Treading Quicksand

My family was once playing the game Imaginiff, and this question came up: “Imagine if Rhoda were a popular saying (or something along these lines)…which would she be?” I don’t even recall the other options, because the unanimous choice was “burning the candle at both ends.” There was a time in my life that I may have taken offense to this in some way, but I am able to see it for what it is: the truth. Ah yes, the truth, that which can become so hard to acknowledge when you are up to your ears in it with your eyes closed. If you open them, you may have to face what you see and actually do something about it. I have tricked myself into believing that I can deal with my problems by doing everything but face them.It’s the reason I’ve been immersing myself entirely into art related projects that anyone asks me to do.

Stop one…a custom 40th birthday piece for a friend commissioned by his lovely wife. Awhile back, he had given me all of the old windows from their house and had mentioned he may buy one back eventually if I created something with them. His wife contacted me about a piece and sent me in the right direction with a list of the most important people, places, and activities in his life. Based on this information, I created this piece, which was presented to him at a surprise party over the weekend.

A couple of shots in progress…

Finished piece

Stop two…a mural and donated paintings for the waiting room of the Harrisonburg and Rockingham Department of Social Services building. I work closely with Child Protective Services for my job and am passionate about the work I do to help keep kids safe in our community. So, when one of the social workers asked if I would consider donating some art, I readily agreed. Although let’s be honest, with the state I’m in, it may not matter who asked (just kidding, Travis!).

I spent last Saturday morning painting a wall in the waiting room with some assistance and company from my dad, who is always up for helping out. The second photo shows the other two paintings I donated…the right one re-purposed from an earlier exhibit and the left one created last week to coordinate.

Stop three…my friend who owns Downtown Wine & Gourmet asked me the last week of February if I wanted to hang some of my work in their shop for March First Fridays. There was absolutely no pressure to do anything new, but I have committed to only display new work.

I opted for a photography show, Must Love Hikes, which could in theory, be pulled together somewhat quickly. Enter here an unexpected snowstorm, being car-less for several days, and a general sense of hysteria, all leading to a frantic drive to the FedEx shipping office to pick up the prints, scrambling to assemble the pieces, and delivering them to the shop less than 3 hours before the opening. All 16″ x16″ photos are printed on canvas and mounted behind glass on 24″ x 24″ plywood. The photos will remain at the wine shop through the end of March. I never did get around to writing an artist statement or pricing anything, so if you have any interest in a piece, contact me. Otherwise they will likely be making their way to the Collins Center’s new office.

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Stop four…I was excited to be asked to be in a new show coming up in April, Art on the Square, brainchild of talented local photographers, Brandy Somers and John Buller. Have I started on my piece other than the ideas rolling around in my head? Of course not. Will I finish in time? Absolutely. Will I wish I had started earlier? I’m not sure that question will ever be answered for me.

This looks to be a great show – come check it out on April 3rd!

In an effort to slow down and take a much needed look at myself and my life, I can guarantee that if I’m asked to do something in April, the answer will be no. Slowing down and looking inward may be one of the hardest things anyone asks me to do, but I see no other way of moving through.

On that note, I leave you with the first piece of art I’ve created entirely for myself in a very long time.

Embroidery on burlap | 16×20

Embroidery on burlap | 16×20

Flight

As by far the most dreary month of the year, I’m not sad to see February go. I don’t generally mind the cold and the dark, but this year I have had enough. I look forward to warmth, color, walking barefoot, and actually wanting to sip on a cold drink.

Next week, I’ll be taking down my most recent body of work, which was displayed at the Wilson Downtown Gallery. The gallery space is lovely and showcased the pieces very well, especially the long wall of exposed brick seen in the photos of the paintings on glass.

From my artist statement:
“Feathers far surpass furs or scales in terms of complexity and efficiency…Extremely light and flexible, yet strong enough to withstand the stress of flight, these unique and marvelously developed components of bird anatomy have enabled birds, above all other creatures on Earth, to conquer the open sky.” (S. David Scott & Casey McFarland, Bird Feathers)

This exhibit is a study of one of the smallest, yet strongest structures of our world. A representation of the intricacies of each living thing. A reminder that we can fly.

