David Hockney Again

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art just opened a David Hockney exhibit entitled 82 Portraits and 1 Still Life. Each person is someone he knows personally, like his dentist, Museum curators, etc,  Each person sat for a "20 hour exposure" as Hockney says which can be rather intimidating having someone study you for that long of a time.I heard about the exhibit through an interview with Hockney on the PBS Newshour. Read more about the interview HERE. The following exchange jumped out at me as I listened to the interview.

Read More

100 Days of Watercolors on Fabric

As I wrote about last week, I decided to do the 100 Day Project at the very last minute. I decided I  would use some of the lessons I’ve learned from the 100 Day Project over the past few years, basically that a daily challenge gets you to create stuff you may not otherwise create without that structure. So I thought about a project I had hidden away in my “do this sometime in the future” mental file. I’m always fascinated by transparent colors and overlays of different colors using watercolors probably because that is one thing I can not do with solid colors of fabric sewn together.

Read More

The 100 Day Project Again?

I decided yesterday, the day before the 100 Day Project of 2018 starts, that “ I am in!” In December of 2017, I stopped my Every Day Project that had continued for two and a half years since the 100 Day Project I started in 2015. To be honest, I have really missed the every day creative practice. So I thought I can do a project this year learning a new creative technique I have been dreaming about for quite a while. The beauty of the 100 Day Project is that it gives you an excuse to do something you have been thinking about doing anyway and it gives you the necessary structure to actually just start. 

Spring break vacation is this week so I am including an article I wrote about the 100 Day Project in 2016. If you are struggling to just create something because you know you feel happier with a creative outlet in your life, this article may be helpful to you if you want to do a 100 day challenge or even a 7 day challenge. How you set up the parameters of the challenge are key to the success of the challenge. More about this year’s topic next week.

Read More

My Version of the Haystacks Series

I have been thinking about starting a new weekly series later this spring in May or June. April is dedicated to three upcoming EcoMemory commissions. However, I do miss the regular routine of working on a series. So I am daydreaming about what to do. We have this one oak tree in our backyard which I’m fascinated with because we planted it a few years ago smack dab in the middle of the prairie in our backyard. From our house we look east and see the sunrise over the prairie. Every day is different. Every season is different.  My idea is to create a weekly series of pieces similar to Monet’s Haystacks series where the subject matter is the same but the lighting and seasons change. The focal point is my favorite oak tree surrounded by the prairie grasses and flowers with the trees surrounding the prairie further away.

Read More

Reader Appreciation Week

For me, spring is a time of renewal and gratitude. I am so looking forward to all the colors of spring flowers and green vegetation. As I write this article, today is the first day of spring and it got me thinking about my gratitude for you readers. Thank you for reading my Studio Notes😁 I am blown away by the thoughtful comments and emails that I receive from you readers. It really is why I keep writing. Every writer needs those readers to make it all worth while.

Spring has got me thinking about renewal and fresh ideas. I am curious about what my readers are thinking? What motivates you to read my Studio Notes? What value do you take away after you read it? What topics are you interested in learning more about? After writing over 100 weekly Studio Notes, I would like to focus on what really resonates with my readers.

Readers have shared productivity app tips, businesses to follow, their connection to nature, being vulnerable and talking about struggles to keep creating on a regular basis and more. This desire to share makes me feel very humbled and grateful for the trust you have given me.

In a reflective mood, I wondered what can I do to show my appreciation. My answer was offering to share what I have learned over these 20 years of creating.

So this week is a CALL FOR QUESTIONS!

Read More

Sandhill Cranes Landing

The Winter Artist in Residence idea came to fruition because of my friend Julia. She works at a Montessori school as the Outdoor Classroom Instructor. I wrote about this in January. Click HERE to read more. As part of the Winter Artist in Residence, I taught workshops for kids which I wrote about HERE. As a thank you to my friend for helping me run these workshops, I offered to create an EcoMemory for her as a form of bartering services, my creating art for her and she helping me run a classroom of active young children. There is no way I could have done these workshops without her.

