Saturday, December 10, 2011

Two Recent Commissions

Studio Space

view from our studio
So, I have been a busy bee. I work full-time and I take two classes at the Community College, which I love. And on top of that, Sky and I have decided to rent an art studio, really a dream come true. A few months ago, having a studio was nothing but a beautiful daydream that I would summon when I thought about my ideal future. Today, having an art studio is real and I couldn't be more grateful.

Luckily, Sky and I utilize it VERY often. In fact I feel bad and guilty when I spend too much time away from it. Sometimes I even find I have to drag myself there. But then, when I have my headphones on and I'm in the zone, I'm the most content version of myself.

getting things set up

a little more put together

Monday, October 24, 2011

Waking Up Series

For my next painting project, I've decided to do a series of portraits of people just waking up.  Having this idea has subsequently lead me to ask people via facebook and real life (obviously) to send me photos of themselves when they first wake up. It's been really interesting actually.  I've received quite a few really great photos that people have taken of themselves when they first roll out of bed, and it's fascinating to me because I get to see these really intimate, personal moments of their lives and they are perfectly ok with that. So here are 3 so far that I've started on (neither of them are finished).  Ideally I'd have 16 of them, so that when hung on a wall they are laid out 4x4.

Monday, August 22, 2011


i'm sorta surprised by how quickly i banged this out.
i wanted to submit something in the bridgewater fair art exhibit.
excluding the years i lived in california, i've gone to the bridegwater fair almost every single year with my family for my birthday. each year when we go, i always really end up wishing i'd put something in the exhibit, and this year i finally did. ironically though, i couldn't actually MAKE it to the fair because i was working, so i didn't get to see it displayed. but that's ok, because a piece of me was there.
i had about a week to finish this between the time i got home from europe and the submission date. i sort of wonder if it could've been better if i had more time.

Friday, March 25, 2011


i've been feeling weird lately. lots of death happening this year. nobody that close to me, but a bunch of acquaintances who are close. i feel like death is always lingering around, hovering close but it hasn't snatched anyone i care deeply about yet.

what's going on in japan is deeply disturbing. the radiation leaking out to the rest of the world. when i look to my future, it seems bleak. what will the world be like when i'm 40? everything is happening so quickly and i'm scared.

the things that bring me joy are school, painting and dancing. but i need to go wild. i need to let loose and let go and just LIVE. i feel like i've just been in a bubble of worry, anxiety and fret. i need to burst out of it.

i need my friends.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

 this is a painting i just started. oil on canvas, 24x30
 today after work, i went to visit little james.
and little james' mom, who's my best friend. 
and little james' dad.

and i've been trying to not go insane and keep a level head and remember to breathe. 

Friday, March 11, 2011


my last assignment in painting class was to choose one or two expressionist painters, and "borrow" elements from their style and apply it to our painting of two nudes. i chose the artist alice neel.

on thursday, we had the critique. we each had to get up in front of the class and explain which painter's style we copied, and what elements we took and used in our paintings. then the class made comments. then we clapped at the end of each critique, which is a nice and maybe slightly silly touch. i was the second to last person to go, and right after i hung mine up, rick, the teacher, had this ear-to-ear grin on his face and said, "for this one, let's just clap before the critique as well," hahaha!!! so the whole class clapped before my critiqe even began! and it was just kind of this high moment. and it was weird, because it all happened so fast and in a blur, but while they were clapping, i was getting the alice neel pictures i used as a reference, at that moment i banged my finger pretty bad, and it's all black and blue under the nail bed. it was such a weird moment, like it was grounding or something. like wabi-sabi. like, this moment would've been too perfect if i didn't bang my finger right then. but i couldn't deal with it right then, so i just sucked it up as part of the experience. and the critique was such an amazing success, i was so surprised. basically only one guy had a critique (the navels were too dark), but nobody agreed with him. HAHA. the teacher even liked the signature i added. he had this ecstatic smile on his face the whole time while looking at it, and he commented that he liked how my "naive" signature is so proudly displayed on the bottom, HAHA. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

copying the masters

my teacher had told us he wouldn't be in class today, but that he wanted us to come in anyway and do sketches of figures, to warm up for our next painting which will be of two nudes.

so i brought in some art books, and just painted a drawing by egon schiele. and i'm so glad i did. if i had ever thought about copying art already done by the masters, i probably thought it would've been a waste of time. but ever since my teacher talked about "borrowing" or "stealing" things that the greats use, or even just flat out copying their stuff, i got more intrigued and decided to give it a go.

this painting is based on a drawing by egon schiele, who i LOVE. what i loved about this process was taking what i love about his style, but making it my own. for instance, i love his disproportionate perspective and strong use of lines. his version had nearly no color, so that's where i came in.

it just makes it really comforting to know (instead of daunting) that there's really nothing original in the world, and that EVERYONE borrows things from people they find inspiring. i guess that's how things become our own; because we make it our version by putting a piece of ourselves into them.

i'm all about "borrowing" now. i'm no longer afraid.

