Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler

created as an auction piece for 

"Art makes a difference; Do what you love. Share it with others. Brighten the world.
Joy Now!"


Friday, December 7, 2012

The Beer Panty Series

Vintage beer-can panties nailed onto an acrylic painting on denim.

A few months ago, a friend tipped me off to the Estate Sale of an avid Breweriana collector. Still hung up on this whole beer art thing, I couldn't get there fast enough, and boy did I hit the Jackpot! This guy's basement was a treasure trove of vintage beer collectibles. The walls were lined from floor to ceiling with the most amazing can collection I've ever seen! They were being sold for a dollar a piece. I didn't know where to begin, I started to hyperventilate a little bit and actually had to excuse myself. The girl working the cash register saw my distress and whispered for me to come back at the end of the day when everything would be 75% off and they would make me a deal. I wanted to kiss her hand. I went back that afternoon with the biggest bag I could find and left with nearly 100 rusty vintage beer cans (for $15!). I was a happy camper!  Needless to say, it was a little difficult to explain to my husband how important this score was to me and why I NEEDED them so badly. Thankfully, he went along with it and now The Bone Cave has the very distinct odor of an Old Man Bar -but it's worth it!

I'm excited to have found a new medium and am having fun exploring new ways to make art with it. I'm not sure if anyone's ever made beer panties before, I hope you like them.

How about some Beer Panties for the Holidays. . .
Merry Crotchmas!

You can find my 8" x 8" beer-can-collages at The Big 300 Opening This Saturday 12/8.
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mama's got a New Brow

'In Heaven There is No Beer'

Beer-can collage on wood with Damask, cranberry cowhide and bottle caps

Inspired by Modigliani and the existential pleasures of beer drinking.

In heaven there is no beer.
That's why we drink it here (Right Here!)
When we're gone from here,
all our friends will be drinking all our beer!

This 'painting' will hang at the Portland Center for Performing Arts until the end of the year.

"NEW BROW is a defining term (from Europe of course) to redefine art of the "outsider" or "low brow" nature, for the next generation.  These terms, outsider and low brow, have been terms to define art that is “outside the norm” or made by artists that were “uneducated” in the art world.  In Portland, we feel that these “new brow” artists are the best juxtaposition to the gallery world, as much a part of it as they are separate. This "fine art" made in these areas today by both self-taught and trained artists in many genres (comic realms, poster art, tattooing, paintings, and fine art) is  very much a skilled effort, and the idea of NEW BROW is a celebration of fine art and outsider art as a union.  It’s not entirely defined by the art style, but rather by the community at large and the artist’s individual life balanced within their art making.  To us, this defines Portland. From age 20 to 70, these artists are united in our town.  Still within the realm of "edgy", these fine artists rest on the edge of the pop and fine art that defines our world and these are some of Portland's best, and definitely some of our favorites in the city."  
--- Chris Haberman and Jason Brown, curators, 
Peoples Art of Portland Gallery

Me and my girl

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Soulful Day

My Tribute to a HonkyTonk Angel and Bluegrass Boy

In keeping with my love of music and efforts to keep things Light and Bright, I have crafted a piece to honor Kitty Wells and Earl Scruggs, two souls who passed on this year.

Day of the Dead is celebrated over 2 days. In most regions of Mexico, November 1 (All Saints Day) is to honor children and infants and is generally referred to as Día de los Inocentes ("Day of the Innocents") or as Día de los Angelitos ("Day of the Little Angels"). November 2 (All Souls Day) as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos: the commemoration of all the faithfully departed.

Dia de los Muertos is a major influence behind the work that I do. It took a series of events to get me here, but I am finally finding my way to my art through a process of healing and personal transformation.

