Sunday, June 30, 2013

blue beard

There's a hair salon next to the art supply store, here in Bellingham, and it gave me the idea of Ben dying his beard a fun color.  We bought some temporary color chalk.  I did use a couple of apps to amp up the color in the photo.  Taking art beyond the canvas today.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

art friends

Today I thought I would share with you, links to 2 of my art friends.  I'll introduce more artists, in later posts.

The first artist I would like to introduce is my wonderful friend Mindy Lacefield.  You may know her online as Tim's Sally.  I'm in Mindy's online workshop, True Free Spirit !  It's so fabulous to be in this class.  There's a new project from Mindy each month.  I love the surprise element inherent in waiting to see what the next monthly project will be.  Playing her videos, while I paint, is like having an art buddy right here in my studio.

This piece is called "Stuart".  I bought it from Mindy at an art retreat named PLAY, in 2012.

I had the good fortune of taking a couple of live classes with Mindy (at ArtFest) as well.  Boy, have I been lucky!!  I would absolutely not be where I am today, artistically, if not for Mindy.  Her classes have been so joyful, instructive, and inspiring.  Just the perfect combination of what I never even knew I needed, to find my voice.  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you how influential she has been in my life!  I'm in love with Mindy's art and with Mindy's own true free spirit.

Additionally, I'm currently taking an online class with another artist, Juliette Crane and I love it too.  She has so many cool videos and so much instruction in this class, named How to Paint an Owl 2.  It's just brimming with information.  I've learned so much from Juliette.

I'm a lot more free with my backgrounds now.  I have loosened up.  And I only signed up for Juliette's class a few weeks ago!   I have a ways to go with loosening up, but I'm getting there.  And I haven't even painted an owl yet!  When I do, I will post it here on my blog.

Both Juliette and Mindy are lovely, generous, women who will guide you to a new place with your art.  It's worth going on this journey with them.  By the way, their classes complement one another really well.  You could take one or the other, for sure.  But I'm glad I took both of them.

With Mindy and Juliette, I've discovered tons of new art supplies.  Just when I thought I had seen it all... nope, I have not.

I know you will be just as enthusiastic, should you decide to take any classes with either of them, whether online or at a retreat.  The best part is both Juliette and Mindy have new classes coming out too.  In case you are hungry for even more.  I have a feeling you will be.

I have links to their classes in the right hand margin.

Friday, June 28, 2013

antique art supplies

A few months ago, my boyfriend, Ben, was looking around on Craigslist, which he loves to do on any given day.  We had just gotten into watching American Pickers and we got the itch to find some antique treasures, like they do on the show.

Ben found an antique stencil making machine for sale on Craigslist.  

Ben thought it might be something I would like, so we answered the ad and went over to see it.  It looked funky and cool and old, like a rusted treasure, and we decided to buy it.  Sure enough, I've used it several times to add elements to my art pieces.  In fact, I used it to create my blog banner.

Another time we went to a used building supply store called the Re-Store.  Ben asked the gentleman in the front of the store if they had any drafting tables.  As luck would have it, they had one recently brought in, and it was lighted to boot!  It didn't take us long to decide that we would buy that.  We can use it as a light table or just a desk.

Another thing I buy, occasionally, at the Re-Store is used, building material that I use for art substrates; boards to paint on.  I guess you could say that I up-cycle them.  It's cheaper than buying boards at the art store and the shapes are usually more fun and unique.

When Ben and I went to an antique store in Port Angeles, WA, we found some rusted letters.  I got the letters to spell the word glögg, since that is what my recent art pieces have been about.  It was cool to screw them onto one of my up-cycled boards to create a fun art piece.  The letters are on my Pee Wee Herman painting.  To see that, look at my blog post here.  You will notice that I also used the stencil machine for some of the words on this mixed media piece.

In summary, I would like to say that I enjoy looking for art supplies in unusual places.  I like to go out and find unique things that reflect my eccentric side.  I'm lucky in that my partner has a really good eye for antiques! This is Ben.  Thanks, Ben, for finding some awesome antique art supplies for my art projects!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Looking for a sign?

Why make art?  That is something I can only answer from my own perspective.  I like it because it allows me to flex my creative muscles.  Sometimes, someone I know will need a sign.  I take on the challenge of making it for them.  It sort of gives a purpose to my art.  The one shown above was created for a healthcare provider.

When I make a sign for something, or someone, in particular, I get to take out some art supplies and play, within a set of parameters.  That makes my art time have a framework.  In the above example, I knew the four letters I was going to make.  S-A-L-E.  I knew it was going to have a holiday theme.  Then I worked, within those limitations, and it became more of a creative puzzle to solve than if I had sat down at the art table with no direction at all.

Interestingly, after I wrote out this idea, I opened a book by Bert Dodson.  He said almost the same thing.  He says he did not like it when he was a child and the teacher would say to draw whatever you want.  His mind came up blank.  He prefers some constraints because those will activate the imagination.  That was my feeling about it as well!  The book is called Keys to Drawing with Imagination.  I just started it, but I can already tell it is going to be good.

If I am working at a job I love, I am much more apt to make pretty signs for my workplace.  Just because.  I'm feeling happy and I am in the zone.

With this piece I made the times on separate pieces so they could be changed to accommodate the changeable hours of the cafe.  The arrow points to the cafe entrance.

Next time you hear someone say they could really use a sign for this or that, seize the opportunity to make some art for them.

