Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Line of Thought Behind it All

This last holiday weekend I was able to experience the exhibition at MOMA titled "On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century". Since then, my mind keeps noodling around the visual ideas the exhibit presented (I have to say I'm curious to incorporate the ideas I have seen into the processes of my own creations........ I've been influenced and inspired.....).

And I found myself quite taken by the thoughts expressed by some of the artists. Here are a couple:
"sewing thread to mend gaps and create visual connections between materials" --Anna Maria Maiolino
"Klee said of his drawn line: "It goes out for a walk, so to speak, aimlessly for the sake of the walk.""

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brussels Sprouts? Hedgehog Gourd?

Hmmmm.... Certainly a little of each perhaps is influencing/inspiring the forms in my new painting. This is the companion door to the canvas of my most recent painting, "My Inner Reptile".
I'm really excited to continue the building up of layers.... This morning I just finished laying out the forms. Now the details....
As always, stay tuned  :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My mind is all a buzz...

with the glorious imagery from the latest movie we watched, "The Secret of Kells". I highly recommend it for the visuals (though the story is quite good) ~ the layers of textures, forms, patterns and colors throughout create an amazing world worth visiting.....

(unfortunately this snippet above just doesn't give justice to it - you must see it for yourself.....)

P.S. I'm so inspired by it all! and thus it is certainly giving "Alice in Wonderland" a run for it's money for my favorite movie category.... I must see it again!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Universal Pants/Universal Designs at Art Attack

My Dear Friend Linda modeling the magic of Universal Designs and Pants. She has on the latest line, "Winter Lovelies" (scarf, headband and wristies), featuring my patterns printed onto organic cotton. Universal Pants compliment her ensemble.....

Try on one, try on all, walk home with at least one! as
our creations
will certainly captivate your heart and body!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A lovely bouquet

from my dear husband adorned my studio over Art Attack weekend. You can also see the suggestions of my new encaustic (on the left) and the great new color (Palladian Blue) I had recently painted on the walls....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New color ~ new studio!

Seemingly out of the blue I found I needed new colors (and they weren't blue!) around me in my studio (located in the Northrup King Building). And of course, once I determined this, I then proclaimed to have this transformation completed in time for the infamous annual fall art event, Art Attack. Really, why would I consider waiting once I decided new colors were on the horizon? So for a couple of days these last couple of weeks I have spent making over the walls inside and out. Oh, it felt soooo good! Now I'm quite excited to hang the paintings (oil and encaustic), my mixed medium pieces, not to mention my textile pieces onto/with this new backdrop. The color on my exterior wall of my studio (a portion of it shown here) is named "spring dust". What a delightful tie-in to my never-ending source of inspirations, the organic world.....

Friday, October 15, 2010

More Ellie Sodaphant jounals underway

It's that time to replenish my supply. And so it starts with ordering more recycled soda bottle fabric (printed with my organic digital designs) followed by cutting this and the elephant dung paper to size. Sewing the covers and binding the pages to the covers with a silk ribbon ties my favorite product all together.

A process it is and one that can't be rushed in the details (as are most things in life); I make a point to try to savor the time spent at each step and not get caught up and worry about keeping the time to minimum in the production costs. A challenge indeed!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Univeral Designs - studio day!

What a delightful day it was! I spent a good portion of the day at Liz's Universal Pants studio. I brought with me 14 inspiring yards of organic cotton knit (a new fabric for me to use! one that is available through spoonflower.com) featuring 7 of my organic digital designs. She mocked up a few of our ideas (what we fondly call our "winter lovelies") with alternate materials for us to try out. So exciting! Stay tuned ~ upcoming events where these will be available are soon to come!

Friday, October 8, 2010

An amazing creation to behold

Romanesco is also known as coral broccoli and I saw it for the first time today at the farm. As it is with nearly all things found in the natural world, it's hard to believe such a thing grows without any direction from the farmer or gardener on hand. It is absolutely amazing in all of it's details and glorious being. Truly inspired, I immediately purchased a head of it to sit on my desk where I could study all of it's intricacies. At the end of the day I moved it home to rest by the kitchen sink where the studies of it's plentiful characteristics continue.
I'm told it has a really good flavor.....  Perhaps one day I'll purchase another for another type of sensory experience.......

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Glorious Milkweed

"The milkweed pods are breaking,
and the bits of silken down
float off upon the autumn breeze
across the meadows brown."