My path as an artist has taken many twists and turns, including long periods of denial, avoidance, rebellion and pent-up blockage (eww gross!). It's taken me a long time to get to a place where I can openly call myself an 'Artist' and feel it in my bones without too much fear or doubt. By the time I finally made it to Art School, I was already in my 30s! It was fun while it lasted, but then after I graduated, I stopped. I didn't paint or draw for 10 years! I got married, bought a house and had a baby. By the time my son started Kindergarten, I was feeling the pull to be creative again in a painfully powerful way. Our school was holding a Holiday Craft Bazaar and I brazenly signed up for it. The Bazaar was being organized by Local Crafty Maven Jen Neitzel (a Holy Craft Goddess in my eyes) and when she asked me what I made I could only answer "I don't know yet". It was on my bike ride home that day, only a few minutes after signing up that it hit me like gang busters! The Bazaar was scheduled for the first Saturday in November; Day of the Dead. I would make Sugar Skulls! My own mixed-media, recycled interpretations of them.  -It felt like Divine Inspiration exploding in my gut.

It had been almost exactly one year since the horrific tragedy that took 3 of our friends, a mother, father and daughter. We had been mourning their loss and silently suffering the aftermath. All of the sudden I saw a way to process all the hurt and transform my loss through a creative art form. I would make sweet, colorful, whimsical, wonderful sugar skulls and smite death with a smile!

I sold them at the Bazaar and they were a big hit! The kids especially loved them -which made me happy :-)

But even more special, I was given the amazing opportunity to create an altar in the window of Fantasma on Alberta. It was an incredible honor and gift to be able to create a very meaningful homage to our dear sweet friend Ruby. It was a healing experience for my entire family.

That year (2009) we celebrated Day of the Dead like never before. There was a beautifully haunting procession on Alberta that night as we made our way up the street to the Guardino Gallery to see their annual Muertos Show. We left a message for Ruby on their altar.

It has been a secret dream of mine since then to someday be in the Day of the Dead Show at Guardino Gallery and guess what . . .
This year, I am!

I hope you will visit this very special show, up until November 18th.

Celebrate the Ones you Love,
Past, Present, Here and Gone.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Send in The Clowns

Bozo Fett

12 x 12 acrylic painting with mixed-metal collage on wood
 See it at Good:a Gallery   4325 N. Mississippi Ave.

My son wears a Boba Fett watch and has never heard of Bozo the clown.
What does the Bounty Hunter from Star Wars have to do with Bozo the clown? Absolutely nothing
- except in my own twisted mind.

Do you remember Bozo?
-or am I just living in the past man!

     Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Keep on Truckin'

'Buy American!'

I enjoy art the most when it cracks me up the whole time I'm making it. I don't even care if no one else gets it. It's my own joke and that's good enough for me. I was invited back to the Goodfoot for their next show: I am, therefore I think: a Social Commentary Show. I think I was supposed to make 3 to 5 paintings for this one, but sheesh, they're lucky they got this one outta me. At first, I took the matter very seriously and thought about all the worthy causes that deserve an impassioned artistic response, but that started to feel too forced and with all the drama and stress surrounding the impending election, I decided to lighten things up a bit!  

I've been on this bottle cap and beer can kick lately and the image of this mudflap guy popped into my head and I knew I had to do it. None of my fancy micro-brew caps would be appropriate for this piece, this time I needed good ole fashioned 'crap-beer' caps and I was surprised how hard pressed I was to find any in my collection. I get caps from lots of friends (Thank You!) and local pubs, so I was a little surprised when I could only rummage a handful of Bud/Coors/Miller caps from the pile. There's some 'Social Commentary' for you right there.

There's a couple that lives a few doors down from us who work at the bars on the corner, each at one. They are young and hip -in that Portlandia sort of way and wear large plastic rimmed glasses -so we call them The Buggles (my boy actually sings this song when they walk by) -which is several times a day to and from work. I've never had an interaction with them before, but the other day, I jumped out the front door to ask them if they could score me some bottle caps. I'm pretty sure I frightened them a little, but a few hours later there was a plastic bag on my front porch full of caps! I tell this story because this is how I work, it is all part of my 'artistic process'. I'm a goofball and I have no shame and I think it's important to know that the caps used in the piece came from the Lutz and the Delta, thanks to a couple of hipsters who have never before given me the time of day. Funny.

