AAG President’s Message April 2020


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A lot has changed in the last 30 days and change of this magnitude presents both risk and opportunity. If you can manage the risk you will have plenty time to focus on what really matters to you. Many distractions are eliminated allowing you focus on your art. Personally I am trying to take my miniature paintings to another level. I study the great landscape painters focusing on their mastery of composition, values, focal point, colors, atmosphere, mood etc. Also their painting techniques are well worth studying. If I were to write a book about this shelter-in-place time I would call it “Zen and the Art of Painting”. I hope you will find joy in your art.

The AAG is at a standstill through the end of May. With that in mind, we have mailed this newsletter to every member so you are informed. There will not be another newsletter until September, so check the website, follow AAG on FaceBook and be sure to sign up for eblasts if you haven’t yet. The Sculptors Group and the AAG Figurative Group have facbook pages for sharing and connecting. Be sure to join/like/follow to stay connected with your fellow artists. If you would like to establish a private facebook group or Zoom meeting and need assistance, email Tess Mosko Scherer at admin@arizonaartistsguild.net.

The Wednesday night critique group has established a virtual meeting and it has been quite productive and keeps the group engaged with each other and their art. Although it is not the same as meeting in person, it is one way to stay connected.

Be sure you have the current directory so you can email one another to keep moving forward together. Take photos of your art and email them to your friends. Plus there are thousands of educational videos on Youtube. Here are some I like. The oil painting videos of Liam Rainsfords and Yasser Fayad. The watercolor videos of Gary Tucker and Peter Sheeler. Also the drawing masters at the Fine Art Academy and Poko will amaze and challenge you. And all these videos are free – that’s right free. Sometimes I watch them on my cell phone in bed at night. But must admit that I do fall asleep on occasion.

Since we won’t be meeting until September, we have set up an on-line ballot to vote for Artist of the Year. Click here to vote. Be sure to vote!!

It is good to remember that the Arizona Artists Guild has been running for 92 years and it has survived many hard times. It will certainly survive this little setback. In fact when we get back together we will be better artists and have a greater appreciation for fellowship the AAG offers. These new found blessing will bring a crisp new vitality to the organization.

Do keep well until then.
Best Regards Ivan Halvorson

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AAG Responds to Covid-19

Dear Friends,
AAG has been closely monitoring the CDC for information on the escalating spread of COVID-19 in order to protect the health of our community and neighbors.

It is with this concern in mind that AAG has decided to suspend all upcoming public events, meetings, workshops, open studios until further notification.

Cancelled Events:
-Open Studio Monday mornings and Wednesday evenings (until further notification)
–Life Drawing through March 31, stay tuned for April announcements (email Rich at rorbon1331@gmail.com with any questions)
–General Meeting, March 17
–Sculptors Group April 4 
–Women’s Veteran’s Art Class – March 17
–Veteran’s Art Class – March 28
–Survivors of Suicide Art Class – March 28
–Arthur Norby Workshop – April 3
–Bill Lundquist Workshop – April 4

We implement these changes in an effort to support social distancing and decrease public density. Please understand that this was not an easy decision for us to make.  We are grateful for the support of our sponsors, patrons, staff and volunteers who have worked so hard to create these events.

We will keep you updated as to when we will reopen to the public. We urge you to prioritize your health and safety.

Let’s keep each other safe & healthy during these troubling times.

Warm wishes,
Ivan Halvorson
President, Arizona Artists Guild

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January 2020 Presidents Message

Let’s kick this New Year off with a bang. What was your New Year’s resolution? Mine was to improve my drawing skills. Perhaps I can learn to draw more like the great masters. Take a look at Vincent Van Gogh’s – The Potato Eaters. With total and absolute dedication to his craft, Vincent produced this masterpiece in a dark room with oil lamps for light. Just imagine what you and I can do today with electricity and all the modern conveniences.

AAG is a good place to develop your skills. There is Open Studio twice a week where you can do your art work with other artists and learn from their experiences. Then there is life drawing every Tuesday and Thursday with live models. Plus AAG has educational demos and workshops every month. And the coffee pot is always on so get involved.

