Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jane Fine at Michael Rosenthal Gallery

While waiting for a table at Little Star Pizza last night, my friends and I decided to walk across the street to the Michael Rosenthal Gallery, which was having an opening for artist, Jane Fine. We had 45 minutes to kill and what better way to spend time than to go to an art opening, right? Especially, when the gallery is conveniently located across the street from the restaurant!

When we walked in, I was immediately struck by all of the colors. Each panel was completely covered with every color of the rainbow. Layers upon layers of acrylic paint where piled on some of the pieces that they were almost more like sculptures than paintings. Fine then used ink to add details to her work and creating, what looked like to me, space age landscapes. My favorite part of her pieces were when she used tape to mask off parts of her paintings, and then pulled them off leaving the rough edges of the torn tape's impressions on her work. Some pieces looked like the tape was actually left on. I know that seems like a small and silly thing to focus on or like, but I just like the randomness of the tape that seem to float within her compositions.

While normally I am attracted to a more muted palette and less "busy-ness" in a painting's composition, Jane Fine's work has enough interesting elements in it that I would probably stop by the gallery again and see what else I can notice from her work.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Things I can't live without... or at least I can't paint without.

Art stores used to be one of my favorite places to be (along with stationary stores, book stores, and cooking supplies stores) but I am finding that now that I have really honed in on a series that I like and want to continue to pursue, they no longer hold the appeal that they used to have. I used to spend hours looking at art supplies and fantasizing about what I could make with them. I'd buy all kinds of paint, paper (that area was my favorite!), pastels, pencils, etc.  I used to have storage containers of such a variety of supplies that if you asked me if I had something, say a woodcut tool or some gouache, I probably did. Now that my direction and goals are more defined, I no longer have a use for these things.

Nowadays, the supplies that really get me going, and that I find indispensable, are pretty simple. I need birch panels that are custom made for me by Ryan McJunkin (if I was a badass, I'd make my own, like Robin Luciano Beaty. She even built her own studio. Talk about badass! And yes, these are shameless plugs!). I usually go with either 12" x 12", 24" x 24", 30"x 30", or 30" x 40". Once I get those, I use Holy Grail on it, which is a water soluble "gesso" specially made by Evans Encaustics for encaustic paint (she also makes encaustic paints of which "Robin's Egg Blue" is my new favorite color). Regular gesso usually has acrylic in it which does not adhere well to wax so Holy Grail is a must.

Once my panels have their sides masked off and the fronts have Holy Grail, I transfer my drawing on them and use only two tubes of paint. Titanium white and raw umber. Not really exciting huh? I then cover it with clear encaustic medium (I make my own using resin from R&F Paints and wax from Sinopia) and blow torch it smooth. Now while my art supplies have dwindled to just two tubes of paint, birch panels, holy grail, and encaustic medium, I have to say that this is the most inspiring work that I have created. I don't need to throw in gold leaf or random things in just to be gratuitous. I have simplified my art and am very happy with it. While other artists who I admire and who's work I covet are using many supplies and get to have fun trips to art stores, my art life has become simplified. I do miss those shopping sprees and using those supplies, but I think I am going to stick to simple for awhile. Now if only my personal life could be simplified...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Rise and Fall of a New Year's Resolution

It is February 21st, 53 days into the new year, and I am already having a hard time keeping up with my resolution to draw/create one ACEO a day for the entire year. At this point I have done 44 drawings, which makes me 9 short, assuming I don't create one today, and I plan to. 

While I don't want to make excuses for myself as to why I have not done the other 9 drawings, I do have to remind myself of the reason for taking this project on. I wanted to make sure that I was creating art EVERYDAY, without fail. Creating art everyday is essential for my growth as an artist. I needed this goal so that on days when I felt depressed, or uninspired, or just downright lazy, I had a reason to create something no matter how small. I also wanted the freedom to experiment and not feel like I needed to create a masterpiece every time. So when I really think about it, I guess my goal really is more about the ACT of creating rather than the PRODUCT that I create.

Now if I look back to the days that I did not make a drawing, most of those days were because I had spent at least 5 hours in the studio painting and was tired by the time I got home. Now if my goal was to create every single day, do those days count against me when in fact I am creating but in a larger format? Am I not fulfilling my actual goal of creating everyday? Hmmm, in essence I guess I am but I did state that I would specifically make an ACEO a day. What do you think? Have I broken my New Years Resolution already? Or am I still golden? All comments are welcome!

