Oheka Castle: A Long Island Chateau

Oheka Castle: A Long Island Chateau

Last month, I got to visit a storybook chateau…but instead of going to France, I traveled to Huntington, NY!

Oheka Castle, named for its owner, financier Otto Hermann Kahn, was completed in 1919. While other area mansions, like Coe Hall at Planting Fields Arboretum and Hempstead House at Sands Point were built in the Tudor Revival style, Kahn’s home was based on French Renaissance models.

You’re greeted by this elegant grand staircase. The wrought iron staircase was created by Samuel Yellin, who produced ironwork for other mansions of the period.

Kahn threw many parties here, entertaining celebrities like Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and Enrico Caruso. While the decoration of this ballroom is not original, it is faithful to the era, and gives a sense of the luxury that he and his guests enjoyed.

Here’s the stately library, with Kahn’s portrait hanging over the fireplace. (He is said to have been the inspiration for “Mr. Monopoly.”) The walls may look like wood, but they’re actually painted plaster! The castle was constructed to be fireproof.

Oheka still retains a French style garden, with clipped hedges, statues, reflecting pools and statues, like the one seen above. When I visited, the fountains were still turned off for the winter, but it was still a great pleasure to walk around!

After Kahn’s death in 1934, the castle was put to different uses…including being a vacation venue for New York sanitation workers! Eventually, the building was abandoned and fell into a severely neglected state. Luckily, the developer Gary Melius bought the property in 1984 and restored it.

Today, the castle has been reborn as a luxury hotel and event venue. You can visit as I did, by buying a ticket for a guided tour…or you can make a reservation at the hotel’s restaurant. Either way, it’s a treat to experience this beautiful Jazz Age mansion!

Learn more about the castle at their website: https://www.oheka.com/


My First New York Art Show-Part 2

So my next task was to choose which artworks to display in the show. I asked my friend and fellow artist, Lauren Curtis, for advice. She suggested I include examples of the different subjects that I’ve produced…symbolic/mystical collages, landscapes and nature scenes, and travel photography.

There is a wall space that is the first thing visitors see when they step out of the elevator. I wanted to be sure I picked visually striking images there. I settled on The Sisters and Radiant Mask.

I wanted to organize groups of images by theme…but also wanted to make certain that the pictures looked pleasing hanging next to each other. I thought that Serpent in the Roses and Imago worked well together.

I grouped my Paris travel photographs on one wall, but made sure that the photographs were different enough to hold the viewer’s interest.

As I have never hung my own artwork for a show before, this was definitely an eye-opening experience! But it encouraged me to think about my art in a different way. It was a satisfying feeling to see all of the pieces hanging on the wall at the end!

My First New York Art Show-Part 1

The entrance to Nomadworks, New York

In April, Tobe Roberts offered me the opportunity to showcase my artwork at Nomadworks in New York…and of course, I said yes! I’ve spent the past few weeks preparing for the exhibit, “A Nomadic Journey”…

To prepare for the exhibit, I visited Nomadworks and familiarized myself with the space…

Work space at Nomadworks

Nomadworks is a contemporary co-working space that also serves as an art venue. I would be offered exhibition space on the third floor of the facility.

Sitting area with artwork

There were a number of spaces in common areas and in hallways between individual offices. I had to think about which pieces I wanted to display, and where I wanted to display them…

Coffee and tea bar with artwork

It was a challenging process, but a rewarding one! In my next post, I’ll talk about selecting the artwork, and hanging it for display…


Reflecting on 2020

Happy holidays, dear friends! I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the strange, uncertain art world of 2020.

The Blue Hat, (c) JoAnn Telemdschinow

There is no question that 2020 has been a very challenging year for creatives like myself. The coronavirus forced the cancellation of most art exhibitions and vending events. No chance to meet people who want to see and possible purchase my artwork. But fortunately, technology was able to lend a helping hand. I was very fortunate to take part in several virtual exhibitions, such as those by the Galerie Westerhoff, Art All Night Trenton, and the New Jersey State Bar Foundation. And through the power of social media like Facebook and Instagram, I’ve still been able to share my artwork with others and even make a few sales.

Russian Landscape, (c) JoAnn Telemdschinow

I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me this year, whether by viewing my artwork, purchasing a print or art gift, or even sharing comments on my work. Your interest and encouragement mean more than I can express, and spur me to continue my creative journey!

Just as nature restores and regenerates herself during these quiet winter months, I hope that we are all preparing ourselves for a period of rebirth and growth in the coming year.

Spirit of Winter, (c) JoAnn Telemdschinow

Thank you, friends! Wishing you health, abundance, and happiness for 2021!

A Facebook Interview by DaiJonae Clemons

Fellow New Jersey artist DaiJonae Clemons recently interviewed me on Facebook as part of her series about local creatives. I’m sharing the link to the video below in case you didn’t have a chance to see it:

DaiJonae Clemons interviews me on Facebook, July 17, 2020

DaiJonae is also a talented artist in her own right! Here are links to her social media pages:



Balance and Connection: An Interview with Conny Jasper

This post features the multitalented Conny Jasper, visual artist, personal coach, public speaker, and yoga instructor! I had the privilege of speaking with Conny to learn more about her work and what’s going on in her life.

