Where I Work

I have been asked before about my studio space. I have also been asked why I do not work in oils anymore and also why I work so small. One image will answer those questions. I work in a little corner of the living area in my tiny flat. It is flat in an old Victorian that has been converted into apartments. I also have a big gas heater in the living room as well. All of this adds up to no strong smells out of respect for the other tenants and no fumes out of a healthy respect for combustion.

Though I am loving my pastels and learning so, so SO much. I am starting to literally pine for oils again. I just read about a ‘natural’ turpentine that has almost no odor and little to no fumes. I am skeptical. However if it is good enough to clean brushes I can use a little of the good spirits to paint with along with a medium.  I will find away to make this work… I must be into oil painting by this summer. I love pastels but to my taste the surface is just so very vulnerable it leaves me uneasy. Also, if I do not start really practicing my representational work in oils now I may never achieve any real level of skill. Oils are harder to handle than pastels and take much more time to learn to simply maneuver in the medium. I have some experience with them but need much, much more. The pastels are exciting me so much and if it were not for them, I might not “make a way” to come back to oils after seven years away from them.

So here is a shot of my ‘studio’ space. Big things start in small forms!!workarea_041913

Squash on Blue – First Pastel Drawing

My first pastel drawing is done. I know it is really simple but it is my first use of the medium and was the most fun with a medium that I have had since I had to stop oil painting. The only thing about pastel that makes me cringe is the vulnerability of the surface but I am using a self prepared surface that has a lot of pumice tooth so your not supposed to have to worry about the permanence. Still….. In all other regards it a really fun medium. Pure, opaque pigment lets you layer easily and blend there on the paper. People call it drawing but it feels quite like painting to me. I do miss using my brushes though, and the smell of turp. As a alternative medium it is making really happy at the moment. I am working on two other pastels I will post the results when they are done.

Hard Pastel
Prepared Arches Paper
11″ x 15″


Eggs – Happy Easter

Happy Easter and Happy Spring! In the spirit of the season, my very first use of pastels took the form of eggs! I am loving pastels. I can not paint in oils because of the restrictions of my small apartment. Pastels are the first medium that I have really, really enjoyed since leaving the oils behind. So for Easter, I colored eggs!


Being Seen

Yesterday at the school I had one of those days where everything you do rubs someone the wrong way and everything you say come’s out  exactly not how you meant it. I was feeling like I wanted crawl into a cozy little box and hide myself away, wondering why I chose to come out of five years of hermit-ing in the first place. I felt raw and open and all I wanted to do was become invisible. Then I wrote this to myself this morning. I think some of you might relate, so I’m sharing it.

…I want to be seen. I do not want to be invisible. I want my work to be seen. A big part of being seen is the fear that you will not be liked or are not good enough. I am going to be brave and take the hits because some people will like what you do and will encourage you and others will be all flustered by your very life force and existence. You will get in peoples way, they will get in your way, you will be misunderstood, you will misunderstand, you will take things personally, you will not understand important things, you will understand other important things. You will be seen, and felt and there in the world bumping up against all the other people that are also there in the world bumping up against you. It’s alright to retreat, to take a breather as you get used to all this bumping into things and being bumped into. It’s alright to let it go – but do not wish again that you might be invisible in the world or that somehow if people see you they will see your wrong. Be SEEN in the world – it is the only way for an artist and a poet to even have half a chance at an audience and to find some camaraderie with even a small handful of fellow creators. You must be seen and be o.k. with all the awkwardness of being seen, because it is only in being seen that your heart will be known and an artist and a poet wants more than anything in the world to have their heart be known. Get used to being seen.

Ho ho ho – Merry Christmas!


From my free writing today

I do free writing every morning – 3 pages at least. It ranges from the simple rant to my deepest philosophical thoughts. At night I try to do 2-3 pages of just creative writing, especially if I have not gotten any writing done during the day. That is 5 pages a day minimum, that makes me happy. Often when I write I get moments of clarity. Today I got a moment of clarity surrounding my writing and my painting and the recipe I need to achieve a certain contentment as a creative. I think almost every creative can relate to this so I am sharing it. When you can distill your thoughts into little chunks you can focus on, you can begin to answer the question of how to make them happen. I recommend taking a little time to think, maybe write about what you need to really thrive as an artist. A few things that would change everything. I hope I can make the below happen for me, and I hope you can make your creative recipe happen for you.

December 7

If I could clear up just a few fundamentals as an artist I would be happy 1) What do I want to consistently paint about, body of work sort of thing. I have the desire, the passion, the skill I just lack continuity of vision right now.  2) How to tap into and channel that sporadic poetic muse and 3) A driving theme for my fiction. What format – Short story, long fiction, autobio, inspiration… what? And once I have the what, what would be the p.o.v. and voice of the work. Add an increased focus and I’d be golden. It would be like having wings. I’ve never gotten it down to such a recipe before.

Rejection Breeds Creativity

200b722905293f1ecdc1807d5b66075eThis is a really thought provoking article on something that each of us, at some point, has to deal with as artists. I have long held the belief that no matter what the outcome the activity itself is forward motion and important growth.  This article gives us an even better take on the old friend, rejection.


Let us all be silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods. ~