Friday, November 22, 2013

Violence and Love

The anniversary of JFK's assassination has me thinking about violence and familiarity. Bear with me. 
 You have undoubted seen the news clips recently like this one about the brutal "game" that bored teenagers have been "playing" on innocent strangers. (Side note: I realize that there is controversy regarding the potentially racist lean of these clips in filming only African American teenagers. Black, White or Purple aside, I believe that we can all agree though that this is brutality.) 
I think that what so many of us can't wrap our heads around is the WHY of this violence. WHY would someone use deadly force on a complete stranger minding his/her own business? WHY are these teens laughing about their friends smashing the skulls of fathers waiting at bus stops, and teachers walking home from work? WHY can't these kids see how easily the victims could be someone that they love?
 I think that the answer has less to do with hate than with numbness. I'm talking about the kind of detachment and apathy that comes from being removed from the other living human beings around you. We all know how much easier it can be to yell some obscene thing at another a driver than it is to say the same thing to the person who cuts in front of us in the grocery store line. Zipping past, behind the anonymity of our car windows, we don't need to have the same accountability for ourselves. Lets face it: when we live/work/learn in unofficially segregated neighborhoods, and then spend so many of our waking hours communicating with even the most familiar people through the screens of our personal devices, we can become a little detached. Maybe a lot detached. Maybe even detached enough to laugh about real live people being murdered in the name of fun.
I think that we all wish that we had some easy solution to violence. I wish that I did. I do know though that familiarity breeds respect. It is harder to scream and punch when you've shaken someone's hand or looked in to her eyes. That is why I love this photography project.
Talk about faking it until you make it. What do you say, Friends? Can we try to look at each other with the compassion of the familiar? There are bigger things at play here, but I believe that really seeing the people around us can go a long way.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Warming Up

OK, so its an odd post title for one of the first chilly days of the Fall. I wanted to talk a little bit though about that thing that we all do before we get into the meat of a day's work. We warm up with some little, less demanding tasks. Maybe we check email or read the news. 
Before I dive in on one of my commissioned projects or on a new body of work, I spend my first twenty minutes or so in the studio on something loose and simple. I force myself not to think about the end result. I try to just play--to just make marks on the canvas, or to experiment with some new way of thinking, without caring about how completely atrocious or ridiculous the finished project might look. Sometimes I make big, looping gesture drawings. Sometimes I collage a bunch of left over materials onto an old canvas. Today, I tried to see the world through my grandfather's eyes.
He was an architect and artist too, and I am lucky enough to own a few of his paintings. He painted the large canvas in this picture, and it just rocks my socks off! I brought it into my studio to color match and fill a few of its scratches.
The little canvas on the far left is the beginning of a commissioned painting. The tiniest canvas in the middle was my quick attempt to translate that into a Ernest Daly-ish view of the scene. 
I think I might need to be clear here that I am fully aware of how sub-par my efforts are, but that is really beside the point. It was a fun, quick challenge, that primed my mind to take on a day's work.
What's your warm-up routine?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Yoga Arts Market on Saturday! Gorgeous weather and fantastic company.
For those of you who asked about commissioning a painting to give as a holiday gift, stay tuned. I am booking my Fall project schedule this week and will be in touch soon!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Snag a Slice of Summer (before it slips away!)

 Friends, if you are in the DC area this Saturday, you should swing on by the Circle Yoga Arts Market!
 My painting studio is on the treetop floor of the building, but every Fall my awesome landlord calls off all of her yoga classes for the day and invites a bunch of artists and craftsmen to come show off their latest work!
I always snatch up some good deals on creative gifts for the holidays.
 I usually show limited-edition prints and greeting card packs of my DC cityscape paintings, but this month I've been saying goodbye to summer with a few quick little paintings of the salty sea air! 
The weather is supposed to be glorious, so I plan on pitching my easels right out front in the courtyard. If you're free, stop by and say hello. I'd love to see you!

3838 Northampton Street, NW
Washington, DC 20015 

Saturday, Sept. 7, 1:00-4:00 pm


Friday, August 23, 2013

St. Andrew Apostle Church recap

I really need to get better at actually photographing commissions before they leave my studio. Luckily, this one is at least in a public location, so I stopped by to snap a few (very poor quality) pictures for you.
As part of the church's visual revitalization, I was commissioned to paint two angels on the seven foot panels of a newly-constructed alter wall.

It was truthfully a very challenging project. I did a lot of research into the Catholic Church's teaching on angels and tried to create a composite of information written by those who have claimed first-hand encounters. 

A bunch of super-generous folks helped me out by posing for different sketches during the planning stage of the project.

The hardest part was working around a few pretty jarring visual elements in the church, some of which will eventually be changed, some of which must stay.
Working in the movement and color palette of the stained glass windows was a particular challenge.

There are still a few changes that would really go far in terms of making this a beautiful church (a.k.a.-ripping up that terrible carpet.) All in all though, I think things are moving in the right direction.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Taking Risks

OK, I'll admit it: I am a retiring perfectionist. I'm prone to wanting to make the absolute BEST decision every time. A simple question about what materials I should use for a certain project has me acting out the tired role of "artist who doesn't actually produce art" from time to time. Not to mention how badly the bigger decisions can paralyze me. 
If you are allergic to decision making too, you might want to check out this article from lifehacker.
The simple tip of treating a choice as an experiment vs. a final, life-altering act has me breathing a sigh of relief. There are some choices that we can't take back, but most are reversible. And that little fact might just allow me to make some great art today...or some terrible art. Either way, I'll be making work, and that feels a whole lot more productive than making nothing at all.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"It isn't enough to just make beautiful objects. Real art inspires other people to make art too." 
This gem from my husband over coffee this morning. And he's right. The best art that I have experienced leaves me a little breathless and itching to dash to my studio.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the work of

Every few months, when I am feeling kind of artistically stale, I peak at her website. It's like gulping down fresh cool air after being buried in sand. I feel suddenly so alive that I can't contain it all. I have to go make something rightthisminute or I am just going to explode with the fullness of it.
Do you know what I mean?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some art to make. 

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