Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Poem for Wednesday: The Road Not Taken

10" x 12"
Watercolor on Paper
This painting is available on my Etsy site.

The Road Not Taken 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

by Robert Frost

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Painting(s): Podcast I & II

two canvases, 
15" x 30" x 1.5" each
oil and mixed

"You must be who you are and cultivate this. Do not wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working." Henri Matisse

In these two paintings (Podcast II detail on left), I have begun to explore a new series in my works...the theme of Growth: The Miracle in the Seed.  So many of my paintings explore this already, how nature grows and changes and how that is reflective of personal development. Where we come from, who we we were made, how we change...why only some thrive and why...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Gallerina on the Scene: Artisan Style Gallery

(photos courtesy of Brandon Lynch)

Last week yours truly made it Uptown to Artisan Style Gallery to meet Seattle-based Artist  Tami Figliola who was in town to promote her new works. That's Tami, above, standing among some of her dynamic pieces. I was pleased as punch to learn she was as warm, colorful and captivating as her paintings. Amidst the sangria and the sea of people, the walls of Artisan Style's downstairs gallery came alive with Tami's textured works, rich both in color and depth.  Kudos to Brandon Lunch and Steve Iha, Co-Owners of the Gallery for creating this happy hour event  in a very happy environment.

I had a really nice chat with my friend Erin and Tami about what inspires us and keeps us motivated.  As a creative person myself, I love hearing what makes other artistic people tick.

Tami's painting, "Urban Deer Head", below, really stands out as a favorite of mine.  I keep picturing this in my husband's office.  Tami, a native of Grapevine, TX, noted that living in Seattle has definitely influenced her style of painting and her subject matter, but she creates some works expressly for Texas and her Texas clientele....can you guess which category this one falls into? :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday's Other Creative Soul: Alex Passapera

This week's feature highlights Alex Passapera, a Visual Artist currently living in my hometown of Brooklyn, NY.  I love how the rhythm of the city permeates all of his creations.  Here, in his own words, Alex  talks about what makes him tick:

I was ducated at Savannah College of Art and Design and am currently living in Brooklyn, NY. My hometown is Glen Ridge, NJ

In one sentence, my work is a pouring of impulse, emotion and meandering imagination over a blank page.

My normal working day consists of waking up, coffee, stretch, walk, think, coffee, toast, stare, work, stare, work, procrastinate, procrastinate, stare, work, coffee, lunch, procrastinate, procrastinate, think, stare work, work, work, dinner, work, work, work, stare, stare, sleep.

My ideal day would be all of that without the procrastination.

I am absorbed by meaning in everyday life.  I like to think there are layers upon layers in this world and peeling them back brings excitement and mystery to life.  Over the years I have been lucky enough to meet people and uncover books, films and art that help add to the layers of the world around me.   

The goal for my work is to find a medium or venue where I am able to get across my intent and still have room to embellish the visuals.  The main focus in most of my pieces is to have a certain message come across using different symbols and archetypes people will instinctively respond too.  I've been very interested in comics and working with a narrative in my work.  

New York itself has become my creative influence.  This city holds the gamut of different people, lifestyles and cultures and living here has absolutely changed the way I see the rest of the world.  Living in Bushwick, there is a growing artist community that seems to accept all types of work.  I have received a lot of support here and it helps to fuel my resolve and keeps me motivated to try new things.

Dali was a great influence on me when I was younger.  I was given a book of his paintings by my parents and was inspired by the complexity of his work along with the hidden stories behind the seemingly random imagery.

My motivation to make work is just that,  to keep on making work, because it's what I love and what I need.  If I go too long without sketching or writing I become depressed, restless and agitated.  Not very fun to be around.  I keep a sketch pad with me at all times, just a small pocket size moleskin.  Its like having my methadone handy if I were itching to jump on the ol' H Train.  Not that I do that. 

I use a lot of stipple and mark-making in my work.  This is usually done hunched over my desk for hours on end pricking  the page and moving inch by inch around the desired areas.  Its immensely relaxing in the right mindset, almost zen.  A bit of herb helps too but not required.  Good music is essential though.  I take brakes here and there to keep from cramping up but often I'll lose myself in my thoughts and go on until the early morning hours and realize I haven't eaten anything and my bladder is bursting and my phone has a dozen missed calls.

