Art Opening at Aloft Hotel Downtown….The Art of Industry, Chapter 1


                                                                                   Superior Viaduct, 60″x 40″ Acrylic by Peter Hartshorn

If you live in Cleveland you know that visions of our industrial past are always present. To local artists, these compelling scenes demand to be expressed.

Ideas about how to get these images on canvas have been bouncing around my head for years. With Lila Rose Kole and Peter Hartshorn of Hartshorn Studios, I have been focusing on large scale painting in acrylic. Using luminous techniques and edgy new materials we bring a fresh look to the timeless theme of our Rust Belt heritage.

The architects of the new Aloft Hotel Downtown must have been presented with the same challenge: how to offer a refreshing experience to a city on its way to newfound national credibility but still wedded to a smokestack aesthetic. They succeeded in the Flats with a sleek modern sensibility.

Next week art and architecture connect. Hartshorn Studios unveils ten new paintings at Aloft’s W XYZ Lounge. We call this The Art of Industry, Chapter I…..our way of delivering Industrial Chic.

Join us from 6:30 to 8:30pm, Thursday, April 30

Live Music by our friends Kim and Trevor of IN2ATIVE, hors d’oeuvres and cash bar


Creating the Fahrenheit Collection II

Dramatic New Abstracts….

              One of my favorite first steps in working with a client is to conceptualize.

It is a total collaboration. We look at space, color,theme, lighting,audience, materials, timing, and much more. Out of this comes a proposal in the form of digital sketches derived from a multitude of sources that inspire Lila, me and the client. Next step…more ideas and more back and forth. Then approval. Then paint….

Furnace II


    Thirteen new works are now up at Fahrenheit. Have dinner and drinks at the restaurant or join us for our official preview on Thursday March 12 at 6pm. Reserve your place at 216-403-2734, or email to

Rust IMG_0878a 

Some official PR:     Hartshorn Studios will continue their presence at Fahrenheit by complimenting the walls of the restaurant and bar with thirteen new pieces of art designed specifically for the space. The new series of luminous landscapes, Fahrenheit Collection II, created by Rob Hartshorn and Lila Rose Kole, melds Fahrenheit’s sophisticated style with the powerful heritage of Cleveland’s steel mills and smokestacks. Most of Fahrenheit Collection I, the first series showcased at the restaurant, now resides in a local private collection.

Teaching and Learning

January 2015 was a month of beginnings at Hartshorn Studios. Wonderful commissions developed, a new series of Industrial abstracts kicked off, and Tremont ArtWalk and 78th Street Third Friday brought new friends, collectors and collaborators into our two galleries. If that weren’t enough, Lila and I began teaching painting classes. I will let Lila post about her experience.

739054914_420bc3bfa7_o       For my part, let me step back and give you some context about me and art instruction. I have been painting for 50 years (professionally for 35 years) and am self-taught primarily through the old method of trial and error and by devouring books on the techniques of artists from Rembrandt to Hockney. What is in my head and at my fingertips is an amorphous mass of instinct and intuition, seemingly without structure. The results of my industry at the easel satisfy me, but I would be hard pressed to tell you how I got there.

Still, I have had many requests over the years to teach… but I have resisted. To most I would say that I am too busy with commissions, but in my head I would say “Who am I to teach anyone else.” As a fallback, I have had artists paint informally with me, and we encourage and critique each other. Still, in defiance of my little voice, in January and February I scheduled a class of four sessions…my first ever art teaching venture.

Oh, the lessons this painter has learned about painting and learning.

Perhaps in a future post, you find a long winded discussion about teaching practices and techniques. But for now, here is my conclusion: By teaching others I bring the act of painting out of the dark and into my consciousness (excruciating!). Lo and behold, it has already made me a better painter.

Clean SignatureClean SignatureLogo1

With the End of April

…Comes the beginning of May!

April has been an active month for us at Hartshorn Studios!

lila and rob at expo

-Lila concluded her first solo exhibit with new insights and exciting prospects – it couldn’t have been a more rewarding experience! With half the show sold, she’s now cranking out a number of commission pieces and pulling out a summer palette of colors!

Best In Show

-Rob and Lila exhibited at Art Expo at the beginning of the month –and Rob won Best in Show! We made a number of great connections, met new artist friends (David Adshade, Jacquie Gouveia, Jordan Matter, and Dimitir Kaligos and his family – just to name a few!) and saw some really interesting and inspiring contemporary pieces.

-And with only a moment to catch our breath, we’re now getting ready for Art in Le Jardin, an outdoor event that will be held THIS FRIDAY during the May ArtWalk, May 9th, 2014. Fred is showcasing a series of new sculptures, accompanied by a number of summer-themed paintings by Rob and Lila. Pop on by and try something from the grill!

-With the smell of Spring in the air (even though we can’t feel it quite yet!) we’re getting excited about Tremont in the Summer! It’s spring cleaning: buffet Frank has been landscaping the outdoor spaces of the gallery, gardening, string lights, and we’re finding new ways to beautifying the gallery with some new paintings in progress, and flowers everywhere!

Here’s what’s coming up in Tremont:




out back








Against the Dying of the Light


T’was the day of the show:

When all through the gallery, not a creature stirred, (not even Molly!)

