Monday, December 28, 2009

The Year in Review.

This is the time of year I love. Post-Christmas, and just before the new year turns.

And this year, how exciting! We're entering a whole new decade, even!

I have high hopes for 2010, with some interesting possibilities (and certainties) in the making. These include two small solo shows (the third got moved to 2011), more community teaching for awesome area arts organizations, and an online teaching gig with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh! I am very excited about this. I just got finished with the required facilitator assessment course that was the final hoop before being assigned my first class, and received notice that I will begin teaching with them on January 11th. Newbies can only teach one class in their first session, but it is possible that I could teach two classes for each of two sessions per quarter, eventually. I've never taught art online before, so this will be an interesting experience, to say the least! I am looking forward to it.

I'd like to take the rest of this post to reflect on the all the things I managed to do in 2009. I am so thankful for all of the opportunities I've had so far—they've really helped me grow as an artist and as a person!

Here goes, in the order that I think of them.

1. My first solo museum show at the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University.

2. Scheduling three more smaller-scale solo shows in 2010 and 2011.

3. Teaching! Thanks to the Buffalo Arts Studio, the Burchfield-Penney Arts Center, and the Western New York Book Arts Collaborative for including me on their roster of instructors. Also, two pretty great private lessons.

4. Artist presentations at Starlight Studios, the Castellani, and Alden High School.

5. An honorable mention award at the Big Orbit 2009 Members Show.

6. Winning an SOS Grant. Twice?

7. Having work selected for group shows at Artstream Studios in Rochester, NH, and at Nahcotta in Portsmouth, NH.

8. Having work chosen to appear in the Winter 2010 issue of Calyx Journal.

9. Having a studio visit with some prominent area curators as part of the selection process for the Beyond/In WNY Biennial (I didn't get selected, but having the visit was still pretty amazing).

10. Being Gordon's on-site artist during Buffalo's annual Garden Walk. Even if I did forget my paints. I made due with the colored pencils I brought with me as an afterthought.

11. Tabling with my pal Jan Nagle at the WNYBAC's Holiday Panic Sale, meeting lots of cool people and selling a few things.

12. Being accepted into the art education teaching certification program at Buffalo State College for fall 2010.

I feel like there are more achievements that I am proud of, but that will do for now. In 2010, I hope to have more time to dedicate to the studio, and I hope to get one or two artist residencies, too. As I said before there are other possibilities but for now, I will leave them as that and secrets, too.

Here's wishing you and yours a very happy new year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Frida

This probably qualifies as more crafty than arty, but I finally got finished making my ornaments for the swap that was organized by my co-worker Nicole over at her freshlyblended blog and Swap-bot, where I have been pretty active as of late. For the longest time I just could not come up with anything clever or overly cliché for my ornament and so kept putting it off and putting it off, until I found myself way over on the deadline to send them. Frida Kahlo ended up being my muse and I found a great black and white photo to use to make a neat paper ornament.

In Photoshop, I cropped out Frida's figure (you couldn't see her feet in the original photo, either, which I really liked) and then selectively colorized it. Then, I printed the image out on cardstock, and glued it to a brightly colored piece of Canson paper, while inserting a loop of embroidery floss in between for the hanger. (This took some expert manouevering, by the way!) Finally, I carefully snipped, snipped, snipped away and came up with Christmas Frida! On the back, I stamped the phrase "Feliz Navidad." Incidentally, she is smoking a cigarette—so apropos!

*sung to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas*


And what she looks like, front and back. The color is more accurate in this photo:

By the way, I'm really not that into Christmas... it usually makes me more depressed than anything. But really, who doesn't like a little Christmas Frida?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where Will I Be Today and Tomorrow?

Why, the Western New York Book Arts Center Holiday Panic Showcase, that's where!

I will be sharing a table with my good and talented friend, Jan Nagle, who makes clever jewelry items. I'll be selling the dozen or so little books I made for the event, as well as some of my art -- mostly framed collages and mixed media-type items.

I feel woefully unprepared for this, but I'll be there and I will have stuff to sell. I guess that's enough. I hope it is, anyway!

Maybe I will see you there?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Books books books

Someone on one of the book arts communities I belong to on LiveJournal posted this video, which I think is just amazing. So much time and skill and hard work goes into editioning a fine book like that. I'm not sure I have the patience for it, so I guess I'll probably stick to one-offs I can make at my dining room table... for now, anyway. This has really inspired me!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lady Godiva's Operation

In case you haven't visited my Etsy shop in a while, I just posted another painting there and should have another couple in the coming days... going through my inventory and getting ready to say farewell to things, I guess. It would be great to see a few things find new homes before the end of the year!

