Thursday, July 5, 2018

Bear Witness

Bear Witness, a stained glass mosaic silhouette, 27"x33",  2018
Available for Sale: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/product/wildfire/

This bear is s a metaphor that shows the reality and the danger of forest fires which the Mountain West faces every summer. The wildlife lives in that fragile landscape and has to find their way out when they are faced with the flames and the smoke of their habitat burning away. My Bear is their representative. It is walking though the burning landscape, being the much needed voice of its wild friends. 

Naturally many people are are also being displaced and loosing everything. There is nothing light about the issue of thousands of acres of land burning without containment. I hope that my recent work sheds some light on an issue many people don’t understand. Here in the West you really have to practice fire safety when the fire danger is high. We don’t get much rain and the danger to us all is very real. Let’s all hope for rain, low wind and send strength to the brave firefighters.

Close Up - the glass looks spectacular when the light hits it just right!

While I worked on this mosaic, surrounding wildfires burned thousands of acres of forest in mountains to the East, West an North of the San Luis Valley where I live.

View of the rising smoke from my daily walk along the Rio Grande. Recently the mountains were actually fully engulfed by the smoke and are no longer visible.


A close up of the fire East of Mt Blanca.

I hope that this mosaic helps to increase forest fire awareness as each year so many people, animals and forests are touched by the effects of fire, often wildfires that were caused by people which is the most devastating part.

The beginning of the project. Here I am working on my copyrighted bear silhouette. This is a special template I've created for my bear related projects.


Initially I was considering creating a pink sunset under the bear's back. But while testing my color palette, the orange glass screamed wildfire and this bear took a turn toward becoming a forest fire awareness piece.

 The stained glass is all cut, arranged and taped for gluing!

A close up of the glass shapes - each piece is hand cut to perfectly fit against its neighbors.

 My grouting set up.

Grouting the mosaic to give it a finished look and to protect the glass edges along the silhouette.

Another look at the finished mosaic. Here the light hits it a bit differently, showing a different characteristic of the glass.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Chipeta-Mai ~ A Handcrafted Glass Matryoshka Sculpture

This collaborative outdoor sculpture created by artist team Kasia Polkowska and Kyle Cunniff will be displayed for the year starting on June 14, 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Chipeta-Mai, a stained glass mosaic sculpture, 48"x24", 2018 by Kasia Polkowska and Kyle Cunniff (photographed in the San Luis Valley in front of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado)

Chipeta-Mai is a cross-cultural matryoshka doll. Historically, the first Matryoshka Doll was made in Russia and has since become a symbol in Eastern European Culture where Kasia was born.


This doll was sculpted by hand by Kyle who worked to inspire the nostalgia one often feels when laying eyes on the form of a nesting doll. The doll is adorned in a bright, colorful, hand cut stained glass mosaic pattern created by Kasia. 


To give her a sense of place, she was named to honor the people who's ancestral land we inhabit, focusing on Colorado where the artist team lives. Chipeta was a famous Ute woman known for diplomacy while Mai (Navajo for bright flower) was added to the end of her name for the flower she bears on her belly as many traditional matryoshkas do. 


The warm southwestern colors of the doll further reflect the state where she was realized. The bright orange that wraps around her belly mirrors the sedimentary beds of deep-red and pink sandstone seen jutting out of the soil along the front range of Colorado. 


Her headscarf was inspired by the bright blue sky that's so often filled with sunshine and hangs high above the mountains. 


This doll is a modern artifact emulating the artists' interest in the landscape they inhabit as well as the people that roamed that land long before them.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Trouvaille

Trouvaille has been accepted into the 2018 Alamosa Artscape Public Art Program. It will be installed in the beginning of September and will be on display for a year. 

Trouvaille, a stained glass mosaic sculpture, 84" x 22", 2018

Going back to childhood, many people may recall the excitement of finding a feather on the ground. It was a magical moment and it seemed that the feather was a gift from above. 


People may not realize but various cultures around the world also believed that feathers had a connection to the heavens. Some believed that they carried messages from the gods. Stumbling upon a feather is believed to be a good omen, a sign that you are on the right path. It is a message to soar above where you are spiritually and to look at the world from a higher perspective. 

 
This mosaic feather was created with that in-mind, to be a good omen for the passerby's. It aims to be an uplifting landmark and to delight visitors and residents a like, to provide a sensory experience of whimsical patterns, a warm welcoming color palette and a spiritual connection to its location. 

Concept Sketch for the proposed sculpture prior to completion.


Both sides of the sculpture were decorated with a handcut stained glass mosaic designed by Kasia.


Kyle Cunniff, Kasia's creative and life partner, assisted in the gluing and grouting process. He also did the technical drawings for the fabrication of the steel structure as well as created and atached the wedi parts to the steel. Kasia and Kyle often work very closely on their individual sculpture projects, each offering their unique expertise in the arts.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Hiking to Grinnell Glacier

I am holding my new painting to show scale. It is 32"x24" in size. I have not actually painted since 2006 but have recently been inspired by watching my life and creative partner Kyle Cunniff work his magic with the paintbrush. You can see Kyle's work on his Instagram account KyleCunniffArt https://www.instagram.com/kylecunniffart/

The painting was inspired by my trips to Glacier National Park in Montana. Hiking up the trail to Grinnell Glacier was a beautiful introduction to the splendor of the park. As we came up towards Lake Josephine (seen in the above photo), it was a jaw-dropping moment. The vegetation was so lush and green but there was enough of a clearing along the shoreline to reveal the surrounding landscape while framing it out beautifully. 

