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Studio #051 Friday, December 07, 2012
New Curiosities

I've not made a postcard in a few weeks. I think it's because the collages are not interesting to me right now and I don't have another media that's calling out to me. I think there will be more, but I am taking a hiatus until next year to review and decide.

In the meantime along with my normal workload, I'm painting more stones, making silk bags for them. They are selling nicely in a gallery here in Nashville, and they're also on my etsy site. I've also starting painting some imagery I've wanted to paint for awhile.

The eye and lip paintings were a way in to these new pictures. Now these new tiny portraits are becoming more evolved. I've wanted to paint faces for some time now. They are so evocative to me, so psychological, you can take them in any direction. With just slight variances of color and shape you can change their moods dramatically. It's completely absorbing me.

Nothing here is completely done, all in different states of doneness as I learn to paint faces in a way that satisfies what it is I'm trying to say. These look quite real, I'm not sure that is the final route I'll take. But it's a way of learning structure, the way light hits a face and tells a story.

So in the absence of postcards there might be more drawings and preparatory sketches instead. We'll see, sometimes its better to keep secrets. They have more power. But one way or another I'll keep posting things here regularly. I like the discipline of it, the structure, the routine.

Thanks for checking in.

Have a great weekend.

Studio #050Thursday, October 25, 2012
They're finally in the store!

The mandala stones in their new silk bags and decorative tins are now up at etsy and also at Art and Invention here in Nashville.

Here is the top of the can:

Several cans waiting to be filled:

Inside the lid, a special message:

There are also a whole bunch of artist samples for sale at both as well! Check 'em out.

Studio #048Monday, October 01, 2012

I started a bunch of small pieces for the postcards this weekend, none got done, but 5 were started. I find I enjoy them more when I do them in batches and add bits here and there to several. I was told years ago Pierre Bonnard did this, having several of his large paintings going all at once pinned up on the walls of his studio, going from one to the other seeing what needed to be done. I find it's much easier not to over do things this way, you see them in relation to each other and with fresh eyes. Synchronicity happens too, I paste something down on top of layers of paint. I don't know why, but it needs to be there. Then in a week or two when I'm back working on it everything falls together. I'm always amazed.

After the building up of layers I can really focus in on one, intuiting what needs to happen with what's evolved in the space to that point. This is the most juicy part for me, spending time on the details bringing forth the emotional content. It's usually then that I get to know what the image is about. But sometimes I don't get to know until later, even years. I know it's right visually, it works, but emotionally, mmm it's like life, you don't always figure it out until much later.

It is a grey rainy day here in Nashville. Today I have my old boom box going with Anonymous 4 singing "The Origin of Fire" by Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th century German Abyss and mystic. I must've been a nun in a former life. This music always comforts me and puts me in a deep contemplative place. It's perfect for cleaning out the studio today and organizing for what is looking to be a very busy October.

So with candles going, Oscar lying here next to me snug in his little fleece doughnut bed I wish you a happy and healthy week.


Studio #049Sunday, September 09, 2012

I've been meaning to write a bit about ROSEWORX here on the blog. It's my etsy shop I've been slowly starting. It's still "becoming". I have so many ideas and plans for products, it's one of the most exciting things I've done in a long time.

For now though along with some artist samples, there are some paintings of eyes and lips, along with mandala stones. The stones are palm sized, I paint them with calming white designs, then infuse them with Reiki energy.

The store is slowly blooming into a place where I can finally make and sell products that are aligned with who I really am. The products are meant to be non-dogmatic items that help people nurture themselves spiritually in gentle ways.

I'm currently designing packaging for the stones along with some related articles. The whole process uses all my skill sets, so I never get bored. But it also allows me to dive deeply in to one big project and spend long hours and days there. I've always loved working in series and this seems to be the perfect answer.


Last night Richard found a blog by Lark books that featured my stones. The internet is still such a magical place to me, where synchronicity seems to abound. So I will keep putting things out there and let the Universe handle the timing : )

I'll keep updating here to let you know when new products arrive. There are some just around the corner!

Studio #048Monday, August 27, 2012

Just a short aside to let you know the blog interview I did with "The Moon from My Attic" is up today. Thanks again to Alex for her interest.

Studio #047Thursday, August 02, 2012
Babies Leaving the Nest

Next weekend is the 9th annual Tomato Fest here in East Nashville. I was invited to sell some work at Art and Invention Gallery where Meg MacFadyen started and organized this Festival for almost a decade now.

It had to be tomato or vegetable oriented and I had this collection I'd painted the year she actually started the festival. I've been thinking for awhile now that I need to start emptying out the flat files. I have a lot of paintings I've done over the years and it's time to start making room for newer things.

So I framed them up and did a little group shot before they went out the door. It's a little sad, I feel like a mother sending them out the door to their first day of school, a little sorry to see them go.

Studio #046Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Essay #001 Transitions

I was recently invited to take part in an interview for the moon from my attic, a wonderful blog on art licensing. I'm actually beginning to transition from licensing to other arenas that are less commercial, and in trying to explain that response to the blog host, Alex Columbo I realized what I was really doing was writing an essay about my thoughts about art and life, about commercial art vs. fine art and how things have changed over the lifetime of my career thus far. Funny how life sometimes nudges you to get your thoughts in order. I ended up not sending the long email, but did decide to post some of it here. I'll let you know when our interview is posted on her site. My thanks again to Alex for her interest.

