The Sacred Show

“What is sacred among one people may be ridiculous in another;
and what is despised or rejected by one cultural group,
may in a different environment
become the cornerstone for a
great edifice of strange grandeur and beauty.”
Hu Shih

The Sacred Show opening had a very nice attendance. Per the quote above, I found myself needing to open my mind in terms of what I consider sacred and how my fellow exhibitors interpreted the show’s theme.

I enjoyed the interpretations of sacred both in art and as the statements below each work. There were references to the mysticism and rituals of different cultures, the notion of symbolism, the reflection on humanity and daily life as sacred, as well as nature and earth.

“There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred,
and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.”
~ Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water

The idea of curiosity stood out to me as well: being open to new experiences, seeing things freshly and without bias, noticing the small things in life as significant or ‘divine’.

This mixed media piece by Brian Hofmeister intrigued me in its combination of different materials, as well as the reference to geometry and mysticism.


Art work by Brian Hofmeister 

Gail Willert’s piece had a lot of iconic earth elements embedded in her photography.

 Gail Willert’s work at The Sacred Show

The Uptown Arts Center is located on the Fourth floor of the Preston Bradley Center, at 941 W. Lawrence in Chicago, IL. We have a few more events during which you can peruse The Sacred Show, including Adam Robersmith’s discussion on “Creativity and Spirituality: Humanist and Pagan” from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 11, and an open house November 17 from 6 to 10 p.m. The Uptown Arts Center is also open Saturdays  from 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment  773-450-7246.


“I believe that each work of art,
whether it is a work of great genius or something very small,
comes to the artist and says, ‘Here I am. Enflesh me. Give birth to me.’
And the artist either says, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord,’
and willingly becomes the bearer of the work, or refuses;
but the obedient response is not necessarily a conscious one,
and not everyone has the humble, courageous obedience of Mary.”
~ Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water

Creating a miniature boudoir for a Salon show

This Saturday, November 3, my friend Cindy is opening her new PerficalSense Studio and Salon space. She is hosting a salon-themed show in which 35 artists are providing pieces that showcase the meaning of a salon to them.

Cindy taught me my first encaustics class, and PerficalSense Studio has been in existence for 3 years on Florence Ave in the Evanston West Village District. The studio has held 12 to 15 workshops per year in various mediums while specializing in encaustics. This location is where I learned from Bridgette Guerzon Mills and Crystal Neubauer. Cindy shared my Kim Bernard Wonderland experience.

Having just read “The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite,” the show’s call for art was a perfect way to put my new knowledge to good use. Author Jessica Kerwin Jenkins makes reference to salons in various entries, with “boudoir” being my favorite.

I had received a lovely box with birthday flowers in August, and was saving it for something pretty. I knew it would make a perfect assemblage case.

So I set to work selecting boudoir-worthy wallpaper at the local craft store.

Of course salonnières only walk on red carpet!

Since Tom Thumb’s chaise-lounge inventory wasn’t going to be updated in time for the submission date, I looked online for the chaise-lounge I envisioned. I cheered when it arrived, it was so easy to get upstairs!

The project brought back memories of my own dollhouse, which my mom had made with the help of my grandfather.

One of my favorite childhood books is about a dollhouse servant who escapes her oppressive employers and makes her own home in the shed with the help of a teddybear.

A boudoir has to have fine art of course, so I created mini encaustic collages to hang on the wall.

I’m working on a line of desktop minis for my upcoming holiday extravaganza. For this piece, I picked the Monarch for its regalness, the Question Mark to represent discussion and knowledge sharing, and the Buckeye which represents ‘see and be seen’ among the elite.

I also looked up some of the first salonnières mentioned by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins and pulled their portraits from the Internet.


Salonnières provided a training ground for young ladies in the art of conversation. One woman journaled about being knowledgeable prior to hosting a fête, so I dug up my notes from the bookbinding workshop and made some miniature books.

Bonbons had to be featured as well!

