Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Midsummer Light in Midwinter Grey

I'm thrilled to have received this Midsummer Light as a holiday gift this year. I was first introduced to Tord Boontje at MOMA a few years ago. I absolutely fell in love with his work  :)  and took  his studio book home where I fall in love all over again.

I installed my new light in the corner of my home studio where it's absolutely perfect! I'm going to enjoy viewing and being inspired by the delicate layers of paper leaves and flowers....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Words with Art

"One (Tiny Little House)"
I have, over the years, been curious about the impact of adding a word (or two or three), a thought, or a sentence into a work of art. I know, as a viewer myself, how influenced I have been by the creator's combination of the two. I have fluctuated between liking this and not - perhaps it's my preconceived notion that needs reworking: that the added word or words make the piece more "crafty" instead of "art". Another curiosity......

Granted, you may already may know how important titles are to me with my original oil paintings. As my grandmother said, a painting is unfinished unless it has a title. This has stayed with me and I have found myself open to different possible titles as I progress through the process of a painting. And because the title and the painting are so intricately connected I think they can each help the viewer to gain more information about what they are viewing. The story is more complete for it.

Now when it comes to incorporating a word into the work of art, now that seems maybe not so different? As the title would then be the word.... Hmmm....

And so yesterday, in the studio, I was compelled to bring forth the combination of the two in one tiny little house encaustic painting. What do you think? I am personally quite pleased with the results and am eager to continue this line of thought....

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Eye of the Leek

Wouldn't that make a great title for a painting?

I was inspired to take this shot the other night while cooking dinner. I find leeks to be so very inspiring in all of their rings lined in green. And I love pushing my finger through and popping out the middle, splitting the concentric circles apart.....

Monday, November 28, 2011

The corner turned

Combined with my interpretation of a recent critique and with my latest found inspiration (it's quite curious how this mental processing all works out during the process of it all - all the way to the end), I went to work the other day in my studio with a newfound sense of direction. I'm quite excited by the results! 

As you can see, the foundation of which my Tiny Little Houses are built upon are becoming more of a focal point. There is grass and hills and checker board grounds..... I feel I am finding the balance between the simple and rich beauty of the medium and the ability to combine different patterns and forms all together in one piece. 

What do you think?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Latest inspiration

I came across this children's book, Otis,  the other day at one of my favorite independent book stores, The Red Balloon Bookshop. I had seen it once before, but now I'm finding myself noodling around the images found on the pages of my fuzzy memory in much a different way than my initial introduction.

(I told myself at the time I can rely on my memory, but now I think I might need to just add this book to my collection for easier reference.)

The coloration and the subtle simple patterns (i.e. blades of grass seen on the cover to the left) that make up the whole are what I'm finding I'm gravitating towards.

I'm curious and eager to see what transpires from this renewed acquaintance..... As always, stay tuned.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The next step

There is progression found everywhere. From sunrise to noon to sunset, from the bud of a flower to the flower to the pod, from buying groceries to fixing a meal to eating... Nothing is the same from moment to moment as each being/experience follows it's path of life.

I think the same goes for a series of artwork. The creation process also follows a progression. What has been discovered and learned in the past will dictate what step comes next in the future. I love the lack of stagnation and this means there are only unlimited possibilities. The only limit is ourselves.

And so I received my order the other day, new pigmented cakes of beeswax from R&F. I have an idea and it involves my tiny little houses and the addition of iridescent pewter, iridescent pearl, iridescent german silver and iridescent brass (which is much brighter than I anticipated, but who knows? this may be a blessing in disguise!). So as always, stay tuned and see what comes next into the world of my tiny little houses  :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

The finishing touches....

are taking place in the studio as I prepare for this weekend's large studio event, Art Attack. I first attach the custom frames to the boxes that make up the wax background for each and then I gently secure a tiny little house in the center of it all. Add the hardware and my signature on the back and they are ready to go! 

My Tiny Little Houses, are making their debut! and I'm quite excited to share them with everyone! If you are in town, I hope you can stop by  :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

The latest vegetable on my counter

I had purchased a beautiful eggplant from the farm a bit of time ago, with every intention of eating it. But as it sat in a basket on my kitchen counter it started to take on a whole new and different personality, and one that I realized I wasn't about to shorten by selfish consumption.

the warm leather brown
I moved it to a pottery piece, which I think resembles a tiny boat in this situation, and it seemed to me that this little being was floating peacefully down the slow and windy river of life.

what a hat!
It must be easily near 2 months since I first brought it home and it has since morphed into quite an interesting character. From the shape of it's "hat" to the "underside of it's soul" it's provided unending interest while I'm at the kitchen sink.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tiny Little Houses.... The Movie!

