Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I've got a couple more pieces framed and a couple more pieces started. And I keep messing with the big one. As always, the process is constant.

Cafe Ladies is framed.

"Cafe Ladies"
9" x 12" unframed
Oil and acrylic on board

As is the Hopper window. I really need to re-name this. Any suggestions?

"Hopper Window"
16" x 20" Unframed
Oil and Acrylic on Board

Our living room continues to evolve, despite the fact that I promised to stop working on it.
It is now officially over-worked and the only thing left to do is keep working on it!

I returned to acrylics for the time being. I love a lot about the oils, but felt I was moving so slowly on projects. I also feel less control, in some respects. After 15 years, it feels instinctive painting with acrylics. But oils present a challenge that at times is exhilarating and at other times a waste of time. I've often been complemented on the results I get with acrylics, so I do feel like the differences can be subtle.

In any case, one afternoon at the studio proves just how much more efficient I am with my little tubes of plastic. I started this painting based on a friends' house. And I must admit, it was the most fun I had had at the studio in quite some time. This does not mean I won't keep developing my technique with oils. And it would make a wonderful top layer.

Day 1

Day 2

"Try the Train"
24" x 36"
Acrylic on Board

No shows on the horizon.

My other focus on the moment is re-developing my first career as an advertising writer. If all goes well, I will be able to pursue my painting with passion and joy and without the pressure of sales. Which is not to say I won't want to see the work go to loving homes, but I can't help but believe that the work will grow out of the freedom gained.

Even though I don't have shows scheduled at the moment, I am always happy to open the studio to anyone curious to see what's new or even what's old.
Just call or email.

Monday, May 31, 2010

smART show

Today's the smART show.

I went down to the Flatiron to hang the show yesterday.

If you're planning to come see me I'm relatively easy to find. Kevin Lahvic, the man in charge, was kind enough to put me right next to his studio on the second floor. Basically 2 left turns from the staircase and a quick right and there I am!

One of the biggest challenges with the Flatiron is that the hallways are so narrow that when you hang large pieces there's no room to step back and see them. And I always hang large pieces.

Here's an idea of what my set-up looks like…See what I mean?

If it rains, as it's supposed to on Saturday, The Flatiron will be a perfect weekend getaway to stay dry, get a wet (plastic) glass of wine and lose yourself (literally) in a maze of art. Improvements have been made to the building with new hallways and studios, so if you haven't been there in a while, there's a lot to see!

I am really frustrated that I don't have more of the new series to hang. I've been painting "Windows" in oil and with the frames being hand painted, as well, the dry time is just not cooperating. The two pieces that I did hang yesterday are getting a lot of great attention so I am confident that this series will be embraced. Just missing my fast acting acrylics at the moment!

For those who are interested, here are the semi-dry works that haven't gotten their walking papers yet:

So remember, 1579 N. Milwaukee.

Corner of Milwaukee-Damen-North
6-10pm tonight
12-10pm tomorrow
12-6pm Sunday

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Letters from Home

The good news…My daughter is home from college!

The bad news…she just got her tonsils out and I'll be home at least a week taking care of her.

So no studio time for me for a while. :(

I did get to the studio last week for some brief visits. The first was to clean the mess made by the gallons of water that crawled under the studio door during the horrific early morning rain on May 13. A lot of cardboard and a couple of doormats had to be sacrificed to the rain gods but luckily it appears that no work sustained anything more than good wipe down.

The following day I was able to go back, put a few things back in place a paint a bit, knowing it would be a while before I was back. Boy the place sure feels clean after a good mopping up! But I miss my carpet under my feet. It's still drying outside in "Carpet ICU" and I'm not sure it's going to make it.

It was a gorgeous day so I opened the garage door and had full sunshine and breeze which was wonderful, though tricky when the wind came through!

"Don't Forget to Call" makes further progress. It's time to leave it alone. It's at risk of getting "too cooked". Time to prepare it for framing.

"Don't Forget to Call"
36" x 48"
Oil and acrylic gel transfer on board

The smaller piece Hopper inspired piece has taken a drastic turn. The palette changed. I thought I really loved the colors I was working with but then I saw a Matisse still life at the Art Institute and the colors were so incredible that I just had to work with them and I really love it. A few more details in this painting and that's all. I want to keep it simple.

Before and after ---------->

I go crazy at home now that I don't have a studio here. I try to think of what art projects I can create at home…Anything to keep me from cleaning and cooking!

I pulled out my sketchbook and sat outside yesterday with some pencils and oil pastels. Did you know those melt really easily in the sun? Go figure! My challenge to myself was to create something personal that did not use a reference such as a photo or object. And to think of the figure as a metaphor instead of a literal representation.

I never work without a visual reference, but I had been thinking of Hollis Sigler, the Chicago artist who died a few years ago. She had suffered from cancer for many years and her work evolved into a visual journal of her war with the disease, as well as other issues facing a strong minded feminist woman. Clearly her work came from her imagination and her soul. Doing that type of art is probably the scariest thing I can think of doing.

I once had an artist acquaintance challenge me to look at a blank canvas and just start painting. No pre-thought, no goal, no composition in mind. And I can think of nothing harder. I worry that there's nothing there. Thankfully, I'm not suffering from a life threatening illness, a burden that often leads to soul baring and creative freedom, at a great cost. But of course I have my turmoils. I've acknowledged my issues with my children getting older, of becoming an empty nester, my parents aging. My middle aged body has produced a weight issue I keep meaning to address and I never was an easy going type to begin with, so you know THAT'S not getting any better. So yes, I have plenty of stuff to stuff into a painting. The question remains, can my mind work that way?