The Salon show opening is from 5 to 9 p.m. On November 3, at 1209 Hinman Avenue, Evanston, Illinois. The show will be up for a month and visiting hours can be arranged via PerficalSense Studio.

Cindy hosts 9 shows a year, rotating approximately each month. In addition to the monthly openings she has a weekend Holiday Sale in December. My Les Premier Salonnières will remain at PerficalSense for that sale (unless a miniature lover snaps it up sooner). “Artful Giving” opens Friday, November 30 in the evening and the sale continues all day Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2.

And yes, you will need to pop by there to see the finished piece!

Final weekend to see The Buzz

Chicago Artists Month is coming to a close, and so is The Buzz exhibit. You can still peruse the art work through October 30.

Jenny Learner curated a wonderful show, and I enjoyed perusing the variety of works by FUSEDChicago members.

Studio 303 Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday from noon-6 p.m. or by appointment (773-936-3645). Zhou B Art Center is located at 1029 West 35th Street, Chicago, Illinois.

The show is far more gorgeous in person.

The pieces shown are by: Dan Addington, Alicia Forestall-Boehm, Donna Zarbin Byrne, Linda Sorkin Eisenberg, Denise Funfsinn, Shelley Gilchrist, Kari Guziec, Brad Hook, Nikkole Huss, Katsy Johnson, Dawn Korman, Pat Lagger, Jenny Learner, Barbette Loevy, Elyse Martin, Bridgette Guerzon Mills, Ahavani Mullen, April Nomellini, VA de Pintor, Yvonne Prisble, Sarah Rehmer, Julie Ris, Kathy Blankley Roman, Emily Rutledge, Mary Krebs Smyth, Karen Tichy, Michele Thrane, Gina VanderReyden, Kathleen Waterloo, and Maike van Wijk.

More photos (with artist credits) can be perused at the FUSEDChicago Facebook page.

My Malachites enjoy being in such good company.

creativity boost

My adventures in wonderland, along with my birthday presents, gave my creativity a boost. So while I am busy hopping from opening to opening, I also have some fabulous plans for you!

Next month I’ll be launching a Holiday Extravaganza, which will feature some smaller scale items for you to peruse. I’d love to assist in your holiday gift shopping with desk and self-adornments.

The ‘test marketing’ for these pieces has been fun. I’m hoping I meet the goals I’ve set for myself, and when I do, all will be revealed.

So stay tuned, and keep me in mind for your holiday gift shopping.

Sassy Aphrodite has gone Uptown

“The world basically and fundamentally
is constituted on the basis of harmony.
Everything works in co-operation with something else.”
~ Preston Bradley

It is such fun to explore the city and discover pockets of artistic support in so many places, especially during Chicago Artists Month. This weekend I dropped off my Sassy Aphrodite at the Uptown Arts Center on Lawrence. She will be part of The Sacred Show, featuring 19 other artists. The Sacred Show, curated by Colette Wright Adams, opens (tomorrow) Saturday, October 20 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

On October 27, the Uptown Art Center will host an Artists Talking session with members of the show, from 3 to 5 p.m. The Artists Talking series continues with fiber artist and UU minister Reverend Adam Robersmith discussing “Creativity and Spirituality: Humanist and Pagan” from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 11. An RSVP and $6 for an afternoon breakfast is requested for these events. Additional viewing hours are Saturdays 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment  773-450-7246, or at an open house November 17 from 6 to 10 p.m.

The Uptown Arts Center just opened in June, and includes galleries that focus on contemporary painting and drawing by emerging and mid-career artists. In addition to the exhibition space and shared studio space, the center offers workshops and classes, an Artist and Collectors Group with two membership levels, and rental space that gives artists, producers, community organizations and event planners an opportunity to develop their own art practices and business ventures centered on community and arts education.


Collette Wright Adams’ studio space at the Uptown Art Center

The Uptown Arts Center is located on the fourth floor of the Preston Bradley Center, at 941 W. Lawrence in Chicago, IL. This building also houses the Peoples Church of Chicago.


