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A Portrait of the Artist: Shaune Bazner

Abstract painter and jewelry designer Shaune Bazner is holding an exhibition and holiday sale featuring members of the OUTLOUD group at her MacArthur Blvd. townhouse this weekend.

The OUTLOUD Artists push the boundaries of abstract painting. Their work has been on display in galleries throughout the Washington, D.C.-area, including the Katzen Gallery, the Art League, the Touchstone Gallery, the Friendship Heights Community Gallery, and the , among others.

This weekend, the group is holding an exhibition and holiday sale in a townhouse owned by Shaune Bazner on MacArthur Boulevard. The show includes abstract paintings, jewelry and small wire sculptures and is open Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It is located at 5117 MacArthur Blvd. NW on the second floor, above Chen's Gourmet Restaurant. The locale will be clearly marked with signs and balloons on street level, and the gallery space is accessible from an exterior stair ascending to the second floor. An opening reception will be held Saturday evening from 5 to 7 p.m.

"There will be a lot of small little gems. It's a holiday show, and original art should be affordable to everybody," said Bazner who is both a painter and a jewelry designer.

Like several other OULOUD members, Bazner has no formal education in fine arts but took classes with the late abstract painter Helen Corning at the Yellow Barn Studio and Gallery in Glen Echo, Maryland.

"I draw inspiration from nature. I spend a lot of time outside," said Bazner who paints in her home studio in Alexandria and once a week at the Yellow Barn with the OUTLOUD group.

"The horizon line is where my mind tends to go because it reminds me of infinity. There are all sorts of possibilities out there."

She uses acrylics and pastels and her pieces are usually no larger than 48x60". Most fall in the middle range of 24x36".

"I have been painting for 11 years. I always wanted to try it, and when I discovered Mark Rothko and the intense feelings that were coming out of his paintings, I said I'd better get to it. He was a Colorist, and I am too. I love color and texture," she explained.

Bazner has also owned her own business, Shaune Bazner Accessories, for over 30 years. Formerly a dancer, she wore chopsticks in her hair. One day she cut the chopsticks in half and put beads on them.

"I couldn't believe what I could do with two sticks and some beads," said Bazner who transformed her experiment into a brand, MEI FA Hairstyx.

She also makes necklaces, bracelets, earrings and even home accessories like dresser trays and candle sticks. Using semi-precious stones, Austrian crystals, freshwater pearls and glass Bazner weaves together her collections.

"I put groups together that look cohesive without necessarily sticking to a genre," she said.

Picasso glass is one of her more recent discoveries.

"I love glass. Last year I went to a factory in the Czech Republic and had beads made out of Picasso glass. It's a transclucent material with different layers of color. Those mixed with semi-precious stones make unusual combinations," she explained.

Besides carefully researched collections, she also makes one-of-a-kind necklaces.

"With these I just hope to find the right woman for the right beads, matching eye and skin tone or whatever brings out the beauty in a woman," she said.

Bazner's collections are available through her online store, the Strathmore Gift Shop or Catch Can, where she will be doing an in-store promotion on December 17.

Her latest collection, "Splendor," is available at Andre Chreky, a hair and nail salon on K and 16th Street in Washington, D.C.

"The main thing that has kept me going for 34 years is the connection - working with women, exchanging stories and helping each other feel better. That's what keeps me at it," said Bazner.

Artists featured in the exhibition include: Judith Baldinger, Amy Barker-Wilson, , , , Roger Strassman, Lisa Hochheiser and Gloria Turner. 

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