Archive for the ‘modern life’ Category


Telling Stories; the story



I have been working on this piece (detail above) called Telling Stories. The challenge I set for myself was to go bigger. Could I expand what I do onto a larger canvas? 30″ is about the largest I can fit in my limited space. I have to say it was a satisfying experience and I now long to go even larger. Maybe someday when space lends itself.

The title comes from sitting in a number of critiques and workshops where my fellow artists see narrative, seemingly in every piece. I do not derive my connection to art this way, especially not my own. There is always a journey through my pieces from beginning to end but it is not a story. I guess it is about process, composition, materials and technique. The final work offers up various clues to items that tease the viewer to construct their own story. I want my work to connect for people through their own experience not mine. If that means there is a story in it, so be it.


Cool Tools


CoolToolsMy mind is currently wrapped around a new piece (30 x 30 – this is large for me and my small studio space). Today I made some tweaks to the work and the thought struck me that it might be good to share a couple of my favorite tools. While these are more likely to be thought of as manicure tools rather than those in your studio, I can no longer work without them nearby. Their uses are endless but here is how they are working for me;

1) Sanding block – This mini block is great for minor sanding jobs. I also use emery boards but the chunkiness of this block is a bit easier to use on a flat surface . . . and you get 4 sides and some nice corners to work with (be sure to wear a dust mask when you sand).

2) Orange Sticks – Typically used for working magic on your cuticles these babies work for burnishing, holding things down while you glue and even making textures in paint or molding paste.

3) Q-tips – I originally began using these for removing that tiny extra bit of paint that was just too much for the artwork. I have come to adore the Q-tip for blending and softening, adding as well as subtracting. You can tap into your inner George Seurat as well.


Just looking


JustLookingMaybe the shift to cooler weather has something to do with it. Here we are at the turn of the seasons and transition seems to be beckoning us . . . everywhere.

In the studio I focus on the shift by looking; Reviewing my sketchbooks, my accumulation of materials and lately my pinterest pins. I look at what my attractions were. The colors, forms and ideas. I look for trends in my thinking. I flip through the newly arrived art supply catalogs looking for the “mix” to put into my media. What might I try next?

Sometimes focusing not on the work helps to freshen our perspective when we return to the work. Looking, reviewing and seeking are ways to check in with your artistic path and keep yourself focused on that journey. When all else fails, just keep looking.





dwelling 1






1) You must be an artist . . .



My professor of light and color at Pratt Institute of Art was Mary Buckley. Miss Buckley, we called her. She was somewhat prim and proper but also charming. One Monday morning she arrived to class exclaiming; “I hope that was not anyone in this class pulled over to the side of the BQE last night watching that spectacular sunset!”

It may well have been some of my classmates pulled over in weekend traffic to capture the sunset. While Miss Buckley recognized our enthusiasm she did not want us risking our lives for it. We could capture it when we returned to the dorm instead of pulling over in the midst of danger she reminded us.

It is ingrained in us as artists, the need to capture inspiration while it is fresh. Last week it was the snow. The moisture of late winter snow made it stick to the branches in blobs almost like giant cotton balls. As I was enjoying that view from my kitchen window, this cardinal sat in the middle of them. All this white dobbed branchiness and now, a brilliant red bird. I was supposed to be off to a class but it was too good to pass up. I ran outside with my camera. The cardinal moved from his prime spot when he saw me. This made me laugh and think of Miss Buckley. No, there was nothing dangerous in this attempt to capture an image of the cardinal. But there was the reminder of how fleeting  inspiration is and how we are not in control despite it all.


Distant Beaches