Happy New Year!

2013 was a great year.  I got to create some new pieces for my own nursery decor and visited some awesome galleries in Seattle.  I wrapped up 2013 with two new portraits and some paintings of four-legged friends.

Both of these portraits are graphite on paper.  When using graphite, I prefer to use woodless graphite in 6B.  It’s really soft and comes out with very dark lines.  I do most of my blending with tortillons but usually end up with grey fingers anyway.  I like to think that my hands are putting the “life” into the work.



These two doggie silhouettes are a new venture for me.  These were both done using acrylic paint on a piece of wood.  They were given as Christmas gifts to family.  I didn’t want to just “paint a picture of the pet”.  I wanted to capture the thought of the animal.  When you look a the silhouette, you are reminded of the object rather than it just being presented to you.  This way, the viewer can picture the pet in their mind and remember the eccentricities and manners that were personal to the pet/owner relationship.   I also did one of my own dog – but I haven’t had a chance to touch it up and take a photograph… more to come.



If you are interested in having a portrait drawn please email me.  Also, if you want a custom painting of your favorite pet – let me know!  Cheers to a wonderful 2014!

“An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.” – James Whistler

Going Mobile

To change it up a bit, I’ve been working on some mobiles.  I love mobiles because they are literally moving works of art.  The way the shapes and colors move through space is captivating.  Add in some wind or a fan and it reminds us even more of the presence of the air we breathe.  Thus, the same substance giving us life also puts life in the mobile.    Here are some of my mobiles.  (Please excuse the poor photography.  I found that it’s very hard to photograph a hanging, moving object!)


This mobile has black and white birds flying under a black branch with white leaves.  This mobile was created for a nursery.  Black and white where specifically chosen since babies see high contrast images clearer.  The branch is an actual piece of wood from nature coated in acrylic paint.  I wanted to bring part of the outside in – making these birds feel more at home.


This mobile has dark violet, light violet, lime and white elephants with large 3-dimensional ears.  The top of the mobile is a piece of grosgrain ribbon wrapped around aluminum wire.  The (almost) abstract, simplified elephants were created using a circle and then cutting pieces away.


Next, we have lots of color!  This mobile has two shades of orange foxes with white tipped tails, pink and blue hearts, two-tone green leaves and yellow stars.  Each object is hung from twisted aluminum wire.


Last, here is the sailboat mobile.  This one is my personal favorite.  The boat hulls are made from maps of the local area and are folded origami style.  The sails are white paper held up by natural hemp string.  The sailboats are floating below a structure made of aluminum wire and burlap.  I wanted to give the feeling of nautical rope for this piece.

If you are interested in seeing more mobiles, check out artist Alexander Calder.  His mobiles are absolutely amazing.  The balance and color are very captivating.  I was fortunate enough to see one in person at the Museo Panini on a trip to Italy.  The museum has a great little sculpture garden out front and the inside is filled with vintage cars and bikes.  Most interesting is that it sits right in the middle of a cheese farm.  You just might have a cow or two cross your path on the way in!

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso

Museum Reviews

I was recently fortunate enough to travel to Seattle, WA for a mini vacation and got to visit some awesome museums.  The main attraction was the Chihuly Garden and Glass.  This gallery is dedicated to the amazing works of American glass artist Dale Chihuly.  The gallery was basically three parts: The main gallery, the atrium and the garden.  This is a pricey museum to visit, however, if you plan to go to Seattle and also want to take a trip up to the top of the Space Needle, you can get a combo ticket for a discounted price.  Score!

The main gallery was amazing.  It included exhibits in mostly black walled/floored rooms with strategic lighting to highlight the glossiness and smoothness of all the glass.  One room had a glass ceiling with colored glass pieces floating above your head.  The best part of this was the colors that were cast on the neutral walls.  Think of being under water – but in color!  There were examples of Chihuly’s Sea Forms, Fiori, Chandaliers, large vessels and more.  Another area of the gallery has a screen with benches where you can watch different videos on various installations and techniques of Chihuly and his team.  Each one is only a few minutes and worth the time to take a rest.  The day I visited, the atrium was being used for a wedding, so I was unable to check it out.  I went back the next day and the wonderful staff let me back in so I could tour the atrium.  The rolling, flowing sculpture on the ceiling was amazing.  It could be viewed from so many different angles and was surrounded by all natural light in the glass building.  In the Garden area of the gallery, the glass forms seemed to “sprout” right out of the ground as if they had naturally grown there.  The area is not particularly huge, but I could stroll slowly through the path for a good bit of time just to stare at all the glass.  There are some places to sit and just admire.  In true Seattle fashion, it was a bit drizzly – but cleared up in a few minutes.  This gallery is WORTH A VISIT!  EXCELLENT!


