Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Zoe Saint-Paul of SlowMama published an interview with me today on combining business and parenting. You can check it out here. I'm fascinated by how people handle the work life balance and am looking forward to reading more of her interviews! Thank you, Zoe!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I found the next subject for my project, As Is: An Urban Treasure Hunt, here this morning! It was ten a.m., his name was Vido, and he almost convinced me to have a chili dog for breakfast.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Match: Butter Edition

{Every week I post an image of an interior that reminds me of a work of art either in its palette, composition or mood. I hope that you enjoy!}
Didier Delmas
Antoine Vollon, Mound of Butter
*Do you want to hear something funny? I decided I wanted to be an artist when I was a very young girl after seeing this painting at The National Gallery of Art for the first time.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Weekend!

Isn't this dog hilarious? A friend and I were eating lunch in Georgetown when I spotted him looking out the window for a place to jump. He gave it a few goes before deciding that the awning below was not an idea landing pad.
Do you have any adventures planned for the weekend? I am going to be on the lookout for new subjects for my project, As Is: An Urban Treasure Hunt. Any good suggestions for interesting people to paint around DC?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fear and Abstract Art

Mark Rothko, “No. 14″, 1960. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA via
A newly published study finds people are more likely to be inspired by abstract paintings after going through a frightening experience. In the words of researchers, Eskine, Kacinik and Prinz,“Fear is an emotional mechanism that increases survival chances by motivating fight, flight, or freezing responses to threatening situations. Fear seizes one’s attention, halts current plans, and increases vigilance. The capacity of a work of art to grab our interest and attention, to remove us from daily life, may stem from its ability to trigger our evolved mechanisms for coping with danger." 
Fanscinating! Now I'm reevaluation all the stories I have heard about people crying in front of Rothko's...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Forever apologies for the horrid photography skills!
You know the expression "The sink always leaks at the plumber's house"? Well friends, I am guilty as charged. I paint commissioned portraits for people all year long, but can never find time to paint my own children. This morning I decided that enough was enough though. My husband's birthday is coming up and I would love to give him a little painting of his peach. So here she is! Cross your fingers you won't tell him?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dancing to the Beat of Your Own Drummer

I chose this picture because really, who doesn't think of Soul Train when they think of rhythm?
 I love when art and math line up! I've written before about Fibonacci's Sequence and the Golden Ratio in art. Now scientists have found evidence of fractals in the rhythm of hundreds of famous compositions. They theorize that the human brain internalizes these patterns in nature and represents it in its creative outputs, including the rhythm of a song. The sequence is altered slightly by a composer's unique rhythmic signature -- not unlike the slight variations between individuals' handwriting! 

How amazing is it to think of beauty as an objective fractal that we each participate in through the particulars of our subjective experience? Amazing!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Match: Mellow Yellow Edition

{Every week I post an image of an interior that reminds me of a work of art either in its palette, composition or mood. I hope that you enjoy!}
Room from an ad for curtains (found here)
Jean-HonorĂ© Fragonard, A Young Girl Reading
* I'd love to spend my morning off reading(and maybe napping)in my favorite chair. Happy Presidents' Day, Friends!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Looong Weekend!

I hope that everyone has fun plans lined up for the long weekend! I will be getting a few last details in place for my little art show on Tuesday. I'm not going to lie though, the thing that I'm looking forward to the most is picking out my new fridge! Yeah, I'm boring myself too. Anyway, Happy Happy Weekend Friends! You deserve it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I try to paint as much from life as possible. (My talented sister interviewed me a little about it for Apartment Therapy here.) That being said, I am really looking forward to seeing the Phillips Collection’s exhibition, “Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard." The Washington Post wrote an intriguing review here. I can't wait to see how these different artists used photography in their work, and promise to share my review here next week.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stair Song

Have you seen this? It's like the floor piano scene in Big, only for every day life! Now can these people please invent a game that will make drinking water more fun? 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Drum Roll Please!


Congratulations!!! I hope that you enjoy your new cards! Please send your snail mail address to nicolebourgea(at)gmail(dot)com so that I can ship the pack your way.

