January 2021 is here at last. What a year 2020 was. I painted a Hawaiian beach scene on Christmas day – next best thing to being there.
It is great to see how many AAG artists are staying productive through these unique times. Artists are social beings and the AAG provides opportunity for us to work together safely both virtually and in
person. The 6×6 inch painting project is a success & continues through 2/14/21, forty-five paintings sold for 20 dollars each. Check page # 5 of this newsletter. If you have any art stories to share please email them to me at portraitsbyivan@gmail.com. I’m truly interested in what you are doing.

If you are looking for something to pass time that does not cost a lot of money consider pencil art. Many great drawings have been done with graphite, charcoal and conte pencils. Two of my favorite pencil artists are Ksohei Ohmori and D. J. Hillberry. They show us how we can have a lifetime of joy with little more than a few pencils.

We have several exciting workshops coming up. On January 15, Casey Cheuvront will teach pallet knife oil & cold wax painting via ZOOM. On January 22, John Erwin will teach Painting Natural Splendors in watercolor, also via ZOOM. On April 16, John Erwin will teach painting birds, flowers, and seascapes in watercolor in-person at AAG On April 21, Trevor Swanson
will teach painting “Nature: In General” in person at AAG.

Also, there are several demo’s and presentations to look forward to. On January 19, Ashwini Bharathula will be demonstrating her oil painting techniques. On February 16, Sherry Kimmel will demonstrate her version of painting in mixed media.

On March 16, our very own David Bradley will bring something new and exciting to motivate us all. Then on April 27 there will be a presentation by the scholarship recipients. And on May 18, Elaine Waters will show us how to take a ho-hum painting and turn it into something wonderful. Check out the AAG website for all the up and coming demos, workshops and events.

I would like to thank Harold and Joyce Baldwin for their generous contribution of a masterpiece of sculpture. It sold for $1250.00
and the money went to the scholarship fund, a much need source of income for Arizona’s budding fine artists.

It is an honor to welcome Bruce Sink to the AAG Board. He brings professional and artistic experience, leadership and vision to
our team. Presently Bruce is the President of the Arizona Watercolor Association and he is a welcome addition to AAG. He will join David Bradley and Tess Mosko-Scherer as VP of Outreach.

Join us on January 19 for the general meeting on Zoom. You may enter a painting for the critique portion of the meeting. Take advantage of this opportunity to have expert artists discuss your work. There will be a demo by Ashwini Bharathula, a truly accomplished artist. Be sure to register in advance for the Zoom meeting on January 19, 2021 at 5:30PM.

Submission for the Winter Exhibition is now open – see details on page 2. Don’t miss out on this historic event – AAG’s first virtual exhibition juried by Art Smith and Constance McBride and includes $900 in prize money.

This holiday season has found us filled with gratitude and appreciation for the important work the AAG does. It touches so many lives in a profound and meaningful way. Thank you all for being a part of this world class organization.

In closing: As you know life will be different in 2021 and beyond. However, with change comes new and exciting opportunities.
I wish you peace, joy, success and good health in 2021 and beyond.
Take Care. Keep Safe.
Ivan Halvorson

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November Greetings from Ivan Halvorson, AAG President

AAG President, Ivan Halvorson

Thanksgiving will soon be here, and we have so much to be thankful for. We have a roof over our heads and food on the table. Plus, a telephone and friends to talk with. Most of us have escaped the pandemic and hopefully the scientists will create a vaccine soon. Regardless as artists we have the good fortune of being self-motivated and self-directed and independent thinking individuals able to spend time alone being creative.

This is a good time to get involved in art competitions. Major international competitions are hosted the year around. They provide us with a goal to strive towards. Also, we get a chance to see what great artists are producing today. Then there are American competitions with big cash prizes. The Artists Network has several – including the Artists Magazine competition and the Stroke of Genius.

If your art is ready for the pages of Artists Magazine, this competition is for you! $24,000 in cash prizes plus publication in Artists Magazine. The Stroke of Genius competition is for pencil drawings. All you need is a pencil and paper to enter this competition.