So there's also this guy, this grumpy old man who lives in the hood, we call him 'Buy American'. We've lived in our house for 10 years and for TEN YEARS we've put up with him ranting and raving to "buy American" as he walks by our 'foreign' cars on his daily excursions to BiMart. He is clearly in a world of his own, perhaps he even has a condition, but he's not getting any sympathy from us. It was startling at first, to hear someone yelling over the fence to us as he passed by, then it became a joke, now it's just plain verbal abuse and we're not gonna take it anymore! We've even seen him on the Boulevard shouting out to others to "buy American" -this kind of hostile bullying cannot be tolerated, so now we yell back at him "Shut up old man!" and "Buy Peanut-butter!" Yes, it's a beautiful day in this neighborhood. 

It's so silly how misguided some people are. Here this guy is harassing us over our Japanese and German cars- which contain parts made right here in the good ole USA, while his beloved 'American' cars are made up of parts made over seas!  Reminds me of the time El Hueso and I stopped into a pub in the Po-dunk foothills of the Sierra and tried to order a beer: "what kind do you have?" we asked, "ALL kinds" the waitress replied, "Bud, Bud Lite, Coors, Coors Lite, Miller, Miller Lite. . ." and then we asked how about St. Stans? (a local microbrewery just down the hill) and she said "Oh Nooo! We don't carry any of that foreign stuff!"  Ha!

"Buy American!"

This guy is FOR SALE through The Goodfoot Gallery
click this link to buy online: 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Back on the Beer-Wagon!

8x8 panels for 88 Strong

Gettin' on the Goodfoot -ah!

Doors are opening and I'm stepping into worlds that only a few years ago I pined to be a part of. Lots of baby steps are leading me towards new connections that I am hungry to explore. I'm excited about new opportunities for making art, sharing art, showing art. I'm meeting new peeps and making new pals and I'm terrified and questioning my place in the Big Scheme of it all and wondering where I fit in and if I even belong. Can I hold my weight with the Big Boys (of PDX)? I don't feel ready yet. I'm still finding myself, testing waters, learning to crawl. Yet I find myself inching closer to things I've wanted for a very long time and it feels good . . . in fact I think I might throw up.

So this month, I have found my way into a show at The Goodfoot! It's BIG, 88 Artists big. We were given 8  8" x 8" panels to complete. There will be nearly 700 works of art on the walls! My art will be mixed in with the work of some of my heroes -a few of which I have been fortunate enough to meet recently! I am such an Art-Groupie! -These are my Rock Stars! So Psyched to be a part of this show. And don't feel worthy, especially since I only submitted 4 finished pieces!

There are 88 themes in this show and luckily one of them was 'Hops' 
-do you think they threw that in just for me?

Opens this Thurs Sept 27th from 5-12
The Goodfoot
2845 SE Stark
All Art is $50 cash and carry
everything is framed

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pop Fly

'Pop Fly'

I'm always looking for something different and ideally a bit challenging to do, so when I saw the 'Bowling with Heart' Call for Art pop up on the Crafty Wonderland page, I jumped at the chance to nab a pin to decorate. I knew immediately that I wanted to cover it in bottle caps, all soda-pop caps this time since it's for a Children's Hospital. -Something to do with all the caps I've been sorting out from my BEER cap collection. I also had a neat stash of perfectly distressed vintage pop caps given to me by a friend earlier this Summer just waiting to be put to use.

 I just wasn't sure exactly how I was going to go about it or even if it was going to work, but that's where my job get's interesting and that's when hopefully the magic happens (it doesn't always). My mom was here visiting at the time and brainstormed with me on how exactly to go about hammering the caps to conform to the contours of the pin. It was kind of fun involving her since most of my art up to this point hasn't really appealed to her particular sensibilities (you know all those skulls and such!). It seemed somehow appropriate to get her input on this project since it would be donated to a Children's Hospital and she is due to retire this year from 35 years as a nurse in ICU at Oakland Children's Hospital. We decided that a ball pein hammer pounded into my soft thick rug would give the caps just the curve they needed.

As I was finishing it up, I wrote the friend who had given me those cool vintage pop caps to tell her that I was finally getting around to using them. She wrote me back that she was glad! She had gotten them from her very creative sister-in-law Connie who had lost her battle with Leukemia about a year and a half ago. She said "I'm sure she would very pleased to have a fellow artist make use of them! She would have loved your stuff. In some cosmic way you are helping me keep her memory alive."  Needless to say, I got all goosebumpy and emotional and knew that I was on the right track and that something special had just happened for I believe that we are all connected and everything happens for a reason, though we may not always know why or what it is at the time. 

