Le jardin des pensées

A creative exercise for an upcoming gallery show…. Step 1) Find a generic piece of art at a local thrift store; Step 2) Repurpose said art into your own composition, retaining at least 10 percent of the original…

generic print on canvas


mixed media on canvas [acrylic and design markers]

The Year in Review, 2017

As another year draws to a close, I felt the need to collect some musings on what turned out to be one of the best years for my creative pursuits ever. Here are some statistics and remarks, in no particular order of importance…

2017… a year of FABRICATION

  • Fabricate — verb (used with object), fab·ri·cat·ed, fab·ri·cat·ing.
  1. to make by art or skill and labor; construct: The finest craftspeople fabricated this clock. 
  2. to make by assembling parts or sections.
  3. to devise or invent (a legend, lie, etc.).
  4. to fake; forge (a document, signature, etc.)

  • Created 140 new sketches/drawings/paintings, from January to December
These include 2 self portraits, two large landscapes, and 3 scratchboard illustrations.
Month with most number of artworks completed: April
Month with least number of artworks completed: November
  • Had artwork accepted into 12 juried shows, including exhibitions in Massachusetts, Raleigh, Durham, Goldsboro, Jonesborough, Wilmington, Georgia, and Wisconsin.
  • Had artwork accepted for publication in 6 journals:
Average Art magazine [UK]
Ponder Review [Mississippi University for Women]
Palaver Magazine [UNC- Wilmington]
Jelly Bucket [Eastern Kentucky University]
The Florida Review [University of Central Florida]
Gulf Stream Magazine [Florida International University]
  • Participated in 5 Urban Sketch Sessions in Raleigh, NC
  • Had artwork on display & for sale in four venues:
Willow Tree Coffeehouse & Bookstore
UMO Artisan Village in Mount Olive
Fine Arts in the Park Juried Fair in Jonesborough, TN
Zine Machine in Durham, NC

Movies I Watched in a Theater:

  1. Maudie*
  2. Lucky*
  3. The Florida Project*
  4. Wonder Woman*
  5. Dunkirk
  6. Hell or High Water
  7. Oscar Nominated Short Films
  8. War for the Planet of the Apes
  9. Lego Batman
  10. Spiderman: Homecoming
  11. Justice League
  12. Their Finest
  13. Jackie
  14. Blazing Saddles [Netflix]
  15. Close Encounters of the Third Kind [40th Anniversary Edition]
  16. Baby Driver
  17. Jumanji
* = my favorites!

Graphic Novels I Read:

  • Pretending is Not Lying by Dominique Goblet
  • Solid State by Jonathan Coulton, Matt Fraction, and Albert Monteys
  • Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast

Other Books I Read:

  • A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney by Martin Gayford
  • The Lady of Booger Hill by Sallie Krickel
  • Life with Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Inspiring Stories of Creatives I Met or Listened to…

  • Tim Gunn & Dav Pilkey, both of whom were bullied in school and were discouraged by their parents but who nevertheless persevered and became famous artists in fashion and cartoons, respectively
  • Wil Goff, a retired salesman who found himself in possession of a fully stocked art studio after his wife’s sudden death. He started painting abstract scenes, and now hardly goes a day without working in his studio!
  • Cindy Rhodes, a very talented college student who found her “2nd Act” as an art major at the University of Mount Olive. Her passion for learning and kind remarks made this 15-year design educator proud on so many occasions!
  • Scott Renk, a wonderful artist who teaches at-risk high school students but also organizes the Urban Sketchy Kats Group in Raleigh, NC.
  • Judy Jones, an inspiring artist and printmaker who continues to encourage me and showed interest in my graphic novel project.
  • Miryam Wasserman, docent at the Morgan Library & Museum and former English professor in New York City. Her amazing presentation of the lore behind Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will remain a cherished memory for holidays to come.

Music Concerts Attended:

  • Valerie June
  • Mipso
  • Rhiannon Giddens
  • Punch Brothers & I’m With Her
  • Secret Sisters
  • Gaither Vocal Band

While I wanted to highlight the most positive things from this year, I certainly acknowledge that 2017 has brought other negative things…

A year of…Fulmination: The unfortunate inauguration of the 45th POTUS resulted in countless days, weeks, and months of petty, irresponsible, and unconscionable behavior from almost the entire administration. The threats to cut funding for the arts, tax graduate students’ stipends, and threaten national parks have been “trending news” pretty hard to take. I’m not really a political person, but this has made me more vocal than in previous years.
A year of…Bloviation: This is apparently a term attributed to President Warren G. Harding, and certainly applied to 2017. Between editorials on racism, sexism, and the “Me, Too” movement, I many times just wanted to shut down all forms of media among the din of mean-spirited rhetoric. [bloviate, verb, “talk at length, especially in an inflated or empty way.”]. Sure, all of our collective culture witnessed the unprecedented fall of so many well-known men:
Bill Cosby/Al Franken/Garrison Keillor/Roger Ailes/Bill O’Reilly/Kevin Spacey/Harvey Weinstein/Matt Lauer/Charlie Rose…and I suspect there will be more to join this list of infamy.
I can only hope and pray that everyone will treat one another with respect and grace and empathy. Perhaps we can get to a place where there are no blockages or restraints on the notion that every human being has a purpose on this terrestrial ball, and should be encouraged to discover it!
Finally, a year of…Meditation: despite the brokenness of this culture, and the seemingly endless stream of bad news and negativity, I still believe in the redeeming quality of the arts. I have seen it in the enraptured glance of an older lady smiling at a baby’s smile on the NY subway train. I have felt it when listening to “For Unto Us a Child is Born,” penned by the great Frederich Handel and performed by the community chorale of Cary. I sensed it in the rhythmic sway of the iceskaters in Bryant Park on a cold December afternoon. And it almost overtook me when I stood, almost elbow to elbow, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and beheld the 600 year old sketches of Michelangelo that would become Madonna and Child in marble and Yahweh and Adam on the ceiling of Sistine.

Thanks to all of you who have followed this blog, and encouraged me to continue for another day. A Very Happy New Year to All!