Studio 301 - Washington Pavilion

My progress throughout the day. :)
I participated in this year's annual Washington Pavilion one-day-art-making-extravaganza last weekend alongside 40 or so other artists from the region, and had a blast despite the massive head cold that was trying to kill my spirits.

Studio 301

I really love participating in this event because it gives me a chance to meet a whole bunch of new people who are passionate about art.  We also get a chance to talk to a lot of kids who are all wonderfully curious (and blunt - which is hilarious especially in the beginning stages of my pieces where the painting hasn't really taken shape yet) about art.
My piece from Studio 301 yesterday. :)

Although it was a small piece, I still used the full 10+ hours that we were there that day to really buckle down and finish my painting.  It is always a challenge to push through and get the pieces finished.  I really loved seeing everyone else's pieces too!  

Boundary Waters

Well, this is a totally belated blog post, but I didn't want this experience to slip by without being recorded!  In August we went to the Boundary Waters in MN for a backpacking/canoeing trip with some good friends of ours.

When we got to Minnesota, they were experiencing record low temps - we had thought we'd be enjoying a nice, warm, summertime excursion, and it started out more like a late-fall backpacking trip.  Luckily, we all had warm clothes and pretty good wet weather gear.  The only way we suffered was with wet cold feet due to flooded portages!  The first day it was rainy and windy with a high of 48, and a low of 38 degrees!  There were not many pictures taken the first day. Hah.

Luckily, the second day it warmed up a bit, the sun came out, and we had a chance to dry off.

We got a chance to fish while paddling and while hanging out at the campsites.  This girl loves fishing,  Nate, on the other hand, was not really a 'fishing' kid - but I think this trip has converted him.  

We did a lot of paddling over the four days - averaging about 8 miles a day.  It was great fun and greatly exhausting - especially for this pair of motley paddlers!  

We'd carry our boat and gear alongside of any rapids in the portages - some brave souls would go though the rapids, but we decided to be wimps and not dump all of our gear in the 'drink.' :)

John - helping us navigate the twisted rivers.

My favorite campsite was the first campsite we stayed at - we were situated on a rock face that overlooked the water.  Sprawling on the arched rocks the second night by the fire with the stars above us was pretty wonderful.  

If I could fish every day I probably would. :)

The only night the mosquitoes got bad was the last night (thankfully!).  You can see us here in our full mosquito garb.


Our last night there was especially beautiful - the water was almost completely still.

And here we are after arriving back at the outfitters!  The last day of paddling was definetly the hardest - we had a ton of distance to cover, and after a while, we thought we'd never get there!  We paddled full force for about four hours.  Talk about a good workout!  Luckily we had some delicious burgers and a pint awaiting us once we got back.  

I'm game for going back anytime!  We had a great time with John, Deana, Giles, and Angie - our good pals and lucky for us our co-workers as well. :)


So, I've been a bad blogger, but, I've also been on some amazing adventures in the last month-and-a-half that have occupied a great deal of my time!

Exploring.  Hope to squeeze in a painting or two today. :)

My inlaws and my uncle and his girlfriend visited, followed by my dad, then we helped one of our good college friends move to SD to teach at our university, then we were in the boundary waters, then other friends from college came to visit, then we went back to Wisconsin for a week and a half where we visited family, attended birthday celebrations for adorable one-year-olds, recorded a spot for Wisconsin Public Radio, went to Door County, and then made the trek back to South Dakota just in time to start meetings at DSU.

I'm sure I'll write about these things in greater detail within the next few days, but for now, I thought I'd assure you that I had not vanished from the face of the planet.


Artist Feature: Andres Torres

Andres Torres – Artist Feature

When I first moved to South Dakota, I was straight out of grad school and the high number of pheasant and black lab paintings that I saw everywhere were a bit overwhelming.  I was so happy to meet Andres and other artists working outside of the ‘Pheasant & Lab genre’ fairly soon after moving here.  Despite being a fairly rural state, South Dakota has a pretty amazing cohort of young artists making great work.  

I’ve been keeping an eye on Andres’ work ever since I met him about two years ago.  Each body of work he’s made has been better than the last, and I’m excited to see his work continue to evolve. 

Andres Torres
"Aquafresh" - House Paint, Acrylic, T-shirt on Panel - Andres Torres

There is a wonderful playfulness in his paintings, and a great balance between purposeful mark-making and slightly obscured chaos. 

Andres Torres

 "Lollipop" - House Paint, Acrylic, T-shirt on Panel - Andres Torres

There are subtle references to form, yet none are blaringly obvious – Andres stops each painting at the perfect point – without overworking or adding superfluous detail.  There is such beauty in the simplicity and interaction between forms in these works.   

Andres Torres
 "Brown Rainbow" - House Paint, Oil, Acrylic on Canvas - Andres Torres

The eye calmly led through these works, yet there is also a sense of underlying uncertainty. 

Andres Torres
 "Above and Beyond" - House Paint & Acrylic on Panel - Andres Torres

There is a focus on line, shape, and color in these works, but the slight imperfections and occasional sign of the artists’ hand in the work keeps them grounded and communicates the imperfections we find in our lives. 

I can’t wait to see more.  

Snail Painting Timelapse

I put together another quick timelapse of a painting that I'm currently working on.  It shows the initial layer of paint (the under-painting) being applied to the canvas.  This covers about 2-3 hours of work, and is done from observation.

