Studio Tour 2018 – Wall of Smalls and Everything’s on Paper

Come visit me during the tour at STUDIO #37 – it’s FREE

Studio Tour Logo White

Saturday and Sunday  Sept.  29th  10-5. &  Sept. 30 12-5

For a  map and more information Here’s where you can find my studio

Everybody out of the drawers!  Featuring 30 years of works on paper!

In addition to recent drawings and lots of smaller affordable original oils, I’m featuring 30 years of works on paper.   Most of these were done without any thought to exhibiting them.  So… now I have quite a collection of works on paper and they would love to find homes!  At prices that will entice you. ($95 or less).    So this is your chance to 


  Here’s just a sampling…….






the studio tour approaches- better get those elves busy!

Special events volunteer job finished – check!
Finished helping a former student with her 5th grade art students’ “trash animals”- check!
Garden pretty much planted – check!
Studio intern on board – check!

studio tour painting, Nanci Erskine, grass paintings
a peak at a corner, before this one got stretched. This piece will be in the Studio Tour exhibition at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, opening June 14th

Now, on to getting paintings finished, framed, perhaps some pastels drawings….maybe some prints made… (just met a printmaker from MO, who can show me a new non-toxic process)

I’m lucky this year again to be sponsored by Legacy Land Trust for the FREE weekend artists studio tour. June 22 and 23rd.
AND I’ll be donating 10% of the proceeds from the weekend to the land conservation efforts of this small but mighty organization.

And…I am looking forward to having some help with studio/documentation/database tasks.
If you come by for the tour weekend, you will meet my intern, the amazing Ali. If you speak Mandarin, she will also make you feel right at home!

Brick by Brick… Am I easily distracted or do I just have lots of good ideas simultaneously?

bricksI’ve been working in my home studio for about 2 years now- and enjoy several things about it.
•No rent.
•More space.
•Obviously closer to home-  I can go work anytime- for hours or 15 critical minutes.
•I can do the studio tour more easily.
•Everything is stored in one location.
•I have separate work areas set up for painting, drawing, printmaking, and desk work.
ah….. it’s the last one that might be a mixed blessing.

Desk area Ever the multi-tasker. Listening to a lecture by Daniel Ariely while reworking some monotypes with various media.
Desk area
Ever the multi-tasker. Listening to a lecture by Daniel Ariely about Irrational behavior while reworking some monotypes with various media.
Drawing Wall Lots of pending ideas, and a couple pastels up on the wall.  Finally using that black paper that's been in  my flat file for years.
Drawing Wall
Lots of pending ideas, and a couple pastels up on the wall. Finally using that black paper that’s been in my flat file for years.
Painting Wall Warpping up the large grey one, and several 8x10's coming along.
Painting Wall
Wrapping up the large grey one, and several 8×10’s coming along.

Because when I have several ways to work, of course I have several things going on at once. And they all interest me. And they are all mere steps away from each other.
uh oh
but over the years of working this way, I have become used to this  – everything eventually gets done… even if they all stagger towards the finish line at different speeds.  Being able to trust this is important. The author Daniel Pink says he believes in the simple action of showing up- working brick by brick-  how showing up every day becomes a cumulative effect.
SO… perhaps waiting for inspiration is lame-  we’ve oversold it (part of the mystique of the ‘artiste’?) and been undersold the PRACTICE
Or as Dave Hickey so aptly put it- “A frenzied, vague, emotional response just means your hand is moving in a pleasantly abandoned fashion.”  This is art as therapy.

The hand and eye working in response to how you think and feel about something  (idea/subject) takes more time and effort.

Being able to live with ambiguity and incompleteness- knowing that all the little incremental steps do add up to work that is resolved and also has a deeper history. That’s a tougher task.

brick by brick  –  that’s just the way I roll.  If you keep adding enough bricks- pretty soon you've built something substantial!

A View inside my Studio

It’s a Saturday, P1020635when we were expecting six inches of snow to be on the ground, but no such luck. While I’m ruminating on deeper subjects to write about here, I thought I’d give a glimpse into what’s on the walls and under way in the basement.

