Friday, October 29, 2010

New Painting, "Lead Me to the Truth"

16" x 20"
Oil and Mixed Media on Gallery Wrapped Canvas

"Lead me to the truth and I 
Will follow you with my whole life."
-Mumford and Sons

I have a serious addiction to my Ipod. If I pick it up in the morning and realize the battery is dead, I can kiss my run goodbye. Similarly, I am just as dependent on it while working in the studio.  When painting, music acts as a conduit for everything I am trying to express and the words just flow through my brush in this wonderful process that unites thought and sound. It wraps me up in my own little world and I love every second.

As a working mom of young ones, long gone are the days of finding the time to discover new bands and delve into music the way I used to.   I was caught in a rut of listening to my "comfort music" (aka warm and cozy songs that I know I love to paint to from baaaack in the day...circa high school and college) and lots of Yo Gabba Gabba and Top 40 hits that the kids are begging me to play in the car.

Then, in walks my dear friend Beth, who skips into town from Austin and brings sunshine with her wherever she goes. Beth is a knockout trendsetter who has Austin-chic style down pat and has her finger on the pulse of all music indie and cool. It's all I can do to glance at her fb pics from Austin City Limits and not be filled with jealousy that I wasn't there alongside her with my cowboy boots, flowy dress and shades sipping a frothy delicious bevvy. However, no jealousy necessary--Beth is such a great friend that she reached out to me and sent the music to Dallas. I am so grateful to her for my CDs. Like little rays of sunshine they arrived in the mail and have opened my eyes to some great bands that are not necessarily new, but new to me. One of them is Mumford and Sons and their song, "Blank White Page" has a haunting power that takes my breath away every time I hear it.  That's where the title of my newest work is derived.

It's no coincidence that I have been struck by inspiration in the studio since my new tunes have been playing. While listening to music, I am able to sort out what my subconscious is doing on the canvas and make it all connect. I know a painting is finished when the audio  and the visual come together for me.  Thanks, DJ Jazzy Beth, I love you!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday's Other Creative Soul: Marilyn Mitchell

A s a creative person myself, I am fascinated with what makes other like-minded types tick. Thanks for joining me today as I share an interview with San Diego-based Artist, Marilyn Mitchell 

Name/Location - Marilyn Mitchell/San Diego, CA
Education - art school drop out, bachelor's degree in Nursing, Master's degree in Health Law

Describe your work in one sentence. 
My work is influenced both by American culture and by my desire to be free.

Describe your normal day. 
If I'm not working at my part-time job, I have a delicious breakfast, read email, check some things online, write in my journal, do Nia for an hour for my spiritual sweat (check if you don't know what Nia is), shower, go into my studio and work until lunch time.  I listen to "Fresh Air" on NPR at lunch time, then I go back to the studio until I get hungry for dinner.  My husband & I often cook together.  After dinner we listen to music and I usually read.
On days I work, I try to do Nia before I go off to work.  I work in an office building as an Education Consultant so I'm either teaching, doing research, consulting or attending meetings during the day.  

What are your passions? 
Art, dance, music, good food, health care, politics

What are your goals? 
Since I have art and work I have two main goals.  One is to make art that is like no other yet it describes our times and it will be valued as art with a capital "A" - "Art".  I also want to become a Clinical Ethics Consultant because I think it would balance my art life well and I can help people settle ethical dilemmas in hospital settings.  The field of medical humanities is flourishing and I want to be a part of it, too.

Who are your creative influences?
Robert Ryman, Ruppersberg, Jackson Pollack, Kiki Smith, Richard Serra

Are there any other relevant experiences that shaped who you are today and what you do?  
Poverty as a child influenced me to make sure I have an income that does not depend on my art.

Is there anyone that you really look up to as an inspiration?  
Debbie and Carlos Rosas (the founders of Nia), Mary Devereaux (a bioethics philosopher that is very thoughtful and was my teacher) and Bryan Liang (another teacher that is a physician, a lawyer and an economist - his existence proves a person can do everything well!)

What motivates you on a daily basis? 
I had a near death experience at age 32 and I don't take a single day for granted. Do you have a "guilty pleasure" that you can't miss out on to get you going? Music

What's your working style? 
I like to be isolated, I do not like any interruptions, except to eat.  I work on a variety of pieces at once, usually I have at least two pieces in progress - often one is sculptural and one is 2-D.  Do you work for 12 hours straight nonstop, or do you take lots of breaks?  If my husband is not home - I work 16 hours straight and just take meal breaks.

