New Year, New Hues for Door County Artists

Local artists share their New Year’s resolutions

We asked seven local artists what their New Year’s resolutions are, and we received seven very different answers. Some want to try new media; some want to return to past projects and passions; and one wants to rethink what it means to create.

Claudia Scimeca

Claudia Scimeca of Sturgeon Bay’s ARTicipation Studio and Gallery is used to working with acrylics, pastels, charcoal and assemblage, but this year she wants to step out of her comfort zone by learning to use encaustics (painting with colored, heated waxes). Scimeca also aims to work more with watercolors, hold regular creative workshops and “spread the art love.”

Reneé Schwaller. Archive image.

Reneé Schwaller 

For 2023, Reneé Schwaller of Egg Harbor’s Off the Wheel Pottery has made it her goal to create a new line of pottery that’s less time consuming to create, but just as beautiful to look at. 

She also wants to prepare herself for the upcoming summer season by improving her work-life balance, making time for her family and friends as well as herself. 

“This is my resolution every year,” she said, “and it is a tough one.”

Erin LaBonte (left) talks with a volunteer at the Sturgeon Bay community mural last summer. Archive image.

Erin LaBonte

Erin LaBonte and Don Krumpos of Yonder both have a “growing list of projects we’d like to accomplish,” LaBonte said. One of them is to paint and hang Yonder’s storefront sign, which they haven’t done in three years. 

And though she says it’s not exactly a resolution, LaBonte’s 2023 goal is for the Algoma gallery to keep doing what it has always done. 

“A collective, ongoing goal is to continue creating our own work, collaborate within our community and remind people that art can save the world,” she said.

Ginnie Cappaert. Archive image.

Ginnie Cappaert

Winter in Wisconsin can be harsh, but Ginnie Cappaert of Egg Harbor’s Cappaert Contemporary Gallery looks forward to it every year. That’s because during the off-season, she can devote herself entirely to her work, which consists largely of bright, abstract paintings. 

Cappaert’s New Year’s resolution is to push herself artistically.

“I am looking to explore deeper in my current body of work,” she said. “I want to really push composition and the use of line and shape.”

Cheryl Stidwell Parker. Archive image.

Cheryl Stidwell Parker

Painter Cheryl Stidwell Parker of Chez Cheryl Artspace in Baileys Harbor is keeping her resolutions straightforward this year, seeking to clean off her work table, do a drawing every day, do more plein air work and enhance her efforts to sell work.

She also wants to return to projects that have fallen by the wayside, such as writing personal essays, compiling a chapbook of poetry and creating a children’s picture book.

Joslyn Villalpando. Archive image.

Joslyn Villalpando

Joslyn Villalpando – owner of Egg Harbor’s Woodwalk Gallery as of last June – has felt “stretched thin” recently. Managing a new business while raising two young daughters means that she has little time left over to pursue her interests in weaving, painting and embroidery. Therefore, her resolution is a mental one: She wants to redefine what it means to create.

“My New Year’s resolution is to expand my idea of creating to include drawing, painting and baking with our four-year-old, or making stick sculptures with our one-and-a-half-year-old,” Villalpando said. “To surrender to the time I am in and relish creativity in a different way.”

Karen Hertz-Sumnicht. Archive image.

Karen Hertz-Sumnicht

For Karen Hertz-Sumnicht – a Hardy Gallery Award winner and SŌMI Gallery artist-in-residence – 2022 was a bit hectic. In 2023, she wants to settle into a routine of journaling and sketching each morning, and she hopes to return to an old passion: ceramics. 

Hertz-Sumnicht and her daughter recently took a pottery class at Clay on Steele in Algoma, and she said it was a “transformative couple of hours. My B.F.A. was mainly in ceramics, so it felt like coming home.”

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