Formerly titled Transformation. This painting was playfully started as an expansion of my left leg tattoo, but has developed as a way for me to think about the fragility of both health and beauty.
Every so often, I get the opportunity to work with an amazing artist on a collaboration. Sometimes the collaboration comes in the form of a trade, such as the one with Carrie Longley, but the most exciting are when we get to work together on a new creation, like this one with Pam Adams.
He currently has two abstract airbrushed backgrounds that I created, upon which he will paint a portrait of me.
For this collaboration, I am working with Robert Walker to create two new portraits. The one below begun with the teal tree background painted by Robert. That is the starting surface for a portrait I will create of him, but inspired by the Cheshire Cat.
After almost two decades in Ohio, how is it that I have never heard of the Mazza Museum? This adorable space, located on the University of Findlay campus, is the home to the world's largest collection of children's book illustrations. It took a Facebook post by Wylie Beckert, who's artwork I am obsessed with, to clue me in to her Snow White inspired piece (detail, upper left) in the Enchanted Brush exhibit at the museum (July 3 - 31, 2015). This trip also surprised me with two pieces by another recent favorite, Chris Seaman. In addition to that amazing stained glass background, the original shows the "secret" that the birds are collaged onto the surface with flawless craftsmanship. We also were privy to a sneak peek of the upcoming Paper Engineering gallery, which showcases art of the pop-up book. I highly recommend children of all ages check out this amazing interactive space and leave inspired!
One year ago today, I said goodbye to my coworkers, cleaned my desk for the last time and retired my name tag that read, Gallery Coordinator. It was a decision long in the making, but not an easy one. So much of what I did at the Rosewood Gallery made me incredibly happy and I was praised by artists and coworkers, which filled me with pride. This part-time position gave me the opportunity to network with artists from around the world and allowed me a few open days in the studio while having a steady income. So why leave?
While at work in the gallery, I would daydream about being able to stay in the studio all day. Tinkering away like a jolly hermit, making work for gallery shows in LA, NYC and beyond. The perfect artist existence. So for my 40th birthday, my husband gave me his blessing and I made the leap into the unknown. At first, I focused on the business side of matters, then quickly realized that I was feeling lost and that each day did not fill me with the happiness I anticipated. I was lonely, stressed and depressed. Crap.
In the winter of 2015, I took an online course that suggested they could teach participants everything they wanted to know about the major gallery scene and how to become a part of it. It was not cheap and after the second class, I feared I had just thrown away a chunk of money. The art and artists they focused on were not my "scene," and I almost quit several times out of frustration. Finally, I decided that I had already invested the money and that I needed to stick with it and glean whatever I could from the course. We watched interviews with various art consultants, collectors, gallery owners and artists. Each one took a different path, but everyone said the same thing, you have to know yourself and what you want so you can achieve it, otherwise you will wonder aimlessly.
That really resonated with me and started asking myself what I REALLY wanted to accomplish with my life. I came up with three simple goals that seemed to be true to me:
1. Make art that is fun, challenging and fills me with pride.
2. Be a part of my community and give back in some way. Fame was not necessary, but human contact was essential.
3. LIVE! = be happy, have adventures, be present and enjoy the little things and not stress out about the "woulda, coulda, shouldas."
So here I am at my one year anniversary, life is good and I am happy. Twice every week I put myself into the community and paint live at the Dayton Racquet Club. My little side project, Art Hops, is connecting me with local creatives and is giving me a chance to create new content that I hope will inspire others. In the fall, I won't be showing in LA or NYC, but I have several local gallery shows that I am looking forward to presenting. The library has honored me with several large-scale public art commissions. I have traveled to NYC by myself and tend after my garden in the backyard. Most importantly, my newest artwork is meeting all of my criteria and then some!
Bring on the next year!
What is your favorite shape? Mine is the oval, so imagine how delighted I was to find these lovely wood panels by the Oregon company, American Easel! These sturdy beauties are the base for a new series I am creating inspired by my collection of elongated coins and other forms of exonumia. There are no limits to what might inspire an image, from casual encounters to dreams, they become a form of visual diary entry. I will focus future blog posts on specific pieces, but for now I will start by show-and-telling a bit about the panels and the base inspirations.
The panels start as lovely raw wood, which I sand and cover with clear gesso.
The shapes created by the wood grain start the composition like a topographical map.
The palette for this series is inspired by the colors and textures found on coins.
Once I have the panels covered, I might add some textures using various foils or glitters, then I wait for inspiration to strike.
The first dozen panels in various stages of progress.
June is my birthday month and this First Friday my Alice in Wonderland inspired paintings will be on display at Clash Dayton, so come out and say HI! To celebrate, I created the Best Print Sale Ever! Check out my STORE for the lowest prices on some of your favorite images! Save when you use the coupon code JUNEPRINTZ. Sale ends June 30th!
The Kettering-Morraine proposal is the fifth I have compiled for the ReImagining Works program. Curious to see my others submissions? With each one, I hope to fulfill the program criteria and challenge myself to work outside my comfort zone and to explore new concepts and techniques. This proposal and the one for Vandalia were submitted for the Friday, May 22 deadline and should be reviewed in the next month or so.
My second proposal to be accepted by the ReImaging Works committee is Manabu Haiku. It is constructed of five 36"x36" birch panels and will be installed in the New Lebanon branch. One of the five panels arrived shattered, so that will delay the project, but since it is not due until April 2016, I am not a bit worried! Dick Blick has notified me that they will replace the panel and I will get started once it arrives.
A few months ago, I was a guest on Harper's Bizaaroworld, the longest running GLBT public access television show in America. During the interview I mentioned that for nine years I ran the Rosewood Gallery, a non-profit space located in the Rosewood Arts Centre, Kettering, OH. While assisting me to my car with props from the Harper's Bizaaroworld interview, the director asked if I would be interested in having a show on DATV. Being a naturally introverted personality, the thought had not crossed my mind. Upon further reflection, I decided that the main reason for leaving that position at Rosewood was so I could pursue new and challenging opportunities, and what more terrifying...I mean challenging opportunity than hosting a television show? I knew I wanted it to be an interview format show where the guest was the focus, and it needed a twist, something that suggested it was not a stuffy or formal program. I decided to combine two of my favorite things, art and beer, and thus Art Hops was born.
From an art business point of view, this was an opportunity to network and get my name out to a new audience. From a personal perspective, this was a chance to chat with creative people whom I respect and learn from them, something I miss about running the gallery.
My first guest was Tiffany Allyn Clark, and she did a spectacular job of describing her techniques and the upcoming show at Rosewood Gallery, while also explaining how she has healed from addiction and grief through her art. A natural pairing for Clark was Toxic Brew Company, located in the Oregon District, because she often exhibits her work there and has created a permanent installation at the brewery.
The recording is currently being edited and will be released on DATV and my YouTube channel very soon!
After blogging every day in my NYC Diary, it was nice to take a break from posting and just spend some time with my loved ones whom I missed dearly while I was away. Now I am back to my once a week blogging schedule and it looks like I am a bit blue...well, more like VERY blue!
Why? My friend, Mary, owner of Clash Dayton, organized an Alice in Wonderland themed photoshoot for their June festivities and I had the honor of being the caterpillar! This was the first collaboration with the very talented Robert Walker, but look for more to emerge in the near future! He started by airbrushing most of my body and then used various stencils and tools for the details. Many thanks to Hayden, whom you may recognize from this painting, for encouraging my hair to do something other than lay there!
The total experience took about eight hours and involved several models. It was a fanciful day that left me with just one question, Will it come off?!? The answer, Yes! With a lot of hot water and scrubbing!
Interested in seeing the final photos or perhaps to purchase some of the lovely threads shown? Join us Friday, June 5th from 5-10pm for First Friday at Clash Dayton, located at 521 East Fifth Street, Dayton, OH! I will have several of my Wasp in a Wig paintings on display and some special offers on Alice related items!
The last day of my NYC adventure was the most daring day of them all, since I was mainly traveling solo. By this point, I had had enough experiences with public transportation to feel fairly confident about maneuvering around the city. After Mood, I meet up with Mark Laurence LaRiviere, a nice guy from my Klein Artist Works class. We had a lovely chat about art and life, then parted ways. There were only two galleries that I REALLY wanted to visit while in NYC and the first is located around the corner from Mood, Last Rites Gallery. This venue focuses on artwork with a dark twist and the current show was William Basso, who creates sculptures that he photographs and turns into haunting collages, and the amazing painter, Leslie Ditto. The space was lovely and the folks running it were very welcoming, which is more than I can say for the tattoo business downstairs.
My friend, Kat, insisted that getting to Brooklyn was a simple process, even though it seemed to be located on another planet according to the map. I took her advice and boarded a south-bound bus, then the "L" train over. She was right, it was quick and easy, so my hopes of seeing my second gallery, The Cotton Candy Machine, would be realized. The show I had expected to see was another favorite, Joe Sorren, but as it turns out my brain buggered up those pesky "M" months and it was long gone. In fact, they were between shows, so the gallery was only half full. It was still worth the trip, since they brought out one of the remaining Sorren's from the back room for me to see, and I was able to check out the craftsmanship and line work of David M. Cook.
And, as an added bonus, I walked by a Tristan Eaton mural on my way there, so it was a very good art day for me!
Ever since the show began, I have been a total Project Runway fan girl. Today, it was me saying "Thank You, Mood!" I spent just under two hours roaming the isles of Mood Designer Fabrics, tugging bolts of stunning fabrics from the shelves like they do on the show, and petting Swatch. Since I was alone, I started playing silly games with myself, conjuring Project Runway style assignments and trouble shooting how I would resolve them. Then I realized I could do some real world problem solving and look for gifts.
I will keep those a secret for the time being, but I will share that I found some stunning silks and one splurge brocade. Dennis, the gentleman who assisted me, was a delight. We chatted about the city and our loved one's battle with Alzheimer's. He helped sign me up for a rewards card that features Swatch's sweet mug. It's fun, free souvenir that will reward me with $25 off once I spent an additional $420. That could take a few!
The day started at the Bronx Botanical Gardens with their lovely conservatory and adorable rock garden. There was plenty to see, but bummer for me the Frida Kahlo inspired show, where they will recreate her garden and have paintings on display, doesn't open until next week. I was able to sneak a peek and I got to experience one element of the exhibit, the amazing Echium plant.
The zoo had the most adorable baby gorillas, a carousel with bugs instead of horses, and my new favorite bird, the Capuchinbird. This beautiful bird with coppery plumage almost appears to have an exposed skull, and I adore it! This little guy and I flirted for at least a half hour!
If I am in a museum, it is almost a guarantee that I will either get repremended by a guard or set off an alarm. I am not a bad person looking for trouble, I just want a closer look. My hands remain behind my back and my feet planted behind designated lines, but apparently my forward lean is a bit extreme. I just want to examine how the materials are applied and how the colors are layered. During the Christie's and Sotheby's auction house previews, I was able to lean as close as I wanted and take pictures of any section, even if it meant putting my iPad inches from the surface of the most impressive collections of artwork I have ever seen. Oh, did I mention it is also free?
As this CNN Money article explains, there are no requirements to viewing the art previews other than to enjoy yourself. How did I figure this all out? My friend, Kevin (aka The Auction Master), has been attending these previews and auctions for years and he let me tag along to see the artwork and how the staff dote on him! He was also so gracious as to not only introduce me to them, but inform them that I was an artist he collected. With this promt I would hand them a business card. My inner critic laughed at my boldness, as if they would have any interest in my paintings when they were surround by the masters of the ages, but you just never know what one of your business cards could do in the pocket of an art professional! My advice is carry them with you and share them with the world, even the cashier at the Bronx Botanical Gardens who compliments you on Nuvango Fumage shirt.
I could talk about the state of the art world and the prices that are paid for artwork. Sums of money that could be used for improving schools, feeding starving children and generally improving the lives of millions of people, but then I would get depressed and soil this amazing experience. Instead, I will savor this inspirational high, knowing that should this artwork go to a private collector, it is very likely to be hidden away for generations. These opportunities are not year round, so do your research and start planning your trip!
Oh, and one more collage of naughty bits!
Apparently, my new thing is getting up with the sun! I have begun the second leg of my adventure on the upper west side of NYC and I have discovered you can create some wacky selfies with the panoramic feature on the iPad!
Yesterday was a full day of auction houses, which I will post about, and today my friend, Kat, and I are headed to the Bronx Botanical Garden and Zoo. So much to write about and I still have another full day! Missing my husband and fur babies, but loving this adventure!
When we arrived for the second day with Suzanne, you could see she was very tired. Our prior day of excitement had taken it's toll on her, so we started off slowly. The decor in the facility where Suz is staying is pink, VERY pink. Suz and I both are not fans of pink, at least not in our living spaces, so Barb and I brought in some vibrant color, including one of Suzanne's older paintings. It really spruced up the place!
I took out the sketch pad, this time we had brought colored pencils for Suz. She looked at the pad and closed her eyes. "Suzanne, do you remember how we drew together yesterday?"
"Yes." Her eyes opened.
"Do you want to do it again today?"
"No." Her eyes closed again.
It was not something I was going to force, so instead I took off her shoes, trimmed her toe nails and gave her a foot massage. This gave her a chance to rest a bit and then she seemed more engaged, so we took her outside for the first time since fall.
We were able to take pictures of the three of us with the beautiful spring flowers. Suz seemed to really enjoy every moment of our time outside. She and I got pretty silly, we danced and sang like "Disney Princesses."
We took her back to her room to play some music. Another improvement to the room was a portable CD player and a stack of her CDs. First we played Marvin Gaye. She did not really respond to it, so I showed her all of the CDs and she chose the opera singer, Andrea Bocelli. I was not sure she was listening until song #6 and she began to passionately hum along, her face twisting with emotion. Her sister thought it was too much, was making her too sad, but I disagreed. Opera IS emotion. It is supposed to move you and I thought that anything that brought Suzanne out of herself was a wonderful moment.
I will spare you the details of the heart-wrenching goodbyes. It was a beautiful and very emotional visit. My time with Suz has really started me thinking about being an artist and what it means when you lose the ability to express yourself. That is something I will address in a future post. Too much to process right now.