5 More Essential Portable Art Materials

Because of my busy workshop schedule and love of hiking, I’m totally into the portability and versatility of my art materials. In this article, I share with you 5 of my favorites.

Summer is upon us, vacation plans have been laid and new memories to be journaled, drafted, sketched and painted are all in the near future. Because of my busy workshop schedule and love of hiking, I’m totally into the portability and versatility of my favorite art materials. I also like to keep things very simple while traveling so as to not add a lot of weight to my pack as well as limit myself to only a few art materials- I’m a firm believer that restrictions breed creativity.

Even if you aren’t a traveler, but perhaps an artist short on time, having portable, lightweight, inexpensive and versatile art materials on hand will offer you more opportunities to make art, even if it’s just while in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. Also, be sure to read 7 Essential Portable Art Materials, for additional add-ons to your travel bag.

To purchase these materials, click on the title link, which will take you directly to the product in my Portable Art Supplies Amazon shop. I have also included some pics of things I’ve made using each material. Most are sketches on the road or on the trail- they’re not masterpieces, but give you a good idea of what each product can do. Also, because of the portability and convenience factor, I focus on water media only in this article.

  • MISULOVE Watercolor Paint Set This folding, fairly lightweight paint set is made to be portable and does not disappoint. I have many portable watercolor sets that were expensive and run out of color too quickly. I’ve been using this one heavily for about 6 months and I’m nowhere near running out of color. With those expensive sets, I was limited on color and always seemed to be wanting a color not included in the set. As you can see, this set offers many colors to choose from and they paint very bright and very rich with an excellent range of translucency depending on how much water is used. The folding aspect of the set allows me to hold it in one hand while painting in the other for those times where there is just no room to spread out. Last, my water brush fits snugly in the slot so that I’m never scrambling to find it in the black hole of my back pack. I have the 42 set of colors, but it also comes in 18, 25 and 33 color sets, which are available through sellers other than Amazon. The mini paintings pictured below were all made en plein air with this set.
  • Meeden Watercolor Tin I love working with gouache-especially the white, which I add to everything. The tubes can be heavy to carry around, so I squirt a little color into the half pans in this tin and away I go. The paint does eventually dry, but gouache can be revived with a little water so it’s ok. These tin boxes are lightweight, include a mixing tray and the half pans are removable for easy cleaning. The paintings below were all made with dried gouache in my portable tin on watercolor block.

Hahnemühle Watercolor Book Anyone who has worked with Hahnemühle papers knows they are quality. I had always worked on a watercolor block, which I still do, but the A6 size of this book and the landscape orientation of it is just perfection for me. The paper is smooth and just lovingly accepts any water or drawing media I put in contact with it. While hiking, I often paint and then quickly run off to the next painting spot with damp pages. The band closure keeps the book closed and allows the pages to dry flat. This book also comes in an A5 landscape size, which is just slightly too large and heavy for me, but may be a more suitable size for others.

Tombow Dual Brush Pen in Black A recent workshop student of mine introduced me to these pens and I’m totally hooked! Its watercolor in a pen with a fine and broad sized brush and water-based ink that will dilute and blend with water. I love this pen for its versatility and if I’m really limited for space in my pack, it’s all I really need. These pens come in many colors and I’ve ordered a few and found that the blacks and darker colors tend to blend a bit better than the lighter ones. Also good to note is I’ve been told that the inks will eventually fade, which is just heartbreaking. Drawings made with these pens should be kept locked away in your sketchbook away from light.

  • Therm-a-Rest Z Seat Cushion It’s not an art material, but it’s definitely an essential, especially for aging bodies. I’m still in ok shape, but I can no longer sit on a rock for an hour and paint without feeling a bit cramped. This cushion folds to a neat bundle and is so lightweight you barely feel it in your pack. It’s also thermal and will protect your bottom from cold and moisture. I love it so much, I also got one for my car!

