Category Archives: Blog About Our Residents

Jonpaul Smith

October 7-28, 2013

Jonpaul Smith utilizes found objects and discarded commercial waste, cutting them into strips and weaving them by hand to create large compositions. Despite the complex structure and the deconstructed nature of the materials, recognizable images and lettering appear throughout the work, and the actual process of making is quite simple. The ability to recognize a brand or product by only a partial label shows how powerful and popular today’s consumer society, and the new images he constructs maintain the same boldness present in modern advertising. He keeps his scraps filed by color in a milk crate, making it easier to select his materials to include in a work.

JonpaulSmithPaducahDuring his residency, Smith has focused on creating new, smaller works utilizing a variety of discarded materials and brightly patterned origami and scrapbook papers. These smaller works are woven together using much smaller strips in order to create a similar visual effect as the larger works. The woven surface of Smith’s work adds dimension to a piece and creates a vibrant play between color, texture and pattern. At his opening reception, I immediately notice a piece created from the Paducah brochures from his welcome packet. The area’s rich textile tradition is naturally incorporated into the woven structure.

JonpaulSmithSketchbookWhen I meet with Jonpaul, his sketchbook catches my eye. The pages are thick with drawings that are heavily collaged with pieces of paper, wrappers, and woven bits of paper. His sketches document more of his thoughts and his humor than the large works do, and looking through it I get a better sense of his personality. His small drawings are bold, complex, and playful.

Jonpaul Smith is an established artist from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is formally trained as a printmaker and holds an MFA from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning. He is the Artist in Residence at A.I.R. Studio through October 28th. To see more of Smith’s work, visit his website at

Jeannette MacDougall

September 2-15, 2013

JeannettePaintingJeannette MacDougall’s work ranges widely in style and subject. She is both a mixed media artist and a painter. During her time in Paducah she created three large abstract landscapes which she displayed outdoors in the Sculpture Garden at A.I.R. Studio.

Her objective with her current landscape series is to draw the viewer into a spiritual space through painting a place at dawn and dusk. These points of time have what she calls a “fleeting moment of light… where you can almost feel the light moving”. Having her work displayed outdoors adds to this feeling of movement. The paintings are especially impressive to see in the morning and evening, when the color of light is transitioning, and the shadows cast by the trees in the sculpture garden move across the work. The large paintings were painted on top of old painter’s drop cloths, adding a layer below the painting. She made this choice intentionally in order to remind the viewer of the imperfection of nature and the irreverence to nature by humans. She says, “It’s not enough to create a beautiful painting” and believes it is her duty to help clean up the environment, and remind the viewer to do the same.


Jeannette uses a variety of surfaces for her work. As a mixed media artist, her surface is important to her work, and she enjoys reusing old surfaces. She also enjoys using materials, such as venetian plaster, to imitate old surfaces. Her work is a process of adding and removing paint, using brushstrokes, rubbing, and lifting the paint to create a work reminiscent of watercolor.

JeannetteMacDougallEndOfSummerJeannette uses photography to record her travels, and works from photos to capture the essence of a place. Her travels have taken her around the world, and she sees travel as very important in order to experience a place rather than to simply see it. Her photos help to inform her of the most important features of a place, and she chooses those details and amplifies them in her paintings. She uses the photographs to soften the harshness and remove what she sees as distractions.  She also uses digital photography to create layered collages.

Jeannette is an established artist visiting from San Antonio, Texas. She is a part-time Instructor of Drawing and Painting at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio where she has taught for the past thirty years. She holds an M.S. in Education Administration and Supervision from Parson’s School of Art and Design in New York and a B.A. in Art from Trinity University in San Antonio. To see more of her work, visit her website.

Mitch Eckert

May 29-June 12, 2013

MitchEckertStudioNew materials and old collide in Mitch’s mixed media assemblages. His collections of old books, bird nests, and bones line the floor and tables while new stickers, scrapbooking paper and decorative tapes are pinned to the opposite wall, on display to be easily selected and applied to new work. Some of the materials he arrived with, others he has collected from the many antique shops and junk stores in Paducah.