I was educated at the University of Kansas in the late 70's. The year I was a freshman they hired Richard Branham, to be the head of our design department. He was a well known industrial designer who'd just gotten done redesigning all of JC Penney's stores, everything, the stores themselves, the products, the logo, the advertising, you name it. He told us, "The public is visually illiterate, and it is up to you to educate them". I was young, I believed that, I still believe it, not in a condescending way, but in a hopeful "let's make the world more beautiful" way. After several years as an illustrator for advertising, design firms and publishing I decided I wanted to make more beautiful imagery, and licensing seemed like a more authentic way to express myself while also still carrying on the visual service doctrine put to me in college.

I believe that using something-a toothbrush, a mug, a journal-consistently in your daily life that is beautiful, that is considered, that is intelligent, elevates your mind and your soul. For me personally, using and being surrounded by an environment of intelligent beautiful things also brings clarity and peace to my life.

When I started licensing there were more manufacturers who were concerned with supporting artists in a long term way, interested in partnering with them in their careers. They wanted creativity and collaboration, they were proud of making beautiful work. I don't find that to be the case so much anymore, though there are exceptions. Through the rise of the internet a pushed hurriedness is inherent now in our society. Trends come and go more and more quickly. The bottom line looms larger. Everyone is chasing the same imagery, the same trends, the same customers. It has become very homogenized. And while I know licensing is commercial by nature, there were wider margins to exist in back then for folks like myself who had a different agenda. Now those margins are much narrower.

But that narrowing has forced me to quit compromising and go back to making work that is more authentic for me. Now the challenge is finding an audience that will align with what I create, rather than make work tailored for a specific one, and a mass one at that. There's a big difference there.

Just as an aside, the same thing is happening in the music industry. I currently live in Nashville and I hear all the time from seasoned songwriters and industry veterans, that their industry is under the same hurried production and financial bottom line that reduces artistic standards and panders to what they believe a mass audience wants, no longer challenging them intellectually.

BUT on the positive side, the internet has made much more possible the selling of independent authentic creative work to a very wide and consequently more diverse audience, one that shops now on etsy, and less at Bed Bath and Beyond. You may not be making the big bucks of old, but you can make a living.

So I've opened an etsy shop. I'm starting to make imagery I love again, making paintings again for galleries, and joyously challenging myself to make work that is based on art history, and poetry, and dreams rather than what trend a marketing guru has genuflected in front of.

Don't get me wrong I admire people who've been able to make a nice living in this industry. I'm honored to claim several as good friends. They make imagery that inspires people, makes them happy, that's not always an easy thing to do, especially as well as they do it.

In the end we all have different paths, and different priorities that inform our choices. For me, diversity is what makes the world expand and grow. My creative freedom is probably my top priority, more important to me than most. I don't think that's good or bad, just the way I'm wired. I don't have children, and I keep my lifestyle quite simple to afford that freedom. They were choices I made a long while back, for my sanity really.

I hope that by saying this that I give other people permission to be themselves authentically in whatever way that looks to them, and just them, not anyone else.

I've posted this art college graduation speech by Neil Gaiman on my facebook page. Here's the link. His honest speech is very empowering. "Just make good art". He states it over and over again like a mantra, "Just make good art".

So I've decided to change lanes so I can continue doing just that. The old lane wasn't bad, but for me I needed to move over, to slow down a bit and reconnect to what's most important for me. I want to experience the richness of my life in a contemplative way, and make work from a deeper part of myself, that's where the joy lives for me, it always has.

Thanks for reading : ) I hope to share more soon.

Studio #045Thursday, May 24, 2012
Mandala Stones

I've started painting these flat Mexican river stones for fun. These are the first 3. I thought I'd sell them on my etsy store soon. I'd like to design a small sticker for the bottom of them, so they're not up yet, but soon.

I'm just using a white paint pen, then giving them a few coats of acrylic matte sealer to protect them top and bottom.

I love doing them as a kind of meditation. I find I can only do one at a time. I have no real ideas when I start out, just let the design organically grow.

Happy Thursday everyone.

Studio #044Friday, March 30, 2012
New Vision

When Richard and I were at my Dad's in February we brought a bunch of things back. One thing was a sack of things Richard thought were fun from my Dad's workshop, old stained glass, tiny fixtures, wood cutouts. All things that my Dad was going to throw away. Honestly I was not that interested, I guess because I had so many other things on my mind.

A few weeks ago I asked him to go through the bag and get things organized. He brought out the wood cutouts. I looked at them and thought "I want to paint eyes on those". I don't know why, it came out of nowhere, but a few weeks later here they are.

They've been a great catalyst to new work, the work I now want to make. They aren't quite done yet. A few more details, painted reflections, gold and silver leaf on the edges. They feel very authentic to who I am. It feels so good to find imagery that expresses where you are, in your head, in you life.

It's all good. Happy friday.

Studio #043Thursday, March 22, 2012
Oscar the Daschund

I've been meaning to post this for awhile. This little guy was a surprise holiday gift at Christmas time. It was my first time painting an animal for someone where I'd never met the animal, so I was a tiny bit nervous. What if I didn't capture his spirit, especially the way his owners remembered him?

They gave me several good photographs of him in all the phases of his life. I looked at the photos on and off for a few weeks trying to let his essence seep in to me. I kept looking at his eyes, as they are the most important part of any portrait I think. I asked what kind of dog he was, what was his personality, something again you can sometimes tweak in the eye area. If you know they were a stinker you can adjust things slightly to let that come across. If they are a very loving dog you can adjust accordingly there too.

I made a drawing first incorporating several of the photos in to one image. I posted the drawing last fall. That helped me understand his features better and helped the painting process happen more smoothly too.

I really love making these for people. The most fun part is seeing their reaction, or in this case getting a great email telling me how much it means to them.

Nothing is better than that, helping folks have great memories of the love they have for their animals.