It's just a bowling pin covered in bottle caps, but it feels very meaningful to me and I hope Connie likes it.

Stay on the lookout for more info coming next month about the 
Doernbecher Bowling with Heart Fundraiser: 
Bowl-a-thon and Pin Auction.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

El Gallo!

I was gone for most of August, but before I left I was invited to be a part of a fun little Food cArt Show at Screaming Sky Gallery. It seemed like the right time to bring a little focus down to our neck of the woods here in Woodstock, so I chose El Gallo -who truly deserves the luv. I believe they were one of the first carts to move into our hood and they've hung on (and thrived) while others have pulled out. I chose to honor them in appreciation for that and for their damn good tacos!

I had fun painting this guy and all the bottle caps I used were 'Up-cycled' from
El Gallo patrons. 
The show is still up for another week and this pretty boy is still

If you're ever in Woodstock, be sure to check out El Gallo and tell them
Alea sent you!

SE 48th and Woodstock (in the parking lot of The Joinery)

Here I am at the Opening

Just one last thing . . .

Big Mama can sing it!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

For the Love of Beer

It's here. . . the moment I've been anticipating for months! The Beer show is up at Amnesia Brewing and our Opening Reception is this Friday the 13th from 7pm until 10pm. I'm so excited to be showing with Chris, such a huge thrill for him to give me this opportunity! I admire the folky feel of his work so much and think our stuff really jives well. I feel like I'm on a roll now, inspired by my favorite beverage, and plan to continue with the BEER theme as I still have lots of ideas brewing.

Our show will be up thru the first week in August. If you love beer as much as we do, help us celebrate Craft Beer month with a locally brewed pint and some locally made ART! 


Amnesia Bewing is at 832 North Beech St in the North Mississippi District

Here is some art from the show:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

On the Edge. . . of balance.

Setu Bandhasana
The bridge between chaos and calm.

Last weekend, I took a much needed break and escaped into Eastern Oregon with my family for our First Road Trip of Summer. It seems lately that it is never the right time for anything and that I am always supposed to be doing (working on) something else, but we split anyway in search of a bit of Bone-bonding. We headed out to explore the 3 units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument -which was rugged, remote and wildly scenic in unexpected ways. The weather was ominous with thunderstorms and driving rain at times -which only added to our adventure, seemed to keep other tourists away and intensified the colors of the landscape. We fell in love with Oregon in a whole new way and had way more fun than any of us were planning on. 

The experience of the weekend restored a sense of calm in my heart and I started to get that balanced feeling that I only really feel when I am in the raw, peaceful presence of nature. I wish I could keep it with me but it always seems to fade when the other reality sets back in.

Back home, I started work on a new piece for the Last Group Show at Launchpad Gallery. The theme of the show is about being on the Edge or cusp of something and daring to venture beyond. I felt a pull to be a part of this show and took a break from 'Beer art' to make something for it. I thought it would be fun to try to get a little abstract - and attempt to let the color, shapes and textures do the talking. I'm not sure if anyone else will pick up on what I am trying to express, or even like it, but I feel good about pushing myself into a looser, less defined realm.

'Setu Bandhasana' is the Sanskrit name for bridge pose which opens the chest and promotes relaxation while reducing stress. Though not depicted accurately, this was my inspiration.

The Edge opens on First Friday, 7/5 at 6pm. I am excited to have several other Rad friends in this show as well, including the ever inspiring Jenssens:

 View all the art in the show here: http://launchpadgallery.org/on-the-edge/

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Obey the Hop God

Though I enjoy a good fru-fru drink to mix things up and wine has its moments, BEER is my old stand by. I'm just that kind of gal. I think it runs in my family, I remember going to visit my grandma years ago and finding her refrigerator empty save for a few cans of beer! And my mom made beer, waaay before it became trendy (early 80s) and we used the spent grain from Anchor brewing as compost in our garden when I was growing up. Back in the early 90s, my boyfriend (now husband) made beer in his Yosemite dorm room with fresh Sierra snow melt! I even brewed a batch all by myself to celebrate his return from his ride across the country on the TransAmerica.  We've had hops growing in our yard for almost 10 years and I have always been attracted to the chartreuse flowering vine. I've been wanting to make Beer art for a long time but could never really peak anyone's interest with my grainy ideas, until . . . C. Haberman told me that he curates the space at Amnesia Brewing and had an open slot in July. "July is Craft Beer Month", I said, "Let's do a Beer Show!" and here we are.

