Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back to Trotter's Cafe...

Today we headed back to Trotter's Cafe to rearrange the exhibit of my artwork in the cafe. The September artist only wanted to hang her work in one I got to keep some of my work up for a second month!

We took down all my work in the first room and then went to work changing things up in this second cozy room. I felt more relaxed about the whole thing, so I was able to snap some better pictures of the space.

Alongside one wall, there is a set of inset shelves--I put a few of my small paintings on the lowest shelf, along with my business cards and postcards.

We made some changes--mixing in some of the paintings that had been in the other room, changing how things were hung, and even adding a few different paintings. Here are some closer looks at my art.

Paintings from the Womanspirit series

The Four Seasons

Hope Garden

Offering Peace

I wanted things to look fresh for repeat visitors. I actually like the new look better. If you live in the Twin Cities area, please stop by and enjoy my art, along with a fantastic organic meal. (I enjoyed Tortilla Lucia today--a flour tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, black beans, and monterrey jack cheese, plus salsa--yummy!).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Stepping out of the Studio!

Minnehaha Falls

Today I had a chance to cross the river to visit my old stomping grounds--south  Minneapolis, and enjoy some artsy fun. Hubby and I started out by making a few stops on the Longfellow neighborhood art crawl--aka Lola art crawl. There are a number of coffeeshops and local businesses participating and exhibiting art of local artists, but a great number of artists are opening their homes to show off their work. Some are exhibiting outdoors. Hats off to all those artists opening up their home spaces--it's a lot of work and intimidating to have people enter your home and comment about your artwork and space. Even though I do it on nearly a monthly basis in my own home, I find it hard to enter someone else's personal space. I don't want to be too intrusive! But it's a wonderful way to view an artist's work. Lola will also be running tomorrow, Sunday, August 29th from 10-5 pm--check out their website for more info!

Umber Studios

Following a quick lunch, we drove by a gallery space I've been wanting to check out--Umber studios. It's  a small space in south Mpls located in an older brick building. The gallery is being collectively run by several local artists. The artists have  maintained much of the original beauty of the space--such as the wood floors. They also brought back the original tin ceiling by knocking down a false ceiling.  The space was simple, but charming. Intimate and welcoming. 

The gallery was not actually open when we stopped by, but one of the artists/owners was there hanging a show of children's art (opening tonight) and invited us in. We had a wonderful little talk about the space.  I would love being part of running a space like that one day! 

Then we headed to downtown Mpls, where Joel was going on an audition. I spent my time at the Mpls downtown library (a beautiful building!) and checked out an exhibit that I had heard about--The Art of Aging. It is only up til September 5th, but I would highly recommend making an effort to take it in before it's gone. 

The exhibit features the artwork of four Twin Cities women artists--Karen Searle, Lucy Rose Fischer, Bette Globus Goodman, and Jody Stadler--all facing the aging process themselves (I don't know the ages of the artists, but I'm guessing they are in their 60/70s).  The work, presented in a variety of mediums--glass, photography, fiber/textile, painting/drawing--was very powerful, moving, and insightful. And I must add that it was inspiring to view the work of four artists actively making such powerful work in their 60s and 70s!

Even if you are not able to check out the exhibit, you can visit the exhibit link to  watch the video interviews with the artists. It will inspire you!

It was a good day for stepping outside my own studio and checking out the work of others! It's also fun to check out different types of spaces.

Trotter's Cafe

And tomorrow I will be off to rearrange my show at Trotter's! Earlier in the month I was asked if I would like to share the space with another artist in September--extending my exhibit there for a second month. I will be taking down my work in one room, but then rearranging things in the other. Feel free to still stop by to check out a small sample of my work!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Preview-MN State Fair Fine Arts show

Just as I posted my last entry (all about feeling isolated and needing to get out...), my artist neighbor/friend left a note on my door asking if I would like to go to the State Fair's Fine Art Preview opening! This is one of my favorite shows of the year. I'm a little disappointed with myself for not entering this year, but hey, there's always next year!

I have enjoyed this show for years as part of my annual State Fair pilgrimage. Years ago I dreamed of being brave enough to enter. And the the past few years, I have entered...but have not been accepted. I have gained some perspective on all is just one juror's opinion, after all. But I will keep trying.

So last night, my neighbor and I headed out to the fairgrounds. There were a lot of people there!  Much of the art has a theme that fits with the State Fair theme (such as state fair foods, livestock), but there is a wide range of other subject matter. There is also a wide range of different mediums used, everything from glass mosaics to oil. What I appreciate so much about this show is that anyone can bring a piece in for consideration (no entry fee!) and so many different mediums are part of the show. Basically, if you create it, they will look at it.

The fun part now is that as I become more involved in the local arts community I recognize the work of more fellow artists. Last night I saw the work of several fellow Lowertown artists, as well as work of two former Tilsner residents. It's always fun seeing the work of someone you know. 

And I found what would have been the perfect spot for the painting of hubby eating an ear of corn at the Fair--next year!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It doesn't feel like Fall...

The summer is wrapping up. Folks are sending their kids back to school--I remember the secret joy felt as a parent when that day came! Freedom! It definitely signaled a change in the daily routine.

Not much changing here. Summer is still holding on. Even I am starting to get weary of the heat combined with humidity. My hair is definitely tired of it! In a few short days, the State Fair--aka "the Great Minnesota Get-Together" begins. That's my end-of-summer ritual...I love going several times (it runs 10 days) just to walk, people watch, and check out our favorite activites/buildings. Don't worry...I'll be sharing our exploits here!

Outside of that, my daily routine is just that...routine. I wake up, turn on the computer, make my coffee...and eventually make my way to the studio. Most days I get a couple of painting stints in at the studio (returning home for lunch break...) I'm coming to the realization that even introverted-me is getting a little tired of talking to the same three people every day--my hubby and kids. I need to get out more! 

It is one of the bigger changes in my routine. When I was going to my outside job five days a week, I had lots of socializing time with others. My work space was one big area filled with desks and very little privacy. Truth be told, it drove me a little crazy at times. I just wanted a place to hide! Plus, my job involved going into people's homes, listening to their problems and hopefully, offering some resolutions. 

Now I am totally at the other extreme...I work in isolation...which is the atmosphere I need in order to create. But I am becoming aware that I need to be sure to get out and socialize with others. I need to get out and seek some inspiration as well.

Looking for some changes in that direction might be my change this fall. Just an artist, do you struggle with isolation at times? How do you deal with it?

Me and my honey after a long day at the Fair!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Today at the Studio

Not everyone gets how excited I am when I receive a shipment filled with art supplies...but I know you do! Thanks to my recent painting sale, I was able to purchase some paints and acrylic mediums from Dick Blick. The box arrived today! I was a little giddy!

Here is my shelf filled with goodies. I ordered some new mediums, like Crackle Paste and Clear Tar Gel, to experiment with. Oh, the fun I will have.

But before I dive in and start playing with new stuff, I decided to stay focused and work a bit more on my Ladies in Waiting. (That's not really their title, just my fun personal reference). I worked on a lot of faces today. It's amazing how each feature added changes their personality in some way.

What is hard to show in a photo of my Winter lady-in-waiting is the has an iridescent finish with a snowflake pattern. 

I decided to add a quote to this one: "There came a time when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." (Anais Nin)

But Autumn, pictured below, is my favorite... My inspiration for her background came from the Starbucks mug I drink my coffee from each morning. See, inspiration can come in a cup of java. Could it be a business expense?

Here they all are at the end of the day. Not quite done, but getting close.  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Ladies in Waiting

This morning my Facebook status update was about these "ladies in waiting" waiting to be finished. These five 10x20's were started months ago and I work on them every now and then. They have been sitting on my studio's heating element all summer, faceless-yet staring at me, and seeming to say,  "We'll sit right here till you make us come to life."

Believe me, seeing their faceless faces has been nagging at me. But there is a reason I put off painting their faces. It makes me uncomfortable, because it scares me a little. I don't feel particularly good at it, but I keep trying it anyways. Because I want to keep challenging myself. It's good to step outside your comfort zone now and then. And even though I feel so unsure of myself, I keep painting them.  I think I might be done with this series, but then I think this is just the starting point. I think they will evolve into something very different...eventually. (I finished five of these 10x20 woman paintings last year--check the label "four seasons".)

This morning I headed to the studio and decided to put my anxiety aside and work on finishing these "ladies in waiting". It's time. I didn't finish any of them, but made enough progress to make me want to keep going.

Even if I'm not "in love" with how each of them turns out, I think it's time to finish them and move ahead. One of the hard things about painting their faces is that sometimes when I'm done I feel completely different about the painting...and not always in a good way. And then sometimes it just takes a while for the finished result to "grow on me".

It's not always comfortable stepping outside of your comfort zone, but it is a good thing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I had a serious case of the dropsies yesterday (I think my blood sugar was out of whack)...I was enjoying my second painting session of the day, when I dropped a 16 ounce jar of black I was opening it.

That was followed by a few moments of "OMG!" and panic. Fortunately my hubby happened to be at the studio and quickly took the mat to the slop sink to wash it off as I tackled the other splatters of the black gesso.

It was indeed fortunate that most of it fell on the mat...and not on the many paintings in progress that laid nearby. Two paintings had a few drops--one I was able to get it all washed away. The other--not so much, but the painting is in the early stages, so it's not a huge deal to repaint the background. 

Our studio floor is just painted concrete. We had put a fresh coat of floor paint down when we moved in (over 3 years ago), but my side of the studio now shows lots of paint drips...a little gesso is not such a big deal.

It just adds character, right?!?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday, Sunday

Even though my life situation has changed, Sunday still signifies the drawing to a close of one week and the beginning of another. 

Sunday is all about wrapping up recreational weekend activities and looking forward to the week ahead.  I have to admit that Sunday evenings are a lot more bearable now that my Monday morning jaunt is just over to the studio. I have a lot more say now over what my week will look like. I'm not complaining about that one bit.

But whether you're headed to the office or just over to your studio a few blocks away, Monday morning means the beginning of a new week. I'm planning and hoping for a very busy week in the studio. I'm a little freaked out that it's already the middle of August. Everyone is talking about where the summer went and sending the kiddies back to school. 

And I'm right there with everyone else wondering what happened to this summer. I'm not really sure much is going to be changing for me this fall, but I do feel a certain pressure with summer coming to an end. I wanted to have so much more done by now. By "so much" I mean new artwork. It's a slow and steady process. I do feel good about how things are moving along...I'm excited about what I'm working on and have lots of ideas for new work. I am energized. And I think the best philosophy is just to stay on course and keep plowing ahead. 

So my plan for the week? Lots of studio time. Listing a few of my smaller paintings on Etsy. Working on my website. Putting myself out there and trying to line up a new show. Maybe tackling Photoshop. Definitely enjoying a few ballgames and this cooler, more manageable weather headed our way. Enjoying the summer we have left.

What's your plan for the week ahead?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Having fun with texture!

In this past year of painting, I've had lots of fun experimenting with different gel mediums, adding texture to many of my paintings. This week I am working on a new series of abstracts (see yesterday's post) that will incorporate the use of light molding paste to add texture and interest to the paintings. I thought I would write a little bit about my process.

Applying the light molding paste is my first step. Sometimes I will add the molding paste later in the painting process-when I am using it to add detail to an element in the painting (see pictures at end of post). But in this series of abstract paintings, the texture I'm adding is part of the background--creating a more interesting canvas to paint on.

My favorite tool for applying the paste--a cut-up debit/credit card. A palette knife also works well.  I use the card or palette knife to scrape a light coat of light molding paste across a section of the canvas area. It's best not to apply too heavily--a little goes a long ways! 

Here's where the fun begins!

There is no end to the different ways you can add texture to the canvas with the light molding paste. Sometimes I take that cut-up card to scrape the paste over the canvas, frequently changing direction, to create an interesting pattern/texture. I have also used a shower scrungee, bubble wrap, or a sponge--getting different looks by pressing whatever I'm using into the light molding paste.

For my recent paintings, I am using this little thread/yarn (???) gadget that I got from a free pile at the studio of a fiber artist. That's it in the top has ridges all the way around it and it was easy to roll it over the canvas. If you look closely, you can see the affect in the above photo. 

A few tips:

--If you are not happy with the results, you can simply scrape off the molding paste (while it's still wet) and try again.
--Be prepared to make a mess. I like making a mess, but if you don't, you might want to wear gloves.
--Rinse your "tools" before the paste dries. You can re-use your tools if they are cleaned before the paste hardens.

Now it's time to allow the molding paste dry on the canvas--24 hours is good. Once the paste is dry, you can paint right over it. For these abstract paintings that I'm working on, the texture of the light molding paste adds a lot of interest to the painting. The texture "catches" the paint in an interesting way...creating movement and energy. I'll take some close-ups to give you a better look!

Here's one other interesting thing I did with the light molding paste on this painting--these are older canvases that someone gave me. The canvas has staples on the side, rather than having the canvas wrapped around the frame and stapled on the back. I used the paste to somewhat disguise the staples--still keeping with the flavor of the painting. Here's a pic ( I will still paint the sides to match the painting)--

This way the canvas can still be hung without a frame and the staples are not so noticeable. And it can still be framed at a later date.

I'll finish with a few shots from one of my recently completed paintings where I used light molding paste to create texture within the flowers I painted--

Here I applied the paste and used a palette knife to create texture.

 With this one, I used the tip of a paintbrush to create a swirl pattern.

And here I pressed a shower scrungee into the paste. And the finished product--

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Just a quick pic of a new painting I worked on yesterday. Taking a break from the flower and bird paintings (a series I'm thinking of calling "Embracing Beauty") to work on some abstracts. Regardless of subject matter, you have to be in the mood to paint whatever you're working on--even if it might seem like there is no subject matter.

I started this painting actually in late June. I started by applying some texture to the canvas with light molding paste (more on that tomorrow). But when I got ready to paint, the inspiration just wasn't there. So I put this and another canvas aside.

Not sure what shifted, but yesterday I was ready to work on these abstracts. I had a loose vision for the painting in my head, but it's best with paintings like this to be open to what happens (for any painting really). The end result isn't quite what I envisioned, but I like it more. I'm excited to start a whole series I think I might call "Industrial Abstracts".

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Etsy shop and giveaway update

I am working on listing some of my smaller paintings in my Etsy shop.

I hope you will stop over and take a look! And if you like these small bird paintings, you might want to head over to Artsnark's Artifacts where I am sponsoring a giveaway for this small 8x10 painting...there are only a few days left to enter! (winner will be drawn on August to U.S.A residents)


Saturday, August 7, 2010


Last night's First Friday went well! I sold a painting! Actually it was three paintings (pictured above) created to be one work of art (a triptych, if you will). 

Lowertown First Fridays is a relatively new event (just started this past November) crowds are still light. We had about 75-100 people come through last night. Although the crowds are small (compared to Art Crawl), it's  quite an enjoyable evening chatting with those who come out. I never expect sales, but I won't lie...I certainly want them. But if you go into it measuring your success by sales, you're probably not going to be all that happy. 

Instead, I set out to enjoy the evening visiting with folks, including my neighbors. It's always good as an artist to get feedback from other people about your work. It's good too to step away from painting, hang your work on the walls and see how things look. First Fridays energize me in a way that helps me keep on painting.

On just those levels, it was a successful evening. The sale was a bonus! And a bonus I really needed--every now and then it feels good to be validated in that way! The whole exchange with the couple that bought the painting was just wonderful...they had been married 38 years, raised three children (their "youngest" was with them...and they were just a wonderful couple. They looked at the above painting and asked about taking it home to see how it "fit" their home. I had no qualms about them doing so...we even talked about me doing a commissioned piece if this didn't work out.

But I was anxious waiting to hear from them whether they liked it or not. Early this afternoon I got the call. They loved the painting! It was wonderful hearing how they tried the painting out on different walls before they found the right spot. I loved hearing their response to the painting--I could tell they really understood the "energy" behind this painting. I know it has found a good home. That makes me so happy. 

In fact, I've been doing my happy dance all day (and just had to share my joy with you)!

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's the first Friday of August...and that means--Lowertown First Fridays!

Today it's all about getting ready for another Lowertown First Friday.This morning I will be finishing work on a few paintings...

...and then turning my Tilsner home into a little gallery (Studio 507)! It happens the first Friday of every month from 6-9 pm. Several other artists at the Tilsner will be open, including a one-time only skateboard art show in Studio 601! I have been busy baking cookies for my guests. Cookies and art! Who could ask for more?

You can go to this website-- for all the information you need--maps, what buildings are open, artists features... LFF is a nice way to kick off your weekend...check out a little art and then take in some food and entertainment in the neighborhood (Black Dog, Bulldog, Barrio, and now Heartland...we've got it going on in Lowertown!) 

Hope to see you tonight!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Painting: Grace In Sorrow

I feel a perhaps long, definitely rambling, post coming on. It's nearly 2 a.m. and I am nowhere near asleep. Hopefully, writing and clearing my head of thoughts will help bring on sleep (for me, not you).

First off, thank you to everyone for your positive comments and support for my show at Trotter's.  It means so much to me. I know it's not a huge show, but it feels good to have my work available for more to see. I am proud of the fact that I put myself out there and got the spot. I need to do more of that. I'm not really expecting sales...after all, people are coming in to buy a sandwich, not art...but I have heard that some artists have done well in these sort of venues. Fingers crossed.

Now that the show is up, I am struggling through a bit of a funk, a bit of a blue mood. For much of July, I was intensely focused on getting ready for this show. If I wasn't busy painting at the studio, I was busy in my head planning the show. I guess I'm experiencing a bit of a letdown, a "Now What?" sort of response to finishing this big project (well, big to me). I know that it's a good time to sit down and do some planning. Set some new goals--short and long term. Map out some new projects. 

A big chunk of my funk (note that nifty bit of rhyme? what do you expect--it's past 2 in the morning!) is also part of me navigating the BIG changes in my personal life...being laid off, working on my art full-time (at least for now), missing my work colleagues, adjusting to a new daily routine. I got an email today from a former co-worker and it made me cry...I just miss being a part of that group of people so much. I'm surprised by how big the hurt still feels. Change is hard...and just when you think you have it figured it out, it turns around and bites you in the butt...or it feels like more in the heart.

I tried to pull myself out of the doldrums by getting my hair done. Ladies, you know that mood you get when you just need to change things up? I thought a new hairdo would shake things up a bit, and would, in a sense, free me to move on. So I made an appointment to get my hair cut and colored. I always color my hair myself, so this was a rare extravagance. And I was courting the idea of a shorter hairstyle. Now I always color my own hair at home and I haven't had my hair cut in this was an extravagance. However, I was mindful of my budget and scheduled my appointment at a local, but prestigious, beauty school.

 (before shots)

Alas, it was quite the experience...and not altogether a positive one. It took 3 hours to get my hair colored. I'm not completely happy with it. I'm trying really hard to embrace this new color. It is bold and bright...which I sort of wanted, but I'm not sure I wanted this shade of bold and bright. Let's just say, that my hair is on the orangey side of red. My hubby made a Lucille Ball reference tonight, which I had already made in my head. As I said going in to the appointment, "It's only grows out." (A phrase coined, I'm sure, by someone who never experienced a truly horrendous hair styling experience.) I am hoping that it will tame down a bit after a few washings. (I think the pictures below--taken Thursday morning after another shampoo--make the color look not quite so leaves me a bit hopeful that I can pull this off)

 (after shots taken 8/05)

But I'm not done, there's still a hair cut...after spending 3 hours doing my color, I think the poor girl just wanted to be done for the day. And so I didn't get the dramatic hair cut that I was imagining. She cut off the straggly lower layer in the back and gave the rest of my hair a very modest trim. I'm not sure why it's so hard to speak up and say, "No, this isn't what I want. I want something more along the lines of..." But honestly, after 3+ hours I was ready to be done too and I was no longer sure I trusted this student to give me a short hairstyle. I wish I hadn't been so worried about $$ and had gone to my regular stylist. At least I could have gotten a hair cut I was happy with. Oh well, live and learn. 

So you see, the cure for my melancholy was not found in a new hairstyle. I guess that might have been hoping for a bit much. But I am sure that this funk will pass...and in the meantime, I will continue to paint...which probably does more to help me through a blue mood than anything else I possibly could do. 

I'm going to hit the hay. Sleep tight everyone.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The show is up!

Hubby and I hung my artwork at Trotter's yesterday afternoon. As the pictures I'm about to post are about to show, I didn't get the best pics! We were too focused on getting the work done, the space was a little dark and it was hard to snap pics around the chair legs!

You see, we hung my paintings after the cafe had closed for the staff were already focused on cleaning the space (and baking for the upcoming week)! I'll take better pics (hopefully) on another visit.

It took us two hours to hang everything...and I really felt we were rushing. One of the difficulties we encountered was pounding nails into brick or cement walls. But we knew this and came prepared! I brought far more paintings than I imagined I would need to fill up the space...but I hung everything but one painting! There was a lot of wall space! 

 Actually, when we were all done, I was grateful that we were able to hang the show ourselves (rather than the cafe staff).  It was a good learning experience and gave me the opportunity to hang my work somewhere other than my own studio or home. It's nice to see it all up.

 My hope for this little show is that more people will see my work...and that many of those people are folks that wouldn't necessarily come to one of my open studio events. I was able to leave my postcards and contact information for patrons of the cafe. Hopefully, some of these folks will decide to come to an Art Crawl. And maybe, just maybe, someone will be interested in buying one of my paintings!

So here's the show info (for those of you local)--

Trotter's is located at 232 N. Cleveland Ave, in St. Paul--on Cleveland, just off Marshall Ave. They serve yummy food--with a focus on food that is locally grown or produced. My artwork will be up for 4 weeks--till August 29th. Please check it out!