IF YOU FIND YOURSELF WANDERING around Prospect Park or the Gowanus Canal, you might spot artist AMANDA KAVANAGH traipsing through the greenery and past the old brownstones with her sketchbook, watercolors and pens.

“I’m a bit schizophrenic when it comes to my subject matter,” she says. “One day I’m working on water and trees, and the next day on gritty urban landscapes. So living in Brooklyn allows me that diversity.”
Manhattan can seem jarring in its hustle-bustle, but Brooklyn exists on its own terms. The energy of Kavanagh’s work creates soothing moments, while constantly referencing a city backdrop. She presents a view of her surroundings, wherever they may be, with honesty and imagination, and often with a muted palette. In one sketch, a gray house has a soft blue window, reflecting not the sky, but the character of the day. She describes her art objects as looking aged, yet possessing the young life of a snapshot.
Kavanagh gathers material from travel and from home in Prospect Park South. Painting pieces of the world and granting objects their own importance is her way of making the world more manageable, she says. Kavanagh uses a variety of techniques, tools and materials. Currently, she is working with encaustic (painting with wax) and iPhone Sketches (an application much like Painter or Photoshop).
The art world is changing, and artists as well as consumers are cutting out the process of traditional distribution. Kavanagh says, “Some of the artists that inspire me most are unknown — people I meet on the internet every day. We no longer have to rely on galleries or record companies to distribute our work, so I think the pricing structure is changing as well.” She offers reasonably priced prints through her web site to make art accessible to everyone.
Also, because most artists have day jobs, working on all aspects of art independently, from production to sales, is appealing.
For prints and original paintings, visit www.amandakavanagh.com.
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AFTER GROWING UP IN PARK SLOPE with a family in the salon business and then marrying into another family with the same passion, LISA LOBUE opened Lisa Lobue Salon at 512 Fifth Ave. on Dec. 13. She is transforming her old salon into an accessory store at 268 14th St.

The salon will feature book clubs, makeup classes and Mom’s Day on Mondays (when moms receive 10 percent off) along with traditional hair and beauty services.
“There should be a coziness in a salon where you can sit back. The living room effect is important and is what salons used to be like. Not too big. Not stuffy,” Lobue says.
Permanent make up procedures will also be offered, which Lobue says “is not just about glamour, it’s about self-esteem. Some people need corrective surgery to feel good.” The inspiration for the salon came from Lobue’s instinct and observation that “women seek a place and there is a need for community.”