Rabbits harnessed to carts with windmills
More ice festivals!
Snow-makers but on glaciers instead of ski resorts
Genetically engineered shore-birds that can actually digest plastic
Horses with solar hats
Mini-golf course windmills that can charge small batteries and electronics
Flotation devices for polar bears (to replace melting ice sheets)
More volcanoes=more land. Build more volcanoes.
Largish box fans that keep ice sheets cool in the summer.
Hello family and friends,
Happy 2019! The new year is filled with possibilities. My 2018 was a whirlwind of excitement as I completed and received my MFA in Craft from the Oregon College of Art and Craft; showed my work at Found Gallery in my hometown of Goshen, IN; and had a fantastic show at Froelick Gallery. Along with doing a cover piece for the Willamette Week and some Turkey Day illustrations as well, it's been a high-energy year for my art! It's been hard to let things run their course and slow down, but I'm getting back into the day-to-day groove of the art studio, as well as the constant struggle to figure out how to be an artist and, well, make money.
So here's to the future, the unknown, of always returning to the dark. Scroll down for updates and my Top 10.
Winter Group Exhibit at Froelick Gallery
You can see a few lingering paintings from my first show with Froelick, St(r)ay, on view with the incredibly talented group of artists the gallery carries. It's pretty special to see my Fleas Flee Free near a Rick Bartow, Nat Meade, Matthew Denison...just to name a few. Don't Want to be Alone looks like Micah Hearn's painting birthed a little painting next to it, in the best way. Ends January 19
Found continues to carry my watercolors and acrylic paintings from 2017-2018. Stop by to check them out if you're in Goshen, IN! Found Gallery carries a fantastically curated mix of mid-century modern furniture, antiques, and international art, some of which you can see in these photos.
IN THE STUDIO
Helen Frankenthaler's Provincetown Bay, 1950, at the Portland Art Museum. This piece always catches my eye when I walk past. It's a gem, Frankenthaler culls up bright moments, there's a sweetness and care in the little dark dashes at the bottom. I can feel seaweed and smell smoggy puffs of smoke rising into a crisp day. This little guy gets me every time.
Samosa Burritos. I made this recipe up where I cook samosa filling, put it in a large tortilla with yogurt and mango chutney, wrap it up, and eat it in a short amount of time.
The Price of Everything, HBO Documentary. This movie is great because you get to see Larry Poons walk around and talk about art in between uber-rich people talk about collecting art. Also, Jerry Saltz talks about artists making an enemy of envy, and I've taken that to heart. I'm painting to make relationships, with the work, with the people who view the work. I believe in friendships, and envy has no place there. Artists must stick together!
Speaking of Jerry Saltz...This article. My friend, Jess, passed this guide along to me. I'm suspicious of big-names like Saltz AND of step-by-step guides on how to be an artist, but the stars aligned and this article came to me at a time when I needed a "talking to".
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. Still my favorite book and currently rereading it. If I could make a painting as good as this book I'd die happy.
Age of Mythology Computer Game. I play this game so I can build tiny armies with tiny mythological creatures. Some people play these sorts of games to compete with each other. It is very important to me to play this game alone.
Latourell Falls. Jess and I did this hike the other week and the best part of it was our conversations on art and life and sitting down to eat Gardettos with a view of the Gorge. Pi had fun, too, and enjoys Gardettos as well.
Hungry Tiger's Brunch. I got the best pancake ever, plus I got to eat it in the amazing company of my friends from OCAC, topped with seeing the Thesis Exhibition of Lindsay Martin and Ellen Petruzzella in a church. But that pancake...
Day-dreaming. I sat on my bed for an hour. It was great. I don't know where my thoughts went, and I'll probably never see them again.
Olives. They taste great!
If you’d like to receive email updates on my shows and studio happenings you can sign up for my newsletter here:
I hope you will consider doing so as I really do love letters, they’re much more fun to write than blog posts (which I don’t really do). Just sign up, okay?!