What are your websites/social networking links?  
My website is at and my blog is at  I am also on Facebook

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Poem For Wednesday: You Learn

Love and Happiness
Acrylic and Mixed Media
Available on Etsy

This poem is one of my favorites. I came across an old box from high school while organizing our closet and saw it on the handout for our Graduation Mass back in 1997.  It still carries so much meaning.

You Learn

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises,

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn...
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure...

That you really are strong

And you really do have worth...

And you learn and learn...

With every good-bye you learn.
Translation by Veronica A. Shoffstall

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teach the Children Well

I think one of the greatest compliments I ever received was being told I am naturally good with children. For the past six years, it is my love of working with them combined with my passion for art that has called me to teach. I have had the pleasure of encountering so many wonderful students and their families through my years of teaching at the Dallas Museum of Art, Art Stop in Preston Center and offering private lessons at my home studio.

This Fall marks my return to teaching children's art regularly. I took some time off while my third and youngest was born and I adjusted to life with three small children.  This time also enabled me to focus more on my own painting, and now as life starts to settle a bit I am working to find a way to incorporate both into my regular routine.  It is so much fun to be able to tell the kids I work with that I am a "real" artist, they love to hear about my gallery shows, and what it's like to work in a studio and sell paintings.  They love asking me how much money I make--their candor always makes me laugh.

Although I used to teach nearly full-time, I am only taking on one regular class this Fall at Art Stop (Mondays from 3:45 - 4:45). I am so grateful to Kathleen Alexander, Art Stop's Owner, for allowing me to return to something I love and, best of all, bring my 4.5 year-ols to the class with me and expose her to the magic of Art Stop.  Kathleen is like a second mom, a mentor and a dear friend all rolled into one.  In Art Stop she has created a haven of creativity for these kids. (That's us up there in the picture, teaching the kids together. Selfishly, I find this time to be so much fun...I can't believe that I get paid for it.)

Private lessons and camps will come later. My head is teeming with ideas on ways to reach out to kiddos but I have to put my own young ones first right now.  Until then, I am thrilled to be back in the classroom.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Painting, "Big as the Sky"

24" x 24" 
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas

Would you hold my head up high?
Would you make my life as big as the sky?
Would you spend the rest of your life with me?"
-a.m. sixty

The painting is a part of my abstract series and was created using oil paint, mixed media and collage. I have yet to visit Montana, but am confident we will get to Jackson Hole in the next few summers and am curious if the image on my canvas, the one that my mind's eye holds, matches up to the reality of Big Sky Country. 

My aim in this work was to capture how this big sky, the universe, puts it all into perspective.  How can I feel so small sometimes and as others as big as the sky?

I have listed this one on etsy if you are interested in purchase.
Copyright of work, including all rights of reproduction in any form, are held by the artist.
©2010 Gina Marie Dunn

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday's Other Creative Soul: Rachel Epp Buller

As a creative person myself, I am fascinated with what makes other like-minded types tick. Thanks for joining me today as I share an interview with Kansas-based printmaker, teacher and mother, Rachel Epp Buller. As a fellow mother of three, she is always searching for balance and harmony, and I can really identify with her style of work and her creative methods.
Rachel Epp Buller, currently living in Newton, Kansas, teaching at Bethel College, a small private liberal-arts school

B.A. in Art (Printmaking), German, and History; M.A. and Ph.D. both in Art History

Current City/Hometown
Grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska; migrated south to Kansas for college and beyond, with various periods of time away spent in Germany and New York City

Describe your work in one sentence. 
Through words and images, my scholarship and my prints variously address critical issues of mothering that speak to my life as a feminist-art historian-printmaker-mama of three.

What are your passions?
Integrating my personal and professional lives as much as possible. It was a revelation to me some years ago that this was possible, in both my writing and artistic lives. The birth of my third child spurred me back to work making prints, something I'd put aside for 10 years. In my scholarship, I have turned to writing on the theory and practice of mothering in contemporary art, the maternal body, and feminist mothering. Other passions: raising children with a strong sense of self and a high level of empathy. Of course I want them all to find ways to excel individually, but just as importantly, I want them to understand the importance of being good to other people. We will be moving as a family to Berlin, Germany for much of next year and I fully anticipate that this will be an amazing experience for our children as they negotiate a different culture and language.

Who are your creative influences?
I am often moved by art that is explicitly feminist, from the 1970s on up til present day. I am also inspired by a wide range of printmakers, many of whom I've encountered at the Frogman's Summer Printmaking Workshops in South Dakota. Printmakers are a different breed of artist--quirky, experimental, and often so generous with information, advice, and even their own work.

