Wednesday, July 13, 2011

be a part of a powerful project

My friend Katy is incredibly driven, please consider a small pledge to help her make her art! Her work really resonates with me, and I think that anyone who is fancinated with the past and how complex ties to family and to homelands will be just as drawn to Katy Tyler's work.
Please consider a pledge of any size to help her make this project a reality.

See more of her work at

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I'm in a group show, opening this weekend!

Hello Everyone!
It's time for the annual Compound Gallery Artists group show!
I have one of my newer paintings in the show, and there will be 4-5 more in my studio for viewing and purchasing if you dare! Come for the opening, Saturday, June 11th, 6-9pm at 1167 65th st., Oakland, CA 9460 
 Can't wait to see you there!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I don't usually post about other artists or influences, or blog this late at night, but wowzers, check out this guy! His art is comprised of dirt. He is an earth curator. I want to make dirt paintings with these colors for the rest of my life!

Friday, May 13, 2011

new paintings in process

4 stretched canvases, 22x34", 26x38",  and 2 18x24" ones.

The first few layers

 A beautiful shape
yum more gold paint!
super tasty passage, god I love how this looks!
2nd to 3rd layer

a lovely painting, before I melted a large circle off while trying to dry it faster. Oh well, live and learn.
 A few of my studio
 A new layer for an old oil painting. Im still picking away at it though.
The group show is coming up at the Compound Gallery; I submitted my newer blue painting and I'm waiting to find out if it was accepted in or not. My newer paintings should be ready by then, but I haven't decided whether I'll have them hanging in the studio or at a high end furniture store that has offered to show and sell my work.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

rediscovering and reducing!

I read this book right around the time of my last blog post, and I suppose in a way it is responsible for the lull in work. Minimalism is becoming more respected, desired and maybe even necessary. I've had and listened to conversations where people are tired of being fearful about their possessions- that using them will devalue/ruin it, that they don't have the right kind anymore, or enough. What I really enjoyed about this book was how accessible the information was, and the tone of the writing. Yes, at times it was a little cheesy, but I never felt threatened for the lifestyle I'm living, or by the steps to live a more minimalist life.

I'm a clutter kind of person. I grew up in a house teeming with stacks of books, with scores of art objects; for many years I slept on a pile of Persian carpets instead of a bed. I loved it. I loved being surrounded by all the patterns, textures and colors, all of the potential information just waiting for me to explore it. It shaped who I am, what I'm attracted to and what I find intriguing and comforting. All of these objects and their immensity became over whelming. It wasn't something I understood at the time because living this way was what I knew and was familiar with. I remember all of the books in the house, but in all honesty I probably read very few of them; I preferred the library and the choices there, and the whole ritual behind browsing and borrowing.

I left this home 6 years ago, and I'm just beginning to understand the draw behind a more minimalist life. It's hard for me as an artist to let possible materials go- the whisper of re-purposing is very seductive. My inner historian cringes at the loss of ephemera, but I make some compromises here and there. When I am not at work or spending time with my boyfriend I am sorting through things in my room. I have torn it apart, rearranged it, placed all my art materials together to see how much I really have and how little of it I actually use. I've gone through piles of magazines, drawings and papers, taking photos and writing down info on word docs before recycling them. It's liberating, once I get past the squirming uncomfortableness of destroying things that measured time or seemed to represent potential. The Joy of Less helped me realize a few things about objects and time. If it makes you happy and you love it then it's worth your time. It almost doesn't matter how much time or money went into something if it isn't serving a purpose in your life, and if you're not getting any enjoyment out of it. What good does something do squirreled away in boxes or closets or on cluttered shelves?

In the book Francine Jay asks this question: If you were given the opportunity of a lifetime (career, personal, whatever is closest to who you want to be reason) but you had to move across the country in 3 days for it, would you take it? Would you thrill at the opportunity, or would the dread of dealing with all of your possessions hold you back? Would those things prevent you from going?

My big project right now is downsizing. I don't want to feel overwhelmed by what I own, or stress about the lack of space. I don't need any excuses to hold myself back. If the future offers a move I want to be able to take it without it becoming about the stress of dealing with years of collected things.

Take a moment to go through something you haven't touched or thought about for a few months/years: sketch books, portfolios, papers, closets, folders on your hard drive. You'll find things you love and things that don't really apply to who you are currently and how you're living your life. Those moments are true learning moments, filled with all sorts of potential. Shifting through papers from my 2nd year of college I found ideas and images that I think I'm finally ready to tackle. It can be intimidating to start, but it can really refresh your creativity and how you feel in the present moment.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


 This painting  ended up being a few inches shy of 3x4 feet after I stretched it.

