Monday, November 1, 2010

Back from the Dead

I've been MIA, but not for lack of activity. All kinds of things in the works.

For now, I've been teaching college-level art and a bunch of bookbinding workshops.

I made some new paintings. I still need to document them.

I hope this finds you well and prosperous!

In recent news, this painting has found a new home with a collector in Asheville, NC.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Coming up

OK, so more stuff fell in my lap:

Another little show at a restaurant, this one is in Niagara Falls (my city!) and has incredible food and atmosphere:


Stuff I'm doing.

These are portraits of my great-grandparents, my dad's father's parents. James sort of disappeared from the scene a few years after my grandfather was born, and apparently Augusta was a nasty old woman by the time she came to live with my father's family when he was a child.

The little bit that I know about these ancestors leaves me with so many questions.

(Each painting acrylic on canvas, 11" x 14", 2010.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Stuff I am Doing

July has turned into one of those busy months... my show at Betty's got extended another week, last day to view it is on July 18th. I've also been co-curating a show over at WNYBAC, and it opens on Friday night!

Then, next week? I'm so excited, taking my final week of vacation at work and attending Type Camp as a day camper. Giddy! I'm not sure exactly what to expect, but it should prove to be very interesting, fun, and a great professional development-type thing to do. (I wouldn't mind signing up for the one taking place at the Bauhaus next year, but I seriously doubt I would be able to swing it financially!)

I've recently started thinking about the things I'd like to do and accomplish next year. Among my ideas:

Paper & Book Intensive, which will be at Oxbow near Chicago in 2011 (totally drivable!)

• An artist residency somewhere

• Attend the College Art Association Conference in New York

• A few more solo shows — I think my focus will be on university and college art spaces, but I'll still work on commercial galleries as well

• Seek out more grants and funding

• Continue seeking out teaching opportunities of various types

• Keep my eyes and my heart open

etc. etc. ad infinitum

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Here and There

This Way Out, 2010. Mixed media on paper, 10" x 8"

Mary Mary, 2010. Mixed media on paper, 6" x 6"

These little works have been around for a couple weeks now, but I am just getting to doing anything with them. The latter is being shipped to the UK for a trade, and the former may have a new home... waiting to hear. If not, I'll happily keep her (yes, she's a her) hung up in my cubicle.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Next Up!

Among whatever else I have going on in the studio, I also have a specific project in mind to work on: a book about Love Canal. It's a neighborhood in my city, Niagara Falls, NY, that was discovered to have been built on top of a toxic waste site and came to international attention in the 1970s thanks to a grass roots effort by a housewife named Lois Gibbs.

I have been fascinated by what remains on the site for many years now, and have seen it transform into an increasingly wild area spotted with the very occasional house still standing and occupied. I'm not sure exactly how I want to approach this. I'd likely let my photos speak for themselves, but considering that I do also enjoy writing, I'd also like to compose accompanying text.

I'm thinking about trying to interview the current occupants of the remaining houses. I'd really like to do that, in fact. I've been so curious about why they decided to stay all these years. Or maybe they are people who bought real estate dirt cheap and decided to risk contamination in exchange? One house I've noticed even keeps a large vegetable garden.

Incidentally, wildlife seems to be thriving there, at least the plants, trees, and birds I've seen.

Last weekend I drove around and took a few photos.


Here is one painting that didn't make it into my show at Betty's (it didn't really fit—I had planned to make other quilt paintings and just ended up focusing more on the houses). The inspiration for it was one of the so-called "cutter" quilts I bought recently. A cutter quilt is one that has been so loved and well-used that it is falling apart in places... and they can be had for not very much money, as one might imagine. But, that status doesn't lessen the fact that their beautiful colors and patterns remain, even if some are faded or deteriorated. I obviously take a lot of liberties in my interpretation... I'm not interested in creating a realistic rendering but rather to showcase the aspects of the quilts that dazzled me so much in a more simplified, graphic manner.

This painting is 16" x 16", acrylic on canvas.


By the way, the opening for my show at Betty's went really well. So many people came out to show support, and I got lots of great, interesting feedback. Even sold one piece, and have interest in a couple others! That's always nice. Working with Kathy Sherin, the curator, was great. She really has a wonderful eye for grouping works together and making the show feel really cohesive. Unfortunately, I totally forgot to take photos. If anyone has any I'd be grateful if you'd share!

