Monday, December 29, 2008

Snow Emergency Drawing #5

Piglet #3. 5 x 7" mixed media on paper.

Snow Emergency Drawings

Continuing fun with my 5 x 7" custom-order drawings. Want one of your own? I will spend an hour on it and ship it with a mat (to fit a standard 8 x 10" frame) for $40 total.

These are two piglets (out of a set of three) which will be shipped to England soon.

Below, Ducky. Also 5 x 7" (they all are); colored pencil and acrylic, for a friend in Florida.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Snow Emergency Art Sale

Above, Seaners. 5 x 7" mixed media on paper; first of the Snow Emergency Drawings.

The other day, the City of Robbinsdale decided that a little bit of snow was a "snow emergency"and they towed my F-150 from its parking spot on the street.

I needed to recoup my losses, so I had this idea:

Drawing: $30. Your choice of subject matter. 5 x 7" in size. I will spend approximately one hour on each piece.

Mat and backing: $5. This is a soft white, 100% cotton rag mat (museum quality) and acid-free backing board that will help protect your drawing and will make it fit into a standard 8 x 10" frame. You can get the same thing at your local frame shop but it will cost a lot more.

Padded mailing envelope and shipping, US First Class Mail: $5.

Total: $35 for drawing only; $40 with mat.

I'll take payment via PayPal when I have completed the drawing, scanned it and emailed the image. Or you can mail me a check and I'll send the drawing as soon as I get it.

If you'd like one of your own, just comment here or email me.

Questions -- even "stupid" questions -- very, very welcome.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A new series -- Anonymous Portraits

Anonymous Portrait #1, above, and Anonymous Portrait #2, below. Both mixed media drawings on paper, approx. 6 x 8" each.

These drawings are actually based on mug shots. I know why these people were arrested but I don't know their names.

Toy Horses #8

Little Mare, oil on canvas, 10 x 10".

This piece languished unfinished for months and months, until the other night when I picked up my brushes and attacked it, changing the entire setting of the horse. I let some of the original red show through, and the contrast with that and the green has made me remarkably happy.

Monday, December 8, 2008

You're painting where?

I've been at Luther Hopkins Honda, painting holiday things on their interior windows. A wonderful, friendly bunch of people work there and I've enjoyed it very much.

More to come tomorrow. I did a lot of work here!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Drawing, writing, shivering.

So tomorrow night it's supposed to fall to 10 degrees here in the Twin Cities. I expected as much, just not this early in the year; even the natives are saying it's unusual.

So perhaps I will stay inside and make more art.

Above, Narcissus Bulb, about 4 x 7".

Meanwhile, you can see my blog for more about the things I've seen up here of late. There is so much going on here that if it were a paying gig I could write about art full time.

I don't really mind the cold here; I'm going to adjust and be fine. Not much else to say tonight, really. I'll try again tomorrow.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Writing and teaching NEWS

A quick update: I am now the new Minneapolis Visual Arts Examiner! Basically this means I go do Art Things and then talk about them, here:

Tracie's page

Quick update Part Two: I'll soon be teaching drawing classes at the Bloomington Art Center, an amazing place; I can't wait!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Drawing

The Bone I Found and What I Made of It

Mixed media on paper, 11 x 13.5"

The bone is real; I found it in the Everglades about a year and a half ago. Immediately I thought of lizards, huge snakes, or even Oriental dragons.

Of course, it turned out to be none of those things, but I'll save its actual identity for another day and a future piece of art.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Salvage art: Corvid

Corvid, found objects and oil, 16" H x 6" W.

Someone asked me about the title. It's a genus name. Magpies, jays, ravens and crows are all corvids, members of the same family of bright, bold birds.

The red wood I used for the "roof" element came from a broken ladder in an abandoned (slated for demolition) shed. The flag is made from tin I found lying around a ruined farmhouse.

The crow is painted on what used to be the front of a small drawer. In the hole where the drawer pull was once attached, I affixed a piece of costume jewelry which had previously been glued to a very gaudy picture frame -- which fell and broke shortly after my arrival in Minneapolis.

The glass vial is one I've had for many years now. It's an antique and once held perfume; the mostly-illegible label is still attached.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rainy Sunday, new salvage art, et cetera.

I'm headed for my barn soon, so I hope the rain will let up; chilly and gray but the whole landscape is splashed with bright fall yellow, orange, red. So it's not bad at all, though I think I am going to need another good pair of gloves soon.

Meanwhile, new work: The Same Old Bright Idea, found objects and oil paint, 13" H x 6" W. $350.

For me this has something to do with watching our culture try to recycle the same concepts that failed the last time around -- selling the same old thing while the rest of us just try to keep the lights on.

UPDATE! This piece has now SOLD.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Studio Stuff

So I finally got a studio space set up in the basement here, and it's a lot more cozy and pleasant than I'd ever expected.

Photos of the space to come soon; meanwhile, here's what I've been up to in there. A bit of drawing as I get back in the groove so I can go forth and paint once more:

Above, Appaloosa #3, charcoal and pastel on painted paper, approx. 10 x 13.5".

Below: Mare Sketch, charcoal and chalk on newsprint. This was a warmup drawing and I really like it so I'm sharing it here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vinny the Rooster

Vinny belonged to Barbara at Coffee On Broadway in Robbinsdale, MN. He is sadly deceased, and today I drew an homage from some snapshots Barbara had on hand.

