Painting on Rooftops

This summer has been a whirlwind of activity- planning a wedding at your home can certainly take a person away from other tasks, like making art! (more on the wedding later) But the party is over, and now I am back to making new work!

 

A few summers ago while in NYC on a business trip for my day job, I snuck in some time on a friend's rooftop in Brooklyn and made some fast sketches and paintings from the view. Ever since then I've been daydreaming of creating my own artist residency of sorts- scheduling time to paint from the rooftops, so I decided to do a little outreach to see if it's possible. Lucky for me I know some incredible people, with friends in high places (pun!), so as it stands right now I have three possible locations for this project, with a few more options to explore.

I plan to create 3-4 larger paintings and several smaller canvases, similar in style to my 30 Paintings in 30 Days project (scroll back through the blog to see those). Can I do it? Will you watch and keep me accountable? I'll be landing in NYC on August 11, and will post regularly to share my progress. I may even interview other artists along the way.

 

Stay tuned!

Making New Micro-Rooftop Gardens

I got to participate in the Mississippi Street Fair last Saturday (July 8) and decided to make some new smaller pieces just for the occasion. The fair came on the heels of my wedding celebration so all the work I created had to be done a mere week before the street fair! Luckily I work best under pressure and was able to crank out about thirty new pieces.

If you've ever wondered how I make my ceramic cityscapes here's a peek behind the scenes. After throwing each piece in brown clay on the potter's wheel, I then paint on two coats of a white slip (that's liquid white clay) before adding color.

Next, I add a couple coats of the base color. The process is identical to adding the white slip, just more colorful!

From here it's on to handpainting each building and sky background, then carving windows and details. You can see snippets of that process on my Instagram page here and

And here is everything at the Mississippi Street Fair!

And here is everything at the Mississippi Street Fair!

Stay tuned for more new artwork and updates on new shows I'll be doing in September.

30 Paintings in 30 Days: Day 5 & 6

Last Friday, our new stove hood arrived, which sent me down this rabbit hole of cleaning and painting my kitchen. Four days later, with work still to be done, I got really behind on my 30 Paintings in 30 Days project... unless we can count the kitchen as a few paintings?

I am committed to producing 30 paintings this month so last night I got back in the studio and finished paintings 5 and 6, plus started working on a few others. 

I have painted another version of this view before, but every sunrise is different so here's another! 

One of my favorite things about my bedroom, is it has sliding glass doors that open to my back yard garden. In the summer I can lay in bed, listen to the birds and watch the sunrise. Sometimes I sit on the back steps and enjoy my coffee, watching the sky change from the dark cover of night, to warmer hues of yellow, pinks, and purples. I'm looking forward to the warmer weather returning so I can get back into the yard to paint. Working from photos will have to do for now.
 

Here's the photo I worked from.

My sixth painting is another sunrise view of Mt Tabor. In case you can't tell from my previous paintings, I am an early riser who loves a good sunrise! I snapped several photos of this sunrise on my morning run with the dogs. Every moment the sky changes. It's beauty was truly captivating.

The photo I worked from.

The painting. 

I'm not entirely sure it's done yet, but for the purposes of my 30 in 30 challenge, we'll call it done for now. I have a bad habit of re-working paintings often, sometimes even years after they've been "completed."

 

More new work coming soon! All of these canvases will be for sale after the challenge is over, don't hesitate to contact me if you're interested or have questions. :)

Be Nice

 

Something that's been on my mind a lot lately is the notion of kindness and acceptance. I will skip the political purview and keep it high level here, but the commentary I've seen and heard from people I love and respect (and those I don't know), regarding what's happening in the world... it's been pretty discouraging. When I stop and think about it, I know that most folks are just supporting what they think is best for them, their family, or the country- who doesn't want good things?-- but it feels like, to me, that the bigger picture sometimes gets lost. I know the issues are big, and I am probably oversimplifying here, but my thoughts always bring me back to the same place: Why can't we all just be nice to each other? If only it were that easy, right?

With this notion of kindness in mind, I began 2016 with a goal to send art and/or handwritten notes to people randomly in the mail. I have always enjoyed sending cards and gifts to friends and family for occasions, but I thought it would be more fun to send stuff randomly. I expect nothing in return, but it does feel really wonderful to get a thank you note, text or email. Hearing I made someone smile, it really makes my day. So far I have sent tiny paintings, mugs, and building blocks to people in Brazil, Norway, Italy, and to New York, Connecticut, Kansas City, Portland and a few I have already forgotten. I aim to send at least 1-2 packages a month. Here's a few things I've sent so far:

I sent this little guy to Rio De janeiro. A small gift for a newly married couple with a bit of the wanderlust. I thought it could be a home away from home where ever they roamed.

This here is Dex the Dog, the longtime companion of a friend of mine. Dex left us last year, for that big dog park in the sky. I had seen this photo of him on Facebook and made a fast painting while I was in Mexico.

 

 

Sometimes, like now, I daydream of turning this into a bigger movement of kindness: making rules and guidelines, trying to engage others via Instagram or Facebook, but at the end of the day, it's just my fun personal project, I'll try to keep up with from here. If you need a pick-me-up, feel free to send me your mailing address. I'll do my best to send you something when you least expect it. If you choose to do the same for someone else, even better!

 

How do you cut through the steady stream of opinions and anger in your day to day?

 

 

Art Making and Other Adventures

The last couple of years have been largely about personal and creative exploration. I have an insatiable wanderlust, barely kept in check by a lack of funds. I find travel, whether it's local day trips, national excursions, or international exploration, to be inspirational in so many ways. Lately my travels have been fueling my Cityscape artwork, as I translate the colors, energy and emotion I experience while interacting with different places and cultures into art. 

My cities are largely fantastical, emerging from a series of brush strokes and colors, layering one on top of another. They allude to places I've been or situations I've experienced, but are meant to be open to interpretation. It's fun to hear people discuss their own ideas of what each piece represents to them, and I'm always thrilled when someone makes a personal connection with my work- it may remind them of a place or culture they remember fondly, which is completely different than what may have inspired me. Sometimes they know exactly the inspiration. Other times they want to talk about it; they want me to tell them what it is they're looking at. I guess my paintings are largely my way to interact with cultures and individuals and share a moment of whimsy.

As I write this post, I sit in my friend Cori's living room in San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico. We've begun an unofficial creative exchange program: she stays with me during the Portland summers, and I escape to her home here to paint and recalibrate in the gloomy Portland winters. It's a pretty great balance. We chat about art, (creative) self-promotion, food, life. It's relaxing and inspirational to see the life she's made here for herself here in San Pancho, and in Sayulita where her gallery is.

I've been painting on her rooftop in the sun, enjoying the sights and sounds of San Pancho. Here's a few snapshots with more to come.

Stunning sunrise from Cori's rooftop.

Stunning sunrise from Cori's rooftop.


My rooftop studio.

My rooftop studio.