Stay tuned for more details about the show coming soon!

Meanwhile, today was a GOOD day. Moved the studio into the backyard, the boy got a quality stretch of time with his best bud and I made some art. I am thanking the universe for working with me for a change.  Hallelujah!

Out of the Bone Cave - into the sweet open air!

“Beer is the reason I get up every afternoon.” — Anonymous

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Can - Do!

Lots on tap today! It's the weekend -which means soccer, a Garden Tour and a BBQ tonight and then tomorrow will be a Plant Sale, baseball, a bike ride and a Father's day celebration. The big challenge will be fitting in some studio time! I've been prepping boards, cutting up cans and smashing bottle caps. . . but I haven't finished any new art yet! It's times like these that I struggle the most with my priorities (and time management). How to meet my deadlines and still be fair to my family? Must find a way for everyone to win, get what they want and be happy.

I CAN do it!

“In Vino Veritas, In Cervesio Felicitas (In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is joy)”

Friday, June 15, 2012

Late Start


OK! It's almost noon now and I think I've almost recovered from the depths of last night's Deeeeeepression. It's only the 2nd day of Summer Vacation for crying out loud! Must turn this frown upside down and stop wallowing in the pit of self-examination. The SUN is shining and my son is prancing around the house in a beret, desperately vying for my attention. Going to brush my teeth and hit up a garage sale. Maybe some gardening later, hopefully some art making!! I will try not to expect too much. I will try not to question everything. I will try to lighten up, love more generously and live mo betta! It will be what it will be.

'Artist' is not a Job.

There is no image for this post.

Tonight, I painted with beer. I have been wanting to do this for a while now. I know it is common for people to use coffee and tea, but I thought I might be on to something by trying a nice chocolate stout . . . until el Hueso reminded me of that woman from Bend who paints with beer! She was in the Fort George Beer show last year, I completely forgot!  I wonder how many other ideas I get that are not my own? Is an original idea even possible anymore in this overactive, over-populated world where everything's already been done several times over -simultaneously! I think it's time for me to accept that the idea of originality is dead. Why even bother trying to come up with something new? What if the secret to success is more about the familiar? Why bust my brain trying to reinvent the wheel when I can just go with what I know? If I were smart, I would just build upon what has worked for me instead of constantly starting over, constantly searching for the Golden Ticket.  I find the familiar a bit boring, so instead of perfecting a skill, I keep exploring new ones, never amounting to a master of anything.

As I was painting tonight in the dimly lit bar, I realized that I could barely see what I was I was doing. My old eyes are failing me and I'm not ready to start wearing my reading glasses in public yet. I started to wonder what difference anything makes. And then I was reminded of a 'friendly argument' between a husband and wife I know who disagree about the definition of an artist. . . he argues that if you make art that is never seen then you cannot call yourself an artist. Just as an actor requires an audience, an artist requires a viewer. She argues that the mere act of creating makes you an artist, that it's more about HOW you express yourself as a painter, dancer, actor, writer, musician, etc. than WHO you express it to. All this makes me wonder: WHO are we doing it for anyway? Motives may vary for the reasons we do it, but the underlying factor that is hitting me over the head lately is how selfish it all is! You have to be pretty self-centered to choose to be an artist. Instead of working to become a nurse, teacher or scientist, the artist decides to hone the skill of expressing THEMSELVES and how THEY see things.  Thankfully, there is a hungry 'audience' out there who see great value in this and appreciate it. But while the artist is being praised for their bravery, and receiving accolades for putting themselves 'out there', who is considering the means of support that makes it all possible in the first place? The behind-the-scenes benefactor receives no credit, though deserves it the most.