Arthur Norby’s sculpture workshop has been postponed. Be sure to check the website for updated information. In the workshop, he will show you how to take a sculpture from the armature to a finished product. On January 10, Tess Mosko Scherer has a digital media lab. There you will learn to use the World Wide Web to your advantage. And on February 20, John Erwin (Watercolor John) will teach the art of watercolor painting. This promises to be a fun filled educational workshop. His fast, free and elegant painting style will be a great learning experience.

I would like to congratulate all the people who attended Artstravaganza. It was a total success. This proves art can be fun and educational. And special thanks to the people who made it happen. David Bradley’s raku kiln lighting up the night sky is an experience we will never forget. Many people took home beautiful works of art and memories that will last a lifetime.
I would like to remind you to check out AAG’s website –ArizonaArtistsGuild.net – stay informed and get involved.

Plus, be sure to enjoy your own art work because creative happy people generally have better health and live longer.

In closing let’s look forward to a fun filled, exciting, productive and educational 2020 at AAG.
Be sure you are at the General meeting on January 21, 5PM. We will celebrate last year’s successes and talk about next year’s plans. Plus there will be an exciting free live demo by Watercolor John. It does not get better than that!

See you January 21, 5PM at AAG.
Ivan Halvorson

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November 2019 President’s Message

November reminds me of Norman Rockwell’s painting of a turkey being served on a platter. This painting showed us an idealized Thanksgiving dinner. Norman Rockwell demonstrates the power every artist possesses. With his brush he influenced how we see our past, how we perceive our present, and what we aspire to become.

This month’s art tip is Mark Carter’s Geneva color palette – Cadmium yellow light hue, French Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson. He shows us how to paint a masterpiece with the three primary colors. Mark Carter has several instructional videos on YouTube that will help us transition from an ordinary artist to a great artist. And they are all free. Check them out.

And if you would like personal instruction from a master artist we have a wild-life painting workshop by Trevor Swanson on December 6, 2019 from 10 AM to 4 PM. Trevor is an absolute master. He will provide an overview of the design and painting process used to create a finished work. I have paid several hundred dollars for a similar workshop at art schools. Be sure to check out the AAG website for examples of his work and details of his workshop.

AAG has several exhibitions coming up. The Winter Exhibition with $900 in prizes (did that get your attention) and then the Body of Work exhibition in February. Check out the website for details.

Then on December 13, 2019 we have the most exciting event of the year – Artstravaganza. It is open to you and your friends. There will be a full blown glass blowing event where you can make your own glass art piece. Plus David Bradley will have his pottery kiln blazing hot and bright. There you can decorate and glaze your own pottery, have fun, learn a lot, and take home your masterpiece.

If you have any questions or inquiries direct them to me at info@arizonaartistsguild.net. And don’t forget to check out the AAG website . There is a wealth of information plus several past newsletters to guide you.

Congratulations to AAG’s Deena Hunker Sanks for winning first prize in a prestigious exhibition held at Quality Collectors Fine Art Gallery. She painted a portrait of her stainless-steel brush washing can. How creative is that? Next time you are searching for something to paint look no further than what is in front of you – perhaps it is your coffee cup or a celery stick with cream cheese. Deena proves that hard work and dedication to your craft are important stepping stones toward success.

In closing, be sure you are at the general meeting November 19, at 5PM. We will preview future workshops and events. Also sculpture Arthur Norby will do a free demo. Plus there is a critique session so bring along a piece of art to be critiqued. Oh yes, need I mention that we have delicious snacks. It does not get better than that.
I hope to see you on November 19, 2019 at AAG.
Ivan Halvorson

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September Greetings from Ivan Halvorson

Since this is my first President’s message I must take a few lines to thank Tess Mosko-Scherer and David Bradley for the years of hard work and the thousands of intelligent decisions that made AAG what it is today.  Almost everything you see at AAG has been touched in some way by these two past Presidents.   Also I must thank the board of directors for their dedication, hard work and guidance.  They keep AAG functioning like a well-oiled machine.  And you the members, I want to thank you for your participation.  This entire organization exists for you – it exists to help you succeed.

