holiday art fair

Whew! I have been working like crazy to get things ready for this weekend's Holiday Art Fair in Cedarburg. I've got a few new paintings and prints ready- but really I've been focusing on papergoods that feel more marketable at this sort of show. I love making this stuff...I love using the vintage materials I collect that don't make it into my paintings, and the cutting and assembling of everything really appeals to the meticulous designer in me. Here's a sneak peek:

There's a lot more ~ some really great wine bottle hang-tags, and super cure non-holiday gift tags and cards. There are also over 40 other artists setting up what is sure to be a fantastic array of work. Come check it out if you're in the area!



WooHoo! Can you believe it? Two posts in the same month...incredible. This is a quick one though- to say thanks to all the wonderful people who stopped by while I was working in Cedarburg throughout October. The Artist in Residency program was a blast- I met loads of lovely and encouraging people and I actually came away with a few new finished pieces:

This is a not great, last minute shot of six new minis I pulled together to add to the collection I needed to drop off for an upcoming show at Art Bar in Milwaukee's cool Riverwest neighborhood. The show is all minis- 8x8 max- and all very resonably priced (nothing over $100!), so I highly encourage you to check it out. The opening is November 4th and it runs through January 2nd. (If you make it to the opening- please let me know how it is- as I'll be out of town that weekend!) I sent a total of 14 over...you can see the whole set here. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Now- I'm off to finish up those Halloween costumes I mentioned in my last post, as well as food for my son's birthday brunch tomorrow, and cupcakes for school the next day. I'm in the home-stretch: I'm looking forward to a slightly less manic November.

Thanks for checking in!



Woah. This has been such a busy several weeks. I won't go into the fact that I've been making some fairly complicated halloween costumes for the boys, volunteering at the Museum of Wisconsin Art more and more and trying to cultivate a fragile relationship with the gym...What I can't believe is that I'm now already 3/4 of the way through my artist in residence month at the Cedarburg Cultural Center, and have yet to post about it! So many really lovely people have stopped by to chat with me- and they're all great about taking my business card...which leads them here- and until now, to a month old post about my last art fair. (That event was small but great, by the way!)

Time to remedy that with a few shots of how I've set up my workspace for the month:

Having schlepped out all of my bits and pieces of books and papers, patterns and ephemera, paints, pencils, glues and everything else- I set it up the first day and have just left it there all month- even on the days I'm not there working. I'm getting some fun stuff done, and am letting myself just play around. I've been feeling for a while like I'd like to change direction somehow, though I don't know where I'll go or how I'll decide to get there. This month has given me some nice time to just see what develops.

My most immediate next stop is the miniature show at Milwaukee's Art Bar, opening November 4th. I won't be able to make the opening, but my work will be there- with many other local artists'- through December, so if you're local I'd love for you to check out the show. Then there's the Holiday Art Fair in Cedarburg, the first weekend of December...I'll have lots of paper-goods on hand, as well as my larger paintings and some archival prints. The fair is a good one- and Cedarburg is a great place to start your holiday browsing!

I keep feeling sort of guilty for how infrequently I post...but I guess not guilty enough to really change things. Sorry! The truth is, I've never been good about recording things. I never kept a diary or a journal, never carried a skethcbook around with me to sketch every day, never kept up with taking pictures of people, places or things (we just had my son's 9th birthday and found that the memory was full on the camera because there were still pictures on there of his 8th birthday!). I can tell it's the same sort of  thing with blogging: I love reading the blogs of people that document the day-to-day, and truly do feel that my day-to-day could be totally blog-worthy...but it's just not in my nature to jot it all down. I will always try to get a new post up when I've got some new work I'm excited to show you. I'm sorry if it takes a while in between posts...but I hope it's still worth your while to stop by once in a while anyway, because I really appreciate that you do.


getting ready

Getting ready for a little art show this weekend. It's a new addition to a local festival, so it will be interesting to see if anyone comes with a mind to actually buy art. Whether they do or not, I'm looking forward to hanging out and hopefully having some nice conversations. Here's the plan for the walls of the booth:

I love having a chance to see everything hanging nicely in one place. I haven't done this very many times, but I like the feel of 'gallery walls' and tend to arrange with that in mind. I'll have prints and unframed originals available too, as well as a whole table of notecards and stuff. I have a few more pieces to finish up- but should be in good shape by Saturday. Be sure to come check it out if you're a local!



Hi! September's here, and we're all loving the beautiful weather and are adjusting to new routines. So far so good...boys are happy at school and I'm enjoying the structure I've put together for my own days. So far I've got a good balance of household and gardening chores fitting in, a few good workouts per week and some studio time every day.

I just finished this piece for a friend who is making an exciting move:

taking charge

I was thinking about how it feels to just know it's time to do something- to take charge and get going.