This one is about half the size of the one above...sorry I didn't make any standard measurements. I get caught up in the process of painting and forget about practical things like documenting the progress or writing down the sizes. 

I'm excited because this is the closest I've come to replicating the look of my business cards in a large scale. I ended up using a lot of gesso and absorbent ground, but these paintings are on canvas, not watercolor paper which means I can blow up the scale even larger- I could go 7' by 12' if I remember my canvas roll sizes correctly. How cool is that??

 I added gold acrylic paint to my usual paint ingredients, so there a subtle luminosity that happens

The usual tools

 The first few layers
 A few progress shots before I got too covered in paint to safely use my camera

I painted my island two different shades of gold. I'm thinking that they will peak through the tape layers I'll be adding to the frame.

 I cut 72 business cards
 ...but I ran out of drafting tape.
 I purchased a different brand of 300lb water color paper, and I found out that even with the drafting tape the paper layers were separating and tearing after taking the tape off. I wasn't expecting that, so I need to revamp my game plan.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Winter projects

 I've completed my new color chart

...Finished one obsession and started another.
I recently got hooked on Kendama, which is a traditional Japanese game. Learning the tricks is challenging but fun. Plus it makes a really satisfying wooden clink. I've been using it as a focusing tool, and it's improving my hand-eye coordination. 

In less nerdy news, I started prepping some large canvases.
 I didn't have any stretcher bars at my studio at the time, so I just tacked/taped the canvas over some boards. I'm priming them with acrylic gesso (which I haven't used in years) and absorbent ground. I'm hoping the absorbent ground will create a paper like surface- something that my rabbit skin glue paint can stick well to. I had been using 300-400lb water color paper, but it was really expensive and there were size limitations. 
I haven't worked with absorbent ground before, but a former CCA grad student Conrad Ruiz  uses it for his larger than life watercolor paintings, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it out.

The weather has been rainy and cold, so it takes a while for everything to dry. I started playing with some paper scraps I took from a free pile at work while waiting for the layers of gesso to dry.
 At first I was thinking about topography, and building the layers slowly.
Then I figured I could make it function more as a frame. Right now I think of it as an island, and that I'll build the land with layers of my leftover tape. 
I gessoed the surface and painted the base a textured silver. It was fun to make waves with impasto paste. I still have a bunch of layers of absorbent ground to prep, so I'll be jumping between my canvases and my little island for the next few studio sessions.

I wanted to spend the day there today, but last night my back got all out of whack at work, which is alarming because I've spent a small fortune on chiropractic care since it first reared it's ugly painful head in October. Plus I noticed that the bundle of palm muscle between my pinky and wrist on my dominate hand is really sore today, and it hurts to close my fist. I just hope that these things are minor little flareups. I've had to deal with injuries this winter that prevented me from working, and the  depression that feed into it. I really want to make these paintings- I want them to work, I want them to be beautiful but most of all I want one less thing to be frustrated and bummed about. I need to catch a break. Maybe letting you all know this will motivate me to make my own fortune. Send a kind word or thought my way as I get through the next few days. I'm going to spend my birthday on Thursday and Friday in the studio and I'm very excited to have some big chunks of time. Fingers crossed that my body let's these aches go and doesn't start protesting again.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

sweet, my astro-lovers are on Illustration Rally!

My good friend Stephy who is far more aware of all things cool told me about this Illustration blog that  accepts submissions of holiday theme work. I sent them a pic of my Valentine's Day card, and here it is!

A big thanks to the fine folks of Illustration Rally - go visit them and check out some cool work!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

pictures of already mentioned projects

the business card box

 black velvet lining

 with the lid on it looks good, but sticks. Any suggestions on how to fix this problem?

 The new watercolor chart (I actually only have 30+ squares left out of the 225)
 The old watercolor chart, which was inaccurate because I didn't mix my colors strong enough
 The Astronaut couple, part way through carving
 The original sketch. I ended up making the space traveler in the foreground larger, and opting out of the heart shadow for now.
 The inked block, and some of the cards

 my ity-bity print shop

 I get so immersed in printing that I don't always clean off my block as often as I should- this has lead to prints where the shape of the boot kicking up looks like a lunar shadow instead.

  Experimented with different colors and multiple layers of different colored prints- the white ink over black is really quite lovely (lower left corner)

The text on this block measures 1.25 by 1.25 inches. (Yes, I am crazy, and it only took about 7 minutes per character...)
I used the leftover ink to color some paper and illustration board I had- the roller made the surface very interesting, so hopefully I might start working some kids from my new photo book into these moody places. 

So, what do you guys think?