Artists Network Competitions focus on a wide range of media, subjects and styles—oil, acrylic, drawing, pastel, watercolor, animals, people, abstracts, still life, landscapes and more. Win any of these fine art contests to get published in the Artist Magazine and get noticed by art enthusiasts around the world. To see what’s currently open for submissions go to – https://www.artistsnetwork.com/art-competitions/artists-magazine-annual/
On the local level a good contest to enter is the AAG’s Artist of the Month competition. Also check out the AAG website for workshops and demos hosted on Zoom. Instructional videos are also on AAG’s web page.
AAG is now big on virtual workshops due to covid19. We offer great workshops you can take from the convenience of your home. Visit our website frequently to keep updated on these special events. It’s a great way to keep connected and hone your artistic skills.

I have been asked to talk a little about myself and how I spend my days in these unique times. I keep busy with AAG business and with my miniature landscape paintings and videos. For outings I drive around photographing trees, old wooden fences, and whatever I can incorporate into my paintings. Frequently my wife and I pick up a coffee and egg McMuffens at the McDonalds drive through. The fridge is stuffed with fresh vegetables and the coffee (tea) pot is always on. It is a simple life, but we enjoy it.

Remember Alicia Plogman has an Art Supply exchange where new and gently used art supplies are donated and resold. It is by appointment only so be sure to phone or email Alicia before arriving. Phone 602 788 4016 or email aplogman@icloud.com.

Almost all AAG programs are now virtual. Outreach programs have gone national. The AAG general meetings, with live demos, are on Zoom the third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 PM. On November 17, 2020 Casey Cheuvront will do a palette knife painting demo. She will explain each step as she goes along. Then in January we have two full length workshops. These are a must for any aspiring artist. Special thanks to Carman Timm for organizing these events.

Once again, I would like to thank Rae Getz for producing a beautiful and informative newsletter. The newsletter is where all the events, workshops, demos, winners of competitions etc. come together. It is on the AAG website. Check it out.

Take Care. Keep Safe.
Ivan Halvorson

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…. October is here and the trees will be turning yellow, orange and red – the harvest moon will be blazing in the evening sky – what a perfect time for artists. Let us take full advantage of the beautiful weather to be outdoors where social distancing is easy. In the nice Phoenix parks we can do our sculpture, needle work, painting, drawing, whatever safely together. We should enjoy one another’s company outdoors now because it may be a while before we can resume indoor gatherings. And after working at home for several months we have so much to share, so much to talk about.

My favorite Fall harvest painting is “Girl in Harvest Field” by Daniel Ridgway Knight (sold for 81,000 dollars). Born in Philadelphia USA he ended up in France living in a community of peasants and farm workers. Like many great artists he used his immediate surrounds to produce great works of art. Google him, his skill as an artist will amaze you. He saw the beauty in everyday mundane routines. See a high definition photo

As you can see in Artist of the Month entries many of us are progressing beyond all expectations. Congratulations to Maria Korlosak & Hank Keneally for winning artist of the month (September), Douglas Sydnor & Bela Fidel (August), and Alice Pelchat & Laura Cohen-Hagan (July). So many good artists are members of AAG. I know my miniature landscape paintings are better than they were 6 months ago. It is true that the three secrets of success are – practice, practice and practice. All things come to those who persist.

I would like to congratulate Tess Mosko Scherer on becoming a life time member of the AAG. Tess and David Bradley have brought the AAG into the digital age. This was a massive amount of work and now AAG has the capability to go global. There is no going back. However, we will need members with technical skills to step forward. I’m sure as time goes on more and more of us will have the technical skills to keep AAG relevant in Arizona and possibly expand our influence on the national and global scene.

Another talented and brave sole deserving of recognition is Rae Getz. Rae fearlessly took on the newsletter. If you have information for the newsletter contact Rae – news@arizonaartistsguild.net

Check out AAGs website. We have several exciting workshops coming up, links to instructional videos and more.

Alicia Plogman manages the Art Supply Store. This is a great place to purchase gently used art supplies and donate art supplies and possibly receive a tax deduction. Contact Alicia for an appointment.

Do Keep Safe.
Best Regards
Ivan Halvorson

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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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