Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ready for Trotter's...almost!

I'm busy with final preparations for hanging the show at Trotter's tomorrow! Those preparations included finishing these three 12x12 paintings early this afternoon! I wrote about the progress of this painting at this earlier post.

I probably need to play with these photos a little more (or take new pics on a sunny day), but I've got things to do tonight! I still have to spray paint a frame, attach some hanging hardware to some paintings, and do some work on the computer.

And until this show is up, all I can really think about is what paintings I'm hanging, what walls they should hang on.... I think I will be fine once I get my paintings in the space and can actually see what looks good where. Until then, my mind is in overdrive.

I would like to say I will be relaxing after this show is hung, but not really! I will be hosting an open studio next Friday, August 6th and plan to finish even more paintings in this series...guess I'll just keep it in overdrive!

But I'll be back soon with pictures from hanging the show!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Eggplant Menage a trois

I've been spending lots of the time in the studio this week, painting like crazy in preparation for my two upcoming shows. I'm feeling a little pressure (self-imposed) to finish some new pieces. Or in some cases, finishing some new pieces that were started months ago.

A few weeks ago, I started to work again on two larger eggplant paintings (18x36) that I actually started last August. I worked on them for a month or so last fall and then put them aside as I started working on some winter paintings. (Eggplant-painting season coincides with their appearance at the Farmer's Market typically it seems).

I've always had a vision for how I wanted these two paintings to look. I playfully titled them Menage a Trois

My goal this week was to finish them so I could hang them at the Trotter's show. I thought a few paintings of eggplants in a restaurant that features locally grown food would be good.

I finished them (I think) yesterday. The last bit that I had to do was paint the stem/vines. These are just quick shots I took at the studio when I was finished.

I have to admit that I'm still struggling with how I feel about these two finished paintings. Usually when I finish a painting, I'm in love with the piece. But these...I'm not 100% happy with how they turned out --- I guess they're not exactly what I had envisioned (close, but not quite).

Still, I am trying to learn something from this...First off, I know that I'm done with these eggplants--at least, for now. I need to step back and let them sit for a bit. I can decide later if I want to work on them further. But secondly, I think that sometimes you just have to accept that not every piece can be your favorite. I will probably paint more eggplants, but I think I would be better off leaving these as is and starting fresh on a new canvas.

And I think I may still hang them at Trotter's. I hear eggplant is on the menu in August.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back to the studio!

It's been a busy, fun-filled few days visiting with my best friend, Julie. We enjoyed a day trip to Stillwater, MN, spent some time shopping,  and on the last night of her visit went to an art opening. But best of all, there was lots of time to catch up and chat about our creative dreams. 

During her visit, I pretty much took a break from working at the studio. But it's back to the studio today! I have a busy week ahead. This coming Sunday I will be hanging some of my artwork at Trotter's--a local restaurant with a menu that features locally grown produce/meat. They also feature the work of local artists on their walls! Trotters is located in St. Paul on Cleveland Avenue, just off Marshall Avenue.

To get ready for the show, I still have a few paintings to work on and lots of details to take care of. This show will primarily feature my larger pieces and will be up the month of August.

And once that show is hung, I'll be getting ready for the August First Fridays event. My Tilsner studio will be open from 6-9 pm on Friday, August 6th. I am planning to show a number of the smaller pieces featuring birds and flowers that I've been working on lately.

So it's off to the races...I'm excited to be sharing my work soon!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I'm featured...

Just a quick post to let you know that my studio and artwork is featured over at the fabulous blog of fellow artist Stacey Merrill (that's her work here). Not only does Stacey's blog titled ArtSnark's Artifacts (hmmm...just how did she come up with that name?) feature her own incredible work, but Stacey does an awesome job showcasing the work of other artists. Thank you Stacey!

Please check it out...and heads up--I'll be sponsoring a giveaway there that will be posted this coming Thursday!

Check it out at--

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mod Podge Bulletin Board

About a month ago hubby requested that we put up some sort of bulletin board in our office, so that we could better coordinate our schedules/activities. He's been busy going out on all sort of auditions (he just got a lead part in a community theater holiday production!) and I'm frequently running around for this and that...since we share a car, there needs to be some sort of coordination!

I didn't want to put up a plain, boring bulletin I decided to spruce one up a bit with paper napkins and mod podge!

I picked out this napkin (that I bought at Target) and laid out my pattern. I chose a heavier-weight napkin for this was easier to work with. I also liked that this napkin had a border that I could use at the top and bottom.