Here it is! The one and only, uniquely created by Pretty Fluffy Chicken and me. I'm super excited with how our first video together turned out. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Building homes for my tiny little houses

Don't you just love it when unexpected combinations occur outside of our control?

Sometimes it can take years before 2 ideas meet.... In this case (a small wooden box for an expired idea that had fallen to the wayside (a while ago) and the need (most recently discovered) for a home for my tiny little houses), it was probably only a bit over a month before these 2 ideas were hitched together.

I played/experimented around and created the perfect recipe for the backdrop for my tiny little houses.

The photograph above shows one of the steps. Encaustic covers the sides and the back of the wooden boxes. The next layer of oil will create the tonality for the atmosphere I'm desiring..... Stay tuned  ;)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Plucked from my garden

I love gourds, completely inspired by their forms. No two are alike and it's sometimes hard to figure out which to buy (or to rule out) for an arrangement.

This year was different as I had a volunteer plant coming from my compost pile.  I don't remember composting this variety last year.... Regardless, I was excited to see what the decision that was made for me had in mind.

I'm quite taken with this color! and am surprised by their solidity (average weight around 1.25 pounds!) - I love how their weight, form, and texture feels in the palm of my hand! At first glance they seem so very similar from one to the next. But their subtle differences nestled together are what make this collection different and interesting.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The development is expanding....

I started expanding upon my little houses idea with larger boards. This is one of my latest, in process, a few layers (of wax) in, and yet a few layers to go before its completed.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prepping for tomorrow's painting day

Ready to go!
I'm looking forward to pursuing the ideas that have been tumbling around in my mind since before our travels. I pulled out the wood cradles this morning, looking and feeling for the 'right' size. The ones shown here are the winners - I figure they can be both horizontal and vertical in nature....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

An introduction made....

in un mondo di fiaba 
(in a world of fairytale)
My husband and I were able to spend a day in Genova, Italy this last month. Walking the character-filled streets we came across Il Vicolo Galleria d'Arte. I spotted a piece (Emanuele's Concerto grosso di Bach) through the window and had to go in.

I realize the image to the left is quite small and therefore certainly doesn't give justice to the piece itself, but it was the closest I could find on the web that reminded me of my recent love at first sight.  Created by the late Emanuele Luzzati I was drawn immediately to the colorful and dream-like state of his work. I was also intrigued by the variety of medium the artist used in one piece.

I do think I need to see the short films he has created as well as the children's books he's illustrated. And I can just imagine the costumes and sets he designed! I'm sure his style was through and through.... He would probably be one of those people I would love to have met....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My head was pulled in all directions

Near 2 years ago, I was inspired to paint a series of 1 dozen eggs (because of my infatuation with eggs!). Each painting (measuring approx. 5" x 7") would be on a piece of old dock section from my parents' place. I began laying out with fingers and paint the 12 subjects, but then, unexpectedly (despite my enthusiasm for my idea) I stopped due to a road block of not knowing how to proceed. How could the idea of painting something seemingly simple in form halt my progress? and so I pushed them aside.....

One of the 12 eggs set aside.....

Jumping forward to 2011: at the beginning of the summer I signed up for a class at Minnetonka Center for the Arts. Titled "Passionate Painting", taught by local impressionistic painter, Michele Combs, I  was intrigued about the idea of approaching a painting in a loose, yet controlled, and yet passionate, manner.

So already a couple of weeks ago, my head was pulled in all directions - by the end of the second day it hurt! but oh in such a good way! I was being challenged - on all so many levels - levels I hadn't anticipated  :)
  • I stood to paint when I normally sit
  • I used an easel when I normally use my lap to hold my paintings
  • I used more paint in one session than I have ever before 
  • I used big, big brushes instead of my tiny miniature ones
  • I painted from a photograph and from a still life
  • And I finished the paintings I started in the same day!
Craziness!! Can you see why my head hurt?  :)  And then you may ask,  "what does the egg series have to do with this?" The answer is - I brought a couple of my started eggs (as I wondered if this approach was what they needed) and asked Michele if I may, instead of a blank canvas, take her approach/technique and apply it to my eggs. She was supportive! 

Surprisingly it kinda felt like I was jumping off a very high bridge into the water below - completely letting go....