The Self-Made Artist Residency: Part 3 Packing & A Plan

In this third and last article on organizing your own Self-Made Artist Residency, I discuss how I carved out a studio space, what I brought with me, what I wish I brought with me and some of what I did while I was there.

Welcome to Part 3 of 3 of The Self-Made Residency Series of articles. Part 1 lists the good, bad and ugly parts of embarking on this adventure. Part 2 outlines decisions you need to make regarding the where, when and how to organize and plan your residency. In this last article, I discuss how I carved out a studio space, what I brought with me, what I wish I brought with me and some of what I did while I was there.

At this point, you’ve put down a deposit on accommodations, you’re a few weeks away from departure and you’re thinking about what to do while you’re there. It’s best to have a loose plan for a few things you might want to work on and allow for some surprises once you get there. I packed mostly portable, water-based art materials and I gave myself the restriction that all I pack for studio must fit in one small box, lest I go berserk and take everything I own. I also restricted my color palette to black, white, red and brown-I may have thrown yellow ochre in as well, but didn’t use it much. I brought my big set of Caran d’ache crayons in case I wanted access to any other colors, but I pretty much stayed within my chosen palette. As I mentioned many times on this blog, hiking is a big part of my travel studio practice, so of course I packed my back pack art materials. (Read this article to see what I take with me in my pack-I’ll be updating this article with fun new portable materials in my next post!) I took a fold out card table in case I needed extra space, but I didn’t end up using it. As it turned out, my cabin came furnished with a kitchen table, a long coffee table and a table out in the sun room, all of which I designated my ‘studio’. I even employed the second bedroom daybed as my drying rack! I also took with me a roll of plastic and covered every table surface, the wall and the floor at my painting table so as not to make a mess with my art making activities. I wished I had taken a few clip on lights-an artist can never have enough light-and I will remember this for next time.

When I got there, it took me a week or so to acclimate and create a daily schedule for myself. I mapped out the parks I wanted to hike, art museums/galleries I wanted to visit and came up with a loose plan for the next 5 weeks. Basically, I hiked, did yoga, wrote and painted en plein air during the early part of the day, then read, meditated and painted in my house studio during the late afternoon and night. (A more detailed article on the work I made during my residency is coming up soon! In the meantime, check out the gallery below for a sneak peek.)

It may sound boring, but I accomplished so much, hiked many miles, painted many landscapes, rested, worked hard, wrote reams, saw some art, started 3 new drawings series, met my first alligator and manatee, chatted with locals, took a tour of secret trails with a park ranger, found many random hearts while hiking, got a natural tan in the middle of winter, fell in love with swamps all over again, ate cookies every night and can’t wait to do it all again next year.

I hope you found this series of articles helpful. If you’re planning your own self made residency or have completed one, please share in the comments where you went—comments are located in the top left side bar by the title of the article. Please enjoy the photos below of my ‘studio’ space and some of the work I made. If you’re interested in seeing more images of my residency, scroll my Instagram feed and check out my story highlights entitled ‘Florida‘. Stay tuned for my next blog post in which I’ll share with you new portable art supplies for your summer travels.

Workshop Highlight: Encaustic Collagraph & Line

This is an experimental, fun, why-not-try-it workshop exploring printmaking, line and encaustic.

When

August 1-3, 2019, 10am-4pm each day

Where

Elise Wagner’s Studio in Portland, OR

WHERE CAN I SIGN UP!

Please visit this link to sign up for the workshop. I look forward to working with you!

Basic Description

This is an experimental, fun, why-not-try-it workshop exploring printmaking, line and encaustic. Utilizing the natural luminosity, textural and layering possibilities of encaustic in combination with creating collagraphs utilizing found linear materials on fabric, Encaustiflex and paper, participants will experiment with a wide variety of innovative materials and exercises to inspire expressive marks while also developing a personal artistic voice. The application of thin layers of encaustic for collage, covering a board with fabric, drawing with horse hair, branding (creating marks with heated metal and wood burning tools), the use of stitch as a mark as well as the conceptual use of transparency and layers is also discussed. A bonus in this workshop is the opportunity to create your own grids, laces and lace like forms using free motion sewing machine embroidery on water soluble stabilizer-these sewn grids may also be basis for creating a collagraph. Optional individual critiques with Lorraine will be offered to all participants.