Available now is Lady Godiva's Operation, an acrylic painting on canvas, 30" x 42".

This painting was recycled from a previous work, some remnants of which still remain visible, but fully integrated into the new work. I was inspired by those gorgeous Italian Renaissance portraits in profile, as well as the crazy cascade of my own hair. It was named after the Velvet Underground's amazing song, which came into my head as I chose to leave the disconnected heart in the new painting from the old. It was such an apt title! I consider this painting among the few real jewels of my collection of own work. I hope you will think so, too!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Books books books

On Saturday I taught a bookbinding class at the WNYBAC to a group of seven very cool ladies. We had amongst us a rocket scientist (yes, really!), a chef, a museum worker, a women's studies professor/writer/poet, an actress, a writer/homemaker, and an artist, a full range of ages, 20s–60s. The class had a great energy that I as a teacher just thrived on. In fact, it was the best class I ever taught, student-wise, and my performance as a teacher-wise! So many books were made, the class just took off with the techniques I showed them and ran.

I've been asked to come back for the winter session and teach another class or two, including a continuation of the beginner's class, so that is good. I am glad that they were pleased with how I did, too, obviously.

We managed to cover quite a lot of territory in the seven hours we had together, everything from that simple one page folded book to a single signature hardcover book with wrapped covers. Each student walked away with at least five books to take home; some were still working even as class time was over and I was walking out the door! (Alas! I didn't take photos... too busy teaching/binding!)


In other news, I haven't been making much art per se lately, although I have been pretty active over at the website Swap-bot, writing letters, putting little packages together, and even making the occasion art-like item. Actually, one of the things I was really pleased with was a doll quilt (not necessarily for a doll, but a quilt that is quite small, less than 24" on any side) that I made for a swap. I had a quilt top that I had put together a couple years ago and never figured out what to do with... so this was the perfect opportunity to use it! I really enjoyed the process of hand-quilting and see this as a potential new medium for me to tap my creativity. I'd see them more as art pieces than anything functional, at least at this point.

Not too shabby for my first time out. And wouldn't you know, I forgot to measure it, even? It's probably about 7" x 12" or so. I can always ask the person to whom I sent it.

Swap-bot has been good for me in that it gets me doing creative stuff, even if it's nothing "big" or "important". It's also helping me get better working with deadlines, getting things done in time because someone else is waiting on you. Not to mention, it's a nice place to "get around"—that is, to see and be seen, so to speak. More exposure for my work when people look at my profile and decide to visit my website or whatever. That's always nice. And there are some interesting folks there! (Some not so interesting, too, but isn't that the case anywhere?)

I'd say anything that keeps me making stuff is a good resource. Even if it is just things like handmade bookmarks and typed-out stuffing recipes and doll quilts.

In MORE other news, I'm signed up to table at the WNYBAC's Last minute gift buying panic marketplace on December 11 and 12. Here's their description:

At the main gallery, 1st floor of the Western New York Book Arts Center
468 Washington St at Mohawk in Downtown Buffalo
Friday Dec 11, 4-8pm and Saturday Dec 12 12-6pm
Free admission and open to the public
Artists, craftspeople, printers, & other handmade/self published/locally produced items. Perfect gifts for giving or hoarding.

So, if you are in town that weekend, you should stop by and check out all the lovely, locally-made wares! I plan to have available some of my old zines (hm, mayyybe a new one!), some little blank journals (hard and soft cover), and art. In fact, my idea is to make a new series of house paintings, but quite small so that they will be very affordable and accessible. I'm still working out what sizes and grounds would be best for these, but I do hope to churn out quite a few for the Marketplace (and beyond, like my Etsy shop). I'm excited about this! I tend to produce and perform best when I have a deadline.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Never-before seen

I just got photos of these paintings sent from Nahcotta Gallery in Portsmouth, NH, where they have been living since the beginning of August, when they were included in their annual Landscape Show. They'll be coming back to me eventually (unless they sell, of course), but they asked to keep them for a while longer. Stupid me, in a mad rush before I delivered them to the gallery, neglected to document them, write down dimensions, anything! Bad, bad practice indeed, and won't ever happen again. Anyway, it was almost like Christmas when I received the photos yesterday. I'd forgotten how nice they were (if I say so myself!). Hope you enjoy them, too!

Little Red, 12" x 18", acrylic on canvas, 2009.

Big Red, 18" x 24", acrylic on canvas, 2009.

Things We Lost, 36" x 24", acrylic on canvas, 2009.

