosveta Zhelyaskova, Women in the Arts Ambassador, Eastern Europe.

Art Competition Logos.jpg


www.womenintheartsinc.org ~ 7512 Dr. Phillips Blvd, Suite 50-635, Orlando,  FL 32819

09 February 2017

The Art of Phyllis A. Taylor, "Pannet"

Enjoy this selection of works as Phyllis gives an exclusive insight into her creative process.

Phyllis A. Taylor, “Pannet” is a past local honoree at Women in the Arts’ “Celebrating the Genius of Women” art competition at the Orlando Public Library.

1-Love Called My Name.jpg
"Love Called My Name"
Mixed Media (Acrylics, Collage, Inks & Pastels)  20x24 in.

“This piece is one of my "Divine Feminine" series and I used it to help clarify and let go of some unwanted "baggage" in my life. It is inspired by the iconic story of Mary Magdalene.

The dark area in the lower right corner is the "tomb" where I buried all that I wanted to release from my life, for 2017. There are collaged pieces of paper with those things written on them in the tomb.

The pieces of paper collaged throughout her hair are the things I affirmed for my life going forward, because I heard "Love Calling My Name". The still small voice within each of us.”

1-Awakening Goddess.jpg
"Awakening Goddess"
Mixed Media (Acrylics and Pastels)  25x31 in.

“I began this piece as a mixed media abstract painting with no portrait intended. Yet as I was making marks on the paper I began to see eyes questioning me, asking me what I was doing? As I stepped back to take in the whole piece I saw her there, coming forth from within the painting.

Mixed Media is new to me, an adventure to move me from my comfort zone of "classical portraiture". I thought I was doing away with the portrait part all together but there she was showing up to remind me of my passion for portraits.

She awakened in me another part of my life journey. As I move into my seventieth year I am on a quest to heal all the broken parts of me, to reforge myself in the fires of growth and rise to new, higher levels acknowledging all the fierceness, fabulousness and Divine femininity that exists in me and in all women!

My "Awakening Goddess" is 18x24 unframed (with her present frame she is 25x31) and was created using a mix of acrylics, soft pastels and a bit of India ink. She is one of a body of work I am creating on the Divine Feminine.”

Search: Phyllis A. Taylor, Pannet.
Contact the Artist: pannetart@gmail.com
Contact Maria: womeninthearts@gmail.com
Visit Women in the Arts: www.womeninthearts.org


This event is sponsored by Women in the Arts, corporate and private donors, Studio-T Photography, and Baterbys Art Gallery, in partnership with the Orlando Public Library.

Art Competition Logos.jpg