The hard-to-miss awning of the People’s Church of Chicago

The Preston Bradley Center honors the Peoples Church of Chicago’s  pastor, Dr. Preston Bradley, who served the church from 1912 to 1978. Per the web site, he marched with Jane Addams for woman’s suffrage and with Martin Luther King for civil rights. Among the first to broadcast his sermons over the radio, Preston Bradley’s radio ministry inspired the TV show “Guiding Light”.

This historic 1926 six story building has an auditorium on the main floor, a theater and galleries on the fourth floor, and meeting rooms available to the public, including musical events, weddings, lectures, and public meetings. Molly’s Café is located on floor 3 ½.

Sassy Aphrodite put on her raincoat (of wax paper) on a stormy day, and enjoyed the ride to her new sleepover location.

The Sacred Show artists include:

  • Collette Wright Adams
  • Andrea Dauser
  • Benjamin DeMott
  • Margaret Garrity
  • Larry Hart
  • Katherine Harvath
  • Brian Hofmeister
  • Mari Lamp
  • Andrew Larson
  • Beatriz E. Ledesma
  • Jeffrey Littleton
  • Janet Metzger
  • Jonas Middleton
  • LeNardo Nelson Sr.
  • Robert Pockmire
  • Erin Weseli Rossi
  • Maike van Wijk
  • Laura Wetter
  • Gail Willert
  • Scott Gordon Wills

“If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.”
~ Walt Whitman

While in Greece, I was struck by the Goddess statues reflecting women of all shapes and sizes. Each Goddess reflected humanity and personality, aspects popular culture of airbrushing and skinny ideals tends to downplay.

Sassy Aphrodite encaustic collage by Maike’s Marvels

Yet each woman is a unique creation, and divine in her own right. Sassy Aphrodite — Goddess of Love — is everywoman, confident in her pose, and present in the moment. Love begins with self-love: appreciating one’s own exquisiteness, elegance, and extraordinary existence. In recognizing our sacredness, that love spills out onto others.

“I’ve never met a person, I don’t care what his condition,
in whom I could not see possibilities.
I don’t care how much a man may consider himself a failure,
I believe in him, for he can change the thing that is wrong in his life
any time he is ready and prepared to do it.
Whenever he develops the desire, he can take away
from his life the thing that is defeating it.
The capacity for reformation and change lies within.”
~ Preston Bradley

You can see my work in other locations as well. Superior is up at the Kinzie Community Corridor Gallery, Migrant Danaus is fluttering among colorful works at Dick Blick Evanston, and my Malachites are admiring encaustic works at The Buzz with FUSEDChicago in Zhou B Art Center.

Malachites in The Buzz exhibit

This Friday, October 19, marks the official FUSEDChicago opening of The Buzz.

About 25 encaustic artists will gather from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. to explain their work to anyone passing through the Zhou B gallery 303 that evening. On Saturday and Sunday, a few artists will provide demonstrations of encaustic techniques to showcase this lovely medium.

I took a sneak peek at the show last week, and the variety of work is impressive and mesmerizing. I love how encaustics can generate so much creativity and texture and beauty.

Malachites encaustic collage by Maike’s Marvels

I have my Malachites diptych in the show. The collages were inspired by multiple visits to Butterflies and Blooms, a special butterfly tent the Chicago Botanic Garden had set up during summer which featured local and exotic butterflies.

Photo copyright Maike’s Marvels

It was so lovely to get close to these butterflies and see the unique markings they have.

Photo copyright Maike’s Marvels

Just the wing pattern is mesmerizing, but have you seen its underwings?

Photo copyright Maike’s Marvels

And what about this lovely portrait? One visit I spent just focusing on butterfly faces, which was such fun anthropomorphism.

Photo copyright Maike’s Marvels

The Malachite butterfly, or Siproeta stelenes makes its home in Central and northern South America. Its green color is striking, and it is named after the stone, which has black and green markings.