I had the wonderful (and vulnerable) experience of having Portland, Oregon photographer, Eric Nafziger, join me in my studio for the afternoon a few months back as I was gearing up to complete my graduate thesis work. The resulting photographs are a capturing of some of my work in its original context—the artist's space—which brings an awareness and empathy for the images as individual objects. These photos also represent a brief time in my artistic practice, highlighting elements and routines I found important then, and it's engrossing to watch them change and morph as a result of my own personal change and growth.
HUGE thanks to Erica; her work is lovely and empathetic, with the aesthetic sensibility of a deeply ingrained artistic eye. You can view Erica's original blog post of these images here.
The inexplicable things of inspiration--the visual memory of minutia built up over a lifetime--are hidden beneath a layer of silt. They flow in from relationships with others and from our physical place in the world. How do I find permission--the freedom to make images as I desire, what I deeply know is beautiful--while engaging with the physical and relational world around me? How do I contend with the anxieties of inadequacy, especially those that are not outright recognizable? Stepping outside the everyday gives both physical and mental space for an introspective artistic practice and permission to be inspired by the internal landscape.
As an MFA student, this is a particularly gnawing question: how does one acquire inspiration and form critical feedback on work? The balance between critically engaging work and the creation of deeply personal artwork is vague; the distinction, elusive. How do we find space to consider ourselves in our work, especially when the work becomes a thing of its own to be discussed or deciphered?
The intent of participating in two residencies this fall was to remove myself from my present world of graduate school to the contrasting world of solitude and travel. This was a strange and liquid, personal experiment. The leaving and returning was the first step in discovering what it felt like to have permission. Similar to practicing a particular move in, say, soccer--like shooting penalty kicks over and over again--showing the body and mind what it feels like to have permission in art was a form of practice or repetition. It makes accessing this way of working possible in an everyday setting, and slowly, my hope, was that this free feeling I acquired during my travels manifests itself in my daily life. By teaching myself the rituals I do while traveling away from the day-to-day fears and anxieties, I can take note and begin to implement these ways of working and understanding myself.
My explorations ultimately brought to light that 1) I use art-making and process to contend with boredom and anxiety, 2) contending with everyday life is what I find beautiful in others’ work, and 3) I still don’t know how to be alone. My visual work grew dramatically during these two residencies. For the first time I feel affectionate toward my work. I understood subconsciously the actions in object making are tethered to my place in the world, they are a form of introspective work that few of us take the time to do, but these actions, this uncovering of the mental landscape, is unknowably rewarding to our world.
Agnes Martin’s artistic career is something of a fascination to me, and perhaps it is her story told in brief that causes me to attach myself and these ideas of permission to the montage of her life. After success as an abstract expressionist painter in New York City, Martin left abruptly and ended up living in New Mexico, where she lived the rest of her working life in solitude. I even read somewhere that she didn’t read a newspaper for the last 50 years of her life. Regardless if this is true, Martin embodies the discretion of introspection made visual. The actions of her life represent the issues of living in the burden and anxiety of urban life versus the freedom from these things found in solitude.
Martin’s act of choosing solitude, however, is not the only way to access inspiration (permission). What if we have the opportunity to become the person we want to be when we idealize solitude? Perhaps we have all the tools in front of us, it is just a matter of shaking things up a bit to see where they were hiding. Nietzsche reflects on the idea that many of us do very little with the very much we have:
When we observe how some people know how to manage their experiences--their insignificant, everyday experiences--so that they become an arable soil that bears fruit three times a year, while others--and how many there are!--are driven through surging waves of destiny, the most multifarious currents of the times and the nations, and yet always remain on top, bobbing like a cork, then we are in the end tempted to divide mankind into a minority (a minimality) of those who know how to make much of little, and a majority of those who know how to make little of much. (p. 253, Botton)
For this personal experiment, I participated in two seperate residencies. The first was at PLAYA, a non-profit artist, writer, and scientist residency in Summer Lake, OR. This particular residency boasts its isolation factor: very little cell-phone coverage, limited internet, the closest small town about twenty minutes away. The county is so small that it is the only one in Oregon that does not have a stoplight. At this residency I found a cabin all to myself and a seperate working studio for my art practice, as well as eight fellow artists and writers, for two weeks.
