Saturday, January 30, 2010


Promise Land - Acrylic on 12" x 12" canvas, 2010

Lost City - Acrylic on 12" x 12" canvas, 2010

These two new paintings are an exploration of space, shapes and colors drifting in and out of focus, occupying multiple dimensions. In these pieces I want the viewer to enter into the canvas and get lost in another world.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Two new paintings today

Lust For Life - Acrylic on 12" x 12" canvas, 2010

Which Way To Go? - Acrylic on 12" x 12" canvas, 2010

Working in this style has been very meditative to me, balancing compositions, carefully cutting in color in the negative spaces. Meanwhile I have some other canvases in progress that are in a totally different style. Anything goes in the studio these days and I'm loving it!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Favorite Parts Are Remembered

My Favorite Parts Are Remembered - Acrylic on 12" x 12" canvas, 2010

Since my last post, I've been working on several new paintings, rotating them around as each evolves closer to finished. This piece's title has two levels of meaning. From a painterly perspective, I have cropped around my favorite parts of the painting, blocking out the less interesting areas with bold patches of color. On a personal level, I do actually tend to block out the more sad/negative elements of my memory and only remember the good times. Unlike Joni, it's clouds' silver linings I recall although like Joni, I still really don't know clouds at all...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Quick Sketch = Affordable Art

Sketch Paintings 1-6

These six new paintings are all acrylic on 8" x 10" matboard, done in under a half an hour and available for a crazy low price of $20 in my livefunky shop at The intention behind doing this is two (or three? or four?) fold. First of all, I need an outlet to warm up before working on my more serious/focused work. Second, the reality of our economy hasn't escaped me and I'd like to have something affordable for buyers that can't afford to spend $200 or more on an original painting. Third, I have always gotten a thrill out of cranking out paintings. I don't like doing it on quality canvas anymore (because there's always the thought "this could be better" and I WANT to demand better work from myself) but this formula of a 30 minute cut off works well for me. It forces me to focus while I'm working and let it go when it's done and move on to the next one. The more I paint, the more I learn, why shouldn't buyers benefit from that too? I began the year with a print shop on livefunky just to use as a promotion for my fine art shop. But the reality is my prints do a thousand times better in person than they do online. Not sure why, but that's what I've learned. So for now I'll be doing my new daily routine of cranking out a few sketch paintings and then, when the groove is in full force, switch to canvas and go from there. Maybe a little back and forth too when I get stuck.

Fine artists might think I'm crazy for doing this, but honestly, it's all about making art and making art available to everyone and anyone. It's all (me included) a work in progress!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

another sunset pic for kendra

This one's for you Kendra!
(See Kendra's amazing artwork at

And this is of our garden, covered by a mulch layer of leaves and snow. I know what's waiting just under the surface and just the knowledge that such determined little creatures are there, waiting for the right time to leap out from under the earth gives me a thrill. Iris and lillies and hyacinth - oh my! The question is, how to enjoy these lingering months of winter before my favorite time of year springs into bloom...

Two new paintings today

Find Your Way Back - Acrylic on 12" x 12" canvas, 2010

A Promise of Hope - Acrylic on 12" x 12" canvas, 2010

Both are now available for purchase at

horizon line light

the dividing line between the blue

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Balancing Act

Balancing Act - Acrylic on 12x12 canvas, 2010

A Woman Wonders

A Woman Wonders - Acrylic on 12x12 canvas, 2010

This painting began as two figures I saw as male and female. As the piece progressed, I realized I was painting a self portrait with two different versions of myself - a younger me on the left (when I had short hair) and me now on the right, or maybe me in the future? Either way, it sort of hearkens back to a painting I made for our final show in college seen below. Still contemplating identity, still questioning if I will be a mother someday or not. Ten years later, still wondering what kind of woman I'll become...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dream State

Dream State - Acrylic on 18" x 24" canvas, 2010. Available for purchase here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back to work

I've got lots of paintings in progress right now. I'd say about ten canvases or so. Experimenting with techniques, blending different approaches and seeing what happens. This one is cool as is but I'll be digging in some more before it's done. Hope everyone is having a happy weekend!

Friday, January 15, 2010

clowning around

leo and bowser, originally uploaded by livefunky.

Work hard play hard. That's Leo's motto (he's the one on the right seen playing with his buddy Bowser).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm hearing that voice...