In the next few weeks I'll be finishing up a few more small birds for the art fair I'm participating in in early October. I also hit the jackpot several times over at the antique shops last weekend, and have lots of fun material for new notecards and wine tags for the same show. Sounds like I may have enough to pull together more than one post this month- amazing!


looking forward

Hello! I am still in the throes of a busy summer here...but there's no denying that autumn is really just around the corner: school lists are checked off, new clothes & shoes stocked in the closet and teacher assignments are being posted on Tuesday. This all means that it's time for me to give some thought to how I'll structure my days when the boys are off at school.

I'll be honest- I didn't love my first year of being home without kids...but I've thought a lot about why that might be, done some soul-searching and recognized some strengths and weaknesses. I've come up with the basic outlines of a plan to help my self flourish (or at least not wither) during the next nine months while the boys tackle the 3rd and 1st grades. The key elements of this plan are to balance my love of making art with my lack-of-love of being home alone for long stretches each day. I'm a social being- a true extrovert. Despite how happy art-making makes me, hanging out in my studio all day is just too lonely.

So In order to balance the two side of me, I'm making art-show commitments that will require me to discipline myself in the studio for a few days a week: I need to have ehough stuff ready to fill a booth for an October 1 show, and then again for a December 2-3rd show. This is a piece I just finished in preparation for the October show:

april promise

However, to make sure I don't turn into a hermit, I'm also diving into volunteering at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. This is a wonderful museum which is within walking distance and has been able to find enough things for me to help with to fill one afternoon a week, and through which I'm training to be a docent. This is my plan for being social and staying connected to great people in an environment I absolutely love hanging out in.

The final piece of the autumn puzzle is that I've been invited to be the Artist in Residence at the Cedarburg Cultural Center for the month of October! I'll be trucking all of my supplies over and making art on-site from 10 am til 3 pm on Thursdays and Fridays all month- so come visit! What a perfect solution for the extroverted studio artist, no? At the end of the month I'll be giving a mixed media workshop for 6-12 year-olds, and hopefully will have built up a good supply of work for that early December show.

So, it feels like I've mapped out a pretty good autumn...after that, it's the mad slide into holiday busy-ness. In the new year, we'll just see what unfolds.


july check-in

midsummer days

Hello! just a quick post- so that I can say that I posted at least once each month this summer! Here's a little July painting I did...I'm having fun grabbing little bits of time in the studio here and there, so have a few more pieces on cradeled boards wrapping up. Then I think I'll get back to working on paper- I've got the urge to do more layering and stitching and fastening and stuff.

Other than that- we've been: vactioning at family farms, swimming at cousins' pools, splashing in Wisconsin lakes and rivers, biking, scootering, tree-forting, taking flying lessons, catching bugs (one of which is a praying mantis- who's living happily in a habitat on the kitchen counter- which is requiring lots and lots more bug-catching on our part, so we can feed him!), going to camps, squirting squirt-guns, picking strawberries, harvesting carrots, going to farmer's market, grilling out, lighting sparklers, drinking summery cocktails, getting sunburns, reading books, staying up late and sleeping in late. In general- we've been cavorting through the month. I wish I had more pictures to share- you'll have to use your imagination!

And now- on to August!


summer now

I can't believe summer vacation is already here. It's glorious in Wisconsin, this time of year. I was really, really busy these last two months- getting teh garden going, diving into some landscaping projects, painting, wallpapering, hosting nearly 50 friends and family members for a 40th B-day party for my main man...all sorts of stuff that I love seeing on other people's blogs. But sorry...I rarely stop to photograph the stuff that keeps me busiest.

Happily, I did claim a little time in the studio last week as well- and managed to get a decent shot to show you:

And now- it's time to race off again- this time to soccer camp, nature camp, invention camp & boy scout camp...as well as lazy days swimming in little lakes, cook outs with friends and s'mores with kids. Summer calls...I'll try my hardest to post along the way...but please understand if I don't because I'm just hanging out, soaking it in!



coming back around

Well alright...I've been out of my own loop for a loooong time, and am trying to get myself back in the game here.

Easter here was lovely- and I hope the same is true for you. I love Easter as a celebration of Spring: the renewal of cycles and wakening of spirits (and an occasion to make lovely cookies). Although it's been dreary here weather-wise, I'm still feeling the effects of the shift in the seasons, and am looking forward to the newness of things.

Because people, I did not enjoy March and I completely missed April.

March began with each member of my little family being badly sick: fevers on the couch for days, a terrible beginning- truly in like a lion. The month concluded not with lambs, but with the death of my one remaining grandmother. She lived a wonderful, amazing, inspiring life of 90 years and was ready to go. But her decline and final days came upon us unexpectedly - and while I'm happy she didn't suffer long, I can't say losing her wasn't a tremendous personal loss. And seriously- didn't I just do this?

I think I knew that I'd need to share this the next time I posted...so I just didn't post. But now I have, and can move on with things. I don't have much art to post, and have thoughts on that which I'll share next time. In the meantime, I just wanted to get myself back here. I wanted to get back to my friends here, and wish you all a happy spring.



two new pieces

Just a quick post to show you the finished pieces I'd shown in progress in my last post:

I'm still loving the images in an old birding book I found in January, and am liking the simpler composition they tend to generate.

