Lee Alban is a graduate of the Schuler School of Fine Arts, an atelier in Baltimore, Maryland founded in the traditions of the Old Masters. He is a member of the International Guild of Realism, the Harford Artists Association, a signature member of the Baltimore Watercolor Society, Allied Artists Association, Oil Painters of America, and the Charcoal Club of Baltimore and the American Artists Professional League.
Alban produces his own medium based on the research of Jacques Maroger and Ann Schuler. Raw linseed oil is heated with litharge to create "black oil." It is combined with mastic varnish which Lee makes by dissolving mastic crystals in turpentine. When these two ingredients are combined the result is a gel called Maroger medium. Alban also uses the black oil to produce paint by grinding it with powdered pigments, achieving a more concentrated mixture than can be found in tubes. This produces better coverage, brighter, longer lasting colors, and speeds up drying time. The Maroger medium provides a smooth consistency and is excellent for its glazing properties.
For many years, Alban prepared panels by hand from fiberboard and five coats of traditional gesso. Today, there is a broad selection of panels available but he still does the hand preparation when time allows. Traditional gesso is made by using rabbit skin glue and powdered marble applied in multiple thin coats. Most of the canvases are still hand-prepared by stretching Belgian linen over wooden strips. The linen is primed with three coats of rabbit skin glue and two coats of lead white paint. This produces a superior surface for its tautness, reflective qualities, and durability.
Alban currently resides with his wife, Carol, in the historic town of Havre de Grace, Maryland, located near the Susquehanna River. In his home studio he teaches oil painting techniques, drawing and watercolor. His painting styles range from trompe l'oeil to alla prima. He paints in the studio as well as on location. Subject matter includes portraiture, landscape, still life, and figurative paintings.
Featured painting: "AVERY RESTORATION", by Lee Alban (b. 1948)
Avery Restoration is only one of many paintings by Lee for his "Silk and Steel" series, he hopes to record the history of the industrial steam era. It's quiet amazing to think of what could be accomplished with iron, fire and water. All of the old steam tractors and trains are majestic and rather a simple but yet complex piece of machinery.
David Michael Bowers
David began teaching his craft at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh where he lectured for ten years and was honored as the Keynote Speaker for the Class of 2003. In 1991, David began his illustration career working mostly with book publishers in New York City in which he completed over one hundred book covers in the span of over ten years. Also, David’s work graced the cover of numerous prominent magazines, including TIME. He also painted the portrait of J. P. Morgan for the cover of Cigar Aficionado , as well as the family portrait of the Rothschild family and the Chateau Latour Winery for the covers of Wine Spectator magazines. These paintings are now part of the publishing company’s permanent collection at their corporate headquarters in NYC. Bowers’ illustrations received numerous awards including three Joseph Morgan Henniger Awards, “Best of Show” from the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles along with two Patrick Nagel awards. These awards recognized David with the best, published illustration of the year. Also, David received nine other medals recognizing his work from that organization. David also received numerous medals and Merit awards from the Society of Illustrators in New York, Spectrum’s Best of Fantastic Art and Communications Arts Magazine.
As David transitioned into Fine Art, his work continues to be recognized by various organizations including the “Best of Show” from the American Society of Traditional Artists in 2014, the “Jack Buncher Award” from the Carnegie Museum of Art in 2013, the “Best of Show” in 2011, “The Best Tromp L’oeil” in 2010 and “Pioneer in Realism” award in 2009 from the International Guild of Realism. David was recognized by The Art Renewal Center with the “Chairman’s Choice Award” in 2013 along with the “Staff Award” in 2011 and in 2009 recognized as a “Living Master.” David’s painting titled, “Made In America” received the 1st place award from The Portrait Society of America in 2011. Bowers was a semifinalist for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition in 2009, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Bowers has had exhibitions across America and Europe, including the Mendenhall Gallery in Pasadena, CA, Gallerie 224 in Laguna Beach, CA, Klaudia Marr Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 101 Exhibit in Miami, FL and Los Angeles, CA. Gallery Brusen in Denmark, Halcyon Gallery in London, England, Marcel Salome Gallery in The Netherlands and Germany, the Butler Institute of American Art, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art and is currently being represented by Palm Avenue Fine Art in Sarasota, FL, Gallery 1261 in Denver, Co, Ric Michel Fine Art, NYC and most recently Winfield Gallery in Carmel, CA.