...and it's saying "that's it, you're done".

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Getting closer...

Now I have to be careful. It is ALMOST done and one carefree blast of painting could ruin what's working here. It's so close... I just have to pay attention to each area and think about what's missing and only add that. There needs to be a little more flow to link the right side with the left side.

TODAY'S GOAL: Start some smaller paintings.

Here are four 10" x 10" canvases I began today. Having fun, feeling the groove again, life is good.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Door Number Three

(The title of this post is for Country Dreaming who left a comment on my last post :))

So much for taking a break from this painting...

Last night, after the kids were asleep, my husband Rob and I were down in the basement watching TV and I kept looking at this canvas and grimacing. I tried to explain to Rob the reasons why I was disappointed with it and how frustrated I was that I went in a more linear direction rather than a loose, expressive abstract style that I like (see my last post to see what I was looking at last night). It's HUGE - the largest canvas I've ever worked on - about 54" x 88". I talked about priming over it. I talked about cutting it in half. At that point he said "Whoa - no. Challenge yourself, Jess". I nod, ok, ok, you're right... and then he said "let me commission something from you" and then he described what he calls my "mechanical style" (basically it's what you see above, interwoven detailed design). I had considered that approach and I just needed a push in ANY direction so I ran with it and started digging into the painting again. Rob was looking on and at one point said something along the lines of "that looks awesome, and now that it's more detailed you can charge more for it!" which, to this highly strung artist (at the time), it just hit me the wrong way. I took a break from painting and talked about how that's the attitude that I struggle with - the perception that loose, free work is easy when it's actually such a challenge for me. Less is more and it's difficult to achieve. I pointed to the canvas with my evolving patterns and said "that's easy for me" at which point Rob stopped me and proceeded to blow my mind. He said it's easy for me because I'm good at it. That whenever we've drawn together he tries but can't do that style. He talked about how when he's sat down to write something that isn't his usual style he struggles with it, but when he does what he's good at things just flow. I don't know what inside of me resented what I do best and wanted it to be something different, but when he said that a light bulb went off that yes, this does come naturally to me and it's FUN and it shows. That conversation opened the floodgates, took away all frustration and the paint flew until moments before dawn. (Thanks Rob, my rock for all occassions).

I'm really happy with this piece right now. It's going to progress from here, but don't worry, no more whitewashing and starting from scratch from this point forward. Just some fine tuning and it will be complete soon.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Lesson Learned - When and When Not to Attack a Big Canvas

Sometimes I wonder if I'm sharing too much on my blog. Maybe I'll lose some of the mystique of my work if I put it all out there. But since it's mostly fellow artists that read my blog, why not share the downs as well as the ups? It's the reality of it all, right? The fantasy life of an artist goes something like this - artist wakes, drinks coffee contemplatively, turns on some music and then the magic begins and continues until a painting is complete. But that's not how it works, at least not for me. There's a lot of wrestling mixed in with the "magic". There's second guessing, laughing out loud, cursing and frustration. But all of that makes the moments that click that much more powerful and exciting. You know how it feels when it's not working and you know how it feels when it is. When you are doing nothing but fight it's time to put that aside and ask yourself why - these are moments to learn something and I learned a lesson yesterday that dawned on me as I was about to fall asleep.

I had a fantasy of stretching a mega canvas, attacking it freely and somehow magic would simply occur and lead me towards creating a painting that would blow my mind. The problem was it's been a while (maybe three weeks?) since I've painted and, as I said in my other post, it takes a while to get back in the groove. I got the painting to a place that I was satisfied to say "oh just finish it and move on" but with such a huge canvas, how I can really settle for less than my ultimate best when I expect someone to pay big bucks for it and dedicate a large space of their home to? I can do that with smaller paintings, they can (and should be) my experimental zone. So here's my own lessons learned and guide to painting monsters.

* Get back in the painting groove with experimental small/medium sized surfaces.

* Look at what's working in my smaller work, what I like and want to see on a larger scale and base larger pieces on that - aka KNOW what I'm getting into before I begin (which I don't often do in my abstracts, but it's needed on a large scale - at least a general direction).

* The only exception to the above is if I'm completely in the groove, feeling the magic, feeling the moment - that's the only time I can crank into a biggie with no guide or expectations.

UPDATE 1/10 - OR keep fighting, challenge yourself and screw the rules.