- by Cecil Carendish, The Milkweed

I came across this poem the other day and thought it was delightful in its verse and image. Especially since I had just picked a fair number of pods that day (from my own front yard milkweed grove). So that I could  appreciate them just a while longer, I arranged them in a glass bowl. It is here, indoors, that I can regularly observe their green-turning-to-brown hollows and ridges - I find the exterior so appealing in pattern and texture.  And certainly so different from the inner silken down.....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It was a very satisfying harvest

that I had yesterday. The vines are started to yellow and the flowers no longer had the oomph they had had throughout the growing season. Granted it was the last day of summer yesterday and it seemed appropriate to pull the roots that had found a home in the dirt and harvest the hedgehog gourds that had come into the world these last couple of months.

I marveled at the uniqueness of each one as I pulled them from their food source - crazy the strength that was still there holding them to. And so strange in texture - softly bristly, yes, if gently held. But also I couldn't help but notice the feeling was somewhat similar to the encounter of a cactus, where very fine-like needles that, without gloves on,  find their way into the skin and are so very hard to see to then remove.... Thankfully gloves were in hand, on hand, for the harvest to progress. What a delight it was to set them all out to dry! I left a few on the vine as I liked how it looked on my red cart.....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The latest capture

It was the right side I concentrated on during this last painting session. Primarily the red-ish grape-like orbs. I'm very much aware of my desire for depth and it's hard to not use my usual, yet favorite, mix of color to create the darkness of shadow.... I'm not committed to this approach yet, but will see how it feels as the rest of the painting comes to a close. As always, stay tuned  ;)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Internal layers...

I set time aside the other day to play with wax. It had been awhile, unfortunately. But oh! how good it felt to really take some much needed time to re-explore this new medium of mine. All of my senses were awake and I was easily reminded why I had fallen in love with it just under a year ago. Shown is what emerged, the layers that were all a part of the process, from the minutes that had passed....

Friday, September 10, 2010

See, it's all about the process...

I picked up another book (there is nothing like a book to reinforce a line of thought/possibility/idea), "Printmaking + Mixed Media" by Dorit Elisha (you can also visit her blog here). Printmaking was my focus in college and I firmly feel the approach I learned back then with this medium has influenced my creations today in painting with oil and now in wax. In chapter one she easily sums up the reasoning behind my approach: "Perhaps the best part of printmaking is the process-even before you achieve the final print, the journey there is very satisfying. There is an element of discovery, mystery, and surprise, as well as a great award at the end of the process....once you add other artistic media to the mix, it becomes an endless celebration of creative possibilities!"
What fun it all is!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

Isn't that the most delightful title ever? It certainly caught my eye and my imagination when I was at the local book store last week. I ended up taking it home with me and have since enjoyed a page or two or three before sleep takes over.

I connect with the story on many levels - one of which is that it reaffirms my belief that there are an infinite amount of unexpected rewards found in closely observing nature. And if that isn't enough to entice you, in and of itself, I absolutely love the descriptive words and the images they draw in my mind (i.e. "....the snail's molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, hydraulic locomotion...".

And then each beautiful chapter is headed with a quote (and you know how much I love those!). My favorite thus far is by Sir William Osler, a physician who lived from 1849 to 1919. He said, "Think not of the amount to be accomplished, the difficulties to be overcome, or the end to be attained, but set earnestly at the little task at your elbow, letting that be sufficient for the day." Now isn't that the gentlest way to approach daily life?

(I also found this site, which has a wonderful description about the book and the meaning that can also be found (in addition to my above passions) within the pages....).

Without question, I highly recommend welcoming the sound of a wild snail eating into your world....

Monday, August 30, 2010

Softly bristly and green

Remember this last late winter I had purchased some seeds from this great seed company? Well, Spring arrived and I planted them expectedly, and due to life it took me longer than intended to get my then-sad-looking seedlings into the ground. At the time, it really didn't look very promising... Well, nature did what it does during summer - lots of rain and warm sun and then, with great excitement, I saw happy bees at the sweet little yellow flowers. And as it is with any fruit, the flower then produced what I had hoped to see ~ hedgehog gourds! in all of their softly bristly and green glory! What a delight they are and how fun they are to feel!! I'm curious to see how they continue to grow as the season comes to an end. Will the softly bristly green remain? We shall see.....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Winged creatures

I'm lately inspired by wings, large or small. From dragonflies to wasps to birds to even the faded almost transparent petals of a lily (though not a wing, the veins throughout resemble such), I soak the details in. This fascination seems to have found an outlet in my latest painting (above). The detail of this work in progress shows what I define as wings. From my book, Dictionary of Symbolism, I find wings typically, symbolically suggest "an elevation of, or improvement upon, the merely corporeal, subject as it is to the earth's gravity".   Personally I see them as veins of life....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The ideal....