In other news, I submitted my application to the NYFA Fellowship, cutting it close to the deadline! I've applied several times in the past; maybe this will be my lucky year! Of course, I have a long wait to find out... not until April 2010 or so. It's going to be a loooong winter...

I also have another thing up my sleeve but can't talk about it. It's an exciting prospect, though! Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where to show, where not to show

This is something that I've been thinking about a lot since I had my exhibition at the museum this year—where to show my work, and where not to show it.

I've had different pieces of advice, each from people who are art professionals. I've also kept an eye on what other artists (those who are perhaps a rung or two or three above me in status/recognition/success) in my region have been up to.

My instinct is that I would only like to show at dedicated art spaces, "real" galleries (and yes, I will take another museum show, please!), but there are alternatives that seem like they could be good opportunities for my work to be seen, too. For instance, the restaurant where I'll be showing my work next summer. It's a small, upscale bistro where they seem to have shown quality artists in the past. They have wonderful receptions for the artists (best food I ever had at an art reception, in fact!), and it strikes me that my work would be seen by a desirable clientèle, one who is more apt to actually buy original art than others. On the other hand, people go to a restaurant to eat, not to look at or buy art. On still another hand, people expect that when they go to this restaurant, they'll be seeing some good art, and can buy it if they like.

So one piece of advice I received was that I should show my work at every opportunity afforded me, no matter where it is. You never know who will see it. And just that the more you're "out there" and visible as an artist, the better.

The other piece of advice was the opposite. "You've had a museum show now, you should not show at a restaurant! You should show at places that will further your career, not take it backward."

See, I agree a little bit with the first but lean toward the second line of reasoning. For my upcoming restaurant show, I am keeping it (against the second advice-giver) because I love the place and I just want to see what happens—I'm curious whether I will sell well there, if anything will come of it. After that, no more non-gallery/museum shows for me... I have bigger fish to fry, and my sights set higher.

Hm, will saying that get me in trouble? What do you think about this issue? I'd like to hear all points of view on this.


Now, I'd like to share an artist named Kareem Rizk, who is based in Australia. I love the graphic design sensibility in his gorgeous collages! He's also got a blog and an Etsy shop.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Amanda Blake

Art like this breaks my heart.

It's almost unbearable.


Whew, I have been one busy bee this past week, and I am exhausted and halfway ill to show for it... man, I am too old for this kind of schedule. Maybe other people work ~60 hour weeks with no problem, but for me? Too much to take physically and emotionally. I need time to myself and/or with my family, it's so valuable to me.

That said, it's been an interesting week. Did I mention that I'm working as an artist's assistant for a while? The artist I am working for, Bingyi Huang, is preparing for a solo exhibition in Shanghai in November. The schedule is tight, so I've been giving her as much time as I can. I love that I am getting such an intimate view into another artist's creative process; she works quite differently from me and it is very inspiring. I really admire her paintings and her work ethic... she is quite prolific and manages to put out these amazing, surreal images... I don't know where they come from. Me, I like to have something to refer to, whether it is a photo or a model of some kind. It's very hard for me to just pull something out of my head and spew it out onto the canvas.

This is like getting a supplemental education, in a way.

But it is tiring, as I said. This week I have off from the studio until the weekend and will be working on updating her website. Then, hopefully when Saturday arrives I will feel refreshed and ready to work more hours in the studio with her.

Here is one of her paintings:

Epitaph, oil on canvas, 2007.

Just gorgeous stuff. I feel so fortunate to be working with her.


Acceptance: I recently found out that two of my paintings will be appearing in the Winter 2010 issue of Calyx, A Journal of Art and Literature by Women. This is a great publication, and I am very excited for this opportunity to have my work seen by its readers.

Rejection: I got my rejection letter on Friday from the committee of Beyond/In Western New York, the regional biennial. I have since found out that the competition was VERY stiff and that many prominent local artists didn't get in, either, including most of the faculty of the local university. That makes me feel a little bit better, but I admit that I still had high hopes this time around. The past year has been so full of little successes, I figured it would just keep going... well, never assume. So, I am a little bruised but it is something I will certainly get over and move on from. I do wish all the artists who did receive an acceptance letter my heartiest congratulations, truly.

Maybe next time, if I am still in town.


Working for Bingyi has sparked my own creativity. She's got me working on paintings that will eventually become something else entirely—something of her own, obviously... but as I said, it's been a little hard for me trying to work in a totally different way, it's like being without a net. I don't think what I am making is as good as I know I am capable of, but I think another part of the problem is working in front of someone else, especially someone I am working FOR. It's worse than the times I was taking a painting class and having the professor hovering over you looking for mistakes (not that Bingyi does that—she is worried about her own paintings). It paralyzes me. I have no idea what I am doing. I tell her as much, and she replies that she doesn't think any of us do.