The second residency ended up being on my aunt and uncle’s sheep farm in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. I spent those two weeks in the back bedroom working on my art. I also hiked the expansive acreage, fly-fished on the Tuki Tuki river, and helped out with a few odd jobs on the farm. I even found myself visiting several local galleries and sharing the results of my artistic efforts.
When I first arrived at PLAYA I quickly realized I had not been alone before in my life. I began to acknowledge particular crutches I used to cope with anxiety. Mainly, as a smartphone user, I did not have WiFi or phone service, and soon realized how often I used my phone to calm unnecessary worries. I used screens to distract rather than interact with myself and my world. By eliminating the distraction of electronic devices, I found I had way more time each day than I knew what to do with.
I started my days waking with the sunrise, watching the deep orange hop above the crisp horizon, just over the town of Paisley. I’d watch the playa thaw in all its pale blues and purples contrasted with lines of white alkaline, sandy beige, and deep, cool browns. I’d drink my coffee and write or read, then wander over to my studio space, passing the pond where the american coots dabbed seriously beneath willows and european olive trees. In the studio I committed to working in silence. I wanted to experience how my mind operated without the distraction of other creative work (mainly music). Once the sun set, I’d eat dinner and read and go to bed at inappropriately early hours since, as it turns out, there isn’t much to do without screens or other people.
I hiked after lunch most days. The landscape I walked in put me in a place of feeling tiny, unimportant. I think that the experience of smallness is incredibly freeing for a creative person. I could finally let go the battle of resumé-building decision-making. It made me wonder if this were the reason why many artists go on pilgrimage to find solitude; it is a relief to be put in a place of smallness or lightness when we tend to assume that our lives and actions are the most important thing in the world.
I tried to allow the sublime landscape to effect my visual work through its effect on my mental space. The playa and the high desert where a meditative place for me; the limits of the outerscape just as unknowable as the inner. Over the course of the two weeks I became enchanted; my body at attention to the physical and mental landscape.
My second residency was supposed to be at a backpackers lodge in the Marlborough Sounds on the South Island of New Zealand. The original plan was to spend the first week at my aunt and uncle’s sheep farm in Hawke’s Bay on the North Island, then drive down to Wellington, catch a ferry to Picton, and finally a mail boat out to the lodge.
However, three days before leaving for the residency I started having panic attacks, and by the time I needed to be getting on the plane that Monday I had cancelled my flight. I am not sure the precise reason for the attacks, but my life had been stressful and full of heartbreak up until that point; my husband and I had moved into group housing, I was in graduate school, my husband was dealing with chronic pain, and that summer my best friend and housemate died in a tragic traffic accident. I was overwhelmed and had assumed that extreme solitude would help me work through these difficult times, as I had assumed it helped artists before me.
As I prepared to leave I read through the residency handbook. I hadn’t realized all that was required of me at this particular residency, which seemed to add to my anxieties. My hut had no running water, nor did it have a lock, and the lodge was to keep all my artwork, I had to pay for their return shipment (which I simply was not financially able to do, nor did I want to be leaving my work behind). I had become quite attached to my art objects since my experience at PLAYA, as they represent particular moments, emotional responses, and even evoke certain sounds or thoughts I was having while making them.
I started to recognize that making was about self care for me at this point in time. I still wanted to take that special time for myself, away from my current pain and stress, and so I re-booked my ticket to leave that Saturday. I made an agreement with my aunt that I was to stay in their back bedroom as a sort of isolated space to create my work.
