Saturday, November 30, 2013

Make a Wish- in My Drawers

Day #13,  November 30, 2013 from What's in My Drawers.

Make a Wish
Collograph, gesso, oil, graphite, rubber stamp
on paper
30" x 22"


Make a Wish is from a series I did when my now teenage sons, were very young, using recycled children's clothing as a vehicle to tell the stories of childhood/motherhood, time passing, and memory. 
Often in this work, numbers and letters float through space.

This is a collograph print.  I coated the clothing with an acrylic gel medium that when dried creates a hard impermeable surface that I rolled up with ink and embossed onto a sheet of paper using a table top etching press. 

Childhood flies by in a blur. Memory, reality and fantasy float in and out of the day to day rituals of feeding, dressing, changing- and that all too elusive- sleeping.  I always say that my boys make me "work for a living" (!) but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Ok, I wouldn't mind a little more compliance.  Make a Wish.

Click here to see the post about What's in My Drawers and be in the loop for the rest of the art and stories in this blog series.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Namaste I- in My Drawers

Day #12, November 29, 2013 from What's in My Drawers.
Namaste I
Acrylic, graphite on paper
20" x 16"

Surrender, let go, bow to the divine light... it's all about putting your heart- and your faith above your head. Which is a good thing since lots of time it's our head that gets us into trouble, thinking too much, worry, judgement. It can be overwhelming so like Namaste II posted earlier this week, it is all about that life saving practice in your life... art, yoga, exercise, faith.

Click here to see the post about What's in My Drawers and be in the loop for the rest of the art and stories in this blog series.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Big Fork - in My Drawers

Day #1, November 28, 2013 from What's in My Drawers.
Big Fork
wire, pulp, encaustic

Thanksgiving Day as well as the second night of Chanukah.

Celebrating abundance, miracles, family- and remembering those who are no longer with us.

The fork on the right is from the silver set I inherited from my maternal grandmother, Rose. I was fortunate enough to know all 4 of my grandparents who were an influential part of my life.

Rosie a beauty, loved quality and beautiful things. She traveled the world and brought me home dolls from every country. She also took painting and sculpting lessons. Recently and surprisingly,  I learned that she volunteered and drove an ambulance during World War II when she wanted to help the war effort but my grandfather a prominent attorney did not want her working.

I started making these utensils out of wire, pulp and encaustic when I began thinking about what we inherit - genetically, culturally, and- literally.

And, how what we keep, what we let go of, and how this collective stuff shapes our identity.

Dig in.

Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Chanukah.

Click here to see the post about What's in My Drawers and be in the loop for the rest of the art and stories in this blog series.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gratitude- in My Drawers

Day #10, November 27, 2013 from What's in My Drawers.
15" x 22"
Colored pencil, archival print on Rives
In the midst of all the preparations for Thanksgiving tomorrow which we are hosting this year, it's time to stop and remember what is really important.

For me it is the fact that I am here, feeling great and loving life-  family, friends, art, travel, learning, connecting, surfing, reading... it's all good. Even the tough stuff.

This piece is part of my breast cancer series. Always wanted to come up with a catchier title but it is what it is. A friend took many shots of my body before and after my bilateral mastectomy in 2002 and those images became the basis for works on paper that were shown at the first Herspace Art of Survival created by Dr. Beth Deutch in Long Branch, NJ.

To those who have come before me....

Because of you, I am here to your courage

your life

I am Grateful.


now time to walk my pooches, clean the bathrooms and start the food prep!

Click here to see the post about What's in My Drawers and be in the loop for the rest of the art and stories in this blog series.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Namaste II- in My Drawers

Day #9, November 26, 2013 of What's in My Drawers.
Namaste II
acrylic, watercolor and water color pencils on paper
15" x 20"

Namaste II is an acknowledgment that there is a divine spark in all of us. It is how we conclude each yoga practice. This mixed media on paper titled Namaste II recognizes how yoga, art and my connection to water have me helped navigate the constant flow and changes of life. 

My dear friend Pegge Hopper gave me the gift of yoga many years ago during a difficult time. Since then yoga has been a life line or life saver. Sometimes all we can do is keep two nostrils above water and bow to whatever it is we are going through. LIke it or not.