 Photo copyright Maike’s Marvels

I was doing a bit of heart chakra work (corresponding to the color green) and reviewed the healing properties of malachite. The ones I liked most were printed on paper to be embedded in the collage.

So come on out and peruse the lovely works by my friends and get a closer look at the Malachites.

Participants include:Dan Addington, Alicia Forestall-Boehm, Donna Zarbin Byrne, Linda Sorkin Eisenberg, Denise Funfsinn, Shelley Gilchrist, Kari Guziec, Brad Hook, Nikkole Huss, Katsy Johnson, Dawn Korman, Pat Lagger, Jenny Learner, Barbette Loevy, Elyse Martin, Bridgette Guerzon Mills, Ahavani Mullen, April Nomellini, VA de Pintor, Yvonne Prisble, Sarah Rehmer, Julie Ris, Kathy Blankley Roman, Emily Rutledge, Mary Krebs Smyth, Karen Tichy, Michele Thrane, Gina VanderReyden, Kathleen Waterloo, Maike van Wijk.

Artist demonstrations will include live painting, printmaking, and technique introductions between 1 p.m and 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21. There will also be polaroid painting with encaustic on cigar boxes, and photography on tiles.

The Buzz will be up from October 2 until October 30, and Studio 303 Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday from noon-6 p.m. or by appointment (773-936-3645). Zhou B Art Center is located at 1029 West 35th Street, Chicago, Illinois. The Bridgeport Art Walk is from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday (20th), and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday (21st).

Photo copyright Maike’s Marvels

Wonderland with Kim Bernard and friends

As I mentioned, my afternoon in Boston was a layover to Kim Bernard’s Maine Coast Encaustic Workshop Retreat.

My respite on the Downeaster Amtrak train from Boston to Wells, Maine was lovely. The train is equipped with power outlets, and I listened to the clickerty-clack of other passengers typing on their laptops. Being prone to motion sickness myself, I enjoyed looking out the window, although most of the time all I saw was a blur of trees, and eagerly anticipated the rainbow of wax I knew awaited me in my newly dubbed Wonderland retreat.

Upon my arrival a taxi (one of three in the town) was waiting for walk-ups. The friendly driver showed me the hotspots along the way to Kennebunkport, and offered to give the group a driven tour if the trolley schedule didn’t work for us.

As I walked into the lobby of the Colony Hotel, my retreat group was already there, getting the grand tour from Kim Bernard, our hostess for the week.

I dropped my bags at reception and followed along the path toward the Carriage House, which would serve as our classroom and studio space for the week.

We passed Wonder House along the way. Yep-wonderland indeed!

Properly guided toward our various morning destinations, Kim left to prepare her classes, and the out-of-towners staying in the hotel gathered for dinner in the hotel restaurant/bar, where we quickly decided that we were going to be a fun group.

The historic hotel was lovely, and we were quite pampered the entire time.

My room even had butterfly wallpaper!

The next day Kim’s husband Christos took a few groups of us on a sailing excursion with the Pineapple Ketch. We enjoyed relaxing on the smooth ocean waters, and learning about the lobster ‘bobbers’ that mark each company.

I also waved at the Bush compound as instructed by my Texas resident friends.

Christos is also a painter, and it was nice to admire his paintings in our breakfast area knowing the artist.

After our morning excursion it was time to take the Do-it-Yourself class, where Kim taught us how to make cradled boards, blend our own encaustic medium, and color our own wax with pigment.

She stressed that these are not living or working space activities (a particle filter mask and gloves are required), so I will have to wait until I have an appropriate outdoor space/garage to implement these learnings, but it is nice to know the recipes.

She also made all the hot plates we used in the workshop, with anodized or powder-coated aluminum over a burner.

After class some stayed for studio time and I was free to explore the grounds until dinner. I took advantage of the lovely saltwater pool.

Lucky for me, the hotel has pretty butterfly gardens where I could observe monarchs and painted ladies basking in the sun.

It was wonderful to get close to these creatures.

Of course we all had various iterations of lobster during our meals. I savored the lobster mac and cheese at Arundel Wharf, and enjoyed the presentations of other dishes.