I began to see patterns in how I worked away from home. Once again, like PLAYA, for two weeks I woke up with the sunrise, had my coffee, read, and then drew on scraps of paper. I started to allow myself to play with a childish style, trying to create a drawing process similar to Natalie Goldberg’s writing prompt in Writing Down the Bones. The point of which was to commit to a certain amount of time, or a certain number of pages, in writing (or in this case, drawing) anything that comes to mind, to not put the pen down or even stop to ponder.
I was also strongly influenced by the artwork my aunt and uncle had collected that hung in their house. Many of the paintings from Haitian, Cuban, and Eastern European artists spoke to me about being aware of their place in the world, which seemed to be what I was grasping at in my own work.
These paintings, even though some of them are Orthodox in their narrative, do not speak of grand gestures or brilliant ideas. They don’t point at the artist saying “this is the smartest one”. They speak of contending with the banality of everyday. The marks represent time passing and a commitment to introspection. These were the marks I needed in my work--I wanted to represent my smallness in my work, too.
So I continued to practice a drawing process to commit to myself. Being in beautiful, sublime places, it was also important for me to break free of that European/Western desire to represent landscape in its sublimity when we are in them. I started to pretend I was a child again, and I wanted to draw my place in the world from a birds eye view. When I painted, the shapes were responsive to the shape of the paintbrush, not to the capturing of the outer landscape.
During this explorative period I was also spending time hiking around the farm with the black labrador retrievers searching for hares, hawks, quail. We found lambs that had died in the night, left behind by the flock, chased by the farm dogs to the next paddock. I wandered down to the Tuki Tuki river, watched rainbow trout glide in and out of riffles and currents as slow black shapes. I picnicked along a stream, watched a longfin eel slither beneath fallen logs and limestone rock. I enjoyed evenings swimming in a cold pool, shocking my skin awake. All of this in the name of experiencing the place, to understand my place, so that I can make in response to that.
Both New Zealand and PLAYA allowed me to rethink of who I am as a consumer. By limiting my access to the internet, I greatly limited myself to images and sounds. No longer could I pick any music I wanted. I didn’t have the option of assuming I knew exactly what I wanted to consume and when. Just like with an art project, parameters in our consumption greatly increases our appreciation for what we do have to consume. I listened to music quite differently, the radio carried more meaning, the weight of the lyrics powerful. The books I brought became more important than any other book in the world, the art I saw more important than all other images in the known universe. By limiting the option to see more, read more, listen to more, the creative acts alone carry a power that few get to experience in the modern world.
Perhaps this reaction of reverence for things was what I really wanted to feel when I thought of solitude. I wanted objects in my life to carry importance and weight again, and scarcity certainly causes me to respect, pay attention, and care for them more than unlimited access does. By feeling this towards other creative works, it allowed me to feel the same toward my own work. My work and process finally carried an importance it didn’t have before. It wasn’t about making unique things to put into the world, it was about building up my world, using my time, my energy, that is otherwise terrifyingly boring.
The results of these two residencies overarched into my daily life. They were highly introspective, and much more difficult than I had anticipated due to the emotional weight that introspection carried. I returned with the afterglow of centeredness, a vague outline of what being at peace felt like, an understanding of the anxious turmoil that precedes it.
The residencies became more about contending with fears I didn’t know I had. They gave me an opportunity I had not had before in my life--the opportunity of solitude--to point out assumptions I had made about myself, about what I liked and didn’t like. I took with me an openness--that one can never truly know the self--into the dark and unknown. With this terrifying openness comes a freedom and permission to make art in ways I hadn’t ever felt before.
The time away, traveling, in parts of the world unfamiliar to my own daily life taught me new ways of seeing, understanding, and working. They allowed me to become affectionate with a particular process, to adore art objects as they are idols of our anxieties, metaphors for our meditation and presentness.
Working hard is hard.
First you have to wake up
then you have to work hard
and you work and you work
work work work work
and you work
and then you eat an avocado
and then work some more
then you cough up the avocado skin
because you forgot to not eat that part
and you work and work and work
and then you hack up the avocado seed
next time stop working to eat
an avocado right
and you will be okay.