Mountain Bluebird  | plaster, acrylic on barn siding | 8 x 54 |  sold    Belted Kingfisher  | plaster, acrylic on barn siding | 8.5 x 54 | $185   Blue Jay  | plaster, acrylic on barn siding | 10 x 54 |  sold

Mountain Bluebird | plaster, acrylic on barn siding | 8 x 54 | sold

Belted Kingfisher | plaster, acrylic on barn siding | 8.5 x 54 | $185

Blue Jay | plaster, acrylic on barn siding | 10 x 54 | sold

Cardinal  | plaster, acrylic on barn siding | 9.5 x 36 | $160   Red-tailed Hawk  | plaster, acrylic on barn siding | 10.5 x 36 |  sold

Cardinal | plaster, acrylic on barn siding | 9.5 x 36 | $160

Red-tailed Hawk | plaster, acrylic on barn siding | 10.5 x 36 | sold

Costa’s Hummingbird | embroidery on burlap | 8×10 | $85

Lazuli Bunting  | embroidery on burlap | 12×12 | $90

Lazuli Bunting | embroidery on burlap | 12×12 | $90

Rufous Hummingbird  | embroidery on burlap | 8×10 | $85

Rufous Hummingbird | embroidery on burlap | 8×10 | $85

Indigo Bunting  | embroidery on burlap | 16×20 |  sold

Indigo Bunting | embroidery on burlap | 16×20 | sold

American Kestrel  | acrylic on glass | 24 x 28 |  sold

American Kestrel | acrylic on glass | 24 x 28 | sold

Gilded Flicker  | acrylic on glass | 24 x 28 | $235

Gilded Flicker | acrylic on glass | 24 x 28 | $235

Band-tailed Pigeon  | plaster, acrylic on board | 16 x 20 | $160   Eastern Meadowlark  | plaster, acrylic on board | 16 x 20 | $160   Eastern Screech-Owl  | plaster, acrylic on board | 16 x 20 | $160

Band-tailed Pigeon | plaster, acrylic on board | 16 x 20 | $160

Eastern Meadowlark | plaster, acrylic on board | 16 x 20 | $160

Eastern Screech-Owl | plaster, acrylic on board | 16 x 20 | $160

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And coming up next, a photography show in March at Downtown Wine & Gourmet

First Show of 2015 and More

I’m excited to be hanging my first show of 2015 as early as February. I have always been fascinated by feathers and have often wished I could take a temporary flight out of my life. Then again, who hasn’t? Feathers are such small, intricate structures in nature that represent incredible strength, endurance, and possibility. I wanted to study them further, as individual pieces of art.

Flight will be showing during the month of February at the Wilson Downtown Gallery, in the Kline May Realty offices on Main Street in downtown Harrisonburg. Join me for the opening on Friday, February 6th from 5-8pm.

One thing I wanted to do with this show was to use many materials I already had on hand or could convince my dad to “lend” me from his barn. Materials used include barn siding, burlap, old windows, and more. Grandma Miller would be impressed that I’ve revived my embroidery skills she taught me so many years ago.

A few detail shots…

A few more goodies, starting with new jewelry. These were all made as gifts, but I am always happy to take custom orders.

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My parents celebrated 45 years of marriage in December. 45 years! They’re reaching that point where they’ve been together almost twice as long as they haven’t, but don’t tell them I said so, because they might think I’m calling them old. Look how beautiful they are – this is what 45 years of love looks like.

I began 2015 with a New Year’s Day sunrise hike with two of my closest friends. I keep coming back to this picture to remind myself how beautiful life is. I wish everyone a spectacular 2015 filled with love, beauty, and peace.

Searching for the Magic

Winter is nearly here and with Christmas approaching, I am reminded of passing quite a few holidays in a mire of grief and heartache. I know I am not alone in this. When life’s got you down, there’s nothing worse than being bombarded by refrains of “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” every time you step out of the house. Winter tends to send me searching inside myself for the root of imbalance and this year has brought an extra dose of that, yet another reminder that no matter how much I may think I can control in my life, the grand majority is a total crapshoot.

On a more positive note, I am so grateful to have a full and rich life that is enhanced through creativity and connection with others. This month I participated in my first Wonderkitten show (showing at Larkin Arts through December), where adult artists are paired with a child to create portraits of each other. Liwam and I were partnered based on our love of green, being outside, and helping others. She was a true delight to work with and her positive energy was contagious, which I hope is evident in her portrait.

