Blessings for the Living

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I have always been fascinated with ancient Egypt.  When I was a child I wanted to be an Egyptologist. That was until a teacher told me that everything had already been discovered so I couldn’t be one. Looking back I realize what a terrible (and totally untrue) thing that was to tell a child. Despite her discouragement I held onto my curiosity and fascination. The city I live in has one of the best Egyptian museums in the country with beautiful grounds including a walking labyrinth, alchemy and peace gardens and much more. It also houses one of the largest collections of artifacts in the Western US.

I think my love of all things Egyptian is in DNA. My Grandmother was a member of the Rosicrucian order. I have an old box of her study materials from the 50’s & 60’s. My Mother would bring us the museum often when we were growing up. She always told us it was her sanctuary. I feel the same way about the space as well.  There is something very peaceful and calming about it.

They currently have a special alchemy exhibit. It is a really fascinating subject that I am enjoying learning about. Both physical and spiritual alchemy are fascinating to me. Recently I have been exploring some the aspects and symbolism of alchemy and Egyptian mythology in my artwork.

I just finished the piece below. It’s a 24x36 mixed media encaustic piece that includes 18k gold. It is titled “Blessings for the Living “and is inspired by Ra, the Egyptian Sun God.

Blessings for the living Blessings for the Living

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How endings become beginnings

At the end of each year I like to look back and reflect on everything that has happened. I usually write a year end wrap up blog post sharing and reflecting on all of my experiences and accomplishments of the past year. This year it just didn’t feel right, the post felt forced and trite. My year was amazing; I traveled, experienced and accomplished many wonderful things. My year was awful; I lost my Father after a long battle with many health issues - just a year after I lost my Mother. It can be perplexing to be happy and sad at the same time.

I am looking forward to a new year filled with lots of adventures and new experiences.

I wish you a Happy New Year filled with health, happiness, and creativity. I thought I would share a passage of the Tao Te Ching that really speaks to me. Its a section of verse 16. (Note, there are 100's of translations of the Tao Te Ching, this one is by Dr. Wayne Dyer)

Become totally empty. Let your heart be at peace. Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings. Things flourish, each by each, only to return to the source… To what is and what is to be.


Every year I commission a different artist to paint a family portrait for us. This year Kim Christman Smith painted this beautiful piece with a 1920's theme. I love how she even added Sabine's favorite teddy bear that she rarely parts with.

Happy New Year

Leigh Weimers Award

I Am absolutely thrilled to share that I have been selected for the 2015 Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist Award for visual arts. Receiving this award is such an honor and an affirmation of my contributions to the visual arts community. The support reinforces my artistic direction and will have a positive impact on my future projects. Leigh Weimers, the beloved writer whose column ran in the San Jose Mercury News for more than 40 years, was a life-long champion and eloquent supporter of the arts in Silicon Valley.  He and his wife Geri were ubiquitous at the theatre, ballet, symphony, art gallery openings, fundraisers and literary events. In his memory and honor, the Rotary Club of San Jose has established the Leigh Weimers Emerging Artists Awards.

These awards, first given in July, 2013, are presented to outstanding artists who have yet to be widely recognized for their talent, vision and artistic accomplishments.

Unfortunately I was not able to attend the awards luncheon on Wed 23rd due to a family emergency. Soon they will post a video of the ceremony that I will share.

Here is a little write up in the Mercury News

leigh weimers award

Thank You

I want to thank everyone who came out to the opening reception of Diary of a Naturalist. It was such a great evening. I met and talked with so many wonderful people. Its always great to be able to talk to strangers about your art and give them a little insight and background into your process. I have really enjoyed my residency at TechShop, it has opened up a whole new world for me and I cant wait to experiment and try other areas of the shop.

If you didn't get a chance to come out to the opening the exhibit will be up until Sept. 26th.

Here are some images from the exhibit and opening.

In the final stretch

There is only 2 weeks until the opening of my exhibit at TechShop. I am in the final stretch of prepping everything. This is the time where all of the behind the scenes stuff happens - titling, labeling, pricing, figuring out the hanging configuration, etc. You can learn more about the exhibit here. I am very excited about the show. I have learned so much and had a lot of fun during my TechShop residency.  There is so much more I want to learn and try out too. For those of you who don’t know about the TechShop it is an amazing place. Their tag line is “Build your Dreams Here” and boy can you. Imagine a place with every tool you can ever want; laser cutters, 3D printers, full wood and metal shops, sewing, embroider and quilting machines, vacuum formers, water jets, a variety of software and so so much more. They teach classes on how to use all of the equipment and are open 24 hours. So needless to say it’s pretty fantastic and I have had access to everything during my residency.