I am usually working on more than one piece simultaneously.  It’s a bit like cooking a complex meal.  You are aware of various things simmering, waiting to be prepped and you jump in when something is needed. You are aware of the sequence of steps you take as they overlap and build towards some kind of conclusion. You act on impulse, you act on experience. P1020647

The two large pieces might eventually be stretched. And the small ones on the right are a continuation of the “Grasslands” series.  (bonus- I recently got a new cart to store painting supplies and it rolls around so nice and is just the right height for me)

Working with oils asks for patience and a lot of reworking the way I use it.  The larger pieces with so many stalks and movements in space also call for keeping it all straight in my conscious mind. I am creating a maze of overlapping elements, and also monitoring the overall movement/balance/spatial qualities/color…etc…etc.  What appears to be spontaneous and instinctual can also ask for many small decisions- over and over.

Over-under-over-under, repeat.

help wanted….?

box that UGallery sends to me. I pop my work in the foam sandwich/cutout, stick on the prepaid label and drop it off at the UPS store. What a genius system!
When I sell a piece of art, a box from UGallery comes to my door. (wrapped in way too much plastic)  I pop my work in the foam sandwich/cutout, stick on the prepaid label and drop it off at the UPS store. What a genius system!

I’m not normally one to ask for help…part of the lineage of work-ethic Protestantism, no doubt. I’m not normally prone to getting other people to do things for me like mowing the lawn, helping me get places, cleaning the house, (a somewhat rare event anyway) stretching or priming canvases, doing other tasks around the studio.

But lately, I’ve been rethinking that position. There are various piles of slides in my studio, now that I’ve sold the cabinets they were stored in.  And, since the technology of documentation has changed during my time as a painter (and will probably keep changing), I need to convert these images of work into digital files.

The local arts incubator start up in town has forged an alliance with the university art department, and there’s a small class of students who want to learn more about being artist-business people. Part of this involves an internship with a local artist or arts organization.
I’ve never had someone helping me in the studio, but since I have taught university age students and have lots of tasks to get through, I decided to go for it
– and applied .

Being in the class last night, I was struck by the energy and optimism of the students, but also how much they need some real world experience.  It almost strikes me that getting young people all riled up about being a business before they have gotten very far in their art making process might be a bit premature. And I think they need some introduction to the daily slog and hard knocks that come with being in any creative endeavor and needing to find an audience or support.   At the time I left school after getting a BFA, I was already an older student, since it took me a while to go back and earn the degree.  But in fact, that was a good thing.  I had a chance to experience many other places, and experiences, and when I did return to school, I was incredibly more disciplined and focused.  ie: a better student.  Then, after the BFA, I took a year to just work and paint on my own, seeing if I had the mentality to be by myself for hours, working on things that may never see the light of day or get any recognition. Turns out, this suits me.  Then, I went on for an MFA, and after that, most of us were thinking “university teaching career” is the way to go. The majority of the people I was in grad school with, ultimately ended up taking that road.  Some are still on it.

Because my path led me to leave the academic world, which at the time was a rather hostile environment, I am now at another cross roads, where my career as an artist is pretty much up to me.   The world would not suffer if I quit painting cold turkey, but I might.

So, in this latest iteration, I am venturing out into venues that didn’t exist when I first began, and there are lots of learning curves, which is good, because challenging my brain with lots of new information and problems to solve is something I relish.

another new thing I’m learning…

My last studio newsletter was a number of months ago- and I like to put out a couple a year. Because my list is nearing 200, and I’d rather not deal with composing in a Word document- which makes the file wayyyyy too large. I’ve decided it’s time to buckle down and learn how to use Mail Chimp.

Which gives me way more functionality
and easier ways for people to opt in or out.(plus did I mention it’s free for a nice small business like mine)

Wow- they provide so much support and tutorial help, I’ll be swinging through the email trees in no time.

But- on a larger note:  it’s challenges like this to the brain that keep us mentally sharp as well!  So, I may never get around to learning Spanish like I probably should- (or maybe that should be Mandarin Chinese?) …  but my little synapses are getting exercised by all the tasks I do to try and generate interest in the work.    So.   Be looking for my latest newsletter soon….

plus, ya gotta love the Firefox cupcake header on my browser!