london for two days

we were only in london briefly, but the highlights were this little market & festival happening in the streets, seeing joan miro’s retrospective exhibit at the tate, the spiciest, most incredible indian food i’ve ever tasted, and seeing the 25th birthday celebration of les mis at queens theater. amazing.

three days in florence

i have to say, this was the best surprise i could have asked for…i have wanted to go back for five years.

five years ago, david and i began dating…and two weeks later, i left for italy…for six months. i completely freaked out on him when he came to visit me in florence- i did. i panicked and ruined his trip. i’ll just say that. it didn’t faze him though. and despite my ridiculosity, i have a letter from him from every single day i was gone. five years later, i’m so thankful for this man…i couldn’t love anyone more.

for our two year anniversary, we spent it in firenze again. so much better this time…it was good.

i’ll be honest…there’s not much to tell…all we did was eat. our trip revolved around meals every. day.

i loved it all. we ate kebabs on the river across from piazza ognissanti, we went to art bar for raspberry mojitos, we ate at buca del orafo, had balsamic steaks at la giostra, and went to ciro & sons.  we had cappuccinos every morning. we packed bread, prosciutto, cheese, & wine and hiked for four hours through the countryside to have a picnic on a bridge. and we managed to squeeze in gelato every day.

the important things. we had priorities &  successfully got them done.

i love you david. happy anniversary! thank you for loving me so well.

ps. 139:14

some good friends of mine commissioned this drawing last month in anticipation of their first baby, who was born three days ago. she arrived healthy, perfect, and so precious…wonderfully made. this is one of her first pieces of art…can you believe they did that? i want to do that for my first baby.

someday.

what they know: their drawing is finished.

what i know: it had an insanely rough start.

what they know: they have a new baby & they love her!!

what i know: this drawing was so worth it once i got my brain in gear & past the start.

after mess-ups (of course. does that sound familiar? commissions. always. are hard.), ending with melt-downs or paper shredded or pulling out my hair, i did what i ought to have done from the start. i got a membership to the public library.

and two hours and ten books on starfish later, i came home and read about every kind there is. and then began.

and i’ve loved it all.

it’s no good drawing from an illustration or drawing: mistake number one. that’s what i started out doing & seeing as paper ended in shreds…i had no luck. i thought, using the examples they’d sent at the start, i could use my imagination to create something different, but with the same gist, that worked. that’s lazy & i was so wrong. i needed to see these invertebrates up close & study them before i could wrap my mind around them & draw.

once i found starfish i really loved & had researched them, the freedom to create a compositional space & take liberties came back easily.

using charcoal oil pencil on a thick fabriano paper, i did my best to create a vintage, textbook drawing of these sea stars that feels like it came from an old science book page. the letters below were carefully drawn & not traced, in a vintage typewriter font, which took awhile, but was worth it to me.

this drawing was so refreshing to be working on while simultaneously working on larger paintings. i feel like always, i am stretched & challenged as i go from painting to drawing & this time was no different…i took away many new things.

ps. 139:14   ::   10″ x 14″     (charcoal oil pencil on paper)   ::   sold

crossroads

i finished this painting three weeks ago, barely shipped it off, and turned around and left for europe the next day. june was nuts! …but i should warn you…before any pictures come, i have two seriously special commissions to share with you and am pumped about both.

i can say, without a doubt, that this has been my most challenging painting to date. it was one of the toughest & best commissions i’ve done, and i have gained a great deal from the process.

i received the commission from a patron in Colorado, and from the beginning, this work was set apart. rather than making specific requests regarding the compositional space, he gave complete freedom & only asked that i consider a handful of values & lessons that had critically shaped his life…some pretty incredible thoughts and values, honestly.

among lessons learned…

the importance of a life overflowing with contentment regardless of circumstance.

simple is better than complicated.

releasing kindness over others rather than hatred or fear.

risking fully & wholeheartedly & risking much :: refusing to be governed by fear.

and lastly…realizing that life is meant to be lived for others, and love to be poured out.

so…with that in mind…haha. um what? please excuse my bogged down brain for three weeks.

i will be back.

and i was. three weeks later, i began the painting and it came surprisingly quickly. i had ideas, and as i worked, it came together. but i stepped back from it a few weeks later to realize it was incredibly similar to a new painting i had recently finished and loved. it was different, and could have stood on its own, but it was done in so similar a vein, that as i stood back and looked at it, i was totally unsettled. the color palette echoed the other painting, as well as the balance of the space. and i knew in my gut, i was still clinging to a previous breakthrough, and afraid i wouldn’t be able to create something just as good—or something better—and exciting and new.

ironic, right? that this painting should exude lack of fear. and here i am totally afraid and insecure. it would figure. i hardly risked, and i had little to gain. i stayed in the same place, safe next to a prior victory.

so i went to bed. frustrated with myself. tired. afraid.

and the next morning i started over. and that was that.

i’ll be honest. to sum it up, this painting was an experience. it was. it slowly worked its way out of my control & became something all its own. and i am thankful. it is deeply a combination of contemplation & spontaneity, and every one of those lessons wove their way into my life and directly affected either my attitude or the way i moved the paint.

much thought went into the color palette & the balance of positive and negative space. the underpainting in indigo & a bright poppy red comes through the smokey yellow gray background in a quirky way. i scratched spontaneously to bring those details out. lemon yellow oil crayon plays subtly across the surface as a means of bringing one closer—something to pique your curiosity.

i mixed close to ten different shades of blue before i found the blue for this painting.

after the blue calligraphic brushwork was down, i began to pull out random details in my scratches with colored pencil, to bring interest to certain wanderings. i pulled marks over others & pushed other areas back, working throughout the composition to create a playful, exciting space.

the freedom i felt as i worked on this piece was unlike anything i’ve encountered before. as i made gestural marks, as i allowed my hand to wander, i encountered the paint in a completely new way. and in the process, came to realize: it’s a risk, the minute i touch my brush to the canvas, but it’s so worth it to let go of what i know and move past my insecurities.

crossroads I   ::   30″ x 30″  (oil on canvas)  ::  sold