Liwam

16 x 20 | acrylic on canvas

Speaking of kids, here are some lovely young ladies I had the privilege of photographing a couple of weekends ago at their beautiful home in the mountains. It was a chilly day and they were good sports.

After this photoshoot, I headed west to hike to High Knob Fire Tower and found the most gorgeous surprise at the top where the treetops were encased in ice. Being in nature always centers me and this was one of those days that just knocked my socks off.

And I’ll leave you with two quotes that have resonated with me recently.

“Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.” – David Whyte

…and…

“We all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow path and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.” – Robert R. McCammon

Fall is Here!

Autumn is officially my favorite time of year and I can’t quite understand anyone who thinks differently. I love everything about it…the crisp air, the colors of the leaves, pumpkin flavored everything, and the fact that I can finally stop mowing my lawn. It’s also prime time to cozy up to the one you love, or have photos taken together. A few weeks back, I agreed to take my cousin Michaela’s engagement photos at CrossKeys Vineyards, almost a year to the date of when she will get married there. It was a lovely afternoon indeed…

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In other entirely unrelated news, my friend Elissa Cirignotta, one of the founders of Happy Mindful People, saw my last post here and asked if I would share it or something similar on their blog. I was honored to be asked, happy to share, and excited about the challenge of incorporating a few more sentiments into what I had already written. You can find the full piece on their blog.

Happy Fall!

Art as Healing

Awhile back, my aunt Joanne asked if I would consider writing about how creativity helped me deal with losing my sister back in November of 2000, which would be included in the book, Be Your Finest Art, written by Joanne and her art teacher, Dorsey McHugh. While I don’t fancy myself a writer, I have become more open and transparent in talking about my experiences and was up for the challenge. The book came out this summer and you can get your hands on one by following the link above, or even at Amazon!

My portion is part of the “Creativity can be Good for your Health” section of the book. The whole book is a work of art, filled with images of Joanne and Dorsey’s art, and other featured artists.  Here’s my page:

What I wrote:

I don’t know if creativity is an innate or cultivated characteristic.  I do know that what creativity I was born with was nurtured from a young age by my parents and an influential art teacher I was blessed to learn from for 11 years through my childhood.  I also know that at the lowest, darkest times of my life, I have clung to my creativity and art like a life preserver in the middle of a raging ocean, and without fail, it has held me up every time.  I’ve often heard people talk about having pets for their ability to love unconditionally, and it may sound silly, but that is what art has done for me.  Art has always given back to me in a way no human or pet ever could.  

Art pulled me from the depths of what could have been a vast depression after my sister, SaraLisa, ended her life when I was 19.  A sophomore in college, having recently changed my major to art, I poured myself into creative expression as a form of healing for the first time in my life.  For several years after SaraLisa’s death, I was very resistant to traditional counseling; I have later come to realize that I am a very internal processor, one who can sit on my thoughts and emotions for weeks without being able to make sense of them.  In the early stages of grief, often my only moments of great clarity were found through creating art.  In the lowest times following my sister’s death, I sank deep into myself and was often only pulled out through visual expression, writing, and the sheer determination to continue living.  

Throughout the years, many people have told me that something good would come of her death.  Life events of such enormity are never able to be quantified, nor would I ever begin to find equal the exchange of my sister’s life for my expanded artistic repertoire.  What I do know is while my loss has brought me great pain, my pain has inspired multiple facets of creative expression that I may have never otherwise experienced.  

I credit art more than any other one thing in my life for bringing me great healing.  Art has taught me to be gentle with myself, as nothing ever comes out on canvas in the way I imagine it, and I have learned vulnerability by sharing my work with others.  It has also sparked countless conversations and thus forced me to add external processing to my coping skills, ultimately leading me to be comfortable speaking with a therapist.  Healing never happens in a vacuum or through one mode of processing alone, and I believe the proper combination of these is different for each person.  Art is something I take with me wherever I go and I know as long as I have the ability to create, I will feel like a whole person with a world of possibility at my fingertips. 