Back in January, we sat down to talk about her special place in nature. She knew what this was about so she had spent some time thinking about her special place. It’s interesting to note other people I have interviewed so far for their custom EcoMemory thought about nostalgic times from their childhood. My friend decided she wanted to do something more in the present moment that would remind her of her sense of contentment in nature. She wanted to be reminded of the beauty and joy of just being in nature especially during her regular runs in a local nature preserve. The advantages of this is I know exactly where this nature preserve is located. So I went and scouted out the location and took actual photos of the landscape. This helped with my design work.

Read More

View from the Boat on a Lake

For the past few weeks, I have been writing in my Studio Notes about what I’ve learned while developing this EcoMemory process and how I am improving the process with each new client. The next EcoMemory I created is for my friend Pam from Seattle. She has been involved with my EcoMemory idea from the very beginning. As I described this idea to her, how I wanted to make my art more personal and meaningful to my future clients by helping them reconnect to their special place in nature, she immediately told me she had a budget and she wanted me to make two for her. Double the fun! Of course, I was ecstatic. We settled on a time and we had a Skype conversation so we could feel like we were talking to each other in the same room, at least as much as you can, using a laptop screen. 

Pam described being in a rowboat on a calm lake in northern Minnesota early in the morning as a young child. She looked over the edge of the boat and saw these beautiful colorful sunfish swimming in the water. Now Pam is an artist herself and loves color as it is a way for her to express her ideas through her art.

Read More

View from Seaside Heights Boardwalk

After I created my first EcoMemory piece for my geology professor Dr. Palmquist, "Partridge Point in Lake Superior” (Read about it HERE), I wondered what would be my next step. I thought, who really gets my abstract landscape art. I immediately thought of Jackie Skarritt. Click HERE to see her Instagram Page. We have been Instagram friends for a few years and she always would comment so insightfully on both design issues and color palette. She would highlight the complicated designs or the teeniest little piece of fabric that I had inserted and thought no one would notice. But Jackie noticed, and would comment about it on Instagram. She would look at my Clouds series and say she looked up at the sky and it was exactly like what she saw in a recent daily square from that Clouds series. I knew that we saw the world in similar ways. So next step, I direct messaged her in Instagram and asked if I could call her about a project I had in mind.

She could not have been more gracious. We talked for an hour and found out we have many things in common. 

Read More

An Island in Lake Superior

In the Fall of 2017,  I had this idea to create art inspired by special places in nature. In my mind, this sounded like a great idea to help people reconnect to how they feel in nature. The art would tap into people's memories of time spent in nature. But I was not sure how to actually do it. Whatever it was going to actually be, I decided to call the process an EcoMemory Experience.

We were visiting our college alma mater, Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin in November of 2017 as we brought our youngest child on a college visit to check it out and I knew we were visiting with my favorite professor for coffee. This coincidence got me thinking. When I was a student, my professor Dr. Palmquist and I did field work for this project on a small rock island right off the shore in Lake Superior near Marquette, Michigan. I never forgot the beauty of the lake and those gorgeous dark rocks with pink mineral veins (in geology called dikes). So, a week before our trip,  I just started pulling fabric and cutting it up and sewing it back together again. I made my first EcoMemory artwork for my favorite Geology Professor based on my Senior Honors Geology Project. I captured the feeling in this piece entitled "Partridge Point in Lake Superior."  I presented the artwork to Dr. Palmquist  and this is what he had to say about it.

Read More

What I Learned about Imagination from my Students

Phase One of my Winter Artist in Residence at a local  Montessori school finished last week. This phase consisted of workshops for two different age groups: primary children (ages 3-6 years old) with their parents and the elementary school kids (6-9 years old) by themselves. I created this workshop specific for this school and age groups. The workshop is called Connect to Nature through Art where we discuss thinking about your favorite place in nature, remembering how it makes us feel and then using our imagination to create art showing this special place.  I taught them how to tear construction paper into small pieces and glue the pieces onto a larger sheet of thick watercolor paper as their canvas.

Read More