June 2009 Archives

second sunday project

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The bench.

This is just the beginning of the process to bring this bench back from the brink and onto greater and more inspiring seating. I hope to incorporate some textures and written quotes once the base design is painted. Again, my goal of this project (like the mosaic table) is not to overthink it.




seven children

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Poised to go out the door for their next venue, the National Children's Medical Center.

Today was a day crammed with stuff, and it started at 8 am with loading up my work and hauling it down to DC for an exhibit titled "Essential Elements". Unconventional as it may be, it gives me some satisfaction that the hopeful and positive themes that seem to show up in my work (thanks to the muse) will be of some use in a place like Children's. Not knowing what to expect, we arrived at the center and entered to a brightly colored lobby with a ceiling about three stories up all hung with large air ballons. Just what you might imagine for a place for kids. In spite of the cheerful appearance of the place I couldn't help the feeling of wanting to cry thinking that this was a place where children were sick. Something that just shouldn't be. Hopefully my art will be just one more healing agent in a place that does such great work for the sake of children.


mosaic continued...

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In the spirit of using the stuff around the house, my grout selection was a bag of yellow ocre-ish that was the second runner up for our upstairs bathroom. I swore that I would use it for this ever since. Although it totally changes the design by now being the dominant element, I was prepared for this, and am really pleased with the results.

mortaring the pieces into place. My justification of doing this now was to stucco a wall at the same time and use the remaining mortar for this "little project". I almost didn't make it in time as the mortar began to set faster than I was placing the design. It was a race against time, and my own fatigue after stuccoing the wall.


starting another project while the grout sets. My husband shot this. Proves the ongoing..ness of the stuff we do;-) This wooden bench has been sitting outside collecting debris for years. While I was busy grouting, Bryan took it aside to pressure wash it, then brought it back and set it under my nose. Kinda like bait don't ya think?


letting the grout set.

closeup after it has set. The last thing to do is to use a stone or grout sealant on it which I will do in a few days after it has really cured. I love the fact that the finished design makes me want to treat the "paths" like a labyrinth walking it with my fingers.


inspiration friday-mosaic table


This is a project that I have been wanting to do for some time. I bought this little table years ago at pier one and was really disappointed after one winter outside the tiles began to crack. So, of course the thing to do would be to turn it into a project. It also gave me a chance to use up some extra tiles laying around from all our various remodel projects. And to turn the unfortunate breakage of a favorite item into an opportunity (yellow glass) Of course even though I vowed I would only use discards, once I got into it I had to bend toward what the design needed.

"Honey, do you mind if I break one of our dinner plates?"

Yea, the creative process is what comes first in this house if you hadn't noticed. I needed something black and so in the last photo you will notice some black in the design. One of our plates sacrificed for the sake of the creative process...no I didn't hesitate.

This is the kind of project that is very easy to do if you don't overthink it. It is a very tactile exercise that bends the brain in a different direction that helps bring more inspiration.

1. demolition of an old table from pier one which in its first year outside began to crack.

2. prepped and sprayed

3. positioning the broken glass, tile, and such.

4. canabilizing a failed ceramic project.

5. all the pieces in place before mortar and grout.

I hope to have it finished this weekend.

almost there

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You would think that trying to finish this in a time crunch would mean no time to blog. In truth without a break now and then all the colors start to blur, I go a little cross eyed and run the risk of truly screwing it up.

Breaks are good.

So I am taking a breather for an hour or so and then hopefully the muse will give me a cue as to what this needs. I have learned that when I don't know where to put my brush next it is time to stop for a while. When the muse is in control (I know that sounds kinda weird but it is the only way I know how to express it) I get cues on each step and it just flows. The only thing that takes effort now is that I am still somewhat novice with the execution with the paint. I don't have enough muscle memory stored yet for that. There is also the human frailty aspect (fatigue, hunger, etc) which all contribute to the "work" of it. Another reason that being "balanced" also means being physically fit. If you can't lift that paintbrush for more than five mintes, because the muscles in your arms are flabby then that becomes just another obstacle for the art. (note to self: need to work on upper body;-)

Lifting Hope... not quite done...just a little more.


show overlap dilemma

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The next venue for my work will be the Gallery at the Children's National Medical Center. It's really great.