So after all of those various versions of the big canvas you saw, I honestly might gesso over the whole thing and start over. *gasp!* I know, I know... but it's just too big to be just okay.

TODAY'S GOAL: Process these lessons that came in the wee hours of night and work on some smaller canvases to get the ball rolling again...

On another note, I created this banner last night for - what do you think?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Look See Saw is back - take a look!

I'm bringing my Look See Saw blog back and you can take a look here (I'd love some more followers, hint hint). I'm always finding art that I'd love to share and twitter is too flash in the pan for anyone to really notice so this gives me a platform to share daily discoveries.

Raw to refined... and thoughts on the subject

TODAY'S GOAL: Keep Painting

Something in me, old habit I suppose, went with this direction this morning, emphasizing thick black lines and filling in shapes with color. Once I began down this road, I had to follow it so I can finish it and just move onto another canvas for other approaches.

Ok so I'm going to state the obvious. This painting was more intriguing at other stages. The thing is, I was trained that the painting process worked from big to small, raw to refined and I took that approach to my abstracts. That's the method and technique I've used for years and years and now I want to be more free and loose so I have to fight these patterns. I've been tapping into it with some paintings I think of right off the bat (most of which coincidentally sold the fastest).

The Secret's Out
View From Above

They are raw, they are intuitive and expressive, they are organic and let paint be paint. This is what I want to be painting. I'm going to get my husband's help to move this canvas over down the wall to put aside for a new stretch of canvas to carry all of these feelings into. It's a feeling of gotta get to the next and the next until all of a sudden you are right there and everything clicks.

Update - we moved the canvas and fresh white blankness is in it's place. It's calling me...

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Oversized Work in Progress

Beginning a biggie - here's what I did...

First strokes of color.

Cover the surface with color.

Experiment with ways to move paint around.

Things get messy, muddied... let dry...

Start to break up the surface again with line.

Getting in there with more contrast and color.

And here's where I call it quits for the night. Who knows where this painting will end up - we'll find out tomorrow...

TODAY'S GOAL(S) - Set up a painting corner in the basement (for the cold months when I can't use the studio and, as you can tell date-wise, this is long overdue for the season) - check!

Start a mega painting - check!

Research web hosting sites - semi check... still undecided and there's lots more to find out. I used to have Yahoo Site Builder and I'm looking for an affordable template drag and drop style hosting site. I've looked into intuit a bit as well as today. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

BIG GOALS (achieved at a reasonable pace)

TODAY'S GOAL MET: 50 items inventory minimum at LiveFunky

One solid attainable goal a day. That's my plan. I started doing this little personal ritual last year and I'm going to keep it going as I start up 2010 with a burst of energy that wants to sprint to the finish line - which isn't what I need - so I'm focusing on the slow and steady, purposeful and driven walk forward, that's all. Forget the finish line, what's that? I dare not think... So instead it's a goal a day, conceived the night before as a meditation before sleep, visualized from start to finish. Yesterday I updated my livefunky shop's banner, avatar, announcement and profile, and I listed a batch of new prints for sale. Because I cleared out other assorted listings, I only had two pages of products so today's goal was to get to a minimum of 50 listings. Tonight I completed that goal and felt the wonderful familiar feeling of achievement. That's what it's all about. Tomorrow's goal? That's for me to know and share tomorrow once I've completed it because otherwise I'll feel pressure and resent pressure and not do it! Ha! And that's why I share this, not as "everyone has to do it this way" but more like "I stopped fighting who I am and how I operate and I'm learning to work with it rather against it, so can you".

So how do you work best attaining your goals? Do you need a deadline? Do you work better or worse under pressure?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Happy New Decade!

I've got a great feeling about 2010 and whether I'm right or wrong about it, I'm going with it! After weeks of gathering with family and friends, we have a truly fresh start here in our home and in my work, I'm just now diving back in with a wonderfully refreshed energy.

I'd like to get back to what I do best and focus on doing the best I can with that. So I've limited my livefunky shop to just prints and all of the other things I'd been playing with can remain a fun hobby for me. I may at some point open a new shop for stamps but for right now, I really want to zone in on just ART. I've got a few original paintings that are on sale right now at livefunky, you can see them here - the sale will run through 1/10/10 and then they will be gone from my shop.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and cheers to a new year, a new decade and new beginnings!