For some it might be uber-wealthy parents who bestow the support . . .
why can't we all be Trustafarians?!
For me, it is my humble, unhappy husband who busses off to work everyday
(so I can have the car) and slaves away at his gut-wrenching, soul-sucking job to keep food in our bellies and a roof over our heads while I ponder the meaning of life and how to best express it. This arrangement leaves me riddled with guilt and it's not working for either of us. It's not fair. He doesn't really understand what I'm doing or how I say the art world works, but he's been patient. It's been 3 years now without me bringing anything to the table (financially) and his migraines have increased to worrisome proportions. How can I make art at such a cost?
Yes, I'm showing my art here and there and even selling a few paintings every now and then, but it's not nearly enough to alleviate the stress. It's just not worth it to watch my love suffer for my art. I wonder how many other artists are in the same boat and how they reconcile their predicaments? I get the feeling that most folks at 'Craft Night' are single, either don't have children or their kids have grown up? Maybe it's just not the right time for me to be an artist. Should I wait until my kid is grown, that's only 9 years or so, (I'll be eligible for AARP in 5) Perhaps I'll be tragically hip by then!

Not sure where to go from here. Just when I think I'm on to something, on my way . . .

I find out I'm doing it for all the wrong reasons.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fighting the Flow

A teacher, an office manager, 2 physical therapists and a wanna-be walk into a bar, can you guess which one just doesn't belong?  These are a few of my friends: The professional career women, the well dressed contingent who work to make money to provide a better quality of life for their families. I'm no less driven or passionate about my need to succeed as they are, so where did I go wrong? Why do I find myself increasingly unskilled to compete on their level? Why does the divide seem so deep? Am I really destined to live merely a half-assed Life? Who's fault is it? Why can't I stop measuring my worth by the success of others?

I was actually the first to walk into the bar (in spite of my effort to be fashionably late). The staff sneered and profiled me from the get-go. I wasn't 'their type'. Fuck them! How do they know who I am? I usually avoid the place like the plague, been screwed too many times and it just ain't worth it to shell out good money to be abused by holier-than-thou hipsters, but I thought I'd give them yet another chance. As my friends arrived, the air of judgement from the staff began to reek as we table hopped a few times trying to get comfortable. The bartender didn't appreciate that and the vibe was more than unfriendly. It's a bar, get over it.

We were ridiculed for not reading the signs on tables (which looked like garbage) that explained there was no outside patio service. It was all downhill from there. Not enough ink or piercings I suspect. Oops, I forgot my ironic trucker hat -maybe then they would have been nice to me! It's a shallow shame to be sized up based on your appearance. Just because I don't wear cool shoes doesn't mean I'm square, just means I'm practical and perhaps less in debt.  Little did they know that I am actually a double agent. I don't fit in with my friends either, just infiltrating the successful class for the night . . . spying on 'the greener side'.

It sux to feel like I don't have a peer group or at least a BFF. It sux to feel like no one ever gets me and that I'm constantly vying for acceptance no matter what circle I'm in. It sux not to have come up with an external image that better reflects my internal personality by now.

Even at my friendly neighborhood Craft Night, I get the sideways looks for appearing a bit too Normal to be an artist with any real talent. But then I proceed to overcompensate by acting like a blubbering airhead just to prove that I really don't have my shit together. I just dress/act generically to transition better between the dark side to the light. It's been tough trying to live a bohemian art-filled life and still hold my own as a semi-respectable mom in the school halls and on the soccer field. In the end, I don't really succeed at either.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Blinded by the Light

After a brief flurry of activity the other day, I am derailed again. But the light at the end of tunnel is bright as my LAST big volunteer commitment at school will be over by 4pm today! I have spent the last few weeks putting together a small festival to celebrate our Walk and Bike to School efforts scheduled for this afternoon. After this party's over, I can happily hop back on the Art Train, hopefully without too much distraction. Oh what a relief to be off the hook (and out of school). No more fundraising planning, organizing, coordinating, marketing, poster designing/printing/hanging, endless email back and forth, blah, blah, blah! I'm not even on the PTA board and yet I sure do seem to spend a massive chunk of my day working on school stuff. I always have to laugh (in a sad-black-comical sort of way) when people ask me if I work at the school . . . Ha! I WISH I was getting Paid! This morning, I was treated to a lovely Volunteer Appreciation breakfast along with a roomful of other dedicated parent volunteers who all work hard to contribute to the community we have created. Lewis is fortunate to have a strong body of parent involvement, we could use a lot more help, but on the flip side, it could be much worse.