From the zucchini chocolate chip cookie recipe to phrases like "....come back for a potholder hug...." -- these visuals of the Kingsolver family's experience have stuck with me after the last page of this memoir was turned.  The idea to nurture ourselves through our choices, creating a lifestyle that supports us on all levels is goal-worthy. Challenging it may be at times, and overwhelming if not taken step by step, day to day balance is where it is at. That's easier said then done though, isn't it?

There are times where I want to live my life more like my painting. When I paint I let go of control, of time; I let the forms and textures guide me. It is here I can get lost and the clock does not matter. Yet I find my hurdle is to be able to break away from keeping house or working or running errands to paint. Why is it so difficult to do what one loves? Thankfully, life is a work in progress. Each day that begins anew gives us another chance. As the last sentence in the book stated, "a nest full of little ding-dongs, and time begins once more."

Friday, July 30, 2010


My dear dog, George, found this wonderfully large beetle the other day. Unfortunately, it was down in the basement, so unnatural-like, I moved it back outdoors where hopefully it could proceed through the day much more natural-like as a beetle is meant to.  I need to figure out what kind it is - it had to be close to a quarter's size in diameter.... and the details are amazing! I'm sorry my camera couldn't capture it's unique tiny-ness! Though my mind has and it may eventually come out through the tiny brushes of my paint brush (not the beetle, but the idea of it's details in miniature form).  :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

HKH meets Universal

Liz Plambeck of Universal Pants and I have been sharing our talents with one another. The shirt I'm wearing to the left is representative of one of her wonderful handmade creations. It features on the front a pattern I had created from one of my original oil paintings (see hkhdesigns.com for more information). Creatively made from reclaimed fabrics and hemp/silk this is definitely one-of-a-kind. We plan on having open studio events this fall. Stay tuned....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

And the off-white doors beckoned.....

It didn't take me long to start seeing an image in the foundational layers of my process. I'm loving what is emerging! I think it's somewhat Alice in Wonderland (which I've now have seen it 4 times and each time just gets better!) inspired and intestinal influenced....

Friday, July 9, 2010

What treasures await!

The last few weeks my husband I have had fun poking around antique shops and the like. Such finds were found! Above are the latest additions to my already full head of ideas. I'm quite excited by the possibilities..... So, as always, stay tuned! I find the off-white door beckoning.......

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tying it all together

I'm thrilled with how this turned out! It all started with an idea (of course). Sifting through the contents of an antique store (Hunt & Gather), in search of a lamp, I found the perfect fit for my idea! Uncanny how it all came together as the base and shade were sold separately (from different vendors) but actually worked really well together. The image is an excerpt from the original oil, The Melody of the Cat’s Meow (it is image 30/32 under gallery of originals on old doors). This was on display at my most recent exhibition at Normandale Community College in their Fine Art Gallery.

Materials include: archival inks printed digitally onto 2 papers: Japan Ogura Lace and Thai Mulberry, felted balls (wool from the sheep at Gale Woods Farm), thread, reclaimed (vintage) lamp shade, vintage lamp base.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

During the night one night I awoke with the memory of a frame in the garage that had no purpose at the moment. First thing the next morning I pulled it out and took a look. Despite it being dusty and bowed, with loose joints and decorative detail chipping off, I deemed it was going to work. Above you can see the end result (I'm sorry I didn't think to capture the 'before'). The frame showcases one of my Organic Digital Designs (this pattern was derived digitally from the original oil painting, The Hide Shall Seek, the Seek Shall Hide image 28/32). This was on display at my most recent exhibition at Normandale Community College in their Fine Art Gallery.

Materials include: reclaimed vintage frame, digital image printed onto metal, white gold leaf, paint, schlac, mirror

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Oh, where or where have I been?!