What motivates you on a daily basis? 
 I work best when I am under the pressure of deadlines, preferably more than one at a time. Maybe because I've been staying at home with children off and on for the past 9 years, the possibilities of writing and making prints are motivators in themselves: this kind of "work" is my fun right now, academic and creative outlets amidst part-time teaching and childrearing.

Guilty pleasures? 
Probably good coffee and dark chocolate.

What's your working style? Do you work for 12 hours straight nonstop, or do you take lots of breaks?
I work in short periods of time, squeezed in amidst the other obligations of career and family. I first developed this style of working when my oldest child was an infant and I was trying to write a dissertation.I developed a very compressed and compartmentalized way of being and working. I felt able to be fully present with my baby most of the time, but the dissertation remained in the back of my mind so that when I reached the blessed naptime each day, I made the most of that 1-3 hours and worked steadily. Even though my children are older now, I continue to find that that style works well for me.

What are your websites/social networking links?
Facebook, of course, since 2003. I finally started a blog (more of a website, or blog/site combo):
You'll see that I have a whole host of links on the home page, both the websites of artists whose work I find compelling and links to
 organizations I find particularly worthy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Glass Coin

I'm stoked that my painting, "Your Voice Was Smooth; Like Water Running Over Rocks" was chosen as the October cover art for Ontario-based Literary Zine, The Glass Coin.  The Glass Coin is a split-themed open zine that explores both sides of an idea...examples are "Heroes and Villains", "Eureka! and Oops!", and October's theme was "Oil and Watercolor".  

"Your Voice Was Smooth; Like Water Running Over Rocks"
24" x 36" x 1.5"
Oil and Mixed on Canvas

The irony lies in the fact that I used both of these seemingly unfriendly media in the painting that was chosen, and then some. I often work in collage, ink, acrylics, oils and watercolor in the same piece.  Maybe that makes me indecisive and a bit schizophrenic, or the other part of me believes that's my way of just trying to make everything get along in a sort of peaceful harmony that can be achieved only when the composition feels finished.

By the way, this piece is on display at The Blues Jean Bar in Snider Plaza and available for purchase. Message me for more details.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday's Other Creative Soul: Deborah Mori

A s a creative person myself, I am fascinated with what makes other like-minded types tick. Thanks for joining me today as I share an interview with California-based Artist, Graphic Designer and lovely soul Deborah Mori.

Deborah Mori / San Diego, CA

BA of Arts with graphic design emphasis

Describe your work in one sentence.
I am a graphic designer, painter, illustrator, writer, photographer who is curious by nature, kind at heart & grateful for every single day, and hopefully that is reflected in all my work.

Describe your normal day.
Ha, normal day... get up at 5:30, walk 4-5 miles, take kid to school, run errands, paint something or draw on the computer, pick up kid from school, spend time with kid and husband, finish any creative work after family goes to bed. My ideal day would be get up early, walk 5 miles, paint something or draw something on the computer, go out to lunch with friends, spend time with kid, go out for dinner and see an art exhibit.

What are your passions including, but not limited to, your work?
I love to read, walk, exercise, care for my animals, travel, try new restaurants, paint and draw, see new art, cruise blogs, drink coffee, discuss books and art with other creatives, look at kid's books and art, listen to music and drive.

 What are your goals?
My goals are simple really. I'd like to live long enough to see my son have his own children, always be able to create something, write a book, and find joy in the little things.

Who are your creative influences?
Edward Hopper, Frida Kahlo, Gauguin for the famous ones and I absolutely love other creative moms I find through blogging.

Are there any other relevant experiences that shaped who you are today and what you do?
My high school teacher, Mrs. Lothian, was an incredibly supportive influence and she is one of the reasons I became an artist. My twin sister, who died last year, has also been one of my art support systems as we would create things together.

How do you set the table for your muse?
I just get out my supplies and hope she shows up. Books help a lot too.

What motivates you on a daily basis?
I am going through a little bit of a creative slump at the moment since my sister died but I can see myself slowly reaching up and out. The daily motivation that has helped pull me through the slump is my daily posts I make on my blog. When I started it 3 years ago, I made the commitment to post daily and to make an illustration every single day. It was a project to refine my illustration style and has grown into so much more. My little blog would have to be my biggest motivator.