Upon first glance, Bowers’ work seems to take you back to periods of painting long gone. This is due to Bowers method of painting, which is reminiscent of the Old Masters, specifically the 17th Century Dutch. David has studied the masters for many years to develop his techniques, which involves multiple layers called glazing and alla prima. The technique might be old, but his paintings incorporate modern themes and current symbolism, which he describes as “realism with an edge.” Bowers’ paintings are in many private collections throughout the United States and Europe as well as The Museum of American Illustration in New York and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Bowers lives in Madeira Beach, FL area with his wife Kimberlie, where he paints very meticulously and methodically day in and day out!
Featured painting: “STRIKE THREE”, by David Michael Bowers (b. 1956)
After graduating from the University of Colorado with a B.A. Degree in 1983, Unbeknownst to him, an unplanned stop to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia in the late 1980’s became the momentum that drew him to Trompe l’Oeil and Classical Realism after he saw an original William Harnett painting. He marveled at Harnett’s ability to create both unbelievable detail and illusionary dimension and began a personal study on the Old Masters Dutch still life painters and on the American Trompe l’Oeil School of painters of the late 1800’s, specifically, William M. Harnett, John Haberle and John Peto.
Clapper’s painting developed during the 1980-90’s while he lived and worked in Gainesville, Florida. It was during this season, he developed his own techniques and proficiency as he applied the Old Masters’ methods of indirect lighting, shadowing, glazing and multi-dimensional affects to the canvas.
After a period of painting still life’s, Clapper completed series of trompe l’oeil paintings that pays homage to the pioneers of American trompe l’oeil such as Harnett and Peto. In 1994, he relocated to Arizona where he still abides and works in his Scottsdale studio. Clapper’s study focused once again to the genre of trompe l’oeil including this time some modern day masters, namely Ken Davies, Gary Erbe and David Brega.
In April of 2002, Clapper launched the International Guild of Realism, an exclusive group of today’s finest realist painters dedicated to the genre of classical and contemporary realism. Clapper is also the president of the Trompe l’Oeil Society of Artists, an exclusive group of today’s finest trompe l’oeil artists.
In 2009, Clapper created a new figurative style called “Dramatic Realism”. These new figure paintings represent a new style that illuminates the figure in a different and exciting way with multiple light sources and color splashes penetrating the composition. This dramatic colorful lighting creates drama and mystery to the figure. This new style combines everything that the artist enjoys in quality painting such as dramatic lighting, interesting composition, skillful technique and a unique blend of exciting color. These figure paintings by Clapper are still executed in the same skillful and academic manner that Clapper has been recognized throughout the country for his award winning and museum quality still life and trompe l'oeil paintings.
Clapper’s work has received national as well as international recognition. He has received numerous articles in such publications as International Artist Magazine, American Art Review, American Art Collector Magazine and Art News. His work has been featured in many museums across the nation including The Phoenix Art Museum, The Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin and The Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has exhibited in top level galleries across the country in New York City, Dallas, Santa Fe, LA and Naples, FL.
(Featured painting: “MODERN X”, by Donald Clapper (b. 1959)
Ed's education in art is extensive. He attended the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio, and the Famous Artist School in Westport, Connecticut where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. Following these studies, he worked as a commercial illustrator for various advertising agencies and continued his career by becoming a highly–skilled restoration artist, meticulously restoring paintings on canvas, wood panels and oils on copper plates.
It was through restoring old master paintings that truly developed his depth of understanding the techniques used by the great artists of the past. The knowledge that he gained over the past 50 years, has helped him to understand their methods which he now incorporates with his own creative ability.
With many years of expert care and craftsmanship, Ed is a trusted Master Restoration Artist who will guarantee satisfaction as he conserves the beauty of your old master painting. Whatever the artwork's value, Ed treats each piece as if it were his own.
When Ed's not working in his studio, he devotes a portion of his time researching sites and events in order to create a scene. A significant amount of time is devoted to finding the right models and clothing for the painting.
Being a master artist in realism art, and having his paintings hanging in permanent Museum collections, Ed has the knowledge and skills to copy and match any technique or period of time in order to duplicate the missing areas of a painting. He has given numerous lectures on restoration and old master techniques.
(Featured painting: “SNAKE OIL”, by Ed Copley (b. 1944)
Joe Frank Howard
Joe F. Howard was born in a small town in Tennessee and reared in Columbus, OH. He has an innate artistic ability that was discovered early in life. Throughout his childhood, his hands were always working on some creative art form. An accomplished painter, today his tremendous visions and abilities speak to all through the mellifluous movement of his paintings and visceral texture of his beautifully crafted bronze sculptures. Because of Howard's breathtaking paintings and sculptures, this master of multiple media has been referred to as a modern day Michelangelo.