My first attempt on an egg.....
The second egg.....
What do you think? Personally, I'm re-enthused with my eggs! I can hardly wait to continue work on the other 10.... Stay tuned....  :)

I thought I'd share also with you the paintings of a summer bouquet:

Instructor Michele's still life - such yummy texture and loose stroke!
My interpretation.... (I can see my stroke tighten up....)
Granted it's going to involve some conscious effort to hang onto this new technique, but I definitely think the process is rewarding. So we'll just have to see where this fits into the whole of it all.....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A series of little houses

So here is what I did with those little houses I drew. Granted it's a bit hard to tell through the photographs below, but I'm pleased with how each layer of wax added another layer of subtle interest and depth to create the overall landscape. And I love the size!; these all measure 3 1/2" x 2 1/2". I'm currently working out my idea on how to present them..... I can't help but think of creating more little houses with orange, lavender, turquoise doors (just to name a few of the infinite possibilities!).....
"Little House with a Blue Door"

"Little House with a Brown Door"

"Little House with a Red Door"

"Little House with a Yellow Door" 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I was drawn to houses

Simple little houses....
For whatever reason, the other day, I was drawn to drawing child-like houses. Sometimes simple is better. At times, I tend to over-think, make whatever it might be more complex, than I really need to. Thinking back to what it was I drew when I was little was a good starting point for a new idea... stay tuned  :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Abstracted, yet detailed

I don't always gravitate to paintings that I would consider abstract in nature. Yet the work of Barbara Krupp caught my eye the other day at the Uptown Art Fair. At first glance I saw blocks of color, but as I looked more closely, my eye also saw the layers of paint, the textural brushstrokes - all of which made up the whole. And to my delight I also saw the unexpected - a so very soft line, delicate and flowing, full of character that ebbed and flowed in and out of the layers of paint. I found it all so very inspiring....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I've had an idea....

Duke Ellington once said, "I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues." This is one of my favorite quotes and one that I try to keep in mind more often than not (though easier said than done at times!) when I feel the urge to feel sorry for myself...

During these last few months, my creative ideas have been percolating around in my mind, coming out only a step at a time, as the healing process (in my arms) allows.

The other day I was ready to try the next step to an idea I've had. Painting on fabric - specifically a lovely hemp silk blend (in keeping with my desire to be sustainable) with a delightful texture and weight. Granted this is the first draft, but I am excited by the results and possibilities. Plus, it was fun to do (which is always a plus  ;)  )! So stay tuned and we'll wait and see where the next tweaking of this idea takes us....

Monday, August 1, 2011

Suction pads like no other

My friend, Leah, shared her find with me the other day as she knows I love bugs. It was a brilliant lime-green and 2 1/2" long luna moth caterpillar. I immediately was captivated and marveled at all of it's characteristics - from it's not so pretty head to the girth of it's waist to the hairs on it's pads. Days later, I am still in awe I was able to witness such a creature - a bit of Alice-like-wonderland amongst life's usual routine....

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ah... the aroma of molten encaustic medium

I made another batch yesterday as I was nearly out. There is nothing like the aroma of wax - especially when it becomes warm and then liquid.

I sometimes forget how prep work is also a part of the process - not to be devalued/labeled as a waste of time/an obligation to check off the list before one can be creative.

I appreciate the reminder to be mindfully creative in whatever task is at hand (well, though maybe this idea would be a stretch with scooping cat litter)   :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Landscape of Snail

Our pond this year is filled with all sorts of life - perhaps years past they've always been there, but this time around we can't help but notice the plethora of tadpoles, water bugs of all kinds, fish, and snails....

It was only after I took the picture, upon reviewing the shots of the morning, did I see the Landscape of Snail. Instead of the reflections in the water surface, I now saw the snail navigating across varying terrain with trees in the horizon and a sky above.

Curious how a fresh perspective can help one travel through life....

Monday, June 13, 2011

Change is in the Air

Oh dear! I do apologize for my absence! Unfortunately, I had strained my forearm muscles (and thus adversely affected the tendons and nerves) a number of weeks ago and thus I had to take the time it takes for them to heal. Today, I am feeling more hopeful --- perhaps the end of the healing process is in sight!

With this unwelcome (at times) rest from the day to day routines, I have had many an opportunity to reflect on my creative processes, my inspirations, the idea of balance, goals and challenges. In the midst of the frustration and angst it has been hard to see the positive, but I am now quite excited by the changes I can feel that are about to emerge from it all.

So until my next post (hopefully sooner than later), I wish you lovely summer days ahead. And I look forward to sharing my next steps/directions with you ~ thank you for your interest!  :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Walking through the garden

Crazy texture and gorgeous color!!
The other day I spotted the beginning of my last year's favorite plant (every year I gravitate to one that I am especially inspired by - last year it was this: a so very large-leafed plant that is of the rhubarb family).