 

Teen Book Art Workshop

I had a great time last week teaching a book arts workshop to teens at the Sunnyvale Public library. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I have taught small workshops with adults and young children but never young teens and never more than 10 students.  It turned out to be a really cool experience. There were about 18 students mostly young women but a few creative young men as well. I started by telling them about the anatomy of a book, talked about how to check if a book is first edition or valuable and then showed them different things they can make with old books. Then we made a bunch of paper feathers to get comfortable with cutting, gluing and shaping. Then we jumped right in and started making the hanging book mobiles. This is where they had a chance to get really creative picking out the book they wanted to use, how they wanted the pages to hang and the finished piece to look. Some got through the project really quickly while others took their time and were more meticulous. One fun thing that I didn’t anticipate was that several of them decided to use the feathers they made to decorate the outside of their mobile.

The staff and facilities at the Sunnyvale library were fantastic too. I appreciated all of their help. I am really glad I had the opportunity to teach the workshop and hope I can do more in the future.

Teen Bppk Art worksop

book arts class

And we are off

I officially started my artist residency at the Tech Shop, it’s a 3 month residency that includes a membership, a couple of classes and a featured art exhibit. On Wednesday I had a tour of the facilities including all of the cool equipment and just a few hours after that I was in my first class, laser cutting and etching. That machine is really cool, you can cut and etch everything from wood and metal to chocolate and pumpkin.

Practicing with the laser engraverPracticing some etching on a small piece of metal

My featured exhibit is the first Friday in August (not that far off) and to be honest I don’t have a clear idea of what I am going to create for it. That’s a little scary and exciting. Sometimes I can be an over planner so when I don’t get to do that I am thrown out of my comfort zone which I think is good (at times).I have some ideas bouncing around in my head but I have to get in and learn and practice the equipment before I can really start creating.

My Tech Shop membership badgeMy Tech Shop membership badge

Top 10 favorite artists

Here is a list of my top 10 favorite artists in no particular order. These artists have inspired and influenced my work in many ways. There is no way my little blurbs will do these creators any justice so please check out their work for yourselves.
Doug and Mike Starn - Their work first exposed me to alternative process photography and different ways to experiment with displaying photographs. When I first started learning photography (yes, in a dark room many moons ago) I loved the process but wanted more. I wanted to use my hands and be more intimate with each piece. Seeing the Starn brothers push the boundaries of photography really inspired me.
Gustav Klimt - I am in love with his work. I think everyone has seen his image The Kiss but he has so many other amazing pieces as well. I hope one day to be able to see some of his work in person.
 

Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison - Robert and Shana are a married artist couple who create painfully beautiful photographs. These are the kind of photographs I always wanted to make. They are so thoughtful and imaginative. I was able to see one of their pieces recently at a local art fair and was blown away.  

Joseph Cornell - Assemblage will always be my first love and I think Joseph Cornell is the king of assemblage artists. He creates fascinating little worlds you can easily get lost in. I saw an exhibition of his artwork at the SFMOMA and fell even deeper in love.

Sue Blackwell - My first experience with book art was viewing the work of Sue Blackwell. Her work took me to a wondrous and enchanting place filled with fairy tales and mysteries.

Nick Bantock - I discovered the work of Nick Bantock with his Griffin and Sabine book series. Such magical and wonderful books, one can easily get lost in the stories and imagery. I love all of his other books and artwork as well. I was fortunate enough to see a large collection of his work at the in Denver a few years ago.

Man Ray - I enjoy all of the Dada artist but Man Ray in particular. He was such a versatile and Avant-garde artist.

Dale Chihuly - I had always thought glass art was beautiful but it never really moved me until I saw a Chihuly exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. It was extraordinary! The way they displayed and lit the sculptures really brought everything to life. The work really seemed to fill all of the senses.

Hieronymus Bosch - While some teens have posters of their favorite bands or actors on their walls I had a poster of The Garden of Earthly Delights on mine. I could sit and look at it for hours and always find new things.

Ernst Haeckel - How can a natural history loving girl like myself not adore Ernst Haeckel. His illustrations are amazing and so detailed. The colors and forms are incredible and so inspiring. 

 There are many more artists whose work I admire, if you want to see some of them check out my pinterest board Art Inspirations 

End of year wrap up

At the end of each year I like to look back and reflect on everything that has happened in my life: the successes, challenges,  adventures and accomplishments.