Click here to see the post about What's in My Drawers and be in the loop for the rest of the art and stories in this blog series.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The World as It Is- in My Drawers

Day #8, Monday November 25, 2013 from What's in My Drawers.
The World as It is
Acrylic, collage, colored pencil,
ink and silver pen on cotton rag
hand made paper with inclusions
16" x 20"

The World as It is incorporates pages from the found book, The Conquest of Fear.  A visual journal, each panel is an emotional response as I came to terms with a genetic breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. The hand of a clock references the cell mutations as a ticking time bomb in my body, as well as, keeping track of hours, minutes. And remembering to stay in the moment.
The World as It is, detail, right panel
It is also about wanting to feel whole despite surgery, and learning to accept and love my body and my situation as it is.
The World as It is, detail, left panel
I am not sure what I have hanging from a thread from my ring finger. It feels like a hopeful talisman.
It must be powerful, gratefully I am still here.

Click here to see the post about What's in My Drawers and be in the loop for the rest of the art and stories in this blog series.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Up for Air- in My Drawers

Day #7, November 24, 2013 of What's in My Drawers.
Up for Air
Acrylic, water based ink, graphite and collage on paper
11" x 14"

Up for Air is a painting I did on a page in a large sketch book with water based ink, acrylic, graphite and collage. I dated it 3/23/13 so most likely it was "officially" Spring but didn't feel like it - yet.

By the end of March, I am SO ready for warmer temps.  Our koi stay submerged until the temperature warms up to 50 degrees or so.  I always feel optimistic when I see them come up to the surface.

I like the freedom and spontaneity in this piece. Reminds me to stay loose and playful like my beautiful scaled friends.

Click here to see the post about What's in My Drawers and be in the loop for the rest of the art and stories in this blog series.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Big Blue Bunny- in My Drawers

Day #6, November 23, 2013 of What's in My Drawers.
Big Blue Bunny
acrylic on paper
42" x 30"
This was one of the first paintings of Lambchop my beloved surfing rabbit.  (yes, he did surf.)

A gift from a dear friend after my first rabbit, Rabbi hopped out and away through an open door. Lamb was my muse for a quite a while, and a companion for 11 years in Hawaii and NJ. 

The paintings on canvas have all been sold, except for one- which hangs in my home. This acrylic on paper shows Lamb, ever inquisitive and always on the hunt for fresh wires and wood baseboards to chew.

Click here to see the post about What's in My Drawers and be in the loop for the rest of the art and stories in this blog series.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mr. Hardin & Tommy - in My Drawers

Day #5, November 22, 2013 of What's in My Drawer
Mr. Hardin and Tommy
Lithograph with painted paper pulp
21" x 29.5"

This print is from my Ranch Camp Series, named for the old plantation where I lived on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii in the early 1990's.  I was recently divorced from my husband, in graduate school, and was using my work to find connections to this place I loved - and my roots thousands of miles away.

Mr. Hardin lived at the corner of my short little road that emptied into miles of sugar cane, Mt. Ka'ala behind me and the Ko'olau Mountain range in the distance. Directly in front of my little yard was all of Mr. Hardin's roosters, chickens, dogs, buckets, cages, junk- all covered in the red dirt of the cane fields.  

One afternoon when I walked to the end of the road to get my mail Mr. Hardin was sitting in his open car port drinking beer with his crony Tommy. They asked me to join them. I ran home, grabbed an aluminum lithography plate I had at home and began to draw directly on the plate as they "talked story."

I pulled a few prints of this litho, this is the only one with color which I painted on with wet paper pulp- and the only one left of Mr. Hardin and Tommy.

Click here to see the post about What's in My Drawers and be in the loop for the rest of the art and stories in this blog series.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Considering the Fork- in My Drawers

Considering the Fork
Monotype with acrylic, graphite and pastel on paper
15" x 22"
Considering the Fork is the "week before Thanksgiving" selection from my drawers.

The fish is considering the fork, the fork may also be considering the fish. 

What was really happening here was that I was thinking about my work; the koi paintings and my wire, pulp, encaustic sculptures of utensils and thinking, "What the Fork?" 

What, if any, is the connection between these two bodies of my work- the Koi Pond Series and Inherently Found Series?   

It's there. Give it some food for thought. pun intended.