I can't post the drawing I did yesterday. I don't know what to make of it yet and I'd be embarrassed. I have no idea if it's any good. It's probably a cliche. But I did it. And maybe someday I'll be able to show it to the world.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gray chilly morning and I'm stuck at home with the Peoples Gas man.
Good time to blog.

I framed "Times Square". Here's an un-official photo…

"Times Square"
24" x 36" + Frame
Oil and acrylic gel transfer on board

Next on the agenda is finishing up "Don't Forget to Call",
the painting based on my own living room.
I'm having a lot of fun working on it.

"Don't Forget to Call"
36" x 48"
Oil and Acrylic Gel Transfer on Board

It's a constant battle to decide how detailed to be or how suggestive.
After going to the Mattisse exhibit, I want everything to be very blocky and flat,
but sometimes my hand can't stop. And often those small touches add so much.
I just keep going back and forth until the balance feels right.

Here's a small piece, 16" x 20", that I started.
It's inspired by a painting by Hopper.
I'm loving the palette, but it still has a long way to go.

I'll be participating the in the smART Show
at the Flatiron Building June 4-5-6.
It will be my first opportunity to exhibit the "Windows" series,
though I will also have many works from earlier series.
It's been a while since I've been down at the old maze of a building and I miss my friends and the weekends filled with crowded hallways and lost souls looking for the staircase.
It's always a party and the art keeps changing and growing.
It's a great place to discover a new artist. You should come out!

Flat Iron Arts Building
1579 N. Milwaukee

June 4-5-6
Friday 6-10pm
Saturday 12-10pm
Sunday 12-6pm

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Today I went to the School of the Art Institute's Fashion Show.

For those of you that don't know, every May the SAIC has a fabulous fashion show highlighting the final projects of the sophomore, junior and senior classes.

My mother is an alumni of SAIC and has a dear friend from those days who was head of the school for years and is still very active in the arts and each year she hosts my daughter and me as her guests at the show. As my daughter will be studying fashion design somewhere starting the fall of 2011, this show has become a very serious event in our life.

This year's show was held in the lobby of the Modern Wing at the Art Institute. Most of the clothes are very conceptual, not meant for actually wearing. The show is always a wonderful experience.

Afterwards, I took my daughter through the Modern Wing for the her first time. Maybe it was all the school groups crowding the rooms but it felt like such a let down since my last visit.

I had read that the wing had been recently re-arranged and that my favorite room housing Kerry James Marshall's paintings had been taken down but it seemed as though most of my favorite pieces were missing. I want my Peter Doig back. My Lucien Freud.
I even miss the stupid Jeff Koons sculpture that leads into the gallery on the second floor
and the wallpapered room filled with cat litter bags!

At least we got to see the Matisse exhibit.
Some beautiful pieces that especially spoke to me
as I develop this interior series.
Unfortunately, no photos allowed.
The image below is lifted off the internet.

I am eager to get back to the studio.
Really enjoying creating a large piece
based on my own living room.
And tomorrow, I'll take photos of some new spaces.

Monday, May 3, 2010


"The Loop"
18" x 24"
Oil, Acrylic Gel transfer on board

I recently started a new series titled "Windows".
The idea has been gestating for quite some time.

Window symbolize change for me.
A future. A past. The great unknown and the beloved memory.

And on the other side of the windows are home.
The symbol of comfort, safety, acceptance.

So…the gel transfer images of old photos convey the dream of the future and memory of the past. They feel nostalgic and that is how I feel. But they are also represent hope and the excitement of looking to the future.

"Times Square"
24" x 36"
Oil, Acrylic Gel Transfer on board

For the interior spaces, I began using Bonnard's beautiful interiors as my inspiration.
They are so inviting.

Now I am using my own living room as my source and am in the process of finding other spaces that feel personal and represent "home".

In process -
"Don't Forget to Call"
36" x 48"
Oil, acrylic gel transfer on board

"Windows" came about from the transitions in my personal life.

My oldest daughter left for college last fall and I have been dealing with the usual sense of loss. Not just for her individual presence but for the family unit that my husband and I have treasured for 18 years. We have 3 kids and they have been a joy. Having our 5-some break up was not something I welcomed!

My 17 year old daughter is right behind. I just took her to look at schools. So, the sense of our family changing is pretty pervasive. And let's not mention the aging parents…

But these are the fuel for this series. And I know they are very universal for people regardless of your age. The pull of home contrasting with the need to grow and explore.

I will be posting this series as it develops. As above, sometimes I will post an image while the work is in progress. I know it's fun to see a painting "grow".

I welcome any thoughts along the way.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Beginning

Welcome to my blog.

I've been pretty low-profile for the past year, working on working. Trying new directions, getting a lot of feedback from professionals in the industry and doing a lot of experimenting and thinking.

But I realize that process is a huge part of being an artist and those of you who follow my work may be interested in that process. So I will begin here to journal life in the studio, the occasional life outside the studio, and of course, opportunities to see my work in the public.

The studio is actually quite large and I share it with two other artists.
Their space is at the other end.

My studio mates have 3 dogs that they bring every day.
I've been starting to bring my 2 dogs to the studio on some days, so often we have 5 dogs in the space! It's hard to tell if we're artists or running a kennel. And of course, my dog, the papillon, is the one dog that causes trouble. He's got a bit of a Napoleon complex.