Joe Howard became an artist over his father's staunch objections. He wanted his four sons to be successful. The prosperous blacks he knew were doctors and lawyers and he wanted his sons to become one or the other. He was so adamant that when Joe, his first born, chose art school, he refused to support his education. But Howard won a four-year scholarship to Columbus College of Art & Design*
Since graduating from Columbus College of Art & Design Joe's works have been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe. He has been creating art for numerous private and commercial clients such as Ronald McDonald House, the State of Ohio, Mount Carmel, the late author Alex Haley, Xerox, Ohio State University Cultural Center, Liebert Corporation, Hydroplane Inc. Dave Thomas (Wendy's) and country music legend, Conway Twitty to name a few.
(Featured painting: “WAITING FOR MORNING SUN”, by Joe Frank Howard (b. 1948)
This painting won the “Best Wildlife Award” at the 2017 (IGOR) International Guild of Realism show in Carmel, California. This piece features aquatic turtles waiting to bask in the morning sun.
Patricia McMahon Rice
Her artistic approach combines a thoughtful blend of past and present, using time-honored techniques and materials of the great masters while adding her own contemporary flare, resulting in works of art that are aesthetically beautiful and unmistakably unique.
Patricia has been painting and creating fine works of art since 1996, and learned her craft from some of the best artists in the country. Between 2001 and 2003 she studied under the renowned portrait artist Daniel E. Greene (PSA, NA, AWS), considered by many to be the foremost Pastelist in the United States. Since 2004, she has studied under the award-winning American artist Robert Liberace, a prolific sculptor and painter who was given the distinction of "Living Master" by the Art Renewal Center in 2013.
Under Mr. Liberace's instruction, Patricia spent time studying the classical methods and materials, and developed a deep appreciation for the centuries-old technique of painting with oil on copper, a method widely recognized for its great technical difficulty and superior aesthetic qualities. Oil paintings on copper have since become one of her specialties, and a point of distinction. Patricia's approach as an artist is inspired by the living tradition of Classical Realism, and she seeks to combine her deep knowledge and respect of the past with a creative vision for the future.
Featured painting: “THE PEARL NECKLACE”, by Patricia McMahon Rice (b. 1957)
Portraits and figurative paintings are a work of passion for artist Ardith Starostka. Beginning at the age of twelve, Ardith has had the desire to create works of art that capture the likeness of the human face and form. Basically self taught, Ardith found her inspiration in museums through the works of 19th century French academic painter William Adolphe Bouguereau and Dutch artist Rembrandt. Ardith is a graduate of the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and an Associates degree in Art. Ardith has continued her education in fine art by attending workshops with distinguished artists, Nelson Shanks, Daniel Greene and Richard Whitney.
With skilled craftsmanship and a keen eye for detail, Ardith portrays her subjects in a extraordinary realistic style with primarily oils, but also paints in pastel and watercolor. Ardith was chosen from over 30,000 artists to create a piece for a special meeting at the White House in 1995. With her building success in painting portraits, she stepped into the art world full time in 2000. That year she won top honors at the Portrait Society of America International Portrait Competition. In 2001 she was named ‘A rising star in the firmament of American Portraiture” by The Artist Magazine and won First Place & People’s Choice Award at Ernestine Quick Memorial Competition.
In the years of 2002 through 2011, Ardith has continued to win major awards at the annual competition of the Portrait Society of America International Portrait competitions, American Mothers Association , Ernestine Quick Memorial Competition, Art Renewel Center International Juried Salon, National Arts for the Parks Competition, Salon International at International Museum of Contemporary Masters of Fine Art, Paint America National Competition, among others.
In 2009, Ardith was selected for Signature Membership in the prestigious organization International Guild of Realism and also was awarded Master Signature membership in the American Women Artists. She is a member of Oil Painters of America, Portrait Society of America, American Society of Traditional Artists, Master Signature Member of Mid America Pastel Society, and Master Signature Member of Pastel Society of America.
Her paintings are included in collections at: the Blair House and the White House, Washington, D.C.; the Wright Brothers Museum, Nagshead, North Carolina; Cessna Aircraft, Inc.; the Decorative Arts Collection Museum, Wichita, Kansas; Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska; and many private collections across the U.S.