Click here to see the post about What's in My Drawers and be in the loop for the rest of the art and stories in this blog series.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All That is Good Is Yours- From My Drawers

Day # 3, November 20, 2013 from What's in My Drawers.
All That is Good is Yours
Graphite, spray paint and collage
8" x 5.5"
This is a collage incorporating another page from the found book The Conquest of Fear.  The page is intentionally upside down as I remind us that All that is Good is Yours.

Click here to see the post about What's in My Drawers and be in the loop for the rest of the art and stories in this blog series.

Enjoy this beautiful day!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Conquest of Fear - from My Drawers

Day #2,
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 of What's in My Drawers? 
Conquest of Fear 3
Graphite, colored pencil, collage on hand made cotton paper
16" x 20"

"And one has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear, but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear."
                                                                Paulo Coelho (born 1947), poet, writer

These collages were part of processing and healing from breast cancer surgery and treatment several years ago.  Pages from this book, pattern pieces, and other symbolic imagery and materials - like hole punched circle, all referencing the body and experience flow in and out of this body of work.
Conquest of Fear 3 (detail)

Coincidently, today while drawing in my studio today I listened to a recent podcast of writer, playwright and social activist Eve Ensler's interview with Krista Tippett Onbeing about her cancer experience and Getting a Second Wind in life.  Listen here to this wonderful conversation.

Click here to see the post about What's in My Drawers and be in the loop for the rest of the art and stories in this blog series.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Across the Miles- from My Drawers

What's in my Drawers Post #1, November 18, 2013.
This first piece is from my flat file drawer labeled Kids, Crows, Clothing.

Across the Miles
Toner on hand made paper with inclusions
22" x 17"
My Crow Series were the first works I did when I moved back east to marry my husband Scott. We had dated long distance for two years.  He was living in NJ and I, in Hawaii. It was exhilarating when together and full of angst our months apart.

Equally challenging, however, was leaving Hawaii. I was so happy to be with Scott, but not very happy among other things to be facing the cold bleak winters of the east coast .

My friend Clem had given us a beautiful copper bird feeder which we hung from a tree in our backyard. Watching the crows come and go felt like my only connection to the landscape at the time. I also wanted to be like these crows - tenacious, strong and resilient.  And I was squawking ALOT.  On any given day that first year, Scott would come home to find me sitting on the floor of my studio with Lambchop my also displaced, surfing rabbit- crying.

I did quite a few of these handmade paper pieces. Some oval, some rectangular - all referencing nests with native NJ plant fibers imbedded in the sheets of paper I made while I was working at the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper (now The Brodsky Center) in New Brunswick, NJ.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What's in My Drawers?

Introducing My First "I'm not Moving Studio Sale." When I left Hawaii, and then, years later, when I moved from NJ to PA I held very fun- and successful studio sales. 
What's in My Drawers
photo by Jessica Czerwin
People had a great time foraging through my drawers finding prints, drawings, collages and works on paper, many having never been exhibited or seen before.

At this moment in time, we have no plans on moving, but why let that small detail stop me from having a fun studio sale?

So for the next 30 days I am going to post a work of paper a day.  I will tell you what drawer it is from, (some are organized by date, others by subject matter like Rabbits, Hawaii, etc.) - and the story behind it.

All work will be available for purchase and I am offering free shipping within the United States

Happy Hunting... starting tomorrow, Monday, November 18, 2013.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Opening and Closing in NJ

I am excited to have two pieces in an exhibition opening tomorrow at the The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie just as my exhibition Catching Up with Catherine Hartigan closes.

Exploring the Many Ways Artists Use Paper in their Work
Saturday November 16, 2013- The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie 

My love of paper began when I was a drawing major at Pratt Institute. Working with charcoal, graphite, pastel on paper is a visceral, direct and sensual experience that is something I continue to record and explore life experiences and new ideas.
Immersed, 2012
acrylic, spray paint, graphite acquarelle, pastel, collage on paper
36" x 40" unframed
My time as a graduate student at the University of Hawaii was spent either in the printmaking or paper making studios. Initially, I learned to pull sheets of paper from plant fibers like cotton, abaca- a hemp fiber made taken from the plant stalks, or linen which you can see are formed around these net-like vessels I make from wire.
Hanging by a Thread, 2012
wire, pulp, encaustic, collage
In addition, many of my nets are dipped into the pulp which dries like a skin.  And as with all my work, collage and found objects add layers of textures and meaning to these forms. Shadows in both my two and three dimensional work are an integral part of the viewing experience.