MitchEckertWovenMusicHe cuts apart the books, searching for interesting images. Aged, brittle pages produce interesting textures and colors that are carefully extracted to preserve their importance. Some of the images he scans to set them aside to reuse again. Several small works are in progress on the table and more complete works are pinned to the wall to view. Having many pieces going at once allows him the flexibility to move from one piece to another and respond intuitively to the available materials.

Mitch has also used the time here to work with encaustic, a new material for him. The translucent materials add color and dimension to his compositions, suspending collaged materials layers over the images. After visiting the National Quilt Museum, Mitch has been busy cutting small strips of paper and weaving them together. The works are not pieced, but provide a similar visual result of individual squares and rectangles relating with one another to create a new surface. He enjoys learning from the craft traditions and playing in the open space that A.I.R. Studio offers.


His past work focused on still life photography based in a Dutch tradition. He is captivated by making arrangements that are not permanent, and the ability to rearrange objects into something new, documenting through photographs. His interest in the staged experiences of natural history museums and gardens play into his current work.

DSC00755The works created at A.I.R. Studio begin a larger project involving a variety of boxes. The box allows the work to take on a larger narrative, holding additional, larger elements. “The focus on the box is due to its breadth of metaphors ranging from a repository of memory to vessels of delivery… A fruit crate offers up a history that differs from a milk crate or cigar box. The structure can transform into a stage in which objects interact and converse. Simultaneously it possesses an interactive quality where one has to open the box in order to reveal its inner narrative.”

Mitch is the Associate Professor of Photography at the University of Louisville. He received his M.F.A. from Ohio University.

Wild Turkey Music Series No. 1

May 11, 2013


On a late Saturday afternoon in May, a poet and two musicians explored the possibilities—in an eclectic exchange of words and music genres, including world beat, blues, country and rock.

Kay Lindsey, poetry Ira (Ike) Erwin, autoharp, Appalachian dulcimer, bells & vocals David (Dave) Phillips, guitar

Ike Erwin, native of Mayfield, Kentucky plays guitar, banjo, Appalachian dulcimer, autoharp, mandolin, harmonica, and he sings.

Ike and Dave crossed each others’ paths as musicians way back when in one of the countless area jam sessions and went on to form the Ike Brothers Blues Band. You can see Ike on YouTube with Mad Dawg Mike Hinkle in a winning performance of “The Weight” during a Kentucky Opry competition several years ago.

David (Dave) Phillips , guitarist, one of the ‘grandfathers’ of Paducahs’ underground music scene plays both solo and with bands, one of which went to the National Battle of Bands. He even played once for the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Also a visual artist, Davids’ work is in both private and public collections among them, the Chicago Peace Museum, Yeiser Art Center and the Clara M. Eagle Gallery at Murray State University.

Kay S. Lindsey, poet (originally a painter), native of Washington, D.C., enjoys collaborating with artists in other disciplines, sculptors, musicians, printmakers, photographers, book artists, a metalsmith and ceramist among them. Current collaborations in progress are with cellist, Jodi Beder and Ike Irwin, bookbinder/musician. Her poem “Mad for Kites,” a recent collaboration with artist, Alonzo Davis, was on exhibit in late 2012 at Maiden Alley Cinema, Paducah, Kentucky. Ancestral roots extend to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Janelle Girod and Kristin Rodriguez

April 14-28, 2013
“Give yourself permission to play”- Janelle Girod

FOAWFlowersFiber artists Janelle and Kristin are following their own advice during their residency at A.I.R. Studio. The mother/daughter duo operates Fiber on a Whim together, an online shop based in Marietta, Georgia. This is their third trip to Paducah, but the first time that they will be here to focus on their own work.

When I met with Janelle and Kristin they had already spent some time exploring Paducah with a friend and local fiber artist, Rosemary Claus-Gray. Their favorite stop thus far was Jefferson Street Studios where they coveted both Helene Davis’s hand-dyed fabrics and studio space. They made stops at Bryerpatch Studio and the Yeiser Art Center to see the international “Fantastic Fibers” exhibit.

FOAWIrisBoth Janelle and Kristin rely heavily on collage techniques in their work. Whole pieces of cloth are cut up into smaller pieces, which are then stitched or fused together to construct backgrounds and objects. Stitched lines and layered sections call attention to the important areas of their work. Their wide range of techniques and tools adds to the diversity of their work, and their wide range of subject matter is typically playful in subject matter.