I'm in the middle of the third layer now, and you can see the progress:

Coming along slowly but surely.  Just like a snail... :D

Now I've just got to 'tighten' everything up and add some of the small details.

Getting my work packed and ready to install at the Brookings community cultural center.  The glamorous life if a artist.

I also packed up and delivered 30+ paintings to Brookings for my next show which starts next week and runs through the 19th of July.

Big thanks to the lovely assistants at the BAC who helped install the show!
My wonderful assistants for the day!

New additions.
I also may have picked up a few new 'subjects' at the thrift shop on my way home.

Hope you are all having a lovely and productive summer. :)

In the Garden

It is amazing how much a garden can grow in a few days!

Here's a peek at the progress:

2013 Garden
Zucchini, radishes, raspberry buds, and baby basil!

2013 Garden
Flowers, kohlrabi, and the first tomato buds.

2013 Garden
Red onions, cucumbers, and beets.

2013 Garden
Scallop squash, flowers, lettuce mix.

2013 Garden
Swiss chard, the tallest tiniest adorable asparagus, and bush beans.

Colorado Adventure

Last week we set out on a road trip to Colorado to visit our good friends John & Heidi.  We did a ton of hiking and eating - and may have had a beer or two.

Colorado Adventure
We had good weather the whole drive.  Some people bemoan driving through eastern South Dakota and Nebraska, but I love the rolling hills and wide-open spaces.

Colorado Adventure
I also had a good amount of time to work on the lace scarf I've been chugging away at for what seems like ages.  It is finished now except for blocking!

Colorado Adventure
We spent the first night in Denver, and then headed into the Mountains to John's parents' place to do some hiking.

Colorado Adventure
John, Heidi, Nate, and I.

Colorado Adventure
Snow!  It is much easier to hack a little bit of snow on the trails when it is 60 degrees and sunny.

Colorado Adventure
At the 'Library' having a few drinks, and a ton of nachos.

On our last full day in the mountains, we set off on a 11 mile hike to Granite falls on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Colorado Adventure
Taking a break by the creek.

Colorado Adventure

Colorado Adventure
It was a great and challenging hike - we went through thick forest, meadows, nearby rivers, and then up to the falls.

Colorado Adventure

Colorado Adventure
On the way down we ran into a few Moose as well - this one was standing right on the trail.

Colorado Adventure
It was a great trip, and it was a ton of fun to hang with John & Heidi.

Colorado Adventure

Colorado Adventure
The view from their apartment in Cap Hill on our last night in Denver. :)

In the Studio


I finally finished these three paintings - they are 8" round, and are oil on panel.  I haven't decided on titles yet.  They are a continuation of the small faux-landscapes I've been working on.  These happened entirely by mistake.  I had intended to paint a different triptych on these panels, but I was cleaning my studio and leaned a sheet of broken packing foam against the grey wall in my studio, and it caught my eye enough to inspire these paintings.  Inspiration comes from the strangest places sometimes.

I've also been working on a few more figurine paintings this last week - I'm attempting to finish these in the next few days so they are dry for my show in June-July at the Community Cultural Center in Brookings, SD.


This little snail was given to me after I did a talk in my colleague - John Nelson's - class about social media.  I'm glad my co-workers understand my love for kitsch.

I'm also working on this amazing brass cat:


This is the first layer of paint.

And here's the second:


In other new and exciting news, I downloaded an app called lapse-it to do time-lapses with my ipod touch!  Here's my first go - it is a painting session of about an hour and a half - I'm working on laying down the second layer of this painting:

Neat eh?  I've already done another one - but the light shifted mid-way through so I've got to edit it a bit to get it to look better before I post it.  

I also put together this handy little clipboard/ still life setup to clear up a bit of table space in my studio.


I basically just glued scrap wood to a clipboard and reinforced it with 1" screws after the glue dried.  It is nice because I can just hold it to the wall with a push-pin, and it makes it easier to stand while working from my little still life paintings.  I can also get a lot closer to them which is very helpful when I'm painting a 3 foot tall painting of a 3 inch tall figurine.  :)

Planning & Planting my Vegetable Garden

Planned my summer veggie garden today!  Also,I planted the first bed and will do the second later today. :D

I'm almost finished with planting this summer's garden!  I made a little watercolor map of where I'd like to plant everything.  I've got a total of 6 garden beds in various locations around the house.  

This year we'll have strawberries, asparagus, onions, garlic, beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, jalapeno peppers, zucchini  cucumbers, radishes, beets, swiss chard, baby romaine, raspberries  eggplant, acorn squash, green beans, basil, thai basil, mint, oregano, thyme, sage, and hopefully cherries!  


I also built a 5x10' raised bed garden this year to keep out the roving herds of rabbits that reside in our yard.  I plan to add two more 4x4' beds next to this one, but I think I'll wait until the fall to do that. :)


The perennial herbs I planted a few years ago are already up and doing great - clockwise from the top: sage, mint, oregano, and chives.  These are growing along the south side of our house, and they do great there despite the fact that they are a little bit shaded.  Plus, they look lovely once they start to grow and fill out. 


The onions just started to pop out of the ground today.  I can't wait!  For some reason it is impossible to find a fresh onion anywhere in South Dakota.  Seriously, all of the ones at the grocery store look diseased!  I'm going to eat so many onions this summer.


The swiss chard also popped up this morning.  I can't wait!  I love chard - it produces all summer, and around here the leaves get huge!   

And there are a few pretty flowers starting to pop up all around the house. 

Happy gardening!