If you would like to hear more about my work and the work of other artists in the exhibition there is an Artist/Curator Talk on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 2 pm.

I will be there... Hope to see you on December 15th... I will be in NJ on November 16th, but at a wedding!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

One Not Enough

California based artist Victoria Veedell is this week's guest blogger for the Artist as Collector Series.
Shannon Amidon, Jellyfish
photo process on wood
collection of Victoria Veedell

I interviewed Shannon Amidon in 2004 for an “Inside the Artist Studio” article for the Silicon Valley Open Studio Magazine. I was intrigued by the description of her photographic process and her story of how she spent so much time at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium photographing the jellyfish.  From her description I knew I needed to see her work in person. 

My husband and I went to an art auction at the San Jose Museum of Art benefiting Silicon Valley Open Studios. We bid on, and won one of her jellyfish images.  

One piece didn’t seem enough.  So for my husband’s birthday I bought two more.  

Now we have a triptych hanging in our living room.  It’s a good conversation piece as our guest always get close to the images to see what they are and then ask about the process.  Not only do we enjoy looking at the work every day but I have fond memories of what a nice person Shannon is and what a pleasure it was to work with her.

Victoria Veedell is a painter based in San Francisco, California. Her oil paintings on canvas capture the essence of nature by examining the effects of light on form in the natural world. The paintings are vibrant and colorful abstractions of the landscape. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Note This

Chanukah is crazy early. Thanksgiving is a week late, and Christmas is everywhere.

Feeling a bit of the frenzy yet?
Frenzy, 2013
acrylic, spray paint on canvas
30" x 40"
The true essence of the season is one of gratitude and joy. And in that spirit, Catherine Hartigan and I would like to share our gratitude with, and for you.

Our Catching Up exhibition ends next week, on November 16. As a way of saying thank you we have a special offer this month. You can buy one of my Koi paintings or a Catherine Hartigan photograph during the month of November and you will receive 25 notecards with the image of your new acquisition on the front, and blank inside. Perfect for holiday, thank you or whatever cards.

And in case you were wondering, you can purchase a work of art installments, no interest. It's all good.

Share the gratitude. and thank YOU.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Embracing the Dragon

Finished up my 5 day clay tile mural residency with artist and DIAE (DE Institute for the Arts in Education) Artistic Director, Anne Oldach, at Christiana High School. The students worked with their art teacher Rhonda Schone and another DIAE artist last spring to create a large drawing that became the cartoon for the project.
The drawing was gridded into 10- 12" x 12" squares. The students rolled out slabs of Raku clay and created 12"x12" square clay tiles. Working in pairs they transferred their square of the drawing onto their wet clay tile using water soluable markers face down and rolling the back with a rolling pin.
Each team actually created 2, 12" x 12" clay tiles and had to transfer the drawing twice.
The thicker tile was the bottom or base tile. The second, thinner tile became the relief pieces they carved, drew into, and brought the drawing to life.

The twelve by twelve tiles were cut into 12" x 6" pieces so the students could work on them individually and for easier handling, and eventually firing.

Rhonda Schone and a student
It was an ambitious project in many ways, and as Rhonda Schone the art teacher so eloquently stated, "These students are difficult to gauge; often they complain the work is too easy, too hard or too boring but I will continue to teach art as if I am “taking art-making too seriously” as they often tell me."

Here's to being ambitious, taking art making "too seriously", challenging our students- and ourselves, and Embracing the Dragon!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sacred Home Rendered on Paper

Sandra Dunn of Medicine Park, Oklahoma is this week's guest blogger for the Artist as Collector Series.
5" x 7"

Valerianna Claff is an artist living in the densely forested foothills of western Massachusetts.

We formed a friendship through our blogs and she gifted me with "Forest" - a seedling
painting of her much larger watercolors in the same series.  

Glowing moonlight invites me into the painting's primal and peaceful forest - a place that
Valerianna calls "sacred home."  Sweeping tonal washes and simple brushstrokes create a magical
landscape that leaves so much to my imagination.  I appreciate her love of nature and the intimate connection she seems to have with her native woods.  

There seems to be an effortless and tender translation from her heart to rendering on paper of these things. 

Sandra Dunn is a painter working primarily in encaustic, and is inspired by nature, spirit, emotion and imagination.