Who should take this workshop?

  • You are a semi-beginner to advanced painter (encaustic or other) who loves experimenting with materials, mixed media, alternative processes and line.
  • You are interested in what the grid can do for your work, but don’t want to make gridded paintings. NOTE: You won’t make a gridded painting in this workshop unless you want to do so, but understanding the concept of the grid as a foundational structure will make your paintings stronger. Guaranteed.
  • You want to express yourself in a more meaningful way with your work.
  • You want to create consistency, a personal voice, your own mark, in your paintings and body of work as a whole.
  • Your creative process is stagnating and you need to learn a new process, idea or technique.
  • You love materials and innovative ways to use them.
  • You dislike drawing and/or you’re afraid of it.

What happens in this workshop? What will I learn?

  • Marking, drawing, making marks with fun exercises involving music, text, folding/cutting paper, collage, fire, found materials are sure to relax you so that you don’t even know you’re drawing and are designed for you to generate ideas, content and a personal mark.
  • Experimenting with the new, fun material, Encaustiflex.
  • Utilizing a printing press to experiment with the magic of the collagraph utilizing found and alternative materials, etc.
  • Experiment with line ideas using innovative techniques and materials such as horsehair, pyrography (making marks with heated metal and tools), stitching by hand or machine, Solvy (water soluble embroidery stabilizer) in combination with encaustic.
  • In depth discussion, brainstorming and slide talk about line and the grid-what it means in art, what it does, how to generate it, how to use it.
  • What the concepts of good design are and how to apply these ideas to fine art.
  • Effective and productive doodling.
  • Experiment with encaustic tools such as a tjanting, incising into the wax, creating grids and lines using masks, paintsticks and encaustic friendly drawing media.
  • How you can create your own process to make a cohesive body of work and how that process can relate to and enhance content in that work.
  • Learn what found drawings are and how you can use them as a tool for inspiration and content generation.

What kind of work will I make?

Please enjoy the work example pics below from participants who have previously taken this workshop as well as images from Elise’s fabulous studio. Please visit additional blog posts here and here and here and here for more information related to this workshop.

WHERE CAN I SIGN UP!

Please visit this link to sign up for the workshop. I look forward to working with you!

The Self Made Artist Residency: Part 2 Decisions…Decisions..

Part 2 of 3 articles on how to plan your own Self Made Artist Residency. This is a list of helpful questions and decisions you must make before taking the plunge.

So you’ve applied for and have been rejected from a few residency programs, you’ve weighed the pros and cons regarding creating your own (Read Part 1 of this series, Self-Made Artist Residency: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly) and decided to be a rebel and do it! But where to begin? The following is a step by step checklist of important decisions to make before taking the plunge and of course, I offer examples of some of the things I thought about and actually did.

These considerations all work together, one is not separate from any of the others. You might not be able to check all your boxes, but having all considerations all in one list, plus all of the questions I ask may help you prioritize what is most important to you. It might also help to refer to Residencies: The Artist Kind, a blog post I wrote about choosing and applying for a residency program. Read to the end of this article for photos of my funky cabin and funky cabin art.

