studio update

Paper....In Pieces

Happy Holidays! Already it is December and the year is coming soon to a close. What a time of transformation this has been for me. I’ve gone from having complete freedom and time in the studio to a fairly intense 40-hour a week job, leaving me with much less time and energy for making new work. However, I’m happy to say, I’ve been moving much closer to the ideal balance….where my job (which I love, by the way) doesn’t take all of my energy and I can find joy in my limited time in the studio.

Lately my creative joy comes from gluing tiny bits of cut and torn paper….doesn’t take much to make me happy some days! Actually, what delights me is the simple pleasure of seeing the juxtaposition of color and pattern that unfold in this new collage series, Pieces. These are small collages, of varying sizes, on rice paper dipped in beeswax. Some will have embroidery and/or beads, others won’t. I’m enjoying the play of composition….creating odd spaces and forms that play with balance and empty space.

I started another series of similar tiny collages on some sheets of 6” x 6” handmade paper I recently purchased in St. Paul….it’s lovely and textured and has a real presence. So, out came the tiny bottle of glue, and bits of printed and found (in my bins of cast-offs and fragments) paper and more collages came out of it.

After I made the first one on the handmade paper, I realized that these little collage works called to mind the joy that comes from seeing a beautiful garden….how the colors and forms play off each other in a kind of conversation. Hence, the name of the series, Paper Garden.

These pieces are a natural extension of what I’ve been doing for a long time. They are rooted in play and allowing intuition and change guide the process. Hope you enjoy them….I’m posting them in my Etsy shop, so head on over and see more of these two collage series. See you again soon!


Days of Fading Light

River view Oct 28 2018 blog.jpg

Late October and the days are filled with a lingering warmth and the golden light that will soon give way to a wintery chill and gently falling snow showers. I love the distinct seasons here in the midwest and, most of all, watching the shifts in texture, color and light on the Missouri River. As we look west-southwest from our location on the river, the sunsets are always a treat. Tonight, I caught the glow looking down the river…so serene.

Well, I feel I must extend my apologies once again, for abandoning this blog after I started my full-time job about seven months ago. Up until now, the learning curve and the investment of energy in work took everything I had. At the end of the day, there was nothing left for studio, much less keeping up with my online life. But, I sense the tide has turned! I’m confident now at work and can begin to think about creating work in my own studio again….and it feels about time! I’m reacquainting myself with the earlier me….the one who had the luxury of all the time in the world to be creating in the studio. Now, it’s a question of setting some priorities and a flexible schedule. For the artists out there with full-time jobs, I’d love to hear from you about how you manage to find time for your creative side. Perhaps you have found a way to balance work and life and art that you’d like to share with others….I welcome your thoughts.

In the meantime, Johntimothy and I are involved with a project for an upcoming gallery event in Sioux Falls that has gotten us both rejuvenated. We’re having great fun with this current collaboration. At this point, it’s a work in progress, so I can’t reveal the details, but promise I’ll write more about the project early next month when we’ve finished. In the meantime, here is a snapshot of a bit of the current chaos in our studio-


For me, the good news is that I’ve started making some intuitive drawings again. Rather than sticking to the strictness of a daily drawing project, which no longer seems feasible, I’ve relaxed the demands on myself and instead make a drawing when I have time. A couple recent drawings can be seen below.

Autumn drawing no. 1

Autumn drawing no. 1

Autumn drawing no. 2

Autumn drawing no. 2

I made the next drawing, seen below, using one of little rubber stamps from a alphabet set I have on my desk. I just grabbed the x as a kind of mark-making tool, started playing with it and then continued with pencil and ink. It occurred to me that it might be fun to do a suite of 26 drawings utilizing each of the letters of the alphabet….a kind of homage, since I am always filled with amazement at the infinite possibilities that can arise from our 26 basic letterforms. The alphabet, for me, is a little bit of magic!

Alphabet Suite: X

Alphabet Suite: X

Today, I began the suite of alphabet drawings….with the letter A, of course! This project will give me some needed focus and provide a little challenge as I explore the possibilities. I look forward to holding a stack of 26 beeswaxed drawings….yummy!

Alphabet Suite: A

Alphabet Suite: A

These drawings will all find their way into my Etsy shop, MissouriBendStudio….just give me some time, as that’s another area of life I’ve not been good at keeping up with, alas. In the meantime, another week begins….I hope yours is productive, creative and rewarding!


An Expanded Missouri Bend Studio Shop!

Greetings on a  blizzard-filled day here on the Plains! We've had quite a bit of snow throughout the day, but neither of us had to leave the house (not that we could anyway) as the university had cancelled classes, so we had a lovely day inside...mostly. I managed to finish the task of closing The Art Filled Home, our collaborative Etsy shop, but not before transferring all the listings to Missouri Bend Studio. All the works that lived their short life (in near oblivion!) in The Art Filled Home will hopefully now find viewers and a loving home. You can find all those mixed-media one-of-a-kind print based pieces in the Collaborations section of MissouriBendStudio. As readers of this blog might remember from earlier posts, the daily print series we worked on together this fall are there, but also the older pieces some of which are shown in this post. The piece above was part of a series done in 2014 for a joint exhibition we had at the University of South Dakota. 

A Gathering of Stones, above, and the one below are from last spring when we began the shop. It was a continuation of that earlier series in terms of format, but with a different color palette and imagery. Johntimothy created layers of lovely silkscreen patterns, which I responded to with drawing and painting. Now that he's back teaching classes full time, we have to figure out a new collaborative series, so stay tuned!

So, winter storm Jaxon was slow to materialize, but I guess he was everything they predicted....I'm not sure how much snow this is, but Johntimothy probably does, as he spent a few hours this afternoon, along with the neighbor, shoveling us out. The snow was beautiful coming down, but the winds created white-out conditions, so hope folks stayed off the roads!

January 22 2018 snow.jpg

Meanwhile, I've been experimenting with new possibilities for the daily drawings, but due to supply constraints, I've returned to using the Japanese rice paper/beeswax....I have a good amount of the paper and the beeswax is pretty irresistible. I'll save the good (BFK Rives) for larger's expensive and I would pretty much decimate Johntimothy's supply if I used it for the daily drawings. Here are a couple of the latest dailies.

Daily Drawing, January 22, 2018

Daily Drawing, January 22, 2018

I've begun another series of drawings that explore the possibilities of white on white, which I'll share with you in the next post. They are mixed media with painting, ink, pencil, collage and embroidery. One is finished and the next one nearly so. I'll be back by the end of the week to share those with you. Hope your week has started off well....see you soon...cheers!