Once I had my napkins cut I used a brush to apply mod podge to the bulletin board. I did one small section at a time. Once the napkin was lined up properly, I applied another light coat of mod podge over the napkin. Don't be too alarmed that it will bubble a bit...things generally flatten just fine once the mod podge dries. I would advise a heavier coat of  mod podge underneath the napkin, but just a light coat on top.

Let the project dry for 24 hours and then apply another light coat of mod podge.  Again dry for 24 hours. Now you have a fancy bulletin board that might be too pretty to stick  tacks in!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A brief hello!

Still enjoying a few days of hanging out with my best friend. Today we are headed out to Stillwater, a cute town just about 30 minutes from here. Hopefully it won't be too hot or humid or my hair will become one big frizz ball!

But before I go, I thought I'd share a few pics of a small 8x10 that I finished (just need to apply a varnish). It doesn't show well in pictures, but I added a bit of gold to the vines and flowers...really makes it pop. 

I'm still working on the 12x12 below--still need to work on adding detail to the flowers. If you look closely at both paintings you can see that I added texture to some of the flowers by applying light molding paste to the flower. Then I created some sort of texture--either spirals created with the tip of a brush or little "bumps" in the center by using a bath scrungee (what do you call those things?). I added the molding paste before painting.

I am anxious to get back in the studio to finish these paintings...I'm hoping to list some of the smaller paintings in my Etsy shop. Anyways, today I'm off to have some fun, but I'll be back soon! Hope you're having fun too!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Happy Wednesday...I may be MIA for a few days as my very best friend, Julie, is visiting from New York. She's a wonderful artist herself and although we live miles apart, my companion in this artsy journey. You can check out her work here.

Enjoy the rest of the week! Ciao!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Today at the Studio

I thought I would share a bit of my painting process today. I worked on several paintings in this series today, but spent the most time getting this one started. I had previously laid down the base color on this 12x12 stretched canvas. The base color is actually several layers of's all a process! 

Today I started by using a white chalk pencil to lay out the design of the painting--just a light outline so I can image how the finished painting will look. I'm doing this more and's easy to erase and it's only a guide. When I start painting, things sometimes change!

After I was happy with the outline, I started laying down the green of the leaves/vines...

I go back and add more color and detail to the's hard to tell in the picture, but I used a bit of gold to highlight the leaves.

Once I was finished with the leaves/vines, I moved on to laying down some color for the flowers and laying down a off-white base for the bird. This included two layers of color to help me reach the intensity of color I'm after. I will still add another layer of color before adding the details to the flowers and bird.

At this point, I was done with the painting for the day. Sometimes you need to step back for a paint needs to dry thoroughly before you keep adding layers. 

But I switched gears a bit and continued work on some other paintings in this series. It was a productive day! 

My only problem--I still need a name for this series! Any suggestions?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Jax Studio

Last Saturday I was busy cleaning my home office/studio. I promised to post pics when I was done. Almost, but not quite...still need to hang some shelves.

But I am a lucky girl and have two studios! My home studio is where I do my paperwork, some collage, and when the urge hits, some beading. 

I do my messy work--painting--over at the Jax, which is located just a few blocks away. My Jax studio was highlighted in the summer edition of CPS' Studios magazine. I wrote about that here. I still get a thrill when I'm in a store and I see the magazine!


But here's a few more shots that didn't make it in the magazine--

And a few from my hubby's side--

It's an interesting space! 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Peace and Calm

Just a quick post before I head to the studio to keep painting on these small paintings. One of the joys (and there are many) of spending this summer painting is that I have been able to work on a number of different series, plus return to old, unfinished work (like in the previous post). I am not a fast painter, so having this time is a treasure. These paintings are primarily small--lots of 6x6's, some 6x12's and a few larger. Eventually I think there will be some larger paintings. They are a part of these paintings--

The colors--muted teals, purples, pinks-- and the subjects, flowers and birds, are lending a sense of peace and calm to me. I'm sure my blood pressure drops a few points every time I'm painting them. And I'm hoping those feelings will be transferred to the viewer as well.

I would also like to introduce you to my new studio mascot pictured below. He sits quietly atop a Sobe water bottle and encourages me to paint in peace and calm. He's quite regal don't you think? What should I call him?

Anyways, I'm off to the studio. It's good that I'm being so productive, cause I'm gearing up for some shows in August...I'll fill you in soon!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Looking for a little divine inspiration!

Last week I went back to work on a painting I started late last summer. It is inspired by a photo I took of my hubby a few years ago at the State Fair.  Below you can see the start of the painting last year.

 I'm somewhat at a standstill now with this painting. I have to work on the face/hands...not my favorite part (which is why I hold off till the end). And I need to figure our what to do with the background behind the figure. Not sure what I want to do. Any ideas?

