Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Exciting Announcement!

Dear readers, I have a very exciting announcement! I was invited by The 23rd Atmosphere Group to take part in the first show at their new gallery in Chicago's Art District, Pilsen East. The show is entitled, "Beyond Warhol in the 21st Century, A Post-Pop MetaRomantic Retrofit." I am grateful to Robert Furman, the organizer of the show, for taking an interest in my art. Furman will be exhibiting his own provocative work as well. The other artists in the show are Mel Smothers and Pindar Van Arman. The show will be in Chicago throughout the month of May and then moves to Brooklyn in June. For more details, please see the show's catalog here. If you are in Chicago, please stop and say hi! I will be sure to keep you posted on how the show goes.
Image by Peggy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New Painting

Untitled, 16" x 20", acrylic on paper. I've been enjoying a prolific period, and I'm grateful. Not sure what these shapes are. Maybe mountain people. The influences for the colors are described in the posts below.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


to my sister-in-law: from my sister-in-law:
thanks for being my best friend.
Images by Peggy.

Story of a little rock

I was walking and gawking through a historic neighborhood the other day, lamenting the heavy traffic. I saw an apothecary and decided to go in. What a wonderful experience. Here was an oasis in the midst of so much chaos. The store was pretty, smelled good and had soft music going. But the best part was that it was owned by a young married couple. They sat at a table with their lap top and were home schooling their two boys, aged two and four. The two boys listened in rapt attention as their father told them the story of Susan B. Anthony. My heart welled up. I spoke to the young couple, they talked of the joys of being able to spend time together as a family. How beautiful. I wish we could all live a bit simpler. I felt a twinge of sadness for the loss of the mom and pop stores. Then I noticed it. A sparkly little rock called peacock ore, and I knew it had to come home with me. Holding the little rock made me happy. I don't imagine that I will ever look at that rock without thinking about that beautiful young family choosing to live in a simpler way.

Friday, April 23, 2010

New Painting

Through Tears, 2010, 24" x 24", acrylic on canvas.

Baby blue is my new favorite color. It seems like a perfect color for Spring and rebirth. The images I see in my head are dancing and soft. I try to combine movement with organic shapes, and I am attempting to do works that are gentle, yet have a graphic quality to them. Like all my works, there are many influences in this painting. One is not so obvious because of the layers. Recently, I attended a lecture about the Mayan calendars. In one of the layers, there are pyramid-like structures. In old texts, the serpent represented wisdom and that was on my mind here as well. Last but not least, I tried to explain below how I look at an ordinary thing - in this case, a wall - and see color. At one point yesterday I was overcome with sadness while looking out the window. My sadness turned to fascination as I observed the optical illusions my tears created. The vegetation seemed to dance, and the wall took on many different shades of blue. And there it is. Too many words. I've said it many times - art just is. And artists, well we do it because we have to.

through tears, or i see in color

Art is unexplainable. Yet, in our humanness we constantly attempt to explain it. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's a compulsion borne of being wired for language. I've always looked at things strangely. I can stare at a wall for long periods of time. What people don't know is that I see colors in movement.Just an ordinary wall, right? But combined with vegetation and wind, it becomes a cacophony of color.

Which I am always trying to translate. This is why movement is a part of my paintings. Because movement is color. Sounds are also colors. This is both blessing and curse. Sometimes I am in awe of the symphony before my eyes. Other times, it overwhelms and nauseates me and I wish I could have a break.

Images by Peggy

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Painting

Dear readers, I humbly submit my newest painting:

"Tar, Baby," 2010, 18" x 24", acrylic on canvas.
As you know, I am only happy with about two out of ten of my paintings. I am pleased to report that I am happy with this one. This painting started out as a fun work, to free up my creativity and get me back into the swing of painting in a new environment. The various influences for this painting are described below. These influences include the tar designs in the street made by the city, ghostly colors and, of course, the colors of the Cleveland sky. What is not apparent in this work is that I have finally mastered a stroke that has been eluding me for a long time. No one will ever know. But me. I'll know, and that's good enough.

What I've been working on, Vol. IV

Okay, sometimes I can get fascinated with the most mundane shit. The other day while on a walk, I got fascinated with the tar designs in the street. Why had the city gotten so creative with the swirls? I think people who passed by and saw me photographing the street must have thought I was crazy.

