“Abstract is Real” Art Exhibit

Abstract is real! - Art Exhibit at BZTAT Studios“Abstract art is art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead uses shapes, colors, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect.” Wassily Kandinsky

Many people use the terms Modern Art to refer to so-called “Abstract Art”, even though, truth be told, Wassily Kandinsky was creating and philosophizing about abstraction way back in 1896. Not so modern, when you think about it.

Even though abstract art has been around for well over a hundred years, and it has become standard fare in the contemporary cultural landscape, many people still do not understand it, and many consider it radical.

Abstract painting by artist BZTAT
Abstract painting that I painted in college

When I was in college 40 years ago, I explored abstract painting extensively. Following the inspiration of my painting professor at Marshall University, June Kilgore, I immersed myself in the idea of pure form, color, line, texture, pattern, composition and and process. I pondered the idea of “reality” versus imagination; real depiction of a subject versus pure form; intellect versus soul; and other deep notions that young intellectuals ponder. I was obsessed with showing that what most people think of as “real” was just the tip of the iceberg of true reality, which was something deep and mystical and always just out of reach, but still worth grasping for.

"Everything But The House" Painting by June Kilgore
“Everything But The House” Painting by June Kilgore

Forty years later, I am not nearly so restive about those ideas, but they have never left me. The things that I learned about color and the other visual elements back then still has great influence in my artwork. Although my work now typically depicts a subject of some sort, it rarely follows any tradition of realism. Color, texture and composition are as important to me as the depiction of a subject. My work still tends to be semi- abstract, with a continued emphasis on the visual elements as the primary objective.

Over the years, I have met many different artists who have explored abstraction in their work as well, in myriad ways. Each has their own purposes and each follows a different path of exploring ideas and form. 

Photograph by Aimee Lambes
Photograph by Aimee Lambes

This photograph by my friend Aimee Lambes is an image of a very “real” subject, yet the way that it is framed and shadowed puts as much emphasis on form as it does documentation of a natural phenomenon.

The photo is an image of an ice shelf from her recent trip to Antarctica. It is an amazing artwork that moves me to ponder the wonders of our world in distant places, and at the same time, feast my eyes on a work of art that is amazing in its abstract patterns, lines and textures.

The linear beauty, varied blue hues and diagonal movement make it both abstract and real.

Painting by Sally Priscilla Lytle
Painting by Sally Priscilla Lytle

My friend Sally Priscilla Lytle is a very prolific artist who frequently paints from life, meaning she focuses on a real subject as the catalyst of each work. As she paints, however, she surrenders to the movement, the color, the shape, the texture, etc., and the resulting artwork becomes an aesthetic expression full of life and the character of the moment.

In this painting of a bird, you feel the fluttering of the creature as it does what birds do. You see indications that make you think of bird, yet it is very abstract in the fluid, painterly brush strokes, and structured background. The color contrasts and gestural marks bring it to life, even though the image is far from a realistic documentation of a bird.

I recently have felt an urge to return to my earlier days of abstract painting. It won’t become my mainstay, at least that is not my intention at this point. But I thought it would be fun to explore some non-representational imagery. As I did this, I decided to put together an exhibit to include these new pieces with some works by fellow artists, to give visitors to my studio gallery a varied look at abstraction. The pieces that you see here by Aimee and Sally will be in the exhibit, as are works by Dave Kuntzman, Sarah Shumaker, Christopher Triner, David Dingwell, Stephen Tornero, Emily Vigil, and Chris Wurst. The“Abstract is Real” Art Exhibit will open on March 3, 2023 and will be on view until 5/2/23. There will be an opening reception on March 3 during Canton First Friday.

Some of the artworks in the “Abstract is Real” exhibit will be completely non-representational, and some will be abstracted representations of various subjects. They all promise to stretch the concepts of “abstract” vs. “real”. I think it will be a fun group of artworks to view as an ensemble. 

My new abstract pieces are not nearly as serious and searching as the paintings that I did in college 40 years ago. Instead, they are playful and whimsical. I guess that they reflect the changes I have gone through in my life. Unlike the way I was in my youth, I am less searching and more inclined to sit back and enjoy the experience of creation without pretension. 

I had fun making these paintings. I enjoyed the process of making marks and scribbles and adding color here and there. I may make more. Purely non-representational, they show impulsive scribbles, colorful dashes of paint and brightly patterned frames that become a part of the artwork.  

I welcome you to visit the gallery/studio at 209 6th St., NW in Canton, OH to see the show, and to see the other fun things we have going on. There is always a lot happening at BZTAT Studios!

Life is an Adventure!


Yarn Explosion! Join us in filling downtown Canton, OH with exploding color!

