Are you on Twitter?  In an attempt to become technologically savvy, I set up a page for my studio, though I think Instagram might be a better platform since most of my posts are photos.  Thoughts?  I am still trying to figure it out and got a real thrill the other week when Graphic Chemical & Ink became one of my followers.  Printmacking!  I've posted a sale code for use in my Etsy shop through September 9th.  Check out my page, found here studio, to access the code and have an awesome long weekend!  College football kicks off this weekend, don't forget to watch Clemson take on Georgia!  Go Tigers!

Painting & a Pretty Bride!

   With the first week of classes at NVC nearly over, I have to say how exciting it is to be back in the classroom, and how grateful I am to have two wonderful, creative jobs!  Last week I taught a fun class in Jennifer's studio, 'Picasso's Woman in a Mirror.'  The colors were so vibrant and all of their paintings turned out beautifully.  It was a small class, so everyone got to know one another and there was a great sense of comaraderie and creative encouragement.  One of my friends and coworkers from the studio, Jenny, got married last weekend!  Hooray for love!  We piled in two vehicles and drove out to Luling, Texas (the famed location of Buckee's) for the ceremony and reception.  

Jenny put her heart in the decor for the wedding and you could feel the love.  What a beautiful bride!  They were married in front of the San Marcos river at the Zedler Mill.  During the reception, the photographer had a photo booth set up, and we had a blast trying to get a group picture.  Congratulations Jenny & Neil, lovebirds!
photo credit David Williams Photography
photo credit David Williams Photography


preparing, planning & painting

 Lately I have been spending lots of time preparing my syllabus & schedule for the coming semester-I'm teaching painting I & II, art history & art appreciation at a local college this Fall!  All sorts of deadlines and obligations have been on my mind.  My sweet husband suggested I make a list and do one thing at a time, rather than thinking about everything at once and progressing slowly.  Sometimes you need someone to tell you something obvious to get back on track!  Yesterday we had our morning espresso together, he went off to work, and I went in to my studio.   I finished the syllabus and planned the semester schedule for my art appreciation & painting courses.  After the classes were officially planned and not just ideas floating around in my head, I felt a sense of relief that allowed me to focus on my art the rest of the day.

I began this painting yesterday, in between reading and syllabus work.  We are still house hunting & the scene I'm painting reflects the confusion/excitement that comes with the experience!  My school of fish are also appearing in subtle Clemson colors, a nod to my first 'home.'  I grew up in northern Ohio and lived in South Carolina for almost eight years; the community left a mark on my heart that will always make me miss it.  The painting is still in the beginning stages here, and so far it is coming together more easily than the first in this series.  Maybe it is a sign that we'll find our home soon!

New faculty training is this weekend and the start of the semester is right around the corner, which also means cooler weather and football season are in the future!  August 31 is kickoff in Death Valley!  As my old boss Jimmy Howard would say, "you've gotta win the first game if you wanna win 'em all."  


Browsing my Studio Bookshelves

Part of my collection, with a photograph I took in Genova, Italy while I was studying abroad in 2006.
One of my favorite things to do is browse the shelves at the local thrift and used bookstore.  I am always on the hunt for five things: different editions of my favorite book A Farewell to Arms, books on Italy, birds, fish (used as visual references in my paintings & drawings) and art history.  I have what one might consider to be a slight obsession with art books.  I draw from many of these for my art history and art appreciation courses, to supplement the class text.  In my studio, you'll find three different editions of the same book my college art history class used.  My lucky day was finding the newest printing, with all color plates, for a mere dollar at a thrift in Central, SC.  Just ten years earlier the same book cost me one hundred times more at the OU student store!

My fascination with paper has been persistent my entire life.  This partly explains why, in this digital age, I focused my studies on a very traditional studio art: Printmaking.  Process-oriented and revolving around a love of paper, it was a natural choice for me.  Ink rolled on wooden blocks, limestone and rubbed in metal grooves, impressed on paper with the turn of a crank and a metal drum.  In the 1450s, the first book was printed using movable type...560 years later here I am in my studio with a press, piles of paper and blocks of type just waiting to be inked up and printed.

While I do love writing with my computer and reading on my Ipad, nothing will ever compare to flipping through the pages of something tangible; smelling the paper, touching the glossed pictures, underlining passages to remember and folding down corners to mark a spot...


Happy Birthday, Andy

Yesterday was Andy Warhol's birthday!  He would have been 85.  Anyone who knows me also knows that he is my favorite artist, forever.  After three years of teaching art appreciation and history, my love for his art and fascination with his life has grown exponentially.  On my bookshelves are countless texts chronicling his life and history books outlining his importance to the art world and the Pop Art movement.  On our fridge are a handful of Warhol art magnets and even my phone's case is a soupcan reproduction.

You can imagine my excitement last summer when it was announced that Campbell's would release a series of limited edition tomato soup cans.  The labels commemorated the 50th Anniversary of Andy's 32 Campbell's Soup Cans.  They were only sold at select Target stores and luckily the one near our apartment was one of them!  On the day they were scheduled to hit shelves, my husband (then fiance) and I went to the store when it opened to be sure and get our hands on some 75 cent cans.  I was convinced there would be a line out the door or they'd sell out in an instant...that was not the case, and months later they still had a few lingering in the display.   When I checked out, the cashier just thought I really really liked tomato soup, not realizing there was anything special about the cans.  Warhol would have loved that.  Did any of you get your hands on some commemorative cans?

The stack of cans sit on my studio desk for inspiration, with a framed note Steven wrote me when we first began dating. The label colors have definitely been an influence in the art I've created here in Texas.


Ally & Bread, custom pet portrait

 A dear family friend asked me to paint this portrait of her dogs, Ginger Bread and Ally.   They are all cuddled up together in the photo I used as a reference-so sweet!  The white pup, Ally, is a spunky new rescue.  Bread is almost smiling in the photograph, such a happy face.  Bonnie & Bob, their owners, lived next door to my Grandma while I was growing up.  My brothers, cousins and I spent countless Sundays running around the yard and driveway between the two homes.   I remember their dog Katie from my childhood years & I was honored to paint the newest members of the Clark family.

The painting is acrylic on an eight inch square wooden cradleboard.  At work I spend a lot of time blending paint, teaching the wet on wet technique.  This is quite different from my own studio process.   The brushstrokes and patches of color are a subjective preference and also a result of the medium; I don't use retarder with the paint and it dries very quickly.   So much of my studio practice is married to printmaking...whether painting, drawing or making a collage, I find myself working in layers, keeping the background shallow and sometimes flattening it completely with continual patterns.  I love the wallpaper effect created by the dots and the bizarre sense of space due to the absence of shadows.