It's the first of June today - already! And I have missed photographing and sharing all that I have been up to - especially on the art level.... But the end is in site! I am in the final stages of pulling together/creating work for my upcoming show at Normandale Community College. The installation date is the 7th and I am quite excited by it all. So I continue my promise from my previous post - do check back as I will be back! Thank you so for your patience! And in the meantime, take care and happy June!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Please stay tuned....

it's been a bit crazy to say the least these last weeks. You would think with all of the exciting visual tidbits around me I'd be posting like mad. I have a list a mile long of what I want to share, so please do check back. You won't be disappointed  :)  Thank you!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Home studio facelift

For my birthday present this year, my dear sister gave me the gift of time. She assisted me with a very ambitious project - one that involved moving tons of ideas, stuff, furniture, artwork and more around and out of my home studio. We tackled 2 walls at a time over the course of a couple of days and the process was instantly gratifying! The original color I've lived with for a number of years had an overall grey feel - certainly uninspiring! Grey-ish beige was on one wall and the other 3 had a grey-ish green (the image to the left shows 'the before').

My cat, Gabe, supervised the process. He wasn't at all concerned about getting paint on his beautiful furry body.

The end result was one that we were both very happy with:  

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I painted

and it felt sooooo good! This last month was spent on the frames (referenced previously) and I missed the smell of oil paint and bringing an image to life with my brush.

So I picked from my various paintings in progress and chose one I had started some time ago. I was inspired to paint large today and this fit the bill as it is an entire door (though the image itself is only on the lower 1/3-1/2). I'm eager to continue.....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The dining room is back to normal

as I finished the hand-finishing of the last frames my dad had created for me. The show opens at the Hudson Hospital this week, with the opening on May 20th. It feels good to be on this end of the process and I have to say it is also nice to have the dining room back for it's original purpose in life. Perfect timing all around, I must say as the bug of spring has bitten....

The painting above is called Butterfly Days, inspired by 'living in the moment'. The frame is one I had posted a couple of times already (one with my cat, Gabe, in it and the other in progress).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My heart goes a flutter....

not only for the Mad Hatter, but also for the complete Alice in Wonderland movie. I saw it twice this last week and was completely inspired by the world of it all. I would happily go along for the ride, if a ride was going to Wonderland. Tim Burton, the genius he is, outdid himself I'd say. Now I must reread the book.....

Monday, March 1, 2010

I've taken over the dining room....

This past month our dining room has become my frame finishing area. It's perfect with the natural light that comes through the windows and I enjoy having my furry friends around supervising. Gabe has made himself comfortable above left in frame #2 as George is in the background. Above right is the finished frame. (I know it can be distracting, the middle area of the frame.... Since it will be covered up by the painting, I didn't paint it in).

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Profile #3

I'm particularily fond of this profile. It is one I designed after a moulding I had seen around a painting at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison (referenced in my post on Nov. 16, 2009). This, along with the others shown, my dad created for me.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm feeling the bug....

Up until now I haven't had much of an urge, desire to be inspired by the seed catalogs that have come in mail. Well, that all changed when my co-worker shared the "Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds" catalog with me the other day. What a glorious catalog to behold! and one that has a story that is inspiring in all of it's own..... Oh, what to purchase... Which would be more inspiring? Would it be the Moonshadow Hyacinth Bean or the Gherkin Spiny Burr (gourd shown above)? though perhaps the Delica Thorn (also a gourd (yes, I'm a sucker for those gourds!)) would be..... Hmmmm.... such choices there are! I definitely think the Tassel Flower (aka "Flora's Paintbrush" in Victorian times) would be a nice addition to my summer bouquets... Such a decision will need to be as the greenhouse at the farm is gearing up for the season.... So stay tuned and we'll both see what sprouts    :)

On a side note, I would love to travel and see the 'Seed Bank' in Petaluma, California. What an amazing place it sounds to be!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

George approved....

Cake seems to be the choice of baking lately. I think I've been trying a new recipe every week. Although the name, "Everyday Yogurt Cake", sounds a bit boring, the recipe below is perfect with freshly whipped cream and seasonal fruit. See what you think  :)

2 cups of flour, unbleached, all-purpose
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt or lowfat yogurt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9" round cake pan and dust it with flour, knocking out any extra. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top of the cake is light golden and toothpick inserted into the center is clean, about 40 minutes. Let the cake cook in the pan for about 5 minutes, invert it onto a wire rack, and then turn it right-side up on a rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar, then slice and serve.

George, my dog, approved - he helped himself to the leftovers..... oops!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hand-finishing frame #1

Almost 34" long this frame is quite substantial. I love how it came together!

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Sunday, February 14, 2010

All 22+ pounds worth....

This is one of Tilly's piglets. You'd think they would be cuddly because they are so cute, but instead they are surprisingly bristly - and especially squirmy - as you try to hold them. Right now they are gaining a bit over a pound a day!