Volunteers crocheting for a yarn bomb art installation in Canton, OH.Last year, I worked with a group of fiber artists to create an explosion of colorful yarn in downtown Canton, OH near my art studio. It was so amazing, and it brought so much joy to the Canton Arts District, we have decided to do it again!

This year’s “Create the Possibilities Yarn Explosion” is even more ambitious than last year’s. We will cover the light poles, posts and rails along two blocks of Court Ave., like we did last year. This year, however, we plan to decorate a building as well! 

Volunteers crocheting for a yarn bomb art installation in Canton, OH.The building that houses my studio/gallery will have a giant paint can made of yarn (on my marquee roof) with giant “paint splats” made of yarn spilling out and onto the surroundings. Other artistic elements such as paint brushes and paint boxes will be included as well. The building is perpendicular to the end of Court Ave. at 6th St. NW where colorful yarn gracing light poles and posts will go for two blocks from June to September.

My fiber artist friends are already working on the crocheted paint splats, but we need a lot! Are you a crocheter looking to bring some color to your community? Please join us! We need as many crocheters as we can get to make small circles that will be put together to make the overall project. We hope to get as many artists involved in this collaboration as we can get.

Yarn bomb with bicycle in Canton, OH
2022 “Imagine the Possibilities Yarn Explosion”

The volunteer group meets at 6pm on Thursdays at BZTAT Studios at 209 6th St. NW, and we would love to have you join us! If you would prefer to work at home instead, we have a “Create the Possibilities – Yarn Explosion In The Canton Arts District!” facebook group that you can join to keep up with other crocheters. 

Wondering how you can help? Here is what we need:

Our color palette is bold colors from the rainbow. Pieces should focus on one of the primary/secondary colors in the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) with accenting elements in neighboring colors. For example a primarily yellow piece may use elements of orange/red. The goal is to create pieces that have texture and depth. Color families. Please avoid use of pastel and shades of black or brown.


  • Circles in various sizes!
  • 12 inch circles (solid red, orange, yellow, green blue or purple)
  • 3 inch & 6 inch circles (color families as described above… so, for example, one circle made up of several shades of blue, or solid circles of various blue shades)
  • We have been using double crochet and half double crochet spiral circles, but any circles will work.
  • Flat is the goal. Please weave in ends before submitting.
  • All pieces will be matched with similarly colored circles and assembled into shapes reminiscent of paint splatters which will adorn the building faces on 6th street. Poles will be recovered and yarn-splattered as well.


  • 100% acrylic yarn in medium or greater weights. Your steering committee recommends Dollar Tree yarn, Walmart brand yarn (Mainstays) and Red Heart bargain brands.


  • We welcome anyone who wants to join us, but meetings are not required. We meet weekly at BZTAT Studios on Thursday evenings from about 5:30 to 8:30ish. This is when we will decide on more complicated pieces such as a bike and struggle together with installations.


Please drop off completed pieces at BZTAT Studios as they are done so assembly can take place.

  • Deadline 1 – March 1, 2023 (200 piece goal)
  • Deadline 2 – April 1, 2023. (150 piece goal)
  • Deadline 3 – May 1, 2023 (100 piece goal)

If you would like to donate yarn or other supplies, here is our Amazon Wish List

We look forward to your support, and we can’t wait to see the finished product!

Life is an Adventure!


Join me for a 12-hour Paint-a-Thon to celebrate the end of summer!

12-hr End of Summer Paint-a-ThonIn the past, I have done Paint-a-thons and they have been a lot of fun. So,let’s do one to celebrate the end of summer!

Here is how it will work:

On Thursday, September 15, 2022, I will paint non-stop in my downtown Canton studio for 12 hours and create as many paintings as I can. I will paint from noon to midnight, posting in-process photos and making Facebook Live broadcasts throughout the day. Once the paintings are completed, they will be posted for auction on my website.

1. I will paint as many paintings as I can between 12 noon to 12 midnight (EST) on Thursday, September 15, 2022.

2. All of the paintings will be posted for auction here on my website on Friday, September 16, 2022. Bidding will conclude Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 10 pm EST.

3. I will be posting photos of the works in progress throughout the Paint-a-thon to Instagram and to Facebook. Follow the hashtag #bztatptg for the latest.

4. Each painting will be approximately 10″ X 14″ on wood. There will be a minimum bid on each painting. There will also be a $25 USA and $45 international shipping fee for each painting.

My paint-a-thons are a great way to find some affordable bargains on artwork!

I hope you will join me for this special event. I promise to have some new and fresh images that have not been seen before.

Have suggestions for what you’d like me to paint? Leave them in the comments!

Life is an Adventure!