Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Designer by Day

(click for larger, more detailed view)

Here is the desk where I spend all my weekdays, designing catalogs and advertisements for a small, independent book publisher. I don't have much else to show you today.

Lately, life has been full of dying kitties :( and home & garden upkeep. Our 10-year-old cat, Azrael, was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure last week and his decline has been quick and steady, so sad. Much of our time has been spent with him, as well as on the inevitable spring cleanup, inside and out. Not much time left for art-making, unfortunately. I really would benefit from a nice week-long residency somewhere, that is for sure. Hopefully one of those I apply for in the coming months will come through, but in the meantime, I really need to figure out how carve time out for art, even a few minutes at a time would be better than nothing.

Is it bad that I am admitting this here? I'm probably too open for my own good.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Creativity in all forms

Wow, I can't believe I haven't posted here in a week, for shame! I've been admittedly lazy and a bit down, truth be told, and when weather permits taking my creative impulses out to the gardens. (I even started a new blog about my gardening experiences, Garden By Chance!) This is a prime example of how even when I am not actively "making art", I try to live as artfully as possible. In the past this has involved things like the interior decorating of my living space and surrounding myself with aesthetically pleasing things, making zines, and carefully considering everyday dressing almost as costume (though you'd never guess that nowadays).

Lately, there is nothing better to me than getting outside and soaking up the sunshine and digging around in the dirt, and I have big plans for my little backyard this season. Last weekend I spent some time continuing to clean up the beds and prune some bushes, but also ended up rather unexpectedly expanding some of the beds! And, being an artist, I can't just make a regular square bed, no... I had to get a little fancy:

I obviously have plenty of work left to do... but it was a good start. And I found that the process of creating the shaped beds was very similar to that when I am working on a new artwork... very intuitive and organic, seeing where it takes me rather than vice versa. I hadn't really planned to do this, but it just suggested itself in the clearing out process. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

That's not to say that I am not anxious to get back into the studio and work on some house paintings, though. I have all those photos that I took a few weekends ago to work with, and I am excited to see what comes of it.

On another somewhat related note, let me remind you that I will be presenting my last exhibition-related activity at the Castellani Art Museum next Sunday, May 3rd titled Invisible Voices: Zines as Art. In addition to a slide show and talk about what zines are and their surprisingly lengthy history, I will demonstrate how a zine is put together using various techniques, with the opportunity for YOU to get hands on—complete with a tour of her extensive personal zine library, which includes zines that she's collected since the early 1990s.

AND, my dears: if you would like to bring some materials to make into your own zine (writing, images) PLEASE do! Let me know if you have any questions.

It's free to attend, though you should register an RSVP with Curator Michael J. Beam at 716-286-8286 or email mjbeam@niagara.edu. Space is limited.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I haven't yet read the whole article, but just the first few paragraphs were interesting and well-written enough for me to want to share it with you immediately. Mira writes about opportunities (grants, awards, residencies) for artists, and this particular post is really great because it talks about how she came to be the "Grant Queen" and gives lots of good, sound advice about how you can get funding for your dreams, too.

Right now, my "crazy" dream is to win a residency at the MacDowell Colony. I say it is crazy because it feels like the sort of thing that only well-known and really great artists get. But, it wasn't too long ago that I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams that I'd have a one-person exhibition at a museum, either!

You have to dream big. So, I'm going to apply for a winter residency, which gives me plenty of time to prepare a really good application before the September 15th deadline.

And if I don't get it the first time? I'll keep trying until I do.

Dreams propel you through life. Never give up on them.

From the archives:
Equilibrium, Gouache and pencil on paper, 11" x 8.5", 2004. In a private collection.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cigar bands redux

As promised, I have photos of the two latest cigar band pretties to show you! You can click on the images to view them much larger if you wish.

First up: Ed, Jed, and Marshall on a Sunny Day, 4.5" x 4, 2009.

This piece is dedicated to artist Jed Jackson (and will probably go to him). Three of the cigar bands that I used came directly from the men referred to in the title, who gave them to me outside on the patio of the Castellani Museum on the day of Jed's exhibition opening. And yes, it was a unseasonably beautiful, warm, sunny day.

And All the Ladies (CALM), 8" x 7", 2009.

I love how the word "CALM" is spelled out vertically among the cacophony of color and design in the rest of the piece. This truly developed organically. I was very glad to find that odd double band that had one totally blank area, torn away from a previous effort, I guess. How fortunate that it tore away totally retaining the gorgeous shape of the band! It reminded me of a cloud, which in turn inspired the pale blue sky-like area at the top, also a result of being unable to bear interfering with the line that was created by the topmost bands. It just all came together fortuitously, and I am quite pleased with the result.

I expect that I will squeeze out a few more of these before I run out of materials. The process of creating these is indeed calming, meditative, and just plain fun, to be honest. I don't know about you, but as an artist it is imperative that I have fun. Otherwise, why bother?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On with the Guayabera

Last night I got myself back into the studio because, really, it's been a long while since I haven't been making art for some specific reason, i.e. getting ready for an exhibition. So it was really nice for a change to be there and just really have fun with no constraints. (OK, I say constraints but really it's just a mental thing I have about having to do something and within certain parameters I've set for myself, it's really all good as long as I am in the studio.)