Thank you for playing, Friends. I hope that you all have the sweetest Valentine's Day yet!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Match: Confidence Edition

{Every week I post an image of an interior that reminds me of a work of art either in its palette, composition or mood}
Sylvie Rochon
William Strang, Lady with the Red Hat
*This room first reminded me of Strang's painting because the red table is so similar in color and silhouette to the lady's hat. But the more I studied the two, I realized that this match is really based on the particular stance of confidence portrayed in both the interior and the portrait.

Strang's Lady looks at us directly over the curve of her shoulder. We imagine that she is a woman who is almost defiantly herself. The room emits a similar presence. The curves of the two tables and the chair bend toward us and back toward the center of the room. It is quirky style is thoroughly its own: difficult to define but alluring nonetheless.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Friday!

Do you ever read the Missed Connections section of your paper? I do. So does artist, Sophie Blackball. She finds her favorites and makes illustrations to match. Here is the message printed in Time Out New York magazine that inspired her illustration above:

"You were wearing an average office suit with an admirably messy haircut. I was the girl with brown curly hair and a blouse with horses on it. We did that awkward back-and-forth shuffle of two strangers trying to pass each other on the street; then you grabbed me and gently swirled me in a mini waltz in the middle of the lunchtime shoppers and angry passersby. I would understand that moment if it happened now – two people sharing a delicate second in a day that hadn't gone to plan. But no, when it happened I was in my awkward early-twenties, so I just frowned, trudged away and hoped no one had noticed. Thanks for making my day."

Happy Friday, Friends! I hope that this weekend brings you your own sweet stories.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Discriminating Taste

The squirrels around here dine strictly on pizza...
...and art supplies.
Ahhh...the finer things in life!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Because I Love You

OK Friends, I am aware that most people find Valentine's Day to be unbelievably sappy and commercialized, but I happen to be one of those fools who adores all the kitsch and glitter! So in honor of the Day of Love, I am giving one lucky reader a pack of my cityscape greeting cards! (Keep them for yourself or send them to your Valentines.)
This is what the packs of five cards and five envelopes look like, although the label for this pack reads "i heart dc."
If you are already a follower of my blog, simply comment below for your chance to win. If you pop over every once in a while or are reading for the first time, just click the "join this site" icon and comment below to be entered into the drawing. I will announce the winner on Valentine's Day!

(You can see clearer examples of the cityscapes included in the pack by clicking this link.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


and the generous donor who selected me for a complimentary membership!

I am extremely honored and excited to start participating in all of the benefits that this amazing organization offers!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy Lucky Weekend!

Happy Friday, Friends! I hope that this weekend surprises you with just as much luck as David Choe!"Always double down on 11."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

On the Go

image via
Have you ever found yourself stopped at a traffic light next to someone who's job is to attract customers into a certain store by wearing a ridiculous costume and twirling a sign? I suppose they must bring companies business given the number of men and women dressed in cow and statue of liberty costumes on medians these days. Side-stepping the issue of the mild humiliation associated with this practice, it is interesting to consider how motion attracts our attention, and how seeing something out of context allows us to consider it from a fresh prospective.
The idea reminds me of Camper Contemporary, which is literally a camper outfitted as an art gallery.
 It's residency programs offer "an experiment in creating new forms of curation." A small group of selected artists takes a trip to an unknown destination together, and then spends the following week creating art about the adventure to be displayed in the camper. I had a chance to see one of these exhibits, and the experience was very different from a typical gallery visit. Viewing art in that unexpected, almost casual setting allowed me to relax a little and see the work itself rather than the idea of a Really Important Piece of Art hanging in a GALLERY.
 The Moving Gallery commission took the concept of approachable art a step further.
The project took place in Greenwich, London, choreographed by Ragnhild Olsen. Wow! I am so intrigued by the idea of interactive art, meeting you in the middle of your day. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

From the Studio: Anatomy of a Commission

I usually do not repeat cityscape scenes, but when someone sweetly requested this one as a gift for her son's 21st birthday, I couldn't refuse. Here's a sneak peak at the process:
First, I toned the canvas with a bright gold to set the stage for a crisp winter scene.
Then, I started blocking in the storefronts.
Next, I firmed up a few areas of the painting with cleaner lines.

At the last minute, I decided to play up those lines with the spindly quality of the trees and shadows. My first painting of this scene was done in the hazy late summer, so it was a real treat to revisit the place in the cold, definite light of winter!

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