I think these would be cool paintings. As I prepared to play around with swirls on paper, I thought about the paintings I wrote about below. I wanted to do swirls, but I wanted them to be ghostly swirls. I came up with this:

Untitled, 15" x 20" (each piece), acrylic on paper. I found it interesting that the colors are soft, while the strokes and shapes are harsh. I'm not completely happy with these, but I'm onto something.
All images by Peggy.

What I've been working on, Vol. III

I love experimenting with double exposure.

The original images for this work are my first Sans Electric Chair series, and the back of Toofly's Dunny for the Fatale Series.
The original images are not my own. One is from Hashai and one is from Happy Mundane. For some reason, that groovy lamp and neon duct tape fit together in my mind. That's how creativity works, it doesn't always make sense and it can't always be explained.

What I've been working on, Vol. II

I'm addicted to photo processing software. These are stickers I saw on a telephone pole that I've manipulated.
All images by Peggy.

What I've been working on, Vol. I

I have an interesting opportunity to be part of an art show in Chicago. I will be making a formal announcement soon. For now I'd like to show some of the work I've been doing and my thought processes leading up to the show. Do you remember my post about Andy Warhol's Electric Chair series? (see previous post here). I've been having a lot of fun reconsidering those works and have done several digital mock-ups of a new series based on this work.
In considering the work, I thought about politics. Artists continually grapple with how political to be in their work. When you are political you run the risk of rejection and cruel silencing techniques. Some people just want to see pretty pictures. I can't argue that I am a lover of beauty and I find nothing wrong with beauty for beauty's sake. And while I may find a challenging piece interesting, in my home I like beauty. Beauty is always a factor in my art. That said, I maintain that artists have a certain responsibility to be political because of their acute sensitivity and perception. Indeed, all art is political. In my opinion, art is a balance between beauty and politics.
With the new series, I examined how far I wanted to go with my politics. I personally do not believe in the death penalty, and considered my reasons. The obvious - killing is wrong. Two wrongs don't make a right. Cliche, I know, but that doesn't mean it's not true. I have found arguments claiming the death penalty as a deterrent utterly unconvincing. But my main objection - what if an innocent man is put to death? I would rather see 100 guilty men go free than see one innocent man executed. My thoughts then turned to innocence. And what's more innocent than a child? I began to experiment with double exposures, using an image of my nephew and my first series of Sans Electric Chair paintings. Here is what I came up with:

Sans Electric Chair, II, 2010, digital renderings. I am pleased with these works even though they won't be part of the art show I am participating in. I like that he sort of looks like a butterfly emerging. My sister-in-law loves these so much she is going to have them printed on canvas and is commissioning me to do a series featuring my other nephew. I'll be sure to show you photos of them hanging in their home. For more of my fascination with Warhol, click here.
All images by Peggy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What I've been working on lately.....

Dear readers, just a brief announcement. As I examine the direction my life and blog are taking, I am going to shift the focus a bit over the next couple of days to the art that I have been working on. My art is definitely in a transitional phase, and today I am excited that I mastered a stroke that I've been working on for a long time. Will anyone ever see the stroke or even notice it? No, probably not. But I'll know. And it's a major accomplishment and very satisfying. I hope you will take the journey with me in the following days as we talk about my artistic evolution, and I invite your (gentle) comments. After that I will have an exciting announcement. As always, thank you for reading. It means the world to me. xxoo

Image by Mark Yasenchack.

Beauty Beyond Words: Siba Sahabi

Art lovers, you know how it is. You see something so beautiful, it takes your breath away. It transports you to another plane of existence. You don't need to intellectualize, you feel it. Deeply.
Then sometimes you read an artist's statement and wonder why it's so overly-intellectual. I'll let you in on a secret. It's because the artist is often trying to put into words what cannot be described. And why do we do that? My guess is that humans are wired for language so we feel compelled to define. I maintain that art just is. And sometimes you don't need to describe it. Such is the stunning work of Siba Sahabi. I could intellectualize this work for you, but that would be a disservice I fear. It needs to be felt.

See what I mean? Heaven on Earth. Siba says her "aim is to translate culture into objects." These objects are made of spun paper and are influenced by the ceramics of Moroccan, Asian, Turkish and Iranian cultures. Simply put, they are beautiful.

Virtual Gifts

Hello dear readers! I've been doing a lot of exploring lately, and have seen a lot of cool things at thrift stores. I'm always seeing things I'd like to buy for bloggers that I enjoy. So I thought I'd start giving virtual gifts. My first digital gift goes to The Brick House. They've got a bitchin' collection of studio ceramics, so every time I see some cool studio pieces, I think of them.