This photo was taken on the outside of the atrium area from the garden.  I love the way this bright, bursting yellow sculpture seems almost suspended in space with the glass wall as a backdrop.  The spirals in this one are thin and very twisted which give it a moving energy.  IMG_6581

From the indoor gallery.  I love that the boat is placed on a shiny, mirrored black surface to create the illusion of water.  Also, the texture of the wood against all the smooth glass creates such a dynamic variation.  IMG_6591

Here’s a shot of one of the hanging chandeliers.  I particularly love the color on this one and it reminds me of the sun or some sort of underwater creature.  IMG_6645

This photo was taken inside the atrium.  You can see the Space Needle hovering above and the beautiful, warm colors of the glass flowers scrolling across the ceiling.

Another Museum in the same area (easy walking distance) is the EMP Museum.  This museum highlights music, sci-fi and pop culture.  They offer discounted tickets online AND if you get to the museum later in the day, they let you come back for free the next day.  My favorite part of this museum were the exhibits they had for Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix.  They also had a great exhibit of various types of guitars used throughout history.  This museum is also worth a visit!Copy of IMG_6623

Guitar and musical instrument sculpture in the EMP Museum.  This thing was HUGE!  Some of the pieces were also moving or being played!?!?IMG_6546

Here’s the outside of the EMP Museum.  The architect is Frank Gehry.   He is one of my favorite architects.  The building is so curvy it seems to move.  It’s absolutely amazing from all angles.  One whole side is red (seen here) and another is purplish.  It also looks great looking down from the Space Needle.  Gehry has buildings all over and I was so grateful to actually see one in person!

Of course, there are more museums to visit in the Seattle area, but I didn’t have time to see them all.  Next time I think I will take the trip over to Tacoma and visit the Pilchuck Glass School since I LOVE all things Chihuly.  There are amazing museums and exhibits almost everywhere you go.  If possible, when traveling, take a couple hours to absorb some art!


Art Restoration?

Art Restoration is a great way to bring an old piece back to life.  However, it must be done very carefully as to maintain the integrity of the original piece.  If not, something like this happens.

Now, this is no masterpiece restoration – but I thought I’d try my hand at a “vintage” piece of my own.  My mom brought me an old painting that I did when I was about five years old.  Since I was five, the work was done on a piece of construction paper with a tempera paint.  It had faded over the years and looked like this.  before

Very fancy, I know.  *wink*  I “restored” the painting using acrylic paints thinned with water so I could see the original brush strokes in the work.  Needless to say, it now looks like this.  afterI think it’s much better.  I’m not saying that I’d like to work on the restoration of a Michelangelo, but this one was fun.

Don’t forget to check out the festivities for the Holly Springs Arts Council – Arts Festival!  Remember, I’m teaching a portrait drawing class on Saturday, February 9.  Here’s a new portrait I just finished the other day.Rouge

Have a great day everyone!!  “Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

25 more days until Christmas!

I haven’t made any updates in over a month!  Yikes!  In my studio, I’ve been working on some illustrations for a book written by a local author and a big new painting for my room.  In life, I’ve been decorating for the holidays and my Christmas music has been blaring.  This is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love seeing all the Christmas lights out and all of the beautiful creations people make out of their homes and yards.

I’m also very excited about this.  There’s a Matisse exhibit at Duke University.  From the website:

Henri Matisse fondly called Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta Cone “my two Baltimore ladies.” The two Cone sisters began buying art directly out of the Parisian studios of avant-garde artists in 1905. At a time when critics disparaged Matisse, and Pablo Picasso was virtually unknown, the Cones followed their passions and amassed one of the world’s greatest art collections. The exhibition tells this story and features more than 50 of these masterpieces–including paintings, sculptures and works on paper by Matisse, Picasso, Gauguin, Renoir, van Gogh, Pissarro, Courbet and more–on loan from The Baltimore Museum of Art.

In addition to modern masterpieces, the exhibition includes textiles and decorative arts from Europe, Asia and Africa that the Cones collected, as well as photographs and archival materials to highlight the remarkable lives of these sisters. Also featured in the exhibition will be an interactive virtual tour of their adjoining Baltimore apartments, showing their remarkable collection as it was displayed in their home.

All works are from the collection of The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland.

If you can, check it out.  Once I visit, I’ll post some comments.  Matisse’s use of color always puts me in a cheery mood.  If you are in another area, try to visit a local gallery or even just go check out the Christmas lights in your neighborhood.  Take a minute to look at something beautiful – a break from the “everyday”.

I used to intern at a gallery in Newport News, VA.  Their motto was “Art is what YOU make it.”  It’s a good thing to remember.