Oh what a year 2014 has been, lots of ups and downs - a very transformative year to say the least. It began with an inspiring trip to Joshua Tree. There is something so beautiful and tranquil about the desert.  One of the highlights of the trip was the Noah Purifoy Art Site; you can see some of the pictures from the art site here.

Sadly in late January my Mother passed away. It’s difficult to convey the way something like that changes you. Needless to say it has and will continue affect me and my creativity. Through the challenges and heartache I still had a lot of positive and happy moments during the year. My two year old daughter continues to amaze, inspire and challenge me. In February I attended a fun luncheon gala at AT&T Park for the Hearts and Heroes event. You can read all about the event and see some of the event photos here.
I participated in five fantastic group exhibits, SV Open Studios and raised caterpillar larva into moths.  I was also interviewed by The Creative Insurgents for a podcast on artist grants and residencies that you can watch or listen to here.

One of the highlights of the year was a trip to Eastern Canada for my solo exhibition at theNathaniel Hughson Art Gallery. It was a really fun and inspiring trip, everyone was incredibly friendly and kind. You can read all about my adventure here.

So now, after this very testing and transformative year, I am looking forward to healing, reflecting and creating. Soon I will be heading off to a tropical paradise for a few weeks.  I plan on floating in the ocean, getting lost in the rain-forest and making lots of art.

Save the Date:
I am excited to share that I will be having a solo exhibit in April at KALEID Gallery. I will be showing a whole new body of work.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Thank You Canada

What a wonderful whirlwind adventure I had last week. I thought I would share a little recap. Currently I have an exhibit up at the NathanielHughson Gallery in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It is a wonderful gallery and they represent some fantastic artists. I flew out to Toronto from San Francisco for the reception.
We flew into Toronto on Thursday and got in pretty late. The overall travel day was pretty easy with just a few quirks. Namely I slipped and fell on my knees in the airport and now have huge bruises on them and sometimes limp. Also I had kind of a strange fellow sitting next to me on the flight who decided it was a good idea to floss his teeth (ewww).
Friday morning we got an early start and headed over to the CN Tower. It was the world’s tallest tower, building and freestanding structure from 1976-2010 at 147 building stories, 1,815 ft, 5 inches. It was pretty cool but very touristy and crowded. They have a cool edge walk attraction where you get harnessed in and walk around the outside of the tower. I would have loved to do that but the price was a bit steep at $175 per person.  After the tower we headed over to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Sadly we just missed the Francis Bacon and Henry Moore exhibit. There were some other great exhibits and I particularly liked the bone carvings of  Manasie Akpalipik         
After getting terribly turned around and lost in Toronto traffic we made it to Hamilton about 30 minutes before my reception. That was really not what I was planning. I was a bit stressed and got ready faster than I ever have before. Luckily the gallery was only a couple of blocks from the hotel. I arrived at the gallery and was so happy to meet everyone and see what an amazing job they did hanging my artwork.  I was able to have a glass of wine and relax a bit.
Hamilton is a beautiful green city filled with friendly people. I felt so welcomed by everyone and truly enjoyed the opening. The Canadian Authors Associationparticipated in the event and there were several authors reading poetry and short stories. It added another great creative vibe to the evening. I met lots of great people and several other artists during the evening.
Saturday morning was a little more leisurely. We went to The Art Gallery of Hamilton and saw an amazing installation by Jenn E Norton. It was completely immersive with projections, sound and sculpture. It was haunting and nostalgic, kind of hard to describe. Then I stopped by the gallery to say goodbye and take a few pictures of the artwork.
We then made the hour drive down to Niagara Falls. After checking in to the hotel the first stop was the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory which was amazing. They have over 2000 butterflies just floating around a lush tropical conservatory. They were everywhere landing on people eating old fruit and just flittering about. It was really wonderful and kind of magical. After a terrible, overpriced meal we went for a walk by the falls, took some pictures and made our way through the zillions of people. That evening we took the Hornblower tour of the illuminated falls. It was neat to see them all lit up in different colors. It was a fun, wet and loud boat ride (as it should be). We got back to the dock around 10:45 and decided to try our luck at a casino. Well the penny slots did not disappoint and I left with a few hundred extra dollars in my pocket.  They 6:30am drive from Niagara to Toronto was a little painful, especially since we didn't go to bed until after 2am. At least I got to watch a couple of movies and take a nice nap on the flight home.

Thanks Canada for a fantastic trip filled with genuinely friendly and welcoming people. I hope to visit for longer next time.
Now it’s time to try and figure out what I am going to do next.