Here are all the things I’ve learned on how to do things right:
Do not hold farts in
Do not let farts out
Eat raw barley and oats
and little pieces of brown wet grass
Make sure that when you do things
for the first time
you have your eyes closed
and all your toes crossed.
Do the hoky poky.
Light all your rollerblades on fire.
Watch blankly as your dog licks it’s butthole
realize what you have been watching for a while
and pretend like you were looking at the pile of trash
just behind your dog.
Lie to all your friends and family.
Lie to yourself.
Eat vienna sausage.
There is a trick
to finishing chores.
Tie a broom to one leg
and a mop to the other.
A dish rag stitched to one hand
and a duster welded to the other.
Keep a can of air freshener
locked between your groin.
Go about your day like normal.
The fried cheese curds
at the A&W
on the way to Albany
will make you feel queasy
even with Buffalo sauce.
When all you have for dinner
is fried cheese curds
you best be ready
for the consequences.
Has anyone seen a snake? He was just in a bucket of water and slithered away with 10 stolen cars. They are my dad's cars and I need them back before he gets home from work or I am in big trouble.
Do you know how to form good habits?
I do. This is how:
Only eat nuts. This will give you diarrhea, but this is a good thing.
Smoke until your skin turns yellow. This sounds like jaundice, but it is actually very attractive.
Wait until someone yells at you to do something. This is called motivation.
Use dull knives when chopping vegetables.
Eventually you will scream and miss the vegetable and slice your finger.
This is called no pain, no gain. Humans like this saying to justify America.
If you huff paint, good ideas will come to you and you will finish that novel.
Once you have done the nut cleanse and had diarrhea for three years, that should have gotten out all the toxins and now you don’t have to eat anymore. This is called diet.
Sit cross legged until your butt atrophies. Now you are completely self-sustaining.
Good habits are hard to form. You will be glad you did them when you are dead, though.
Do not eat Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch.
Do not eat two pieces of bread for breakfast.
Do not sit on the floor for 4 hours straight.
Do not watch 3 movies in a row.
Perhaps 2, but certainly not 3.
Do not play anything on addictinggames.com.
Do not have one bottle of wine.
Have sex after yoga.
You can skip the yoga part.
Don’t forget to
read about all the candidates
and all the legislature
and remember what a legislature means
and what the difference between a bill and a vice president
and an appeal all are.
Also remember that
trash goes out this Tuesday but not the next
but if you put it out last Tuesday don’t forget
to separate the recycling from the
feed the chickens and fill in the hole the dog dug
in the back yard and also there is dog poop everywhere
so pick that up and put it in the
laundry don’t leave it in the dryer or it will wrinkle
and then if it wrinkles you need to borrow an iron from
what’s that burning oh its the coffee pot left on all day
and when was the last time you swept?
Yesterday? that’s it? Because it’s gross again
the toilet is dirty as well and nobody has cleaned
the moldings anywhere in the house in a long time
also the library books are due and I have one on hold
and thats close to the grocery store
which is great because i have twelve items of food
that need to be bought so that I can eat
and also maybe there might be a potluck
and also the library book on hold when does it stop
being on hold because I could use that to relax this weekend
when I forget to read because I am looking at my smart phone
because it is much brighter and more engaging than a book
but thats okay its a library book and I have another renewal on that one
Did I agree to
help out that friend that I haven't talked to in a while
but is moving their stuff some five hours away to
another place that is also five hours
the 28th is coming up and I swear I said I would do something
really anything but its really left me but at the time
and when was my soccer game was it this Wednesday?
No no it will be on Friday which isn’t normal and
I agreed to do something else on friday but I don't remember what that was
did I ask someone to sub for me then
whats that burning smell
oh its my yeast infection which i haven't called the doctor about
because I don't have a doctor right now
because my other doctor moved so now I need to find a good doc
do you recommend one thats great no I’ll remember their name
I don’t need to write that down.
