Tuesday, October 30, 2007

fall colors

Fall colors in unexpected places. This year is warm - an indian summer. My garden flowers heartily still, and yet the bright leaves fall all around.

Friday, October 26, 2007

migration... ation... ation... ation.

It's going to be migration season for a while longer. It's been migration season for weeks and weeks. I am in love with the movement, with the strangers, with the sadness.

Christian leaves tomorrow for Arizona. Migration. Easier with repetition? Maybe eventually.





Thursday, October 25, 2007

making marks

I met today with the administrator of a community arts center here in Madison to discuss a proposal for a drawing class I want to offer through the center. Learn to See... Learn to Draw: A drawing class based on clear seeing. I propose that if we can learn to observe with honesty and attend to actual details of the subject of our art, we not only improve our general awareness of the natural world around us, we also increase our potential to draw the subject with accuracy. I believe that anyone of any skill level can improve drawing abilities using this model of attention to light, shadow, shape, and placement (and maybe color). Willingness is the only prerequisite.

Personally, I realize a fine appreciation and a level of connection to the world each time I practice clear seeing and drawing what I see. I think it's a sort of practice in meditation too. I find that my process of art-making resembles concepts in meditation training.

Truly, despite skill level, I think that the product of the hands and eyes working in conjunction (when practicing clear seeing and clear drawing) is each person's honest art. The hand's honest physical ability and the eye's awareness combined with one's desire to translate a visual image onto paper: these become a genuine expression. I think this is why often adults view children's work as beautiful - it is the child's honest effort at visually translating what the eye observes.

As adults, we can take a leap of faith in our own hand's ability to delineate our eyes' clear observation. We can see it as a rational modality of drawing too. To see clearly is to simplify our mind's work in drawing any subject. We don't guess the details of the subject, we don't try to uncover truths without simply looking right at them. Often, especially as adults, we use tricks of drawing and we use symbols to draw what we wish to express visually instead of just drawing what we see, or seeking the subject of our desire. We then are trapped in our mind's inability to remember details of specific lighting, angles, textures, idiosyncracies that make reality reality. How frustrating! I wouldn't want to draw like that either!

I've gone on and on... I wonder if I write these ideas clearly enough. I've been told I speak them well... I hope that bodes well for teaching a course come Winter/Spring.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mom in Madison

here we are,
after 5 days of hanging out in Madison,

we chill out at Barrique's Wine Cave, a great cafe, coffee shop, and wine/liquor shop on the West side of Madison. We've been to a lot of the hot spots worth checking out at a leisurely pace, and this afternoon we'll head to the apple orchard, or take a walk at the inner city forest, UW Arboretum. We went to the Food and Wine show in Madison on Saturday after a morning at the HUGE farmer's market (that makes me proud to call Madison home) and an awesome brunch at Marigold's. That day was ideal for Mom, being the foody she is... um, me too.

We went to Taliesin to visit Christian and explore the home and estate of Frank Lloyd Wright. The weather's mostly been gorgeous.
She's back to Virginia, my origin, tomorrow. We've had a lovely time of it. I'm glad to share where and what I am with my family each time I move to a new place. ...I guess that's a good enough reason to keep moving!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Skeletons emerge

I have students, and this is one of my students' work. Alex(andrea) is working on a story (of her own writing) about a skeleton who decides his grave is no longer fit for him and goes searching for the right place to fit in. Alex has chosen some adorable and comical scenarios in which the skeleton still finds himself in the wrong place. I'm excited to see what illustrations she comes up with. So far, this character has stolen my heart. She's a forward thinker with plenty of questions about publishing this story as a book for toddlers. ...Let's just get the illustrations done!

I should add, that Alex is 10 and has been taking lessons with me for about 6 weeks. She and I will continue to work together for most of this school year. I also have a student who attends University of Wisconsin for pre-vet, and simply sought better drawing skills. Both of my students are lovely to meet with on a weekly basis.

For those living in the Madison area, feel free to share with friends who might be interested in art or drawing lessons, or let me know of your own interest in instruction. I work with children as young as 4 and adults as old as they come. I'm also in the works for a potential Spring Semester Adult drawing class at the Monroe Street Fine Arts Center.

There's my plug!
If anything, I dig that skeleton!

Friday, October 12, 2007

this week

Going back and looking at all of my images, sketches, paintings, prints of birds as I seek to illustrate Plankton (literary magazine), I've found many many. I can imagine I'll continue to make them. When asked to reason about my art making, I recently said, "My artwork expresses themes of bird habitat and habits, spaciousness and meditation because these are things I believe in."

Monday, October 8, 2007


My Friend Kara Handy (we've known each other from 6th grade!) ran the Chicago marathon yesterday. Yes, THE sweltering October 7th Chicago marathon in which 1 person died, 40 were hospitalized and they had to cancel after 4 hours because so many people were dropping like flies. She, by grace, was able to recover from heat exhaustion at mile 22 and walk 4 miles to finish with a speedy jog! It was truly an amazing accomplishment as we were part of a march to the finish with many other harried and exhausted runners. I was with Kara for the last 7 miles. I too was uncomfortable, so I can't imagine having run the marathon.
So, to all the runners who gave it a shot, Cheers! I hope you try again on a cooler day! Alaska anyone?

Pictured here, myself and Kara at the end.
You can probably tell that I'm really proud.

Monday, October 1, 2007


This Friday I'll show a more current collection of work that revolves around the color and presence of prayer flags. My work with bird block prints and bright colors gradually led me into this direction and I realize more and more how appropriate the connection has prayer flags reference a religion based in meditation and I've always felt my work is meditative. So, not only is there repetition (part of meditation) in the images of many birds in flight (a migration), there are also repeated images (such as the one pictured above. I've made almost all of my work in squares. The repeated form is found in a string of prayer flags strung like a banner accross an entryway.

Themes of migration seemed to fall into my lap as Spring ended and Summer began. I'd been thinking of doing work with repeated shapes of flying birds for some time, then learning to screen print allowed me to do so. I printed 3 x 3 feet squares of repeated birds in flight onto fabric and paper. Some of these will also be shown Friday. These led to a repeated use of 3 of the same birds in flight onto the walls of my studio and other surfaces. It seems cheesy if I try to imply that the theme of migration relates to the migration of birds this season and/or the migration of my partner and his cohorts to Arizona for the Winter semester, but it is interesting that such a correlation did occur.

Frankly, I love birds. I love repetition. I love simple, bright colors and forms.

Here's an image of my studio Wall:

Wish I could bring it to the show.
Unless of course you're out of the country or out of the state, or just out of bounds, then, I hope to see you Friday at the Show. Lazy Jane's Cafe Williamson Street (1/2 block E of Baldwin St.) Madison, WI