Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Frog and Toad

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

CĂ©leste Boursier-Mougenot's installation of Zebra Finches and electric guitars at the Barbican Centre in London.  

Russo's.  The bok choy....it's so cheap!

And some gorgeous new (to me) art blogs: 

Domestic Etch written by Elizabeth Goodspeed.  The blog doubles as a teaser for her 'zine, also called Domestic Etch.  I couldn't help myself, so I ordered a copy.  It arrived yesterday.  I'm smitten and convinced that you need one too.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Studio Happenings and Viovio Review

Yesterday I resolved this painting:
Bad Raccoons

I started this one and almost finished it, but instead I decided to take a rest before giving a private lesson:
I also primed these:
My second proof arrived from viovio yesterday:  
Their products are a fantastic value, but their customer service is rather sketchy and somewhat flighty in certain respects.  For example, on the viovio website, it is clearly stated that books under 20 pages will be saddle stitched (like a magazine) because they are too small to be perfect bound.  At the same time, the viovio website also strongly recommends formatting all full page spreads with an overlap in the gutter.  It seemed to me that saddle stitched books would be an exception to this rule.  I asked if this was the case on the viovio forums, and received a stunningly useless non answer referring me to the webpage that had inspired my question in the first place.  So I decided to order two versions of the same book: one with the overlap and one without.  When they arrived I saw that my suspicions were correct, and that saddle stitched spreads should not be reformatted.  To viovio's credit, they did eventually respond to an email that I had sent, in which I had repeated the question I'd posted on the forum.  The representative who responded wrote that she thought that I was probably correct. See what I mean about flighty?  In any case, I had my clear answer in the results from my own little experiment.  Now that my binding issues were happily resolved, I decided to work on a few color issues and redesign my cover.  So yesterday, when the second proof arrived, I was happy to see that I'd done a much better job with the color and cover design.  But here's the mysterious and sort of infuriating part: the new book, which is precisely the same length as the first version, was perfect bound.  This made the spreads look a little bit wonky.  But I ordered fifteen copies anyway, and included a note reminding them that it should be (according to their own policies) saddle stitched.  I'll keep my fingers crossed.  In short, Viovio offers great products at ridiculously low prices.  Unfortunately, in my humble experience, their customer service is also ridiculous.  

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I feel like this painting is not quite finished.  It needs a little more....something.....
But I really like how it relates to the rest of the series.  The geese, rabbit ears and foxes are off to happy new homes, so the group has gotten smaller before it will get bigger;)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Here's a peek at the sketches that will become the next two paintings in my forest critter series. This gang of potentially malevolent owls has been bouncing around in my head and my sketchbook for months and months.  A while back I started working with a variation of this image in a large painting on paper, but I've put that piece on hold for a bit.  I'm too in love with making tiny things at the moment.  So in love, that I felt like it was time to make some more egg portraits:
 I also made this present for my friend's daughter out of bits of an old failed experiment: 
I love to repurpose things.  Some of my best work comes from a sort of back-and-forth between destructive and creative processes.  Occasionally, when I'm working on a big piece, I get most of the way through and realize that (most likely due to a number of deliciously irresponsible risks on my part) the composition is irresolvable, or the paint has gotten muddy in places and killed the luminous quality that might have been.  There's this moment when I think to myself, "If I could just start over, and change x, y or z, this painting would be spectacular!"  So that's what I do.  Which leaves the first version free for cutting, sewing, and all kinds of other interesting experiments.  These experiments aren't completely footloose and fancy-free; they're carefully directed by my active search for a new narrative.  My blog header, a painting entitled Birdwoman is my favorite example of this because it catapulted me into so many new ways of making images.  

Along these same lines of destruction/creation, I recently saw an exhibition of Julie Weiman's work at the New Art Center, where I teach.  In her artist statement, Julie wrote about making images that were "a little bit ruined."  Isn't that a beautiful notion?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Illustration Friday: Subterranean

Here's my submission to this week's Illustration Friday theme, "subterranean."  I found this theme to be quite convenient, since I'd already sketched out some preliminary drawings for a series of burrow paintings a few weeks ago.  The photo above is a bit blurry.  Luckily I also took some detail shots so you can get a better look:
That pebbly sort of pattern there is inspired by the pattern on this quilt that was made by my great, great grandmother:

I also bought 21 new 5" x 5" wood panels today.  I've become addicted to making tiny things.  It warms my heart to look at them–whole stacks of possibility.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Minions Wanted

I'm spending the day with Marcus and Petunia, the little fireflies that I created for my children's book portfolio.  The documentation, the digital correcting, the figuring out of software, and all of that other noisy stuff I don't like doing has taken me significantly longer than it took me to create the original illustrations.  This is why I need some minions.  Minions with excellent computer skills.  
But I think I finally have these colors right.  So if your monitor is properly calibrated (like mine is supposed to be), you'll be able to see these in all their glory.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I've made prints of my forest creature series available on redbubble.  Just click on one of the images below to navigate your way over there.  The foxes, bear and deer are up there as well.

Buy my art

Friday, March 12, 2010

Funkadelic Geese and a Squirrel Makeover

Part of the reason why I like this newest painting so much is that I get the impression that these geese are marching in time to some '70s Funk.  Wonka-chicka, wonka-chicka.  Do you hear the funky beats?The squirrel painting got a fairly extreme makeover:My favorite college professor used to say, "If you don't have the composition, you won't have the painting."  And that composition that I made yesterday was blech.  I like this one much better.  And I like this squirrel better too.

It's fun to obsessively rearrange them.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Hmmmm.  I think I'll refine this one a bit tomorrow.  More fluff in the tail, and some work on that back leg.  My squirrel-in-action anatomy reference was this picture that my husband took last November:Needless to say there are some gaps in my understanding of squirrel musculature.

Honk if you spot who's coming next:)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Illustration Friday: Brave

The first thing that popped into my head when I read this week's Illustration Friday theme, "brave," was a painting I made last year of a young girl called Helen.  Although I never had the opportunity to meet Helen personally, I get the sense that she was one gutsy girl.  By some mysterious coincidence, just as I was imagining what Helen's adult life might have been like, this new piece of evidence surfaced:Just as I suspected!  She was a great adventurer!  The only mystery that plagues me is the incongruity between Helen's 1920s style clothing and the Cherokee class 10-gun brig in the background.  My (wikipedia-educated) understanding is that most of those ships had been decommissioned by the late 19th century.  What can this mean?!  Possibly that I watch too much LOST?  Oh, and here is the original painting of Helen as a child:
Just in case you weren't in the mood to click on the link above;)  Didn't want you to miss it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

When Whimsy and Science Get Together

They make beautiful music.

Quite a bit gets cut off by the format of my blog.  Click on the video to watch the full screen on YouTube.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Rabbit Ears and the Story of a New Sink in an Old House

My latest work in progress.  I did not touch the saturation slider–it really is this bright.
I'm having the best time working on this series.  It feels sort of like these critters are painting themselves, and that I'm just a pair of hands along for the ride.  
Each painting feels like a surprise.  This is the first time that the idea of parting with work has given me a heart pang.  It seems contradictory, since the process of making these was  relatively quick and carefree when compared with the monster narrative works on paper that take me months to complete.  But maybe it's because these are portraits and I feel attached to the subjects themselves.  A little piece of me does feel like they're real.  As a child I couldn't bear it (no pun intended!) if one of my stuffed animals was handled carelessly.  Perhaps this is just a continuation of that particular crazy.  

And here's a situation ripe for metaphors, similes, analogies and/or parallels:
Our bathroom faucet was acting funny, so our landlord got us a new sink.  Notice that even though he is lovely, shiny and new, he looks a bit chagrined?  That's because the installation of this one little faucet revealed a whole mess of old-house plumbing shenanigans.  The whole town of Waltham is involved at this point, there are spray paint hieroglyphs and orange cones up and down our whole street, and this is what is happening right now in the front yard:
Anyone want to offer up a nice metaphor?  Or a simile?  Boston's Big Dig is a pretty obvious parallel.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Here is my finished interpretation of this week's Illustration Friday theme.  I played around with a few different meanings of "perspective" until this story emerged.  In the end it turned out to be a little love note to my husband.  The text reads, I see what you mean.  Here's a side view:  
The sides of the box are still in progress:)  I also worked more on my forest animal series today, but I'll save that for tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I started this new piece:
I drew the houses in graphite on mylar.  The flower pattern is watercolor on cut rice paper, mounted on watercolor on arches.  I'm going to add some other tidbits on Thursday, including some text:
And I love these illustrations by Ooli, posted recently on Pikaland.