God, I love being an adult.
What if all the animals
actually had a currency
and it was human lives
and that’s the reason
why we die;
our life was traded
for 16 walnuts
or for 3 micro-acres of
or for a chance
to get with the alpha-female.
I guess we’ll never know.
I am such an open-minded person;
the other day
I didn’t move when a really stinky person
sat next to me on the bus!
I have a friend who chain-smokes
and a friend who dates trans-people.
I know, you are thinking
“Wow, she is so good at not judging”.
Yes, I definitely do not judge.
I love all people.
The only emotion I feel all the time is love.
Yes love love love wow I just love everyone
No anger or hatred here!
Because I am open-minded!
Did I mention I can do yoga?
I tried meditating once
and I don’t frown when people talk in foreign languages.
I don’t try and walk fast around homeless people
I don’t mind that they are homeless!
I feel bad for them
sometimes I even smile at them!
Wow wow wow
you are thinking,
“How is she so kind and open-minded?”
I can tell you my secret:
I don’t judge!
I only experience love
yes yes yes this is totally true.
Has anyone seen
2 My Little Pony plastic figures
(one is green with blue hair and one is blue with green hair)
1 key to the college music hall
a navy peacoat (not very warm, but very slimming)
a yellow parakeet named Wyatt Chirp
3,452 bobby pins
a ring with some little goats on it
1 down North Face sleeping bag (my sisters)
24 socks without a matching pair
a small red space heater
a grey, maroon, and blue hat
1 iPod mini, mint green
an aeropress coffee maker?
My life is fine right now
but I have lost these things in the last 25 years.
is so desperate.
It makes her very uncool.
Nobody likes to hang out with her much.
She overthinks all her interactions
and still manages to get so many things
I’ve got a magic trick:
Put a spoonful of peanut butter in anything!
Improves everything, INSTANTLY!
Of course there is the classic peanut butter in ramen trick,
but did you know you can also smear it on your lover’s dick?
Alright but seriously,
this is my recipe
for casting a curse:
Go to the old pine forest outback behind your neighbor Linda’s pool
find the single deciduous tree,
Draw a circle, two stars, and an ice cream cone
in the dirt.
Take one spoonful of peanut butter
rub vigorously on the trunk of the maple.
Oh, don’t forget to have peanut butter in both shoes,
and make sure these are Reeboks.
Now close your eyelids so hard that they rip right off your face!
Replace eyelids with peanut butter.
Go inside and make a peanut butter and honey sandwich.
Give it to the one you are cursing.
Wait for the magic to happen!
You should see results in 2 weeks, but this can take up to 83 years,
depending on the peanut butter brand.
Brands are incredibly important, especially when it comes to magic.
Another trick? This is my remedy for lying to yourself
about your looks and how smart you are not and
how you’re hopeless because you don’t know how to be happy
with what you have:
Take one spoonful of peanut butter
rub it just above your butt crack.
Walk around the rest of your life
like it isn't there.
Please be sure that others can see it
so that they know you are lying to yourself.
Last trick I will tell you before you have to buy my book on amazon.com:
If you are having doubts
take the item you are doubting
(or if it is an idea, write it on a sassafras leaf)
and boil 3 cups of water in a hole dug in the front yard of your neighbor Linda’s house.
Make sure it is your anger and the earth’s core that boils this water
Now take your spoonful of peanut butter
and the item (or leaf) that you are doubting
and place both in the hole.
Take the roadkill out on the street in front of Linda’s house, always preferably a squirrel,
skunks tend to have a strange affect 20 years from now,
and use it to stir your doubt soup.
Put the roadkill in the hole and bury before Linda gets home from running errands.
WARNING: if you masturbate within 32 hours of this trick you will have infinitely more doubts
the rest of your life.
These are the only peanut butter tricks I can give for free.
I’m looking for all the old computer games
I used to play
Like Sid Meier’s Civ 4
The Sims Pets
because I was a brilliant child
and I would like to be brilliant again.