I feel like a fledgling baby bird.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Here are three of the collages my students and I made together in a round robin collage session the Saturday before last. Each person had twenty minutes with each collage, then passed it on to the next person. It was a very gratifying, fun way to work. Even the students enjoyed themselves! I did, too.

Collages by Amber (18), Topaz (15), Tyler (13), and me:

Student collage

Student collage

Student collage

Monday, October 12, 2009

Turn of Events

Things took a crazy-ass turn this weekend! I have suddenly become a part-time artist's assistant. Here is the story.

So, on Friday night I was just browsing Craigslist, as I often do. I look at just about all the for sale sections and the jobs sections, just in case something good is out there. Actually, scratch that: In the jobs section I usually only look in the arts/media/whatever and creative sections. But Friday, I looked at everything, including general labor. There I happened upon an ad that was titled something like housekeeping/art assistant position... my curiosity was definitely piqued, and I figured, I'm not proud, I'd do some cleaning if it also involved some sort of art or just for an art kind of person. So I responded with a short note...

The next morning as I was getting ready to leave for my little Saturday teaching gig, I got a reply. Turns out it is one of my professors from UB (grad school), a young art history professor with whom I took a museum studies course. She's also a painter. I have really admired her, enjoyed her class very much, etc. and so was excited to find out that it was her, and that she was excited to hear from me, too!

The ad stated that she was looking for ~5 hours a week, but it turns out that she is getting ready for a big solo show in Shanghai and has a ton of art-related stuff to get done. So, she wants me to do a lot of painting for her, plus other sorts of prep like cleaning antique frames that she'll be using and whatever else. The other major thing she's having me take care of is her website, for which she wants a complete redesign.

And since this the exhibition in Shanghai is in November, this is all VERY time sensitive. So she wants me to work as much as I can to help her get ready. I started on Saturday afternoon and put in several hours yesterday, too. It's pretty crazy.

The whole thing is pretty bizarre, but it's fun (though very tiring). Yesterday I finished priming an old frame, and then worked on a large painting the rest of the time! The painting I worked on amounted to painting a portrait of her on top of an old painting of hers, and then she will possibly work on top of that. She ended up really liking the painting so far and said she may just include the painting in the exhibit as is, as my own. I don't really care either way, which I know must sound strange, but... I am producing things for her show under her direction. I don't really see what I am making in her studio mine at all, does that make any sense? And I feel totally comfortable with that. Yesterday's painting was very different and new for me because she currently only has a limited palette to work with, so I was forced to use colors that I normally wouldn't; and the scale is larger than most of the paintings I can make at home, so that was different, too. I see my experiences working with her very much fueling a whole new approach that I can use in my own art—it's like this forced breakthrough.

Very, very strange. October is going to be a intense month and my life just a whole lot busier, to say the least.

My painting/Not my painting
My painting/not my painting. About five feet square, acrylic on canvas. In progress.


I'd also like to point you over to my lovely friend Cathy Cullis's blog, where she is doing a Week of Painting. I'd also planned to do a week of painting and make new work available for sale, but considering how things are now, I'm not sure how far I will get with that. But I will try! Maybe some small tabletop-sized works on paper in gouache... hm...

I like these "Week of..." events. The one at Poppytalk the week before very much inspired me, and now Cathy's. It helps me to have a focus, a goal. I plan to do my very own "Week of..." in the future, as well as perform some in tandem with Cathy.

I will keep you posted on the exciting developments!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sarah F. Burns says, Collect Art!

Sarah F. Burns is an artist I found on Etsy a while back and whose blog I follow (though apparently not closely enough, since I missed, like months of great content!). She is not only a talented painter but also a good writer. As I was playing catch-up today, I found her blog post about collecting art that I thought was spot on; couldn't have said it better myself, by a long shot. So, if you are a collector or have always wanted to start your own art collection, definitely read what Sarah has to say on the subject!

Visit Sarah's Etsy shop.

Visit her website.

Dottie Damsel, charcoal on paper, 18" x 20", 2008

One Rock and Two Shells, oil, 9" x 12", 2009

Such lovely and thoughtful work!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

This painting is available, along with some of my other artwork, at my Etsy shop! I don't think I've posted it here before, but it is one of my favorites. It was included in my solo exhibition at the Castellani Art Museum back in the spring.

Hot, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 22" x 24", 2009.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Etsy Shop Update!