To The Brick House - thanks for being an inspiration! I've said it before, virtual collections are the best. They cost nothing, take up no room, and you don't have to dust them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mood Board: Pink, Brown and Gray

I'm all moved into my brother's home. It's a bit of an adjustment as I learn how to live with someone. I'm enjoying it, but I have fantasies of decorating my own apartment again. My current mood is muted pinks, brown and gray.

I'd like to start with soft gray walls, like Shelby's place that I wrote about below. Then I'd add this Caravane sofa in soft brown. It's my current favorite. I love its low scale, and Moroccan touches would go great with this sofa. It would look great with ottomans and poufs. I think groupings of small pictures look cluttered and would prefer a large painting over the sofa. Maybe like these:

Aren't they gorgeous? I apologize for the poor quality of the picture, but I had to take this picture on the sly. I think you get the idea, though. They are romantic and ghostly. I love them, but don't know the artist. The sales clerk in the shop didn't either. Wow, I can't imagine working there and not finding out. I love them so. Please contact me if you know this artist.

Of course I would need new pillows. I almost had a heart attack when I saw these gorgeous pillows at TJ Maxx! Very reasonably priced. Too bad I'm not spending any money.

I have been looking for a table runner forever! Look at this gorgeous runner also from TJ Maxx, it's perfect. Too bad I'm not spending money.

I must be a glutton for punishment, because I started exploring local thrift shops. Look at this beauty that I had to pass up. Only $14.99. Philip & Leong's home has me wanting a collection of vanity chairs (see post below). Ah. I should have been born rich instead of beautiful. Still, it's fun to fantasize.

Color Obsession: Pink

Dear readers, as you know any color obsession must start with pink. So it's no surprise that as I begin a new path of Spring color obsession, pink is on my mind. But not any pink, a soft pink. Not a pastel pink, but a more mature soft pink. You know the kind, the kind that goes with soft brown, sage, violet, gray, even yellow. Pink is not just a girly color, it can be done in a modern, edgy way. The following image epitomizes the pink that is currently on my mind. Love it.

Lola is a dreamy photographer. Her flickr set is here, and her blog is here. I love her photography so much that I am adding her link to my photo blog.
Jill Simonsen's work is so wonderful, I will be doing a post devoted exclusively to her. For now, her use of pink fits in nicely with this mood. I love how she has taken a familiar fixture - telephone wires and juxtaposed them with trees and birds and done it in a soft way. Feminine, but edgy too. I would love to have some of her works in my home. Isn't it funny how creativity works sometimes? I'd been doing city shots tinted with pink around the time I discovered Jill's work (for my pink city works, click here). But mine are photos. Hers are paintings that look like photos. Amazing.

Oh how I love this work and wish it were mine! I'd love to hang this in my bedroom. I apologize for not knowing the source of this image. If you know this artist, please contact me.

Love the use of soft pink with the gray fabric of the chairs. Image The Vintage Laundress. Very classy.

This beautiful bedroom demonstrates a very classy use of pink. It's soft, and combined with the soft taupe walls and yellow framed mirror is divine. Shelby's Itty Bitty Abode via Apartment Therapy. Shelby is a contestant in this year's Small Cool contest, and my favorite entrant so far.

This picture is a bit more girly than I wanted for this particular mood, but I love it so. Let me count the ways. White floor, check. Pink walls, check. Mismatched chairs, check. Smeg fridge, double check! I dream of owning a Smeg one day. I'd like to see a bit more rustic of a table here, perhaps like this one, but I do love that table and its juxtaposition with the soft pink walls. Brigitte Home.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Talk about your thoughtful and perfect gifts. I received this housewarming present from a dear friend. Does it get any better than this? I don't think so. Hours and hours of pure unadulterated fun. And guess what? I will be dissecting these magazines over the next few days for you. We will be discussing color inspiration and having fun getting our homes ready for a peaceful, colorful and happy summer! We will, of course, start with pink. And I will have a very exciting announcement in the next couple of days. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Identity Crisis

My little blogs are suffering identity crises. One of the main features of this blog has been my beloved studio apartment, which I have given up. One of the main features of my photo blog has been the City of Cleveland, which I have also left. Not to worry, I will adapt and find other ways to be creative. The muses are very good to me. I never want for ideas. Only time, money and energy. So today while we contemplate changes and new chapters in our lives, how about some fun fashion photography and illustration? Hope you enjoy.