I am in the process of revamping my website, it should be going in a few weeks, or a month if I'm lucky.  Check it out:
I am also on facebook and myspace, though I really don't like to admit it.  You can look me up using my last name for both i think.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Poem for Wednesday: The Child Angel

The Child Angel
Let your life come amongst them like a flame of light, my child,
unflickering and pure, and delight them into silence.
They are cruel in their greed and their envy,
their words are like hidden knives thirsting for blood.
Go and stand amidst their scowling hearts, my child,
and let your gentle eyes fall upon them like the
forgiving peace of the evening over the strife of the day.
Let them see your face, my child, and thus know the
meaning of all things, let them love you and love each other.
Come and take your seat in the bosom of the limitless, my child.
At sunrise open and raise your heart like a blossoming flower,
and at sunset bend your head and in silence
complete the worship of the day.
By: Rabindranath Tagore

Monday, June 21, 2010

Collective Subconscious

20" x 52"
(3 Canvases, 16" x 20" each)
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas

The Swiss pshychoanalyist Carl Jung suggested that we all share a reservoir of memories--the collective unconsciousness--which consists of common images or archetypes, expressed as kind or wicked people, good or evil spirits, images in nature, etc.  These are derived from the long experience of the human race, passed down in an unconscious mode from our ancestors.  Thus we may all share the same images within our dreams or nightmares.

Do you ever dream of trees, forests or a quiet sky?  Sometimes I dream of things over and over again, only to process these dreams through a painting and then find the image in my head is gone.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gallerina on the Scene

Jerry Cabrera, Haven #49, Oil on Canvas

Last night, Mr. D and I got to an enjoy a little grown-up time and headed to Dragon Street for some excellent art- and people-watching.  (My young daughter calls herself a Ballerina and when I actually put on makeup and head out on the town she calls me a Gallerina, hence the title of this post.)  

I wanted to share the art of Jerry Cabrera, whose show opened at Craighead Green Gallery yesterday.    I saw photos of them before we went to the show, but the impact of them in person and the story behind them has left me longing to go back and visit them again.

For his first exhibition with the Gallery, he is presenting long horizontal canvases that are brightly colored with an almost neon feel. The inspiration for this body of work was discovered when he visited the concentration camps of Germany.  At the same time, he was also inspired by the sacredness of light that is felt upon entrance of churches and cathedrals. Cabrera states that “With light color exists, and color itself denotes life.  Light is also associated with knowledge, hope, warmth and energy”. All of these observations or feelings are obvious in each of his paintings. His sensitivity to the environment and mankind is the driving force of each painting.

I am struck by these paintings, they haunted my dreams last night. To me, they conjured up feelings of being alone in a dark room, looking at a sliver of light beckoning from under the door, or entering an old, dark church through slow-moving ancient doors and slowly being bathed in light.  

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Treasury Tutorial

I heart Etsy, the site to go to find all things handmade and vintage that you never new you had to have. Etsy is a haven for independent artists and artisans to sell their work online, and once you stumble into it, there's a bit of a black hole effect because each great find leads you to another even greater find. 

From time to time, my paintings and prints are selected by other Etsy Members to be featured in their Treasuries. Like today, this print of an original painting of mine (which is sold and now lives in St. Louis) was selected to be in an Etsy Treasury entitled "Raspberry & Green Whimsey".

As an avid Etsian, this always brightens my day, but when I share the news with others unfamiliar with the site, they are a little like, "Whaaa...?"  So I thought I'd take a sec to explain what exactly a Treasury is. 

The Treasury is a member-curated gallery of short-lived lists of 12 hand-picked items each. Members can feature their favorite items, items selected on a theme, or just whoever they like. The Treasury is not intended for self-promotion, but instead to acknowledge and share the many cool things for sale on Etsy. Etsy Admins often choose an exceptional Treasury list to promote on the home page.
So there ya go, now you know. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Write, Play, Create

     Journaling is something I've done to a certain extent my whole life.  When we moved a few months ago, I dusted off a book of old journals and delved into my earlier self via the pages, sometimes charmed by my naivete, sometimes cringing at my own thoughts.  

    Today, I  have a notebook where I write down bits and pieces of poetry, quotes and tidbits of things that inspire me. I refer this notebook when creating art and literally tear out pages to collage into my new works or derive titles and compositions based upon the words I recorded at an earlier time.  I have decided that instead of this sad journal journal being just sort of a dumping ground for abandoned ideas that I slowly destroy, I would make it more of a sketchbook/journal, or as they call it in the biz, an art journal.  Something pretty (or not pretty, depending on the mood I'm in) to record not only words, but sketches, pics, ephemera, and go from there...