As I said earlier, I had hoped to get around to updating my Etsy shop a little bit at some point. And so I have! I renewed some items and added some that have not been in the shop before. I hope you will stop by and check it out!

Note to US residents: Many of my pieces have shipping included in the price! Yay!


It was an interesting weekend.

On Friday, I made it to a third "collecting" post on Poppytalk! Talk about a nice way to wrap up the week. It has geared me up to get back into the studio and maybe even update my poor, languishing Etsy shop. I'd like to generate some more interest in my work online, and make an active effort to sell more. Sadly, I've gotta pay the bills somehow. What better way than to sell the work I love to make?

Speaking of which, I sold this piece over the weekend to one of my online friends! She has been collecting my work over the past few years, and since this is one of my favorite recent collages, I am happy that it will be going to live with her.

U-Men, mixed media, 9" x 10.25", 2009

And I am thrilled that the same patron has renewed my Pro account over at Flickr, which means that you can once again see all my photos, including the ART Set. I hated not having access to everything, so this is just wonderful. It's like Christmas! So thank you, J.!


On Saturday, I taught my collage class again—just three more sessions to go! This time I had the three students work for twenty minutes on a collage, any subject matter, any size, etc. Then, they passed their collage to the nest student, who would then work on it for another 20 minutes, adding to it however they wish, on to the next, and so on until each collage was returned to its originator. (Actually, I ended up participating in this, too, since there were just three students.)

I must say, the collages turned out fantastic, way surpassing any expectations I had myself. I will take photos and post them here this coming Saturday to share with you. I really enjoy working with my little group of teenagers and it seems like they are really opening themselves up to the hands-on process of collage, too. Can you believe that none of them had ever tried it before?

Next week, we are moving onto digital collage (sadly, I think), but I am going to encourage them to mix and match between cut and paste techniques and scanning and digital manipulation. I'm sure they will come up with some cool ideas.


As for me, I want to gift myself with some much-needed studio time this week.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Paper Puppets

I just took photos of the movable paper puppets I recently made! Here they are.

This fanciful horse is my own design, using a decorative paper that was part of paper company's promotional packet. I related the bird design to the feeling of freedom and flight I think about when I see a horse.

This colorful guy was based on a template that I found in the great book Paper Puppet Palooza by Norma V. Toraya. His outfit and faces (yes, faces!) are my own design. I was thinking initially about a vintage circus theme, and then thought back to a collage that one of my BAS students made in our first week together of a wrestler. I am interested in the colorful costumes and masks of Mexican free wrestlers, or Lucha, so I decided to use his other face to create my own, as you see in this next photo...

The figure has a double head that you can turn at the neck to switch between personalities! Very fun!

I'll be teaching a class called Artful Paper Puppets for ages 14 and up at the Buffalo Arts Studio in November. Information can be found here, just scroll down for more information. In the meantime, I'll be making many more puppets myself—they are so much fun to develop, and can be as simple or as complex as you would like!

Autumn Color Week: Red


Who doesn't love red? I love red.

What Does the Veil reveal?, mixed media, 2006

Red Right Hand, gouache on paper, 1999/2009


Also, SUPER excited to be collected by Poppytalk again yesterday, aka BROWN day (as Radio Choci). It's so nice to be recognized for your work... I mean, it's not the only thing of course, but it does help keep you going.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Holy Cow! Look What I Wore Today!

Ha ha, not Look what I wore today, because I don't have a picture to share, but Look! Look at this most awesome group on Flickr called What I Wore Today.

Totally brilliant stuff. I may have to actually contribute—hey, it'd be a good excuse to draw self-portraits again.

Autumn Color Week: Brown

Drop, oil and colored pencil on wood panel, 2007

Two Questions, oil and colored pencil on canvas, 12" x 18", 2007

Include Me Out, acrylic and colored pencil on wood panel, 2009


In other news, this morning I had the pleasure of teaching a small group of students from the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts over at the Buffalo Arts Studio a little workshop making movable paper puppets! A while ago, I discovered the book Paper Puppet Palooza and started making some paper pals of my own. It's a really fun, fairly easy and not-too-messy creative activity that is actually quite addicting! So, I was happy to share my new obsession with the seven students and their three teachers. We didn't have much time together, but true to kid form, they all dove right in and got quite a bit accomplished—from a tiger and a wolf to a robot, and more! I'll have to take some photos of the ones I've recently made— a vintage-styled Mexican Lucha wrestler with interchangeable heads and a running horse.

Each time I end up working with youngsters, it fuels my desire that much more to become certified to teach K-12. I find them so interesting and inspirational! I guess we'll see what the future holds, there is so much I'd like to do... in the meantime I at least have the opportunity to work with area arts organizations to fill in that gap in my artistic life.