(You can look back to my posting on January 19th, the day they were born at about 3 pounds each....)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Wonder of Wax

I realized the other day the amount of 'wax' I have going on in my art right now: the 'wax sealsignature I sign my work with, the 'cold wax medium' I use on my oil paintings over the varnish, the 'paste finishing wax' I am using on my hand-finished frames, and last, but not least, my latest exploration into the world of 'encaustic painting'. Curious at first, yet so right it feels, for my work to include this natural wonder in whatever it's form....

As you may know, beeswax is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees. It has been around and used for any number of purposes for over a thousand years. We are very fortunate these little worker bees are still around. They do more than make the world go around..... Thank you wax-making bees!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Introducing the 'Harvest Kitchen'

I completed the painting yesterday at the farm. Overall I am pleased, though it was hard to stop; I kept wanting to continue adding in detail and tweaks throughout! But thankfully there was a deadline - the scaffolding had to come down by mid-day.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Custom frames underway....

I have designed 6 different frame profiles for my upcoming show ('the continuation and punctuation') at the Hudson Hospital in March. My talented father is able to take my ideas and put them into reality. I assisted him this past week in his wood shop. Now it's my turn to take the wheel and hand-finish each and every one to compliment the painting that will go inside.

Stay tuned - I plan on posting the process and progress over the course of this next month.....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bugs, bugs and more bugs!

I was recently introduced to the artwork of Christopher Marley and am completely taken with his story and that he creates art using bugs.... though actually they are art in and of themselves with all of their shapes, colors, textures and patterns (but I'm guessing he already knows this as this is most likely what has drawn him to do what he does).

Personally, I've always liked bugs (my dad built me a 'bug house' when I was little - it was where I could put all of what I had found inside a miniature world that I had planted and cared for) and I am always excited by the possibilities of coming across some strange and unknown creepy crawly when I travel. I'm always the one looking for and even wanting to touch what I come across (though perhaps not always the safest thing to do as I found out on our recent trip to Costa Rica). Regardless, I am fascinated with them and appreciate the approach Christopher has taken. Check out his link: http://www.formandpheromone.com. "Center of Focus" and "Carnivorous Plants" (both found under 'Artwork') are my favorites....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My new-found inspiration

is the world of Henry Selick. Have you seen his latest film, Coraline? I just saw it and am completely enthralled with all of the details, imagery and the world within. I highly recommend seeing it! and his site is something to behold as well: www.coraline.com! You can even create your own flower (mine is to the right) in the garden (perfectly perfect to do on a cold winter day!).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Look what arrived!

Today was a busy day for Tilly (not to mention for the staff) as she gave birth to 13 healthy piglets at Gale Woods Farm. 'Stan the Man', did his job (the little black piglets have his coloring)! Though she gave birth a bit earlier than expected, all fell into place. It was quite exciting! And this is just the beginning  :)   More piglets, lambs and chicks, oh my! will be on their way as spring draws closer..... Stay tuned  :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Acrylic painting at Work

This is just the beginning of what I am working on at the farm. I'm delighted I can share my passion for paint and color with the staff and the visitors. The completed piece will showcase a medley of vegetables over the doors to the 'Harvest Kitchen'. I've started with the warmer tones and will then move onto the greens, following with the stems to all and then the banner that is overhead.

It's been quite some time since I painted exclusively with acrylics. They are so different than oil; I notice it especially with the layering of the pigments and the drying time (how quickly it dries!). Overall, it has been an extremely satisfying project - I'm eager to continue.

P.S. I couldn't help but think of my previous post (January 2nd) as I painted the onion - quite timely, I'd say....

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Time is like an onion....

and so it was stated in the New York Times. Okay, I admit, it wasn't actually exactly like that.... I was reading the Weekend Arts Section on New Years Day and found myself drawn to the title of an article, "Time, the Infinite Storyteller". As I am curious about 'time' and I thoroughly enjoy stories, I started reading. A couple of paragraphs into it I came across "....art is loaded and layered with different forms of time and complexly linked to the past and the present and even the future. The longer they exist the more onionlike and synaptic they become." What a perfectly appealing image I hold in my mind now! The linking of art and onion and time together as one! And curious (and so accurate!) is the idea of art depicting time in a myriad of ways....

On a similar side note: I have to say, my own paintings are made up of many layers, much like an onion and encapsulate stories from the past and the present......