It may sound selfish, but I am more than ready to fade back into my own life again and refocus my energy full bore on my own personal priorities.

Click this link to see pictures from the event:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gettin' Jiggy in the BoneYard

The SUN came out today. . . and so did my power tools!

Felt good to get a little sawdust in my hair. Finally getting busy on some new work. 
Not sure what I'm doing yet or how it's gonna turn out, but I'm starting!

Here's a hint. . .

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

black cat moan

Kerouac with Cat Whiskers
Saw this in a stall at the Stars Antique Mall today

Falling further into June and I'm already off the wagon. Five days into it and I haven't made any art yet. This is how it goes, this is why I'm blogging, searching for the secrets to a well-balanced Life. Hoping I'll find a way to fit it all in, or learn how to accept it when it doesn't. Not sure how to let go of how I think things are SUPPOSED to work. I keep making plans and not following them. Living in a loop of frustration. What will it take to be satisfied? Wish I didn't expect so much. Time to drink more, make art and hope I don't feel like shit in the morning.

Jack Kerouac
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
Jack Kerouac, Dharma Bums

Sunday, June 3, 2012


In front of the PNCA Design Arts Dept. (sw10th and Salmon)
on the day I packed up my studio just before the school moved. 1998?

In 1995 we moved to Portland so I could go to Art School in Beervana. I had done a semester at the Academy of Art in SF, but el Hueso wasn't hip to living in the Bay Area, so we loaded up the truck and moved to the great green NW -where the beer practically falls out of the sky!

My time at the Pacific Northwest College of Art seems so surreal to me now, especially since the school I went to isn't there anymore. I learned how to paint in the Portland Art Museum, took printmaking, photography and anatomy in the wing that now houses a collection of Native American art. It sure felt like a big deal then, but feels quaint in comparison to the internationally renowned entity that PNCA has become. When the school moved to the Pearl district, it underwent a transformation that I feel little connection to.  The only part that remains of the school I knew is the sculpture studio -that I had to cross town to get to. It was out in the middle of NOwhere, in the scuzzy warehouse district that now poses as 'The Pearl'. I didn't mind the walk; a 15 minute adventure thru the gritty underbelly of Vaseline Alley, beneath the bustling bottling bridge between the Weinhards Brewery bldgs into the dusty unpaved streets of the industrial North side. It was there that I got to play with plaster and wood and metal and got turned on to the concept of assemblage. There between Bridgeport Brewing and Henry Weinhards where something was always fermenting and the air was thick with malted barley.

I went back there last night . . . but as an alien from another planet!

In my twisted, round-about attempts to find myself and/or a JOB, this past year I started volunteering for stuff. In addition to my efforts at my son's school, I signed up to be a parent advocate for the Right Brain Initiative. When it became clear that that wasn't going to get me anywhere, I signed up to volunteer at the Museum of Contemporary Craft -hoping that it might lead to some form of gainful employment, but so far, all it's gotten me is a tote bag and a free (unused) drink ticket. Interestingly enough, in 2009, PNCA and the MoCC joined forces, so now by volunteering for the Museum, I am inadvertently donating my free labor to the school I graduated from (and paid big bucks to!) shouldn't I be doing better by now?! Don't they owe Me something? I'm trying to make sense of it all but it feels like a big joke somehow. Here I am struggling to make something of myself, and yet I'm still not getting anywhere, in fact, I'm going backwards.

So Last night was the Big PNCA Donors Gala: a party for some of the richest people in P-Town (the swankiest affair I've ever been to!). I signed up to work the Silent Auction. The volunteers reported to the sculpture studio -the only part of the school that is virtually unchanged since I attended. I didn't recognize anyone I knew from the school, I felt completely disconnected. It's all so different now! They closed off the block to set up tented pavilions for the formal dinner and after party. There was even an elaborate stage with sexy(?) half-dressed go-go-boyz pole dancing to funky disco remixes. What was I doing here?!! Where did I fit in to all this? It was all messing with my head in a bad dream sort of way, like getting sucked into a time-based installation which leaves you hanging in suspension between the familiarity of the past and the bizarre foreign reality of the present. I'm still sorting it out.