Don't forget, all ACEO drawings are available on eBay.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"I'd Rather Be in the Studios" Part 2

As most of you know, I have been reading Alyson Stanfield's "I'd Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self Promotion" and so far, I'd have to say that by doing the "actions" in this book, I have noticed an increase in attention of my artwork. More people are reading my blog and have been visiting my website. I have gotten a few shows by following up on some leads. I have more "hits" for my name on Google alerts. Even though I have to confess that I have not been very good about marketing myself in the past two weeks (I got engaged two weeks ago and have been caught up with all the excitement and planning of a wedding), I can see the power in self-promotion and know that it is a constant practice. You can't promote yourself for a week and expect that to be enough to launch your career for a long period of time. Self-promotion has to be constant. You have to schedule time to do it and it takes time.

One of the big components of increasing your presense is to blog. Online communities and blogging is huge and what better way to let people know what you are doing than to write about it and post pictures? Here are some things I am doing to increase my online presense. Thank you Ms. Stanfield for helping me do what I am already doing even better. (Those of you out there trying to increase your presense...BUY THIS BOOK! I highly recommend it.)
1. I have been making a concerted effort to write a blog entry at least twice a week. People can't read what you don't write. I write about what art related books I am reading, what I'm working on, and what inspires me.
2.I registered my blog on some blogger sites which let readers know when there's a new post and signed up for so that I could track the number of readers I have.
3. Whenever I write something, I Twitter about it and also post it on Facebook.
4. I have started posting "My Favorite Artist of the Month" entries for two reasons. I get to share who inspires me and I get to network with the artist that I am featuring.
5. I've started adding other people's blogs to my site and have been added to others as well.
6. I read fellow artists' blog and comment on them.

Readers, please feel free to comment on any of my posts. I welcome all!

Image: "Swimmers 2", 24" x 24" This image is a pre-waxed version of the painting.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Favorite Artist of the Month: Jane Hambleton

A couple of months ago I went to the art opening of Jane Hambleton at the Michael Rosenthal Gallery in San Francisco. Her new work, titled "Above, Below, and What Falls Between" was on display and I immediately fell in love with her paintings.

"Testing the Water", 2009, 40"x 54.5"
Jane, a Berkeley artist, uses images that are "drawn from collage studies, old photographs, and photo illustrations found in vintage Red-Cross water safety manuals." These images are drawn on large sheets of paper in graphite and then covered in acrylic medium and oil paints. I found her paintings to be soothing in their starkness and subtle colors, making me want to jump into the water with her figures. I find that I often look at her website ( and dream about owning one of her paintings. I literally am in love with her work and am completely inspired.
"Canoe", 2009, 60.5" x 50.5"

"The Dive", 2009, 86" x 46"

"Looking In", 2009, 80" x 30"

Monday, February 1, 2010

"I'd Rather Be in the Studio"

While shopping on recently, I stumbled upon "I'd Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self Promotion" by Alyson B. Stanfield ( in the recommended books section. What I liked about this book, and what inspired me to buy it, is that it wasn't just the basic book about starting your "art business", which usually included topics like writing an artist statement, putting together a promotional packet, and how to contact galleries. This book is all about marketing yourself to sell more art and have a bigger "art presence". It includes topics like how to increase your online presence, writing the killer newsletter, and creating a media kit. It is more about promoting your work and creating a buzz than the usual "how-to" on getting into art shows. This seemed like an extremely useful tool for the point that I am in in my career since I am already getting into shows (although that can always be increased) but I am wanting to look more into how I can increase my visibility and make my art and name more of a brand.

The book is divided up into "actions" that a person needs to take. Action 1 is the basic "defining success for yourself" but what I liked about this book was that it gave you a table to fill in that helped you define what success means to you. I remember the first time I was asked this question by artist Jeff Schaller ( when I visited his studio and was picking his brain about how he was able to be so successful at creating art for a living. It was the first time I had to really think about what it meant to me. Does success mean showing in a certain number of galleries? Museum shows? Having a certain number of sales? Being able to support yourself on your art alone? (YES!) Every body's definition of success is different and the table included in this book, along with everything else in the chapter, helps you define it for yourself.

What I also like about this chapter was that Stanfield writes about the importance of APPEARING successful. She states that you have to envision that you are already a success (hmmm...sounds a lot like what I wrote about previously on affirmations and visualizations). You need to write about it, speak about it, and believe it (which does not mean being arrogant or speaking down to people, btw. Nobody likes a jerk.). You also need to look the part, such as dress nicely outside of the studio, and make sure that your presentation package is professional looking. As Stanfield puts it "If you don't radiate success, how will you attract a following?"

In the next couple of weeks I will update you on what I learn from this book and how it is working for me. So far I have a HUGE list of things that I need to do in order to get myself organized and start promoting myself better. (I am on action 8 at the moment and the previous chapters deal a lot with organizing your office and setting up your files. Clutter is the enemy!) I am determined to follow each action and so far, I am enjoying reading this book. Stay tuned!