Conny Jasper

IP: What is your artistic background? Have you taken classes in photography and painting?

I have been an artist all my life. I love to create in many different ways. After high school, my first profession was silversmithing and jewelry making. I also studied art in college, and my studies included design, painting, and photography. I am a professional writer as well.

Pheasant Back by Conny Jasper

IP: What are the strongest artistic/cultural influences on your work?

There are many and diverse influences on my work. I particularly love nature, abstract patterns, and spiritual and cultural symbolism. There is a timelessness and transcendence to them. My favorite artists are Van Gogh, Dali, Bosch, and Klimt, as they convey both expansive and whimsical expressions.

Infinity by Conny Jasper

IP: You are also a personal coach, speaker, and yoga instructor. How does this inform your artwork?

One of my greatest passions is helping other people, and I use my art to do that. Images are an important part of life and impact our physical and mental health. Because I want to help people to live healthy lives, I choose images that promote wellness. Many artists like to focus on shocking and disturbing images in order to make a statement. But I think those images only perpetuate the very thing that is being protested.

Water and Moss by Conny Jasper

IP: What do you want to communicate to your viewers through your artwork?

I seek to communicate a sense of balance and connectedness. There is more to life than a job, a car, a house, and a vacation. We are meant to do so much more than that. Balance and connectedness can help us to expand our awareness and sense of being alive in the world. I want to promote human evolution and do it in a highly creative way.

The Gesture by Conny Jasper

IP: What artistic plans do you have for the near future?

I am expanding my repertoire to create a holistic and comprehensive gallery of offerings. In terms of business, I plan to continue promoting my work, updating my website, and, at some point, offering my wares at fairs, festivals, and markets. I have big plans! Stay tuned!

IP: Well, Conny, that all sounds very exciting! I wish you all the best!

You can contact Conny and learn more about her work through the links below.






Mystic Messengers: An Interview with Artist Jasper Groat

The Eye of the Wicked, Jasper Groat

Today I’ll be sharing some artwork by Jasper Groat, a 25 year old artist based in Snohomish WA. Jasper creates elegant pen and ink drawings of mystical, otherworldly beings. Recently, I had a chance to ask him a few questions about his art and his creative process.

IP: Firstly, where are you based, and what’s your art background? Have you studied at art school?

Jasper: I am born in the Pacific Northwest, I started to drawing at around age 5 and more seriously at age 11. So far I’ve only taken art classes at high school and community college.

Jasper Groat

IP: What would you say have been the strongest influences on your artwork, either artwise or in other areas?

Jasper: My strongest influence would be a Fairy artist named Brian Froud who sketches and paints what he sees through his heart and through nature. To him, he’s not just drawing “fantasy” but a mirror image of reality!

He was actually a concept artist for two movies called Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal! And throughout his career he has been a illustrator for many books!

Dream Chaser, Jasper Groat

IP: Could you describe the process of how you go from an initial idea to a finished artwork?

Jasper: I immediately go straight from pen to paper just so the idea that’s in my head is already put into light and fruition! I rarely use pencils when drawing because I want my art to appear clean and perfect!

Children of Light, Jasper Groat

IP: Looking at your art, Jasper, I get a strong mystical, symbolic quality from it. What do you want viewers to get from your work?

Jasper: I want them to feel enlightened in some way…to me I see art as equivalent to magic! Even for writing, to cast a spell is simply to spell!

Sun Shaman, Jasper Groat

IP: Finally, what artistic goals or plans do you have for yourself in the future?

Jasper: I am definitely planning on doing more religious themes and even creating a series of Tarot cards in the distant future!

John the Baptist, Jasper Groat

IP: That sounds amazing! I want to thank you for taking the time to talk about your art with me.

See more of Jasper Groat’s artwork at:




Coronavirus and the Inspiration of Nature

I have to confess that the coronavirus quarantine, and its succession of unstructured days being confined to the house, has made it challenging to stay motivated and focused as an artist. However, one of the things I’ve found most helpful is the uplifting and comforting power of nature. I’m fortunate in that there are a number of parks and public gardens nearby. Walking around outside, even for an hour or so, really helps my state of mind. What’s more, plants, animals, and water offer many opportunities for inspiration.

Tree with White Flowers

I took this photograph at Rutgers Gardens in New Brunswick. The white flowers really stood out on the misty, overcast day that I was there. I added a distressed texture and enhanced the lighting to play up this contrast.

Tree with White Flowers, (c) JoAnn Telemdschinow, 2020

Spreading Cherry Tree

I was lucky enough to be at Rutgers Gardens when the cherry trees were blooming. This tree, with its masses of colored flowers, seemed magical in the dim light. I tried to capture its dreamlike beauty.