I was off the next morning and explored Kennebunkport with my friend Cindy. We came upon a fairy garden with twinkle lights.

We returned for lunch, and the spreads were amazing every day. One day our dessert was strawberry shortcake, which resulted in three tutorials for me on how to make the best shortcake.

Another day, we had multiple pies and cookies as big as one’s hand (do they make me bigger or smaller?).

The next day we got to examine Kim’s wax pendulum up close. She created this after watching a pendulum in a museum. It took a try or two, but she figured out how to heat the aluminum funnel and the right size to create an organic piece of art by letting the wax drip over the surface. We spent the class session creating our backgrounds, and then watched as the pendulum did its work. The result was lovely (and I was happy my not-so-pretty backgrounds suddenly became art).

We had fun making one-part and two part molds out of clay and plaster. Everyone created amazing plaster pieces. Our apple two-part mold channeled some interesting creatures during their drying time.

On Wednesday, we took the wax resist class, in which paper was first waxed and then dyed to create wonderful batik-like effects. I’d seen the results of the FUSEDChicago workshop last spring, and was thrilled to now have my own lesson. Watching the rainbow of paper grow was such fun.

I spent midafternoon combing the beach for organic materials, and enjoyed the pretty seascapes arranged by the tide.

Later in the afternoon, we were instructed on making leaf stencils and on how to incorporate organic materials into the wax. While I had been experimenting with embedding before, it was good to learn the do’s and don’ts. (Undried leaves will rot even when encased in wax).

Dinner was spent in the Mad Hatter’s chair downstairs.

I had another morning off so I strolled through town again, enjoying the quaintness of touristy boutiques.

In the afternoon I refreshed myself on transparency and embedding, something Shawna Moore had taught me earlier in the year. The most fun was watching how others incorporated all the techniques into their art work.

We got to peruse exactly that during the student art show, at which everyone displayed their pieces and we admired everyone’s work, style and color preferences.

Our last dinner was spent laughing and enjoying more seafood, and promising to keep in touch before next year’s retreat.

I reversed my route of taxi, Amtrak train, T-trains and airplane transportation to arrive in Chicago content and happy.

It was time to return to my home wonderland, which is a happy place as well.

An afternoon in Boston

Although I’ve been traveling quite a bit this summer, my birthday trip was in September. I attended Kim Bernard’s Maine Coast Encaustic Workshop Retreat. It was a lovely week of learning, fellowship and lots of eating. On my way there, I had a layover in Boston. I flew in to Logan Airport, and the gorgeous view made me forget all about my flying fears.

At the airport I easily made my way to the shuttle that took me to the blue line “T” train station. The blue line took me to State street, from where I switched to the orange line and exited at North Station. During the brief wait, I enjoyed the wonderland sign. There is a charming movie, Next Stop Wonderland, but I had fun taking this sign literally, and Wonderland became my theme for the week.

The North Station happens to be right in Paul Revere’s neighborhood, and since I had a 3-hour layover until my next mode of transportation, I took advantage of revisiting this tourist attraction.

I meandered the neighborhood milling with Tourists on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, and said hello to the Revere Statue.

As I paused by a church with an amazing war hero memorial, I came upon this sign.

Loving all things legible, I had to investigate, and sure enough, demonstrations of an old printing press were held that day.

The Declaration of Independence was on the press, with custom re-created type based on the original print.

The demonstration pieces are available in the gift shop for $15, but instead I invested in “The Way to Wealth” for $2 by Ben Franklin.

The printer was quite forthcoming in the process of typesetting, and I highly recommend this little shop for an educational time-warp.

Being in Boston made me think of Plan B’s. My first visit to Boston was to scope out Boston University, where I had been accepted to grad school. Even then I loved exploring the city. There is something about it that ‘vibes’ with me. That plan fell through, however, and I ended up taking an alternate route to pursue my MBA, which turned out to be a fabulous experience.