I feel lucky.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Autumn Color Week: Orange

First of all, I am thrilled that one of my GREEN paintings was included in a Poppytalk post yesterday! Thank you, Poppytalk, I am honored!

Today's color is ORANGE, and I have a few pieces to share. These are actually some of my favorite small works in the past few years. Orange is such a great color to work with.

Heart & Lungs, Knees & Toes, mixed media, 2009

Franco Nero, mixed media, 2009

Please, mixed media, 2004

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Autumn Color Week: Green

Today is Poppytalk's GREEN day, and here are a few of my paintings that fit the bill.

Gertrude and Francis, oil on canvas, 60" x 48", 2007

The Dumpster Incident, oil on canvas, 48" x 60", 2007

6801 Maple Rd., acrylic on canvas, 60" x 48", 2009


In other GREEN, albeit sad news, our two bonsai trees were stolen from our front porch sometime between yesterday morning and the evening before. I am just heartbroken about this. One was a little juniper and the other was a pretty Chinese elm whose leaves were about to turn. I know this sounds silly, but I am actually worried about them in a similar way that I'd be worried about losing one of our kitties. I can only hope that whomever took them actually knows about bonsai and how to care for them (they were outdoor plants, for instance), but sadly I fear that either some young ruffians took them and just threw them away somewhere, or some other unfortunate end.

RIP Bonsai of the Bungalow... you are sorely missed. (You can see them in the photo below on the right hand side, one each on top of the two columns—sadly, I never got good photos of them.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Autumn Color Week: Yellow

This is rather unusual for me, but I have decided to follow along Poppytalk's Autumn Color Week. It struck as a fun way to try to blog here a little more regularly, and maybe get involved with something bigger than me and the blog, even for a week. I've been keeping myself rather isolated these days... what a nicer way to break out a little?

So, today is YELLOW day. I'm featuring a painting I did a few years ago and was subsequently collected by a dear friend and brilliant writer, Teri. It's titled, "When I Was 27, Everything Was Lined in Silver". Acrylic and colored pencil on colored paper. The drawing was based on a photograph I took of myself... you guessed it... when I was 27. Looking back, it seems like an odd, magical time but I also know it was a difficult time overall, too... very transitional and uncertain. As perhaps 27 is wont to be.

(You can click on the image for a larger view.)

If I was a...

Lately I've been thinking about who I am and relating my identity to things, or concepts. For instance, fashion and music.

OK, so if I was fashion, I would be:


or this

or this. (All photos swiped from the fabulous Hel Looks website.)

Too bad you probably wouldn't know it to look at me in person! I need to get my fashion flair back. At least I have it in my head.


I recently decided that if I was music, I might be Arcade Fire.

Or, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.

Or, Paul Hindemith's Ludis Tonalis.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Prizes, Awards, Grants

Back in 2008 when I was participating in the NYFA MARK professional development program for artists, I heard about the West Prize. We all received a brochure about it and were encouraged to submit entries to be considered. At the time I wasn't ready with enough cohesive work I felt comfortable putting out there, so I didn't do it. This year, thanks to seeing another MARK alumni post about it on Facebook, I decided to give it a try this year.

You can view my entry here, and, if you wish, vote for me. You can just click on the row of stars next to my name and choose how many you think I rate, then click to submit the vote. As I understand it, you can vote multiple times. I don't know how important these votes are to an artist's success in the competition, but I guess we'll find out! Submissions are accepted until November 1st, so feel free to keep voting until then.

(UPDATE! I heard back from the West Prize folks regarding the voting system: "The star rating system reflects votes from the public, however has no influence on our final decisions." Good to know! However it is still fun to get votes, isn't it?)

I am also applying for the NYFA Fellowship... again. This very competitive award is, to my mind, one of THE feathers to have in any New York state artist's cap, not to mention the $7,000 you receive as a winner is no slouchy prize. This year, for the painting category, another prize has been added, The Basil H. Alkazzi Award for Excellence in Painting. I can only dream! Two painters will be awarded $20,000 in addition to the NYFA Fellowship.

I have applied at least three times in the past for a Fellowship, but this year is probably the first in which I have felt like I have a genuine chance. I'm hoping that the judges will feel the same way about my house paintings as many other people seem to! I guess we'll just have to see.

Either way, I won't hear of the results of either for quite some time... next spring. I guess it's nice to have something to anticipate!

Oh, and... wish me luck?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


You know that photo I posted last time, the garage that was going to house my new studio this fall? No longer. We're not buying the house... turns out it is in a very flood-prone area which is definitely not conducive to avid gardening.