What's your working style? 
I usually work in large chunks of time, especially when I am in a creative groove. If I find myself taking lots of breaks, I know I am not that centered or focused so sometimes it's better to go away and come back later. When I paint, I use acrylics and they dry fast so I like to really have a plan and be motivated. I rarely paint without knowing what I am going to do first.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Local Artist Spotlight

What a treat to open my mail this afternoon and see one of my paintings staring back at me in postcard-formation. Thanks to Brandon Stewart for featuring my painting, "From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea", in his monthly Local Artist Spotlight.  Brandon is a Dallas-area Realtor in Ebby's White Rock/Lake Highlands office who has carved a niche in the local community by promoting the arts.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Work in Progress

Had a lovely little morning in the studio while the kids were at Mother's Day Out and Preschool. Five hours went by in the blink of an eye. I love that. Sometimes when I am painting I hit a groove where I am completely in the moment, filled with contentment. I often chase this same high when I'm running.  I wait for it to find me when I practice yoga.  That exhilaration of being completely present is what makes me feel complete.

I wanted to post some pics of a work in progress today, to show how things get done around my little studio. I have various easels but mostly work on the floor. Paint everywhere. Always with green tea. And lots of mellow music, today I was digging some old-school Cure. I am working on a new Gladiolas painting to trade with an artist who I have gotten to be friendly with, Jennifer Moreman.  The one on the right with the cool colors, entitled, "Celebration", hangs in my private collection, and I hope to have something similar done for Jennifer with some fresh new colors.  We're meeting to trade on Saturday. Fingers crossed I get it done!

In the Pink at RISING Gallery

Hoping to see everyone this Saturday night, October 16, from 7-10 p.m. for this year's PINK event at RISING gallery...just off Knox and 75 on 4631 Industrial Lane. The Gallery Owners, Bryan and Taber Wetz, created this event several years ago in order to honor their late mother, Sharon Wetz, who battled this disease.  Now in its third year, PINK has become a premier event for Dallas residents to help support victims and their loved ones.  The evening is a wonderful combination of art, video and fashion all for this very special cause.  It looks like the weather is going to cooperate and there will also be outdoor activities.

My painting, "The Beautiful Present" (below) will be in the Auction along with artwork up for grabs by some very talented Texas artists.  

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

New Painting, "The Beautiful Present"

8" x 10"
Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas

One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.” -Unknown

This painting is part of a new series that was inspired by a commissioned painting of cherry blossoms from a Collector in D.C.  

The title came from my recent deeper foray into my yoga practice.  Having been a competitive runner for the last 5 years (and a hard-core Katy Trail rat for all the Dallas folks reading this), I am gradually shifting my focus toward running more recreationally and focusing on my yoga practice. It has only been a few weeks and I can already feel my left knee thanking me. With my practice I hope, among other things, to better be able to maintain my presence in the the moment.  To enjoy my life, my blessings, my family, instead of scrambling to get a million things accomplished all in one day. To breathe. To be. It's not as easy as it sounds.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday's Other Creative Soul: Judith Joseph

As a creative person myself, I am fascinated with what makes other like-minded types tick. Thanks for joining me today as I share an interview with Chicago-based visual Artist Judith Joseph.

Judith Joseph, Chicago, Illinois

University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.S. Art

Current City/Hometown
Northbrook, Illinois

Describe your normal day.
Normal day:  I wake up at 7:30.  I have a leisurely morning, answering/sending emails.  I get to work in my studio by 10:30 or 11:00.  I usually paint for 4-6 hours per day (unless I teach a painting class).  In the evening, I look for show opportunities online and work on grant or show applications.
Ideal Day:  Wake up (in a house in the woods).  Go for a swim in a pristine lake, paint until I can’t see straight, have another swim and a beer, barbecue dinner, hang out with family and friends, watch a meteor shower.

What are your passions?
My family,  friends and dog, painting, opera, being in the woods.
Who are your creative influences?
I love illuminated manuscripts and folk art

Are there any other relevant experiences that shaped who you are today and what you do?
I like a challenge.  I have to work for a living, and that has pushed me to try lots of things in order to earn money, which has enlarged my artistic repertoire.

Is there anyone  that you really look up to as an inspiration?
Georgia O’Keeffe for her work ethic; Picasso for his intense creativity and willingness to work in many media; and many, many unknown but very talented artists I have met who plug away at their work with discipline, creativity and dedication.

What motivates you on a daily basis?  
I do a lot of different things:  painting, commissioned works, teaching, writing and working on my interactive installation art.  I build in time to switch things around so that if I don’t feel like working on one thing, I do something else.  My “guilty pleasure” is a.m. talk radio while I work—not the Rush Limbaugh types (heaven forbid!), but local djs who provide funny, mostly mindless chatter that keeps me company while I work.  Also, I listen to Cubs or Blackhawks games, depending on the season.

What are your websites/social networking links?

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


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