Meanwhile, this workshop was a Plan B as well. Originally I had intended to go to California for another retreat, but the workshops kept shifting and ultimately the primary reason for that long journey got cancelled as well, so I switched gears to something closer to home. Once again, this change of plans turned out to be for the better (not to mention less expensive), and I am glad the universe sometimes redirects us, even if at the time we are disappointed.

Upon being redirected to Revere’s House by the print shop assistant, I took the obligatory photo of that landmark.

I meandered past some eateries and settled on a snack (which wasn’t much to rave about) and headed for the North Station to purchase my ticket.

It was time to take the Train to Maine and immerse myself in an encaustic adventure.

Art Marketing-the value of interactive discussion

“You have brains in your head. 
You have feet in your shoes. 
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. 

You’re on your own. And you know what you know. 
YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, the places you’ll go

Last May, I took a 5-week course that was another stepping stone to gaining confidence in my artistic life. I had a lot of inertia earlier in the year, and felt like I had to clarify my career path.

Enter The Business of Art: Showing & Selling with Matt Runfola, offered at the Evanston Art Center. With the goal of “Know Thyself, Thy Work, and Thy Audience for a better chance of success”, I felt some of the class topics would help solidify my direction.

“Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”
~ Dr. Suess

One of the key things this workshop helped me with was to write that dreaded artist statement. We spent a full session discussing this and bios and resumes, and then were invited to keep tweaking these documents throughout the course. Having the instructor and workshop members provide instant feedback on a draft was very helpful and helped us see our art-making through the eyes of someone not as familiar with our chosen medium.


From knowing ourselves we moved into defining our art work and discussing how to present it in the best way, via photographs, our online presence, the appropriate exhibits/selling venues, and by defining our target market(s). We also discussed placing a value of our art, primarily in the form of pricing, but also its value to ourselves and in relation to the market.

“So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember 
that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.”
~ Dr. Suess

While many of these topics are addressed in books and other marketing courses, the benefit to me was to have a forum of discussion among other local artists, knowing that I am not alone in carving out this new career path for myself. The other attendees were at various stages in their careers, from having sold out at fairs to winning awards that were covered in magazines, and each working on rebranding and refining our art.

Since the workshop, I made multiple submission packages for calls to art (which included rewriting the artist statement yet again), and have been accepted (but also rejected) to various local shows. Even though I can take a decent photo, I am still leaving the art photography to a professional.

Encaustic collages by Maike’s Marvels

I’ve been more disciplined about my pricing, and the dialogue and assigned reading on the topic provided me a firmer value proposition. One small triptych sold this summer and another is on layaway by another customer–Collectors, there is nothing wrong with asking for a payment plan with your artists (I’ve done so myself).

Meanwhile I am heeding the suggestions of others on where to show, and working on having enough inventory to grace the wall of a coworking space or a cafe in the future.

“And when things start to happen, don’t worry, don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.”
~ Dr. Seuss

Matt is hosting another session this Fall, and I highly recommend dropping in on this class. Business of Art: The Lunch Sessions starts Tuesday, October 23, 2012 and ends December 4, 2012. The class is held Tuesdays from 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

“Bring your lunch and learn how to de-mystify the business end of your art passion, and gain confidence showing and selling your work. Each week a different topic will be addressed, with the goal “Know Thyself, Thy Work, and Thy Audience” for a better chance of success. Open to all levels and mediums. Sign up for the full course here, or pick and choose topics of interest with single-session drop-ins for $20 a session.”

  • Résumé, Bio and Artist Statement (October 23)
  • Photographing Your Work (October 30)
  • Sizing Your Digital Images (November 6)
  • Pricing Your Art (November 13)
  • Establishing An Online Presence (November 27)
  • Marketplace – Where to Show and Sell (December 4)

“And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed)”
~ Dr. Seuss, Oh the places you’ll go

Laughing it up at Kim Bernard’s Maine Encaustic Workshop Retreat student show

All Dr. Seuss quotes from “Oh, the places you’ll go.”