     Kay Porterfield wrote an interesting article on how to get started on an art journal, and how this isn't just something for artists, or's a way for grown-ups to play:

Starting an art journal is a powerful way to move beyond words in your daily writing practice. Not only does working with images access a different part of our brains than words, making art is a source of playfulness and creative joy. When we make pictures in our journals, we often come to deeper insights about ourselves and the world around us than we can when we carefully shape our thoughts and write them on paper. By adding color and form to the pages of our journals we illuminate them and in the process we illuminate ourselves.

  • Try working with a symbol for an abstract idea that is a significant part of your life. Some interesting concepts to work with could be creativity, grace, competition, prayer, forgiveness or gratitude. Make a drawing that symbolizes what you’ve chosen to work with. When you finish making your symbol, write about it.

  • Begin collecting interesting images from old magazines and keep them in a large envelope or a flat box. When you’ve gathered a good collection, every once in a while randomly select an image. Paste it in your journal and write about it. Why do you think you drew the image to yourself at this particular time? What message does the image have for you? What other images does this one call to mind? What memories does it evoke?
  • Decorate a blank artist’s sketchbook by making borders on the edges of pages and small pictures in their corners, leaving plenty of room for writing later. Don’t plan how you will embellish the blank pages. Just pick up paints or colored pens or pencils and let yourself go. After you finish decorating the journal, flip through the pages and pick one that fits your mood each day rather than making sequential entries from start to finish.

  • Use your journal entries as triggers to inspire art. Review what you’ve written over the past week or month and find word images you can translate into drawings or paintings.

  • If you stop yourself from keeping a visual journal because you think you’ll make a mess in your journal, try drawing or painting on separate pieces of paper. Cut and paste the work that best expresses what you felt into the pages of your regular journal.
  • Cover inexpensive spiral notebooks with your own drawings, an image from a magazine or a paper or fabric collage. Protect your work by covering it with a self-adhesive sheet of laminating plastic.

    Do you journal/art journal? I want to hear about it...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Get Happy at Artisan Style Gallery TONIGHT

Looking for a place to enjoy a cocktail and some light fare this evening other than your standard bar? Artisan Style invites you to attend their first Art Happy Hour with artist Tami Figliola on tonight, from 6pm – 8pm.

Be the first to see Tami’s newest works, with special prices offered this one night only for all who attend.

The best part? everyone who stays to the end has a chance to win a Tami Figliola original painting!
I just love this one and bet it's going to get snapped up this evening:

Also, enjoy additional savings through out the gallery on artwork, gift items and jewelry.  I have several new tree paintings on display, including the one below.  I hope to have Mr. D take over diaper duty this evening so I can join in the festivities.

Thursday's Other Creative Soul: Chandana Paravatsu

Today's feature highlights Houston-based Painter Chandana Paravatsu, whose contemporary works are expressions of her thoughts, personality and emotions.

Name/LocationChandana Paravastu, Houston,Texas
Masters In Business Administration.

Tell me about your work in one sentence.
Describe your normal day
Finishing works in progress, experimenting for new work, sketching, catching up with friends and family.Yeah that does my normal day. 
Ideal day would be vacationing,may be in the Alps. I love  mountains.
What are your passions? 
What are your goals? 
Would love to own a gallery and be prominent in the art scene internationally.
Who are your creative influences?
Every piece of art and every artist is an influence. I think every time I am with a blank canvas its a new experience in itself.

What motivates you on a daily basis?
The drive to get to the top  keeps me motivated. "
Guilty Pleasure" ummm..that should be "CHOCOLATE".
What's your working style? 
Painting for me is an exhilarating experience; I do paint everyday for at least 3 hours. But yes,when i am crazy creative I go 8am to 5pm  :)

What are your websites/social networking links?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Poem for Wednesday

20 " x 24"
Oil and Mixed Media inCanvas
Fine Art Prints of this original painting are available on my Etsy site.

How Is Your Heart? 
by Charles Bukowski
during my worst times
on the park benches
in the jails
I always had this certain
I wouldn't call it
it was more of an inner
that settled for
whatever was occuring
and it helped in the
and when relationships 
went wrong
with the 
it helped 
through the
wars and the
the backalley fights
to awaken in a cheap room
in a strange city and
pull up the shade-
this was the craziest kind of

and to walk across the floor
to an old dresser with a 
cracked mirror- 
see myself, ugly,
grinning at it all. 
what matters most is
how well you 
walk through the

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Love Grows

8" x 10"
Acrylic and Mixed on Canvas

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” - Albert Einstein

This new little painting is now on display at The Blues Jean Bar in Snider Plaza. I always love to be reminded that my outlook on life is a choice. Here's to choosing to live today like it's a miracle.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I'm wit The Wit

After a great meeting with Gallery Owner Jay Witkowski last week,  I am so excited to announce that my art will now be featured at The Wit Gallery.   The Wit Gallery, located in the heart of Exposition Park, is an established gallery focused on bringing the Dallas art scene a fresh and contemporary array of elite art and artists. What a great space the gallery is... open, welcoming yet warm and cozy at the same time.  As soon as I was greeted by the gallery pup, Molly, with a wag and a lick,  I just got a great  feeling about the place.  

