Thursday, January 31, 2013


 Seeking inspiration for the church sanctuary wall that I will begin painting later this month, I headed down the the National Gallery of Art yesterday to check out the icons and fifteenth-century Italian paintings. Artists older and wiser than myself often stress the importance of recognizing that you are standing on the shoulders of those who came before you...even when you choose to buck the traditional trajectory. 
SO! I went to the gallery seeking a sense of history. What I walked away with was flat-out wonder at the really MODERN pattern and color combinations from this period! Don't get me wrong, this was not my first time seeing this work, but for some reason, I have always missed how truly brilliant they are. I mean, look at that coral next to that persimmon! How have I not noticed this before?
 Can I be honest with you, Friends? In the past, I may have unfairly thought of iconography and some older religious painting as historically rich, but visual dusty and well, a bit boring. I know, I am terrible. Will you forgive me? My eyes have been opened!
P.S.--Speaking of things that I was not expecting, I went to a chiropractor for the first time today. I'm sure if you were anywhere in a two mile radius you would have heard me scream when he popped my neck--surprised does not begin to explain my state of mind. SNAP, CRACK, BAM! Someone is standing two inches taller at her easel today. 
Have you ever been? What did you think?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Midas Touch?

Golden thumb by Mahtab Hanna
Has anyone out there ever worked with gold leaf? Well, I am working on a humongous triptych for a church using a heck of a lot of it, and let me tell you Friends, stuff is no joke! It is all "Hi, I'm shiny and beautiful" and then you go to apply it and its all "Oh, what I meant to say was that I'm actually the most fragile, temperamental, flat-out moody material on the planet!" My studio is covered in gold, Friends. I mean...there are pieces of it stuck to my hair. Things were looking that bad by lunch today.
Good news though! Turns out that I was sold the wrong adhesive. After a few hours of general huffing, puffing and stomping around this morning, I took a look at the bottle and discovered the mistake. Lucky for me, I had been working on a practice surface, and things have been looking up since I went back to the store for a trade in.

Plus, these guys were there the whole time to keep me in check. One of my now friends/past clients recently stared making them and stopped by my studio yesterday to let me pick two for myself! Aren't they fantastic?
 They've joined this guy...
and this guy (made by my awesome sons) and formed their very own little Greek Chorus to cheer me along and keep me smiling. Somehow looking over at this little brood when I had ripped wads of gold stuck on every finger helped me take myself a little less seriously. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Being the Tortoise in 2013

Have you read this article? As much as I adore this time of year for its goal setting, I promise that I will not write about resolutions all year. Really, I do. But this article is so fabulous that you have to read it. Trust me.

The gist is that success comes from setting and sticking to an achievable game-plan toward a personal goal, without failing short of or exceeding our daily goals. Are you snoring yet? I know, I know, I would be too. That "exceeding" is the key though and it will revolutionize the way that you approach this new year. 

I'm a visual girl. I never claimed to be a compelling writer, but this article is so, so good that I promise you won't be disappointed. Really, check it out! And then let me know what your 20 Mile March will be, OK? 

P.S.-- #6 is so key but understated that I almost glossed over it. I hope that you don't. We cannot predict what life will grant us, but being prepared for the ultimate battle can only lead to good things!

Monday, January 7, 2013


I hope that 2013 is off to a shining start for you, Friends!
I am up to my ears in exciting projects, and have been daydreaming about starting my own studio team like Takashi Murakami's to help me finish everything on time!
While rushing through a slew of business e-mails yesterday though, I opened this one and smiled:
Dear Nicole,
     I am *** and I am in Girl Scout Troop ***. In that troop, each kid leads a meeting.This year, our project is to interview someone who does a job we would like to do when we grow up. I would like to be an artist. I heard your interview on the radio and I thought you would be willing to do it. Please do.

Isn't that the sweetest? I feel really blessed to have been able to work on my Urban Portrait Project for a lot of reasons, but receiving e-mails like this one takes the cake...or the thin mint :)
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