The image on the right page is a piece I created as a final project for an art class a month after SaraLisa died. It has been adopted as the logo for the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation for over a decade now.

It was an honor to be a part of this book and creative process and I’m so grateful to Joanne for asking me to participate.

Art Lotto 2014

Another year has come and gone and the current Art Lotto show is still up at Larkin Arts through the end of August! Brandy and Denise really outdid themselves this year by bringing the event to Larkin and throwing one hell of a private party for the artists and sponsors, complete with beer and grilled cheese. I didn’t even make it to the public opening because I stupidly scheduled my own show the same night, but I’m sure it was just as awesome as the private opening.

At Luck of the Draw night, I pulled the name of Tahany Garrison, who I have had the privilege of getting to know through working at the Frame Factory, because of course even though I “stopped working there” over 5 years ago, I have yet to have a year pass without receiving a W-2. Tahany chops and builds the frames at the shop and is multi-talented like anyone that works there has to be.

I seem to have forgotten how annoying it is to paint on reflective surfaces after a year lapse from last year’s piece, and decided to move from glass to plexiglass this year. I liked the effect I had gotten last year, but I thought it would be really interesting to have a similar look but with layers that would give the piece dimension off the wall. So I started with six 8×10 sheets of plexiglass and created the portrait by applying acrylic on the different sheets. It’s one of those pieces that looks better the farther away you are when you look at it. I was pretty pleased with the result, and Tahany told me she used to work with plexiglass a lot during school, so that was a nice addition to the theme.

Detail shot early on in the process…

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Side view of the layers once assembled…

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Finished piece!

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Tahany

8″ x 10″ | acrylic on plexi, metal |sold

My name was pulled by Mary Yoder, who was several years behind me at EMU back in the day. We found out we had a few things in common – we both have an art education degree (she is actually using hers), and we are both in the process of buying land and thinking about house plans for the future. Mary’s portrait of me was done in oil, and she incorporated some of my house plan drawings into the background. Cool stuff!

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Go check out the show before it comes down if you haven’t already – there’s a lot of talent showcased in a small space!

Little Sister | Solo Show

24 paintings in 49 days…well 25 if you count the portrait I did for Art Lotto. I can hardly believe I somehow managed to finish everything on time, work a full time job, sleep, and even have a little fun along the way. I’m going to do my best to present a virtual show here, but you should really check it out in person during the month of August at the Blue Nile in Harrisonburg (the full show covers the entire restaurant including the stairwell and the downstairs, so for the whole experience, visit after 7pm when the downstairs is open). So many of these pieces have texture and dimension to them so a photograph just cannot capture it in the same way.

Little Sister | Show Description

This show was born of a fascination with sibling relationships and the realization that the vast majority of my close friends share the experience with me of being a little sister.

24 paintings

10 sets of siblings (1 set of 4 . . . 2 sets of 3 . . . 7 sets of 2)

The little sisters and their older siblings were asked to share a set of descriptive words with me about their sibling.  These words are shown in the word cloud; the larger the word, the more times it was used in descriptions.

Each sibling was also asked to share a few sentiments about their sibling, which are included beneath each image.

I am forever grateful to the lovely women and two men who participated in this project.

Obligatory Artist Bio

Rhoda hates writing artists bios.

After many years of swearing to skip town, she is happy to be living and working in Harrisonburg.

She is planning to build a house in Keezletown, including an art studio that is larger than a shoebox. She hopes this happens sooner rather than later before she paints herself into an artwork accidentally.

Rhoda loves using texture and found objects in her paintings and gladly accepts “trash” donations from friends. . .broken dishes, discarded Barbie dolls, 1,001 pharmaceutical lids, rusty children’s scissors, giant sheets of vellum . . .

Most recent acquisition – a full set of old windows to repurpose!

The Paintings

Lynda

When I was younger I derisively referred to my older sister as “Mom #2.” Now I appreciate her caring and assistance, as do many others who know her.

– written by Gretchen

24 x 24 | acrylic, fabric on canvas | sold

Gretchen

Gretchen helps out anyone of her friends or family whenever is needed. I am very grateful for her presence and support at so many times in my life, now more than ever. She is my biggest supporter and most honest critic. I love her very much and am so proud to be her sister.

