Sunday, November 8, 2015

An experiment and a challenge

Two springs ago I took a wonderful art class about creative process and developing oneself as an artist. At the end of class students were required to present their portfolios in a formal presentation, and then received a review from our two professors and one artist from the community.

In my review I was told to be more passionate. Of all the criticisms I expected to receive, it was not this. I expected a criticism of my technical style, or the lack of cohesion in my work. Instead, I was told that my concepts came across clearly and that I was able to articulate ideas well, but I needed to make my work more personal. They said, your ideas are universal; what are YOU struggling with? They also said, make art for you. Which means, let go of wondering if your ideas come across and let go of worrying about whether it is beautiful. Be less utilitarian. Your art doesn't need a purpose.

Essentially, I am a contemporary artist. I want to convey ideas. I want to make art that comments on society. Ideas are important to me. Change is important to me. Feeling like I'm DOING something is important to me. I feel like I can never do enough. I am torn between the worlds of art and the environment, and (though if someone else said this to me I'd be appalled because I firmly believe art is valuable, whether or not it has a message), I feel torn between an "unworthy" calling and a worthy one. Somewhere along the line I figured, if I can make art about social change, then that will be enough. Then I can justify my art.

When I received this critique I thought, is that really necessary? Do I really need to say what I'm struggling with? I was pleased to hear my ideas come across clearly as that is what I want from my art. So- no action needed, right? However, I greatly respect the professors I had in that class, and the critique wasn't an off-hand comment made by one of my reviewers- all of them had the same criticism. Additionally, making art about ideas and about social change, though good, is a way to distance myself from my art. It's a way to not risk being seen. It is safe. And perhaps if I make my art more personal it will be more effective. It might be a good growth opportunity. So here we are. If being personal and taking risks is what I need to do to improve my art, then I should give it a try. I should free myself from having to say things. There is a value to saying things with art, of course, but I want to push myself as an artist and if that's what it takes then I'd like to try it.

So starting today, this is my new experiment. The experiment will exist on this blog and not my current blog on my website because my new portfolio is my professional site and the link to my new website is on my business card. I don't know that I need new professional connections to be reading about my feelings or love life. Also, I'm pretty confident that no one is reading this blog, so it's a way to practice risk-taking, and to practice sharing more personal art, without really sharing it. It's a baby step. I'm going to be posting personal art here and am going to practice being comfortable with sharing a new kind of less-curated art. It will also be a venue for my musing on art, artistic process, personal art v. not personal art, etc. 

So that's all. Here goes.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

It's been a while since last posting. A LONG WHILE. But part of that is because I have been working on a new website that will serve as my online portfolio.

My new website link is and is going "live" tonight. Yay! I hope to use this portfolio to apply for additional illustration gigs and to share finished/polished work. I am going to continue to use this blog to post works-in-progress, musings, and other blog-like things though and am excited to stop neglecting it.

In that vein musings-  I have been really enjoying Austin Kleon's blog lately ( He has great advice for artists/creatives/people in general and I've been finding a bunch of interesting podcasts and links in his blog. If you're going to go down the rabbit hole of the internet, you might as well do it through this blog. It'll be worth it. Or it will inspire you to stop rabbit-holing and to get to work, so a win-win.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Last week I deinstalled my Illustrations for Your Memoir! Show at Glama-Rama gallery and salon in Oakland. And though I had written it in my gcalendar, AND on my hardcopy paper to-do list, I forgot to take pictures of the show before taking it down. Halfway through pulling thumbtacks off the wall and stacking frames, I realized this and snapped this picture, which gives a little sense of the show:

Funny story- the text in the silver at the top says "I am so terrified that sometimes I can't even breathe" which is a line from a beautiful story on postpartum depression by Megan Stielstra called Channel B. It did not sell so I brought it home with me and now I have it hanging above my bed. Which seems a little emo and initially worried my roommates...haha

More from the show

Next up- I think I'm going to take a hiatus from applying to shows and focus on just creating art for a while- specifically I'd like to focus on sculpture and acrylics. I read an art blog somewhere that challenged artists to make one piece of art a month, so at the end of the year you have 12 new things in your portfolio. So I'd like to take on that challenge. November 1st, here's looking at you.

I found this cool article and highly recommend giving it  a read:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

This is the illustration I did for the Funny Women column "I Sold my Software Company and Now I'm into Art," which can be read here:

I gotta say, this is one cute little dog, if I do say so myself.

