Currently Browsing: December 2008 33 articles


Happy 2009! (One Day Early)


Above: An "eraser" carving I made from one of my Daily Dot drawings, January 1, 2008, 4 x 6 inches on Folio paper.

I'm posting this on the last day of the 2008 because I want to share my New Year's Day Ritual with you, in the hope that you might be convinced to try it too.

A very wise artist friend told me years ago that she tried to do a little bit of everything she loved on New Year's Day. This set her intention for doing those things repeatedly throughout the year.


James Michael Lawrence: An Unusual Retrospective

Left: A montage of collaged images, all ©James Michael Lawrence. Click on the image for an enlarged view. Review=Reflect=Recycle • James Michael Lawrence • An Unusual Retropective is the new show set to open at the Susan Hensel Gallery in Minneapolis. (3441 Cedar Ave. South, Minneapolis; phone 612.722.2321) The show runs from January 9 through […]


Time for a New Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

Right: Journal Sketch, a NEW Pentel Pocket Brush Pen on Nideggen paper. (By "new" I mean I finally wore one out.) Click the image to view an enlargement and read on to see cropped close up of the lines.

I got a new Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and I’m so happy I just have to shout about it. I love my old pen, but that’s just it. It is 3 years, almost 4 years old!! The tip was still pretty wonderful, but I noticed when I would try to write with it (as opposed to sketching with it) that there was some fuzziness at the tip and I didn’t get quite the crisp line I used to achieve when working with it.


I’m Angry

Left: Excerpt from the Artist's Magazine article providing tips for lean times! Quoted for review purposes.

I'm really, really angry. Here's a national publication, Artist's Magazine promoting theft in its January 2009 issue! If I were still a subscriber I would cancel my subscription. This is a very irresponsible position to promote.

When you go into an art store to mine their knowledge, with no intention of purchasing anything you are cutting your own throat as an artist, as well as stealing from the store owner.

"Local art stores" includes independent art stores so the writer and editor can't feign innocence: "oh we just meant local stores which have an internet presence."

And it's those local, independent art stores that I'm concerned about. Those are the shops where the staff is actually knowledgeable, like my own favorite art supply store: Wet Paint.

A “Best of 2008” Compilation of Art

If you want to take a look at some really stunning paintings and drawings from 2008, head over to Katherine Tyrrell's blog Making a Mark. Katherine is a London-based artist who keeps several blogs and websites all focused on art. She has done a fabulous job of canvasing her readers and compiling a list of […]

Daniel Smith Watercolors at Wet Paint!

If you didn’t think I could keep a secret you were so, so wrong, but now there is very clear evidence that I can. I’ve known for two weeks that Wet Paint is going to carry Daniel Smith watercolors. I was asked not to mention it on my blog until the paint arrived and they were able to put it out in the store. I was told I could talk about it today. (I would give them a call first because they have been busy and hadn't had a chance to put the display out on Friday when I stopped by.)

The deal is that Wet Paint will now have 121 of the Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors. I've seen the list and the great standbys and must haves are on the list as well as many, many fun colors! All the quins you love will be there!

The other great news, the paints will be available at 40% of list for an introductory period that will last through February.


See More Mimi Art


Left: Quilt for the Death of One I Love(d)  (Compost Quilt)  (60” x 34”) copyright Mimi Holmes. This quilt was created for the artist's Grandmother, Sophia Antoinette Mayer Trastour, born in 1902 on the Isle of Cuba plantation in Louisiana. Mimi made this quilt to help prepare herself for her grandmother’s eventual passing.  Click to seen an enlargement of the image. Read on to learn more about this quilt and other art from Mimi Holmes.

Mimi Holmes is a mixed-media artist working in beads and fabric and found materials. The expression of her art takes what is at hand and transforms it.

A new show of a sampling of Mimi’s art from the the last 25 years will be on view at: Marcie Soderman-Olson's studio,  January 10 – 31, 2009

The opening reception for "See More Mimi Art" is
Saturday, January 10, 4-6 p.m.

The studio is located at Art at 2402, #519 C & E Building, 2402 University Avenue, St. Paul (near intersection of Raymond and University Avenues). Hours:  Weekday and Saturday afternoons by appointment. Please call 651-428-8809 or 612-379-8318 for an appointment.


Films for the Holidays

Left: actor James Stewart in a still from “The Naked Spur” which is an Anthony Mann western and NOT a holiday film. But Stewart is in one of the most beloved holiday films ever made: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I can’t bring myself to put that movie on my list. I alternate between thinking it is overly sentimental to deciding that Capra rode right down the line between emotion and message. I’ve seen the movie so many times that I don’t need to watch it again to recall the pain I feel when George Bailey gets wrung through the wringer again and again. My cynical self prefers Mann’s take on the human drama and what it means to be busted and lose everything you ever wanted, and how it will warp you if you don’t watch out. It's a feel good movie. Jimmy Stewart does something amazing in Mann’s film too, something big Hollywood stars wouldn’t dream of doing these days: he’s totally vulnerable. Heck, watch both movies this holiday season—bookends on a career and bookends on families which is really what holiday films are all about.

In the U.S. the predominant end of year holiday vibe is Christmas and the celebration of giving, self-sacrifice, and family. This is all pretty much a hard sell to someone like me who looks around and sees consumerism run amok. To make my holiday list a movie has to speak to a transformation in the main character from someone self-centered or otherwise damaged, into someone with hope (or someone who sacrifices so others can have hope; that’s pretty much the tradition as written). Also an important component of holiday movies for me is the dysfunctional family. Here transformation manifests as acceptance, in whatever flowered form it might take. And I prefer sentiment glazed with humor.


I Have a Goat!


Above: a goat sketch from my 2007 State Fair Journal. This is not my goat, but I bet my goat is a Nubian as they are a North African breed and will do well in that climate; and they are prized for their rich milk. (Staedtler Pigment liner on a 5 x 7 inch pre-painted 140 lb. hot press watercolor paper.)

I have a goat! I have a goat! I say it over and over and smile ear to ear until I think I might actually explode. Actually the facts are these: my mother gave a goat to a family in Africa in my name.

So I don't really have the goat. But she exists because my mom gave her in my name. The logic of her existence by this route is clear to me: I have a goat! (I know she is female because my mother paid more for a female who could produce offspring and give milk for dairy products.)


All in this Tea: A Movie


Above: A journal sketch of mine made while watching the documentary listed in this post. I consider it practice if I ever get to visit China! How could I resist such a lovely rooster? Pentel Pocket Brush Pen (my old worn one), on Nideggen paper with gouache.

I want to go to China. I have been to Hong Kong and that’s a wonderful experience, but I want to go to China. I’ve been interviewing people who have gone there to teach English. If it weren’t for bird flu I’d probably have left already. OK, then there was my summer of biking, but you get the idea, if I were focused I’d be in China right now.

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