That said, I am glad it's out of the way and will be hanging through July. Next up is my show at ArtMission in Binghamton, where I'll be showing more house paintings—the batch that are already made (including the Betty's paintings, and the ones languishing in New Hampshire) plus some new ones, too. Exciting! But I am glad to have a break from any major art activity, aside from studio work.

Speaking of which, I am starting a two-week vacation on Friday! You can bet that I will be happy to spend a good portion of that time in the studio... I can't wait.

Friday, May 14, 2010



I have been busy in the studio getting ready for my show opening on Monday... but I haven't been posting any works in progress, or finished work. Part of me is dying to share what I've been doing, but I have been feeling strangely protective of it until it's actually hanging in public.

The reason? I want it to be a surprise.

Silly, I guess. But true.

Last night one of the paintings I was working on, one of the houses titled, Wrong Place, Wrong Time, is getting really gorgeous. I found myself really falling in love as the evening went by and I got more layers on it. It's funny how the ones that are rather homely in their beginnings, and even in "adolescence", turn out to be the best works.

It's an amazing process, the development of a painting. Which is why I keep doing it.


I also really noticed my development as an artist in a very palpable way last night as I was working. The way I work, the colors I gravitate toward, the qualities that are important to me... all have changed quite a lot since I entered grad school. It's taken some time, but it's so interesting to me how my work has become this hybrid of the representational and the abstract. And how concise I've become with the brush. I love painting edges, or making a curve just so. I'm starting to lose the drips, which is probably a good thing. (Bingyi's comment those months ago really stuck with me, I admit it, but now... I think she was right.)

Last night I was thinking about Alex Katz and Giorgio de Chirico, not for his surrealist tendencies as much as for his architecture and light and economy.

Alex Katz.

Giorgio de Chirico.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Ghosts" at Betty's

I am pleased to announce the opening reception for my showing of small paintings, "Ghosts", at Betty's Restaurant in Buffalo, NY, is scheduled for Monday, May 17th, 6 to 9pm.

I am fervently toiling away at this new body of work that continues the exploration of abandoned houses, though the title and theme of this exhibition expands my focus to include memorials to people (famous and not-famous) and to worn-out quilts, often referred to as "cutters".

Normally I wouldn't think to show at a restaurant, but the curator, Kathy Sherin, does a great job choosing wonderful artists to show there, and the clientele is one that is probably more interested in art than most... not to mention, Betty's serves the absolute best reception food I have ever tasted in my life. Win-win.

Teaser photos are forthcoming. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More Fifty-Two

Oh, dear. It has been forever since I last posted. I've been quite busy, more busy than ever before... but that is no good excuse, is it? Well, Calm Air All Ice's show Fifty-Two is now up in Bristol, UK, and here are a few links concerning my work in the show for you to peruse. Needless to say that there are fifty-one other artists worth checking out, as well!

For those with a little more pocket money

My mini-interview

We're open!

Thanks again to Camilla and Claire for inviting me to participate in such a fantastic show!

Friday, February 12, 2010


I am thrilled to announce that I have been invited to participate in a group show all the way over in Bristol, UK by the ladies at Calm Air All Ice, Camilla (who invited me) and Claire. It'll be up March 28 through April 3 at Room 212, and I really couldn't be more pleased to be included.

I'll likely send my Elliott Smith painting (which is already made), along with maybe one house painting and one quilt painting (each of which I will make fresh for the exhibition). I like having events for which to create work—I tend to thrive on deadlines.

In other news, I am wrapping up teaching my first class (foundation drawing) with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online, and getting ready to start on the next one (digital image manipulation)! It's been a busy month— I've been teaching a self-portrait class to five 12- and 13-year old boys on Saturday mornings, and I taught a private bookbinding lesson to a lovely family (A mom, her daughter and daughter-in-law, and her 12-year-old granddaughter, who blew us all out of the water) last weekend! Next week, I'm finishing up with the boys but also teaching Bookbinding for Beginners at the Western New York Book Arts Center; after that, my weekends will be my own again, at least for a while. I need to catch up on some studio work!

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Work! + Jen Sbragia

Stop the presses! Hold the phone!

I've made a few new little paintings (or drawings, or whatever you want to call them). These were all made with graphite pencil and acrylic paint as the eraser/ghost maker. I am thinking of these grisailles as my ghosts and would like to make a series of them, houses and people... for my solo show coming up at Betty's in May? Maybe title it "Haunted"? Or something.

