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LIVE ART
LIVE ART DEMONSTRATIONS & SPECIAL AUCTION

New for 2024! If you have you ever wondered how an artist turns a blank canvas into a masterpiece, this is your window into their creative process. Truly it's own form of performance art, you will watch our featured artists - Kim Klabe, Jen Sterling, and Sharon West - create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces right before your eyes. Best of all, you can bid on their final pieces during a special auction to be held towards the end of the festival!

MEET THE ARTISTS
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Kim Klabe

“I believe that what we create should come equally from our heart and minds. With heart and passion, the art comes alive.”

Her belief that passion should inform an artist’s practice led Kim Klabe to her current body of work. For over 30 years, Klabe had been a representational painter, working in oils and watercolors, but “boredom had set in. I desperately needed a way to express myself freely and creatively.” The artist found that new path in 2017 when she began working with wine and beer.

Using spirits as her basic media, Klabe begins each work by creating “pours,” letting dark beer or wine flow onto #400 watercolor paper and then allowing it to dry, to “see what shapes appear.” She then takes the nascent images created by the stains and defines their lines with colored pencils and markers. “The direction of the wine dictates how distorted a figure may or may not be, and no longer is representation a necessary part of my painting.” This process has freed her, and as the liquids “move across the textured paper . . . they puddle and leave shimmery sugars behind.” Both artist and viewers are caught by this visual energy that draws the eye, and the medium itself sparks conversation. Even in such an unusual way, “wine and beer can bring people together.”

A native Delawarean, the Rehoboth resident was born in Sussex County and grew up in Wilmington. She lived for a few years in Maryland, returning to the First State in 1994. As a child, Klabe would “stand behind the portrait painters in Rehoboth and Ocean City [to] study how they drew [and] the tools they used.”

 

She also gained inspiration from her art teachers – especially the elementary teacher who decorated her school with murals – and furthered her studies at the Antonelli Institute (York, Pennsylvania) and University of Delaware, where she graduated with a BA in painting. She has shown her work as a solo artist as well as within group shows and has been the recipient of awards within the United States and Canada for her artwork.

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Jen Sterling

Color has always had a profound influence on Jen's state of mind. While traveling in the American southwest with her sister more than 20 years ago, she was struck by the colors she saw there – so vivid, so alive, so powerful. The experience struck her so much that when she came home she immediately bought paint and canvas and started trying to convey the rich spectrum of emotions those colors evoked in her.

 

Some of the pieces she creates come out of her in just a few hours... they are fully formed and ready to blast onto her canvas. In most cases, these are images she can see in her head before she begins. In some instances, the art is built slowly over several weeks and layers until it has developed just the right feeling... it evolves into something she did not visualize prior to beginning. 

 

Some of her favorite pieces are those that develop over time. They begin with a seed of an idea or a fragment of an image that pops into her head. Her eye might catch the color combination of someone’s shirt walking past her on the sidewalk. That seed then grows into an expanded palette. Slowly form and motion start to creep in and the energy starts to bubble up. She gets excited about what is happening and that gets translated through her brush strokes onto the canvas.

 

Those inspiring colors can strike her from anywhere. In 2020, Jen was awarded the grand prize in abstract art by "International Artist" magazine for a piece that was inspired by the colors she found reflected in a black pearl while traveling in Tahiti.

 

The goal of Jen's work is to inspire energy and excitement from within – to empower the viewer to do something bold. Her paintings are not meant to be “vanilla” or just match your couch. These images are meant to make you feel strong and powerful — to help you feel the excitement she had in creating it — to burst into your morning with a zing or invigorate your senses after a long day. Ideally, her art reminds you that life is for feeling, stretching, and living.

  

Jen graduated from George Washington University earning a BA in Visual Communications with a minor in Psychology. She lives with her husband and numerous dogs in Annapolis, MD.

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Sharon West

Sharon West is an award-winning artist from Loudoun County, Virginia, known for her joyful, lush, and highly textured impasto paintings. Using palette knives, nontraditional implements, and traditional brushes, she creates vibrant works of art featuring landscapes, seascapes, animals, flowers and more. 

Sharon grew up an "Army brat," the daughter of a US military officer and a fine artist - moving every three years of her childhood. Moving so often wasn’t an easy way to grow up, but there was a silver lining. When we lived in Europe, my parents opted to live in a local community instead of a military base so we could experience a different language and culture. It was a great childhood because I was able to experience everything from some of the world’s most amazing works of art and architecture, to exotic and unusual foods, to a variety of cultures, languages, and philosophies. I had to learn how to adapt to change and feel at home no matter where I landed. I learned to be open to cultures that were different from mine while at the same time having a strong sense of patriotism toward our own wonderful  country. As a result, patriotism has become a strong theme in many of my pieces.

I will always remember the smell of turpentine in my mother’s art studio, fascinated by her use of palette knives instead of brushes with her oil paint. Somewhere in the back of my mind I always felt I could be a painter, but I didn't have the courage because I didn't have formal training. But I was busy raising three kids and didn't think about it much during those years. But when the last one went away to college, my yearning to paint came back and with the encouragement of my wonderful family I decided to try. I started slowly, one painting at a time. I made a ton of mistakes and experimented with different types of paint and mediums. I learned mixed media, and how to incorporate found papers that I paint directly in my artwork. Somewhere along the way I fell in love with texture, bright color, and bold strokes, and I learned how to achieve the highly textured impasto look that brings me so much joy. Today my inspiration comes from things I love: angels, cardinals, flowers,  the ocean, music, dogs and animals, and of course the U.S.A.

 

Like my mother, I like to use knives and nontraditional implements along with traditional paint brushes. With my palette knives I like to combine bold strokes with happy pops of color to create highly textured impasto paintings. My goal is to bring joy to the walls of my collectors’ homes and offices.​​ Sharon is active in the Washington D.C. suburban art scene, West often performs live demonstrations at festivals, art shows, and charity events.

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