  1. When and How Long For most, carving out time away is the biggest hurdle so this must be your first consideration. I’m a bit of a hermit in the winter months, especially in the months of January through March, so I usually leave that time unscheduled in order to focus on my studio work. I had wanted to schedule my residency for all three months, but I had a rare workshop scheduled for mid-February. That left six weeks starting in January, a good amount of time to acclimate to my surroundings and get some work done.
  2. Location Where in the world is most inspiring to you? What kind of climate/landscape do you need to feel inspired? Do you need a city near you, lots of people, civilization? Or are more isolated areas better for you? Do you want to be in the US or is international travel important for you? As I mentioned above, I needed to get out of winter in Philadelphia so being somewhere sunny and warm(ish) was my top priority. Hiking is part of my studio research, so an interesting landscape with parks and/or hiking trails is where I focused on the map. Also, my budget didn’t support international travel, so I focused on the south, southeastern and southwestern US.
  3. Cost You will be solely responsible for all costs, so you must make a budget that includes travel, food, accommodations, art supplies, entertainment, etc. Once you arrive at a budget, double it(!) as there are incidentals that come up that you may not have considered. For example, most of the state parks I’ve been to here in PA are free while most of the parks I visited in FL had a charge. I went to a new park every other day while there and realized I should just purchase a Parks Pass which eventually paid for itself.
  4. Accommodations How much room do you need to make your work? Do you like to cook, do you need a kitchen? Do you need outdoor space? Do you usually make a big mess when you work? Working with encaustic needs too many special considerations so I knew I was only bringing water media and this restriction freed up my options. I don’t need a lot of room to make my work and I’m not especially messy when I work. Part of my embarking on this residency was to get away from my life, to think and be alone so I didn’t want a lot of distractions-being in a rural environment was okay with me. I also like a patio space or space outside of my living space to read, write, draw, etc. I don’t cook and really only need a microwave and small fridge for meals. Having all of this info combined with my timeframe, location and budget worked out.
  5. What’s Next I then went to Airbnb (also checked Sublet.com, HomeAway, Vrbo) and searched the states I was most interested in visiting-CA, UT, NM, AR, CO, FL, GA, SC. I also checked the extended forecast and found that I would be most comfortable in FL. I couldn’t afford anything in the vacation spots most snowbirds frequent in January, so I settled on a small fishing cabin on the St. John’s River in Northern FL that checked most of my boxes. (Pictured above) It had two small bedrooms, a sunroom, a full kitchen, a small bathroom, laundry on premises and it was right on the edge of a National Forest. It was also 90 minutes from two cities that had galleries and museums so that I could satisfy my art cravings. Not perfect..and by no means was it luxury…but it was within my budget, drivable within two days from home and I could be comfortable there for an extended period. I knew I would be in a rural environment, but this place was very isolated with the closest food store at least 30 miles away. It was weird at first, but I acclimated well and by the third week I learned to plan my hiking trips so that I could also do errands along the way.

The best thing about doing this on my own was realizing I could do it and that I didn’t have to rely on the almighty residency programs out there to tell me where, when and how high I could jump. Everyone will be different, but I hope this offers some inspiration and at least gets the wheels turning for you. Stay tuned for my next post outlining how I carved a creative space out of a fishing cabin, supplies I took with me, supplies I wish I took with me and what kind of work I made while on my residency.

The Self Made Artist Residency: Part 1, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Are you tired of applying for and getting rejected from artist residency programs? This is the start of a 3 part article that will guide you step by step on how to start your own self made artist residency.

After many dollars and hours spent applying for and being rejected from numerous artist residencies, I decided to make my own in sunny Florida at the start of this year. I posted about it almost every day on social media which generated a lot of interest from artist friends who had never considered this for themselves. I got many questions regarding how I did it, so I’ve broken down my process into three posts. This first one is a list of considerations I thought about and that you should think about before embarking on your residency adventure. The second is a step by step process for organizing your budget, location, accommodations, etc. The third outlines how I carved out an artist studio from a fishing cabin in rural Florida and the work I made while there. I hope this series helps you to buck the system and make your own way in residency bliss! It might also help you to refer to Residencies: The Artist Kind, a blog post I wrote about choosing and applying for a residency program.

I have been fortunate enough to have been awarded a few residencies in the past, so I have something to compare with my self-made residency and while there are obvious similarities there are also plenty of differences between the two. For some, being completely responsible for oneself as well as spending time alone is a dream, but for others, it might be pretty scary. In some cases the good things I’ve listed might be considered bad things and visa-versa. Consider this list just food for thought before you make the jump. After reading, scroll down for some digital drawings I made during my residency and visit my Instagram for more.

