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Featured Artist: Stan Chraminski

Sadie Sullivan



I have spent most of my life creating art. My formal training at Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey, was followed by an Art History concentration at Rutgers - the State University of New Jersey, as well as studio art courses at several colleges and numerous classes at the extension level. Living in Europe for five years gave me the opportunity to visit many museums and see the work of my favorite artists such as Monet and Pisarro at first hand. Since settling in Seattle, I have studied various techniques and media. I am drawn to paint the open spaces in and near my city environment. Lakes, rivers, beaches, and skies entrance me as a contrast to busy city life.

I am often asked why an artist, in this age of many modes of reproduction of scenes of the world around us, chooses to paint landscapes. My answer - I love the challenge of it! Just look at the variety of the earth’s dome around and above us. An artist must carefully select just a single slice of this ever changing reality, then combine the elements of composition, color, line, and texture to create the desired emotional impact. Each stroke is a separate decision of color, size, shape, direction, thickness, and texture which can go well or wrong and it is the sum of these strokes which creates the work. It is this process which continually drives me to pick up my brushes.

To balance the grounding in reality, I also create abstract or non-objective paintings from many sources. I use wax paper on boards for palettes and after a few sessions, I remove these and replace them with a new sheet. I fold and save the old palettes as a reminder of the wonderful colors I mixed and of the painting process. In reviewing my stack of wax paper, I began noticing fantastic colors and shapes. Pretty soon I started using selected sections of these palettes to create abstract work. I generally start out with many colors and shapes, then gradually refine and cover over many until I have distilled the work to its essence.

I also have done what I call swirls. These are free form brush strokes where I start out with lines and then fill in and add colors and lines as the inspiration strikes me. Some are based on small works on paper done in various colors of markers and pencils. I wanted to make something more permanent from these small works so transcribed and interpreted them into acrylic and oil paint. A final motif I’m experimenting with is based on a grid that is then filled in with colors or neutral gray areas. 

No matter the type of work, the emotional impact I hope to achieve in the viewer is my main goal. I want the viewer to stand where I stood in front of a landscape, or for the abstracts, just in front of the painting, and feel the same flow of feelings I did. Most often, this impact is a scene of serenity to help us deal with our modern chaos, an island amid the storm. In other works I seek to show the darker side of nature, captured under the artificial lights we live our nights by.

Willem de Kooning once said, "One idea in art is as good as another; execution is all." It is this perfection of execution that I seek.

Artist Profile:

How and when did you first become interested in art?

I majored in art at Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey, the oldest art high school in the country, and continued my interest through college art history courses, and then many studio art classes at community colleges and other organizations. I started my art as a business enterprise in 1993 once I settled in Seattle, and my two daughters were in college


Who or what has been your greatest source of inspiration?

I grew up with the abstract expressionists as my role models, and then later went back to the impressionists as favorites as I became more interested in landscape painting.


How would you describe your aesthetic style?

I am eclectic and switch back and forth from abstracts of several types to landscapes because I’m never quite satisfied with my work. I’ve also done sculpture, encaustic and other media besides my favorite  - oil painting.


What are your favorite museums?

I lived in Germany for several years so got to visit many European museums but my favorite is the Art Institute of Chicago where I made a special trip to see the Monet retrospective. I also visit the many museums in Los Angeles when I visit my in-laws there.


If you could own any work of art, which would it be?

I would love to own one of Monet’s water lily scenes.


Any insider tips for aspiring artists?

Yes, learn the business of art early on and develop a signature style that can be marketed.


What prompted you to join PSG?

I am by nature a joiner and volunteer so joined the group to further my own art interests and help the group succeed. I’m currently President of the Evergreen Association of Fine Arts too so keep very busy at volunteer activities, at times not leaving as much energy for actually creating the art. I’m also in charge of the local racewalking community and a competitor, so good thing I’m retired from a “day job” as I enjoy giving back to these various groups and have the time and resources to do so.


Any upcoming projects you would like to share?

Last year I completed well over a hundred small landscape paintings to improve my style and this year I want to take these results to my larger work. It’s the biggest room in the world, the room for improvement, and I hope to continue to work at making beautiful art.