– written by Lynda

16 x 20 | acrylic, stone on canvas | sold

Lonny

Of all the things I’ve ever shared with Lonny, the two I’m most grateful for are laughter and land. The laughter we’ve shared has filled my life – from my earliest childhood memories to hanging out earlier this evening. The land we share has given me the best neighbors I could ever want – even if it brings a funny new meaning to “big brother is watching you”.

– written by Jill

24 x 30 | acrylic, stone on canvas | $325

Jill

When we were kids: tomboy, easy-going, playmate, milkshake-on-her-face, soccer-playing, teal bedroom wall-living, sweatpant-wearing, lima bean-eating, sweet-smiling little sister.

And now: still easy-going, next door neighbor, ginger-eating, can’t-start-the-lawn-mower, slightly-sacrilegious, Simpsons-watching, best-aunt-ever little sister.

– written by Lonny

12 x 24 | acrylic, wood on canvas | sold

Holly

When we were kids Holly led our adventures building forts, creating forest trails, and putting on plays and circuses. She doesn’t think of herself as an instigator, but she’s the reason I’ve found myself swinging from a rope half-dressed as a clown (screaming) and pedaling around eastern China with a rag-tag but enthusiastic crew. Like most big sisters, she’s the beginning of a lot of exhilarating moments and laughter inducing memories.

– written by Amy

 24 x 24 | acrylic, fabric on canvas | sold

Amy

My little sister is practical and wild. She is responsibility peppered with idealistic fervor.

She carries conviction … anger sometimes … wanting us all closer to the way things should be.

She is never afraid to slow down and find her own way. She knows how to say no, or not like that, or how about this other thing?

She is deeply feeling, deeply thinking, witty and compassionate. She creates and cares … with a spirit stubborn and carefree.

– written by Holly

14 x 18 | mixed media on canvas | sold

Lisa

Calling. Carefully listening, gently probing, subtly offering council. Planning a visit, driving for hours, cooking favorite treats, sending the leftovers. Letting a brilliant sparkle of anticipation glimmer through understated selfless strength.

– written by Krista

24 x 30 | acrylic, plaster, plastic on canvas | sold

Krista

Krista is my younger (and only) sister. We’ve experienced great joy and heartbreak together, which has kept us close through the years, even when distance and busy lives keep us apart. She is the favorite aunt to my son, and they love spending time together via Skype or when she comes to visit. Krista loves big-city living, and works hard making a difference in the lives of many kids as a top-notch bilingual speech therapist.

– written by Lisa

12 x 24 | mixed media on canvas | $130

Monica

Faithful. That’s a great word to describe my sister. She’s also resilient, easy to talk to, particularly with the “twin dar” that we have goin’ on, and, I definitely can’t leave out that she’s a pretzel fanatic. Seriously. This girl keeps them stashed at work, home, and in her car! I’m proud to call her my twin sister!

– written by Melissa

30 x 40 | acrylic, plaster on canvas | sold

Melissa

My sister….

She inspires me. She encourages me. She loves me.

– written by Monica

20 x 20 | mixed media on canvas | $180

Heidi

My sister and I work well together because we take turns being the black sheep in the family. She makes it easier for me to stand up to my mother, which is impossible to do. When we were little I thought we would never be friends, but now, even though we live very different lives I am proud to call her my friend!

– written by Amanda

20 x 20 | mixed media on canvas | sold

Amanda

If my sister was a cartoon character, she’d be Scrappy-Doo. She’s way stronger than you think and afraid of nothing.

If my sister had to choose between being the ‘damsel-in-distress’ or the ‘knight-in-shining-armor,’ she’d pick the knight. She’d rather rescue than be rescued; protect than be protected. She’s one of the bravest and strongest people I know.

My sister has a smile that lights up the whole room.

– written by Heidi

 14 x 18 | mixed media on canvas | sold

Taylor

Taylor rocks the free world! She is inspiring and optimistic. She is opinionated and fun to be with. We are the two ENFPs in our family and I think my personality more closely mirrors her’s than anyone else’s in the family. I love that she has not carved a traditional path in the world. Upon my graduation from college, she gave me the advice, “You know, you  have 10 years to basically do whatever you want with…go volunteer, travel, experience the world.” It was freeing…I felt liberated. I laugh more readily and harder with Taylor probably than anyone in the world–she is a freakin riot!

