honeymoon art

While in Napa Valley on our honeymoon, Steven and I visited the Hess Collection.  This sustainable winery was an out of the way country drive, and it was beautiful.  On the side of a volcanic hill and surrounded by 100 year old vines, the main building houses an art collection spanning three levels.  My favorite piece in the gallery is the Robert Motherwell, Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 160.  I've lectured art appreciation classes about this series of paintings.  Another amazing piece in the collection is a massive Morris Louis veil painting, Alpha Nu, 1961.  I've never seen his work in person, and it took my breath away.  The technique, simplicity and color, it's so peaceful.  


Dogs in Dresses

 I received a custom order to paint my friend's basset hounds, Annie and Heidi.  He wanted to surprise his wife with these nontraditional portraits, depicting their dogs wearing humorous outfits.  It was fun to get creative and add a little spin to the custom pet paintings.  I drew inspiration for their clothing from Victorian paper doll dresses and created composite outfits for each.  The background patterns were my personal touch to the piece, in a neutral color so as not to visually compete with the vibrant dresses.  I've created a new listing in my Etsy shop, so you can order one of your own.  They are 8" x 8" x 1" acrylic on wooden cradleboard.


Beyond Love

Beginning to paint in the succulents on my wallpaper piece.  Each plant is being blocked in, then blended using a combination of wet on wet and scumbling.  Still trying to decide what will happen in the background...

The Robert Indiana show, Beyond Love, opened at the McNay last week.  Steven and I attended the preview reception and guest lecture by Barbara Haskell, Curator from the Whitney Museum of American Art.  She gave a really interesting and detailed talk about the life of Indiana. Most people associate the artist with is his iconic Love sculpture...a light up version called Electric Love is in the exhibit, along with his paintings, collage, prints and assemblages.  My favorite piece in the show is titled The Demuth American Dream No. 5.  It features the artist's text 'American dream, err, hug, eat, die' and appropriated imagery from Charles Demuth's I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold.  We learned the words 'eat' and 'die' held a particular significance for the artist, as the last words his mother said to him were 'have you had enough to eat?'

Learn more about Robert Indiana on Artsy.



It has been awhile since I've used my wallpaper patterns; many of my recent works have featured clear blue skies.  In the past, I've gridded out my patterns on graph paper and transferred them to my drawing surface using a lightbox.  This design was created freehand and in losing the structure of the gridded images, it feels more alive.

The repeated shapes and colors are a loose interpretation of the shell-like wallpaper that covered the walls in my Grandma's kitchen when I was growing up.  A warm peach, punctuated by pale green.  There is a stack of it, neatly folded and carefully stored in my studio; it makes me feel closer to home every time I look at it.


Spring fever & winter weather

It's been almost eight months that I've been trying to find a way to use this grackle...  Recently I was walking through a parking lot and a pair of these birds confronted me, one squawking wildly.  They seemed very excited to say 'hello.'  On Tuesday, I went back to my sketchbook to draw the talkative bird.  They are everywhere in San Antonio, as prominent as the parking lot gulls in Youngstown.  In the sketches, they become symbols for the city I now call home.  

Last week at this time it was 75 degrees; this morning I woke up to an icy, gray sky and a light snow on our back porch.  I'm pretty sure most of our plants got zapped by the hard freeze last night.  My next painting is inspired by spring fever and excitement to plant our garden.  To visually & conceptually link this new painting with the other, the fence and succulents are included in the foreground.  The plant life reminds me of our wedding weekend...they were centerpieces at the rehearsal dinner and a handful of them are still thriving, almost a year later.  They are one of the few plants that I can keep alive. 
Steven's mom made the mercury jars & our families worked together to pot them for the wedding celebration
After a morning of drawing different succulents, the drawings were transferred from my sketchbook to tracing paper.  I  played around with different arrangements, layering the transparent paper until the composition felt balanced.   Next, I'll transfer the lines and begin painting the background.


prickly pear

On my first visit to Texas in March of 2012, on my first day in the city, I tasted my first prickly pear margarita.  Steven brought me to the Riverwalk and we sat outside at a restaurant on the water.  Ducks waddled around the table, waiting for chips to fall.  Our waiter made fresh guacamole at our table and brought us magenta colored drinks called prickly pear margaritas.  They matched the color of the sweater I was wearing.  It's been almost two years and the memory of that first day is still vivid, though the sweater has faded.  I remember being concerned about looking like a tourist...I had no idea that in four months the city would become my new home.  For a year we shared an apartment that overlooked a field with this cactus growing amidst a bunch of trees.  The plant I once considered exotic is now a part of my everyday surroundings, and I love it.  There is a lot of personal symbolism wrapped up in this work, content I've been developing since my residency in 2010.  The cacti in my painting are all filled in green, and partially glazed with neon paint.  Today I began to add in more detail and shadows.  It was cold and overcast today, making the saturated colors I was painting seem all the more intense.



 Happy Saturday, lovebirds!  Can you believe it is February already?  Valentine's Day is coming up soon & love is in the air...  If you're looking for a gift or something to brighten up your corner of the world, there is plenty of sweet art to choose from in my Etsy shop, found (here) studio.  Want something custom?  Contact me with any requests or questions.  If you would like it in time for Valentine's Day, the last day to place your custom order is February 7th.

Cactus, cactus, cactus

I'm about tired of painting cactus.  Just a few more layers to go, then on to the prickly pear fruit.