The Good

  • You have no responsibilities to anyone but yourself, you can do what you want when you want.
  • You can be in perfect solitude, choosing when and if you would like to socialize.
  • No requirements to donate work, open your studio, offer a lecture/workshop, work in the kitchen, etc.
  • No application process, essay writing or asking friends to be a reference for you.
  • You choose where, when, what, how and how long.

The Bad

  • You have no stipend and therefore absorb all financial responsibilities for your residency.
  • You are responsible for all household duties-cook, clean, shop, laundry, etc. These are things you likely do at home, but might not want to do during a residency.
  • No studio visits or critiques.
  • No impressive or prestigious line to add to your resume.
  • Likely, no designated studio space in which to be messy.

The Ugly

  • You have to know yourself. Know who you are and what you can accomplish away from the structure of being at home. For example, if you don’t have a regular studio practice at home, you aren’t going to magically establish one away from home.
  • Do you feel uncomfortable away from home? When you travel, does it take you a long time to acclimate to a strange place? Do you need a lot of time and/or a lot of space to create your work? Do you need a ton of materials at your disposal to make your work? If you answered yes to these questions, you’re likely not a good candidate for a self-made residency. If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy in a new place and it takes you a long time to make yourself at home, your creative energies will not be flowing and your time and money will be wasted.
  • Although you’re traveling, this isn’t a vacation, you need to get to work. Know why you want to do this and roughly what it is you’d like to accomplish. Have some goals set and set up some kind of structure to your days. Even if you don’t accomplish all of your goals, you can at least strive for something good to happen during your residency.
  • You are alone with yourself and your thoughts. This might be pretty ugly for some, but it was amazingness for me.

The Evolution Of A Mark, Part Two

Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make others see.
-Edgar Degas

Just about this time last year, I wrote The Evolution Of A Mark, in which I trace back to how and why I make the marks I make today…specifically speaking to the gouache paintings I’ve been developing on and off for many years and just recently got back into working again. Not just contemplating my navel, I’m hoping that by retracing how I got from there to here, I can help other artists look at their own work histories and trace back to what it is that sets their work apart. Once that thing is recognized, it can be developed.

My first post left off at gracefully closing the door on my textile design career and   blessedly opening a window into my fine art career at about my mid-20’s. I wanted a career in fine art, but I wasn’t a painter yet so I started by going back to my roots in textiles. I began by making art quilts that combined all of my loves at the time-photography, hand/machine sewing, found objects, beading, drawing, painting-pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. My modest success making and showing them got me into graduate school with a fellowship no less! I included some detail shots below…be kind, these quilts are OLD and so are the images.

Celebration detail, Portrait, Flower detail, Portrait detail, Flower detail, All: Hand and machine embroidered, quilted, beaded, fabric paints, found objects, photo transfers, fabric/paper collage, found fabrics

My work in grad school was (and still is) rooted in drawing connections between the earth and body. How I make these connections changed many times over the years with various explorations, but back then I was interested in making those connections through visual patterns. I started with art quilts but quickly dove into line work and using the sewing machine as a drawing tool. I was captivated by the sewn line as well as by the thread itself. There was something so simple and lovely in the pile of cut thread scraps on my sewing table that I started to use them in the quilts and as inspiration for drawings. So enthralled was I by the thread, I eventually abandoned the fabric base and just focused on making quilts out of the thread alone. My explorations led me to discover the magic of Solvy, a water-soluble embroidery stabilizer and I was hooked. My process was to cut threads from many spools and place them in a pile, then sew them together by following the flow of the clumps as I arranged them. I was so excited that this process developed from the basic process of sewing and this is where my interest in process as a form of art making was born. The sewn thread pieces resemble pelts, grass, hair, skin, which to me, spoke visually of both earth and body…another exciting thing that told me I was on the right track to combining process, materials and content.