Feng Shui Digs. Ink and gouache.

These Rumpus illustrations were for a Funny Women column called "Notes on Camping." I have to admit, I'd not heard of Susan Sontag's "Notes on Camp" and had to look it up to understand this column. Once getting some time of context, "Notes on Camping" was much funnier. You can read the column here:

In Western Art, the audience is the victim. Ink. 

The Elegant Simplicity of the Mosquito. Ink and gouache.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Totally slacking...

Here are the Rumpus illustrations from the past 2.5 months...

More to come over the next few weeks, but for NOW the big news is that I have a show coming up! One just passed, which was part of the reason for my absence on this platform, but the other will be in 3 weeks...which will account for my likely absence on this blog after the zeal of tonight.

More info on the show soon though!

Until then...enjoy- Funny Women illustrations:

Craigslist Formal Encounters

The Lady Writer's Guide to a Successful Sex Change

(The original version of this top drawing involved genitalia...but APPARENTLY that is discouraged on the Rumpus...good to know)

How's That Barnard Thing Working out for You

I HATED this one...which was possibly the author's intent- to annoy people like me. It may have been satire. I couldn't tell if that was her intent. It's interesting how some things are harder to convey over a written format. And if it was intended to be satire, is it ineffective if I didn't get it? What was her angle? I'm very curious. I'll probably email her when I get some down time to discuss the piece with her because I want to know. It definitely got me thinking though about how an author's intent plays into the interpretation of art. As I was reading it, I trying to figure out her angle in order to interpret that piece "correctly." But shouldn't it not matter? I don't know.

Welcome to Your Wonderful Engagement Photo Shoot

I LOVED this essay and highly recommend you read it. 

Why Jeannie Drank, A Colloquium

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Latest Rumpus illustrations:

Tender Buttons Pleasure Emporium

Gasp! Ink.

M.A.S.H. for Adults

No Children. One Cat. Ink and gouache.

Dream Job Depression Spiral. Ink and gouache. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I have two more Rumpus sets to post, one that was up on the Rumpus last Tuesday and one that is coming up next Tuesday. So those are incoming.

BUT! What I'm really excited about is the art class I'm taking right now and I'm going to start posting projects from that class. What's been interesting about the class, which is called Critique and Creative Process, and is extremely freeform, is that I've only made sculptures in the class. As an artist I feel like I used to identify more as a painter but haven't felt into painting as much over the past few years and it's been super fun to just follow my whim and use whatever medium I want for each project.

As much as it kills me I'm not going to post these sequentially. So to start here's two. We were given the prompt to choose a symbol and in preparation for the main piece about the symbol, we were to create two small projects about the symbol sort of as a meditation on the symbol.

Hammer. Nails and wood. 

Beating Like a Hammer. Cardboard box, markers, paint.

After creating these two starting-off pieces, I created the main symbol piece. I had chosen the hammer as my symbol for 2 reasons:
Pete Seeger. Dreamy.
2. A Step Along the Way - prayer that I'm going to post here, because it's beautiful.

A Step Along the Way
Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. 

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church's mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

Here's the final piece:

Wooden crate, clay, candles. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My latest Rumpus illustrations were for a posting in the Funny Women column positing how the classics would be different were they written by a Buddhist nun (read it here). Below we have Anna Karenina and Moby Dick.

Within Anna Karenina. Gouache and Ink.

Unbalanced! Said the Whale. Gouache and Ink.

Also! The delay in getting these posted is due to me having a little less time because I'm taking an art class at Berkeley City College. The class is called "Critique and Creative Process" and in it students are allowed to use whatever medium they'd like and it's a great class. So, SOON, I hope to start posting photos of what I'm working on in that class, which'll be a nice change of pace because so far most of my work in the call has been sculptures. Keep an eye out in the next week or two for BCC-themed posts!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The latest two Funny Women posts have been about people getting scary over weddings and ghosts. I recommend reading both. They are posted here:  and here:

Here are the illustrations from both. I'll let you guess which illustrations are from which story.

Melody and Hank's DOOM WEDDING. Gouache and ink. 

Butterflies in your stomach. The good kind. Gouache and ink.

Ghosts don't NEED toilet paper. Gouache and ink.

Ghost Toast. Gouache and ink.