Moving the blog!

Hello everyone- Just a quick hello and to let you know that I will be deactivating this account in favor of keeping all my words, and work together on my site. You can still follow the blog portion there by signing up with your email if you so choose.

Thank you all for the follow here all these years. I really appreciate the time you took to read.

Finding Summer



The other day while waiting for a flight at the airport I was struck by how many people do not stare off blankly like I often do. Or even at each other. Everyone has their heads down looking at their gadgets. That makes for fine study fodder for me…I can openly look at faces and the way light falls upon them without interrruption. That thought led to this one : I’ve personally lost track of summer the last few years, and all the laziness that comes with it.

When one doesn’t schedule down time, aka Vacation, how does this happen? Well, I need to follow all my own advice as stated in my first video for pete’s sake for one. Then, I have to remind myself it is necessary…in too many ways. Peace of mind, lower blood pressure, equilibrium, and most importantly, for the ole work habit. The Fine Art. Society always reminds us that we are starving artists, flakey artists, act like a business who charges by the hour artist..sometimes I even catch myself buying into all those personas.

But really, according to my inner collective, my mission as Artist falls into the visionary category. As in, helping others see the beauty, the ‘more’ to life than we often expect. The surprise, the nudge into a place of relief. That’s my personal gig. We all have our own, right? Finding the connection thru the natural world is what helps my art find it’s way…

So, back to the garden I go with the golden Mango of fluff and fur and low voice.  We keep our eyes peeled for interlopers of all kinds here..racoons, groundhogs, fox, coyotes. But please don’t ask me to identify any plant beings though. I know not thing one about them. My husband is the keeper of this local earth. I just stare at it. I know colors. For example, there are lots of greens growing at the moment. And some purple flowers. I also thank the heavens that no one makes me weed. Small moments of gratitude easy to cultivate here.

And as social media continues to rant and rave about this or that agenda, (oh yikes here comes election year)  I will blissfully scroll away, or not even look, except to perhaps post a garden shot yet again. Or another cat…ok, maybe a painting. Speaking of which, painting will slow down in lieu of this important time. To feed the ole soul.

Lift your heads from time to time.  Catch someone’s eye, and smile. You don’t have to leave home to do that.

Have a happy summer.

The Process of Sharing

Coming back to my studio legs after traveling to Ann Arbor, Michigan to teach a 2 day workshop focused on my painting *methods*. I use that term loosely because I’m not sure if what I do would be an actual method. The ‘steps’ can seem frenzied and the furthest thing from planned. Yet, according to the 11 people in  attendance, it made some sense.

I have reached a point in the trajectory of my own learning to reach out to experienced adults a bit, even though my ways are not so straightforward. The key to working organically is to gather all kinds of skills, and keep moving even when in doubt. Solutions appear, even if it means destroying what you just did. Like I often say, it’s just paint.

A lot was thrown at these students, who came armed with new tools, plenty of questions, and more courage than I think they knew they had. I’m really proud of them. It’s tough to butt up against hard wired ‘art rules’, and jump off into the unknown. We artists have been conditioned to invest so much study and seriousness into what we make; and rightly so, fundamentals are important. However, the balance of lightness, of play, all wrapped up in the disguise of frustration can be equally liberating.

What I hope to instill in these workshops is that the painting reveals itself TO you. No need to stress ahead of time. Our job is to see that big reveal happening as we work, and trust that vision. It takes time, and a ton of patience (believe me, I am lacking this skill often.)

And finally, a glimpse into my world of studio reality. Juggling interruptions, dealing with my head, and finally recognizing the way. Special thanks to photographer Jerry Mann for finding the connecting threads so beautifully.

Ode to the Creative

So far so good, making good on my intentions for the year. This has been a winter of quiet cold, and rest, like no other. In many ways a forced rest, knowing my conditioning is to always be productive. And yet, my family of origin likes to joke about how I dallied when I was supposed to be cleaning…the dust rag never moving fast enough to get it done quickly. I was always too caught up by a strange ‘something’…whether it be a thought, a scratch I needed to make in that furniture (yes I did) or fixing a doll whose dress was askew. I was a reflective child.

Isn’t it funny how that is deemed ‘flaky’ or ungrounded, in this Age of Accumulation? I am determined to bring that kid back.

We are lucky as creatives. We get to spend time noticing things most people don’t, and sharing it…whether in words, songs, images or experiences. It is easy in this day and age to allow the balance to veer off dalliance into practicality, and business like behavior at most times. I do see the importance of being structured and methodical, but not at the expense of staring off into the wild grey yonder. All that builds into a crescendo of inspiration that comes out WITH your daily practice – the work- and is not separate from it. Indeed, there is no separation in a world that breathes. You, as the creative revealer, are included in that statement.

I just feel the need to reach out and remind my creative friends making their way in this overly judgemental world about this:

What you do is important. It counts. No matter what the bottom line.

So, on one of my daily stares out the window, I notice this deer making his way over to our yard, in the deep snow, as if he was coming to visit. And he was.

A Loose List

Happy New Year!