– written by Sandy

36 x 36 | mixed media on canvas | $585

Sandy

vibrant, in motion, out-reaching

Choosing three short descriptions of my sister Sandy, I see that two of them use prepositions — words that show Sandy in relation to the people and things around her.

And this is how Sandy lives. She is in motion. She is out-reaching.

Sandy’s life radiates with her inter-connectedness — to her family, her husband’s and her friends’ families, to her community at home and to the various communities around the world where she’s lived.

She is someone both deeply rooted and constantly growing the branches of her connections. The joy she both gets and gives through these connections makes her as vibrant as a big, spring-green tree.

– written by Taylor

24 x 24 | acrylic, plaster on canvas | sold

Linda

tough as nails

Southern

outspoken

opinionated

I-just-tell-it-like-it-is

Haiti

athlete

determined

faith

crazy

Phoenix

go-to-person

unstoppable

single minded

role model

– written by Cindy

30 x 40 | acrylic, plaster on canvas | donated

Cindy

Cindy is an amazing woman. Constant and steady like a heartbeat.

We have traveled together from the moment I got my drivers license. She’s been my friend since the day she was born. We’ve traveled from the beaches and mountains of NC to the Keys in Florida, and as far as Guatemala City.

I can always count on my sister. She has listened, and prayed for me through a heart wrenching separation and divorce. She came and stayed with me during my back surgery and then helped bring me home and never left my side. She rejoiced with me in my new marriage, and has been a constant friend and an amazing support for me.

– written by Linda

20 x 20 | mixed media on canvas | sold

Jared

My brother is the zen of a storm – all the intensity and fire of the most outrageous storm, stirring up chaos and challenging the status quo…yet in the midst of it he sees peace and ubuntu. He thrives in situations that make others tremble, mocks security and seeks to grab life by the horns and ride until there is no question that he has lived life to the fullest, and made an impact on everyone he meets.

– written by Ashley

36 x 36 | acrylic on canvas | $585

Ashley

We trust your heart, because you care so deeply. You personify love and liberate those around you to live more extraordinarily. You are ubuntu. You are a life artist.

– written by Jared

16 x 20 | mixed media on canvas | sold

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Mary Ellen

She is always focused, whether cleaning house, playing basketball, being a nurse & health educator or tackling the political world. A fearless and powerful problem solver, she takes action. She encourages her sisters to do likewise.

– written by Viola

Your presence in my life from the beginning, brought me the experience of safety, reliability, and constancy. I can’t help but wonder if those gifts to me provided the human foundation that allowed me to even begin a lifetime, experiential journey of faith and trust in a relationship with a steadfast and faithful God. Thank you.

– written by Berni

36 x 36 | acrylic, plaster on canvas | donated

Viola

Your openness to life, others, and me, challenged and saved me—literally. I have both envied it and respected it and been the recipient of it. Your door has always been open to me in my darkest and loneliest times. You also brought to me for many years, the first and only gifts of light, clarity, truth, and definitions to my own dark, murky reflections of my Self.  A gift that continues to bless me. Thank you.

– written by Berni

Communicates: with nature, with others, with God

Permeates: lives, spirit, literature

Hibernates: for refreshment, for summary

Octopus – Multiple tentacles receive input & then emit goodness into her environment in a continuous manner.

– written by Mary Ellen

16 x 20 | mixed media on canvas | sold

Berni

She created her own world amidst the chaos. Her huge imagination made for creative play times as kids. Her intelligence questions everything. She focuses on her inward journey through reflective journaling and letter writing, words flowing freely on paper. She embraces the mysteries of life.

– written by Viola

Restless, Creativity, Multicolor, Movement, Merriment

Escalator – The courage to explore the height of the unknown; the ability to descend & interpret the value of the basement.”