The Curators at the Wit Gallery are always bringing unique, accessible pieces that are unlike most other galleries in Dallas.  Having recently relocated to Dallas from working in LA and New York for years, their outlook shows in the quality and professionalism of artists they choose to show.  The caliber of art they have on display is top-notch and I am honored my paintings are hanging on their  their walls during their Salon Summer Exhibition, including the pieces below:

Sometimes I Feel Like I'm Falling in the Ocean, I &II
24" x 24"
Oil and Mixed on Canvas

This Woman's Work,  I, II and III
8" x 30"
Oil and Mixed on Canvas

I also look forward to them hosting my first Solo Show in their 2010/2011 Season.  Words cannot even begin to describe how stoked I am about this opportunity.  Ideas have been swimming through my brain non-stop...and I think I have finally managed to get a grasp on them and nail down my concept for the show.  More details to follow!  

Saturday, June 12, 2010

See My Light; Love My Dark

12" x 16" 1.5"
Acrylic and Mixed on Canvas

   I Like this quote I dislike this quote

“There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion” -Carl Jung

The most terrifying thing is to accept yourself completely. I created this piece with the sentiment that nobody is perfect, everyone is flawed in some way.  When you truly learn how to love someone, you love them as a whole person.  You love the dark and the light.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday's Other Creative Soul: Katie Lee Todd

Today's Feature Highlights Portland-based Visual Artist Katie Lee Todd, whose stunning horizon paintings captivated me the moment I first laid eyes on them.

Katie Todd, Portland, OR
BA.'s East Asian Studies & Psychology,  Graduated Phi Beta KappaIndiana University.
Grew up in Toledo, OH, currently live and work in Portland, OR.
My painting is a means to create a sense of physical space, both for myself and for the
observers of my work. They are a memory of place, created with horizon, color, and light.

My normal day involves getting my kindergartener up and ready for our bike ride to school. Then teaching a Cardio/Pilates class 3 mornings a week, or heading straight over to my painting studio. I’d like to say that I work right up until schools out, but I mostly take food breaks to fuel the body, or computer breaks to fuel the business.  Family soaking in the hot tub most nights. My days are pretty ideal, it’s even more ideal though on days when paintings sell, or I also have time to get creative in the kitchen without the pressure of time.  Oh I guess spending the day in the woods in a natural hotsprings and being fed good Thai food and ice cream in the spring would be even more ideal.
My passions are getting BODYWORK, and doing energywork with friends. I’ve got an amazing community of friends and healers here in Portland. We enjoy helping each other move forward in life. It sounds kinda dorky, but self-work is my play, and roller-skating too.
My Goals: have paintings represented by 2 more galleries out of state this year, get going on a working tour of art for Europe by 2012.  Make my own sauerkraut, stop trying to be perfect, have more fun and be sillier with my 6 year old.
My creative influences are the sky, Beethoven, Rothko, Chef Rachel (The Garden of Eating),  Goddess Kelly O’Hearn, Portland painters Therese Murzda, and Jolyn Fry.
 Giving birth was huge. My daughter was born naturally at home, but I had really bad postpartum depression. A therapist suggested I do something for my soul. My husband bought me painting lessons with local painter, Jolyn Fry. Jolyn helped me breathe and paint from my body, not just my head, as I’d been taught. One day I started painting horizons, they felt good to me. I decided to do a show to really get motivated to paint for real. I never thought I’d be a painter until I was a grandma.  I wouldn’t  be painting if I hadn’t had felt so bad and needed a change.  The darkness lead to somethin’ new, woohoo!
Who is an inspiration? Hmmm, I love Bjork’s creativity. Artists Christopher Perry,  and my little bro, Jeremiah Coyle.  My business inspirations are my husband, David, big sister, Megan Stamos, and mother in law, Cathryn Todd.  All rockin entrepreneurs.  I admire their drive, and I know it takes a lot to get artwork out there and sold. I think about them working when I just want to stay home and drink tea and nibble chocolate, oh and yes that is my daily pleasure, really good dark chocolate.  and is my energywork site.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Poem for Wednesday

30" x 40"
Oil and Mixed on Canvas
Fine Art Prints of this original painting are available on my Etsy site.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
Shel Silverstein 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Get Inspired

I was recently a guest blogger for Jen Bernard on her blog NOLA Girl, a wonderful blog about everything fabulous through the eyes of a New Orleanian shopaholic.