I'm hoping to finish this painting for the State Fairs Fine Art competition. Registration is due next Monday. The painting doesn't really need to be finished till you drop it off for the "judging" in early August. I've got lots of painting to do in the next few weeks! Feeling pressured to get something done never seems to help me feel I've put this aside for a few days to work on other things and to wait for some divine inspiration!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Weekend update

(work in progress, 12x24)

After a few days absence, I was back in the studio today painting. This summer I have been in the studio painting about five days out of the week--sometimes more. This past week it was less and I have to admit feeling a little "guilty" about that. I'm finding that this summer without a day job I have to remind myself to enjoy the pleasures of summer--it passes so quickly. So I took a few days to enjoy the summer and time with my family.  

Painting may be my job right now...but it is still my pleasure.

Saturday I enjoyed a rare day home to myself. I did some laundry, baking and a bit of cleaning--all while listening to music or having some mindless t.v. play in the background. My special project was to work on cleaning/organizing my home office/studio space. This is where I do some beading, collage work and organize my paperwork. It was in serious need of an overhaul.

This space is not large--and I share it with my hubby. It is just under 9 feet wide. I have the end of the room with the window. A large Ikea table sits on one side and Ikea shelves on the other side (along with other organization/storage units). I made some serious progress in this clean-up-- I promise to show you final pictures later this week.

(While I am still tweaking and polishing things over at my new website, I hope you will stop over and take a look--  Let me know what you think!)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Midsummer's Night Dream

As long as I have known my husband (4+ years) he has entertained me with countless stories from "his theater days". You can tell by the way he tells these stories how much he enjoyed being involved in the theater. Which makes sense--he loves to entertain and keeps me entertained every day!

But in reality, it has been nearly 30 years since he has performed on stage...until this summer. My hubby auditioned and was offered a small role in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The Upright Egg Theater Company, a small theater company  housed in our artist co-op, is presenting this production in several area parks this summer.

It has been a wonderful experience for my hubby. And the acting bug has bitten again. He has been off to several auditions, gotten a few small gigs and is loving every minute of it.

And I am thrilled that he is once again pursuing one of his creative passions!

We are never too old to pursue those dreams!

And for you local (Twin Cities) folks: there is just one more weekend performance of Midsummer! Catch this fabulous production at Matthews Park in Minneapolis (2318 29th Ave S) on Friday, July 9th and Saturday, July 10th. Performances begin around 7:30 p.m. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. It is very entertaining!

Here's a trailer filmed at an earlier production:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday!

I hope you are all enjoying a marvelous 4th of July weekend. Mine is being spent close to home...a fairly typical weekend with kids, some time at the studio painting and working on various projects at home. (I did see fireworks on Friday night following the Twins game and they were awesome!)

But I am quite excited because I feel like I have accomplished a major goal of mine. My new website is ready to be born! There is still some tweaking to do, definitely some polishing, but I'm feeling ready to share it with the world...or at least all of you!

I created my Home & Bio page, started adding images of my artwork to the Portfolio page and even set up a handy dandy link to my Etsy shop (more artwork to be listed soon). I have imported my blog there (although it looks a bit different) and redirected my registered domain name to the site.

So if you want to take a peek, all you need to do is go to 

(You can still come directly to my blog here by using )

This was a big deal for me...I've been dreaming about it for a year or more. Participating in Kelly Rae's course (and meeting lots of supportive folks there online) gave me the courage and the knowledge to give it a whirl. I decided to use Squarespace to not only build my site, but as my hosting site. It felt easier (for me) to do it all in one place. 

There was definitely some things I needed to learn. At times, I thought I wouldn't be able to create something I would be happy with. But I kept at it, doing a little at a time. Then the past two nights I put in some hours of concentrated work trying to get things to look the way I wanted.

And I think I got there! Like I said, I still plan to do some tweaking and polishing. But I would love for you to take a look and tell me what you think! (There is definitely room for improvement)

It's sort of fun really...tackling big projects like this...especially as I get older and it's harder to stay ahead of the technology curve (shoot, I'm just happy to stay a few steps behind!) 

I wanted to create my website to showcase my art and to help me look more professional. Rather than refer folks to my blog, I can direct them to my website (though my blog will be there too).

So strike off "Create a Website"  from my Artist To Do list.  

Mission Accomplished .

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Posted by Picasa  I'm spending the evening playing around with that new website. Soon I may actually have something that will be presentable. 

One of the things I want to do is create a new header--for the website, blog...I'm thinking something along the lines of the collage above (which I created in Picasa).

Please, please ... can someone tell me how to do this in simple layman terms!?!

Thank you for your assistance!