– written by Mary Ellen

14 x 18 | acrylic on canvas | sold

SaraLisa

My big sister, who had a rebellious edge and a zest for drama, taught me a lot of lessons before her death at age 26.  Her honesty and insights were sometimes unnerving.  Her commitment to running and recovery were inspiring (She got me to run the Charlottesville ten-miler with her).  She once drove all the way to Michigan (from central OH) to pick me up from music camp so we could go to an Indigo Girls concert in Cleveland.  The sky let loose and we danced in the rain, the crowd losing all inhibition, the sense of freedom catching…

– written by Katelyn

Sara was my introduction to so many things in life, from harrowing car rides, to exploring nature, to Ani Difranco and Tori Amos. In my mind as a child, Sara could do no wrong and was capable of absolutely anything. As unpredictable as a spring thunderstorm, she was full of light, darkness, chaos, and the occasional rainbow. She inspired me to explore the world, to run, to enjoy life and recognize my many blessings. Losing her was the hardest thing I have ever experienced, and through that process I learned so much about myself, my family, relationships, and the world. Sara left no life untouched and I have been forever changed by knowing her.

– written by Rhoda

30 x 40 | mixed media on canvas | $540

Katelyn

Katelyn is genuine and steadfast, my go-to person for a listening ear and a wide-open mind. Her support has been something I have been able to count on from day one, especially notable through some of the most trying times of my life. I envy and aspire to her ability to see and give grace to all angles of any given situation. Katelyn is one of the most purposeful people I have ever encountered, from the attention to what she puts into her body, to what she puts back out into the world. She cares deeply for others and is an incredible encourager, inspiring those around her to not only to continue doing what they do well, but also gently reminding them to engage in self-care. Katelyn is fully grounded light and air.

– written by Rhoda

24 x 30 | mixed media on canvas | sold

Rhoda

Rhoda walks too close to the cliff’s edge for my comfort.

SuperRhoda, as a past employer once dubbed her, gets things done.

She runs marathons.

To me she is “Rho,” little sister, peer, friend.

Growing up we weren’t allowed to get bored, so when chores were done we would hang out our bedroom window on our backs, scanning the sky for images in the clouds, talking all the while.

Rho is loyal and eager to help. Sometimes too eager.

Once (okay, actually twice!) she got up from the dinner table and walked all the way down the lane to get the mail, when all my mom had requested was the mayo (from the fridge).

She is hard not to love.

In my world, she is a solid, encouraging presence,

my color and design consultant, confidante,

hermanita

– written by Katelyn

12 x 24 | acrylic, plaster on canvas | $130

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It was such an honor to have everyone share so openly with me about their sibling relationships. A huge thank you to everyone who participated – your contributions were inspiring and insightful and absolutely crucial to pulling off this show.

Stay tuned for a post about Art Lotto!

Almost there...

I am happy to report a huge amount of progress on prepping for my show next Friday.  I no longer have any completely blank canvases lurking in my studio and the end is in sight.

Some detail shots of my paintings below.

August Art Show(s)!!

Funny how history repeats itself.  I committed months ago (I won’t even embarrass myself here by admitting how many months) to doing a solo show at the Blue Nile in August.  When I met with Emily, she asked if I preferred doing the show in the upstairs space or the downstairs space.  I stupidly replied with, “has anyone ever done both at the same time?”, to which she said “no,” while probably questioning my sanity.  I had plenty of time, I was feeling gutsy, and I was clearly forgetting to be self-aware in the moment.  So here I find myself, in a place I know all too well, less than a month out from my show, 6 paintings down, 10 paintings started, and 8 yet to begin.  Yet, because I have been here before, I am also oddly calm, with full confidence that while I may not sleep in the next month, I will complete what I have committed to.  Oh, and there’s also that Art Lotto portrait hanging around waiting to be completed by the 18th.  At least I’m about halfway finished with that one, which is leaps and bounds beyond where I’d usually be at this point.  Time to celebrate the small improvements.

Aside from the stress I’ve created, I am actually really excited about this show.  The idea sprung out of a fascination with sibling relationships and the realization that the vast majority of my close friends are little sisters.  The show, titled Little Sister, will feature acrylic and mixed media paintings that have been inspired by descriptive words given to me by the sets of siblings I asked to participate.  The little sisters and their older siblings were also asked to write several sentences about their sibling or about their relationship.  The entire process has been so interesting, from the reactions of the people I’ve asked to the range of words used to describe each other.  The written tributes are honest, beautiful, touching, and some made me laugh out loud.  I can only hope to visually personify these lovely individuals in a way that truly represents their nature.

I hope to see many of you there!