 Detail of Lake Josephine.

 Detail of the trees and Mt Gould.

 Detail of the tree covered foothill inf front of Mt Gould.

 Detail of the beargrass and my signature.

Hiking to Grinnell Glacier, watercolor on board, 32"x24", 2018 
Available for Sale:   https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/

Monday, March 12, 2018

Green Hills

Electric Peak Reflected in Swan Lake, a framed stained glass mosaic 25"x49", 2018 ~Available

This mosaic was inspired by my first visit to Yellowstone in 2012. One day while driving to go hiking, this view caught my attention - Electric Peak prominently standing beyond the brightly colored foothills. To add to the beauty the scenery was perfectly reflected in Swan Lake which felt as clear and still as glass. We pulled over at a look out to admire the reflection of the picturesque landscape in the lovely lake. We walked around and marveled at the serenity while little songbirds flew around us.

 Photo I took at the lake.

The beginning of the mosaic. I used a light print our of my photo as a composition guide, while the rest of the map for my mosaic was in my head.

Phew ... the trees in this piece got to be pretty small which required a ton of time. It felt really good to be moving onto the sky.

The sky was my favorite part of this mosaic. I love this blue glass. With it and the pattern I created, I worked to capture the feeling of the bluebird sky wrapping around the mountain.

 After peeling the tape, prior to grouting.

 Grouting in black to accentuate the pattern in the sky.

 Grouting detail.

Electric Peak Reflected in Swan Lake, a framed stained glass mosaic 25"x49", 2018 ~Available

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Limited Edition Art Print

Pre-Order here: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/product/pre-order-sale/ For a limited time, I am having a Pre-Order Sale on the Ursus~Borealis Limited Edition (100) Archival Giclee Art Print.


Ursus Borealis is an 11″x17″ archival giclee print signed by the artist – limited edition of 100. Printed on watercolor paper in Boulder, Colorado. Packed in a rigid flat mailer for shipping. Price includes shipping and handling with in the Continental US. ~The suggested frame and mat are not included.


Description:
  • This is a Limited Edition Archival Giclee Print numbered and signed by the Artist.
  • Edition Number is 100
  • It is 11″x17″.
  • It is printed with archival inks on high quality watercolor paper in Boulder, Colorado.
  • It is hand signed by the artist.
  • Packed in a rigid flat mailer for shipping..
  • Shipping and Handling is included in the price (Continental US Only).
  • IMPORTANT: The suggested frame and mat from the photo are not included.
  • Suggested size of frame from photo is 18″x24″ and the suggested mat 2.5″.
  • Get the Frame and Mat via Frame It Easy: https://www.frameiteasy.com/
Buy the print here: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/product/pre-order-sale/

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Ursus Borealis ~ A Limited Time Print

Ursus Borealis is available as an archival limited edition (100) gliclee art print. Pre-Order Here: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/product/pre-order-sale/

Me, Kasia, holding the finished bear up - so happy with how he turned out!
I designed this bear for my son Ethan. In creating this piece, my hope was to give him a part of me, of whom I am today. I realize that as people, we change with time and even though I may not imagine this now, I may be a very different person when he grows up. This bear will be a time capsule of when his mom spent a lot of time in the outdoors, exploring the Rocky Mountains, hiking, camping and taking in the magnificent views that inspire us to cherish and protect our public lands.

I did a series of small sketches to work out the ideal scenery.
Why a black bear? First, it is my favorite animal =) To me a black bear symbolizes wild places as they should be. Even though bears can adapt to living in varied environments, especially in their shrinking habitats here in the US, their natural environment is the kind of place I'd love Ethan to grow up knowing.

Even though Ethan is currently a baby, I chose a color palette that is sophisticated, something he can grow into.
Mama bears are great protectors of their cubs, fearless and courageous. This one will hang in Ethan's room where she can look over him and even visit him in his dreams as it is believed that dreaming of a bear can help one draw its power.

The mosaic bear ready to be glued onto the substrate which was hand cut by Ethan's Dad Kyle.
I aim to instill in Ethan a curious of animals and their environment. This bear will be a great introduction to the magic of the vast animal kingdom of the forest and of the mountains as well as of the cosmos beyond.

Grouting and Polishing, the final touches before painting the edges and hanging it in Ethan's room.
The landscape inside of the bear is that of the Rocky Mountains but not of one particular place. It is inspired by my camping trips through out Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. There is also a hint of the Canadian Rockies and Alaska where the Northern Lights can be witnessed. I haven't been to either place and I've never seen the Aurora Borealis but I hope to experience exploring the Northern Landscape with my little boy so we can take in the magic together.

Ursus Borealis, stained glass mosaic bear silhouette, 24"x40", 2018 NFS

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Purchase Kasia's Art Online

All available artwork can be purchased directly from the artist: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/ See what is currently available, the prices and dimensions of the artwork.

Email: kpolkowska@gmail.com with all inquiries and questions

http://kasiamosaicsstore.blogspot.com/

Everything can be shipped anywhere in the continental US and Canada while being fully insured for its value while in transit (other shipping options available upon request). 

A custom monthly payment plan is also available (buyer keeps artwork while making payments). Each artwork comes with a certificate of authenticity.