The beginning of the stalks and leaves have started to emerge from the spring earth in their crinkle-like way. I love the depth found in their characteristics - don't you?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New studio underway!

the right wall, showing the doorway to the other side
Track lighting and paint will give this old space a new look filled with possibilities!

the opposite side --- aren't these great walls??
Brick and cement aren't always the easiest to hang artwork from. But how could I resist such character?? I love the texture of the old brick and how it is inset into the wall. The cement pillars complete the look with their three-dimensionality. What fun!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Oh! I have an idea....

Don't you love it when you say yes to something even though you don't know at the time what you'll do with it? This was the case on the chair you see to the left. My dear friend and fellow artist, Patty Carmody-Smith, picked it up along side the road with me in mind. Granted I was taken with it's wooden curves, but I really didn't know what I would do with it, much less than when I would do something with it.....

I can hardly wait to show you! I'll just say it involves red, black and white. Stay tuned!

Friday, April 1, 2011

I'm in love....

I made it to the MAEP gallery at the MIA yesterday to see Margaret Wall-Romana's oil paintings (closes on Sunday, April 3rd). I walked into the room with an oh! and an ah! and I'm so glad I made the time to stop! I loved the scale, the range of abstract to realistic representation, the depth created by the so very many layers and the application of paint, from soft blending of color to thick impasto, the lack of detail and the amount of detail.... All to be found in one piece! I was transported to another world - one that I liked considerably - and one I that I hope to not forget.....

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I came across this thought this morning over breakfast in the recent journal from Surface Design. The fiber artist in the journal's article referenced Vera John-Steiner who wrote the following in Notebooks of the Mind:

"...of the greatest importance in the thought activity of artists and scientists is their pulling together of ideas, images, disarranged facts and fragments... into an integrated work."

I love how clearly this resounds in me!

Seed heads

My co-worker, Melissa, at Gale Woods Farm had me take some photographs yesterday in her greenhouse. Eighty degrees and lovely with the aroma of black soil and compost I took a few for her.

Onion seedlings with heads of seed were still attached to their slender green bodies. I love the balance of daintiness and strength that was displayed throughout the flats. I desire to live with such balance!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breaking in a New Brush with Green

There is nothing like a new paintbrush! and so yesterday morning I started work in detail with with my favorite, Winsor Newton, Size 1, Series 7 Miniature.

The precise line that can be obtained from a virgin brush is unlike anything else. I find the experience to be absolutely delicious!

My "green" palette was what I worked from and you can see the result above on my latest work in progress.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Artist" redefined

Over breakfast the other morning I was reading the most recent Surface Design Association Journal. I was drawn to an article titled Affinities ~ Fiber and Wax by Joanne Mattera. Having myself explored the two mediums individually, I have been curious about the idea of combining them together within one piece and so it was a natural fit to start reading..... I didn't get very far into the article (only to the 4th paragraph)  before I had to stop and let what I just read, sink in:

....."Neither Johns or Bourgeois is identified by materials but by ideas---a good reason for all of us to eliminate the adjectives we use to define ourselves as artists.".....

The whole idea that it is the idea behind it all that could define myself as an artist, verses the materials I use to create my work, is a breath of fresh air! Not that I needed anyone's permission to do what I may, I still find her perspective quite freeing.   :)

Regardless of the mediums, the underlying thread (my desire to accurately portray the passion I feel for my sources of inspiration through texture, layer, form and color) has always been there. So onward and upward I shall continue not as an oil painter dabbling in textiles or as a textile artist who paints, but as an artist giving credit to the natural world around me through the use of different mediums....

What fun!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


My current work-in-progress is on a companion door to the door that my most recent completed story, My Inner Reptile, is painted on. This canvas has the knob which I think adds such an unique 3D feature to the piece. This 3D element also seems to follow/mimic the circular orbs located on the lower right and left areas within the painting....

Today I continued laying out the colors and blocking out the forms with a not-so-often used larger brush (the result is shown above). Now I'm eager to start laying in the details with my favorite tool, a water-color brush by Winsor & Newton.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

10 Hours Later

I finished my painting, My Inner Reptile, this morning, 10 hours later than when I told myself the first time it was done. I'm really pleased I continued writing the story with paint as now it is so very complete, without any doubt or nagging idea tapping the back of my mind telling me otherwise.

Now comes the cover to the story to present it to the world in.... Stay tuned to see what frame profile I choose......

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Skeletons in the Garden

Isn't this a great title for a painting? It conjures up such interesting images! When combined together they would make a really good story (who knows-- there might be someday such a painting of mine whose title this is!).....