Back to the drawing board, so to speak. We'll be reconvening our house hunt in the spring, so I will be continuing to work in my dungeon studio for the time being.


In other news, my calendar is full this fall! I'm scheduled to teach quite a lot in the next few months. Below are the highlights, feel free to contact me for more information on these classes or if you live in the western New York area and would like private lessons instead.

September 19 & 26: The Buffalo Arts Studio, Bookbindings with Sewing Techniques (ages 14 and up)

September 19–October 24: The Buffalo Arts Studio, 21st Century Collage (ages 14-18 only)

September 23 & 30: Lancaster Community Edcuation, Bookbinding for Beginners

October 14 & 21: Alden Community Edcuation, Bookbinding for Beginners

October 20 & 27: Maryvale Community Edcuation, Bookbinding for Beginners

November 3 & 10: East Aurora Community Edcuation, Bookbinding for Beginners

November 7: Western New York Book Arts Collaborative, Bookbinding for Beginners

November 14: West Seneca Community Education, Bookbinding for Beginners

November 21: The Buffalo Arts Studio, Artful Paper Puppets (ages 14 and up)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This is where

my new studio will be.

The garage

We're having the back ten or twelve feet of the garage converted into a space that will be mostly studio but also appropriate for storage, with a wood floor and heat.

Everything's pretty much in place, now mom and me and C. have to sell our two houses. Maybe everything will time right and we can start moving in before the houses sell. But quick sales would be nice, too.

Think good house thoughts for us, thank you!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Art Moving Sale!

Life has been a little crazy lately.

I haven't been making much art these days, but instead mentally preparing for a move, among other things. Soon, I must start packing and cleaning and just generally putting my life in major upheaval.

But, hopefully it will be worth it in the end. We're moving back to the country, to a house that has a couple acres, and perhaps most importantly (and certainly most relevant to this blog) a huge garage inside which we'll be building an art studio for me! I am very excited about this. Just imagine, making art above ground again! In light! Wonderful.

The move probably won't actually take place for another little while, but I do hope we'll be in our new digs by Thanksgiving. In the meantime, I want to clear out as much inventory from my studio as I can. Hey, the less I have to transport, the better it is for me!

So, if you have been considering acquiring some of my work but haven't yet, this is a great opportunity. Have a look at my website and see if there is something that floats your boat. If so, let me know and we can go from there. Generally, my smaller works on paper range from $100-$500 (framed, less unframed if you prefer) and $300-$2000 for my paintings on canvas. I have more work available that I hope to get up on the site... you can also look at my Flickr art set.

If you have any questions or would like to make me an offer (I am open to reasonable haggling), you can email me at amy.greenan at gmail dot com. Happy collecting! (Oh, and I would happy to make layaway arrangements, too!)

Here are just a few selections of what I have to offer currently:

Heart & Lungs, Knees & Toes, 2008, mixed media on paper, 10.5" x 16.5". $300 (framed).

Gertrude and Francis, 2007, oil on canvas, 60" x 48". $2000.

Untitled, 2004, acrylic on paper, 8.5" x 11". $150 (unframed).

Two Questions, 2007, oil and colored pencil on canvas, 12" x 18". $400.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rejections, rejections

I'm still receiving responses from the slew of emailed gallery submissions I sent out two weeks ago—I'm still surprised that I have heard this quickly from as many spaces as I have, even for rejections. I figured I probably wouldn't hear much at all from anyone, so maybe that's a good sign? Or maybe I am just grabbing at straws.

Today's reply was another Atlanta gallery where once again my work did not "fit". However, I was asked to keep them abreast of the development of my work, which I will certainly do. I liked the looks of that gallery a lot, actually. I won't give up so easily, even if it is a follow-up a year or two from now.

All these rejections remind me of an artist friend based in Florida, who decided to keep a blog of all her rejections. It looks like it hasn't been updated in quite a while (in fact, she kind of dropped off my LiveJournal radar a while ago, what a shame!), but you can check it out here. Well, at least we can say we are not alone in our piles of rejections? That must give some comfort to emerging artists like us.

My personal life has been a bit challenging the past little while, so I haven't redoubled my efforts to pursue galleries more since then, but... I will. I have a whole big country to hit up!

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Contacts, New Friends

One of the things I enjoy about being an artist is making new friends, often of quite like minds (though unlike minds are just fine, too!) as I navigate around trying to get my work shown, or just to make contacts and "be seen".