            How does AAG help you succeed?  First: AAG opens doors with exhibitions,  workshops, demos and events.  These events help you grow as an artists. Second:  AAG gives you a chance to be part of a larger community of artists – this is something money can’t buy.  Third: AAG provides a comfortable place to acquire and share art related knowledge. AAG is a valuable asset to local artists, the city of Phoenix, and the state of Arizona.

            Here is a little story I want to share.  It reminds us of how important our art work can be.  In 1825 Thomas Cole took a steam boat up the Hudson River to Catskill landing.  From there he carried his easel, canvas and paints up into the Catskill Mountains and painted the now famous Oxbow painting which hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  For the first time many people living in dark overcrowded cities saw the wide open spaces just over the horizon.   Soon other artists, carpenters, teachers, farmers, merchants were heading west to build the great nation we enjoy today.  Never underestimate the contribution your art can make and the AAG workshops, critiques and demos provide a great opportunity for you to hone your artistic skills.

            Be sure to attend the General Meeting on September 17, 2019.  There will be a reception for last year’s Artist of the Month winners and the Artist of the Year winner plus their art work will be on display.  Also there will be an educational demo by Ann Osgood. She will be demonstrating how to paint flowers in acrylic. Ann Osgood has a workshop on October 18, 2019.  Sign up and learn how to paint large flowers in Acrylic.

Plus the annual budget for 2019-2020 will also be presented and adopted.  There will be a critique session so bring a piece of your artwork to have it critiqued.  And you can enter a piece of your artwork in the Artist of the Month contest.

            On another note, if you want to take full advantage of all the opportunities the digital world has to offer, attend Tess Mosko-Scherer’s digital media labs.  Digital Media Labs will be held monthly on the second Friday of each month.

            Be sure to visit ArizonaArtistsGuild.net for up to date information about all the events at AAG. I look forward to seeing you there!

            I am looking forward to a successful and productive year at AAG.  Let’s kick it off with an educational meeting and reception on September 17, 2019.

Best Regards

Ivan Halvorson

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Farewell letter from Tess Mosko Scherer

This is my last letter as President. It has been the most difficult to write because it feels so final. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as president these past 3 years. They went by so quickly and hold so many memories. There is so much I would like to say, and yet want to keep it short.

I am grateful to have had this opportunity to serve all of you and AAG. This was an opportunity to get to know so many of you that I might not otherwise have had an opportunity to know. As I have grown, I have witnessed your growth, too. I have seen the work evolve through the critiques, the shows and exhibitions, and hearing about what you are doing and where you are showing. It is an exciting time for all of us.

I have had an amazing group of people to work closely with through the years. Not just the board members, but also the committee members. We all worked together, mostly in harmony, in pursuit of a common goal: to advance the mission of AAG to promote the arts and artists through exhibition, education and outreach. I am grateful to all of you for sharing your gifts and graces, and influence my life. We have laughed really hard, cried, shared stories, births, deaths, illnesses, and life experiences together. Although volunteering is a huge time commitment, the payoff was beyond measure. In these 3 years, AAG has expanded its reach and I am fortunate to have been a part of that.

I am grateful to have succeeded David Bradley. He has become a mentor and a dear friend through this process. In the early days he guided and encouraged me, partnered on projects with me and then cheered me on as I flew on my own. I hope I can do as much for Ivan as he has done for me.

On a personal note, these 3 years have been a time of expansion and growth for me. I overcame my fear and loathing of public speaking — I would never have gone to China or Bangladesh if I hadn’t worked through that! This position provided me an opportunity to explore myself as an artist, a leader, and a public servant in a deeper way that I can accurately convey.

My life has transformed over the past ten years as I have been a member of AAG and AAG has influenced that transformation. AAG has helped me find my voice as an artist, to realize the social impact of my art and my artistic practice, and how my art can affect others and create change. In this nascent stage of understanding, I am excited to have the time to develop the work and see where it leads.

So I ask you, what does AAG mean to you? What have you gained? How have you grown? And if your answer is NO to these questions, then I ask, what is holding you back?