For the first time probably ever, I spent my morning on this new day of the year at the yoga studio, working hard physically and mentally through the powerful practice of ashtanga. Then, I came home and polished off half a tin of delicious homemade pastries with some milk. How’s that for balance?

My thoughts around this beginning, like with most people, is to think about what’s been, and what to do next. After reading my journal entries over the years, I did ok most times. Sometimes, it was too much wishful thinking. I didn’t quite make it. I have decided my goals tend to get too flowery, too lofty. That said, my list making propensity still comes out as I organize my thoughts here, and they will probably come across as too lofty yet again….but I hope you get what I mean. So, here they come as bullet points. Without the bullets.

I am officially opting to not envision a concrete goal, but to simply remain engaged Right Now. To not make excuses, but to be gentler in what I hope to accomplish, with wiggle room for change built in.

Workwise, many of my pieces will get quieter. Smaller. I am not taking on projects that require an obligation of any kind for awhile. I need to feel unencumbered, in order to truly understand where this work is taking me and why I feel so compelled to make it as I do.

The balance to this silent time is teaching out in the world. For the first time, I will be traveling to a few far flung locations to share my process a bit. I am most looking forward to meeting many of you, and sharing our experiences together, as a collective. We artists often work alone, facing our insecurities stoically, hoping at least one person ‘out there’ can relate to what we do, and even better, to pay for it. It gets edgey, in our minds. Connecting to others in the same boat eases this.

I need to work on not checking out, especially in the studio. I need to be in focused zone. This is the most valuable tool I am learning to use through ashtanga yoga. This yoga practice is so intensive that you simply can’t space out. Paying attention to what is working through my breathing, my postures, is the key to remaining steady, and moving safely for 90 minutes. (yes, one can get hurt practicing yoga mindlessly) Having boundaries in art making works the same way. It is humbling, these boundaries. And wholly valuable.

I will try to not trip my own self up with doubts and insecurities. It happens so often, especially as I travel this newish road of losing some realism, which has been my default mode for so many years. Every piece I’ve ever made has felt (and looked) like crap at one point. It’s ok, it’s just paint on canvas. It will change, or I will start again.

I will only paint what interests me in the manner that intrigues me. Period.

I will leave my worries at the door, of my car, before I am even close to the studio door.

I will accept my limitations and know there is always room for something different, something bigger, than my mind can ever picture in paint. I will give myself time to get there.

I will rest. A lot more often.

I will let all this lead the way. And if it doesn’t, I will try again, for as long as it needs to take.

May your 2015 be filled with fresh starts and endless inspiration to keep going. Cheers!

Choosing the Threads

Well, got over my angst and am now continuing onward renewed. It was valuable to say the least. Along with the energetic shift came time to reflect, and look at what the heck is going on with my work life. When one is painting representationally, the notion of ‘what to paint’ often comes up. Do I paint what sells? Do I paint what my galleries want? What my aunt, sibling, grandfather…fill in the blank..would like to see? I am not sure how common this is, but some of my decision making as far as  direction, is to to see what came before. This isn’t just with paint. It also can refer to bodies of work.

The patterns I’ve been looking at lately stem from the very beginning of my yesteryear as an art making person. I believe that what we dwelled on as children is a very good indicator of what we should be doing as adults. Just my own non-scientific theory. I used to spend hours drawing people, and not just those I knew. I was very clued into making faces up. This past year I have thought about this, and decided to try it on for size again. It worked pretty well with a few of my small pieces, “The Memory of Water” for one. I had a photo of the pose, then totally changed the likeness. Fun.

However, it wanted to creep into my commissioned work, and let’s just say that wasn’t helpful. People would like their portraits to actually LOOK like the person portrayed.

My personal work involved getting to know my models and having that inform my direction to a large degree. Their likenesses were pretty much there.

Now, something is changing again. I want to pick up that thread of childhood and allow the paintings to exist in how it comes to me, reliant on internal movement, and not necessarily what I see, or even what I know. Ok, so it’s a little scary to even write about it, truth be known. But my attention has been placed there to explore further. I have to make peace with the thought that via the medium of all kinds of paint application, ‘my people’ want to be seen.

Hypotheticals here: What happens if we are driven by forces outside of ourselves? Are we truly the artists the rest of the world thinks we are? Are we in panic mode, risking injury to our states of mind by being so hungry for success as defined by these forces? Yes, we often have chosen Art as a way to Live, but at what ultimate cost? How much do we really need materially? These are questions I ask myself a lot.

For me, The Threads at first are simply the foundations of art building, the paint, the process. Then the portrait changes and beckons to me as the maker to move differently than expected. Sometimes it even works. I have experienced the hell when it doesn’t, but that moment passes and a new way to see the piece is just beginning to take root. A New Thread is found. My job, is to pick it up and just try. No guarantees, no pressure to make it look a certain way. Just Try.

Next thing I know, I see that a tapestry has begun to take shape. I try with all my internal might to trust that it will hold, and not unravel. That my first thought, that first gently woven thread, was the right choice to begin with. That the outside world really has no place here, at the moment of creation.

Go forward from YOUR start, and no one else’s. It takes time to embrace your own vision and believe in it. Don’t pull the thread. Yet. (That’s a whole other topic…)