CPS Studios-Summer 2010

MN Women's Press-Oct 09



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Gallery surfing on Canyon Road

On my first full day in Santa Fe, I headed to Canyon Road for a little gallery surfing. Well, make that a lot of gallery surfing! Canyon Road is  a half mile strip of galleries located a short distance from the downtown Plaza area. Part of the charm of the Canyon Road galleries is that they are housed in old adobe houses, some dating back to 1750. They retain much of their original charm.

Here I am standing outside the Jane Sauer Gallery, where we saw an exhibit of incredible figures/art dolls created by Charla Khanna (along with alot of other amazing work). I fell in love with the work of abstract painter, Krista Harris (working in acrylics!)


I enjoyed a beautiful winter day, walking from gallery to gallery. There was a wide variety of work, from landscapes to Southwestern art to contemporary abstract. Of course, you cannot take photos inside the galleries, so I have no photos to share...but I was able to leave with a stack of artist postcards and gallery guides to help me remember artists I enjoyed.

What was very inspiring and motivating to me as an artist was seeing the amount of abstract work exhibited in the galleries--much more than I typically see in St. Paul/Minneapolis. I wanted to go right to the studio and start painting!

But instead, I spent the day walking from gallery to gallery, soaking up all that inspiration like a sponge and hopefully storing it for another day.

There was even a little sculpture park, featuring several Buddhas, including this one:

Fortunately, a few short days later, I was able to make another trip to Canyon Road. It had snowed a few inches overnight (they closed the schools!), but to this Minnesotan it was a beautiful day!

I set out from our room, walking to the Plaza and then eventually making my way to Canyon Road. It was a beautiful walk and a beautiful day for taking pictures!







 Next up: a trip to the Plaza!



Leavin' on a Jet Plane...


 Nearly 3 weeks ago I was taking off on a long-awaited trip to Santa Fe. This trip was a dream shared and made possible by my good friend, J. Why Santa Fe? Because New Mexico was Georgia O'Keefe's adopted home and it is an artist's haven. Truly.

I had the best intentions to come right home and start writing about my trip...but as often happens with "best intentions", life took over. I was thrown right into final holiday preparations.

So with the holiday past, I thought I would take a few days to write about my trip and share a few photos. I am also planning to create a little trip journal with watercolor sketches...I hope to share that as I work on it.

So back to the trip, which began December 9th:

To start with, I love flying. This was only the fourth trip in my lifetime (50+ years) that involved flying. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that, but life hasn't presented me with many opportunities or the $$ to travel on a regular basis. So every time I get to fly, I am giddy with excitement. Like a kid in a toy store with unlimited $$ to spend. I don't think flying will ever get "old" for me. It is an adventure. A thrill. I love take-off--feeling the plane leave the earth. And once we are in the air, I can't take my head out of the window. (This is why I always want a window seat and always want to fly during the day).

This time I decided to take some pictures while up in the air:

I fell in love with these circles!

When I look down at the ground and witness the changing geography from the air, I see paintings. Since it was winter, the ground below was predominantly shades of gray and white. I would love to see this landscape changes in the summer!

 I do believe these images will be involved in paintings someday!


The landscape changed as we approached the Southwest. We were almost ready to land in Albuquerque!

 I will write about my week in Santa Fe in upcoming posts, but I'll wrap this one up with images from the trip home:


Goodbye Southwest!

 Our trip home was later in the day and it was dark as we landed. But I got some great shots flying through the clouds and of the sunset we were flying away from--




 I took about 50 pics as we flew...which made me feel like a bit of a dork...but in retrospect, I wish I had taken more. Who knows when I will fly again?

Up next: Discovery of Canyon Road Galleries


Taking chances and giving up control...


This morning I was pondering how hard it is as an artist to "give up" control of your work. Whether you're a painter, singer, writer, or actor...when you put your work out there for the public you lose a bit, well, sometimes a lot, of control on how you're work is presented.

Case in point: In the past few years, my hubby has renewed his passion for acting. He has been working constantly, often acting in student films or other small film projects for NO pay, just to gain the experience and film credits. I must say I admire how hard he has worked and how far he has come in such a short time.

Near the end of last winter, during probably the last big snowfall of the season, hubby acted in a video for a local musician. It was a beautiful video for a beautiful song, but as winter quickly turned into spring the video was never released. We figured it would turn up this winter.