Last week I sent out a bunch of inquiries and submissions to galleries in Chicago and Atlanta via email. I've been surprised to already hear from a couple places in Atlanta, and while those inquiries didn't result in shows, I did receive some nice feedback (though C., who is from the south, says they're Southern and so just being polite—I don't know!) and one of the responders is not only the director of an awesome gallery, but a pretty incredible artist herself! Check out Dayna Thacker's website to see for yourself. You can imagine that I am very attracted to her architectural collages, but the work that I originally saw on the gallery's website (click on "PAST" to see the archives) is also lovely.

Ego as Architecture, Portrait #7 (giraffe)
24"x32", collaged paper, graphite and pastel on panel, 2008


Another artist I have recently discovered is Danna Ray, whom I had the pleasure to meet when I was in New Hampshire in June and attended the opening of a three-person show in which her work was included, at Nahcotta gallery in Portsmouth. I was really blown away by the quiet magical quality of her paintings, which seemed to emulate her personality (at least as far as I could tell in the few minutes I was able to speak with her!).

(I couldn't find the title or medium or size info!)


So let me get back to my recent foray into getting my work OUT THERE. This past year I had my first major one-person museum exhibition, which no doubt helped me get three smaller solo shows I have lined up in Buffalo, Corning, and Binghamton, NY. I've also showed my work in southeast New Hampshire. I have a plan, kind of. I feel comfortable with my level of success locally now, so that I have extended my reach regionally and state-wide pretty well, too (not yet including NYC). I pursued galleries in New Hampshire because my dad lives there, and I thought it would be easier for me to get around, deliver artwork, etc. if I knew the territory a little bit. I suppose my next step could be Boston as far as that region goes, and still be within easy driving distance of my dad's as home base.

Now I'm thinking of doing the same with other cities, hence Chicago and Atlanta. I have a pair of good friends who live just outside Chicago and who are collectors of my work, so they can be yet another home base for me. As for Atlanta, C. is from nearby Chattanooga, TN so I figured that would be another less intimidating market somehow. Familiarity factors in here quite a lot for me, I guess, so even with cities where I've yet to visit, if I have a close contact there, it's more comfortable. It's not always easy taking a big step into a major unknown! Anything to personalize it somehow works for me.

Of course one of the things you need to make reasonably sure of when you are submitting your work for gallery consideration is that it's a good fit! You can look at the gallery's website and the artists they have showed in the past and are showing now. You also need to look at a mission statement or read the "about" section. Maybe the gallery only shows local or regional work. I am usually very careful of this, yet when I submitted to Gallery Stokes my brain neglected to process the fact that that is just the case, so, as Dayna put it so diplomatically, "I'm afraid you are just too far afield." Indeed!

I kept an eye on my Google Analytics page to see who's been looking at my website since I sent that batch of emails. Seems like it's about even between the Chicagoans and the Atlantans, with the major difference being that the Atlantan visitors spent a lot more time on the site! I can't help but wonder now, does my work somehow appeal more to a southern audience? Or is it just coincidence?


I guess in the meantime, rather than obsessing over statistics, I should head into the studio and make more work. After all, I've got three shows to prepare for in 2010—and who knows what I still have to look forward to in 2009!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Panic Mode

It's good to be busy, and to have things to prepare for. But now I find myself with quite a big freelance design deadline right at around the same time that I will be having a group of curators from the area traipsing through my basement for a studio visit to determine whether I'll be accepted into what amounts to the biggest art exhibition in the region, the Beyond/In Western New York biennial. I've applied at least a few times in the past and this is the first time I find myself accepted to the studio visit stage, which is certainly an honor in itself.

But holy cow, will I ever be super busy in the next couple weeks! So much to do.

Better than nothing to do, I know. Especially as an artist. :)

Here's an older work, gouache and pencil on paper, titled Equilibrium (2004). That's what I will be striving for!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm back!

Eep! Way too much time has passed... that's because it is well into spring, and to be honest, I've been spending much of my free time in the garden, which I have come to realize is just another way to be creative.

Anyway, I was surfing around the old internets and found Society6. I thought it looked really interesting and signed up right away. They offer grant opportunities and yet another networking community. So far I see some quality work there, but I need to explore some more.

As for me? I need to get into the studio and soon. I'm going to be in a group show at Nahcotta in Portsmouth, NH in August—all landscapes that include six of my house paintings! I visited the space while I was in NH a couple weeks ago, and it is fantastic, such an honor to be included there.

In lieu of paintings, here are a few photos I took on my NH trip:

Ayers Lake near Strafford, NH

A view of my dad's vintage camper "Tini-Home"

A couple poor old houses along the way (I took Route 20 across New York state on the way there, and then Routes 5 and 31 on the way back)