Thursday, September 6, 2012

portside arts center's upholstery class

I've been lugging around this beat up, saggy, old , $5 from a thrift store children's recliner chair for at least one year now... actually it's probably more like two.. Every single person in my life tells me to throw it out and I tell them I'm going to keep it and reupholster it (I bought a couple books off amazon) and they say I never will and I'm just a pack rat.  Well, I am a pack rat, BUT I did register for an upholstery class! doesn't start until January of 2013, but hey at least my space is reserved and my children's recliner chair will only be able to collect dust for another four months.

There's more info and some photos on the website:

Back from 3 months in Poland!

For three months this summer, and two and a half months last summer, I was working as a part of a team in nine cities across Poland to recreate the polychrome painted ceiling of a 17th century wooden synagogue for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews' core exhibition.  My job was to teach various groups of American and International travel students (some who had never painted before) how to replicate these paintings, using a limited number of black and white photos taken before the synagogue's destruction, and a couple of surviving color study resources.  We used only painting techniques of the time - we painted with hand-ground natural pigments mixed into rabbit skin glue.
This summer we were in five cities: Gdansk, Sejny, Kazimeirz Dolny, Szczebrzeszyn (notice there are only two vowels in that whole word!!), and Wroclaw.  For more info:

A gift a few of us made for Hands House after we completed the project.

All of our signatures in the lantern.  This board was going to be covered up by the flames boarder, so no one will actually see them.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

baby b jumps over pie/fourth of july

Baby B Jumps over Pie/Fourth of July, 19" x 14", watercolor and ink, 2012.

Finished this a few months ago and never posted it.  I had to wait to do the table cloth until I could buy an appropriate piece of fabric for it.  I have a nice oval frame for this one, but unfortunately the glass broke so I'll to keep looking for another.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Philadelphia Mural Arts training program: done

Last week I had my last Muralist Training class with Dave McShane.  We had to pick an actual wall in Philadelphia and design a theoretical mural for it.  Typical themes for community murals are:  social problems (anti-drug, anti-domestic violence),  history, portraits of role models, education, health, religion, and sports.  I was personally intrigued by how many horse and carriage pairs there are.  I especially liked how in lots in the heart of the city there are horse stables.  It just surprised me.  There happen to be a stable near my boyfriend's work, so I chose an empty wall near there.  I wanted it to seem like the horses were pulling the wall/building.
Mural drawing, 10" x 13", pencil on bristol paper, 2012.

The next step was to make a 5 ft x 5ft painting of a blown-up section of the drawing.  I had this pretty much done in one week.  I think I do want to work on it a little more.  I definitely need to take new photos since the direct sunlight hitting the dark parts of the painting in this photo make it look sort of dull.   I'm going to mount this on plywood and frame it before the class' show in June.

Pull, 60" x 60", acrylic on this weird fabric used for murals that feels like dryer sheets, 2012.

good art news! and good other news! about myself!

Probably over a month ago I went on an applying-to-calls-for-art spree.  Here's what I've heard back about:
  • I got accepted into the Philadelphia Mural Arts Training Program and completed it.  I actually had my last class last week.  My class will be having a show in June, which I unfortunately won't be able to attend since I'll be in Poland.
  • My bison model is in Philadelphia's City Hall right now until May, in a show called Meta-fiber (part of FiberPhiladelphia).
  • My ceramic armadillo got accepted into TEJAS Gallery Space's Tactile show, in Ohio.  This means I have to properly package it and ship it extremely soon because it needs to be there by April 3.
  • I applied to the Fleisher Olman Gallery's 2013 Wind Challenge and made it to the second round of judging.  In the second round, a total of 27 applicants out of 247 will be participating for 9 exhibition opportunites during the 2012-2013 season.  I have to bring one piece in to be judged along with the images I sent, and you better believe it's going to be my bison, which most definitely will be a pleasure to move.
  • My bison will be published in the next issue of Whitefish Review - the "wild issue".
Not art related, but still good news:
  • I very recently signed the lease for a 3 story house in Fishtown, Philadelphia.  It comes with a probably 15' x 25' garage, and all for the price of half of what I paid for just 1 bedroom in Boston!  I'll be moving in this weekend.  This also marks the end of my paying $150/month for a storage space for my bison (!!!).  Last weekend, my 2 other roommates and me ripped up the disgusting dog-hair caked wall-to-wall carpeting on 2 floors of this house, only to find sections of it had been water damaged and instead of being properly repaired, someone jigsawed out giant sections of the floor and slapped some pieces of plywood in.  We took up the plywood and replaced it with pine boards, shellacked it, and polyurethaned it.
  • If you can, please donate a couple of bucks to have the second summer of the Poland project I've been working for be documented!:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


 Versus, 17" x 18", watercolor, 2012.

I'm so glad that this painting is finally off of my desk!  Deleting the 27 reference photos for this piece off my desktop just felt amaaazing.  Almost every aspect of this was a struggle for me.  The funny thing is, I've learned to do the section of a painting that I'm looking forward to the least (99% of the time it's the background) first.  In this case it was the metal of the model t, which was actually the only part of the painting that was easy for me.  Oh, the irony.
This was my first time using friskit/masking fluid.  I had never used it before on a real painting.  I did buy some one time. Then I waited approximately five years and tried to use it.  I was EXTREMELY disappointed and didn't try it again until now, after buying a new bottle.  Turns out the stuff works great.