The exhibit is called Essential Elements. Although I am not sure the content I am bringing fits that title (maybe just a little) I do know that the hopeful nature of the content fits the venue. My one problem...

The show overlaps with artomatic by a week. Which means that the work hanging at artomatic will not be in it.

It is a nice problem to have really.

So I am pushing to finish a new piece so that I can have what I think is an acceptable number to represent a body of work. Seven large originals. I could scramble and have giclees of the ones not represented, matted and framed, but I really can't deal with that expense right now. So the seven will have to do.

Dancing in Thin Places
Sacred Women of Sorrow
Kissed by the Sun (Son)
Finding Ones Self
Lifting Hope

oops that's six.


I may be able to paint, but apparently I can't count.

Lifting Hope... still in process. I just hope the paint will be dry in time for next week.


inspiration friday

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On this journey as an artist one makes discoveries that help along the way. And it seems sometimes like an almost mystical formula that makes a "balanced" life as an artist. For me, the formula includes simple things like enough sleep, and eating right, and more complex things like knowing how to steer your mood, and wrangle the muse. This discovery is one of those tools that help with the latter, more complex issue.

Feeling tired and spiraling into one of those awful episodes of questioning the validity of my work I put this on this morning for a little boost.


A rare gem even though it is a little old (produced in 97) this series of interviews of a handful of artists tracks their processes (both thought and artistic).A few represented are the glass artist Dale Chihuly, the eclectic musician and visual artist, David Bowie, and the famous pop artist Roy Lichtenstein who died that same year. As well as some others, a dancer, choreographer, architect, and sculptor. What is really great about it is that the producer really let the artists have a voice and didn't over edit for effect. So the result is you get honest answers about the sources of their inspiration, their process, and more specifics like "when is a work of art finished?". Each artist had a different approach to their creative process and by showing them back to back you walk away from the film with a sense of encouragement that there is really no wrong way, as well as a few great nuggets of advice and insights from several different disciplines.

I would highly recommend this to any artist.


in process

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new canvas

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Began a new canvas today. Lifting Hope.

After a tiring day at artomatic, and prompted by Bryan who wanted me to "sleep until noon and then paint all day", (am I the luckiest girl or what?) I am accomplishing at least the second part of that request. The muse has been activated by an invitation to do an exhibit for Children's Hospital.

Hey, how can you argue with a muse...

or your husband?


wednesday shift

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I am working remotely this morning as today is my shift day at artomatic. One of the requirements of being involved is to serve three volunteer shifts of five hours each. Doesn't sound like much but each shift pretty much blows a whole day. Especially when it involves getting downtown before noon. So, I sit here at Bryan's office (because we just have the one car) and will run one errand to pick up some new giclees, and will then catch the metro at 11. The volunteer shift involves everything from sitting and monitoring one of the nine floors to taking out trash, to monitoring the loading dock. Most of these tasks rate high on the yawn-ometer unless something interesting happens.

My first shift it did.

Sitting quietly by myself in the loading dock wishing for all the world that I had brought a book (even though they discourage it) the entire group of artists visiting from the UK came in to adjust all their shipping material. I jumped in to help restack the boxes that transported all their beautiful glass creations and managed a chat. What a lovely way to break up a boring day (or any day for that matter) than to meet this talented and very gracious group. Here is just one example of work coming from that group.


artist Crispian Heath

Frankly, I can't imagine the effort in shipping some of this stuff. But we are thankful that they did!

meet the artist night-thanks!


Just a quick thanks to everyone that came out for "meet the artist night" last saturday.

It is always great to get an idea of what you all think and what ways (if any) my work speaks to you. It helps remind me that even though I paint in isolation, and don't have a plan or agenda, that there is some sort of cosmic connection going on from-muse, through-artist, to-viewer. It is great when I see the message of the muse hit the viewer. It makes me feel like a conduit. Kinda cool and definitely humbling.

So thanks for your comments, smiles, critiques, and encouragement!


the thing about artomatic

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This unprecedented show of approximately 1500 artists in downtown DC is quite the deal. A couple of things that make it so unique?

1. taking over a building that is under construction and giving it a useful purpose for a month.
2. uncensored platform for all kinds of artists to strut their stuff, show there work, promote their cause or vent their angst.
3. great exposure in the DC area. With an estimated 70,000 attendees, you are guaranteed to be seen by somebody.
4. great source of inspiration. All styles of work are represented. Some really well executed and some not-so-much, but a serious bounty of ideas. 9 floors of creative explosion. How great is that?

Some of the examples...





Here the artist depicts a different version of the terra cotta warriors using action figures

self expression
This artist pours out her angst over a stolen husband by revealing the culprit "skank", giving an alternative to making a life-altering mistake of taking a mistress... buy a "skank" doll instead...$100, quite a bargain.

fine craft
A whole group of artists came over from the UK and many of them were glass artists. Extremely fine work.

sculpture collage

clever sculpture using found objects


presidents as queens

This display of hand painted porcelain busts was a real hoot. Last year's version was even better though, as the artist used porcelains of Jesus. You can imagine the controversy.

fine craft-furniture
Some artists were not quite ready opening night.

and some were REALLY not ready

opening night crowd at the elevators


here i am slurping down some "chili-mac" at opening night.


don't forget the peeps

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Another thing that makes Artomatic special is the peeps. A tradition, this contest is highly competitive and involves creating clever dioramas using marshmallo peeps (yes those easter treats that no one really likes to eat). Posing these confections in interesting scenarios is a popular event.

Some of my favorites...

The China town Peking Peeps


The Rescue on the Hudson


And my absolute favorite was the Purple Tunnel of Doom, depicting those unfortunate "peeps" that missed the inauguration stuck in a tunnel.


meet me at artomatic tonight!

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It is meet the artist night at ARTOMATIC. You can catch me on the 8th floor just off of the elevators. Look for the red curtains (can't miss them). I will be there from 7:00-9:00.

See you there!

Saturday June 13th
55 M Street, S.E.
(at the corner with Half Street)
Washington, DC 20003
Metro stop: Green Line, Navy Yard, Ballpark exit
Free admission.

outdoor projects and training day

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This weekend we got to go outside. This season has been very strange with record breaking rain and so our outdoor projects have been hit and miss, but this weekend we finally assembled the parts of the wall that were tentatively in place last year. This included taking old sections of iron fence and grinding it down, priming and painting it. One problem that had to be solved was the fact that one of these fence sections was seriously bent on a slant. Thinking this would be easy to hammer out Bryan and I were shocked when reality had another plan. Hammering didn't do it. Next course of action... my husband screwing the whole thing to our deck and then hanging off of it hoping that his body weight would bend it...


Final and last resort... enter the mighty Element.

Yea, I know, sounded kinda crazy to me too.

Bolting the fence to a railroad tie and then chaining the fence to the Element, Bryan hoped for an easy bend...

ya think?

As he backed up the car the fence indeed bent, but once he gave it slack to our surprise it actually bounced back. Determined not to give up, and frankly really needing this section of fence to be ok, he persisted. A combination of pulling and hammering finally got the thing into shape. I really wish I had a picture of it because it sounds like a fish story now.

At any rate, here is a before and after of the fence section.



At the same time as we were working on our fence and wall something magical was happening. For weeks now I have had a pair of blue jays nested under our deck. And today it was time for flying lessons. This little guy found his first few practice flaps in the safety of my grapevines. He was the tentative of the three babies, and their eagerness ended up being their undoing as they flapped right into our neighbor's yard (the cat people). Stopping our work we cringed as we could only assume that the screeches from the parent jays indicated certain doom for the first two. But this little guy managed to make it. It was really amazing to witness the instruction of the two parents as this newly plumed infant awkwardly took to the air.



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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2009 is the previous archive.

July 2009 is the next archive.

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