I came across, in the New York Times the other week, a visually yummy paragraph within an interesting article: "If you make a four season garden you have to learn to accept decay and see the beauty of it. It's about the texture and shape, the seed heads and the skeletons....."

The skeletons in my garden became more apparent last week as the weather broke 50 degrees. However, they are now again mostly buried due to the recent weekend snowfall (24"!).  So I have had to temporarily put my spring fever bug back on the back burner and again derive pleasure from the simplistic forms protruding from the snow....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Unexpected eye-candy

My grandparents were avid birders and I, at a young age, connected birding with the retired and/or the elderly! Oh dear, I now stand corrected!
As I don't consider myself elderly and I certainly haven't retired, I have, over the recent years, found unexpected inspiration in these fine feathered friends outside of my studio and home windows. The layering of feathers and the miniature texture and details throughout their little bodies... are all so inspiring to me. Not to mention they exhibit such personalities!

The picture above is one my husband took on our recent trip to Ecuador. I absolutely love his eye! and find his work (in addition to the subject matter) very inspiring....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Miniature crazy detail!

This is a small gourd that we purchased in Quito, Ecuador, with a story wood-burned in. I fell in love with the miniature detail throughout it's three-dimensional being. It's quite crazy when you look closely at it -- as the imagery flows perfectly together from one turn to the next. I can't imagine how it is done with a wood-burning tool.....

So many layers!

My husband and I returned recently from an amazing trip to Ecuador. The first half of our trip was spent in the rain forest near a tributary to the Amazon. It was here especially I marveled at what it is that I'm not able to see, but that is able to see me. Above is a picture I took where this is summed up perfectly. Perhaps you can see him/her? It is slightly to the left of center.....

The magnitude of the layers that where all around me no matter where I looked was so very inspiring. I could have easily sat in one spot for a very long time to just observe all that was in front of me - that in a glance wouldn't have been captured in my gaze (and then maybe not even!) unless it hopped, crawled, leapt or swung.....

Stay tuned. I'm working on organizing my photographs from this trip and am looking forward to sharing more....

Friday, February 4, 2011

I can hardly wait!

This last week I received notification I am officially enrolled in a 4 day workshop coming up in June. I can hardly wait! There are pre-conference workshops and post-conference workshops, seminars, guest speakers, exhibitions, along with so much more! All are a part of Confluence, a bi-annual Conference through the Surface Design Association. The Textile Center in Minneapolis is hosting this 2 week event.

My instructor for
Mix It Up! Mixed Media Collage is Wen Redmond. I'm delighted and so very excited to see what I walk away with. I feel I'm already dabbling in mixed media and would love some insight on how I could better tie all of my (or at least a fair number of them) various interests and different materials together. This seems like a perfect fit!

The description for my workshop is: "Make your mark! Mixed media embraces the unknown and the unexpected. Participants will use created fabrics and cloth collage. They will experiment with mediums and textures. Get inspired! Be open to serendipity! Investigate layering techniques, unique stamping, image transfer, easy monoprinting and more exciting collage secrets. Embrace the unexpected! Mistakes are opportunities to let go of prearranged outcomes and listen to the inner muse. Experimentation is key!"

Sounds pretty neat, doesn't it? :)

I had an idea and it involved gold leaf....

As much as I wanted to say this painting was finished, I  knew deep down it wasn't. How did I know? Because I had an idea that I kept shooting down and trying to forget - all to no avail as it kept hounding me. So I gave in and am thrilled I did so! You can see the latest detail/addition to my painting, My Inner Reptile. I still have a few more layers to do, but that is all, and then for sure it will be done  :)  As always, do stay tuned....

Monday, January 3, 2011

Curiosity and Mystery

I'm trying to hang onto being curious. Curious with a capital "W" for Why, What, Who and When..... And we can't forget about How so I also need to have Curious with a capital "H"....

I feel there is a direct correlation between being curious and playing (creating) and I feel I have lost these abilities (to some extent). If I can devote time to being curious (read more here), I then imagine I will take the time to play and lose myself in the mystery of it all.

I think having a magnifying glass with me at all times will help......

Millimeters and centimeters

I'm becoming acquainted, and I'm sure by the time the last page has turned, good friends with millimeters and centimeters.  This delicious, eye candy book caught my eye at a local bookstore the other week. I am in love with the itty-bitty detail of it all found in the fruits colors, textures and forms. And to think some of these are just a few millimeters in length is really quite mind-boggling! And then to realize these works of art (if I may call them such) actually exist!! As with most things in the natural world - it just takes time to observe and really see what is already around us to then be able to learn to appreciate the simpleness in life.....