If you need or want an art sign, leave me a comment.  They are affordable!  I obviously love to make them.  I especially like making signs for small, independent, businesses.  Little cafes, health food stores, juice bars, bookstores, taverns, tea shops, etc.  I can do many different languages (with your help) and I can ship worldwide.  I would love the opportunity.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

pop art

Mixed-media Pee Wee Herman painting.  Here I worked on up-cycled building material as my substrate.  I included things like vintage colorforms in the upper left and metal letters, screwed into the wood.

Lately I've been including pop culture references in my art.  It began when my good friend and former high school pal, Scott Martin, asked me to do a series of paintings for his bar, which is called Simon's Tavern. (The original owner was named Simon, in case you wondered.)  

A few months ago, I happened to make a funny art piece on glögg.  I sent Scott a photo of it, just for fun.  It was something he wanted to see more of.  He has always appreciated comedy, once studying at Chicago's famed Second City.  I can vouch for his status as class clown in high school. 

That first piece I did featured a parody lyric, "You might as well face it, you're addicted to glögg."  I had not planned to do any more.  It was a joke because I was drinking glögg with friends while I was painting it.  I was just kind of passing the time.

When Scott told me he wanted more paintings along this line, it got my creative juices flowing.  Glögg-ifying song lyrics was a blast.  I couldn't write them down fast enough.  Then trying to turn those ideas into paintings was another piece of a fun puzzle.  

How can I tie in some kind of visual, with a funny viking, that goes with the gag line?  They started out as parodies of lyrics, but eventually I moved into TV shows.  I'm working on pieces that are movie-themed as well.  I have an idea for a future piece that will merge sports and TV, with glögg of course!  Always with glögg!

I was going for a bit of a graffiti-style with this Johnny Cash inspired painting.

Thus my art has moved into comedic, pop-art, which I love.  I think I'm something of a closet comedian anyway.  This gives me a way to let that side of me out.  I aspire to be a Swedish Weird Al meets Andy Warhol. There's a combo for ya.

Incidentally, the Pee Wee piece is not part of the Simon's collection, while the Viking Named Sue piece is part of it.

Ira Glass on creativity

I was talking about Ira Glass's comments on creativity with a friend of mine recently. So I decided to post one version of his insightful comments here. I think what he says is really important.  This short video was made by Kayla Shelley.  She did a great job with it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

nose ring bunny

Here is a bunny painting I did a while back.  I gave him a nose ring, which was inspired by the recipient of the piece.  He has a nose ring too!  I suppose the doodles on the body could be viewed as body art.  I think that makes him a true Pacific Northwest bunny.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


This is one of my first Viking paintings.  The Swedish sun glasses are based on the ones you see in the photo. It's hard to see, but Ben (shown below) is wearing glasses that have a Swedish flag design on the lens.  I intentionally gave the painting a Big Lebowski look.  It is interesting for me to see this piece now, because I did it about 4 months ago.  I look at it today, with different eyes. I would not paint is like this today.  It makes me wonder how my work will evolve in another 4 months.  Or another four years for that matter. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Outta This World

Here is another piece I did for Simon's Tavern in Chicago.  For more on Simon's Tavern, click here to read my previous post.  I've been making a series of mixed-media paintings for my friend, and owner of Simon's Tavern, Scott Martin.  Most of the pieces, so far, are parodies of song lyrics.  This one is a parody of "Long Train Running" by the Doobie Brothers.  Click here to listen to that song on You Tube.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


This is a piece I did for a good friend of mine.  It is her pet, Spuzz!  My buddy, Jess, and her pup, Spuzz, live in the Scandinavian neighborhood, Ballard, in Seattle.  So I gave Spuzz one of my artsy Viking helmets.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Crash Test Dummies

Hi guys.  I recently remembered how much the Crash Test Dummies inspired me back in the 90s. I found this interview and I thought it would be cool to share that here.  I hope you enjoy.

There was something about the Crash Test Dummies that always captivated me. I wanted to figure out a way to have a creative life like the one they were living.  It's hard to explain. It was kind of a turning point in my life. Anyway, I wanted to highlight them here. Because lead singer, Brad Roberts, inspired me to be an artist, in whatever form.  Thank you Brad.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

It's time for glögg slushies at Simon's

Hi everybody.  I've been busy making art for Simon's Tavern in Chicago. This is one of nine paintings in my ever growing glögg series. 

What is glögg?  Go here to see. 

Scott Martin, the bar owner, makes glögg slushies, his own invention, in the summer.  Glögg is traditionally a Christmas drink. But it's not only for Christmas at Simon's. If you're in Chicago, be sure to stop in for a one-of-a-kind glögg slushy. Even if it's not time for glögg slushies, go anyway because it's a fabulous, friendly, and fun neighborhood bar.

Here's an awesome video about some of the history of Simon's Tavern, as told by Scott.  Simon's Tavern is in the historic Andersonville Swedish neighborhood in Chicago, IL.

Simon's Tavern was featured on Anthony Bourdain's show, The Layover. See that video here. Anthony says, "This place has got it."

My art piece up at the top, with the parrot, is a parody of Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffet.  At Simon's you will be nibbling, not on spongecake, but rather on pepparkakor, Swedish ginger cookies.  If Jimmy Buffet had tried 
glögg slushies, he would likely be booking his next trip to Andersonville rather than Margaritaville.