It had been a while since I last used any diagrams from my vintage Boy Scouts Handbook. I've also been trying to exercise more lately...which I don't totally love doing- so it was fun to make a silly painting featuring these killer arm circles.

Time to grab the kids from school- see you in March!


spit happens

Ok, firstly: sorry for the dorky title to this post.

Secondly: Thank you guys, so much- for your encouraging and heartwarming responses to my last post...it was so nice to hear from you. We are past (for the moment) yelling at five year olds. We are still wondering about weird medical questions. We are still letting it all unfold...boy- being human is humbling, isn't it?

But enough about that- I have better stuff to share today. I am breaking from the norm, and sharing more about my family. I figure that if my introduction to my 5-year old was focused on his frustrating-ness, he deserved a second shot at making a first impression. So I thought I'd share these words of wisdom I found he had meticulously penned (penciled), illustrated and cut out at the kitchen table a few nights ago:

Can you read that? Spit is posibel (sic) to get on your face from your own mouth. Above, we see a person demonstrating: ptthbilet.

What do we say about this gem? Personally, I find it brilliant and think his penmanship is wonderful. He assured me that it is indeed a fact. I assure you, that this work is a perfect example of Zachary's Zachary-ness, so you can consider yourself properly introduced!


And though I've been quiet on the blog-front this month, I wanted to also let you know that I've got a few new pieces brewing:

I'll be back next week with shot of them completed...I always love seeing how they change.



I have to admit to being a little ~in limbo~ at the moment. Had a rough start to the day- loud yelling at a frustrating 5-year old, coupled with worrisome medical concerns about someone I love. In short: some things within my control were not handled well, and some things outside of my control are making me sit tight until I have more information. It's all just reminding me that I need to take deep breaths and trust in my ability to at least take deep breaths. I'm being patient...and thinking about how sometimes things just have to unfold at their own pace.

The above painting is doing that. I've been working off of a truly happy, cheerful vibe this week- which is the feeling that started this piece, but even though the feeling I'm working from is strong and clear, this piece has been really slow and uncertain in its coming-together-ness! I've nearly given up a few times, but then I get a little jolt of inspiration- go back in the studio and add a few lines of an unexpected, but perfectly right color, and re-commit to let it keep unfolding.

I guess that's just what I'm doing today: committing to wait for the moments that let me know that however unclear the process- I've got to trust that we're all going to get to where we're going. I realize that I think less and less that life is about controlling your own journey- and more that it's about keeping your eyes wide open and your breath steady while you're on it.


finished flock

Phew! I have been working like crazy the past two weeks, which hasn't left a lot of time or good lighting for photos or blogging. Even with poor lighting (seriously- we get like one hour a day these days, and I'm usually using that to work- not shoot) I wanted to show you these anyway. These, along with this piece I posted a few weeks ago, will be heading over to the Cedarburg Cultural Center for their annual Miniatures show. My first juried show of the year, and I'm really excited to see what kind of work these little guys will be hanging alongside.

If you're in the area, the show opens January 29th, and closes February 27th...definitely stop by and check it out.

We've got a fresh blanket of snow on the ground, but it's crazy cold out, so I think I may stay inside and make some pumpkin muffins and maybe paint the hallway. Next week I'll try to get some shots of the latest I've made for sincerely handmade...some fun stuff came out of last weekend's trip to Madison for antiquing and crafting!


in progress

Happy New Year!

I really had so many intentions of posting through the holidays...I'd intended to show off our gorgeous Christmas tree, some great cooking, and the piles of snow we had. But- as is usually the case- I was having too much fun in the moment to snap any good pictures and post them. I hope you were having just as much fun being in your holiday moments.

I thought I'd post a few pieces I've been working on this week. I've gotten into a miniatures show in Cedarburg, with a maximum dimension of 5 inches square. I typically work small usually 6-7" square...but then frame in a 10x10" shadowbox frame. For this show, 5x5" is the max- frame and all. So I'm working on cradeled boards, and it's been fun:

I'm enjoying letting the image area wrap around the sides, and the boards are really strong- very forgiving in terms of layering things on and scraping & sanding off. It's also nice to save time (and money) on framing...but to tell the truth, I really prefer my usual method of creating my own surface by layering together vintage papers and just working right on that without a heavy backer. I like the feel of the paper and the irregularities of it- not to mention the option of running it through the sewing machine for added line and texture. I also like the feeling of a finished piece floating in a shadowbox frame. However- 5" square is really tiny when it includes the frame, so cradeled boards it was!

I'm heading to a art/craft weekend in Madison this weekend- am determined to build up my sincerely handmade stock, as I've got a few local options for showing & selling cropping up.

I'm also excited to be taking my first ever online course- "in the fishbowl", led by Marisa Haedike of the amazing Creative Thursday . I've followed Marisa's blog for well over a year and can only imagine what a great class I'm in for.

So- it feels like I'm heading out into 2011 with purpose, and I'm interested to see where it'll take me.