Spreading Cherry Tree, (c) JoAnn Telemdschinow, 2020


The day I took this photo, I had wanted to go to Rutgers Gardens again, but learned that it was closed. I spotted these flowers on one of the islands of the Target parking lot! I loved their vibrant red color. Here I overlaid a worn texture and selectively blurred the image, giving it a soft, dreamlike quality.

Tulips, (c) JoAnn Telemdschinow, 2020

Pond, Bicentennial Park

This is a quiet park tucked in a residential area of East Brunswick. The morning I visited it, there were only a handful of people there, and all I could hear was the rustling of the leaves and the birds chirping in the trees. I came across this vista of a small pond. I liked the view of the pond through the trees, and the reflection of light on the water. I took the photograph, but later used texture and lighting effects to suggest a peaceful, Impressionist painting.

Pond, Centennial Park, (c) JoAnn Telemdschinow, 2020

I hope you’ve been coping with the challenges of life in quarantine. What helps you cope? Please feel free to share your thoughts with me!

Time to Make Art

The Ghost Birds, (c) JoAnn Telemdschinow, 2020

Like many other artists, I have a full time job in the “real world.” I have, for a long time, also accepted that this means that my artmaking has to accommodate the schedule and demands of my job. I do not complain about this fact, but, sometimes, it’s been challenging to give my art the attention it deserves.

Now the Coronavirus has disrupted my work life, as it has that of so many other people.

At first, it’s hard to believe that I now have so much time to work on my art… more than I’ve had for many years! At the same time, it’s also bewildering to suddenly not have the structure of an outside job, and to have to create my own schedule and set my own goals.

I have done my best to keep myself busy. I have been trying out new ideas, such as my photomontages. (See The Ghost Birds above.) It is easier to work on these projects with undivided time and attention, and I’m encouraged by progress that I’ve made. I’ve also been trying to improve my photography skills. This morning, I went out to a local park and took some photos of the blossoming flowers and trees, trying to take shots of things I found interesting. And while not all of them are great photos, I think I’m learning and hopefully bringing fresh things to my work. And I also try to appreciate that I have this opportunity to create art, that I have my good health, and the support of my friends.

Cherry Blossoms, Rutgers Gardens, New Brunswick, (c) JoAnn Telemdschinow, 2020

Like everyone else, I hope that the virus outbreak will go away soon. It’s been a time of anxiety and uncertainty for everyone. I’ve tried to make the best of a totally unexpected and scary situation and make something good of it. Hopefully, we will all come out of it strong and with renewed purpose!

The past is re-imagined by NJ collage artist.

Snow Princess, (c) JoAnn Telemdschinow

This post was originally featured as a guest blog I wrote for Lauren’s Creative Corner, an art blog by Lauren Curtis.

My name is JoAnn Telemdschinow and I’m the founder of Imagined Past. I’ve always loved and been fascinated by art, but I haven’t always been sure how I should express it. While I have a background in art history, I have not studied painting or drawing. On an impulse, I started playing with collage, and found I liked it very much. In 2014, I started learning Photoshop Elements. Since then, through magazine articles and online tutorials, I’ve been developing my skills and exploring how to create different effects.

What inspires my collages? Perhaps the most obvious influence is the art and architecture of the past, medieval times, eighteenth and nineteenth century painting, as well as Chinese and Japanese art. I can happily spend hours in a museum! I also love to travel. I recently went to Paris and took photographs of beautiful old streets and buildings, some of which I’ve turned into collages. I’m interested in languages and scripts, both ancient and modern.

Me in Paris

A collage may originate from an image that captures my attention, or from an idea that I want to express. I often utilize vintage art to build my pieces, although I also use my own photographs. I am also fond of incorporating old texts, such as handwriting, book pages, or advertising, into the composition. I try to use texts that relate to the subject of the piece, either through content or cultural origin. Textures play an important role in my collages as well…old paper, distressed surfaces.

I Loved You, (c) JoAnn Telemdschinow

What am I trying to convey to the viewer? Well, I myself am deeply moved by beauty so I try to make my compositions visually beautiful. Beyond that, I attempt to express a feeling or atmosphere. My pictures (like myself) tend to be reflective and nostalgic. I also sometimes imply a bit of a narrative, as in I Loved You with its forlorn woman and titular inscription.

I’ve displayed my work in a number of area venues, such as The Gallery at the South Brunswick Municipal building and Inspire Art Gallery & Studio in Dunellen. Recently, I’ve also been honored to receive awards from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation (Chair’s Merit Award, Annual Juried Art Show) and the New Brunswick Free Public Library (Third Place-Adult, 2019 Visual Arts Contest and Exhibition).

French Roses, (c) JoAnn Telemdschinow

What do I have planned for the future? I would like to explore photography further and use more of my own photos in my collages. I’m working to promote my artwork through social media and my website.  And I’ll be exhibiting in more shows in the upcoming year. I enjoy meeting and talking to people at shows…perhaps I’ll get to meet you at one soon!