Bear with me, but here's how I see it: The Rich donate to the school to make it better for the scrappy (starving) artist to go to learn how to make better art to sell to the rich who make the rich (gallery owners) even richer while the artist (still starving!) ends up donating their time because they can't get a real job. Or even sadder. . . the artist is so busy working to pay off their student loans and support their families that they lack the energy or inspiration to make art at all anymore. The system is designed to keep the artist poor, unhappy, and starving! -Makes for better art, eh? I don't mean to be so sensitive, but that whole experience last night left me feeling very small and very poor and a bit disenfranchised. Fuck the system!

I think it's very meaningful to volunteer, it's just that I could really use a paycheck Dammit! I'm just not sure how I should be directing my volunteer efforts or who I am doing it for anyway. . . or why.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Won't give up!

created for June Skateboard Show at Space Monkey

June is gonna be a doozy!

There's only 8 more days of school for my boy, that's 8 days left of private studio time for mama! After that, it's anyone's guess HOW I'll get anything done. I have a big show to prepare for at the end of the month and I'm starting to stress that I won't be able to put all that I want to into it. This month is going to be about Time Management, testing my limits and hopefully discovering what I'm made of. Am I capable of meeting all my goals? Can I be a full time artist and a full time mama at the same time?  I sound like a broken record, but it's the same old conundrum any self-'employed' parent faces on the verge of every Summer;  How the Hell am I gonna pull it all off?!

When I started this blog 3 years ago, it was in response to my layoff; to track my transition through a major life change. But I haven't really blogged much, and when I do it's usually just an announcement about my latest piece and where it's showing. I rarely delve into how I got there or what happened along the way. I hope to reach deeper now and expose a bit more of the engine that makes it all go. It may be tedious, self-absorbed and boring, but it's time to use this blog less as a forum for self-marketing and more as a tool for self-discovery. I have such a convoluted idea of who I am and where I'm going, but I am on a mission to make that clearer to myself. It's a personal struggle that may or may not be of interest to anyone else, but it's work I've got to do and for some crazy-narcissistic reason, I've decided to make it public.

So for the 28 days left in June, I'm undertaking a Blogathon (on top of everything else!). The idea is to track my process, focus and account for my time and what I spend it on. Can I remain on track and be present and directed. . . we'll see!

I have to admit that my renewed dedication to this Blog is hugely inspired by the incredibly motivational commencement speech Neil Gaiman gave at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia:

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.

The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you're walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That's the moment you may be starting to get it right."

Watch the whole thing!

See all the decks of the Skateboard Show on view thru June at Space Monkey

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Coming Out (of the Box)

16 x 20 wood on wood on wood

" I like to think outside the box, but when I'm done thinking. . .
I get back in the box. " -Stephen Colbert

This is the largest of 6 pieces I recently completed for the Out of the Box II Show at People's Gallery. This is the most art I have worked on at the same time in a long time. It is good prep for my upcoming BEER Show with Chris H. at Amnesia Brewing in July. I just wish I could figure out a way to make art and still have a little time left over for sleep! I guess I just can't have it all!

From what I've seen posted so far, this is going to be a juicy show for those who admire mixed-media assemblage art. It's obviously one of my 'happy places'.

Show opens this Saturday!

30 + Portland Artists create 3-D work that extends past the frame
Reception: Saturday, May 19th. 5-9pm. 
Show runs May 19th – June 9th  
Peoples Art of Portland : 700 SW Fifth (3rd floor) People's is Suite 4005

This kind of art is best viewed in the 3-dimensional glory of reality,
but if you can't make it downtown,
here is a virtual preview of the 5 8x8s I also made for the show. . . 






( Yep, I said the 'P~word' )

Ars longa, vita brevis  ~ Art is long, Life is short
See it, Make it, Love it, Live it.