Janelle started making quilts in the 1970s and quickly became tired of the traditional quilt form. She felt constrained by the color trends and wanted to explore more vibrant colors than what was typically acceptable. She was often asked to “sit at the back of the classroom” during classes and workshops, and quickly felt the need to break out of the repetition of the traditional quilt block and be more creative in her work.

Kristin’s intuitive use of color shines through in her work. The range of colors that she brings into her work and application of stitching creates a dynamic relationship in her work to emphasize specific area and make details stand out. Her Iris piece, in progress, was created using Helene’s hand-dyed fabrics. When we talk, she tells me that she is planning to work back into areas with hand stitching to accentuate the middle parts of the flower through a change in texture and color.

FOAWColorQuiltIn addition to their own works of art, Fiber on a Whim specializes in hand-dyed fabrics, supplemented by books and products to promote creativity and exploration. They hand dye more fabrics than just traditional cotton, including silk, burlap and cheesecloth. The versatility of their fiber choices allows for manipulation and layering far beyond a traditional quilt.

FOAWFrontGalleryThe creative spirit that Kristin and Janelle bring to Paducah is sure to transfer to those they come in contact with this week. They are offering several technical workshops this week intended to produce small works while introducing a specific product or skill and encourage creative play with materials. For more information, visit their website at

Sarah Holland

April 1-13, 2013


Sarah Holland is an emerging artist visiting from her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. She graduated in 2011 from the University of Tennessee with a B.F.A. in Painting.

I met Sarah for coffee last week, and dropped in on her again later at A.I.R. Studio. This is Sarah’s first residency. She is hoping to immerse herself in a process of art making here that she can apply to her daily life back in Knoxville.

SarahHollandPhotosSarah interprets her environment and experiences to produce large, colorful abstract paintings. Her work is process oriented, building with multiple layers and reacting to the surface over time to dictate the content. She uses photography as a source to inspire her work, and spent the first day of her residency exploring and photographing Paducah.  During her time in here, her focus is on creating new work. She expects that the local area will act as a source for her new paintings.

SarahHollandPaducahShe would like to be compared to artists Cindy Sherman, Jessica Dickinson, and Mark Rothko; they avoid the obvious, and allow the viewer plenty of space interpret the work. She tells me that Jessica Dickinson makes four paintings a year. She admires her discipline and ability to let her work develop over a length of time.

SarahHollandSarah is mixing paints when I drop by the studio. She works with a wide range of colors, but feels limited sometimes by her palette. The floor is covered with a variety of painting surfaces in different stages of progress and there are little picture frames scattered across the table at the back of the studio. She has been working on small paintings and collages to fill the frames to take a break from her larger works. I am impressed by her ambition and energy, and look forward to seeing what she has finished by the end of the week.

To see more of Sarah’s work, visit her website.

Bob Donahue

January 18-22, 2013


Behind locked doors, tucked away in a matchbox, or overlooked in discarded photographs, Bob Donahue believes that great things, life-changing things, can be found in the mundane objects of our daily lives.

Bob’s mixed media sculptures are tiny, often about the size of a matchbox. His materials frequently include found photographs, maps, and photographs of his own, carefully cut and collaged together. Intimacy is imposed on the viewer through the scale of his work, drawing the viewer closer to examine the individual elements included in the piece, and to privately explore his thoughts and his narrative.  He longs for more intimate moments of a greater variety in his daily life and imposes that same need on the viewer though his work.

Open MatchboxText is used occasionally to introduce Bob’s voice into the work and add written cues to an otherwise visual piece. He refers to his work as something “akin to a visual koan”, a paradoxical statement or question in Zen Buddhism that is used as a meditation in order to abandon analytical thinking and encourage intuitive thinking instead. He looks to the paleolithic, to the da-daists, and everyday experience for inspiration in his work.


His intention is to convey a sense of wonder and mystery. His work frequently explores contradictions; mercurial and static, loving and detached, intimate and cold, dark and illuminated, powerful and flimsy, voyeuristic and watched, magical and scientific, and so on.

Bob’s residency allowed him a brief break from his regular work to reflect and relax.