Sunday, August 28, 2016

being in the moment

 “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” 
-Thomas Merton

this quote is as true of creating art as it is of experiencing it. i am always in the moment when i'm shooting my camera- there's a bit of a remove but at the same time there's a focus on the subject. so while i get that whole "put your camera down and be in the moment" thing i would argue that we all have our own ways of experiencing the world

these days, if it isn't my camera (or phone), it's the sketchbook. i'm not shy about pulling it out anywhere. somehow this is more acceptable that just taking photos. i put more thought into drawing- partly because i have to find something to draw. the whole tactile thing is good too, and problem solving to figure out how to make it look right. 

working on perspective

art date with friends- this is such a pleasant way to spend an afternoon- we rode our bikes to a winery's tasting room and drew-

then a shipping container bar by the river. i had this page prepped with perfect color. we had several patrons come up & check out what we were doing here- fun stuff. and it's all practice, work and improving and learning.

 the other great thing about this is that playing with different media shows up in my other art. totem series raven in progress- 

and princess halle says hi, speaking of recording the moment.....

i'm working on putting a couple of shows together- one opening in october and a proposal for another. it feels good to be moving toward being out in the world with my art again. i'm looking forward to what comes next.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

art is art is art

 i was fortunate enough to go to red rocks for a concert this week.

i forget what an amazing place it is, because i grew up near denver and have been to countless shows here. it's just where you go to see a concert if you can. so to be there with someone who has seeing a show at red rocks as a bucket list item- and to add to that having the performer we're about to see on the wish list too- big fun.

i drew during the (very good) opening act

but once ryan adams came on stage there was nothing but art and music and being in the moment. transported. music that goes right through you, brings the crowd together and creates a transcendent experience. there is undoubtedly something special about red rocks that inspires musicians and makes for killer shows. lucky lucky me.

i think that ryan adams is a brilliant songwriter, so he fascinates me as an artist as much as a performer. 

check out a favorite here- great lyric- "lines on my face like a map of my sins"

"Writing and creating, those things come to me on their own. I feel like... you sort of summon them and it's like allowing the universe to enter your heart in an entirely different way to what it normally does. It's like inviting that energy of the universe to enter into your craft in a way where it has a meaning." Ryan Adams

inviting the energy to enter your craft- because we need to do the work too- that's the craft part- practice and experiment and play. so here i am doing just that in my journals-

using tools to see how they react

  playing with font

drawing twice (!) this weekend on site. both "finished" in the studio. neither feeling "done". yet people look at them and think they're great. art.


noun \ˈärt\

Simple Definition of art

  • : something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings
  • : works created by artists : paintings, sculptures, etc., that are created to be beautiful or to express important ideas or feelings
  • : the methods and skills used for painting, sculpting, drawing, etc.

Monday, August 15, 2016

back to the drawing board

spent some time this week revisiting vacations & finishing up journal pages. always so much fun to do this and remember the trip-

i did this page a few years ago and never liked it much- the pelican is an image transfer and i had her outlined against the background, no color. planning a trip back to the keys and excited about it, so i painted her in and added the compass- like it much better now, but will likely add more words..

i've been pretty good about working in this book over the past month- both in boise and on the road. i'm challenging myself to draw things besides wine glasses & coffee cups and am going to try more detailed images on a full page at some point. meantime, just glad i'm sticking with it.

i'm also figuring out ways of working on paper. i have a bunch of water soluble media that i can draw with- pencils, crayons, markers, etc- most of which i never use. thought it would be a good exercise to see how they blend, which reactivate, which i can write/draw over when dry, etc.

2 full pages later i have a much better idea how they all act. i also realized that the reason i never use the koi watercolor markers that i carry around (very top left) is that i feel like the colors are too bright. if i'm drawing from life, nothing is any of those colors. except maybe the water in the keys & the odd patio umbrella. so. figure out how to blend or get bolder with colors. find bright things to draw- umbrellas, the sky, etc.

those, the neocolors or the watercolor crayons are the smallest and easiest to pack with me, should i want something besides my watercolors. of course, all are dandy for playing in the studio, which i will have to do more of.

up next- trip to denver for work including a bonus red rocks concert (ryan adams), so i will figure out what supplies to take for that. also planning a camping trip to the dry tortugas, which necessitates some thought, as i need to bring the good camera & a few lenses and will have to pack light on the rest of the supplies.

it's good to get things out to play with- we'll see what inspiration comes from it-

Monday, August 8, 2016


 went to salida, colorado to see my family this weekend. salida is a charming town located in central colorado on the arkansas river. it's always fun to walk around, visit galleries and check out art.

my mom asked if i'd be interested in meeting her artist friends mel and bea strawn. of course! so we went to visit their home and studios. you can read more about the strawns here. see their website here.

this is bea's studio. 

she's working primarily with wood constructions, mainly wall hung. the current series is fans from reclaimed wood. in addition to layering paint and sanding it off to create depth, collage elements are also sometimes included. it's always interesting to see how other artists build and use layers. i was also interested in the way she discussed repurposing older work- some items that started as arches became boats. love the organic evolution that happens, and it's something to keep in mind before i just toss my old work.

mel is from boise originally, and had his first show at the boise art museum. it's been a while since he's lived here, but a fun connection. he wasn't going to let me in his studio because he's preparing for a show & it wasn't clean, but showing him a photo of mine took care of that. 

mel has his mfa in printmaking. he is known as a pioneer in digital art and combines his early prints and drawing with technology. the print in the lower left of the photo below is a lithograph done years ago. during our visit, i saw a detail of this print digitally altered and made into a solar etching and a painting based on the same print. it was fascinating to see the interplay of drawing, digital work and printing and the endless possibilities created.

i've read several books on digital printmaking and have a press that i haven't used much. i'm excited to play with my press and become more comfortable with the printing process. it was very cool to see how work evolves from drawing or painting through digital imaging back to a very "analog" printing process. although mel also uses a printer when it suits. so many possibilities.......

having the opportunity to visit with the strawns was wonderful. bea had showed my mom some brush strokes and asked her if she'd been practicing. my mom said no and bea said "that's OK, you're internalizing". which struck me so much as it's what i know i do when i'm not actively creating. 

their daughter was also there, and she showed me some wonderful botanical illustrations on maps- the plants were drawn on their geography of origin and sometimes included fun touches like a pickle on the dill image. more inspiration. i wish i'd written the artist's name down.

the thing about visiting an artist's studio is that it somehow equalizes things. in my experience, artists who are about the art are generous with people who are genuinely interested. these people are so accomplished but i never felt lesser. there's a passion for what we do that equalizes, if we're open to it. i learn in every class i teach. bea asked me about my process in one of the paintings i showed her. (!) there's also the fact that being in a familiar messy studio puts me at ease and makes me feel like i know what i'm talking about.

grateful for those chance encounters that have a lasting impact. grateful that i'm home all week with studio time. glad i bought more ink for the good printer. it's going to be fun to see where this goes-