At one point I shared the famous Teddy Roosevelt speech, The Man in the Arena. I’d like to share it again one last time. AAG is in the arena. We have been dusty, fallen and risen time and again. We have prevailed for 90 years. I believe it is our clear mission statement that keeps us focus and grounded as an organization, and it is our core values of public service and encouragement that keeps us unified.

Onward with grace and gratitude,


It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
– Teddy Roosevelt


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knowing and understanding yourself as an artist

April Greetings!

I write this reveling in the aftermath of the opening reception for this year’s scholarship recipients at Shemer art center.  This evening we celebrated nine student artists who received scholarships.  As I contemplate the evening, the art, the students, the exhibit, and the many donors that made it possible, I am reminded again that life is not a solitary act. No one can go it alone.  As artists, we spend time by ourselves making our art and learn to navigate the solitude of the studio against the solicitude of relationships. It is wonderful that as a community of artists we frequently join to celebrate one another’s artistic achievements through receptions and ceremonies.

Yesterday, David Bradley and I gave a presentation at the Entrepreneurial School at PVCC.  During our talk, I found myself quoting an unknown source: “…get used to the person you are now…” In context, this is about recognizing our strengths and weaknesses without judgment or criticism and accepting them/yourself as you are – right now.  Knowing and understanding that who you are today is different than who you were a few years or decades ago.  However, I altered this quote a little and offer it to you here…..’get used to the artist you are now’. It is important – imperative, really – that you recognize your strengths and weaknesses, your artistic voice and vision, and the ability you have to convey them.  The artists’ propensity is to default to humility when complimented or recognized.  How might you respond differently? How might your perspective shift if you believe your work is worthy of the accolades you receive?  This doesn’t mean to become pompous. It frees you to believe “I made this and it is good, or beautiful, or complete”.

From that conversation we discussed art as an extension of the artist – how often artists consider their creations in some way a part of them.  Oftentimes as artists we hang our personal identities and well-being onto the creations we make when in fact, our identities are who we are; our art is how we show it to the world. They are not conjoined twins.  How might you detach from this myth if you could see the work as something you do separate from your identity?  How might that liberate you from a defensive response to a critique?

Circling back, if you haven’t seen the New Art Arizona show at Shemer, please don’t miss it. We have a lot going on this month at AAG.  Hope to see you there.

Onward with grace,


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February 2019 President’s Message


I write this as I prepare to leave on another exciting adventure facilitating a program on woman’s leadership for the World Academy for the Future of Women, in Bangladesh.  I’ve not been there before and am excited about the prospect.  I am excited to work with a group of courageous young women who dare to live a life fully expressed, larger than what they had ever imagined.  And in doing so, I find myself living a fully expressed life, larger than I had ever imagined.

This work has led me not only to exotic lands, but into the deep recesses within myself.  It has altered my perception of the world and in doing so, has altered my artistic practice.  My work is taking on deeper meaning. My art has always been driven by an experience or emotion residing within myself. It focuses less on the rules, relying mostly on the expression.  It is widely received due in part to its ability to touch others.

When we learn to make art, we are thrilled to make something relatable resembling the intended, familiar object or person. We spend countless hours mastering a technique or skill.  As we mature in our practice, we have the opportunity to convey something more, often shadowy, generally not fully understood until the piece is complete.  We learn about art making and, in the process, the making of art we learn about ourselves.  What are you learning about yourself and the world you navigate through your art? What is the impact that your work has in the world? Are you allowing your artistic voice to be vulnerable –to share your dark recesses, to explore that which might make you uncomfortable?  To risk being seen – or being seen in a different way?  I am reading a book on leadership by Brene Brown.  She writes about ‘rumbling with vulnerability’ in difficult conversations. The phrase has resonated with me and prompted me to look at not only where I rumble with vulnerability in my relationships and conversations, but in my artistic practice. This is an invitation for you to do the same.

Two prominent AAG exhibits are coming up: The Associates Body of Work and the Statewide Exhibition.  Check out the details in the newsletter and on the website.  While you are there, check out the many exciting opportunities February holds!

