Greek Orange Grove

“Greek Orange Grove” was inspired by a college trip to Crete. I was lucky enough to be studying abroad in England my junior year.

After growing up in the States, I wanted to spend a year in my home country to have my own experiences of English life. So with some friends, I took a break to Crete for spring break. It was an incredible trip filled with sunshine, crystal clear water, the freshest of food, and, one one occasion, the skinniest of dips.

On an afternoon walk, we came across a little traffic circle that had orange trees growing on it. They were at peak ripeness and we couldn’t resist trying them. I have never before or since had an orange THAT GOOD.

We were mid way through enjoying the sweetness when suddenly we looked around and realized we were in the middle of a private orange orchard! We screamed and ran back down the road, the taste of orange still honeyed and the pang is guilt growing.

Decades later, I memorialized that magical misdeed in this 36”x36” acrylic painting on gallery-wrapped canvas. The edges are painted with the front of the painting so you don’t need to frame it. The painting is valued at $3500 USD and that includes US shipping, and some special gifts from me! Add to your collection


Greek Orange Grove.jpg

Stage Fright, or What Eminem Taught Me about Fighting The Nanas

A few weeks ago I opened my sixth of seven solo art shows in the past 18 months. You would think with that many openings that it gets easier, that I improve my process, that I am—if nothing else—less nervous about it.

But you would be wrong.

The week before I was so stressed. Working late hours to get ready, trying to get through my to do lists. Trying to remember the things I remembered and forgot to write down. My breath tends to be shallow. I’m nervous. Shaky. Intellectually, I know I will be fine—but my physical self is on high alert. It’s hard to unwind. Harder to sleep.

So I’m in that space and I’m driving late one evening. My phone is plugged in and randomly going through all my songs, which ends up with unusual juxtapositions like the Kelly Willis and Black Eyed Peas and Christmas Songs and Kendrick Lamar and Mozart. And then it landed.

Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”

I turn it up. All the way up. The truck thumps as I drive through the dark and rainy night.

“Look
If you had
One shot
And one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it or just
Let it slip?”

He asks me. He is speaking to me. This show is a great opportunity. It’s a popular shop. My work will be up for at least a month—not just a one night art walk. It was the opportunity. But then his words come back. The reality sinks in. Yes, this opportunity and all of a sudden

“His palms are sweaty—
Knees weak—
Arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already—Mom’s spaghetti—
He’s nervous
But on the surface
He looks calm and ready
To drop bombs
But he keeps on forgetting what
He wrote down
The whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth
But the words won’t come out
He choking how
Everybody’s joking now
The clock’s run out
Time’s up
Over blau.”

That’s me. That’s me with a Case of The Nanas. Getting ready to walk into a gallery. To meet other artists. To give a talk. The Nanas. It’s stage fright. It’s the most brilliant text I’ve read about stage fright. The lived experience of it. They way the mind can go blank as your body fails you, betrays you. The pressure overrides your mind. Few artists talk about it outside the performing arts. So many visual artists are introverts, which is partly why this medium has such an appeal. It’s a place for us to hide, to restore, to refresh with just the rhythm of the brush on the canvas, the feeling of joy that comes from seeing a work of art emerge from the layers of self expression.

Don’t get me wrong. I know Eminem is misogynist AF but this song. This song is incredible. It gave me a way out. A way to fight the stage fright. He told me exactly what I needed to do.

“You better
Lose yourself, in the music, the moment,
You own it
You better never
Let it go.
You only get one shot,
Do not miss your chance to blow
’Cause opportunity comes once in a lifetime
You better
Lose yourself
In the music
The moment,
You only get one shot,
Do not
Miss your chance
To blow
Cause opportunity comes once in a life time
You better
You can do anything you set our mind to, man [sic]”

The answer was right there. I needed to lose myself in the music, the moment. To get out of my head, out of my body, and into the zone—connect beyond myself—where the music is. And in that moment “Lose Yourself” became my walk up song.

What’s a walk up song? In professional baseball, there’s a tradition of batters getting a song played each time they walk up to bat. It helps set the mind, shake off nerves, gets them pumped, and ready to connect the bat to the ball. It was just the technique I needed.

Now when I feel the Nanas approaching, I put on my headset and turn up the volume and lose myself. Works like a charm.

 

“Lose Yourself” is written by Jeff Bass, Luis Resto, Marshall Mathers

 

 

See—this is why the walk up song works. Get lost in the music and then I’m ready for the show! Thanks to Classic Consignment in the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle for the show opportunity.

See—this is why the walk up song works. Get lost in the music and then I’m ready for the show! Thanks to Classic Consignment in the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle for the show opportunity.

New horizons in "What 3 Colors Bring You Joy?" (literally), Part I (from August 11, 2018)

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know that watercolor landscapes have entered into the What 3 Colors Bring You Joy? series--although now that's called What 3 (Landscape) Colors Bring You Joy?