And it did. Sort of. This morning I woke up, checked Facebook and saw a link for the video. I yelled up at hubby and excitedly started watching the video. And then I realized...hubby had been cut out of the whole thing. Completely.

I had seen the original cut of the video with my hubby in it. I know I'm biased, but I thought it was beautiful. The video told a great little story of kids fighting it out, the "bad" kids going after the "good" kids with snowballs. My husband, the only adult in the video, came to the rescue of one little girl--the star of the song/video. The picture above is from the final scene of the original cut.

Don't get me wrong...the new version of the video is still lovely. But I felt disappointed for my see his work "disappear".  (Fortunately, he still has a copy of the original cut.)

I have experienced similar situations so I understand how hard it is (no matter how much you say otherwise). I have entered group shows, paid my fees to be a part of the show, handed over my work, and walked away hoping ... hoping that my work would be shown in the best possible spot. But not everyone can get the "best" spot and you just have to roll with the punches. What's hard is when you go to the show and you feel your work is in the "worst" spot. It happens. I've been there. It sucks.

And then you just have to move on. I think along the way you learn to enter the shows at the venues that best fit your work. I'm still learning that one. But it's still important to take some risks, because you want to get your work out there.

Keep trying, as they say.

And so I will.

And for my hubby-- When one door closes, another one opens: Here's a link to a Chevy commercial contest he appeared in. The top finalists will be shown during the Super Bowl. His commercial made the top 50. He's Grandpa going after "the squirrel". Just click on the link and give it a thumbs up:


Holiday Open Studio


Next week I will be hosting an open studio at my place. Here are the details:

Friday, December 2nd     6-9 p.m.

300 Broadway Street    Studio 107

St. Paul, MN

This event will take place as a part of Lowertown First Fridays and so a number of artist studios throughout Lowertown St. Paul will be open as well. It's a great opportunity to check out the local art scene and pick up a few individually created gifts just in time for the holidays. Tis the season to buy local!  But more importantly, this is an evening that I open my doors to friends and supporters to share my artwork and some holiday cheer. There will be plenty of treats! I hope you will be able to stop by.



Joining me in my studio December 2nd will be encaustic artist, Tara Tieso--one of her pieces is pictured above.

What is Encaustic? The word “encaustic” comes from the Greek, meaning “to burn in”.  In painting, a medium is created from a mixture of beeswax and resin, melted and pigmented.  The molten paint is then fused between each layer with fire.  The technique is one of the oldest painting techniques known, dating back to the first century.  Tara's encaustic pieces are abstract in nature and incorporate the use of charcoal, intaglio technique, oil paint, and of course, beeswax.

 Missed the Mark 24"x30"


I will also have two paintings in the Lowertown Artist Show, opening December 2nd (including the piece above). This is a juried art show of 50 artists who live and work in Lowertown St. Paul. Artwork will be on exhibit at the AZ Gallery and Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar from December 2nd thru January 15th. If you are unable to make the December 2nd opening, please note that an artist reception, with live music, door prizes and refreshments, will be held the evening of December 10th.






So, as I wrote earlier, I've been dipping my brush back into watercolors. I love their fluidity and the immediacy of color I can get. In comparison, when I'm working with acrylics, I often lay down multiple layers of color before I reach the intensity I'm looking for.

I began painting these color "studies" or color "quilt" blocks (as I first thought of them) on 6"x6" watercolor paper. I painted the blocks in blues, greens, and some purple--making each smaller block its own unique shade by mixing different combinations of color. On each piece, I started with the center block, often painting that one center block gold (as in the piece above). Sometimes I added a little irridescent watercolor, making the colors shimmer just a bit.

While I painted these, I thought about traveling life's journeys, navigating the ups and downs, the ins and outs. Some paths are easier to travel than others, but all have something to offer.

I framed a few of these and showed them during Art Crawl. Now a few are available at the Artist Mercantile, located in downtown St. Paul. They are titled "Meandering".



I think these little color blocks will continue to evolve. Already they have morphed into these little pieces that I find quite meditative. In fact, I titled one "Morning Meditation".  Below is a detail from one piece.



The one below didn't quite end up as I wanted (note the bottom right corner), but I thought an appropriate title for this one might be "Zen is a tough bitch to maintain"... Ain't that the truth.