Purity detail, Eleuthera, 12×12 inches, Purity, 6×4 feet each panel, Purity detail, White, 9×12 inches, Beginning, 2×3 feet, Rise, 4×5 feet, Beginning detail, Rise detail. All: Rust and Eco Stained fabrics, paint, machine quilted, embroidered, silk and cotton fabric, rayon thread.

From here, I made three 4×6 foot quilted ‘paintings’ for my thesis show that were comprised of the thread pieces, stained and painted fabrics, drawing and painting (pictured above). At the same time, I was also working on a series of drawings that started by manipulating and photocopying the threads, then using graphite paper to transcribe the photocopied images to another paper. The photocopy was placed on top, and the graphite paper underneath, I would then trace the photocopied image over and over without seeing the drawing I was creating underneath. The drawing created resembled a dense tangle of clumpy swirls, which referenced roots, veins, water systems and various other underlying channels integral to life.

Thread drawing photocopy detail, Clump 1, graphite on print paper, 22×30, Thread drawing photocopy, Thread drawing photocopy detail, Clump 2, graphite on print paper, 22×30

The repetitive act of tracing and sewing the threads embedded in my psyche and I found myself instinctively using it whenever I was drawing. I’ve created many series using this mark and it has varied over the years as you can see in the gallery below. Even with its variations, I’m pretty much stuck with it…or it’s stuck with me. See more of these paintings on my web site here and paintings on plexiglass here.

January in the Rockies 5, 9×12 inches, One Dark Cloud, 20×16 inches, January in the Rockies 3, 9×12 inches, Rain Over the Hill With Lake, 20×16 inches, Frost Fog, 16×20 inches

I hope you enjoyed this article and it’s helped you in some way. I always love hearing from you, so please feel free to comment (comment section is located in the upper left sidebar of this article). If you’re intrigued by line, want to find your personal mark or are just searching for some cool ways to add line to your encaustic paintings, my workshop at the encaustic conference is just for you! Read about it here and please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Stay tuned for my April blog posts-a two part series on the self-made residency I completed in January-February. I’ve gotten loads of questions about how to start one, where to stay, what to take, etc. and I’ll explain it all. I look forward to sharing this information with you and also sharing the work I produced during my residency. If you can’t wait, visit my Instagram for a sneak peak. See you in April, Happy Spring!

9 Art Works I Need To Exist

Continuing my quest to explore why art is needed in the world, I list 9 works that are of profound significance to me as an artist.

As I was writing my last post 5 Reasons Why the World Needs Art & Artists, I had wanted to include images of art works that have resonated with me, that I can’t imagine the world without. But instead of including them in the last post, I needed to honor them with their own post. To have examples of actual works drives home the point that art is needed in the world and you, as an artist, are needed in the world as well. I have to say that there are thousands of paintings, sculptures, installations, etc. that have made their mark in my world but to include all, of course, would need a whole blog devoted to the subject. (Actually, there such a blog called Oh What a World, What a World. It’s my first blog that unfortunately got hacked so I no longer can add to it, but you can still view the amazing artists on it.)

In order to pare down my list I came up with the following criteria…I had to have seen the work in person, I had to remember the work without too much thought or googling, the work had to mark a turning point in my thinking or life, I would have it my personal collection if I could and the number of works had to be less than ten. Now, you may have seen most of them before, they are not obscure, but that’s not what this list is about. This was an interesting exercise for me and although I write about each work, I can say that whenever I viewed these pieces, overall, I was immediately at peace and invited to escape into a dream for a moment.

Are there artworks that pop into your head that are of a profound significance to you? That for you, absolutely must live in the world? I’m curious what they are and what it is they did/do for you. Please add them in the comments section located on the left at the top of this post near the title.

