The St Lawrence River is loved by thousands of people each year. It spurs the creativity of a great number of artists, from students and beginners to professionals. It is hard to gaze at its beauty and not be inspired.
Christine Tisa and Scott Ouderkirk have spent the last several decades creating art about and around the Thousand Islands. Many people in the area own and display each artist’s work, but few of those people would think of the two artists’ work as similar. Although the two both have spent so much time in the area, they had never met until recently. Their paths simply had never crossed, despite their appreciation for each other’s work.
Christine, who has always been known as Tisa, lives in Clayton, NY. Here is an example of her work, called "River Place-Setting," done in acrylic on canvas, from the collection of Patti and George Kittle.
This piece, “The Bridge,” is also an acrylic on canvas painting, from the collection of Molly and Darden MacWade.
Scott, who lives in Hammond, NY, usually works with kiln-fired stained glass. This piece is called "The Mermaid and Her Turtle."
The stained glass panel on this poster was created for the Antique Boat Museum.
After Tisa and Scott spent time discussing their artistic processes and their specific chosen media, the two noticed that the strengths of one were possibly the weakness of the other. Tisa is all about color, having been trained in the Rudolf Steiner School of Art. Scott’s training as an illustrator, under Murray Tinkelman, is all about draftsmanship and line. Tisa and Scott began critiquing each other’s work, and found that the suggestions were improving their pieces. Tisa began to be more precise and Scott began to loosen up. They also decided to try working together.
The following images show the progression of this process of collaboration, with an island in Chippewa Bay called “Little Rabbit” as the subject. Each collaboration begins in the same way, with a photograph taken for reference. The first image shows a photograph taken by Tisa in May, while the two were on a boat ride. Both artists found this composition intriguing.
In the next image, you can see the pencil drawing that Scott created while using the photo as reference, as well as the watercolor that Tisa had begun to add. Although each artist works on their parts of the process alone, there is constant feedback.
In this image, Tisa has completed the watercolor, so it’s now Scott’s turn to add details with a pen.
Not only adding details with outlines, Scott is adding value, which helps to organize the darks and the lights.
The finished piece is signed by both artists and details about it are documented on the back. The image is for sale as an original and may also be used to make other products, such as giclee prints or notecards. Artists sell originals, but don’t normally relinquish their rights to the images along with the sale of the original.
The whole collaboration process began one day at Scott’s studio in Hammond, NY.
To date, there have been 11 collaborations with Chippewa Bay as the subject. Here are some examples.
The artists plan to continue these collaborations, using subjects from many areas of the St Lawrence River. Currently, they are working on a number of ship images.
By Scott Ouderkirk and Christine Tisa
Scott Ouderkirk was born in Syracuse, NY and has spent much of his life on and around the water. Now living in Hammond, NY, his life is about creating. He works in many different media including stained glass, pen & ink, books, and even wooden boats. His training has included formal university work including an MFA in illustration. Also, many talented people along the way have influenced him informally. The latest collaboration with Tisa continues to improve his skills and motivate him. See several of Scott's TI Life articles here.
Christine Tisa was born in Rochester, NY and resides in Clayton, NY. where Tisa Gallery is located. With an MS in Art Education and an MFA in Painting, she continues to teach art, yoga, and meditation. She also holds many popular events at her Tisa Gallery, promoting other local artists and the aesthetics of poetry, music, and the visual arts. She says she is inspired by the St. Lawrence River, and places she has travelled to abroad. Her new collaboration with Scott Ouderkirk starts with images of the 1000 Islands and will expand much further.
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