The paintings were hung on the wall with care

In hopes that this evening people would come and stare

The brushes and paints were neatly in bed

As “lights, camera, action!” ran through our head!

The floors were mopped and clean,

Everything sang with a beautiful sheen!

The music low and the wine glasses full

colors, aromas, poetry to the brimful

And Rob in his suite jacket, and me in my lace,

We surveyed the room, standing in one place.

The show is ready we cheered!

So come to Tremont Artwalk and see who’s premiered!


TONIGHT, during the Tremont Artwalk, Lila Rose Kole’s first solo show, “Against the Dying of the Light”, showcasing selected abstract pieces from her new collection.

2343 Professor Avenue, Tremont, Cleveland, OH

“Against the Dying of the Light” Event Page || LILA ROSE KOLE’s Page            || Hartshorn Studios

The Working Artist

the studioLILA ROSE KOLE asked me to step in on this the second of three posts leading up to her debut show this Friday night at my gallery in Tremont. Why have me, Rob, write her post about being a “working artist”? Because for the last six months I have been witness to the transformation of Lila from post student, sleep in late, laissez faire twenty something to let’s-git-er-done, into the studio early, full on – full time working artist. And so…she doesn’t have time to write this right now.

What is a working artist? There are too many attributes both successful and unsuccessful to mention.  But instead, I can tell you what our days are like at Hartshorn Studios where Lila was an intern two years back and is Gallery Manager now:

We get into the studio in Tremont around 9:30am six days a week, put out the open signs, turn on the music, the heat, the coffee, the lights, the fans, fill the dog water bowls, clean yesterday’s brushes, dishes, counters and floor, prepare the canvas, easel, palette and brushes for painting, and sit down for a moment to make a sigh of relief that all that is done and we can begin to do the one thing that will make some money to keep the doors open…paint (verb).

But then the phone rings. Sometimes its a client, sometimes its a friend, but most of the time its a salesperson. Ok, now that’s done. Then because we are a studio that is also a gallery open to the public, customers walk in and visit and buy things we have painted (we love that, thank you). Ok, now that’s done. Then, as we again get ready to paint, we remember we forgot to do one of the many administrative tasks necessary to keep us going, like advertising, ordering materials, entering art shows, paying bills, fixing leaks watering the plants and much more. The day rotates around phones, customers and tasks and is happily consumed with the business of being a business….and we have yet to paint.


Ahhh. Now we get to paint for an hour here, an hour there. And it is heaven. A palette on one arm and a brush in hand (except when there is a cup of coffee in that hand). If we get “in the flow” we can accomplish great things and leave at the end of the day not hating what we painted that day and not mourning what we planned for but didn’t get to. Snow days and rainy days, early mornings, late nights and Sundays are best for that.

And as we paint, our brains open up and we talk about art, artists and creative stuff that artists think and talk about. We don’t wait for inspiration; its there already, and the muse is too fickle, and we have clients, collectors, galleries and ourselves to satisfy. So we keep painting as long as we can until 6 or 7 or 8 in the evening and then go home.

The new life of Lila Rose Kole, a working artist.  She wouldn’t have it any other way.

Don’t worry, she’ll be back for Part III in a day or two after some more coffee and cigarettes.


Lila Rose Kole’s first solo show, “Against the Dying of the Light”, showcasing selected abstract pieces from her new collection will be opening during the Tremont Artwalk on March 14th at Hartshorn Studios in Tremont, Cleveland, OH.

“Against the Dying of the Light” Event Page || LILA ROSE KOLE’s Page            || Hartshorn Studios

More to come next week: The last of three parts, The Show: Against the Dying of the Light.

A Mission Statement

Inspiration can come from the most unlikely sources.

Lila was after me about creating a “mission shot_1391095804356statement” for Hartshorn Studios and I was avoiding it because it felt like old business school blah blah.

Then I was drifting through an anthology of Edgar Allan Poe’s works and came upon this description of Poe’ philosophy….and I was transfixed….here were the words that spoke not only to me, but for me. And suddenly mission statements made sense:

Note: interchange “art” and  “artist” for “poetry” and “poet”.

“The poet’s right – in fact, his duty – is herbert-james-draperto dream, to provide a place, a habitat, for the goddesses, the dryads, the naiads, the Elfin, and thereby conduct the reader to a realm of Beauty. To present Beauty for its own sake, without other justification. To take us to a sphere of loveliness. For Poe, this was, one might say, a religion: he felt that there is a realm of being beyond the worldly domain in which we prosaically live: and that poetry is the means by which we can momentarily reach it. It is through the poem, or through the music that eternity could be glimpsed”.                  Wilber S. Scott on Edgar Allan Poe

Homage to William Draper

images73R503W8  Greek/Roman mythology was one of my first loves in reading…Bulfinch’s Mythology. By high school I was reading Ovid, Cicero and Virgil in latin class. And so my fascination with mythological themes in Victorian Era art. Alma-Tadema, Bouguerau,  Leighton were the most celebrated. But my favorite was Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)the-kelpie


Studying and copying his techniques was my access to learning to paint. So it is fitting that I am turning back to his example in preparing some new compositions of my own. I think my next figure painting will be an homage to Draper.

Don’t you love the way Draper’s figures tend to “drape” over rocks?