Anyway. The work:

Ghost (1), mixed media on paper, 11" x 14", 2010.

Ghost (2), mixed media on wood, about 3" x 4", 2010.

These are obviously not the best photos—I took them while sitting in the parking lot of Big Orbit Gallery, where I was bringing them to submit to this year's members show. Always last minute, I am. But I got stuff done, and it felt great to be making art again.

Then there is the third "ghost". It's bordering on cheesy, I guess, sitting there at the dining room table making drawings of dead (and beloved and missed) rock stars. This one is Elliott Smith. I can't believe it's been almost seven years since his death! I always thought he had the best face and hair, I've been wanting to paint him for a long time. This was a fun little project to work on, and I'm happy with how it turned out. I think I will hang him in my bedroom.

Close up

Framed, with Nico the cat nosing around


Finally, since we're almost out of January and the thrill of the new year has all but passed, here is the lovely card that yet another inspiring, talented friend who is also an amazing musician and artist, Jen Sbragia, made! I'm almost certain it is stenciled and it is just so simple and cool. (My other friend that fits that bill is Tae Won Yu, who in addition to being an amazing artist and designer, was also in the band Kicking Giant in the heyday of 90s indie rock.) Jen, if you didn't know, was pretty famous back then, too, as one half of aptly-named The Softies and now of the All-Girl Summer Fun Band.

Funny, I seem to remember a fun photo of Elliott and The Softies that maybe Tae even took himself? But I can't find it anywhere. Too bad—that really would have tied this whole post together, yeah?

Anyway, I am so lucky to have cool friends like these who still send me cool stuff after all these years. Thank you for the encouragement and support and inspiration!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just so you know...

I've drawn in my sketchbook two days in a row now.

No, I won't show you. I drew, but I didn't draw anything noteworthy.

I am happy though!

Instead, here is a portion of my cube wall. "Suddenly I've Got That Old Time Feeling" on the left and "Please" on the right.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Finding a Groove + Tae Won Yu

I am an artist, and I love making art.

Yet it is somehow hard for me to fit in the making of it. Should I admit that here?

I see so many artist blogs where everyone is so productive, so thoughtful, so linked in to the rest of the world (whatever world that may be, here online among artist blogs or elsewhere)... and here my poor blog languishes mostly in inactivity, or showing stuff that I made previously. In 2010 I'd really like to change this, and I hope I can. I miss making art all the time. I want to be able to show people new things frequently. That is who I am.

Sure, it is nice to have languid, lazy weekends like the one I had hence, but the reality is that is not how I achieve my goals (except for getting all the books read I'd like, that's one good thing about a weekend like the one I just had).

One step I have recently taken is to always bring my sketchbook with me to work, in case I have a moment for inspiration. So far nothing has happened.

But, things like that don't just happen, do they? One must resolve to do them.

I don't have anything new to show you from me at the moment, but I'd like to share this photo I just took of a lovely little new year's card I got from my old friend Tae Won Yu, who designed it (maybe even printed it himself? I'll have to ask). I've got it hanging in my cube at work, it looks nice juxtaposed with a sketch I did of a dead chipmunk years ago (we're talking 20+) that I still really love. I ought to get it framed properly one day. Anyway, isn't Tae's work amazing? He's been a great inspiration to me over the years as an artist and as a graphic designer, and I am fortunate to have quite a few examples of his work in my files and on my walls.

Goal for today: One drawing in my sketchbook of anything.


This week is the beginning of what looks like a fairly busy teaching season—I hope so, anyway. I've listed the classes I am scheduled to teach in the coming months in a new section on my website, CLASSES. I'm also starting to teach online as an adjunct professor at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh today! This is my first online teaching experience and I am very excited to see how teaching a drawing class online works out. The school has provided a really good class structure and resources, so at least I have a strong foundation to build on, plus a mentor for my first class! I guess this is the wave of the future. I think it's pretty nifty. It definitely appeals to the hermit in me, I admit it!

Lots to look forward to. I just need to carve out time for the activity that is most important to me: making my art. Should be easy, right?

(Hmph, if it was easy I'd have already done it.)

I'd be really interested to hear what you other artists out there reading have to say about my predicament: balancing more than full-time work and family with my studio practice.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Update in the Etsy shop!

It's been a few weeks, and I am finally getting around to putting my leftover handmade books from the Holiday Panic Sale into my Etsy shop! There are still a few more to add, but plenty of new things to look at in the meantime. Here's a photographic sampling.