I wrote a little something for her readers about getting inspired and I wanted to share it with you all because I think searching for inspiration is important for everyone, both those involved in the artistic realm and those who swear they don't have a creative bone in their tiny little pinkie finger.

"Being an artist, people often ask me where I find ideas for my paintings. Inspiration is everywhere, and I wanted to share with NOLA Girl's readers how you can discover inspiration in your own lives. Whatever creative thing you wish to find inspiration for it can be quite simple, if you open your eyes to the wonderful world around you.  I am also sprinkling a few of my paintings in for good measure. 

You can also view my website with a more complete body of work here.

Step 1: THINK
Open your mind. Be open to any suggestions from a friend, relative even a stranger or someone you just met, the minds of others is one of your best resources so be sure to use it often. Also, most of the time people can give you the best ideas for something because they are not trying to, so pay attention to what others say or do, you might just be touched creatively because a conversation you over heard or a moment where you saw the world through someone else eyes.

Step 2: LOOK

Look around you. What is the one thing that is always happening around you and never stops? Life. Life is all around, and if you pay more attention to the world around you, inspiration is at every corner. So maybe try sitting somewhere (like a park or coffee shop) with a sheet of paper and a pen and write down (or maybe sketch out) the things you notice around you, if you clear you mind and release it from our tiny little mental boxes we put ourselves in, you can feel the world around you, and inspiration is everywhere you look.

Step 3: DO

Do something you've never done before. join a dance class, maybe even a pottery class or photography class, something creative that stimulates your brain. Dance, pottery and photography are all forms of art, and joining a group like that will be surrounding yourself with creative opportunities and resources. There are millions of things you could do that will be creatively stimulating to get rid of writer's block or just to find inspiration because you feel like it."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday's Other Creative Soul: Leal Kim

This week's feature highlights a Jewelry Designer whose organic pieces are inspired by botany, horticulture and the natural world.

Leal Kim

College Student working towards a double major in Botany and Horticulture

Current City/Hometown:

Seattle, WA

Tell me about your work.
With my business partner, we run Bits n Beads by Gilliauna where we create colorful quality handcrafted jewelry and accessories.

Describe your normal day. 
My normal day consists of a strictly adhered to schedule that ensures I get both time for my studies as well as time for my craft.  At the moment, I'm currently divvying up my craft and online marketing responsibilities to a few hours here and there throughout the day. Ideally, I'd love another 6 hours in each day.  I feel my days are too short by a long shot and I'd love to find a way to fit more in that I just can't right now.

What are your passions?
Plants and nature is my top passion and interest, which I think shows itself in my choice of studies as well as in my enjoyment of working with gemstones.  Jewelry design runs a close second.  I'm not a big fan of marketing, etc.  If I could spend all of that time creating instead, I'd be a happy camper.

What are your goals?
In reference to my work with jewelry and Bits n Beads, I'd like to reach a point where we're getting a steady sale-a-day there.  

Who are your creative influences?

My business partner is my largest creative influence. She started me out creating jewelry and beading along with my twin sister when we were around the age of 9.  She's an extremely creative, talented and intelligent woman that I'm honored to know and call a friend as well as business partner.

Are there any other relevant experiences that shaped who you are today and what you do?

Being queer, I'm sure, has a huge part to do with my development in the area of jewelry design.  Mostly, because my father disapproved so strongly.  I find a great amount of joy in my work, but it was just icing on the cake during my teen years that my father twitched every time he saw me creating some beautiful, delicate piece of jewelry.

Is there anyone that you really look up to as an inspiration?
Bono.  This man is the PR king of the world.  Seriously.

What motivates you on a daily basis?
My guilty pleasure is the gemstones I buy to use in my pieces.  I love working with them and probably spend more than I should to have the ones I want to use and create with.  As for motivation.  I find I'm more motivated when things are clean and organized.  The more organized things are, the more inspired I am to pop out of bed and get going.  My partner (life partner, not business partner) Gideon also fits in this category.  He's very supportive.

What's your working style?

I'm usually one of these people that tries to plow through things to the end.   I work on one piece or one design at a time and it's not unusual that I'll start a piece and not want to move from my work table until it's finished.

What are your websites/social networking links?

Website :




Gina Marie Dunn, Utopia Pkwy. Art Studio's Fan Box


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