Tuesday, December 30, 2008

End of Year SALE!

To all my wonderful readers I am offering a 20% discount on everything in my Etsy shop today and tomorrow ONLY! When you make your purchase, type BLOG in the comments area, and I will promptly refund your discount to you via Paypal. I'll probably add a little something extra in your package, too, just because I love the turn of the year so much.

My dream is to make two more sales before the new year (which is silly and random, I know), so if you have had your eye on something special, now is the time to pounce!

Thanks so much for keeping on eye on this blog -- I promise more wonderful fun things in the coming year! Stay tuned!

Choci Shop

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


OK, I know... enough with the Etsy Treasuries already... but I am still thrilled when I discover that I am included in one. This is only my second time, so maybe after this I will be over it, ha ha. Anyway, many thanks to "renef" for including me!

We made the Front Page!

I am so excited and confirmed that yes, my little Treasury made the Etsy Front Page yesterday. Here is the screen shot; sadly I wasn't able to see it with my own eyes. This is so great!

Also, I've been meaning to share the little cat painting I made especially for my friend Teri -- I traded her for a Queen Bee Truckette bag and a wallet! I love trades. It finally arrived on her doorstep, so I don't have to keep him secret anymore.

"Archer", 5" x 7", Acrylic on paper with handpainted wood frame.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I made a new Treasury over on Etsy today. Fun stuff!

As usual, click to see it larger. :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

My first Treasury!

A big thanks goes out to the lovely Enhabiten, who informed me that she's included one of my artworks in a Treasury she created on Etsy! It's a really nice one, too, so I am extra pleased. (Click to see larger; my piece is in the upper right corner!)

In other news, it looks like I am going to be slightly without camera for quite a while. :( So, I'm not sure when I'll be able to post more of my own art again... though, maybe, on the other hand, it's good to have some surprises for my show, right?

Stay tuned for more featured artists coming early next week! I've got a busy weekend ahead with holiday festivities plus guests from Montreal! Have a great weekend, all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Changing Perspective

Back in November, Keri Smith wrote about changing one's perspective and included a list of ways you could do so. I love this one:

12. Add something to your name. ("the 3rd", "the great", "the illustrious") Alternate: Add some letters to your name but don't tell anyone.

I took pen and paper and played with my first name, since it's so simple and short. I liked what I ended up with, something more seemingly exotic and unusual (would you believe that my mom thought she was being different when she named me back in 1970?).

From Amy to Amiey or Amiy or even making myself plural: Amieys!

I wonder if anyone would notice... too bad my show invites are probably already at the printers! Har.


I know, I've been remiss in the art lately! I try to stay off the computer on the weekends and save them for making stuff -- art and food mostly -- and catching up on movies. Today I am going to direct you to a few artists and craftspersons with a quickie post.

Nicole Lecht is one of my co-workers who happens to be a talented graphic designer and illustrator. I love this letterpress bird series she posted recently.

Over at Enhabiten's shop, there are pillows, ornaments, and jewelry -- all made from fabrics -- AND the things that really caught my eye. I absolutely love her fiber-based artworks. This one is my favorite.

This particular quilt by ScrappyLynn is my dream quilt. If I had an extra $800 laying around, it would be at the top of my list! I'd really love to invest in a beautiful handmade quilt one day, and I would want it to be something like this.

There's something incredibly beautiful and mysterious in the simplicity of shellyklein's art.

Finally, in the vast world of stuffies, these guys made by Lou Lou and Oscar really stand out. My current favorite is this Polar Fish Boy! Too cute and unique...

That's it for today! Tomorrow I hope to be able to share some more sneak peeks at my own work that will be included in my show.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hopping Right On This One: Olivia Jeffries

Love at first sight! OK, I feel a little lame since this artist I just discovered had an item included on the Front Page treasury on Etsy this morning, but no matter. I went from shop to website to blog and just was like, "Wow! Wow! Wow!" Something just totally sent me to the moon about Olivia Jeffries' work. Maybe it's that she recycles old papers and materials to draw and paint on, or her delicate, informed way of rendering forms... I am totally in love.

You can visit her shop, read her blog, and peruse her website.

Here are a few of my favorites that she has available for sale:

"Trace Parts 1-4", framed screenprints on old love letters(!), $250

Sketch for "Showed You Your Air", large gocco print, $20 (a steal!)