Wonderful shop window by Tokujin Yoshioka via Yatzer.

Flickr user jmvnoos in Paris.

Christina Entcheva.

Studio Marisol and CuldeSac via Dezeen.

Image source unknown.

Beautiful sink ad by Brizo.

Original multi-media work by Peggy. Because I adore seeing my work among the work of other great artists. Hmm. Maybe I'm not having an identity crisis afterall. I am an artist! And my dear readers, I will have an exciting announcement to make shortly. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A dream realized

Dear readers, Saturday was a very special day, so I have to share it with you. One of my oldest and dearest friends, Michelle Star, realized a dream that has been 30 years in the making. She opened her own yoga studio! I remember when I met Michelle. We worked in a stressful law firm together and she had something I wanted. Intense calm, a clarity of vision and mental discipline. I had never met any one like her. And how did she accomplish her serenity when she was in such a hellish environment? Yoga. Yoga had saved her life. She knew she had to share what she learned with others. I had never met a Yoga teacher before, indeed, in those days Yoga was considered marginal. It had not become popular yet. Over the years I have learned much from her, while we were both dreamers, her dreams were clear. I was always wishy-washy, didn't really know what I wanted, only what I didn't want. I'd flit around from one thing to the next. Not Michelle, she always knew what she wanted. During years of adversity and poverty, she never waivered from her clarity of purpose. And it paid off. She opened her own studio!

I cannot tell you how excited I got when I drove up and saw her name on the sign. She did it! I wanted to jump up and down and scream to the whole world, "SHE DID IT!" I couldn't be happier if it were my own accomplishment. Indeed, in a way it feels partially like my accomplishment too. We've been dreaming and discussing and brainstorming with each other for years. Michelle Star Yoga & Healing Arts is open! (See Michelle's website here.)

Upon entering the studio, you are greeted by this beautiful tapestry. I've always loved this tapestry, because it looks like Michelle.
Here's Michelle looking thoughtful. She's probably talking about her favorite thing.

The halls are a gorgeous shade of lavender. According to Alice Weiner (wife and partner of the amazing artist Lawrence Weiner), lavender is the best color to see upon awakening. (Dwell, April 2010.) It's appropriate that the meditation room is lavender. Upon coming out of meditation you will be surrounded by this sublime color.

The large yoga room is also a beautiful shade of lavender and has wonderful windows.

There's a lovely deck off of the yoga room and this is the view. This will be spectacular in a few weeks when everything is green. Michelle will be offering yoga outdoors as well as walking meditation.

There's a comfy little tea room. Love the dragon divider. It's fun seeing Michelle's pretty touches everywhere.

Gluten-free blueberry muffins were served by Sonny's Kitchen.

Folk musicians Mallory and Pat performed. They are very talented and their joy infectious. Mallory sang a rendition of Priscilla Ahn's Dream, and without warning tears flowed down my face. Give a listen, have tissues ready.

I was touched that Mallory's beautiful father was there to support his talented daughter.

I met a lovely woman named Iris. She did a mesmerizing performance with a crystal singing bowl. I apologize for the poor quality of the picture.

Everyone had a great time! I met so many fascinating people. Roseann Heinrich is an accredited T'ai Chi Chih instructor. I plan to take her class. Angela Minelli is a Holistic Health Counselor with an astonishing breadth of knowledge. Mark Kaplafka is a Certified Herbalist, Reiki Master, Professional Clinical Counselor and an Ordained Minister. Mark has a loving presence, it's a comfort just to stand near him. I was also excited to meet Laura George, the author of Excuse Me, Your Job is Waiting. I definitely need to read her book.
Throughout the day, a theme kept emerging. Everyone I met had either left high paying jobs, or were forced out due to illness. Everyone was attempting to live an authentic life, and were offering what they had learned to others so they might live more authentically as well. This is no easy feat. While extremely satisfying, it requires the letting go of fear and a lot of hard work. (See my previous post regarding Extreme Freelancers.) I kept wondering what our country would be like if authentic living was the norm.

Rainbow Eagle was the speaker. He is a delightful character whose mission is to gently correct some of the misconceptions about Christianity. He also spoke about the Mayan calendars. Fascinating. Michelle Star Yoga & Healing Arts has something for everyone, be sure to check out her calendar of events. Michelle, you go girl!!!


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