Vinny the Rooster, graphite, charcoal pencil and chalk on paper, approx. 7 x 9."

9/30 UPDATE! This drawing now has a new home with Barbara of Coffee On Broadway, here in Robbinsdale.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

$99 Sale at The Soap Factory!

On Friday night, Sept. 19th, the Soap Factory opened its fourth annual $99 Sale.

The sale featured over 230 works -- each one 5 x 7" in size and priced at just $99. One of them was my New Hope, pictured below, a tiny wall-sculpture made of found objects:

My piece sold within an hour of the show's opening. There was music, great food, beer and wine, and every time I thought I had seen all the art I would discover another piece I had missed.

Toward the end of the night, a team of ghost hunters came in, scheduled to spend the night in the place (which really was a very old soap factory in its former life) looking for evidence of spirits.

I had a wonderful evening and can't wait to do it again next year.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Moved to Minnesota!

I finally did it -- got out of Southwest Florida and on to cooler pastures in the Minneapolis area.

There's a whole new world here, and I soon expect to be teaching art, displaying art, and generally having the career I couldn't have built in Ft. Myers. Below, my first new work since moving:

The Night House. Found objects and oil, 22" H x 11" W.

Below, a detail shot. Click to view at approximately the actual size of the work.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fresh Paint!

Little Stallion
. Oil on canvas, 10 x 10".

This was recently finished. Its companion piece, the Little Mare, is in progress:

This -- all dark red and brown -- is what the first one looked like in its early stages, too. It's always amazing, even to me, that I can get from here to there.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Show at ACT Gallery, Fort Myers, FL

Friday, 3/7/08

It was a beautiful evening. ACT Gallery has a remarkable space, with its antique wood floors and brick walls. Many thanks to Gallery Director, Claudia Goode, for her work in arranging the art.

That's me in the green shirt, having a lot of fun talking to people.

Now for something that I've decided is a Law of the Universe: The art you haven't photographed yet is the art that will sell. I had to go back today and take a photo of this piece while I still could, before its new owner takes it home:

A Thousand Little Stories. Salvaged objects, oil, colored pencil. Approx. 13" high.
$300. SOLD.

To see more of my salvage art, visit my website:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Six minutes of fame

That's what I got this morning, when my brother and I were guests on our local FOX station's morning show. This would be FOX 4 Rising in Ft. Myers, FL.

We had to arrive at the station at about 6:30 (mind-bogglingly early, by artist standards) and they did two three-minute segments with us, about an hour apart. The first of those two interviews is posted HERE on their website.

The process was much more relaxed and enjoyable than I had thought it would be, and everyone at FOX 4 was great. I'd definitely do it again if I had the opportunity.

My sincere thanks to Claudia Goode and Arts for ACT Gallery, without whom this art show and all its nice media coverage would never have happened.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

My brain hurts!

In this case, though, the pain is a good thing.

I've been attending a three-day workshop in pastel portraiture, taught by the amazingly skilled Greg Biolchini. Today was day two.

I'm a total newbie when it comes to pastels. It's a medium I've always loved to look at, but never tried to work in until now.

Sometimes I feel like my brain is going to melt and leak out my ears. That's how I know I'm getting my money's worth; the learning curve is steep. It's quite enjoyable, though, and as skilled as Greg is, he's a lot of fun and very genuinely a nice guy.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Welcome to the Chaos

This is approximately how it looks in my studio at the moment.

While this was taken a couple of weeks ago, this is still the current setup, though the painting on the easel is different now and so are the objects on the still life table. Setting that table up was the best thing I've done in ages, and has led to all sorts of new paintings.

See that palette table with the nifty wheels on it? It's a microwave cart.
$40 at Target, and it works great. I put a thick piece of glass (with rounded edges, of course) on the top for a palette. My paints get stored in the little drawer, and there are hooks on the side for rags and other tools. Practical, sturdy and cheap.

Setting up the studio

Naturally, I had to wait until after my digital camera died before deciding to start a blog.

This is because I'm slightly nuts, or maybe because I needed more incentive to go buy a new camera.

I'll be posting a lot of work in progress here, beginning in the next few days or as soon as I get a camera, whichever comes first.

Meanwhile, I'll put up a few recent works.

The drawing at left is Uncle Oscar's Appaloosa. The horse is a toy, about ten inches tall. He was given to me by my great-great-uncle, Oscar Lybass, when I was about three years old. One of my earliest memories is of him taking the horse down from a high shelf at his house -- it was all dark, warm wood in there -- and putting it in my hands.

Uncle Oscar was something like 90 years old at the time, and I don't think I ever saw him again, as he died soon afterward. The toy horse is the only thing of his that I have.

For this drawing I took a sheet of heavy paper and painted it with dark, transparent brown acrylic (acrylic is basically the same stuff as latex house paint; it's water-based but permanent when dry). Then I drew on it in charcoal, a couple colors of pastel (a dark black and a pale yellow) and some white chalk for the brightest highlights.

The brown wash gives the drawing a lot of warmth, and the brush strokes on the paper give it a great texture, like a painting.

I love this method of working very, very much. The only trouble with making art on paper is that while it's cheap to make, it's very expensive to frame. Canvases cost a lot more at the outset but are far more economical in the long run, so I work primarily in oil on canvas.