 Dark blue would've been nice.
 Red would've been a little nicer.
 I was rooting for the yellow.
But alas, none of those colors looked right and my wiener of a boyfriend kept trying to convince me to make it grey blue the whole time, so finally I tested it out.  Of course it looked the best.

I've learned from experience that taping wax paper over every part of my painting except for the part I'm working on is a good idea.  I drag my hand all over the paper and usually end up doing something bad. Also, doing a test painting of a part that I know is going to be extremely difficult always pays off.

I tried to log my hours spent on this piece.  I've tried to do this before, but never successfully.  The "never successfully" has been maintained for this one, although I can tell you it took more than 36 hours.  Much more than 36 hours actually, but how much more I do not know.  I stopped keeping track before I even started the glass and sky.

new camera

I bought this bad boy specifically for taking photos of my art (more 3D than 2D, which implies that I'll have to start making 3D work.....).  I chose this one pretty much only because my best college art teacher recommended it as a nice but not-so-nice-it's-reflected-in-the-price camera.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Philadelphia Mural Arts Program /// Kenya Murals

These are getting pretty old, but have never been posted so I though I'd slap 'em up since I recently applied for a job with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and because I think they're the best 2D stuff I've done.  They were painted in Madison House Orphanage in Limuru, Kenya.  I volunteered there for 2 1/2 months in the summer of 2009 but didn't decide to start painting until a month before I left.  I painted each mural in four days, and since there was no electricity I had to stop at sunset.

 Giraffe Mural (Wall 1) with bunk beds, 13' x 8', house paint, 2009.

 Giraffe Mural (Wall 2) with bunk beds, 5' x 8', house paint, 2009.

 Lion on Matatu Mural, 8' x 8', house paint, 2009.

 Ostrich Mural, 5' x 8', house paint, 2009.

DJ Mural, 12' x 8', house paint on canvas, 2009.

Gwozdziec Re!konstrukcja (timber framing and painting)

I spent June 13 - August 27, 2011in various towns in Poland, working on the following project:
"None of these extraordinary wooden synagogues survive. The Nazis burned the last of them to the ground in 1939. But, we do have excellent documentation that will allow us to reconstruct one of the most beautiful of these architectural treasures, the Gwozdziec wooden synagogue. We plan to rebuild its polychrome ceiling and timber-framed roof to 85% scale, using traditional tools, techniques, and materials.
The wooden synagogue is a perfect expression of the Golden Age of Polish Jewry during the 17th and 18th centuries. The Gwoździec ceiling and roof, a centerpiece in our presentation of the 1000-year history of Polish Jews, will extend up from the Core Exhibition into the grand public space of the Museum's modern building. The building was designed by Ilmari Lahdelma and Rainer Mahlamäki of Finland, winners of our international competition, the first in Poland for a public institution. From the Core Exhibition, visitors will look up at the polychrome ceiling, while from the grand public space of this modern building, they will look through a cutaway in the roof and see the marvelous timber frame structure within."   - Handshouse Studio
Here's an amazing short video that describes the project perfectly:

The next couple photos are of the timber framing of the log walls and the ceiling structure.  A large group of professional timber framers from the Timber Framers Guild and three groups of students worked on constructing this structure.  Each group of students worked for 2 1/2 weeks.  I was there for the final group of students, so I got to see it finished, which actually only lasted about 30 minutes because the second it was up we had to begin disassembling it to meet our deadline.

 This is a view of the timber framing work site at the Skansen/The Enthrographic Museum in Sanok, Poland.
 The erected log walls and the start of the ceiling.

For the second half of the project, the painting part, I was employed as a painting leader.  My job was to make sure that I was painting whilst simultaneously teaching travel groups of students, some of whom have never painted before, how to paint. This section lasted two months.  We traveled to three different very-hard-to-pronounce Polish towns - Rzeszow (pronounced: jej- off), Krakow, Wroclaw (pronounced: wash cloth) - and set up our work space in synagogues. We were trying to stay as true to the technologies of the times as possible - which meant we had to use rabbit skin glue and pigment as paint. 
The first paintings I did were of the unicorns.  The way we would paint the animals was to look at a black and white photo (the only photo reference that remained from the past) for value, and pretty much guess which colors to use.  Granted, the guesses were based on a now-dead artists description of colors and a sort of incomplete color chart he painted.

 Here's the black and white photo I used for reference.

 I also painted the bull, ox, and all the ropes.

 In this photo you can see how the wood of the original synagogue shifted pretty significantly.


There was a wall of fourteen different kinds of flowers, with each flower occurring twice so all the painting leaders and a few students were assigned flowers just so we could be sure they'd get done.  Here are mine, with the strawberrylilac being my fave:
The finished sections of part of two (out of four) walls.  I go back next summer for three months to finish them all.

 the timber framing blog:

the painting blog: