Friday, February 12, 2016

A Nice Souvenir

At the close of every exhibition, the museum staff boxes up the "extras" for storage, the leftover brochures, catalogs, and postcards, along with the educational materials that were developed for the show.  

As docent trainer, I developed a self-guided tour for SupraEnvironmental so that museum-goers unable to participate in a tour could get some additional background on the artists and art, and mull over some thought-prompts.

Now that the exhibition is over, the staff offered to let me take one home.  Oh yeah!  It's fun to see it again, to think of all the prep work that goes into a museum visitor experience, to re-read my work, and to reflect on the overall exhibition.  I'm also thrilled to have a meaningful keepsake. Yep, I think it's all pretty cool.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Unintentional Texture

I'm getting time in my studio again and I'm trying to brush up on my skill before working on anything too important.  So I pulled out an old piece that had gotten stalled.

I still couldn't figure out exactly what I wanted to do next, but I figured I'd best do SOMETHING.  And that something was stitch.  Just stitch.

My initial goal was to stitch the background with enough white thread to mute the background a bit and help the chairs come forward.  Though I haven't completely finished quilting, it appears my plan has failed.  The thread just gets lost in the patter of the cloth. It doesn't tone down the background or highlight the chairs.  The texture looks cool though, and that's an unexpected bonus.  (Sorry about the coloring on the picture below; it looks very washed out.  The colors in the picture above are true.)

But now I have two problems to solve.  1) Now that I've created all this texture on top of all the pattern, what do I do?  2) I still need to do something to amplify the whole piece and make it more interesting. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Freaking and Geeking out

This skink unexpectedly photo-bombed my picture of a snake.

The last two days have brought some unexpected and delightful surprises.  First, a local bookstore sold three sets of my cards.  Not only did I get a little bit of cash, but they asked for others, and I'm happy to oblige.  One of the store staff members is a former Sotheby's auctioneer who told me she'd like to do what she can to help promote my photography. She's even getting together with the store owner to determine if they can hang a few of my photographs in the shop. I'm pretty excited about her enthusiasm and any opportunities she might be able to create.

Second, I'm thrilled to say that I'm a curatorial research assistant!  I'll be gathering information to support the KMA's Associate Curator, especially for artwork she's gathering for new exhibitions that she's developing.  I'm going to be researching, researching, researching, much to my heart's content.  I'm elated and so thankful for this opportunity. (I know, can you believe it?)  

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Everything Doesn't Have to be a Masterpiece

I have a picture of shadows from several years back that I'd love to turn into a quilt.  I think it's dynamic and different.  And I want to dive right in.

But I'm not going to.

I'm stopping myself from going full-steam-ahead into the project because I have a lot of ideas to sort through.  Yes, that's a good thing.  But it also means I'm not committed to one idea.  So I'm going to make a few stitched studies.  Some folk work through ideas in sketch books, and I haven't been successful with that approach.  But I this might work for me.  I got started this weekend.  I traced my image, backed some PFD fabric with interfacing,

and got to work.

Stitch and watercolor
There's only one done thus far, but already I see the benefits of working this way.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


I try to stop by the museum after each exhibition closes.  I'm curious about and fascinated by the work that's done.  I also love to see the museum in transition, how "raw" it looks before the new work comes in.

I stopped by this week; the SupraEnvironmental exhibition pieces were either already gone or being prepared for return.   The side panel window pane hole has been sealed.

I could identify David Brooks's core sample that had been boxed up in multiple crates and was awaiting transport.

And the coconut palm stands upright in the atrium, waiting to move on to a new home.  

Next up at the museum is a local favorite: The Young Artists exhibition.  Each year the museum hosts the work of area high schoolers who do everything from designing the announcement

Detail of artwork by Joseph Tuano, Fox Lane High School

to developing the installation plan and actually hanging the work.  It's a great experience for all the students and it's pretty amazing -- and generous -- that the museum gives them this opportunity.   Young Artists will be at the KMA from February 7-21.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Our kitchen got a little bit of a makeover this weekend.  Just cosmetic upgrades, simple changes that include my own artwork.  Now there are photographs on the wall

These are printed on metal and show glimpses of the colors of Provence.

and a "vintage block reborn" runner decorating the table.

Love how the quilting is highlighted from the angle. This was made using vintage 1930s blocks

Sometimes things that are home made hit just the right note.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January Book Report

My son and oldest daughter went back to school last week and while they were here, I hung out wherever they were.  As a result, I spent a lot of time in the family room playing games and watching sports, mostly football and golf.  I like sports, I really do, but I don't care to watch hours and hours of it on the TV.  Still, I love being with my children and rather than take myself away to my attic studio, I stayed with them and read, looking up whenever there was an exciting or controversial play/shot/whatever.  Here are two books I read of note:

1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  This book is on most Best Books of 2015 lists.  I admit to being hesitant about reading it.  I'm a huge fan of All the Light We Cannot See and I wasn't certain I wanted to read another WWII book told from the perspective of two primary protagonists.  I'm glad that I "had" to read this book for my book group because I would have missed a very good read.  The Nightingale is all about the courage of ordinary folk who do extraordinary things in the midst of tremendous peril because they feel compelled to do what is right despite of the risks.  It helps to put a lot of things in perspective.

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.  This Young Adult book was recommended by a friend.  Like many good YA books, there's a great deal more to this than might appear at first glance.  Yes, this is about two teenagers who fall in love for the first time and yes, this book captures the glee and euphoria that come along with discovering that the person you like actually likes you too, and at the same time.  But this book has more meat on its bones than just the love story.  It's about perception, hard knocks, the wisdom of children, and charity when it's least expected. This is a good book when you want something of substance but don't want to be overwhelmed.

Though I'm not finished with this one yet, The Geography of Genius by Eric Weiner has me completely engaged.  Why do pockets of exceptional creative output arise in certain places at certain times?  This is what the author is exploring and trying to (somewhat) quantify through an examination of various time periods and locales.  I'm at the start of the book and Weiner's trying to "recreate" Athens from millennia - ago to discover / uncover the unique circumstances that gave rise to philosophers, orators, historians and poets whose work we still read.  I'll keep you posted.

Next week I'll be happily ensconcing myself in the studio with two projects that have mid-February deadlines.  But the reading won't end.  What are you reading?  Any suggestions?