I decided to revisit the cigar band collage. The one piece that I have in the Castellani exhibition now was very popular (it was one of the works that sold, actually), not to mention that the collages are really fun to make, just totally different from what I normally do. It's definitely an exercise in free-wheeling and instinct. I don't yet have photos of the two I made last night, so in the meantime, I give you FLOP, which measures 5.5" x 8.75".

I'll post the new ones tomorrow.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Rush and a Push

One of the things I don't like about myself (as an artist and otherwise) is that I often find myself making a grand last rush (and push) to get something out the door (figuratively and literally, I suppose). I might have the best intentions, mark up my calendar, rough out a schedule... but something always seems to happen that foils my best laid plans.

This time around getting ready to ship a big box of art to New Hampshire for The Incredible Print Show at Artstream Gallery, everything ended up taking longer than I expected, from the making of the work to the arrival of the frames and mats I ordered, to the wiring and labeling of things... and true to my nature, I kept putting it off this past weekend in favor of something, anything else; gardening, in this case, because I cannot WAIT any longer to get my hands in the dirt and I thought that the manual labor would inspire me.

So what should have been done the weekend before did not get done until the weekend after, i.e. this past weekend. By the time I had everything ready to go, all the good light had gone and I had little if any time to shoot decent photos of the work, which was probably the worst part. Big lesson learned for sure: be MORE than prepared, be MORE than ahead of time. Always. I don't know why it's taken me so long to figure this obvious fact out.

Anyway, here's the six little beauts that are headed, as I write this, to southeast New Hampshire. (I am totally cursing myself about the documentation. Seriously.)

(All above are 11" x 14" framed: The Early Bird Loses the Day; Highway to Hell; and U-Men.)

(All above are 5" x 7" framed: The Why and The Wherefore; Suddenly, I've Got That Old-Time Feeling; Can You Hear It?.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I've got the Blues

...the winter blues, that is.

This week has been such a downer after the nice weather we had there for a while. I was so confident that spring really had sprung and that we'd see no more white stuff on the ground, and BLAM! a couple inches have accumulated since yesterday.

It's really affected my mood. I want to work in the gardens, I want to go on more photography roadtrips, I just want to bask in the rays of the sun. Is that too much to ask? Humph. That's what I get for living in upstate New York, I know.

The rest of the week I will be finishing up getting ready for The Incredible Print Show in New Hampshire! Unfortunately, the frames I ordered were delayed and I won't see them until Friday. But, I guess in the meantime I can get the artwork made and ready to fit the frames, shipment out first thing on Monday! Whew! Frantic, but exciting. Not to mention I am really looking forward to my whirlwind trip to attend the opening there on May 1st. I will be back in town in time to present my artist workshop at the Castellani Art Museum on May 3rd!

I'll tell you a little about that. It's called Invisible Voices: Zines as Art and it will be part presentation/lecture and part workshop. In addition to a slide show and talk about what zines are and their surprisingly lengthy history, I will demonstrate how a zine is put together using various techniques, with the opportunity for YOU to get hands on—complete with a tour of my extensive personal zine library, which includes zines that I'ved collected since the early 1990s.

Q: What is a zine, anyway?

A: The zine – a self-published magazine that’s often published by an individual making use of cut and paste techniques and photocopies – has a long history, with its roots reaching back as far as Thomas Paine’s pamphlets of the Revolutionary War era, The Crisis and Common Sense, to the manifestos and pamphlets of the Dadaists and Surrealists in the early 20th century, to the music fanzines of 1970s punk rock and the Riot Grrrl and DIY movements of the 1990s and beyond.

The past few years have seen many zine publishers pushing the envelope with the form, transforming the humble photocopied pamphlet to an honest-to-god work of art. Along with the gain in popularity of book arts in general, zines can be an astounding alternative to more traditional art-making.

It's free to attend, though you should register an RSVP with Curator Michael J. Beam at 716-286-8286 or email mjbeam@niagara.edu.

I guess it helps to keep your eyes ahead when you're feeling blue, especially when you have things to look forward to... and I sure do! While I am recuperating from this slump, let me show you something that I have dug out of my archives. Sticking with the blue theme...

Lora and Lana Didn't Have a Chance (detail), Silicone toray intaglio print, 2006

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I haven't much new to report or show you, but since my last post announcing that my website had some meat, I wanted to tell you that everything that I wanted to get up, including galleries, is up! What a great feeling... I can't tell you how long I've been saying, "I've got to get a website up, I've got to get a website up..." and just never followed through. I'm so pleased that I finally made it happen and now have a one stop shop to direct people toward. I think this will call for some new business cards, while I am thinking about it... hmmm...

And just so I don't leave you with nothing to look at, may I present to you one of the lovely, poor, abandoned houses I found this past weekend? I found so much inspiration and can't wait to get back in the studio to paint!

Abandoned/run down house hunting
On Route 20, somewhere between Alden and Avon, NY.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Wow! I can take a break from rejection, at least for today.

I just got an email saying that I've been awarded a solo exhibition at 171 Houghton Gallery down in Corning, NY for next year. The schedule hasn't been worked out yet, so I can't tell you anything more except how thrilled I am. I don't know, what—I guess you get one or two of these things and it just snowballs?

Yes, please!

I'm really going to have to get back to churning mode in the studio, that is for sure.

Please (2004)
Please, Gouache and rubber stamping, 2004.