A nod of gratitude to Ivan Halvorson who will be filling in for me during February’s General Meeting.  Ivan will be taking on the presidency at the end of my term in May.  If you don’t know Ivan, please be sure to attend the meeting and introduce yourself to him. He is a kind and lovely man and brings a fresh energy to the position.  Ivan has been a member for many years and holds the position of VP of Meeting Logistics, and hosts the weekly Wednesday evening Open Studio/Advanced Drawing class and leads the monthly Tuesday night critique group.

Have a wildly creative, expressive month.  I look forward to seeing you in March.





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October President’s Message

Tess Mosko Scherer with student members of the World Academy for the Future of Women

Happy October.

This is my favorite month. It’s funny.  I don’t have a favorite color, or a favorite food. Or any of the typical things people would favor.  However, I love the fall.  I was born in the fall.  When I was young, I felt like it was ‘my’ time of year – made especially for me.  It was the time of year that nestled me close.  When the natural world was preparing for slumber, I was somehow revitalized.  The cool air, the crunch of the leaves underfoot, and the warmth of woolen sweaters seemed to reinvigorate and induce an introspective moodiness that ignited me creatively.  This is still my most productive time of year.

And it seems to be the same for AAG.  We are back after summer’s reprieve and everything seems to be in full swing.  Members are busily working in their studios preparing for the upcoming exhibits, planning that had taken place over the summer is set into motion, and connections are rekindled and deepened.

I have been thinking about change.  I will be moving in a few weeks. There is an uncertainty as I write this. Change. Something new. Unfamiliar.  Different than what I am used to.  What does Change mean to me?  And what does it mean for AAG? None of us are exempt from change. Change is exhilarating and terrifying depending on the circumstances and perspective.  Above all, it is inevitable.  None of us want to stagnate, yet we most-often avoid change, or don’t notice the subtle changes around us and within our relationships, until it feels unfamiliar, foreign, or uncertain.

You are wondering why I am sharing this. I’m a fan of personal inquiry. As artists, we do this with our work. But are we observant of our practice?  I invite you to question the change/s you see in your studio – in your artistic practice – to delve into self-inquiry:  How are you showing up? Are you taking time for your artistic practice? Are you complacent in your work?  Are you challenging yourself? And if so, how far outside of your comfort zone are you going – or willing to go?  How has your work changed over the years? How have you changed because of it?

Nancy Christy-Moore will be joining us on October 16.  She delves into the subconscious in her art and her artistic practice. I am looking forward to her presentation and what it stirs within all of us.  Her workshop in March is sure to ignite and inspire.

Speaking of workshops, I will be presenting Selling from the H.E.A.R.T. on Oct 5 & 26. As artists, we are entrepreneurs working for ourselves.  This workshop is a great way to tap into that part of yourself and flex that muscle that most artists are uncomfortable with: the business side of themselves and their art. If reading this makes you uncomfortable, then this workshop is for you.

I look forward to seeing you during the month at the many activities at AAG.

Onward with grace,

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Tess Mosko Scherer with Zoe Song, Administrative Assistant World Academy for the Future of Women


It seems like we barely closed the door to last year, and now we are embarking on a new season here at Arizona Artists Guild.  It is going to be another stellar year.  AAG’s leadership team has been busy scheduling and planning exhibitions, workshops, events, speakers, to name a few.  Almost everything is posted on the website, with updates as plans are finalized.  Read through this month’s newsletter for an overview of what’s to come throughout the year.  I hope you will seize every opportunity we have made available for you to connect with other artists, improve yourself as an artist, and propel yourself as an entrepreneur.

Entering this year is bittersweet for me.  This is my final year as president. I have been reflecting on what this has meant to me and what I want to accomplish this year.  It has been an expansive time for me as well as AAG. I hope to close out my presidency on a high note through the programming and events we have planned. As I write the words ‘my presidency’ I recognize that it is not mine alone.  It really does take a village, and I am proud of our leadership team and honored to be working with so many talented and dedicated people.

Hopefully summer’s reprieve nourished your soul, ignited your creativity, and infused energy into your family and relationships.  For me, summer provided an awakening of sorts. My experience in China as a facilitator for the World Academy for the Future of Women in May and June filled me with a renewed sense of self and purpose.  I look forward to sharing highlights from this life changing experience with you at the monthly meeting in January.

Onward with grace,

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