Friday, February 11, 2011

signing artwork

in class yesterday, i was pretty much done with my piece and spent the majority of the time drawing, while the teacher went around and talked individually with every student about their painting. the critique was supposed to be yesterday, but by the time we only had a half hour left of class, he called everyone over to the table and told us that we were all just having too much fun painting our pieces to have the critique that day. so on tuesday, we're having a big breakfast, along with the critique. it sounds pretty lovely.

anyway, at some point during the class, he came over to me and started talking to me about signing your piece.  he took my sketchbook and demonstrated how picasso sometimes signed his name boldly, as if it was an important element of the work. he showed me what his own signature looks like, after telling me that he only recently began signing his work. i told him that i never really signed my work before, but only recently became curious about it.  i've always been hesitant about it, because signing your work is sort of a mark of pride, and i haven't reached the point of such confidence in my pieces. but after my teacher gave me a little lesson on it, i was ready to try.

since he had told me there was so much space in my painting, and that it was sort of a bold piece, he said a bold, big signature would really work. so i practiced some signatures in my sketchbook, before deciding on just my initials (MEC), underlined, with the year under that. when he came back to check it out, he laughed delightedly.

i didn't take a picture of it yet, but i did start another small sketch of the same jar of flowers:

next week, we will start a painting of figures!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

first finished in-class painting

yesterday i pretty much finished my first painting for this class. we're having a critique during the second half of the class tomorrow, and i think during the first half i'll do a couple touch ups, but i don't want to fuss with it too much.

i struggled with this a lot while i painted it. i think it's because i'm intimidated by how GOOD my classmates are.  i'm pretty good with not comparing myself to others, and i realize that we all have our own style. and it doesn't matter to me much anyway, because i paint for the enjoyment of it, not to be the best at it.  but looking around at all my classmates' paintings, i felt small and like i had a lot of catching up to do. as much as i love to paint, i feel like i still basically know nothing about it.

that's why it was amazing when my teacher, rick, came over and pointed out all the things he liked about it. he said it was "really nice" and that i handled the colors beautifully. then when i was about to do something impulsive to it, he stopped me and pointed out why it would detract from how good it already is. then he brought me to his office and we looked at different artists on the internet (i WISH i had written their names down) and talked about their techniques and things of theirs i could take with me.

i'm excited and nervous for my first critique tomorrow!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

the lesson continues

my attempts at loosening up continue. tonight i painted a tomato. it took maybe 45 minutes, and it was surprisingly more difficult to do than my self-portrait.  i kind of predicted that though; tomatoes are just round orbs of red with green leaves, but there are so many other colors involved in them too: yellows, blues and purples. the tough part is to incorporate those colors in a smooth, round form, and still be loose about it. well, i tried. time to move forward and try to get better.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

what sean said in 1970

In 1970, Ralph Arlyck shot this kid Sean, who was only 4 & 1/2 years old at the time and lived with his parents in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.

this short film is fascinating. it's an interview of a four-year-old who lives in the haight-ashbury district of SF during the 60s. it was so captivating that i researched it further and found that the guy who made it, ralph arlyck, created another film 26 years later called "following sean," in which we get to see how sean turned out as an adult. "following sean" is streaming on netflix, and i just finished watching it.

you can watch "sean," the 16-minute short film of him as a 4-year-old, here:

i really recommend it. obviously.

PS: adrienne, when james gets to be 4 and a 1/2, can i do something like this??

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

loosening up

today was the first class in which i actually painted. the teacher is really awesome. i've always known i have issues with loosening up. he came over and demonstrated on my painting how to loosen up. it was like something clicked, although i hesitate to say it yet because i've had such issues in the past. but after he gave this demonstration, i sort of had this conversation with him where i told him that was a main issue for me. he told me about ways he loosens up when he feels like he's getting tighter, and ways people he knows loosen up. somebody he knows went into the woods, got a branch with no leaves on it, brought it into her studio and just painted with that. using a crappy brush helps too. even though you might be afraid of ruining something you're working on, you just have to be brave and almost do something rash to it in order to break free.

so tonight, i got out my acrylics and charcoal, set up the light and the mirror, put on "purple rain" and loosened up. i painted this in less than half an hour.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

spring semester

last thursday i had my first painting II class. it seems cool, and the teacher seems really nice and all. but i keep getting a little nervous because i feel like my painting I class was so amazing that it's going to be kind of hard to live up to.  i LOVED my teacher, i felt like we not only hit it off personality-wise, but he really taught me so much and basically helped steer me in a certain direction as far as my painting goes. i felt like i absorbed so much knowledge from him. not to mention that the class was PERFECT: there were about 12 of us, and we all got along. i could be in the worst mood, but when i went to that class, i was immediately uplifted and we all laughed together, and it was so much fun and so comfortable.

the painting class i'm in now has 20 people in it, and has a mix of advanced painters. it's a painting II through IV class! so there are students at all kinds of stages, and it's gonna be a little cramped for space, and i'm picky with that. i usually scope out spaces with the best light, but it's gonna be hard this time. my teacher seems really cool, and i was completely absorbed in what he was saying as we went through books of paintings during class. i just hope that we connect on a personal level, because that makes the class so much better. i'm just gonna stay positive.

i had to go to a lumber yard to get wood, because we're building our own canvases from scratch! as in, we're using power tools to build the frames....AAHHH! exciting and nerve-wracking.