How did that happen?

The summer road trip my husband and I took was a great adventure for us and changed my paintings, at least for now. I’m still painting What 3 Colors Bring You Joy?—but now I’m playing with 3 color landscapes.

I love living in Seattle but hadn’t yet visited much of the rest of the state. Back in June, we decided rather last minute to go on a road trip around Washington state. The drive was gorgeous. If you haven’t been to Washington state, there are all sorts of climates to experience--from Alpines, like Switzerland, to temperate rain forests, to high deserts like New Mexico, forests, farms, canyons, and on and on. And it’s all beautiful.

As we drove past all these scenes, my desire to return to landscape painting grew. By the fourth day of trying (and failing) to paint the scenery with my Fluid Acrylics, I knew I had to make a change. To get the paintings to come out the way I wanted, to my surprise, I realized I needed to go back to my old friend—watercolors.

Okay, I'll pause there. More on that story in my next blog!

And remember, wherever you go this week, be sure to look for joy. It's there. I promise.

("You Matter," the painting below, is On Reserve.)

You_Matter_WEB.png

Creating art vs. rendering (from July 31, 2018)

“Making art is not simply rendering.”
—Barbara Earl Thomas

I was lucky enough to hear Barbara Earl Thomas talk about the intersection of her work as a museum director and her process as an artist recently. There was so much that resonated for me, particularly this—that as an artist my job is not to render. Rendering is not making art.

What that meant to me is that my job is to bring myself, my own reality to what I am seeing, thinking, feeling, and or experiencing to what I create.

Photos and copying machines do a better job at rendering than I ever could. And replicating what is seen, for me, is not the point of what I do.

I want to communicate with you, to share with you.

And so I change the reality of what I see when I make art. I am doing the work, the labor of making something that never existed before, because until I made it—without me—it *cannot* exist.

I am curious about how what I make affects YOU—what do YOU see, what do YOU think, what do YOU feel—when you see my work? What does it evoke for you? I most want you to feel lighter, to feel joy, to have some respite. It may not always do that but that’s what I want...more joy for you.

I want to show you my process, so you can see the choices I made and how they differ from the source photo--and get some insight into the enormous number of decisions that goes into each work. I normally would shy from showing you the source, because what I painted is different. But a life without taking chances is far less interesting.

So here we go. On the left, the inspiration photos. Then, on the right, the paintings.

Take gentle care of yourself. Look for joy. I promise it is there.

Inspiration_Landscapes_July_2018_WEB.jpeg

Time to rest and create some joy...how about you? (from May 21, 2018)

It's been a busy year of making Joy in the studio! Five solo shows (four of them with totally new paintings), painting and posting (just about) every day since January 1, and creating several beautiful commissioned works. It's been glorious and so much fun!

Now that the shows are wrapped, I'm catching up a bit and looking at what's ahead. I posted a lot of new art on Instagram and Facebook yesterday as I had taken a much-needed breather for a few days. For me, that's meant catching up on sleep, baking, visiting with friends, cycling, cleaning up my studio, playing board games, watching the Royal Wedding, drinking tea...all that "normal" stuff. I've also been thinking a lot about how to refine my goals and ambition so I don't burn out.

How about you? How are you doing? I know a lot of my parenting friends are trying to keep heads above water with all the end of the school year "fun" and school projects. My student friends are trying to get through mid-terms and finals. It seems like there are loads of events, travel, and work projects for many of my friends and colleagues.

The warmth and long days of spring are so welcome...just maybe not all the To Dos!

So as the Artist who Brings You Joy, I want you to consider this blog post as your permission slip to skip something--cancel a plan, ask someone for help, have your kids make their lunch this week, eat out/order in, call your dog walker to cover a couple of walks--and use that time to do something for you!

I'm back in the studio and have some fun ideas to paint What 3 Colors Bring You Joy?...but inspired by 3 colors from landscape paintings. If you have a favorite landscape you'd like to see translated into a What 3 Colors Bring You Joy painting, please send it by reply email or post to my studio Facebook page!

Until next time, take care of you. Find some joy. It's there. I promise.

Green purple dark blue

The works in "What 3 Colors Bring You Joy?" are inspired by suggestions from people in my life and those who follow me on social media. I ask for inspiration and in return I paint images designed to refresh and restore. The works are small and prices for collecting multiples. Comment below and let me know what three colors bring you joy!

What 3 colors bring #joy? One person said green purple dark blue.

This 5"x7" piece is 95.00 (includes mat and shipping). PayPal accepted. Comment "WANT" to purchase or comment "MORE" to commission your own 3-color work and I'll message you.

"We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure, but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil."--Jack Gilbert, Refusing Heaven

Green purple dark blue. Acrylic on paper 5"x7" 95.00 (matted and shipped) 

Green purple dark blue. Acrylic on paper 5"x7" 95.00 (matted and shipped)