  • Agnes Martin, The Rose, 1965, acrylic and graphite on canvas, 72×72   When I first saw this at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I was still in my teens and I thought this plain old grid was so boring…then I looked closely and SAW it. It is a light pencil grid on an almost indiscernible pale pink ground. That an artist could capture the essence, delicacy and beauty of a rose within a simple grid pattern while using almost no color left me speechless and forever in love with exploring the possibilities of the grid.
  • Cy Twombly, Shades of Night, 1978, oil paint, oil stick, graphite on paper, 41×27  The PMA has a special room for the suite of 10 paintings, 50 Days at Iliam. When I first saw it, I was in my late teens and the work angered me. I loathed these paintings. Despite my strong feelings of hatred, they intrigued me and I always made it a point to visit these works every time I was at the museum. I would stand and stare at them, the marks, the movement, the paint application, the paintings were so large and aggressive! Each time, I had a strong reaction and my hatred eventually turned to love as I learned about Twombly’s work and myself as an artist. I must say that every time I visit this room or any of Twombly’s works, I learn something more about painting.
  • Klee, Fish Magic, 1925, oil, watercolor, on canvas, 38×46  Who doesn’t love this painting? It’s a relatively small work tucked into a dark corner of the museum. Reminiscent of a child’s scratchboard drawing, it was one of the first paintings that communicated to me the message that art can be fun!
  • Picasso, Young Girl With A Goat, 1906, oil on canvas, 54×40  This lovely painting hangs high on a wall, close to the ceiling at the Barnes Museum. Despite my many visits to the Barnes, it was only on a recent visit that I noticed it. I can’t really put into words what attracts me to this painting except that its pink and gold and just makes me happy. I was in a happy place when I first noticed it and when I see it now, it takes me back to that moment. If I suddenly come into a large amount of money, it’ll be the first painting I purchase.
  • Henri Rousseau, Carnival Evening, 1886, oil on canvas, 46×35  I was very young (maybe junior high?) when I first saw this painting at the PMA. I loved Rousseau’s dreamy, clean, graphic painting style. I could understand his work, unlike the abstract expressionist works my young mind wasn’t quite ready to absorb. This painting was a dream and for many years, the postcard I purchased in the museum bookstore allowed me to dive into that dream whenever I wanted.
  • Georgia O’Keeffe, Music, Pink and Blue 2, 1918, oil on canvas, 35×29  If you’re a fan of this blog, then you know of the profound effect Georgia O’Keeffe had on my growth as an artist. This particular work was the first art poster I had in my room as a young teen, (it even took the place of Sean Cassidy, but I digress). I had it right in front of my bed, so it was the first thing I saw in the morning. I got lost in the sensual forms, tracing them with my eyes as I got used to the morning light. This certainly had some effect on my visual memory and likely carries into my paintings to his day.
  • Sandy Skoglund, Revenge of the Goldfish, 1981, Cibachrome color photograph, 27×35  It was at the PMA that I first saw Skoglund’s work in my mid-20’s. I was always intrigued with photographs and loved how Skoglund could realize fantastical worlds in her work. Within a few years, I learned Photoshop and was on my way to realizing my own fantastical worlds.
  • Picasso, Glass of Absinthe, 1914, painted bronze with absinthe spoon, 8x4x3  I’m not a big Picasso fan, so I’m totally laughing right now that two of his works made it to this short list. Although I’m not a huge fan, I learned to appreciate his work when I took a summer art history class in grad school. I had to choose one work of Picasso’s in the PMA’s collection for my paper and this one was it. Before that time, I didn’t know Picasso had done any sculpture and I loved the intimate scale and general fun-ness of this one. I researched the piece extensively and fell in love with the whole series. Once again, I was pleased to learn that an artist could wear many hats, make work in many disciplines and just have fun, Picasso or not.
  • Leon Frederic, Four Seasons, 1894, oil on canvas, 49×32  I was very young when I saw these pieces at the PMA and to this day, still visit them whenever I’m at the museum. What I love about them is the joyful exuberance and pure love that the artist had for these works…love, that you as the viewer can actually feel standing in front of them. This was another postcard purchase that I carried with me and hung in my room for at least a decade, it always brought me joy whenever I looked at it.