Daily Sketch for September 30th, $55


In other news, I had my very first interview yesterday on my lunch break! No, it wasn't a job interview, silly -- it was for a local paper, a Pennysaver-type thing, which will include an article about my show at the Castellani Museum in February! I was quite nervous about doing it, but the writer was very easy to talk to, and I ended up having a lot of fun. I'll post a link to the online version once it appears.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

News from the Trenches

February 1st quickly approaches, and my curator has been getting ready for my show, too. His latest request was for a title and a few choices for the image that will appear on the invitation. (Ooh! Invites! Exciting!) I am happy to announce the title for the exhibition will be Nothing Was about to Happen. Thanks to all my friends who weighed in on this important decision and gave me awesome feedback.

I have good news: I got a much better shot of my portrait from yesterday. Unfortunately, I have bad news, too: as I was coming back inside from taking its photo this morning, I slipped on some ice and dropped my camera on the driveway asphalt! Horrors! I am so sad about this. The one good thing is that I was able to retrieve the photos I took and get them on my computer so I could send 'em to the museum. Thankfully. Most thankfully. And I do have a backup camera that I lent indefinitely to my mom, but still. That's one waste of a fine camera. :(

So here, I will share the new and improved photo of the painting I have now titled Lady Godiva's Operation as well as a few small collages. Enjoy!

"Lady Godiva's Operation", Acrylic on canvas, 42" x 32"

"Don't Settle", Collage and acrylic on wood panel, 5.5" x 7.5"

"Insomnia", Collage and acrylic with woodcut print on paper, 8" x 11"

"Heart & Lungs, Knees & Toes", Collage and acrylic with linoleum print on paper, 5" x 12"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New work!

Augh, I probably shouldn't share these photos as they were taken in the dark basement very quickly and carelessly, but I must admit: I'm a little excited. I've been working on some new paintings in the past week and want to share. Believe me, I will get much better photos up eventually -- I want to put my best foot forward, but no one said patience was my virtue! In the meantime, here. These paintings are all acrylic on canvas and around 30" x 40" or so.

Some landscapes inspired by the train ride through the Hudson Valley:


The first painting in a pair of portraits inspired by Renaissance profile paintings:


These may or may not be fully realized at this point... I'm always continuing to fuss, but overall I am pleased with them as they are. I have several more large canvases and ideas ready for the next few -- churning away! More portraits, and some architecture (i.e. old houses) on the way. And probably another funny Hudson hill, extra large.

Thanks for having a look! Back to our regular programming next time. :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Studio Beerhorst

Today's featured Etsy artist is Studio Beerhorst... or should I say artists? According to their shop announcement:

"We are an artist family of eight living in downtown Grand Rapids MI with backyard chickens and no car. We would love Etsy to be your way through our studio door! We support our selves making art and that means every purchase helps our family continue on its mysterious adventure and have the money to replace the tires when they wear out.

We are excited to create more variety in our shop as we begin to list creations from Brenda, Rose and Pearl."

So, I'm not really sure who did what artwork, as the individual listings don't give much information beyond what and how. But, I am very intrigued by this family collective, who present themselves as rather folksy, mythical characters. Are they hippies? Punks? Academics? Vegans? Your guess is as good as mine, and the mystery adds to the appeal (like the same way I said about Amy Earles previously, who has since told me that she does not mean to be mysterious -- more on that soon, hopefully!).

In addition to 2D art (drawings, prints, and collages), they also offer potholders, sculpture, and stuffies -- quite a range, which is unexpected and fun. Here, see for yourself in these selections I've chosen to share with you:

"Righteousness", graphite drawing, $125

"Girdle", collage, $40

Ack, I wanted to add another image, but Blogger doesn't seem to be cooperating. Go check out the family shop and see for yourself. :)


Since my last post the other day when I talked about the creative muse and my history with it, I've been thinking a lot about who I am as an artist, what moves me, and where I want to go. In the comments I stated that I do not consider myself by any means a "Sunday painter" or a hobbyist, even if I do most of my work in the evenings and on weekends. I take myself and my work seriously and see it as something I want to do as a career eventually. I think that only recently, since I opened my Etsy shop to start selling things, have I really taken that notion very seriously -- even after having participated in the first NYFA MARK professional artists seminars this past year. Etsy has given me a shop to function in and to create work for. I find myself inspired to get the shop stocked, much in the way I create work to stock a show. Only, this is even better because the shop is up and out there all the time.

Money isn't even the main impetus -- it's mostly pride, I think. Pride in the work I do, wanting to share it with others, putting together a package, an identity for my artist self. It's hard to explain, but it's getting me in the studio happily, and regularly. Whatever gets you there, right?

For a long time my subject matter focus was on portraits -- self-portraits, in particular. I've spent many years exploring different ways of portraying myself with varying measures of success, putting myself out there literally on display. I think that will always be an interest of mine, this self-exploration (I made my first self-portrait at the age of 12, by the way), however in the past year I have found myself wanting to try other things, step out of my comfort zone a bit.

I've been making lots of collage, and drawing and painting cats, and trying my hand at landscape most recently. On the train ride down to New York City this past summer, I was fascinated by some of the land forms in the Hudson Valley -- weird little islands and peninsulas with hills and castles; intricately formed bridges and train trestles. Living right near the Niagara Gorge also provides much inspiration. The solo show I am getting ready for in February is going to include all this stuff, under the umbrella of experience, memory, hope. Here is my statement about the work I have been developing, so far:

"Disappointments and shortcomings are at the heart of the human experience, and lately have served as jumping off points in my creative practice. In a quite literal tip of the hat to the past, many of these pieces in this exhibition are those resuscitated from my studio’s archives – paintings and drawings that had been tucked away out of disinterest or disappointment. Through this work I am reconstructing my past and those events that occurred within it – real or imagined, dreamt of or heard about.

Woven into simple visual narratives using words and pictures from a laundry list of sources, these works are often injected with the absurd and surreal, heavily influenced by graphic design I do by day, and comic books I have read voraciously throughout the years. With directed paint drips, written and then obscured notations, cartoon bubbles, viscera, muted voices, and incomplete thoughts, I make assumptions. With an infusion of nostalgia, confusion, and longing, I extrapolate a story from morsels of truth – so that it might become something else entirely."

I will leave you with a link to some photos I took as a reference for future paintings. I love old houses, and this one has intrigued me for a long time. Only a month or two ago did I have the chance to photograph it, and when I did, I was flagged down by a neighbor who wanted to know what I was doing. It was good timing on my part, because I found out that the house is now going to be rehabilitated! Good on one hand that such a beautiful home might be brought back to its original glory, but sad in that it looked beautiful in its ruin, too. At least I got to document it as is -- a few weeks later I drove by again and the side entryway had been rehabbed already. The house is located on Maple Ave. outside of town in Akron, NY -- about 20 miles east of Buffalo.

Friday, December 5, 2008

On the Creative Muse

Sometimes it is hard to get my creative juices flowing. Sometimes, I will go without making anything for weeks, even months! But then, I'll get back into it. Sometimes there is a reason -- say, need to make work for an exhibition *cough cough* -- and sometimes it's just plain time, you know?

It's always been like that for me, and it made things rather difficult in grad school, because obviously, you were there to make art! Having a few months' worth of dry spell during the two years it takes to get through a typical program sucks. Trust me, I know. During that time, I never really figured out how to work through it and get past it to create an "artificial" productive period, so I struggled through the end, when the pressure of my thesis shows kicked in and I turned into a painting factory the last month or so. Fortunately, I work quite well under pressure.

I've had a similar experience recently with my first big post-academia solo show quickly approaching on the first of February. Waited, waited... did a little here and there... ack! I need to get my ass in gear! I have gotten my ass in gear.

But I think I have finally found the secret to pulling inspiration out of your... *ahem* when it just feels like nothing: Just do it!

How cliche! How athletic!

It seems to be true, though. Last night I had a few ideas floating through my head, but wasn't sure how to approach their execution. I hemmed and hawed a bit, worked on something little, took inventory. Finally, I decided to just mix up some colors and get what I call "foundation layers" on a couple canvases. It was great! It felt wonderful, and I got a lot done. The biggest thing was that I was letting myself do the work without fear of making something ugly. Sometimes you just have to let go and not worry about the pretty, you just have to worry about getting it done.

I know that sounds funny, talking about making art and letting yourself make something that you're not happy with! But, as I said, I was putting down the first layer of the picture. I've got something to work with. It's kind of like when I am writing my artist statement -- something that puts the fear of God into many an artist -- I let myself kind of throw up all over the page first. Then I go back and refine and revise until it's just right. Sometimes it is the only way to get yourself going, and it really works. It always works for me, only I never thought of applying it to my art-making.

Maybe now, from now on I won't have to wait for the creative muse to grace me with her presence. I can just take my own feeble, unrefined ideas and work with them in the meantime. In my latest statement -- the one I will be including in the catalog for my show -- I talk about how disappointments and shortcomings, at the heart of the human experience, have served as jumping off points in my creative practice as I make use of old "discards" in my studio to make new works. This new realization adds a whole, 'nother layer to that. And I am grateful for it.

I will leave you now with a photo of a few little paintings I had in a small, rather impromptu show a couple months ago in Buffalo. (Note to self: must retrieve paintings, soon!)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Amy Earles

Oops, I guess I said "yesterday" the day before, which makes me a day late. Sorry about that!;)

Today's featured artist is Amy Earles, about whom I know very little but who makes beautiful images. Unfortunately, her website is under construction at the moment, and her Etsy shop isn't very revealing about her person, but I guess when the work is this good who cares? (Well, I do... but it doesn't make me hold anything against her or anything, of course! I just like to know some personal info about artists, and/or the stories behind their work) Anyway. I discovered a little painting that was featured in one of those major design blogs one day, which led me to her shop, and my subsequent purchase of said painting, of a little witch girl and two tiny ghosts...

Anyway, she has an interesting variety of things available: original paintings, prints, postcards, and paper dolls. Here are a few of my favorites.

"Persuasion", paper doll with painted background, $280

"Benevolence", print of an original painting, $17

"Red Cape", original gouache painting, $50

This leads to me to think, Hm, perhaps I should try and do an interview here and there with an artist? Stay tuned.


In the meantime, I may leave you with an image of one of my own little works. This one is actually from a year or two ago, but having revisited it recently, I have fallen for it all over again. It's a drawing made in white pencil and acrylic paint on black paper, with a splatter of light blue paint here and there. The image was inspired by a photo I had taken of a former classmate when one day I was especially struck by her outfit and hair. Her name is Veronique, and the title in my fractured French way is to mean either Veronique dreams, or the dream of Veronique, or simply a dream Veronique. I always wanted to call her "Vero" but she wouldn't have it. So now I do. I think she will go into my February show.

"Vero Reve", 13" x 6.5" (2006)

As always, you may click on each photo for a closer, larger view.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holidays are for Art

For making art, that is! I was off almost all of last week and had quite a productive time, which is great considering how much work I have yet to do for my upcoming solo show in February! I thought I would take this opportunity to show you where all my creative activity happens... in the underground studio! (aka The Dungeon aka The Torture Chamber, aka a little room my 1927 bungalow's basement!) While this is not my optimum set-up, admittedly, it is the first time I have had a space in my house where I can totally make a mess and not worry about appearances or kitty safety. I hope eventually to expand and finish this room in my basement I call my studio, but for now I make it work.

And no, I don't get scared at night or anything! It's pretty much all good vibes down there. Sorry for the less-than-great photos -- it's rather dark down there. Yes, I need better lighting. NB: You can click on the photos for bigger versions. :)

Here is the door to my studio. It's painted a celadon green with an orange square at the latch -- came that way when we bought the house. Someone had an artistic bent, I think.

Here is where all the magic happens, so to speak: my workbench. I like to make my collages and small paintings here, and I am able to just take all my scraps and throw them all over the place, waiting to be discovered.

Little tschochkes and cigar bands galore:

More stuffs:

You can see that I am rather cramped into a tight space, but I do make the most of it. Plus, I really enjoy being surrounded closely by things that visually stimulate and excite me -- keeps the creative juices flowing. It's a great space for making small work, so the one thing I don't like about working down here is that it's going to be hard to work on my larger canvases. I am still trying to figure out how I am going to manage that. But I'll work something out.

Finally, I will leave you with a few shots of my most recent larger painting (though this one is relatively small at 40" x 18").

I'm also excited about a little cat-as-person painting I made for my friend Teri, but I can't share it here until she gets it up in Montreal. It turned out really well and can't wait to see what she thinks of it! In the meantime, here is the painting I did of my cat, Nico, a few months ago, in a similar style:

Well, that's it for today! I hope you have enjoyed my little tour! Tomorrow I'll be back to sharing another awesome artist with you.